Could Common Good Fund save town’s Chariots legacy?

Sorry state of plaque donated to St Andrews to mark world cinema centenary in 1996 following the filming of the iconic Chariots of Fire opening sequence.
Sorry state of plaque donated to St Andrews to mark world cinema centenary in 1996 following the filming of the iconic Chariots of Fire opening sequence.
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Marking the contribution the landscape of St Andrews played in the iconic 1981 film Chariots of Fire is a decrepit plaque that may finally get a well-deserved facelift.

Commemorating the filming of the opening titles of the Chariots of Fire movie on the West Sands, the plaque was donated by Cinema 100 as part of an initiative marking the centenary of cinema in 1996.

Just a few years after being unveiled, the elements had weathered the plaque considerably and efforts were made by Fife Council to repaint and secure the plaque with a protective cover in 2000.

Now, 16 years on, Iain Munn, community councillor, has raised the issue again. “I raised this in April 2012 prior to the Olympic torch arriving in the town.

“I joined the Community Council in March 2015 and raised it as an outstanding issue with the Fife councillors as Fife Council previously agreed to its upkeep but it always went quiet. The community council is an excellent platform to bring up local issues and ensure they do not easily slip away.”

Repeated attempts to bring the issue to the attention of Fife Council by Mr Munn have gone unanswered but Councillor Brian Thomson believes the solution lies outwith the local authority’s revenue streams.

“I understand that Fife Council did take on the maintenance of the plaque, but due to cuts in the Council’s funding, this may no longer be possible.

“Whilst the council is currently short of funding, the town’s Common Good Fund is in a relatively healthy position, and I believe that this is the type of thing that the Common Good Fund can be utilised for.”

Fife Council confirmed that as of November 27, St Andrews Common Good Fund had an actual total for the coming year of £94,202.

Speaking after the St Andrews Community Council meeting on Monday, Cllr Thomson said: “I hope that it will soon, once again, be a fitting commemoration of a film that’s an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.”

Mr Munn added: “As the issue was first raised back in 2000 I am absolutely delighted to hear there may be a new opportunity to get this iconic plaque restored. I would welcome any local business who is able to provide an estimate to restore it to the original condition and element seal it for many years to come.”

The plaque sits on a cairn, located on the northern part of the Bruce Embankment, overlooking the West Sands, and was erected by the Scottish Film Council in 1996, as part of an initiative marking the centenary of cinema.

Locals will join Cllr Thomson in remembering the filming which took place in 1980: “I can remember, as a youngster, seeing people dressed in period costume and a vintage car driving around. The filming of Chariots of Fire was a significant event in St Andrews and, as such, it’s disappointing to see the plaque in its current state.”