THE man behind the Capital’s famous Hogmanay celebrations has been praised after announcing his decision to step down.
Pete Irvine was described as one of the most influential figures in the tourism and events industry in Scotland for the past 30 years.
The celebrations now have a global reputation and that’s all down to Pete’s imagination, enthusiasm and expertise.Steve Cardownie
The News told yesterday how Mr Irvine was leaving his role as director of the New Year party and as managing director of Unique Events.
He said he had taken the Hogmanay extravaganza as far as he could.
Today, former colleagues and politicians paid tribute to his “outstanding” work and said Edinburgh’s Hogmanay would have been far poorer without him.
Steve Cardownie, the deputy Lord Provost and former festivals and events champion, said: “I worked with Pete from the outset regarding the Hogmanay celebrations.
“If it hadn’t been for him it wouldn’t be as successful as it is today.
“The celebrations now have a global reputation and that’s all down to Pete’s imagination, enthusiasm and expertise.
“He is a lasting legacy in the city of Edinburgh – he brought something to the Hogmanay celebrations for everyone.”
Former city council leader Donald Anderson added that Mr Irvine should also be praised for his contribution towards the Christmas festivities – after introducing the popular Ferris wheel in Princes Street Gardens.
He said: “Pete Irvine is a huge influence in Edinburgh’s tourism industry and its recent success as a visitor attraction – I wish him all the best.”
Former provost Eric Milligan also recalled his memories of working alongside Mr Irvine. Councillor Milligan said: “Pete was part of a group of people who came together and put Edinburgh on the international stage.”
Culture Secretary and Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop said: “Pete’s determination and commitment has built a Hogmanay party into a three-day festival.
“I want to personally thank Pete for this hard work and dedication, and wish him well in the future.”
Current city festivals champion Cllr Richard Lewis said: “Under Pete Irvine’s creative direction, the bells have been transformed into a world-famous three-day festival that has set the standard for global New Year celebrations, with numerous major cities following our lead.”