Politicians in Lanarkshire have spoken of their pride in East Kilbride as it celebrates its 75th anniversary – and their ambitions for its future.
Beginning life as a small village, the official granting of new town status on May 6, 1947 saw it transform to a large hub, which now has an estimated population of more than 75,000 people.
East Kilbride MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, has submitted an Early Day Motion to the Commons, to mark the town’s birthday celebrations and celebrate its history, development and people.
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She told Lanarkshire Live: “I am so very proud to have been brought up in East Kilbride during its pioneering 75 years as Scotland’s first new town.
“I believe that it is vital that the local community are supported to fully mark this occasion in recognition of how pivotal East Kilbride has been in our lives and as to why its development must be prioritized for the future.”
And East Kilbride MSP, Collette Stevenson, has also lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the anniversary.
She told us: “East Kilbride is a great place to live, work and study and offers many leisure opportunities too.
“The changing economy over the past couple of decades has affected us in East Kilbride – but there are many companies here and thriving, from local small businesses to global enterprises.
“I believe these are great foundations for the future of the town.
“Going forward, it’s important that this 75th anniversary will create a lasting legacy for the town and ensure that the next generations get the benefits many of us have had from growing up and living in East Kilbride.”
Ms Stevenson went on: “The anniversary is a great opportunity to celebrate and reflect back on how the town has developed over the years.
“In terms of the original vision for the new town, I think East Kilbride has succeeded in many ways – although the town has probably grown a lot more than many of us would have imagined.”
She added: “While employers like Rolls-Royce and Motorola are gone, they formed an important part of East Kilbride. Of course, the story of East Kilbride goes much further back than 1947.
“For example, we’ve got the 15th century Mains Castle and Hunter House, where the famous medical pioneers, the Hunter brothers grew up.”
List MSP Monica Lennon, said: “As East Kilbride celebrates its 75 anniversary, I have enjoyed reading and listening to memories from residents from through the years – and I’m sure there will be plenty of old stories being told in homes throughout the town just now too.
“From relatively humble beginnings as Scotland’s first new town, the area has gone from strength-to-strength and become a vibrant place to live and work in, and visit. And I’ve no doubt a successful future lies ahead too.
“I’m so proud to represent EK as a regional MSP, and would encourage everyone in the community, all the schools, groups and clubs, to join together to celebrate this very special milestone.”
Central Scotland MSP, Graham Simpson, who was a councilor in East Kilbride said: “The town celebrates its diamond anniversary this year. It has been in existence for five years longer than The Queen has been on the throne – some might say she has worn rather better in the intervening years.
“The town was well-designed and like many new towns it had off-road routes, good green spaces and local shopping centres.
“EK is still a great place to live. My wife and I have brought up our family here and we like where we live.
“But going forward I want to see the council invest in EK. I share the view of many that all of us here deserve better.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.