A MUCH-LOVED character from children’s literature has taken on a new starring role – in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s official Christmas card.
Katie Morag, a feisty red-haired schoolgirl who lives on the fictional Scottish island of Struay, is seen dashing up to the steps of Bute House, the First Minister’s official residence in Edinburgh, carrying a Saltire-wrapped parcel.
There she welcomes children from across the globe who have come to the Scottish capital.
Ms Sturgeon herself can be glimpsed in the background, putting the finishes touches to the Bute House Christmas tree.
Mairi Hedderwick, the writer and illustrator of the Katie Morag books, came up with the original illustration for the Christmas cards.
It will be auctioned next year to raise cash for four good causes – Enable Scotland, Children 1st, Books Abroad and the Scottish Refugee Council.
The sales of previous works that have featured on the festive greeting cards, including works by Peter Howson, John Lowrie Morrison and Jack Vettriano, have raised more than £168,850 for charities.
The First Minister said: “I am delighted that Mairi Hedderwick was able to create such a wonderful illustration for this year’s Christmas card.
“Katie Morag’s adventures accompanied by Mairi’s beautiful illustrations are adored by both children and adults right across the world.
“Since we launched the charity Christmas card initiative in 2007, sales of artwork and prints have raised more than £168,850 for good causes across Scotland. I’d like to extend my thanks to all the artists, including Mairi, whose time and generosity have made raising so much money possible.” She added: “Christmas is a time for spending time with those that we love, but it is also a time for thinking about those less fortunate than ourselves.
“There is no doubt that Scotland is a caring and compassionate country, but this year in particular I have been so proud of the warm welcome and kindness which has been extended to all who have come here. Whether it’s by helping out at a charity, or having a cup of tea and a chat with a friend or neighbour who is on their own, it’s important to spend some time over the next few weeks giving comfort, companionship and support to those who need it.”
Last year Ms Sturgeon chose a festive design that survived the Glasgow School of Art fire.