Twin town group visits Stonehaven

A proud moment - Phil Mills-Bishop with Mayor of Acheres Marc Honore after the signing
A proud moment - Phil Mills-Bishop with Mayor of Acheres Marc Honore after the signing

Stonehaven is preparing to give a warm welcome this weekend to a delegation from its twin town of Acheres.

A group led by the mayor will arrive in the town tomorrow (Friday) for three days.

It follows the official signing of the twinning agreement in the suburb of Paris in May.

This weekend’s visit cements the links being forged between the towns.

A full programme of activities has been laid on for the visitors including a special “Gathering” at Dunnottar Castle on Saturday.

The five-strong Acheres group, headed by Mayor Marc Honore, will be joined at the castle ceremony by French consul general in Scotland Emmanuel Cocher and other guests, including local MSPs Liam Kerr and Mairi Gougeon and Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson.

They will be welcomed by Phil Mills-Bishop, co-ordinator of Stonehaven and District Twinning Group, and Marc Honore will respond.

The mayor is expected to make an announcement about a tennis team from Acheres coming to Stonehaven in 2019 to compete in a tournament organised by the local club.

Stonehaven Rugby Club is also being invited to take part in the 50th anniversary celebrations of Acheres Rugby Club next July.

The Dunnottar event will also feature singing and Highland dancing by Dunnottar Primary School pupils, and tokens of friendship from Fetteresso Church.

The visit coincides with the annual Stonehaven Folk Festival.

Acheres delegate Jerome Vannier, a theatre director, is looking for Scots musicians to take part in an event next year and will speak to folk festival officials about possible acts.

Over the weekend, the Acheres group will take part in local walking tours and visits, before departing on Monday.

The twinning arrangement is set to lead to further partnerships between Stonehaven and other countries.

Mr Mills-Bishop said: “The newly-formed Stonehaven and District Twinning Group and the twinning concept will now go from strength to strength and a dedicated Facebook page is imminent.

“There are already early discussions to extend the twinning concordat to Groskrotzenburg in Germany, Amarante in Portugal and, even more exciting, with towns in China and Japan.

“In my opinion, the future for Stonehaven and indeed the whole of Kincardinshire lies in the growth from tourism and tourists making Stonehaven and the area a place of destination.

“You only have to go up to Dunnottar Castle on any day to see the range of visitors and numbers of 1000 a day to see the future.

“Moreover, the twinning concordat and the twinning group rationale is not just about money, but also the rich interchange and understanding gained from culture, history, community, fraternity, sporting and education links that it brings.”