Sir Billy Connolly leads New York’s Tartan Day Parade

Sir Billy Connolly said he danced “a wee jig” in his heart leading the New York City Tartan Day Parade on Saturday.

Around 30,000 spectators watched the Scottish comedian perform the role of Grand Marshal.

Thousands of participants including solo pipers and drummers, Highland dancers, pipe bands, Scottish clans and Scottish dogs followed the Big Yin along Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue.

The 76-year-old, who has lived in the US since 2011, accepted the invitation to take part despite announcing in December that he was retiring from touring.

Sir Billy Connolly
Sir Billy greeted spectators as he led the parade through New York City (Benjamin Chateauvert/New York Tartan Day/PA)

He said: “I’ve absolutely loved being Grand Marshal of this year’s New York City Tartan Day Parade.

“The crowds were brilliant and hearing the skirl of the pipes echoing along Sixth Avenue made me dance a wee jig in my heart. What a day.”

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.

Kyle Dawson, president of the New York Tartan Day Committee, said: “What an incredible 21st year this has been for New York City Tartan Week.

“We’ve enjoyed a phenomenal week of celebrations – from ceilidhs to workshops and pipe bands performances to parties.

“We had the great honour of welcoming Sir Billy Connolly as Grand Marshal of this year’s NYC Tartan Day Parade and saw tens of thousands of people line the sidewalks of Sixth Avenue to cheer on our participants.”

Scotland’s Veterans Minister Graeme Dey also took part in the parade and said he was “delighted” that Sir Billy led the way.

He added: “The annual Tartan Day celebrations are always a spectacular showcase of Scotland.”

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