THIS year could be a significant one for Newton Stewart with the potential for a huge boost to the local economy through twinning with the town of Marcoussis in France.
Officials from the two towns have been travelling back and forth across the channnel for the past five years establishing links between them. Now local councillors are set to put the formal seal on proceedings by signing a town twinning agreement.
The Newton Stewart and District Twinning Association should be officially recognised by Dumfries and Galloway Council next week, paving the way for European Union funding to support the twinning.
Cree Valley Community Council chairman John McNaught said: “As chairman of Cree Valley Community Council, I would like to congratulate the twinning committee for its success in bringing this about. I am aware of the hard work that has been put into this project by mainly a small group of people from the area, although there has been a much bigger group involved along the way dealing with visits and events.
“Much of the work has been spearheaded by Meta Maltman, who was instrumental in taking this matter forward when she was the community council secretary, and it is good to hear that her immense efforts have paid off which can only be good for the community as a whole, particularly regarding tourism and educational benefits.
“All of those involved throughout the whole process, which has gone on over several years, deserve a huge pat on the back and the thanks of the community.”
A Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesperson said: “The Newton Stewart and District Twinning Association would like to apply for EU funding to further its work. First, it needs to be recognised as an organisation by our council. A report on the work of the group will be going to next Wednesday’s area committee.”
Marcoussis is a community in the southern suburbs of Paris, 15 miles from the centre of the city. It is famous as the location of the CNR (National Centre of Rugby) where the French national rugby union team prepares for international competitions, and was the starting point for the Tour de France in 2007.
The town is already twinned with Waldsassen in Germany, Beregadougou in Africa and Marianske Lazne in the Czech Republic.