Russian film to premiere in Aberdeen

I am really looking forward to attending the UK premiere of the Russian film Sobibor, at the Belmont Filmhouse on Saturday 08 December at 5.30pm.

The special screening, which is free to attend, has been organised by the Moscow Caledonia Club, and I will have the privilege of saying a few words of welcome before the screening.

The film (cert 18) is based on the history of the Sobibor extermination camp uprising during WWII, and the life of Soviet officer Alexander Pechersky.  When he was a Prisoner of War (POW) he managed to do the impossible – to organise a revolt and mass escape of prisoners. Many of the escapees were later caught and killed – the rest, led by Pechersky, managed to join the partisans.

As a keen historian I’ve read about Alexander Pechersky and his heroic deeds and I’m keen to see his story told through the movie Sobibor directed by and starring Konstantin Khabensky.

Following the film there will be a Q&A session, which will feature one of the film’s leading actors German-born Wolfgang Cerny, who has travelled to Aberdeen specially to be part of the premiere.

I delighted to say that the Consul General of Russia in Edinburgh Andrey A. Pritsepov will also attend the event.

Being able to present the UK premiere here in Aberdeen highlights the very ambitious cultural plans of the Moscow Caledonia Club to further encourage and develop the cultural and social connections and exchanges between our two cities.

I look forward to seeing a great many people from near and far at the UK’s premiere of Sobibor, which is Russia’s entry in the Best Foreign Language film category for the 2019 Oscars.

The film is in Russian with English subtitles.  Admission is free.  Advance booking is recommended.

Belmont Filmhouse

49 Belmont Street


Tel 01224 343500

Moscow Caledonian Club presents Sobibor at Belmont Filmhouse


Aberdeen – your community needs you!

Community councils are a great way for individuals to play an active role in their local community. And, with the elections for all community councils in Aberdeen being held on Thursday 25 October 2018, there’s never been a better time to get involved.

Nominations must be received by 4pm on Thursday 27 September, which gives you just under a week to get your nomination form submitted.

And, did you know that anyone aged 16 years and older, who lives within a community council area, and is on the electoral roll can get involved? Well, they can, and they do, and I would like to encourage more to follow suit.  In fact, there are places for young people aged 16 and 17 years and other co-options are allowed.

Aberdeen’s community councils play a vital role in representing the views of the community to the local authority and other public bodies.

In 2013, Aberdeen City Council published a protocol which was developed to enhance the working relationship between the Council and the community councils that represent local communities across the city.

As a Council we have said that we will seek to develop a sense of community in Aberdeen based on principles of openness, fairness, reciprocity and responsibility and that we will encourage and support citizens to participate in the development, design and decision making of services to promote civic pride, active citizenship and resilience.

Community councils can help to achieve this by identifying local issues and providing a channel of communication between the City Council, elected members, officers and the communities that they represent. The Council in turn acknowledges the work of the Community Councils and the representations that they make on behalf of citizens.

The protocol outlines the expectations and standards for the way in which community councils and the Council can work together to improve communication and participation across Aberdeen.

Community councils receive annual grants from the City Council (minimum £500 plus 11p per elector in the Community Council area). Each community council has a three-year term of office and while they do not have executive powers, they are statutory consultees on planning and licensing matters.

To find out more, please contact Karen Finch, Community Council Liaison Officer, on 01224 522723 or email

Key dates to remember

Close of nominations – 4pm on Thursday 27 September 2018

Closing date for withdrawal of nominations – 4pm on Wednesday 03 October 2018

Notice of poll (or uncontested election) – Monday 08 October 2018

Polling day – 8am-8pm –Thursday 25 October 2018

A grand stage for the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run

Having already hosted one major sporting event this year – cycling’s Tour Series – Union Street will again be centre stage when the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run takes place on Sunday 26th August.

The half-marathon will start at the top of Market Street and finish outside the Music Hall, framed by the glorious granite canyon that is Union Street.

What a magnificent sporting backdrop!

Last year I took part in the launch of a new book by The Academy of Urbanism at Marischal College. The book described Union Street a “thing of wonder” and “as grand an urban set-piece as anywhere in Europe”.

The Academy noted its role in the economic, social and civic life of the city, aspects that are all enriched by the run.

The route itself showcases all that’s great about our city – its rich history, its commerce, its green spaces.

Participants will pass the thriving harbour, the ancient Brig o’ Blagownie, and new for this year, Seaton Park, one of five Aberdeen parks to win a coveted Green Flag from Keep Scotland Beautiful this year.

Last year participants travelled from Singapore, South Africa and the United States, but thousands from Aberdeen and the North-east also lined up on Union Street and embarked on a journey of discovery and self-discovery.

There are still spaces for this year’s event and the chance to experience your city in a new and uniquely rewarding way.

Register your place online at:

Photos from Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run 2017.

Piper Alpha tragedy – 30 years on

The Piper Alpha tragedy, which saw 167 men lose their lives, was 30 years ago yet the events of that night are just as shocking today, three decades on.   It will forever be imprinted in the memories of the people of Aberdeen.

Final preparations have been put in place in the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park ahead of a special service tomorrow (7pm on Friday 6 July) to commemorate the 30th anniversary.

Aberdeen City Council, with the support of the Pound for Piper Trust, has installed new benches and refreshed the garden in readiness for the service.

The Act of Remembrance has been organised by Reverend Gordon Craig, Chaplain to the Oil & Gas Industry of the United Kingdom.

Reverend Craig will lead the service for families, friends and representatives from industry in honour of the 167 men who tragically lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster.

It will be a very sad and humbling occasion, but we must never forget the men who died – dads, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, partners, friends and colleagues who never returned home.

That is why it is so important that the City of Aberdeen and industry come together for this Act of Remembrance.   And, by doing so, I hope that those affected will know that our thoughts are with them at this time and forever.

The memorial garden, which includes the Piper Alpha memorial statute, is a very special place for the people of Aberdeen, the wider oil and gas industry, and particularly for those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.

To enable those offshore or unable to attend the Act of Remembrance the service will be broadcast live on Facebook @TheUkOilGasChaplaincy

The order of service is:

  • Bon Accord Silver Band starts playing at 6.30pm
  • Rev Craig will begin proceedings at 7pm
  • Industry representatives will begin the roll-call of those who lost their lives
  • A lone piper will play a lament followed by a minute’s silence
  • Wreaths will then be laid by the Lord Provost on behalf of the City of Aberdeen, Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie on behalf of the industry, and Steve Rae, one of the trustees from the Pound for Piper Trust, which provides funding to help the city council maintain the Memorial Garden
  • Families, friends, colleagues and well-wishers will then be invited to lay flowers or wreaths
  • Light refreshments will be available in Hazlehead Park Café, from 6pm onwards, courtesy of the Pound for Piper Trust.

All are welcome to attend.

While the Act of Remembrance is the key event marking the anniversary of the disaster there are other opportunities for those wanting to reflect and pay their respects. These are:

Oil Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting

The Oil Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen will open on 6 July between 12 noon and 4pm where people can visit to view the original Book of Remembrance or light a candle;

Rev Craig will conduct ‘Daily Prayers’ that day in the Kirk starting at 1pm and lasting around 15 minutes.

Ferryhill Parish Church

On Saturday 7 July Ferryhill Parish Church will keep its Church Sanctuary open from 10am to 4pm providing a peaceful space in which to remember those who lost their lives and who were affected;

Ferryhill Parish Church also has the Memorial Chapel, home of the Piper Alpha stained-glass window. The designer of the window, Jennifer-Jane Bayliss, will be in the church from 11am and 12 noon and 2pm and 4pm on Saturday.

The church is also home to the Lord Provost’s Book of Remembrance, and visitors will be able to read the names of loved ones, survivors’ names and official letters of condolence from all over the world.

A short film with some memories from survivors of the disaster will also be available and there will be an opportunity to light a small candle in remembrance.

Aberdeen Maritime Museum

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha tragedy there will be an opportunity to see in detail the Piper Alpha Memorial banner, commissioned by the Victorian Trade and Labour Council in Australia, and gifted to the City of Aberdeen, at Aberdeen Maritime Museum this weekend.

Made by textile artist Julie Montgarret the banner commemorates those who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha Disaster 30 years ago.

The banner usually hangs in the museum’s education suite but it will be taken down off the wall to allow visitors to see both sides of this very special tribute.

Piper Alpha Memorial Banner Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow Friday 6 July, Saturday 7 July, 10am-5pm Sunday 8 July, 12noon-3pm

Aberdeen Central Library

Remembering Piper Alpha exhibition

To mark the 30th anniversary of the tragedy the Local Studies section has put together an exhibition showcasing items from its reserve stock. The exhibition will be on display in the Information Centre.

Exhibition runs 5 July – 14 July

Aberdeen Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct



The images are of the Piper Alpha Memorial statue, created in bronze, by renowned Scottish artist Sue Jane Taylor. The statue was unveiled on 6th July 1991 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The plinth under the Piper Alpha statue states: Dedicated to the memory of the one hundred and sixty seven men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha Oil Platform Disaster 6th July 1988.



Charity founder to represent Aberdeen at Royal Wedding

As Lord Provost of Aberdeen I am also the Lord-Lieutenant, which means I am Her Majesty The Queen’s first representative within the city boundary. My principal duty is to represent the Crown within the Lieutenancy area and to uphold its dignity. This includes facilitating Royal visits, promoting the Honours system and liaising with the armed forces.


Recently, it has meant that I have had the huge honour of nominating someone from Aberdeen to attend the forthcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The soon-to-be-married couple asked that the people nominated should be from a broad range of backgrounds and ages; including young people, who have shown strong leadership, and those who have served their communities.


I nominated Aberdonian Myles Edwards, the founder of Gathimba Edwards Foundation, and I am delighted to say that he is one of 1,200 members of the public, from every corner of the United Kingdom, nominated by nine regional Lord Lieutenant Offices, who will be part of the Royal wedding celebrations, at Windsor Castle on Saturday 19 May.


I first met Myles at the Junior Chamber International AGM in Aberdeen last year, when Myles was invited to give a presentation on the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, the charity he founded to give children in Kenya a chance. I was immediately struck by his engaging manner, leadership skills and his charitable endeavours.


With numerous projects across Kenya the Gathimba Edwards Foundation aims to help disadvantaged children get a start in life, whether it be support through shelter, clothing, education or sustainable food solutions and giving them the opportunity to not only live their lives as children but also to develop as adults. It also provides counselling and seminars on a wide range of topics for families it supports.


Through his charitable endeavours Myles gives so much to others that his nomination is a token of our appreciation for the work he and his charity does. He’s a wonderful ambassador for Aberdeen and a great example to us all.


Gathimba Edwards Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland. To find out more visit


The first photo is of the Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett at the Junior Chamber International AGM where he met (L-R) Danielle Grieve (Scottish national JCI President); Myles Edwards (founder of Gathimba Edwards Foundation); Elaine Cleary (Aberdeen President JCI) and James Reid (Vice President, JCI Aberdeen).


The second photograph is of Myles Edwards and his gorgeous daughter Dahlia.

Aberdeen – global opportunities

In my role as Lord Provost, I am an Ambassador for the City of Aberdeen, whether I am here in the UK or overseas.

And, as Lord Provost, I take every opportunity I can to promote the City of Aberdeen, here and abroad. That’s because it is vital that we seek out opportunities for the city, its citizens and local businesses, at international conferences and high profile events.

I have the great privilege of being invited to contribute at many high profile events and international conferences, where I am asked to give an Aberdeen perspective.

This week, I attended the Barents Sea Conference in Hammerfest, a municipality of Finnmark county, Norway.

Hammerfest has been a leading port for 223 years and Hammerfest means safe harbour. It is an important port for fishing, trade and now the oil and gas industry.

It has a unique location for the shipping industry and also for petroleum activities in the Barents Sea. There have been many new establishments of service companies at the port which allows an expanded service offering for both national and international players operating in the Barents Sea.

It’s also the world’s northernmost town.

In what was a packed itinerary I attended formal individual meetings with key individuals and organisations. These included:

  • Alf E Jakobsen, the Mayor of Hammerfest
  • Terje Soviknes, the Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy
  • Karl Eirik Schjott-Pedersen, Director of Norwegian Oil & Gas
  • Mairianne Bremnes, Mayor of Harstad
  • Andreas Inselseth, Head of Helgeland Business Association
  • Storvik & Co
  • Hammerfest Port Authorities
  • Industrial tour including the Statoil LNG facility, Melkøya, Polarbase and ASCo
  • ASCO Norge
  • Futurum, the business development organisation of Narvik
  • UIT – The Arctic University
  • Alta Business Development organisation

Topics that we discussed included: current and future projects, future opportunities, supply chain opportunities for local Aberdeen companies, skill requirement in the area and ease of working in Hammerfest and the challenges of the market.

On chatting with Alf Jakobsen, the Mayor of Hammerfest, we realised we had a great deal in common. We had both worked in the fish industry and both had worked for Findus.

While in Hammerfest, I was interviewed by a reporter of Finnmark Dagblad, the most northern daily newspaper in Europe.

The images featured in this blog were taken during my visit to Hammerfest.

Image 1 – Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett with Kåre and Bjørn Storvik of Storvik & Co

Image 2 – Lord Provost at Barents Sea Conference

Image 3 – (L-R) Tom E Jakobsen, Department Director ASCO Hammerfest; Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett; Runar Hatletvedt, CEO ASCO Norway

Image 4 – Lord Provost at Statoil’s Melkøya LNG facility

Image 5 – Lord Provost and Bjørn Storvik at Statoil’s Melkøya LNG facility

Image 6 – Aberdeen stand at Barent’s Sea Conference

Image 7 – (L-R) Andreas Inselseth, Head of Helgeland Business Association; Wenche Brennbakk, Marketing Manager SINTEF Molab; Lord Provost; Kare Storvik, Partner Storvik & Co., Bjorn Storvik, Partner Storvik & Co.


I hope you enjoy this blog post and that it gives you further insight into what the role of Lord Provost entails.



Aberdeen – an international city

Aberdeen is an internationally-recognised business centre with globally-competitive industries particularly in energy and renewables, food, drink and agriculture. It has two leading universities and internationally significant research centres.

As Lord Provost I’m very proud that Aberdeen is a cosmopolitan city and offers a fabulous quality of life for all ages. It has a fabulously diverse population from across the UK and overseas. In fact, at the time of the 2011 Census, 15.9% (35,436 people) of Aberdeen’s population was born outside the UK. The respective figures were 5.9% (15,047) for Aberdeenshire and 7.0% (369, 284) for Scotland.

The 2011 census also revealed that the top ten languages (other than English) used at home by the population of Aberdeen are: Polish, other UK languages (including Scots), French, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German, Arabic, Malayalam and Yoruba.

As Lord Provost and Lord-Lieutenant (Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Aberdeen) I am in the very privileged position of meeting people from around the world almost on a daily basis.

Being Lord Provost to me means that wherever I go I am an Ambassador for Aberdeen and its citizens – whether in the city, visiting other areas of the UK or abroad.

As Lord Provost (May 2017) I have been honoured to meet diplomatic and other representatives from Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the USA.

During the course of a week local groups, tourists from across the UK and abroad visit go on tours of the Town House. Whenever I’m in my office and there is a tour taking place I will try diary permitting to pop along to meet those on the tours and say hello.

Perhaps if you take a tour of the Town House you might see me during your visit.

Here are some photographs of some of the visitors I’ve met since becoming Lord Provost.





A Great Honour

I have the great honour of being the Lord Provost of Aberdeen and as this is the first post on my new blog I thought I would take the opportunity to explain about the role.

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen is an ancient office with its roots in the 13th century. The Lord Provost acts as Convener of the City Council, Civic Head and Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen.

As Lord Provost I am the Convener of Aberdeen City Council – in other words whenever there is a meeting of the full Council I preside over the meeting. I am responsible for ruling on procedural matters, accepting motions and questions, ensuring free and fair debate, using a casting vote when required, and maintaining order in the chamber.

This role is wide-ranging, involving all sectors of the local community in addition to regional, national, and strong international elements.

As Civic Head, the Lord Provost’s role is to engage with the community through active involvement in all areas of city life, encouraging good citizenship, promoting the city at home and abroad, and giving recognition to the achievements of citizens and local organisations.

Being the Lord Provost also means that I’m Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen.

This tradition dates back to August 1899, which saw the constitution of the city of Aberdeen as a ‘county of a city’ by Queen Victoria. Following this, the office of Lord-Lieutenant was established in Aberdeen and linked to the office of Lord Provost.

In its modern form, the Lord-Lieutenant is the monarch’s first representative within the city boundary. My principal duty is to represent the Crown within the Lieutenancy area and to uphold its dignity. In practical terms this means facilitating Royal visits, promoting the Honours system, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and liaise with the armed forces.

Vice Lord-Lieutenant Andrew Lawtie helps to deliver Lord-Lieutenancy duties and liaises with the team of Deputy Lieutenants of Aberdeen.

I aim to publish a blog regularly, which will give you an insight into what the role of Lord Provost involves and share some news and photos.





The Lord Provost addressed fellow representatives at the World Energy Cities Partnership conference in Halifax, Canada in 2018. While there he was appointed to the post of Vice President of the WECP.