The Council’s Civic head gave a welcome speech to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her senior Ministers today (Wednesday, 7 August) ahead of a public question and answer session at the Engine Shed later in the evening.
Throughout her opening address, the Provost shone a light on Stirling’s past and gave a nod to its more recent history, focusing on some of the area’s major achievements since the last sitting of the Cabinet in Stirling in 2010.
Below, you can read some of the highlights from the Provost Simpson’s speech, and see pictures of the moment she presented the First Minister with a scaled down replica gift of the famous two-handed sword of William Wallace, currently on display at the Wallace Monument and believed to be the original, which he wielded at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Opening speech to the Scottish Government Cabinet - Wednesday, 7 August 2019
“First Minister, Members of the Cabinet,
"It is a privilege and a pleasure to welcome you to Stirling. I note that the Cabinet was last here in 2010, and you will find much change and development, particularly in this part of the City.
"In preparing this welcome, I thought I would share with you, some facts about Stirling that you may not be aware of.
"Firstly, there is a wolf on our Council’s Coat of Arms. Legend has it, that in the 9th century, a shipload of marauding Vikings was sailing up the River Forth, under cover of darkness, intending to take the inhabitants of the small settlement of Stirling by surprise, and subject them to all the things that Vikings enjoyed doing - looting, pillaging, ravaging and so forth.
"However, on the bank of the river, there was a wolf, who, being nocturnal, spotted the invaders and began to howl, alerting the good people of Stirling to the danger, in time for them to arm themselves, and fight off the threat - and that is why we included the wolf on our Coat of Arms.
"In 2011 our motto “Steadfast as the Rock”, in honour of the Rock on which our Castle stands, was chosen by a “public vote”, narrowly beating my personal favourite, which was ‘heid high and gang forit’."
Stirling's unique tourism offer
"Stirling offers a tourism mix that is hard to rival anywhere, and we are expecting around five million visits annually to this area by 2023.
"We have world class historic attractions such as Stirling Castle, The National Wallace Monument, the Battle of Bannockburn Centre and Stirling Bridge, site of the famous Scottish victory led by William Wallace in 1297.
"Mary Queen of Scots christened her infant son, James, in the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle, and the following year he was crowned King of Scotland in the beautiful Church of the Holy Rood at the Top of the Old Town.
"These iconic sites attract visitors from all over the world and create one of the most stunning cityscapes in Europe."
Digital future connecting to the past
"Stirling is also developing a reputation as a vibrant, commercial and Digital Hub, enhanced by the recent City Region Deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire,
"This will unlock exciting new investment opportunities, boosting our economy, and we look forward to the next stage of its progress."
Presentation of Wallace sword
"The Wallace Monument, built by the Victorians to commemorate Scotland’s National Hero, is a masterpiece and a well-loved national landmark.
"Now, in 2019, this Monument is marking its 150th Anniversary Year with the complete refurbishment of its exhibition and a vastly expanded programme of events.
"To celebrate this anniversary, First Minister, I would like you to accept this replica of the famous 2 handed sword of William Wallace, currently on display at the Monument and believed to be the original, which he wielded at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
"I hope that this will keep Stirling in your thoughts, and will prove to be a source of inspiration to you, in the interesting political times which lie ahead."