Kirkin’ of the Council ceremony takes place in Perth amid downgrade controversy

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Councillors and High Constables filled the streets of Perth on Sunday for what could prove to be the last Kirkin’ of the Council ceremony for the next five years.

Perth and Kinross Council recently took the controversial decision to downgrade the 400-year-old ceremony to a twice a decade event despite protests from politicians and members of the community.

Participants in the spectacle said they hoped the turnout would persuade the local authority to rethink the move and restore it to its annual place on the calendar.

Perth and District Pipe Band led the procession of High Constables and politicians from the council chambers round to St John’s Kirk on a drizzly morning.

Lord Lieutenant of Perth and Kinross, Brigadier Mel Jameson, said: “Today we are seeing a full number of the High Constables and the school children are well represented.

High Constables march

“It’s great to see the kids come to the Kirkin’ in this fantastic church we have here at St John’s which is one of the most important churches in Scotland.

“In my 12 years as Lord Lieutenant I’ve had the huge privilege of attending the Kirkin’ and it’s an important ceremony for Perth.”

Charlie Gallagher, moderator for the High Constables, said he hoped the council would reconsider their decision on what he called a “fantastic” day.

He said: “It was a great big turnout and it was great to see a big turnout from the councillors as well.

“We still have hope that the High Constables will be able to turn around the decision and we’ll have a talk with the Provost in the next few weeks to see if they can have a rethink on it.

“I just want them to have a rethink about it.

“Many of these people here have been marching for 50 years so it’s a big thing for them and we don’t have that many events per year so taken one of our main events away didn’t go down to well.”

Perth and District Pipe Band

The moderator said he had already gathered 200 signatures to have the ceremony reinstated as an annual event and expected to get around 350 more in the coming week.

Pete Wishart, SNP MP also attended the event which he said was “tinged with sadness”.

Mr Wishart said: “It was a wonderful occasion as always but tinged with a bit of sadness that this is the last we will see it for the next five years.

“It’s a unique thing for Perth and I hope the council will review their decision.”

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