A time for heroes

If the mark of a city is its degree of global influence, Aberdeen should be rightly celebrated.

Provost Skene’s House is being redeveloped as a new visitor attraction under the City Centre Masterplan to tell the story of local people who helped transform the wider world.

And there are lots!

From scientists to sporting champions, artists to entrepreneurs, more than 100 are set to feature. It’s an attraction which should amaze and enlighten visitors when it opens later this year.

A public poll is currently taking place to select a Hall of Heroes. There are 50 candidates from a range of disciplines. All will be showcased – this is for an additional presence on the ground floor, familiar faces who might act as a welcome.

The selection criteria for Provost Skene’s House allowed for those who were born, lived, or worked in Aberdeen or the North-east, the names having been drawn up with the guidance of a steering group.

More than 1,000 people have already cast their votes across the five categories and the poll seems to have really captured the public’s imagination, judging by the discussion and vigorous debate it has triggered in some quarters.

While the vote may be generating different opinions, the spirit of the poll is about collaboration – discovering who among the candidates has particular meaning for the people.

This is about connecting, not just with our past but with our future: the people showcased have left an indelible mark on our lives as a result of their talent, ingenuity and vision. Their influence continues.

It’s my hope that the new attraction serves to inspire local people. We have in the Masterplan any number of opportunities to make our own mark, to contribute on a small or grand scale.

We’re already seeing people and partners drive the Masterplan forward, from offering detailed views on infrastructure projects to the formation of traders’ associations to a readiness to invest in our city.

If there is one quality that unites the Provost Skene’s House line-up it is, perhaps, tenacity. Many overcame adversity, defeats and disappointments. But they stuck at it. They believed in themselves and what they had to offer.

We should strive to do the same. Our city is fantastic in so many ways but it didn’t get that way by itself. It was down to the hard work, determination and reach of our forebears. We can all be stars.