A COLOURFUL parade is taking place next week to mark the bicentenary of Beith Townhouse.

Monday, May 22 marks exactly 200 years since the foundation stone of the current Townhouse building was laid.

Beith Cultural Heritage Society is celebrating this special occasion with a parade, which will gather at 10.30am at the Community Gardens in Mitchell Street.

Led by Halberdier John McCartan, the procession will leave at 10.45am and go down Main Street to the Auld Kirk before crossing the road to the Townhouse. As well as the Halberdier, it is hoped the parade will include people dressed in Regency costume, children from Beith Primary School dressed in Victorian and current school wear, and invited guests.

One of the guests invited to attend is Derek Smith, a descendant of John Smith who ran a printers shop on the ground floor of the Townhouse in the 19th century.

The parade will culminate with a Rededication Ceremony at the Townhouse – outside the building if the weather allows – at 11am.

The ceremony will comprise words and a prayer by Fiona Blair, Associate Minister at Beith Parish Church, and a short history of the Townhouse by Allan Richardson, Honorary President of Beith Cultural and Heritage Society.

Following the service, guests will be invited inside for light refreshments and a chance to view the exhibition.

The ground floor has a display on the history of Beith from prehistoric times to 1817 whereas the upper floor will display photographs and artefacts from the Townhouse’s history.