THE people of Edinburgh will be invited to say their final farewells to Independent MSP Margo MacDonald at a public celebration of her life.
The event on Friday, April 25 will be held at the Assembly Hall on The Mound – in the chamber where Margo so often held forth on the issues of the day when she was first elected as an MSP.
Tributes will be delivered by Health Minister Alex Neil, a long-standing friend and close colleague of Margo’s, actress Elaine C Smith and Margo’s husband, Jim Sillars.
And it is intended to be a “colourful” event, with those attending to be told not to wear black.
People will be greeted by country music as they arrive and the celebration will end with The Proclaimers singing Sunshine on Leith.
Margo died last Friday, aged 70, at her home in the Grange. She had battled ill health for some time, but kept working right to the end.
A private funeral, attended only by the family, will be held this Friday.
But the April 25 celebration will be an opportunity for the public to pay their last respects to the politician who won the respect and affection of people across the political spectrum and beyond.
The Assembly Hall can accommodate around 1200 people. Senior politicians and VIPs are expected to be there, but there is certain to be a large turn out of people from all over Edinburgh and the Lothians who saw Margo as their champion.
Margo’s aide, Peter Warren, said: “Margo’s wish was it was open to whoever wanted to come.” People will be asked to turn up at 10am for a 10.30am start.
Mr Warren said: “It will be a political event in that Jim will not shy away from Margo’s politics and what she would be looking for this year, but it won’t be all politics – it will be about much more than that.”
The celebration, expected to last for an hour or so, will be led by humanist celebrant and retired GP Dr Bob Scott, a prominent supporter of Margo’s Bill to legalise assisted suicide.
Mr Warren said: “It will start with country music as people come in – if you knew Margo, country music was her thing, so expect Dolly Parton and the Dixie Chicks. There will be a catalogue of tunes.”
Margo famously enjoyed wearing loud colours and that too will be reflected at the event. Mr Warren said: “The only stipulation will be don’t wear black.”
She was also a dedicated Hibs supporter and her daughter, Petra, is married to Craig Reid of The Proclaimers, so the celebration will end with the twins playing their hit song, which has become an Easter Road anthem, Sunshine on Leith.
Holding the celebration of Margo’s life in the Assembly Hall is symbolically significant.
It was here that the Scottish Parliament met for the first five years of its lifespan and where Margo – an MSP right from the beginning – made some of her most memorable speeches.
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