St Andrew’s Day 2018

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Gillian Martin Gillian Martin Scottish National Party

Absolutely. If we want St Andrew’s day to be a real festival, which is a terrific idea, co-ordination is key.

As Tom Arthur mentioned, the theme of this year’s St Andrew’s day is

#MakeSomeonesDay

, which is a wonderful idea for the reasons that he gave. The smallest acts of kindness can have a huge impact in brightening someone’s day and making them feel better. I love the idea of “pay it forward”. My only regret about not having to pay the toll to cross the Forth bridge any more is that we can no longer pay the toll for the car behind us. We used to do that for two reasons: first, it was a nice thing to do and, secondly, it freaked people out.

I have tried to deliver an act of kindness by offering to close my office tomorrow, so that my staff can have St Andrew’s day off. I say “tried” because they are resistant—they are a hard-working bunch who take their responsibilities very seriously, like all constituency staff. I might need to make my offer a demand in order to get them to commit to taking the day off—never look a gift horse in the mouth, guys; please just take the day off.

In the spirit of Tom Arthur’s motion, I will collect food for the Inverurie food bank at the local Tesco, as I do every year. That is an act of kindness and support that every volunteer wishes we did not need. However, every year, it reminds me of national traits that we can celebrate: the generosity and fair-mindedness of Scots, which are always in evidence through the donations that we receive.

I pay tribute to the efforts of the 10 schools in my constituency whose pupils have formed a choir to perform at an event linking St Andrew’s day with fair Saturday, which was mentioned by Tom Arthur. The proceeds of their concert will go to the local St Andrew’s school. St Andrew’s school, as many members will know, is a unique special school whose pupils are aged between 3 and 18 and have a range of barriers to learning. The school’s emblem is our national flag, which is appropriate given that the school is on the cusp of a very big change as it moves from its current location to form part of the new Inverurie community campus. St Andrew’s school will be housed in the new campus, but it will retain its singular identity and will continue to provide a specialist environment and learning for all its pupils. It is testament to the high regard in which the school is held in the local community that school pupils from as far away as New Deer and Turriff have chosen to make St Andrew’s school’s day.

I wish them all well, and I wish all members a happy St Andrew’s day when it comes.