2009 was Scotland’s first ever Homecoming year.
Inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, Homecoming Scotland 2009 successfully encouraged people of Scottish descent, Scots, and those who love Scotland to come home in 2009 and take part in an inspirational celebration of culture, heritage and great Scottish contributions to the world.
From Burns Night on January 25 to St Andrew's Day on November 30, a countrywide programme of Homecoming events and activities was designed to celebrate some of Scotland's great contributions to the world: Burns himself, Whisky, Golf, Great Scottish Minds and Innovations, and Scotland's culture and heritage which lives on at home and through Scotland's global family.
The Rt Hon Alex Salmond, MSP, First Minister of Scotland, urged Scots to embrace the year and get involved by encouraging friends, family and colleagues from around the world to come and join the celebrations.
The year closed with a weekend of events across the country, during which Mr Salmond reopened Burns Cottage in Alloway after a £1 million restoration, which included transforming the old Burns Museum into an 'education pavilion' and landscaping the surrounding area.
Speaking about the success of Scotland's Year of Homecoming, Mr Salmond hailed the initiative as a great success story. He added: "From its launch on Burns Night, it truly captured the imagination of people throughout the country and across the globe."
■ The Trust sponsored some of the prizes for a Homecoming project at Hermitage Academy on February 6, the first of its kind in a Scottish school, organised by principal teacher of guidance Isabel Cullen.
Academy 3rd year pupils and primary 6 pupils from local primary schools made up 20 teams who researched and presented local history topics. Trust chairman Stewart Noble and directors Jenny Sanders, Donald Fullarton, Sandy Kerr and Alistair McIntyre were among the adult mentors.