Hopes high for link with Kelso’s American cousins

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Hopes have been expressed that Kelso might be able to agree a twinning arrangement with a namesake in the north-western United States.

Next week, local piper Sandy Devers and his son, Paul, will travel from the Borders to Seattle in Washington State and during the trip will spend time in Kelso.

The county seat of Cowlitz County in Washington State, Kelso, which lies 125 miles south of Seattle, is home to 12,000 residents and was founded in 1889 by Peter Crawford, a surveyor from Kelso here in the Borders.

A native of Glasgow, Sandy, who moved to the Borders just 18 months ago, is chief executive of the Hawick-based Streets Ahead charity.

A keen piper, he has visited Washington State previously, but this will be his first visit to the American version of Kelso - or at least one of them, as there is another ‘Kelso’ in California, albeit a deserted ghost town.

Sandy will meet with civic leaders when he and Paul reach Washington State and will hand over a greeting from Borders counterpart, Provost John Bassett.

“It came about because I wanted to take my son on his first visit to the US and we thought it would be nice to visit the American version of Kelso while over there,” Sandy told us.

Sandy added local community councillor, Colin McGrath, had been to Kelso in Washington State before and contacted them to say a fellow Borders resident would was heading their way.

“I am hoping to meet with the city mayor of Kelso and will be handing over a message from the provost of Kelso here in the Borders, plus a wee gift, with the idea being to start exploring the possibility of closer links.”

Provost Bassett confirmed: “Sandy will be carrying a letter of greetings from me, and a copy of Dave Robinson’s book on Kelso. The Kelso Community Council hopes to twin with them somewhere along the line. I think this would be a good idea for Kelso on both sides of the pond; I really hope we can get this off the ground.”