“World class” celebration to mark 700th anniversary of Declaration of Arbroath

Arbroath Abbey. PIC www.geograph.co.uk

Arbroath Abbey. PIC www.geograph.co.uk

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A “world class” event is being planned to mark the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.

A public meeting will be held in Arbroath tonight (Wednesday) to discuss how visitors can be welcomed from across the world to the site where the declaration of Scottish independence was written in 1320.

The Declaration of Arbroath was written to Pope John XXII on behalf of the barons and community of the realm of Scotland.

The eloquent letter, written at Arbroath Abbey in support of King Robert Bruce (Robert I) and an independent Scotland, is still regarded as a spirited statement of a nation’s claim to freedom.

With just four years until the 700th anniversary of the signing, the organisation Arbroath 2020 said it was time to organise for the “highly significant” occasion.

READ MORE: The text of the Declaration of Arbroath

A new civic square at the abbey and tapestry commemorating the declaration are among suggestions being developed, with Historic Environment Scotland, Visit Scotland and Angus Council involved in talks.

Norman Atkinson, Chairman of Arbroath 2020, said: “This is an opportunity for everyone interested in Arbroath’s past, present and future to discuss ideas for the special events that might take place to mark the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath on April 6, 1320.

“Arbroath 2020 has been established to ensure Arbroath celebrates this momentous anniversary in style and that local people, organisations, charities and businesses are not only involved in the celebrations but benefit from them.

READ MORE: Robert the Bruce: the myths busted

“Arbroath 2020 is determined that, as well as developing a first class programme of special events which will highlight the part Arbroath played in the history of Scotland and attract visitors from across the globe, the 2020 celebrations will leave the town with a lasting legacy.”

A new civic square infront of Arbroath Abbey has been proposed with plans to move the Declaration Statue from its current site overlooking Dundee Road to a spot in the square under discussion.

A new statue could be commissioned, Mr Atkinson said.

He added: “At this stage, the more ideas and suggestions that are under consideration, the better.

“We want as many people as possible to contribute to the discussions about the form this legacy should take and are particularly keen to involve the young people of Arbroath in plans for April 6, 2020.”

The meeting will be held tonight at Hospitalfield, Hospitalfield Road, at 7pm.

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