A LEVEN accordion player has just returned from Beijing and told how he ended up entertaining the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, whilst he was there.
John Stuart, a member of the Scottish Dance Band which regularly travels around the world playing at various functions, was spending two-weeks in China when he ended up squeezing out a tune for Mr Salmond and 400 invited guests at the Scottish Caledonian Ball, held in the five-star China World Hotel.
Mr Stuart told the Mail he has performed at the ceremony with his band mates a number of times but added this year’s event was that bit extra special as it coincided with Mr Salmond’s visit to the country.
“It was on St Andrew’s Day and he led the Grand March and made a speech, so we knew he was there,” Mr Stuart explained.
“Afterwards he came over and thanked us and was very, very friendly.
“He was speaking about Scottish dance bands and how he enjoyed them and it wasn’t a problem for him to pose for pictures with us.”
“I have played for a number of dignitaries and ambassadors at events before and I have done Shanghai, Orlando, Miami, Sarasota, Germany, France and Geneva so we weren’t nervous.”
The First Minister attended the ball, which aims to bring Scottish ex-pats together, while on a week-long Scottish Government trade mission in the country.
The aim of the visit was to build on the developing relationship between China and Scotland, evident in the recent arrival of two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo, but it seems Mr Salmond may also have just managed to win himself a fan a little bit closer to home.