Eight UK towns win city status as part of queen's platinum jubilee celebrations

Towns in the Falklands, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland all boast new cities

Stanley in the Falklands is the first UK overseas territory to be declared a city. PA
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Eight towns, from the capital of the Falkland Islands to Dunfermline in Scotland, have been given city status to mark the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes in England, Bangor in Northern Ireland and Wrexham in Wales have also won the honour," the Cabinet Office said.

Stanley in the Falklands is the first UK overseas territory to be declared a city, and Douglas on the crown dependency of the Isle of Man has also received raised status.

They are some of the places that “make Britain great”, said the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay.

“What was clear to me during the process of assessing each application was the pride that people felt for their communities, local cultural heritage and the royal family," Mr Barclay said.

“As we celebrate Her Majesty the queen’s colossal contribution to society, I am thrilled that we are able to recognise some of the many places that make Britain great.

“It is also incredibly reflective of Her Majesty’s global outlook and years of international service that applicants from the overseas territories and crown dependencies have been selected as winners for the first time.”

The new cities can expect a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there, the Cabinet Office said.

Stanley’s sustainable practices and civic pride also helped it to seal its new status.

The award comes as the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War, after Argentinian forces invaded on April 2, 1982, has seen residents come together to remember the sacrifices made in the conflict.

The anniversary includes celebrations and special events such as Peat Cutting Monday and the annual Stanley Sports Race Meeting, which includes horse racing and gymkhana events.

The Falkland Islands has been a regular place for royal visits for many years, starting with the late Prince Philip in 1957.

Prince William was sent to the Falkland Islands for a six-week tour as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in 2016.

Stanley in the Falklands Islands, one of eight places to win coveted city status. PA

Stanley’s top-quality fisheries management has been key to the long-term sustainability of the industry.

It is home to the Government Fisheries Departments, which has seen the development of a range of world leading bycatch mitigation measures.

Douglas is a cultural centre. The Royal Hall is home to annual concerts by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Man Choral Society, and the Manx Last Night of the Proms.

It stages the annual Manx Music Festival and there is also an Isle of Man Film Festival and events that celebrate Gaelic culture.

The Queen is patron of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution that originates from Douglas. George IV was the original patron, before it became the RNLI under the patronage of Queen Victoria in 1854.

Douglas has also given its industrial quayside and town centre area an upgrade in a sweep of urban regeneration.

Doncaster’s bid showed its community spirit and resilience after the floods in 2019, where locals rallied to provide relief.

It has more than 70 places of worship and its mosques and gurdwaras became pop-up vaccination centres during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was originally a Roman settlement and has an industrial heritage that is built on rail and coal.

Important locomotives including The Flying Scotsman and The Mallard were built there.

Horse racing fans will know Doncaster as the home of the classic St Leger, founded in 1776, which has been graced by various members of the royal family over the years.

Bangor Marina in Northern Ireland. PA

Wrexham’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a Unesco World Heritage Site and the region, which is a base for companies including JCB and Kellogg’s, as well as aerospace giants such as Magellan and Cytec, is to become home to the new National Football Museum of Wales.

Wrexham Football Club, founded in 1864, has the world’s oldest international ground and gained more attention last year when it was bought by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Dunfermline’s bid pointed out that its annual fireworks display attracts about 30,000 local people, while the Christmas light event packed the town centre with 10,000.

The new city’s most famous son is Andrew Carnegie, whose steel industry helped to build America.

His philanthropy started the world’s public library system, and he gave away the equivalent of $65 billion in today’s money.

Bangor, at the mouth of the Belfast Lough, became a key site for allied forces during the Second World War.

In May 1944, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, Dwight D Eisenhower, gave a speech to 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor, shortly before ships left for Normandy and D-Day.

The Milton Keynes new town includes 27 conservation areas, 50 scheduled monuments, 1,100 listed buildings and 270 pieces of public art.

It has 84,500 citizens who are volunteers and the town also claims to have a higher per capita number of volunteers than any other UK city.

The Open University was established there in 1969.

Colchester is Britain’s first recorded settlement and its first capital. It has been a garrison town for the past 165 years, and for the past 21 years has been home to the 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK’s rapid response force.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries described city status as “a huge accolade”.

“This competition showcases the best of Britain and the overseas territories, and will act as a lasting legacy of Her Majesty the queen’s platinum jubilee.”

The Cabinet Office said Perth, the Scottish town that was granted city status in 2012 as part of the queen’s diamond jubilee, has had its local economy grow by 12 per cent in the decade since.

“Being granted city status in the platinum jubilee year is a tremendous honour, made all the more significant as 2022 also marks the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands and reflects the tremendous transformation that has taken place in Stanley over the last 40 years,” said Richard Hyslop, UK Representative to the Falklands government.

The Isle of Man’s Chief Minister, Alfred Cannan, said: "Douglas being named as one of the eight city status winners, and leading the way for the crown dependencies, is a huge honour for the island and celebrates our unique mix of culture, history and heritage.

“The accolade is a marvellous way to mark our relationship with Her Majesty the queen, our lord of Mann, while celebrating the platinum jubilee.”

Updated: May 31, 2022, 8:59 PM
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