French accolade for Aboyne twinning trio

Medal recipients Peter Argyle, Bill Shand, second left, and Sheena Cooper, second right with the Mayor
Medal recipients Peter Argyle, Bill Shand, second left, and Sheena Cooper, second right with the Mayor

Three members of Aboyne Twinning Association have been honoured for their roles in setting up the link between the village and Martignas-sur-Jalle.

Mayor Michel Vernajoul presented them with the prestigious Martignas-sur-Jalle medal during a recent visit by Aboyne representatives to south west France.

Bill Shand, Sheena Cooper and Councillor Peter Argyle each received the accolade for commitments to the established bonds that link the communities.

Mr Shand said: “Thirty-two years ago, I met Michel Bastida from Martignas at a Scotland-France rugby international in Paris.

“Many years later Michel approached me to see if the two communities could form a twinning link. In 2010, the official charter was signed at a ceremony in Aboyne.”

A rugby link was set up between the Deeside and Martignas clubs in 2017 and earlier this year Deeside Rugby hosted U14 teams from Martignas, receiving support from Aboyne

Twinning Association, playing rugby and hosting a Junior Highland Games at Kincardine Castle.

Ms Cooper said: “I am very glad to see the young people of Aboyne remaining involved in a great opportunity to expand horizons and build understandings of our neighbours.

“The twinning association presented two trophies to the Aboyne schools a number of years ago and this year the academy awarded this to an exceptional student linguist.”

In October, eighteen 14 and 15-year olds, as well as two Aboyne Academy teachers will travel to Martignas as part of a project with twinning association funds, combined with EU Erasmus funds, that links young adults from Martignas in France and towns in Spain and Greece.

Mr Argyle said: “I am glad that the cultural, educational and friendship opportunities that the this association brings is still growing 10 years later.

“In particular that the membership is still growing and that three-quarters of our delegation were first time visitors to Martignas – I am sure that we will be here for many years to come.”

Twinning association chairman Gavin Jones said of the summer visit: “All of the visitors to Martignas were impressed by the genuine welcome and generous hospitality we received from our hosts.

“It was an opportunity to renew old friendships and build on the new friendships made when Martignas last visited Aboyne and our Highland Games in 2018.”