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Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: Surprise challengers revealed as battle to earn city status goes global

Parts of the Cayman Islands, the Falklands and Gibraltar will vie with towns in the UK to be recognised as cities for the first time.

As part of the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year, 39 locations are taking part in a competition to be given city status – with British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies newly eligible.

What are the benefits of being a city?

Being a city – of which there are currently 69 in the UK – doesn’t actually change anything in terms of what a local authority receives from the government, but supporters say it can boost civic pride and there is some evidence it can have a knock-on economic benefit that comes with a higher profile.

In October, it was announced Southend-on-Sea will be granted city status in the wake of the death of MP David Amess, regardless of the Jubilee awards, something the member of parliament had long campaigned for and a move that was approved of by leaders of the local authority.

From Elgin in the north to Stanley in the (very far) south – Sky News takes a look at some of the more out-of-the-way places on the map that are in the running to be the newest cities – and their claims to fame.

Stanley, Falkland Islands

Located off the southern tip of South America, around 300 miles from the coast of Argentina, the islands may be most famous in the UK for Margaret Thatcher’s 1982 victory in the 74-day Falklands War.

However, not many people may know that the Falklands remain untouched by chain businesses, including big corporations such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.

George Town, Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are not just deceptive due to being a notorious tax haven for the wealthy elite – they aren’t even islands at all.

They are simply part of a mountain called the Cayman Ridge, which rises more than 7,500m from the ocean floor.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is worth visiting as it is home to the only wild monkey population in the whole of Europe, with more than 300 said to be regularly seen roaming around the Gibraltar Nature Reserve.

Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

Closer to home, the northeastern town is famous for its 110-year-old Transporter Bridge.

It’s also the only place in the UK where you can bungee jump from a bridge.

Douglas, Isle of Man

Despite being located close to the UK and Ireland, the Isle of Man actually belongs to neither.

Instead, the island is a Crown Dependency, which means that it’s technically owned by the Queen.

Guildford, Surrey

Continuing with the royal theme, Guildford Castle is the only royal castle to be built in Surrey and was erected shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Wrexham, Clwyd

Known for its picturesque countryside due to being between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley, which is next to Cheshire, in the North West.

Marazion, Cornwall

If the Cornish town wins, it would hold the accolade for being the smallest city in the UK due to a population of around 1,400.

Full list of places which applied for city status:

Alcester, Warwickshire

Ballymena, County Antrim

Bangor, County Down

Blackburn, Lancashire

Bolsover, Derbyshire

Boston, Lincolnshire

Bournemouth, Dorset

Coleraine, County Londonderry

Colchester, Essex

Crawley, West Sussex

Crewe, Cheshire

Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Dorchester, Dorset

Douglas, Isle of Man

Dudley, West Midlands

Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway

Dunfermline, Fife

Elgin, Moray

George Town, Cayman Islands

Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Goole, East Yorkshire

Greenock, Renfrewshire

Guildford, Surrey

Livingston, West Lothian

Marazion, Cornwall

Medway, Kent

Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

Newport and Carisbrooke, Hampshire

Northampton, Northamptonshire

Oban, Argyll and Bute

Reading, Berkshire

Peel, Isle of Man

St Andrews, Fife

Stanley, Falkland Islands

South Ayrshire, Ayrshire and Arran

Warrington, Cheshire

Warwick, Warwickshire

Wrexham, Clwyd

The final decision will be taken in spring 2022 and announced shortly afterwards.

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