Global gathering at Arbroath Abbey

Arbroath Abbey
Arbroath Abbey

A group of foreign dignitaries gathered this morning (Friday) at Arbroath Abbey to hear about plans to celebrate a historical moment.

Consul generals from Ireland, Norway, Ukraine and Japan travelled to the abbey in advance of the 700th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, widely recognised as the birth of the Scottish nation.

Provost of Angus, Helen Oswald was at the Abbey to welcome the dignitaries. She said: “With the 700th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath only six years away, Angus Council and its partners in the 2020 Group are committed to establishing a global celebration of Tartan Day on April 6, 2020.

“This highly-significant anniversary has already captured the attention of people all over the world, who are keen to celebrate Scotland’s heritage, culture and influence either in their own country or in the place where it all began – Arbroath.

“To help engage the international community in our plans for the 2020 celebrations, we invited consul generals who are based in Edinburgh to attend a Tartan Day Scotland Reception.”

The Consul Generals, who are from Ireland, Japan, Norway and Ukraine, began their visit with a reception at Arbroath Abbey, where they saw where the Declaration would have been signed and, during a tour of the medieval abbey, visited the tiny room where the history-changing document is believed to have been drafted by the Abbot of Aberbrothock.

This was followed by a short talk by Harry Simpson, Chair of the 2020 Group, which was established to achieve the 2020 Vision and consists of representatives of local and national groups and organisations. “I was honoured to be asked to explain to our distinguished guests the 2020 Vision of creating a global celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration with Arbroath and Angus at its heart,” said Harry Simpson. “The Consul Generals expressed a keen interest in this Vision and embraced our plans for the celebrations in 2020.”

Following their visit to Arbroath Abbey, the Consul Generals enjoyed the very best of local food and drink with a Taste of Angus lunch in the splendid surroundings of Hospitalfield House. “The reception in the Abbey followed by a delicious lunch provided the Consul Generals with the ideal introduction to the food, heritage, history and culture of Angus, while also providing the opportunity to discuss how other countries can become involved in the 2020 celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath,” added Harry Simpson.

“The Consul Generals’ Tartan Day Reception takes us one step closer to ensuring the 2020 Vision becomes a reality.”