Athens mayor to confirm twinning

Phil Mills-Bishop, left, with Richard Holman-Baird
Phil Mills-Bishop, left, with Richard Holman-Baird

Stonehaven’s twinning with an American city is due to be confirmed next week

The town is in the process of sealing a partnership with Athens in Alabama, in the Deep South.

Mayor of Athens, Ronnie Marks, will formally acknowledge the twinning intention on Saturday, November 17, at the opening of the city’s bicentenary celebrations and the 200th anniversary of Alabama’s formation as a state.

The twinning move was revealed in September by Phil Mills-Bishop, co-ordinator of Stonehaven and NE Scotland Twinning. It came after Stonehaven’s success in forging links with the French town of Acheres during the summer.

Castle Fraser, a twinning group member, has agreed to host a party on November 17 to join in the Athens celebrations. Special guest will be Ellen Wong, principal officer at the US Consulate General in Edinburgh.

A special birthday cake will be baked and the Stars and Stripes, along with the Alabama state flag, will hang with the Saltire at the castle entrance.

Around 5.20pm, a video link with Athens will allow Mr Mills-Bishop, Richard Holman-Baird, deputy co-ordinator of the twinning group, and others to pass on good wishes to the Mayor and Athens residents.

Mr Mills-Bishop said: “Modern twinning is much more than just a civic connection with a plaque, as in the past, but includes educational exchanges, tourist flows, reciprocal sporting events, business opportunities and greater understanding between respective communities. In a growing unstable world that is no bad thing.

“The twinning group grew out of Stonehaven which is still very much the place of destination, as the US delegation will be based here next summer when they visit.

“Also, Stonehaven can act as a ‘gateway’ into other areas in the North-east - Castle Fraser is an example of that and has been one of our earliest members and staunch supporters.”