Eleven year-old Eilidh Willis became the official one-millionth visitor to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood earlier today.
Eilidh was one of eleven pupils from Lismore Primary School who had embarked on an eight hour round trip from their home on the Isle of Lismore, off Oban, to take part in an educational visit to the award-winning Holyrood building.
She and her fellow pupils, the entire primary school roll of eleven, were thrilled to become Holyrood’s landmark visitors and to accept an engraved silver salver to take pride of place in the island school’s display cabinet.
Head Teacher, Freda MacGregor, said:
“This really is an unexpected honour and one that will ensure the children, and the school as a whole, remember the visit for years to come.
“For many of the children, this was their first visit to Edinburgh and to the Scottish Parliament. We have been learning all about the work that is done here, about the MSPs and about the building itself. Being the one millionth visitor was a lovely surprise and rounded off a great school trip to Holyrood.”
Asked how she felt about being the one millionth visitor, Eilidh, said:
“I was really surprised to be the one millionth visitor. My visit to the parliament has been really interesting and my experience has been something very different. I will remember this visit for the rest of my life.”
Presenting the salver, Presiding Officer, George Reid MSP, said:
“Holyrood is a landmark building, but it is the people who make a parliament.
“Welcoming one million people through our doors, the majority of whom are Scots, gives us real satisfaction and I am delighted to present Lismore Primary School with a small memento of their day at Holyrood.”
While at Holyrood, the pupils also presented a petition to George Lyon MSP calling for the re-introduction of a full-time nurse facility on the island to cover the island population of more than 170 residents.
The Scottish parliament building is open free of charge to the public all year round.
Statistics on visits to the Scottish Parliament, published last year, showed that 71 per cent of visitors were from Scotland, 22 per cent from the rest of the UK and 7 per cent from overseas.
Places on specialised guided tours are currently available for booking up until end August 2007. Bookings for September to December this year will open on June 1st.
The free public crèche at the Scottish Parliament caters for children aged six weeks to five years and allows visitors to attend meetings or debates while their children are cared for by qualified staff.