The seaside town of Bangor in Northern Ireland was granted city status on the occasion of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Bangor is one of eight places across the UK and beyond that have triumphed in a competition to receive civic honours.
Mayor Mark Brooks said the award for the town of Co Down was “extra special” because of its association with the Jubilee.
“I am delighted with the news of Bangor’s success in the Town Status Competition,” said Councilor Brooks, who is Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council.
“It would be an honor for the town and the people of Bangor to host anytime, but coming as part of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations makes it all the more special.
“City status is not judged on the size of your city and does not depend on particular assets like a cathedral, but rather on heritage, pride and potential.
“When we presented the Bangor case, we found evidence of each of them aplenty.
“I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has contributed to Bangor’s bid – both in terms of words of support, but more importantly in terms of ongoing practical work in the region.
“Bangor received a big boost today and I am extremely proud of this new and important honor for our borough.”
Its case for city status rested on three main pillars: heritage, heart and hope.
The bid highlighted its medieval monastic influences, Christian heritage, industrial exploits and innovations, and proud naval tradition.
Due to its location at the mouth of Belfast Lough, Bangor was a key site for the Allies during World War II.
In May 1944, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D Eisenhower gave a speech to 30,000 troops gathered in Bangor, shortly before the ships left for Normandy and D-Day.
The newly named city also has important royal connections.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bangor Castle in 1961 and after having lunch at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club that day, the Duke took part in a regatta.
In 1903 Edward VII visited Bangor and left port on the royal yacht with Queen Alexandra after a tour of Ireland as part of coronation celebrations.
Bangor has also been credited with a strong community spirit.
In 2018 the local council honored health and social care staff as ‘free men of the borough’ – the first local authority in Northern Ireland to recognize health workers in this way .
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, hailed the award.
“Bangor is strongly community driven and has so much to offer including its beautiful coastline, a thriving marina and a thriving cultural and arts sector which attracts people from across Northern Ireland and beyond for events,” he said.
“I am delighted that Bangor has been granted city status, and this well-deserved honor will give new impetus to tourism and the economy, creating new opportunities for the community and recognition for the region.”
Eight is a record number of locations to receive city status in a contest.
The last competition for civic honors was held 10 years ago to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
This year was the first time it was open to applications from Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories, with Stanley in the Falkland Islands and Douglas in the Isle of Man among the winners.
The other five newly named towns are Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes in England, Dunfermline in Scotland and Wrexham in Wales.