Haddinton Town House, Tuesday 29 October 2019

Present: Gwen Andrew (Minutes), Louise Begbie, Douglas Bober, Isla Booth, Bill Bradford, Mary Bradford, June Cairns, Gilles Charbonnier (Chair), Bruce Clark (Vice Chairman), Irene Clark, Fiona Cuthill, Jean Fairbairn, Irene Higgenbotham, Nikolaus Hogg, Jimmy Lunsden, Elaine Mitchell-Wilson(Secretary), Margaret Ramsay, Lisa Shaw, Jim Stretton, David Watt, Wyn Williamson, Andrew Wilson (Treasurer)

1. Apologies

Beth Elliot, Carol Lumsden

2. Acceptance of 2018 AGM minutes (20 October 2018)

Proposed by Margaret Ramsay and seconded by Irene Higgenbotham

3. Chairman’s report

3.1 Links with schools (Elaine)

• The annual Alice Burnett Twinning Scholarship. In 2019, the Scholarship was awarded to Ilsa Booth. Isla stayed with families in Aubigny during July and undertook a variety of work placements throughout the period. She was also able to attend the Fetes Franco-Ecossaise held in Aubigny. The scholarship is fully funded by HTA with the assistance of the Aubigny Twinning Association (ATA) which helps with the organising of work experience and hosting.

• The Aubigny scholarship winner. Aymé Guérin visited in May and was hosted by several families in Haddington. Aymé is studying in Bourges to achieve a diploma in Information Technology. His East Lothian work placements included work in the libraries and museums around the county. Members of the association also took time at the weekend to ensure Aymé was able to visit further afield, our thanks to all involved. HTA provided assistance in organising work experience and hosting for the duration of the trip.

• Work experience. In May 2019, we welcomed Océane who had organised a work experience in a local shop. HTA assisted in finding accommodation and organised visits in Haddington and Edinburgh. We are particularly pleased that young people are taking an interest in coming to visit and work in Haddington and would encourage further exchanges. Océane’s time in Haddington ended with an invitation to a ceilidh organised by the Haddington Pipe Band. Our thanks go to John McMillan and East Lothian Council for organising this invitation.

• Haddington Primary School (HPS). HPS agreed to commence the development of links with the primary school L’ École des Grands Jardin in Aubigny to help support the 1+2 language learning programme (i.e. two foreign languages to be taught, in addition to English, in Scottish primary schools). This followed the successful French e-learning initiative, recently led by Michael Purves, between P3, Yester Primary School and l’École des Grand Jardins.

• Knox Academy. Hannah McBride, Modern Languages teacher at Knox Academy, organised for S5/6 pupils to visit Aubigny in December 2018. The five-day trip was very successful and students were hosted in families, organised by the Aubigny Twinning Association (ATA). Friendship were made during this trip and consolidated during the visit of ATA to Haddington in August 2019. As always, this trip helped S5 and S6 to improve their language skills. The committee thanked both Hannah McBride and the ATA for their part in organising such a successful trip. The trip was funded individually, with a contribution from HTA. Pupils from Knox Academy will be visiting Aubigny again in December

• S3 presentations. In June 2019 two members of the HTA committee went along to help judge the power point presentations made by S3 pupils on the Twinning links with Aubigny. Three teams were awarded certificates for their efforts.

4. Joint Haddington Twinning and Blooming Haddington Partnership Project

The Joint Haddington Twinning and Blooming Haddington Partnership Project saw the development of the French themed garden in Lady Kitty’s Garden. Blooming Haddington worked hard in tidying and preparing the area and with help on occasion from Haddington Twinning members transformed the area with the planting of the Aubigny Auld Alliance Irises, lavenders and other plants. A group of Knox Academy pupils also assisted with planting. Several irises were also planted in the garden area in Hardgate in the centre of Haddington. Both garden areas were visited by the Britain in Bloom judges during the judging day on 9th August. Plaques commemorating the Auld Alliance have also been erected in Lady Kitty’s and in St Mary’s Church. Future plans include the planting of more AAA irises, lavenders, sunflowers and passiflora.

Elaine thanked Blooming Haddington for all their hard work and horticultural creativity, and the Mortification Trust for its financial support. Elaine also congratulated Louise Begbie from Blooming Haddington on their success in the recent Britain In Bloom awards, coming first in the ‘Gardening in a Changing Climate’ category and ‘Best Town’. Louise said that the judges were very impressed by that fact that the community involvement shone in Haddington.

Blooming Haddington would like to develop links with a similar organisation in Aubigny, and have expressed an interest in taking part in the visit to Aubigny in July 2020.

Jim Reilly from Haddington Gardening Club kindly donated a wheelbarrow to Haddington Twinning for use in Lady Kitty’s Garden and in future Blooming Haddington wheelbarrow trails.

5. Exchange visits (Bruce)

Seventeen members of the HTA undertook an unofficial visit to Aubigny in July 2019 for the 30th anniversary of the fetes Franco-Ecossaise. They were welcomed and hosted by families organised by ATA.

In August 2019, 42 members of ATA visited Haddington. A week of events and visits were organised by HTA and East Lothian Council, culminating in a ceilidh where both visitors and hosts were able to show their skills at dancing, and even singing in French. As part of the programme, our friends from Aubigny attended the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, visited the Edinburgh City Chamber, the Athelstaneford Saltire Centre, Paxton House and Berwick upon Tweed. Friendly pétanque and tennis matches also took place.

The visit was not only the occasion to see old friends but to create new friendships. A number of young people from Aubigny who hosted the Knox Academy pupils in December were able to make the trip to Haddington and enjoyed being hosted in return. They appreciated spending a day in Knox Academy, with younger children visiting Haddington Kings Meadow primary school.

Bruce thanked all the hosts, East Lothian Council, John McMillan and committee members for their assistance and contribution in organising these events and for making it such a success.

Gilles would like to see more people going to Aubigny in future – not just those people involved in the HTA – and asked the people attending the AGM to ‘spread the word’.

6. Fundraising (Gilles)

• HTA organised a stall at the Haddington Farmers’ Market on 27 October, selling Twinning Christmas cards and publicising the Beaujolais Nouveau Film Night that took place on16 November 2018.

• The Film Night featured “Le Diner de Cons”, a comedy that was popular in both theatre and film format. The event, featured in the Haddington 700 programme was sold out. Our thanks go to the Haddington Film Club for their help in showing the film.

• A sold out French themed Quiz Night was held on 22 March 2019 at the Town House.

• The annual pétanque event held during the Haddington Festival week was well attended despite some rain. We welcomed French and British players alike for a friendly match.

• Similar events and fund raising nights are planned for 2020. Our thanks to committee members and their friends and families for their contribution, time and effort during these events.

7. Treasurer’s report

Andrew presented the financial statement for the year ending 30 September 2019.

Total Income 2018/19 £3,515.78
Total expenditure: £4,992.29
Net: – £1,476.51

Money brought forward
from previous year £4,296.36
Less net amount for year: – £1,476.51
Net amount at 30/9/19: £2,818.85

The biggest spend in 2018/19 was the visit of our friends from Aubigny (food/entertainment). However this only happens every second year and there is the opportunity to make up this deficit in the coming year.

8. Independent Examiner’s Report

Jim Stretton said that although this was not a formal audit process, the bank account details were a well-kept set of records of expenditure and that Andrew had a ‘tidy set of books’.

9. Election of committee members and office bearers

• Chairman: Gilles Charbonnier agreed to continue, having been proposed by Bruce and seconded by Jean.

• Vice Chairman: Bruce Clark agreed to continue, having been proposed by Gilles and seconded by Gwen.

• Secretary: Elaine Mitchell-Wilson agreed to continue, having been proposed by Margaret and seconded by Wyn.

• Treasurer: Andrew Wilson agreed to continue, having been proposed by Dougas and seconded by June.

• Minute taker: Vacant.

• Knox Academy representative: Isla to find out who may be interested in doing this.

• Committee members: Margaret Ramsay, Douglas Bober, Irene Higgenbotham, Irene Clark, Beth Elliot, Jan Bundy, John McMillan. Proposed by Andrew, seconded by Gilles.

Gilles told attendees that everyone is welcome to come along to the HTA committee meetings.

10. AOB

• Tony Reeves (University of the Third Age) said that the U3A has a well-established petangue team and would welcome anyone who wants to join. (2pm in Haddington for one hour). He will confirm details with the secretary. Gilles said that he knew of some people who might be interested in joining a league.

• Presentation by Isla Booth: Isla gave a presentation on her experiences in Aubigny and how she benefitted from the scholarship.

• Jean-Pierre Petat, who was a member of the Aubigny committee, had died. HTA will send their condolences.

• The Chairman thanked everyone for coming. He reiterated that the HTA is for all, open to all and that there are lots of people in Aubigny who would be willing to host. If people are interested in going they will be able to find details on the website. He also thanked the Haddington Pipe Band, the HTA committee and Blooming Haddington for all their hard work. A special thanks and condolences were also offered to Fiona Cuthill who, along with her late husband Bill, were long standing members and supporters of the HTA. Bill, who audited the AGM books for several years, passed away earlier this year.