St Andrews established its first formal twinning relationship as part of the town’s St Andrew’s celebrations last weekend.
At the community council’s annual civic reception, council chairman Howard Greenwell and John Matthews, chairman of the St Andrews-Loches Alliance, signed the twinning treaty on behalf of St Andrews, after a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the Paris terrorist attack.
Loches’ Mayor Marc Angenault and Anne-Sylvie Vassenaix-Paxton, who chairs the French arm of the Alliance, represented Loches, and the whole event was witnessed by Fife Provost Jim Leishman.
The twinning treaty marks the culmination of almost 20 years of links between the two towns.
Loches, in the Indre-et-Loire department, is a medieval town, and first approached St Andrews to form a twinning arrangement in the 1990s.
The first exchange visit took place in 1996, when a group from Loches visited St Andrews to join in that year’s St Andrew’s celebrations.
In 1997 St Andreans paid a reciprocal visit, and the St Andrews-Loches Alliance was born. Since then dozens of visits have been exchanged with groups as diverse as local football teams, schools, bands, choirs and golfers forging links between the two towns.
M. Angenault recalled the long history between Scotland and France, and St Andres and Loches in particular, before telling guests at the signing: “Nothing is possible without friendship anhd people.”
Mr Greenwell added: “Twinning is about building friendships, gaining experience and understanding different cultures. It is only by our friendships that we will make the world a better place.”
Before the signing the 37 residents of Loches had seen the City of St Andrews Pipe Band performing a Beating of the Retreat in a damp South Street, and also enjoyed a busy weekend of activities.
The reciprocal treaty will be signed in Loches at Easter.