Stonehaven set to say ‘bonjour’ to new twinned town

Pic by Kenny Elrick

An Aberdeenshire coastal village is forging links with a French community in a bid to create a new twinning agreement.

Stonehaven and District Community Council has met with officials from Acheres, a small community just 20 miles from Paris.

Chairman Phil Mills-Bishop said: “The Acheres Initiative with a potential twinning and concordat relationship started over a year ago.

“Progress and support has been excellent. A critical point has been reached with enthusiastic support from Visit Scotland.”

Mr Mills-Bishop has led the talks with his French counterparts and said: “The Mayor of Acheres has invited myself and others to visit Acheres at the beginning of October.

“Thereafter, an Acheres delegation of six will come to Stonehaven at the start of November.

“A formal signing will take place both in Acheres-Paris and at Dunnottar Castle and a programme group from both Acheres and Stonehaven will begin to put “flesh” on the bones under the concordat.”

Kincardine and Mearns area manager Willie Munro said of the plans: “I think that key issues to consider are what does each party want to get out of twinning and how will the link be sustained in the longer term .

“It would be a great pity if a twinning is set up and then it isn’t sustained. If SDCC is keen to progress this, then we can give advice and support.”

Emphasising his desire to capitalise on the French tourism market, Visit Scotland partnerships executive Neil Christison expressed his hope the twinning would boost the numbers for Aberdeenshire.

He addded: “Here in Aberdeenshire, the French market is one of our top five international markets alongside Norway, Germany, USA and Holland.

“This exciting twinning between Acheres and Stonehaven will not only benefit the towns themselves, but will also potentially have a positive impact on visitor numbers and spending to Aberdeenshire as a whole.

“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, while creating employment and economic growth.”