Doohan us proud

JAMES DOOHAN'S family beamed into Linlithgow this week — and admitted they couldn't have picked a more fitting birthplace for Star Trek star, Scotty.

Mr Doohan, who played the legendary Scottish engineer, has been honoured with an exhibition at Annet House, full of unique memoribilla.

And on Monday, his widow, Wende, children, Larkin, Chris and Sarah, and grandaughter, Meaghan, visited the display to unveil a plaque, which will become a permanent feature in the town.

Its final location is yet to be confirmed but Chris admitted he was glad that Linlithgow had finally won the battle with Aberdeen to be named Scotty's official birthplace.

He said: "We are in love with Linlithgow. Yesterday we were given the opportunity to walk around and have a proper look at the area. It's absolutely beautiful and the centre of the town is terrific.

"We haven't even had the opportunity to go to the Palace yet, although it's definitely something we plan to do before we leave.

"Another thing we're yet to do is visit all the pubs! I remember telling the Gazette some time ago that I was planning to do a pub crawl. But we did get our first taste of it last night when we enjoyed a few drinks in the Four Marys, which was great!

"The only problem I've had is the accent. Of course, as a relative of Scotty, it's my own fault as I really should have been used to it! To be fair, it is my first time in Scotland.

"Dad had been over a couple of times and adored it. He visited Edinburgh and we're almost certain he came to Linlithgow."

With regards to the exhibition itself, Chris added: "I'd seen a couple of pictures but it really didn't do it justice. Obviously I just wish dad could have been here.

"There has been a battle over the years for his official birthplace but we think Linlithgow is a very fitting home."

Mr Doohan's eldest daughter, Larkin, agreed, saying: "Dad was fascinated by Scotland. The kilt that is on display at the exhibition was bought by him in Edinburgh.

"He was particularly fascinated by the wonderful examples of engineering you guys have. I remember when he saw the Falkirk Wheel on TV, he was so excited — pointing out he'd been there before it was built.

"He'd have loved this as well, and I honestly believe he knows exactly what's happening."

As a thank you for attending the event, the family were presented with several gifts from the museum.

These included a quaich, complete with the phrase, "Linlithgow: Where miracle workers are born," a bottle of Scotch whisky, flowers, and a bag of Edinburgh sweets for six year old, Sarah.

Doohan's third wife, Wende, said: "On behalf of our whole family, I'd like to thank Linlithgow for having us. It's a great honour.

"Jimmy may have been conceived in Ireland and brought up in Canada but Scotland will always be a big, big part of him.

"I'm really over-whelmed by this. It's a very wonderful thing — absolutely thrilling."

The exhibition has already proved a huge hit. It was revealed this week that museum visitor figures in August, when the exhibition opened, were 900 — more than double the 400 who visited in the same month last year.

Linlithgow Heritage Trust chairman, Alan Young, said: "We've thoroughly enjoyed having the exhibition here. I think the fact that it's about James Doohan the man and not just a mythical figure has really made it what it is.

"There has been a phenomenal interest from all over the world.''

West Lothian Council hasn't yet decided where in Linlithgow the plaque will go to mark the official birthplace of Scotty.

But Andy Pepperell, a member of the Edinburgh Star Trek Association — who also designed the plaque and exhibition — said: "My personal preference would be for the plaque to stay in Annet House. This is where it all started and I believe that's where it should be remembered."