Twinning ceremony to seal Acheres link

The twinning will be concluded at Dunnottar Castle in July
The twinning will be concluded at Dunnottar Castle in July

The formal twinning of Stonehaven and a French town will begin this weekend.

A delegation will leave for Acheres - a suburb of Paris - tomorrow (Friday) for the first part of the signing process on Sunday.

Phil Mills-Bishop has co-ordinated the Acheres initiative

Phil Mills-Bishop has co-ordinated the Acheres initiative

The agreement will be completed when French representatives, including the Mayor of Acheres, visit Stonehaven in July for an official ceremony at Dunnottar Castle.

It will conclude nearly two years of intensive work by Stonehaven and District Community Council.

The twinning arrangement was supported at the Scottish Parliament last month with Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop congratulating all who have been involved.

The six-strong delegation travelling tomorrow will be spearheaded by community council chairman Phil Mills-Bishop, who has co-ordinated the twinning initiative.

He told the Leader this week: “At this point the feeling of accomplishment is immense in having got the initiative thus far against the odds and now the exciting anticipation of travelling to Acheres and engaging with community, cultural, sporting and business leaders face to face to recreate the ‘Auld Alliance’.

“Many thanks to those have supported all along and new supporters coming on board such as Castle Fraser, who have a French origin/connection, and are keen to host a lunch for the delegation during their stay-over in July.”

Mr Mills-Bishop added: “This newest support demonstrates, to me, that the Stonehaven twinning/concordat is a wonderful ‘doorway’ into which French tourists can pass through and explore attractions all over the North-east.

“Equally, Acheres is a similar doorway into Paris and all of the attractions and opportunities it could hold for businesses, culture, sporting clubs and communities in the area.”

Sunday’s signing will take place in the Market Square in Acheres as a centrepiece of its Pentecostal celebration.

Acheres’ existing twinning partners, one from Portugal and another from Germany, will also be attending.

The second stage of formalising the link will take place either on Saturday, July 7, or the following day around noon on the Green inside Dunnottar Castle.

Efforts are under way to arrange for the French Consul to Scotland, a Scottish Cabinet Minister and director of VisitScotland to attend the ceremony.

Mr Mills-Bishop is appealing to the Stonehaven community to offer hospitality accommodation for the Mayor of Acheres and his delegation when they visit the town.

He can be contacted at philmillsbishop@gmail.com

For the Acheres visit, the group will take a DVD compiled by history/modern studies pupils at Mackie Academy, and paper thistles made by Dunnottar Primary youngsters which will be distributed.