They betray some fairly fundamental misunderstandings both of how charities work and of the Great Tapestry project itself.

Firstly, Mr Ballantyne makes the rather bizarre comment that the Trustees are 'unelected’ and 'unknown’. Should you choose to do so you can look up all those involved in the Tapestry with full biographies on our website. We are of course 'unelected’ as we are a group of people who have come together for a particular public object in which we believe.

We are governed by strict charity laws and report regularly to OSCR, the regulatory body for all Scottish charities. It has made no complaint or comment on our governance as we have abided entirely by the codes of conduct they lay down. No Trustee receives any renumeration, nor can they do so under charity law. They give of their time for free. Indeed a number of Trustees have personally and substantially supported the project financially, or with regard to time given, with no prospect of return.

We (the Trust) receive no money from Borders Council. It goes towards the building in which the Tapestry will be housed. Our intention is at, or around that time, for new governance arrangements to be arrived at to reflect the realities of a permanent home and the support and commitment that the Borders has shown.

Mr Ballantyne (and I must salute his indefatigable efforts) has it seems written to every council in Scotland asking if they had bid for the Tapestry and seems to regard it as some sort of smoking gun that all bar East Lothian said no. He could have approached us directly and I am sure we would have been happy to confirm that indeed no other council had bid. However other charitable or cultural organisations did put in serious offers, all of which were considered carefully.

In other words there were indeed a number of other entirely credible bidders for the Tapestry.

In this, as in so many other areas, the critics of this project have never sought to check the accuracy of their statements with the Trustees.

The reason the Borders was chosen by the Trustees was not the result of pressure or manipulation on our part (which would have been utterly improper) but that we felt the Borders submitted the proposal that worked best for the future of the Tapestry and would enable it to be seen and enjoyed by the maximum number of people. While it would have been relatively simple to site the Tapestry in or around Edinburgh, we wished to use the already demonstrated enormous pulling power of the Tapestry (some 150 000 visitors a year) to benefit other areas of Scotland than the 'usual suspects’.

Cultural tourism is, as we know, an enormous income generator, not simply directly, but in the form of other add on visits, retail spend, food spend etc so to simply quantify the cost of the project and assume no income is an entirely specious assumption.

For those who have seen it (and I cannot suggest too strongly to those that comment that they perhaps do make the effort to see it) the Tapestry is both a magnificent and humbling thing, the product of thousands of people across our country, and a tribute both personal and collective to the richness and diversity of our history. Aside from its visitor impact it has also proved a powerful educational resource and way of bringing Scotland’s story to a younger generation in a unique way. The Trustees sole concern is to see it in a safe, secure and long term home. It is, in effect, being given, in trust, to the people of the Borders by the people of Scotland whose story it is.

Views have been expressed on the choice of a new building for the project. We have to bear in mind the Tapestry is a very large cultural object. It has to be viewed in a particular way. It requires very strict conservation criteria including temperature, humidity and light controls. Meeting the exacting standards necessary is not an easy task and it is certainly not a case of simply matching the Tapestry to an existing building. A new building has the merit of being able to take all these considerations into the initial plans.

It is right for the Trustees to thank Borders Council for their support, vision and understanding of what the Tapestry is and what it could both bring and mean to the community in which it sits. It seems to me that we in Scotland have two choices – there is a Scotland of ambition, of generosity of spirit and of cultural richness. And there is a Scotland of denigration, of petty mindedness, of back biting. The Tapestry and those who made it sit with that first Scotland. It is our hope and belief that the Borders sits there too.

I am, etc.

Hugh Andrew Trustee Managing Director Birlinn Ltd