Fireballs ceremony welcomes in 2012 with record crowds

AT least 10,500 people flocked to Stonehaven on Hogmanay to see in 2012 with the Town’s traditional fireballs ceremony - believed to be a record.

Just two weeks ago there was concern that the event would have to be cancelled due to a lack of volunteers.

With the open air in the square event already having to be called off due to a lack of volunteers there were fears that it would be a quiet new year in Stonehaven.

However a number of first aiders and stewards came forward to help out on the night and as a result the 47 swingers and 10,500 strong crowd enjoyed a spectacular and safe start to 2012.

There was positive feedback from the police on the night who said they were pleased with the way revellers attending the fireballs behaved and also the way the event had been organised.

Prior to the event it was predicted that the fireballs would draw record crowds. The cancellation of other large outdoor events appears to have had a direct effect on those heading to Stonehaven.

There was a sharp rise in numbers from last years event which saw around 8,000 people take to the streets.

Event co-ordinator Kevin Boyne confirmed that this year’s event was “one of the biggest yet”.

He said: “It was an absolutely superb night and I’m really happy.

“It’s definitely up there as one of the biggest yet.

“There seemed to be a lot of foreigners there too, so it’s good to see that it’s not only Edinburgh celebrations that attract visitors to Scotland.”

One visitor to the town who had come up from Glasgow to see in the New Year at the fireballs, said that she had not been disappointed. She said: “It was absolutely fantastic and the atmosphere was brilliant. It was a really mild night and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

“I have relatives in Stonehaven but had never made it to the fireballs before and I am glad I came. The fireworks were spectacular aswell.”

Another reveller, who said that he attends the fireballs every year, said: “There was a huge crowd, it was definitely very busy. But we managed to find a good spot and had a great view of the fireballs. A great time was had by all.”