A local councillor is pressing for greater participation by local people when a world championship event takes place in Moray and the Highlands this year.
Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative Councillor for Fochabers-Lhanbryde, used a written question to the full meeting of Moray Council today to encourage more local people to get involved in the World Orienteering Championships coming to Moray this summer.
Over 6,000 competitors are expected to descend on the Highlands and Moray for the World Orienteering Championships and Scottish 6 Days events from July 31 to August 7.
Councillor Ross, who has offered his services as one of the hundreds of volunteers helping to ensure the championships go smoothly, raised the issue in the council chamber on Wednesday, asking what the local authority was doing to promote the events.
Councillor Ross said: “This is a fantastic event to be coming to Moray and I’m sure it will be a great success. Competitors, supporters and organisers from all over the world will come to Moray and see what we have to offer both as routes for the runners and the opportunities to explore the local area and support our local businesses.
“I signed up to be a volunteer some time ago and I would encourage other local people to get involved and make these Championships truly memorable and one of the best yet.
“We need more local people to get involved as checkpoint marshals and hosts for home stay accommodation. There is lots of information available at the WOC website detailing how local people can get involved.
“We are just a few months away from this event and I know local people will get behind it and get involved. Moray people being fully involved in this world event will ensure it’s a great success.”
In response the local authority highlighted work being undertaken through Active Schools in Moray. A spokesman said: “Active Schools work very closely with Mike Rodgers, Regional Development Officer, in creating more opportunities for children to take part in the sport.
“At all orienteering events and activities, it has been highlighted what a special year it is for orienteering locally due to World Orienteering Championships.
“Information received from Mike Rodgers on the volunteering opportunities and the WOC in general has been circulated to Sports Development’s sports club databases to spread the word and highlight that you don’t need to be an orienteerer to be involved.
“Information on the WOC has also been circulated to all the Community Sports Hubs with information uploaded to their website.”
A spokesman for the WOC2015 organisers said: “We are very appreciative of Councillor Ross for placing a focus on the championships and for Moray Council’s continued support.
“When the Scottish 6 Days were held two years ago in Moray it proved one of the most successful festivals of orienteering and gave thousands of local people an opportunity to learn what the sport was about.
“Now the best athletes in the world are coming to the Highlands and Moray – Scotland has shown through its hosting of the Commonwealth Games just how welcoming we can be, so we are very much looking forward to more of the same in August.”