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Sir Billy Connolly to lead New York Tartan Week parade

The Scottish comedian will perform the role of Grand Marshal at the annual event.

Connolly: The comedian will lead the parade.
Connolly: The comedian will lead the parade. ITV

Sir Billy Connolly will lead the New York City Tartan Day Parade on Saturday.

The Scottish comedian is to perform the role of Grand Marshal in front of around 30,000 spectators.

Thousands of 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, accepted the invitation to take part despite announcing in December that he was retiring from touring.

He 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 to 8.

Meanwhile North Lanarkshire's schools band brought Grand Central Station in the city to a standstill with their rendition of Scotland the Brave.

The pipe band are also in New York to take part in the parade, with their impromptu performance entertaining passers by.

Pipe major Ross Cowan said: "It's our first time in New York and we wanted to make the most of it. 

"Grand Central Station is one of the busiest spots in Manhattan so we figured what better place to give the locals a taste of Scotland ahead of our appearance at the New York City Tartan Day Parade. 

"We certainly attracted quite the crowd."

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