Souters paid an entertaining and emotional visit to Plattling, their twin town in Bavaria, last weekend.
It was Selkirk’s turn to visit Plattling this year, sending a 25-strong twinning group plus guests.
On Friday the whole group – which included local pipers, policemen, firemen, ‘Twinning Father’ Bob Bertram, stalwart John Munro, on his 37th trip, plus Jim Newlands and Lindsay Neil, respectively Provost and campaigning community councillor in 1998, when the council narrowly passed the twinning 6 votes to 4 – laid a wreath at the graveside of Siegfried Scholz.
Mr Scholz, Plattling’s ex-Burgermeister or Mayor, died of cancer last year. He had presided over the formal twinning in 1998, following a ‘social partnership’ between the two towns’ fire brigades.
Bob Bertram told The Wee Paper: “We came to salute an old friend.”
Selkirk pipers, led by Andrew Bunyan, played Flo’ers o’ the Forest, and Bob read the last two lines of Robert Burns’ Epitaph on a Friend.
At a civil reception in the evening, the Scottish and German towns exchanged gifts: each Souter was given books and a glass, while Selkirk presented a quaiche inscribed ‘Selkirk-Plattling-Scharnitz 2014’, in reference to the Austrian town twinned with Plattling, which the party visited on Sunday and Monday in the Tyrol mountains.
Souters gave both countries a taste of Scotland in concerts, in Plattling on Saturday, and Scharnitz on Sunday.
Andrew Bunyan, Grant Munro and James Gill played Scottish tunes on the pipes, followed by Galashiels singer-songwriter Craig Jeffrey, Dere Street’s Keith Leisk and Gary Smith, and John Nichol and Rob Duff singing their own German songs, Helga Helga, and one about Easyjet – the true link between Selkirk and Plattling.
Bob, who first visited Plattling in 1965, said: “I take particular pleasure in seeing other people enjoying their visits on both sides.”
He thanked John Munro for organising the trips over the years, while Mr Munro, in turn, thanked Plattling’s Peter Lochmahr for all his hard work, and said the twinning was in healthy fettle, adding: “Every time you go, you meet new friends, and obviously meet lots of old friends. There’s more young people coming in on both sides. It was a brilliant weekend.”