Fife volunteers champion new World Heritage Site

Some of the champions take in the view from the top of the Forth Bridge.
Some of the champions take in the view from the top of the Forth Bridge.

Ten volunteers are championing the Forth Bridge following the iconic structure’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Forth Bridge Champions share a passion for the history and importance of the bridge that has carried trains over the river since 1890, and have offered their services to help promote the distinctive red bridge as a tourist destination.

Ranging from councillors to local business people, a travel lecturer to local residents, the champions will share their knowledge of the bridge, brief the media and present its history to different groups.

Councillor Lesley Laird, Fife Council’s depute leader and executive spokesperson for economy and planning, said: “The Forth Bridge has been an iconic part of Scottish culture since it was built 125 years ago.

“One of Britain’s most photographed structures, it is instantly recognisable.

“Now its official recognition presents us with a new opportunity to celebrate it and its importance to Fife and Scotland as a tourist destination. The champions are delighted to play a part in celebrating this wonderful part of our heritage.”

The champions include councillors Mike Shirkie and Pat Callaghan; local residents Garry Irvine and Ivy Partridge; Paul Whittle, a travel lecturer and vice chairman of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society; Linn Williamson, of the Forth Bridge Hub; James Lawson, of the North Queensferry Heritage Trust; community activist Vikki Fairweather; Claire King, a local care worker; and accountant Shelly McDonald.

World heritage status is given to sites of ‘outstanding universal value’ with the aim of protecting them for future generations.

The award puts the Forth Bridge alongside the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House in terms of cultural significance.

Other World Heritage Sites in Scotland include St Kilda, New Lanark, and the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.