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Many hands and all that...volunteers needed to complete Scots tapestry

Hundreds of people are being encouraged to take up stitching to help complete the latest panel on the world's longest tapestry.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland has been one of the world's biggest community art projects, with a team of 1,000 volunteers sewing for the equivalent of 24 hours a day for six years to produce the piece.

The project was spearheaded by author Alexander McCall Smith, who, together with historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, designed more than 160 panels, each depicting a moment from Scotland's past.

It was on display at the Scottish Parliament before touring the country, and has now returned to Holyrood to mark the 15th anniversary of the opening on the building.

To mark the occasion, Mr Crummy has designed a new People's Panel to commemorate the Scottish Parliament, and volunteers are being sought to stitch it together.

Once complete it will hang in Holyrood as part of the permanent art collection.

Mr Crummy said: "For me, getting to know and understand the vision of architecture of the Scottish Parliament building has revealed layers of meaning that reference Scottish identity and history.

"The panel design hopefully reflects what an extraordinary building it is and its vision for what democracy stands for in Scotland's future."

More than 300 miles of wool has already been used to make the tapestry, portraying 420 million years of the history of Scotland.

Starting with a land locked in ice and carved by glaciers, scenes shown in the panels include everything from the Battle of Bannockburn and the Act of Union in 1707, to the building of the Forth Road Bridge and the cloning of Dolly the sheep.

McCall Smith said: "When the tapestry last came to the Parliament a few panels had yet to be completed. Now that work is done and we see it in its full glory, displayed for the people of Scotland and visitors to Scotland, in the building that is at the very heart of Scotland's public life.

"I am particularly pleased that those who missed it in Edinburgh last year will now have the chance to see this extraordinarily beautiful work of art and to marvel at all the love that has been put into it by over a thousand artistic volunteers throughout Scotland."

The tapestry will be on public display in the Parliament until September 13. The opportunity to stitch the People's Panel will operate on a first come, first served basis until the end of the exhibition.

Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said: "I am looking forward to welcoming the people of Scotland to the Parliament to stitch their way into the history of their Parliament.

"This will create a permanent legacy of the tapestry at Holyrood and the work of so many hands.

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