Sunday, 9 February 2014
Provost marks 30th anniversary Burns Supper in St Germain-en-Laye
South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie has attended the 30th annual town twinning Burns Supper in the French town of Saint Germain-en-Laye with members of the Ayr Town Twinning Association.
“The most successful town twinning event I've been to!” she said.
With over 300 tickets for the event sold out in advance – with a long waiting list – Provost Moonie attended the event along with a party of 22 from South Ayrshire, which included town twinning representatives from Ayr and members of the Ayrshire Fiddle orchestra Pictured below), who played songs by Burns and traditional Scottish music to the enthusiasm and delight of their French audience.
Ayr Town Twinning Association (ATTA) was founded in 1984 with the aim of fostering and encouraging links between individuals and groups in Ayr and St Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, Ayr’s twin town.
Traditionally, members make friends with French people with similar interests and visit for short periods, staying in family homes as guests, not as tourists, and visits are then reciprocated by French guests, who come to Ayr. The annual Burns supper has grown in size and scope and is now an anticipated and well-loved part of both associations’ calendar.
Provost Helen Moonie said: “Burns would have loved the idea of twin towns and he’d have embraced the fraternity and kinship all of this involved. He'd have been overjoyed to see Ayr and St Germain marking the 30th Burns Supper in his memory and his honour.
“Building on the superb relationships and traditions the Ayr and St Germain Town Twinners have developed, I’ve been working to develop wider economic, tourism, leisure and sporting opportunities between both associations and areas.
“In addition to the ongoing and highly successful educational exchange visits we already enjoy, rugby and tennis events are in the pipeline and, tapping into the rich musical heritage of both areas, plans are already well advanced to host choral and musical events to showcase both cultures locally.
“The opportunities also exist to develop commercial links between St Germain and Ayr and I'm confident we can bring businesses in both areas together, sharing ideas and working together to benefit both our local economies.”
Provost Moonie concluded: “It’s clearly an exciting time for town twinning as we begin to realise the true potential and power of such arrangements, over and beyond the traditional exchange visits and occasional cultural events.
“Just as Burns urged us to ‘ne’er forgot the people,’ I'm confident our associations will make sure we ne’er forget him – and will continue working together to find common ground in developing the commercial, cultural and tourist potential we have in common, for the benefit of all our residents.”
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.