DURING last weekend's meeting of the Peebles-Hendaye Twinning Association, the group's founder John Woolliams, and his wife Carol who served on the committee until 2015, latterly as treasurer, were awarded Life Memberships.

The ceremony took place during Saturday's French Cheese and Wine Evening in St Joseph’s Neighbourhood Hall.

Andrew Grieve, current chair of Peebles-Hendaye Twinning Association, said that this was an award that was long overdue.

John, as chairman of the Peebles Community Council in 1994, was instrumental in bringing the two towns together from 1994 to 1998 when the Twinning Charter that hangs in the Chambers Institution was signed.

Mr Woolliams had ended his chairmanship of the PCC and became the first chairman of Peebles-Hendaye Twinning Association.

In 2018, Peebles Twinning Committee welcomed the Mayor of Hendaye and his party to Peebles for Beltane Week to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning with Hendaye.

And in 2019 a party of twinners, along with a team from Tweeddale Petanque Club, were guests of the Mayor of Hendaye to celebrate the same anniversary of Hendaye twinning with Peebles, Viana do Costelo, Portugal, and Arguedas, Navarre, Spain.

For Hendaye this was a huge event over four days, and very interesting for those who attended.

The Mayor’s reception and renewal of friendships ceremony was conducted in five languages – French, Basque, Spanish, Portuguese and English.

In Peebles there is now a new enthusiastic young committee, keen to attract the next generation of curious, intrepid Francophiles, to share their ways of life and living, cultures and traditions, languages and histories.

At this point of the UK’s exit from the EU, grassroots connections with friends in Hendaye becomes more important than ever.

There are plans afoot this year for a connection between Peebles young footballers and those of Hendaye.

And Peebles Pipe Band will visit France later in the year.

To find out more about Peebles-Hendaye Twinning Association look at the website, Facebook page, or make contact by email info@peebles-hendaye.com