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Tapestry Exhibition Closes @ St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh - with support from Bayeux!

Exhibition Closing Ceremony: St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh

Monday evening, August 29th 2011, saw more than 400 people gather at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh for the official event which marked the end of the Tapestry’s longest exhibition to date.

Trustees, stitchers, and supporters, welcomed by Trust Chairman Gareth Bryn-Jones, filled the nave to celebrate the extraordinary success of the display, which has attracted more than 20,000 visitors since it opened in June.

People from all over the world, schools from all across the capital, and society and organisations far and wide have flocked to visit. During the Edinburgh Festival it was drawing some 500 people on peak days. From tours and lectures to full-blown battle re-enactments, the Cathedral has witnessed all manner of supporting events featuring friends from, amongst others: the Alan Breck Regiment, the Prestonpans Players, the ‘Pans Tellers, and the Scots Music Group.

A Relationship emerges with Bayeux - which was of course our Inspiration

The closing ceremony for the Exhibition was most significant, perhaps, in that it marked the beginning of an anticipated continuing association with the world-renowned Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy.

Following the Mayor of Bayeux’s expressions of support which were read at the Exhibition’s opening ceremony, the Trust invited Bayeux’s Municipal Councillor Mme Lydie Poulet to officially close the display.

Mme Poulet was joined on the podium by the Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Dr Graham Forbes right below; the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, George Grubb; the French Consul-General in Scotland, Pierre-Alain Coffinier; and the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust Chairman, Gareth Bryn-Jones. Each of these dignitaries made a speech in recognition of the success of the exhibition, and the potential for strong links between the two tapestries.

The Consul-General [centre below] spoke of the possibility for the Prestonpans Tapestry to become a 'contemporary' symbol of the Auld Alliance, and Mme Poulet spoke of Bayeux’s pride in being the inspiration to such projects nearly a thousand years after the completion of their own Tapestry.

The Trust’s chairman expressed its great thanks to all those who had made the exhibition such a success, including the Provost of the Cathedral and Sarah Grotrian – to whom flowers were presented in gratitude for her most considerable contribution. The Trust is extremely grateful also to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh who has shown greatly appreciated support by attending both the opening and closing of the Exhibition, and to the Consul-General who graciously hosted Mme Poulet and who has shown such enthusiasm for the Tapestry.

Mme Poulet has now returned to Bayeux to discuss with her colleagues how the two Tapestries might work together in the future. It is very much hoped that the developing relationship between the two will not only demonstrate the longevity of the art form’s appeal, but may also lead to further exchanges and to the Prestonpans Tapestry visiting Bayeux in the coming years.

Many many thanks to the Volunteers who staffed the Exhibition from June/ August

Finally, a very special word of thanks must be offered to all those many volunteers who have supported and staffed the exhibition throughout the course of the summer - including of course Arran Johnston, the Battle Trust's Executive Trustee responsible for the Exhibition's Touring Programme since its inception in July 2010 on the Green Hills at Prestonpans.

Published Date: September 4th 2011

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