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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Sir Sean backs Tartan Day plans
Sir Sean Connery
Sir Sean has given his backing to Scotland's first Tartan Day
Sir Sean Connery has given his support to the first Tartan Day celebrations to be held in his homeland.

The Arbroath event will run from Sunday until 10 April and was partly set up by Angus Council to celebrate Scotland's culture and links with America.

The Edinburgh-born movie star wished the inaugural event every success.

Sir Sean has caused controversy after refusing to meet First Minister Jack McConnell at the US event in New York next week.

Mr McConnell was said to be disappointed at the actor's refusal to meet him privately during the celebrations on 6 April.

'Globally recognised'

He is due to attend the main Tartan Day celebrations which coincide with the day the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. It later inspired the American Declaration of Independence.

Sir Sean said he was "delighted" to hear of the inaugural Tartan Day in Scotland.

"As most people know I am passionate about Scotland and its place in the world and it is through the efforts of the people of this country that this will be globally recognised.

Tartan Day celebrates the bond between the two nations of Scotland and America
Ewan McGregor
"I wish them every success," he said.

The UK incarnation of Tartan Day has the backing of several other prominent Scots.

They include the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer George Reid, who said: "Like America, Scotland is always ready to celebrate our culture and history.

"I am delighted the people of Angus have focused on Tartan Day.

"There are some 20 million Americans claiming Scots descent today.

Tartan Day launch
Tartan Day aims to encourage tourists to Scotland
"Tartan Day represents a terrific opportunity for us to renew friendships across the water and encourage tourists to visit Scotland for themselves."

Actor Ewan McGregor said: "Tartan Day celebrates the bond between the two nations of Scotland and America and I pass on my best wishes to the people of Angus in welcoming Tartan Day home."

BBC Scotland sports presenter Dougie Donnelly added: "I am pleased to learn of plans for the first celebration of Tartan Day here in Scotland.

"The Welcome Home Tartan Day Celebration in Angus will be a fitting tribute to a proud Scots history as well as to the strong and ongoing links with America."

In 1998, the US Senate designated 6 April as the contry's annual Tartan Day.

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