Scotland

The Scots who share their birthday with the Scottish Parliament

holyrood kids

Twenty years ago I was on the Mound in Edinburgh with a perfect view of history being made.

I was working for the Scottish Daily Mail and had managed to secure a prime spot in a press area in a stand high above the crowds. I could see everything.

It was an unforgettable moment as the Scottish Parliament was reborn after 300 years.

On that day across Scotland there were 163 other unforgettable moments as new lives were also being born.

As the 20th anniversary of the parliament approached, I met four of those babies who were born on Thursday 1 July 1999 - the day powers from Westminster were devolved to the new Scottish Parliament.

These 20-year-olds are a cross-section of young people who have never known Scotland without its own parliament.

Image caption Then and now: Abigail Richardson

When Abigail Richardson was just a few weeks old she met Donald Dewar, Scotland's first first minister, in the temporary parliament at the Assembly Hall on the Mound.

Like all the other "parliament babies", Abigail received a medal.

Looking back, she says the Scottish Parliament always been part of her life story.

"When I was in primary 2 we were doing a project and I remember taking my medal in," she says.

"Every time we did something about the parliament opening I would say 'that's my birthday'."

Abigail, from Edinburgh, now studies history at the University of the Highlands and Islands at Perth College.

She says the Scottish Parliament has made an impact on her life.

"I don't have to pay tuition fees to go to university, it lowered the voting age so I got to vote in the last Scottish election," she says.

"That's the main impact it's had so far, in the next 10 years it will have more of an impact than it has so far."

Image caption Then and now: Sarah-Jayne Duncan

Sarah-Jayne Duncan, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, also thinks not paying tuition fees to go to a Scottish university has made a difference to her.

She is is studying politics and international relations at Dundee university.

Sarah-Jayne says: "Being the first in your family to go to university is a very big step.

"I wouldn't have been able to do that without the option of having free tuition.

"Coming from the background I have and the circumstances I grew up in I would never have thought of paying for tuition fees."

Image caption Then and now: Charlie Devlin

Charlie Devlin, from Glasgow, is also a student, studying acting and English at Napier University in Edinburgh.

He like all the rest, had the chance to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections when he turned 16.

The law was changed in Scotland in 2015 to lower the voting age for Scottish elections.

Charlie says he was too young to vote in the independence referendum in 2014.

He says: "If there is another Scottish independence referendum I'll be able to vote on that because the first one I was a year too young. If it ever comes up again I'll have my own voice."

Image caption Then and now: Charlie Dingwall

Charlie Dingwall, from Pitlochry in Perthshire, is a music business student.

He says school trips to the Holyrood parliament in Edinburgh are now part of everyday life and as well as the building being physically closer than Westminster, the politicians who work inside are also more accessible too.

He says: "I think the fact that politicians coming from Edinburgh makes it easier for them and easier for you to have more of a relationship with them instead of being just somebody you see on a screen or a letter that gets sent from London.

"They actually can come and visit and give you opportunities in your town or wherever."

All the 20-year-olds think the Scottish Parliament has had an affect on their lives.

What will the next 20 years bring for them and for Scotland?

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