I have been fortunate in recent weeks to take part in a series of events that have made me really appreciate how fortunate we are to live in a stunning corner of the country.
The annual Beautiful Scotland awards ceremony was hosted at the Beach Ballroom, with hundreds of nominees from across the land gathering to find out who had captured the imagination of the judges.
It’s fair to say we led by example as the host – crowned as the overall winning city on a night in which 11 individual prizes were presented to an array of deserving projects across Aberdeen.
Every one of those winning entries is a credit to those who have played their part – from our own hard working and dedicated Aberdeen City Council staff to the volunteers, community groups and other partners who help bring colour to our parks, streets and greenspaces.
One of the winning initiatives was the Seaton Park clean-up in the wake of the flooding which caused such devastation at the turn of the year. The efforts to bring the park back to its former glory and overcoming adversity was recognised with a discretionary award from the Royal Horticultural Society Scotland.
That moment in the spotlight at the ceremony came hot on the heels of Parkfest, staged by the Friends of Seaton Park earlier this month. It was a fantastic day of family fun in what is a truly wonderful setting – a gala event that just a few months previously would have seemed impossible to imagine, when the grounds were submerged.
Later this year the 70th anniversary of the purchase of Seaton Park for the people of Aberdeen will be marked. As a modern local authority we have been proud to support the work done to restore Seaton, investing significantly this year, but we also recognise the value that the energetic community groups have to play in putting the life and soul into these much-loved spots.
We have some amazing public spaces in Aberdeen and the way they continue to evolve means there is always something new to see.
That is certainly true in many different areas. The Friends of Victoria and Westburn Parks have teamed up with the City Council, Rotarians and local schoolchildren to plan 10,000 giant purple crocus bulbs.
It was really special to have children from Cornhill School lead the way as we came together to plant the first of the bulbs on Friday, part of a Rotary initiative to promote the Polio Plus drive to eradicate the disease by 2019.
The planting will provide a very vivid reminder of the campaign, with what promises to be a stunning display, and when the Beautiful Scotland judges are next in town, it will be another colourful corner to take note of.
The Friends of Duthie Park and Friends of Hazlehead have made a great difference in their areas too, with communities throughout the city reaping the rewards of those efforts.
On behalf of everyone who enjoys the fruits of the labour of all those who have contributed to our beautiful city, can I say a huge thank you and congratulate all of our very worth winners.