THE twin towns of Maybole, Scotland and Crosne, France celebrated the silver anniversary of their historic twinning agreement on Friday.
A delegation of Maybolers made the trip to France for the occasion and were treated royally by their hosts.
Former mayor Michel Berson welcomed his Scottish visitors, many of whom have made annual or biennial trips since the accord was signed.
Msr Berson was the Mayor of Crosne in 1982 at the time of the first signing, when
David Kiltie, chairman of Maybole Community Council signed the agreement on behalf of Maybole.
Chairman of Maybole Town Twinning, William J Grant thanked his hosts for their hospitality and friendship before addressing the assembled Scots and French.
He said: "It is amazing to think that we are celebrating 25 years since we first signed our twinning agreement with Crosne away back in 1982.
"What is town twinning? Twinning towns is a wonderful way of bonding communities in long-term friendships. It also helps to foster understanding and tolerance by giving people from twin towns the chance to learn about another culture, language, history and way of life. "This is especially important for young people who may not have had a chance to leave their home town. For them, the twinning relationship offers an opportunity to broaden horizons as well as nurture important qualities such as openness and acceptance.
"It is indeed excellent that in the last two years we have managed to arrange school exchanges between Crosne and Maybole and we hope these will continue, building on the friendship that has been created between the schools.
"Twinning can fulfill several of the most human needs, companionship, activity, adventure, curiosity. It is a means of understanding other peoples, their culture, lifestyle, food, language. You make new friends, sometimes for life, and are accepted into families.
"Twinning began in the late 1940s as a means of reconciling European nations that had been torn apart by war. Historians often cite the twinning of Orlans (France) and Dundee (Scotland) in 1946 as the first modern twinning arrangement.
"As the benefits of the movement became apparent, twinning became a world-wide phenomenon.
"As it was set out to do, town twinning in forging partnerships, and continues to make an important contribution to this dynamic process of bringing European people together.
"It has helped to change Europe forever, gone are the days of dictatorships, East and west, today in this the 21st century , we live in a Europe where the concept "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" flourishes, we live in 'a peoples' Europe'.
"The very best way of building trust, understanding and friendship between people in Europe is by meeting together, sharing experiences and learning from each other.
"Maybole Town Twinning Association is proud of its history in twinning, we are proud that our twinning has always been and hopefully will continue to be a peoples twinning, built on the friendship of individuals but most importantly the family.
"Through this twinning of the people we the citizens of Maybole and Crosne, and of course our fellow twinners from Beloeil, Schotten , Arco, Bogen, Ozimek and Rymarov have in our own way helped to break down the barriers of language, race and creed, but in doing this we have not forgotten our own individuality.
"We are part of a Europe in which we can exchange opinions and enjoy joint activities between our twinning family.
"The arranging of twinning events through all these years of course takes a lot of hard work and we thank all those who have giving of their time freely, working for the twinning between Maybole and Crosne, making all the events over the years so successful.
"At this time we remember our fellow twinners who sadly are no longer with us.
"Today is an important day for us all, and indeed it is excellent that in tonight's programme we have young people from the college singing songs of Robert Burns.
"Robert Burns of course is Scotland's national poet and his words can relate to the concept "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" as in the poem "A Man's a Man for A' That" which ends in the words:For a' that, an' a' that, It's coming yet for a' that, That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brithers be for a' that.
"Let us look forward to the next 25 years. Long live Crosne - Long live Maybole.