In Pictures: First Lord Provost garden party

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Lord Provost Donald Wilson had not forgotten shaking the hand of one of the city’s great entertainers for the first time.

The leader’s first civic duty in the role was to present 90-year-old fundraiser and Edinburgh Festival guide Tommy Carson with a British Empire Medal last year.

The 1 Scots Pipe Band. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

The 1 Scots Pipe Band. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Both men were reunited on Saturday afternoon at Lauriston Castle near Cramond, surrounded by 350 guests who had flocked to the site’s scenic grounds for the Lord Provost’s first ever Garden Party.

And Mr Carson, who has raised hundreds of thousands over the years for charities like St Columba’s Hospice and the Sick Kids Hospital, said Mr Wilson had welcomed him like an old friend.

The Stenhouse resident said: “He’d presented me with the medal at the City Chambers. He remembered that day because it was his first day in office and the first honour he had presented to anybody. He said to me ‘I’ll remember you for years to come now’.”

Guests were treated to a variety of drinks and canapés ranging from Champagne to strawberries dipped in chocolate.

clarsach player Anna McLuckie entertained the Lord Provost and his guests. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

clarsach player Anna McLuckie entertained the Lord Provost and his guests. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Those on the invite list for the glamour event were able to walk around a circuit of performances in different parts of the grounds.

At the glass house, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra string quartet played an intimate arrangement.

Elsewhere, the Stewart’s Melville Close Harmony Choir made their presence felt on stage, while 16-year-old Broughton High School student Anna McLuckie entertained with several Gaelic songs on her clàrsach – a traditional Scottish harp.

Mr Carson had taken wife, Marian, and his two daughters, Julie and Maureen, to the party. He steered clear of the plentiful alcoholic beverages, but still had plenty to savour.

Thomas Gilzean. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Thomas Gilzean. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

“The-cross section of people – old and young – mixing together was wonderful,” he said. “I was proud to wear my British Empire Medal – it was nice to be part of it.”

Fellow BEM winners Tom Gilzean and Marie Anderson were also officially honoured as part of the ceremonies, with croquet matches and castle tours run for guests.

Wheelchair-bound Paralympics archer Kate Murray, who was chaperoned to the event by husband Roy, said she had been left surprised at receiving an invite in the first place after finishing out of the medals in London. The Bonchester Bridge grandmother – the oldest member of Britain’s Paralympics team in London at the age of 65 – only took up the sport about 13 years ago after battling to copy with a degenerative illness that left her unable to properly use her lower limbs.

“I found disability was certainly no bar to doing archery,” she said. “I loved it and it just went from there.”

Mrs Murray found time at Saturday’s party to mingle with another Paralympian – six-time swimming champion James Anderson. Her fellow competitor’s claim to fame was winning four gold medals at Athens in 2004.

However, Murray was left most impressed by the setting and the performances from the 1 Scots Pipe Band, who marched around the Castle as a pre-cursor to the Lord Provost’s welcome speech.

The event was bittersweet for Sergeant Matt Learmouth. It was the Redhall resident’s final performance as the 1 Scots Pipe Band’s drum major before passing on the baton.

Mr Learmouth said he wanted the garden party to become an annual event, adding: “We felt very privileged to take part in it, even though it’s not an armed forces event.”

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, crime writer Ian Rankin and Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy did not grace the bash despite receiving invites, but those who attended said the lack of high-profile celebrities had not diminished proceedings.

The Lord Provost said: “What a marvellous occasion and what a fitting way to recognise the many unsung heroes who do much for this city. I hope today I have repaid them in some way for their efforts.”