How twinned town celebrated its 20 years of the French connection

Signing ceremony at Dunbar 16th April 1994
Signing ceremony at Dunbar 16th April 1994

A delegation from Dunbar’s French twin town, Lignieres, arrived in the coastal town last week to celebrate 20 years of formal links between the two communities.

After their welcome from members of Dunbar’s Twinning Association, a programme of events got going with meetings at Dunbar Grammar and Stenton Primary Schools and a tour of historic Dunbar led by Honorary President of the Association, Stephen Bunyan. On Thursday the visitors attended a Civic Reception in Dunbar’s Council Chambers, followed by a buffet meal in the community room in the Town House. The visit concluded on Friday morning the French delegation enjoyed some coastal walks before heading home.

At the Civic Reception, Stephen Bunyan welcomed the delegation, which included the Mayors of Ineuil and Montlouis, who had never been to Scotland before, official representatives of Touchay and Ids Saint Roch, schoolteachers from Lignieres, President of Lignieres’ Comite de Jumelage (twinning comittee), Solange Soulat and other members and former members of her committee.

Amongst local representatives, Stephen also welcomed East Lothian councillors John McMillan and Michael Veitch, current and former members of community councils in Dunbar & District and current and former teachers from the Grammar School including Hilda Laurenson, who had been a key figure in fostering twinning links via school exchanges over 20 years ago.

Speeches followed from the Chairpersons of both Lignieres and Dunbar Twinning Committees and concluded with a speech in French by John McMillan who offered three toasts: “Allez les bleus!,” “L’Auld Alliance!” and “Vive le Jumelage!” John, on behalf of the Provost of East Lothian, together with Stephen in his role as Chairman of Dunbar Community Council, then presented to Lignieres a painting by local artist Jean-Louis Daeschler, “The Approach to Dunbar Harbour”. A reciprocal work by a Lignieres artist was presented to Dunbar by Madame Soulat.

Entertainment was provided with an exhibition of photos and other items from 20 years of twinning prepared by committee members Rona Star and Fay Stanton, a skirl of the bagpipes by Connor Tierney, and a rendition of ‘John Anderson, My Jo’ by Lynda Jeffrey, who has been involved with twinning since its inception, particularly with the Stenton Singers group for whom she is musical director.

A vote of thanks to all sponsors and those who had been involved in the visit was given by Richard Smeed, Chairman of Dunbar & District Twining Association.