Stonehaven’s been in the news a lot recently, as thousands of Mearns people enjoyed a beautifully sunny Highland Games, and no doubt its largest turnout in the event’s history.
There’s also been the small matter of completing the links between the town and the Parisian suburb of Acheres. Some may suggest the Continental weather of the former may have been influenced by the latter. I’ve definitely got a sunny outlook when it comes to Stoney and its future.
The agreement was formally signed in May, marking the culmination of 18 months of hard work by Stonehaven and District Community Council.
I believe the educational, sporting and business benefits are plain to see.
After doing so officially in the Scottish Parliament, I’d like to again commend Stonehaven Business Association, Mackie Academy, Dunnottar Primary School, Visit Scotland and local sporting clubs and landowners in their efforts.
Stonehaven is one of the North East’s jewels in the crown.
As a French speaker and Francophile, I know the French are our friends and any links we can forge with them will bring economic benefit.
Many of Scotland’s towns and villages have gained from twinning for years, although the practice isn’t something you often see these days.
There’s a lot more we in the Scottish Parliament can do to make sure this isn’t lost on Scots and our continental cousins.
Too many people conflate Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union with a desire to leave the wider community of Europe. Unless there’s been another referendum with that objective and I was out of the country, this is not the case.
And the UK Government recently confirmed to my good friend and local MP Andrew Bowie that they intend to support a new generation of links by bringing together mayors, leaders of city regions and others as they address today’s challenges.
Jointly with the French Government, we have set an objective of having 10 new twinnings every year until 2022.
So let’s hope Stoney is just the start of similar new arrangements.
Maybe we could twin Johnshaven with Juterbog, St Cyrus with Sabinillas, or Bervie with Beckenried.