23 MARCH 2004
He once sang Auld Lang Syne, and he did spend an hour at Prestwick airport in 1960 on his way home from national service in Germany, but until now that's been pretty much the sum of Elvis Presley's relationship with Scotland.
But that's all about to change. Scottish researcher Allan Morrison has stirred up huge excitement with the revelation that he's traced the King's roots back to the tiny village of Lonmay in northeast Scotland, where, he says, Elvis' great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather lived in the 1700s. The offspring of his marriage, Andrew Presley, emigrated to North Carolina in 1745 and started the American branch of the family.
"I definitely think this is true as there are a lot of Presleys in the area," says 70-year-old Jim Presly, who lives near Lonmay and whose own surname lost the second 'e' decades ago because of a spelling mistake.
Inhabitants of the hamlet, which boasts neither a shop nor a school, are now hoping that the discovery will put Lonmay on the tourist map for Elvis' famously tenacious fans. "Elvis was at Prestwick for an hour in 1960 and fans from throughout the world visit, so you can imagine what might happen to Lonmay," points out one local Elvis expert.
"Graceland still attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year 26 years after his death," agrees Mr Morrison, who is the author of a book about Andrew Presley. Other reactions to the news were less hopeful. "It's not going to be as big as Loch Ness," prophesies the president of the Elvis Presley Fanclub of Great Britain.