Edinburgh landmarks to turn blue on Hogmanay for Syria

Landmarks across Scotland’s capital together with those in London will be lit up in blue on Hogmanay to highlight the plight of children living in war-torn Syria.

The Shard on Londons Southbank, the European Unions tallest building, will turn blue for Unicefs New Year campaign. Picture: Getty Images

Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, Jenners and the statue of Queen Victoria on the Royal Scottish Academy will all be illuminated in the official colour of the United Nations children’s charity Unicef, as a display of support for its New Year’s Resolution for Children campaign.

The world-famous Hogmanay fireworks extravaganza will also see the air over the city’s historic skyline literally turn blue in a special display dreamed up for the scheme.

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The initiative will see organisers of the Edinburgh festivities teaming up with their counterparts in London for a simultaneous demonstration of backing from north and south of the Border.

The unprecedented partnership will see more than 175,000 revellers at two of the globe’s most famous New Year’s Eve celebrations come together in a “unifying moment”, aimed at raising awareness and helping children whose lives have been turned upside down by the conflict.

Meanwhile, lighting up in London will be the Shard, the Coca-Cola London Eye, the National Theatre and the Golden Jubilee Walkways.

Both cities will stage displays of blue fireworks in a pyrotechnic sequence specially designed for the occasion.

Unicef is the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay official charity for 2015-16, and will benefit from all fundraising activities undertaken during events on Wednesday and Thursday.

Pete Irvine, director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said “While Hogmanay is a time for celebration it is also a chance to look forward and a moment to reflect on the lives of others less fortunate.

“Unicef needs to raise vital funds for children caught in the war in Syria, and we encourage revellers across Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and London to put their money where their mouth is and support the Unicef New Year’s Resolution for Children.”

The United Nations organisation will receive a 5 per cent donation from every torch sold for Wednesday’s Torchlight Procession, while people at the Street Party, Concert in the Gardens and Old Town Ceilidh on New Year’s Eve will be encouraged to support the initiative via a special screened message.

But it’s not just party-goers heralding the arrival of 2016 in Edinburgh and London who can support the appeal. Those watching from home will also have the opportunity to get involved by donating online.

All donations to the campaign will be matched by the UK Government.

Meanwhile a record-breaking 75,000 passengers are expected to fly into Edinburgh Airport ahead of the celebrations. The airport said it was expecting its busiest ever New Year as revellers flock to the city from 70 countries.

The figure trumps last year when 70,966 passengers flew into Edinburgh between Christmas Day and 31 December. The 2013 figure was 66,708.

Chief executive of Edinburgh Airport Gordon Dewar said: “Last year’s figures in the run-up to New Year smashed all records of Scottish Airports, so to go one better this year is a great achievement. People want to visit us – and at this time of year they want to party with us.”