A YEAR-LONG programme of events is being drawn up to mark 700 years since Haddington was named a Royal Burgh.

Ambitious plans are being put together for 2018 to celebrate the town and its lengthy history.

Plans are already being created for an outdoor lighting extravaganza, an archaeology dig, storytelling and illustration sessions for schools and, the crowning event, a medieval fair in the town centre.

Provost John McMillan, Haddington and Lammermuir ward councillor, was predicting something special for Haddington in 2018.

He said: “There are all sorts of ideas floating around.

“There are some really creative ideas out there marking the seven centuries or doing a big medieval fair.

“I think if you look back over that time, there are just so many things that are worth exploring historically – Mary Queen of Scots’ connection to the town, for example.

“It is just amazing what might happen.”

Haddington’s John Gray Centre is now calling on community groups to get involved to ensure next year proves memorable.

Ruth Fyfe and Frances Woodrow, archivists at the Lodge Street building, said: “We would love to have an events programme that spans the whole year and really creates a buzz about the town.

“To kick things off there will be an open meeting at the John Gray Centre on Wednesday, August 16, at 2pm to give some more details on our plan and to hear how the community groups would like to be involved.

“We would really love to see as many groups there as possible.”

Haddington’s status as a royal burgh was confirmed in 1318 with Robert the Bruce’s seal.

According to the John Gray Centre, the document is actually a confirmation charter.

It said: “Haddington had become a royal burgh around 200 years previously, but had mislaid its original charter(!).

“This document, sealed by Robert the Bruce, confirms its rights such as the right to hold a market, etc.”

Jan Wilson, chairwoman of Haddington and District Community Council, has lived in the town for almost 50 years. She was hoping for a busy year ahead and was hoping a representative of the community council could attend the meeting in the John Gray Centre next month.

Mrs Wilson said: “It is a big moment in the town’s history, it is huge.

“You are just proud you are a Royal Burgh and it is something we would want to celebrate.

“It has to be good for the town and gives the community something to celebrate.”