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The Third Session of the Scottish Parliament will be marked on 30 June in a ceremony which will continue the Scottish tradition of bringing together the people, the parliament and The Queen.
Scotland’s heritage will be celebrated along with its modern achievements in a day which will include a ‘riding’ down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and a free open air concert for more than 5,000 people.
Scheduled for a Saturday to allow as many members of the public as possible to participate, the day will commence with an Address by Her Majesty The Queen to newly elected Members of the Scottish Parliament and guests.
The Royal Address will be followed by a repeat of the ‘riding’, marking the centuries-old Scots tradition of Parliament and people working in public partnership. This essential part of the ceremonial of the old Scots Parliament was successfully updated to mark the opening of the Holyrood building in 2004. It attracted thousands of spectators along the length of the Royal Mile to watch the procession of people from all walks of Scottish life including schoolchildren, community groups, representatives of civic society and MSPs.
Building on the success of 2004 in paying recognition to ‘local heroes’ from across Scotland, MSPs will once more be asked to nominate someone from their local area to take part in the riding.
In total, the Session Three Riding will involve around 1,200 people selected to highlight achievements across every constituency and region of Scotland.
Its route will take it through the Old Town to Holyrood and in to the landscaped gardens of the Parliament.
The day will culminate in an open air concert in the grounds of Holyrood to build on the Parliament’s ongoing commitment to engaging with the people of Scotland. Acts will include live music – traditional, contemporary, multi-cultural and international – drama and dance.
The day is intended to showcase Scottish achievement and distinction and will celebrate Scots today, with guests being invited from the fields of education, sport, science, the arts, academia and industry. Full details of the programme will be announced in May.
Presiding Officer George Reid MSP said:
"It is the people of Scotland who determine their elected representatives, and, it will be the people who are at the heart of the proceedings in the ceremonial to mark Session Three.
"The day will continue the Scottish tradition of bringing together the People, Parliament and The Queen in a ceremony that reflects Scotland’s rich heritage, modernity and engagement with the citizen.”
It is expected the public event for more than 5,000 people plus all the other activities throughout the day will cost in the region of £200,000.
This will include the cost of staging the free ticketed event for over 5,000 people, and transport and accommodation for the riding participants, who will represent all walks of Scottish civic society and be drawn from every constituency and region of the country. The Parliament aims to secure appropriate sponsorship opportunities for the public events held outwith the Chamber, with the aim of minimising the cost to the public purse.
Debating Chamber: Address by Her Majesty The Queen to mark the Third Session with speeches from the new Presiding Officer and First Minister.
Holyrood’s Main Hall: The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will meet people from across Scotland.
The Riding: Around 1,200 people representing Scottish achievement in the fields of education, enterprise, science and nature, society, sport and culture, interspersed with bands, banners and performers will make their way down the Royal Mile to Holyrood, finishing in the landscaped grounds of the Parliament. Route to be announced in May.
Landscaped Gardens: More than 5,000 people will gather in the Parliament’s landscaped grounds for a free public event with live music – traditional, contemporary, multi-cultural and international – from a specially erected covered stage.
Under Parliament’s Standing Orders and following consultation with parties, the Presiding Officer has outlined his intention for the first meeting of the new parliamentary session to be on Wednesday, 9 May 2007. The current four-year parliamentary session will draw to a close at midnight on 2 April and dissolution therefore begins immediately thereafter on Tuesday, 3 April.
As in previous years, an ecumenical Kirking of the Parliament will take place on Tuesday, 8 May at 6.00pm in St Giles’ Cathedral. Further details on this will be provided to new Members when they receive their welcome letters from the Clerk / Chief Executive immediately after the election.
For the latest information on the Third Session visit www.scottish.parliament.uk/session3