Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson hopes Aberdeen continues Sports Personality of the Year’s tradition of bringing sport to the public.
Prior to the event next weekend in the Granite City, a Festival of Sport will take place on December 13 and 14 at Aberdeen Sports Village, providing members of the public the chance to try their hand at a wide array of activities.
It precedes the main event itself on Sunday evening, where a glut of the biggest names from the world of sport will descend on the north-east for the BBC awards show.
Team GB legend Mrs Grey-Thompson won 16 Paralympic medals in wheelchair racing – 11 gold medals across four Paralympic Games – and also won the London Marathon on six occasions.
She believes it is important for SPOTY to go on the road and bring it to as wide an audience as possible.
She said: “A lot of stuff happens in London and it’s a long way away. It’s important to take it around to make sure other people can watch it. Having the number of people that are going to be there – Aberdeen tickets have sold unbelievably quickly.
“I never get blase about it. From the last couple of years when it’s been open to the public, you see people queuing ridiculously early to get in. I’ve seen some people collecting autographs year after year – it’s huge for them.
“I’ve seen the same guy for about 15 or 16 years and every year, he has a new SPOTY book.
“It’s important to get how much sport matters to the British public.”
The Festival of Sport will include indoor athletics and table tennis, rugby, shinty, hockey, football, tennis, netball and gymnastics.
A Tumbleator will allow challengers to test themselves against the speed of Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world-record holder, on a 20-foot treadmill.
Participants can also take part in outdoor activities, with a penalty shootout, snowsports and horse racing on offer, while teams from Match of the Day’s Kickabout, Blue Peter, CBBC and Newsround will also be in attendance.
She said: “Having the sports there in one place is really important and a good opportunity.
“It’s hard for parents to take their kids to a lot of different sports clubs, so it’s mostly accessible for families.
“I remember coming up and doing a 10k in Aberdeen. I always leave home late and when I came up, I thought ‘I can’t be late for a change’.
“It was actually midnight but still light, which I thought was pretty cool. I used to compete in Scotland a lot, mainly around Glasgow, Scotstoun and Edinburgh.”
Mrs Grey-Thompson will also deliver a Q&A session with BBC presenter Clare Balding, as will Aberdeen-born football legend Denis Law.
England’s cricket World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan will be delivering masterclass sessions while athletics commentators Steve Cram and Allison Curbishley will share personal stories.
Sports Personality of the Year takes place at P&J Live next Sunday and is live on BBC One.