Sir Billy Connolly to lead Tartan Day Parade in New York

Sir Billy Connolly will lead the New York City Tartan Day Parade this year, it has been announced.

The famed Scottish comedian will lead the parade as Grand Marshal on Saturday April 6 in front of around 30,000 spectators.

Around 1,500 participants including solo pipers and drummers, Highland dancers, pipe bands, Scottish clans and Scottish dogs will follow the Big Yin along Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue.

The 76-year-old, who has lived in the US since 2011, has accepted the role despite announcing in December he would retire from touring.

Sir Billy said: “I’m thrilled to be this year’s Grand Marshal of the New York City Tartan Day Parade.

“I can’t wait to hear all those bagpipes echoing off the skyscrapers and to see Sixth Avenue awash with thousands of swaying kilts.

“It’s going to be brilliant.”

Previous Grand Marshals include Sir Sean Connery, Alan Cumming, Sam Heughan and Brian Cox, while KT Tunstall became the first woman to lead the parade last year.

It is the showpiece event of Tartan Week which brings a full programme of special events to New York from April 3-8.

Tartan Parade
Tartan Day Parade in New York attracts around 30,000 spectators  (Donald Bowers/PA)

Kilt fittings, band performances, dance workshops and ceilidhs will be held in various venues across Manhattan.

Kyle Dawson, New York Tartan Day Committee president, said: “We’re beyond delighted to announce that Billy Connolly will join us as Grand Marshal of this year’s New York City Tartan Day Parade this April.

“For over half a century, he has entertained us all through his work and, because of this, he is beloved on both sides of the pond.

“We look forward to enjoying a big year with the Big Yin.”

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