Top accolade for Glamis

GLAMIS Castle – one of the county's star visitor attractions – is the recipient of the 2005 Angus Ambassador of the Year award.

The childhood home of the late Queen Mother received this ultimate accolade at the glittering Angus Ambassador Awards presided over by guest presenter Carol Kirkwood, face of the BBC Breakfast weather on Friday evening.

Over 220 stars of the Angus' business, arts and tourism sectors joined the county's artists, community representatives and aspiring youth talent at the Carnoustie Golf Course Hotel to applaud those who are acting as outstanding ambassadors for the county.

These Angus Ambassador Awards, now in their sixth year, have been created by the Angus Ahead Campaign to showcase the best of Angus people, Angus community and Angus business

"We have great ambitions for Angus," said Angus Provost Bill Middleton, chairman of the Angus Ahead campaign.

"Our Ambassadors are helping us achieve them and embrace new challenges for the county. Together we can achieve so much, together our voices are stronger and the message is louder.

"So let's get out there and make a noise! Let's create a real stooshie when people ask who's making all the racket, tell them – it's Angus!"

"The Angus Ambassador Awards showcase the very best of Angus and the Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to sponsor the most prestigious Ambassador of the Year Award," said David Adam, senior manager, Business Banking with the Royal Bank of Scotland

"Glamis Castle is an exemplary winner of the 2005 award as it recognises not only their business acumen, professionalism and creative marketing but as importantly the outstanding contribution they have made in putting Angus on the national and international map in the past 12 months.

"Their Castle in the Country TV show and the visit by the wives of the G8 leaders demonstrate the high regard in which they are held far beyond Angus. That they used these opportunities to raise not only their own profile but also that of the county amply illustrates their outstanding ambassadorial credentials.

"I echo Provost Middleton's words – it is by working together like this that we can achieve even greater national recognition for the county and its people and the Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to support and be part of " Team Angus".

The winner of the Ambassador of the Year is selected by the Angus Ahead Champions themselves – and this year's recipient has certainly flown the flag for Angus on both the national and international stage in a big way.

Described by the Foreign Office as having the wow factor, the history and heritage, but more importantly staff with a 'can-do' attitude, Glamis Castle was the star of one of the country's biggest events this year.

Playing host to the world's most powerful First Wives Club on July 7 this year brought Glamis Castle the opportunity not only to showcase to the world the best of Angus but also to be part of the biggest PR occasion of the year.

For these ladies were the wives of the G8 Summit leaders.

TV cameras were ready, journalists and photographers from across the world poised to record every moment of the visit – from the tree planting with local primary schoolchildren and community members, the lunch with its Arbroath Smokies, its Montrose wild salmon, its Angus berries and Strathmore water; music from the 2005 Youth Ambassador winner Gillian Maitland, and demonstrations of Highland dancing from a local dance school.

However, that day also brought disaster for the country in the shape of the London bombings.

Co-operation and goodwill by the Glamis team in downsizing the media profile and presence only enhanced the county's and the Castle's reputation with all the G8 leaders.

And now Glamis Castle is working with the Visit Scotland Business Tourism Unit to produce a case study on "World Class Facilities in Scotland".

But showcasing Angus did not end there for Glamis – for the Castle was also the star of this year's BBC2 12-week series Castle in the Country.

In addition to Glamis Castle, there were a number of other local award winners on the night.

Kirriemuir based Hi-Fli Banners & Flags scooped the Business Ambassador – Entrepreneurial Angus Award.

The company has, quite literally, been flying the flag for Angus at home and abroad.

As world leaders in digitally printed textile display products, Hi-Fli Banners & Flags has further enhanced its growing reputation by being the only digital printer in the world to manufacture to strict environmental controls.

All this paid off for them in a big way this year when they beat off stiff competition to become involved in the contract to produce London's 2012's promotional and branded material.

Winning this job has boosted Hi-Fli's annual turnover by 10%, added four new employees to their staff and helped them invest yet again in new technology and up to the minute processes.

Their list of clients includes top music festivals, sporting events and shopping venues – from Glastonbury and the V music festivals, to the 2003 Rugby World Cup finals in Australia, the EUFA Cup Finals and Champions League.

They can even claim to have produced the world's largest Saltire flag!

The Youth Ambassador – Aspiring Youth Award was presented to Forfar musician Gillian Maitland.

Gillian is no stranger to success, having just been awarded an 80,000 grant from a fund set up in memory of Scotland's first First Minister, the late Donald Dewar.

This helped 19-year-old Gillian make her dream of studying in the US come true, and in August she jetted off to the prestigious Frost School of Music at the University of Miami for a trip of a lifetime.

For, as part of her four-year course, she will be given the chance to work with top percussionist and marimba player Ney Rosauro who has written compositions for many musicians including Scots percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

This success follows hot on the heels of her performance in front of the wives of the G8 leaders this summer

But Gillian, despite working hard to raise funds for her studies, and playing at numerous concerts, together with three fellow performers has launched a major fund raising drive to raise money for Cancer Research UK – so look out for a big concert with some world renowned names in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh in the near future.

The full list of 2005 Angus Ambassador Award winners is as follows:–

The Ambassador of the Year (sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland) – Glamis Castle.

Business Ambassador – Entrepreneurial Angus Award (sponsored by Blackadders Solicitors) – Hi-Fli Banners & Flags: Highly commended – AGR Automation Limited, Arbroath and Angus Farmers Market.

Community Ambassador – Pride of Angus Award (sponsored by Angus Housing Association) – Edzell Village Improvement Society Garden Group; Highly commended – Arbroath Events and Forfar Food Fest.

Cultural Ambassador – Creative Angus Award (sponsored by Astute) – Angus composer, musician and violinist Laura McGhee; Highly commended – Muriel McIntosh, The Retreat, Glenesk – and Janet Penman of the Angus Crafts Association.

International Ambassador – GoAhead Angus Award (sponsored by Piperdam Golf & Leisure Resort) – Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee; Highly commended – Arbroath man Brian Wallace who boarded the BT Challenge for a ten-month and 34,000 mile round-the-world voyage and IMT Marine Consultants.

Tourism Ambassador – Welcome Angus Award (sponsored by Forbes of Kingennie) – Caledonian Railway (Brechin) Limited; Highly Commended – Angus Angling Initiative and Emma Laird, young Forfar entrepreneur selected as a finalist in national tourism awards for the quality of her Foresterseat Caravan Park.

Youth Ambassador – Aspiring Youth Award (sponsored by Angus College) – Forfar musician Gillian Maitland; Highly Commended – Angus College student Graeme Edgar and Brechin teenager Nicola Hampton who represents Angus in the Scottish Youth Parliament Rural Affairs sub-committee.