Community and religious leaders along with some well-known faces pass on their festive wishes to the people of the north-east
JON S BAIRD film director
“I’m spending Christmas with my family in Peterhead this year, which always makes it extra special. I’m also really looking forward to watching the Dons on Boxing Day with all my old friends.
“2019 was kind of bitter sweet for me personally. On the one hand it was great to have success with Stan & Ollie and all the positivity that came from that, but it was frustrating to see the country so divided due to the political situation. I’m therefore looking forward to a fresh start for people in Scotland going into the next decade.
“I’d like to wish everyone in the north-east a very happy Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year.”
BARNEY CROCKETT – Lord Provost of Aberdeen
“Christmas is the season of good will to all, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the people of Aberdeen ‘all the very best’ over the festive period and hope that everyone enjoys a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020.
“2019 has been a fantastic year in the life of Aberdeen. We have welcomed key milestones – the opening of P&J Live and the reopening of Aberdeen Art Gallery.
“2020 is set to be another exciting year with the redevelopment of Provost Skene’s House, the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour and the reinvigoration of Union Terrace Gardens continuing at pace.
“On a personal note, I’ve had the privilege of meeting more wonderful people during 2019 in my roles of Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant.
“It’s been a busy year and I’m looking forward to spending time with my family at Christmas, but not everyone is so fortunate. It can be a stressful and lonely time for many, and we need to look out for each other, not just for Christmas but always.”
CAMPBELL THOMSON – North-east Chief Superintendent
“As we come to the end of 2019, this time of year is always an opportunity for me to reflect on the past year and look ahead to what 2020 may bring.
“For the past 12 months I have been in the privileged position to witness the positive and tireless work being carried out by police officers, staff, special constables and youth volunteers within your communities. Significant reductions in acquisitive and violent crimes have been recorded as well as increased detection rates, while our efforts have continued to tackle illegal drugs and support the most vulnerable people.
“Given the nature of the work of emergency services, it will be business as usual for many police officers and police staff over the next couple of weeks. They don’t know what they will be called to or who they will need to help, but what I do know is that each call will be handled with the same professionalism and compassion that is experienced the rest of the year.
“On behalf of everyone within North East Division, I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas and a peaceful New Year.”
SHEENA BLACKHALL – poet and writer
“Blythe Yule in Aiberdeen
We hae a toun tae be prood o,
Frae the Mither Kirk sae fair
Tae the carollers in St Machar,
It shines in the frosty air
We hae a toun tae be prood o
Art Gallery, Music Haa
As guid as ye’d see in the warld
An parks that are lued bi aa
We hae a toun tae be prood o
Santy’s favourite lair
Far else wid ye celebrate Xmas
Bit Marischal College Square?”
JAMES INGLEBY – Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire
“On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and the Aberdeenshire Lieutenancy, I wish everybody a very Happy Christmas and good wishes for 2020.
“I have welcomed many new citizens to Aberdeenshire this year and, like me, I am sure they find this county to be an inspiring place to live, whether coming from the mountains or near the sea, and with a diverse community who thrive, work and enjoy everything this wonderful area has to offer.”
BILL HOWATSON – Provost of Aberdeenshire
“This time of year provides us with a chance to reflect on the months gone by and to consider the year ahead.
“However you plan to spend it, I wish all readers of the Evening Express a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.”
DEREK MCINNES – Aberdeen FC manager
“As we have a game on Boxing Day, Christmas Day will be another normal working day for us, as it always is, but I’d like to wish Dons supporters everywhere, and their families, a very Merry Christmas and hopefully we can reward them with three points against Livingston.”
DAVE CORMACK – Aberdeen FC Chairman
“It’s been a year of change for AFC, with the opening of our amazing training facilities at Cormack Park, some new faces on the board and a partnership with Atlanta United.
“We’re excited about the future for our club and look forward to a new year which will see us focus on delivering on and off the pitch, particularly in greater fan engagement and match-day experience. I’d like to thank everyone at or involved with the club for all their hard work and support in 2019 and wish Dons’ fans, wherever they are in the world, a happy Christmas. Stand free!”
KIRSTY BLACKMAN – Aberdeen North MP
“Christmas is a time to come together with friends and family to celebrate.
“At this time of year, when many people are looking forward to the holiday season, it is particularly upsetting that many people in our own city are struggling to put food on the table.
“Throughout the year, my office staff have been collecting for food banks across the city and have made a number of deliveries.
“If you can spare a can or other non-perishable item this Christmas, it would be great if you could deliver this to your local food bank to help those in need.
“Wishing everyone in Aberdeen a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.”
SIR IAN WOOD – Aberdeen entrepreneur and Chairman of Opportunity North East and The Wood Foundation
“This is an exciting and defining time for our region with the transformational opportunities afforded by energy transition alongside the diversification and innovation being driven by Opportunity North East in our wider economy. I look forward to that continuing to grow in 2020. A very Merry Christmas to all of you and your families.”
BISHOP HUGH GILBERT OSB – Bishop of Aberdeen
“May I wish everyone a joyful Christmas and all good things for 2020! We don’t know the future, but we do know that God is with us – always, everywhere.
“And that changes everything.
“However you may celebrate or spend Christmas, this time of year has the potential to change us and something can shift in us through celebrating it.
“From the significance of Christ dwelling amongst us portrayed in the scriptural story flows the modern day witnesses of ‘change’ illustrated (especially at this time of year) in various media, such as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, to George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, and there are of course many other examples.
“Something new can enter and change our standard selves. A new meaning of life is experienced.
“At Christmas, God changed. God became something he was not: a human being. Humanity became part of God, forever.
“At Christmas, God changed. He changed, so as to change us.
“He took on us so that we can take on him.
“God lived a human life so we can – unbelievably – live a divine one. With the help of the Holy Spirit and in the limits of our humanity, we can reflect the goodness of God – freely, out of love.
“To humble ourselves, like God. Trying to serve one another, as Jesus did.
“And that changes us. Perhaps one simple life-changing gesture for Christmas is to remember – in prayer and contact – someone we might otherwise not.
“Couldn’t the whole world then become changed by love?”