THE friendships forged and maintained between a Hillfoots town and a northern French commune have endured a decade.

And there are hopes for 10 more as the twinning association between Tillicoultry and Crevecoeur-le-Grand in Picardie, France, marks its 10th anniversary tomorrow, October 6.

Founding members of Tillycoeur Twinning Association will remember it was on that day in 2012 that Jock McConville, on behalf of the Tillicoultry community and Andre Coet, mayor of Crevecoeur-le-Grand, signed the formal agreement in the Mairie in the Chateau de Rochfecaud with a large gathering of people from both communities there to mark the occasion.

It all began around a year earlier when Peter Norman and Eddie Inglis of Hillfoots Rugby Club, who had established a friendship with Beauvais Rugby Club, turned up at a meeting of the community council, explaining that some people in France would like to explore the possibility of a twinning association.

“When the word was spread around, a number of locals met and agreed to follow it up and in early 2012 we arranged for a visit from our French friends to be,” continued Claire McKay, secretary of Tillycoeur Twinning Association.

“Visits to Stirling Castle, social events at the rugby club and whisky tasting in the Woolpack proved to be a good start to our friendships.

“A few weeks later Jock and two others made a reciprocal visit to France and spent a few days filled with entertainment and hospitality. The visit to the cider maker was just one of the highlights.”

With friendships already growing, the agreement – the two towns' very own Entente Cordiale – was officially signed with a larger Tilly delegation visiting and enjoying several days of hospitality.

Claire said: “Ten years on has seen many exchange visits in both directions take place.

“The variety is endless. A youth football team from Tillicoultry has participated on several occasions in tournaments bringing teams from various countries to Crevecoeur Le Grand.

“Young people from the senior school in Crevecoeur-le-Grand have made a number of summer trips to Scotland enjoying Tilly in the Park, a cruise on the Maid of the Forth, and for them, the highlights were a trip to the Outlet Village and a fish supper.”

Distillery tours are always popular with the adult visitors as are the ceilidhs at the Devonvale Hall and the Masonic Lodge among a number of other activities.

Folks from Tilly who made trips to France have taken in the annual Christmas market, have dressed up as monks, country wenches and the like for several varieties of traditional French events that are always supported with food, wine and spectacle and a performance from The Lucky Clovers.

There has been much more with the annual flea market that attracts some 2,500 stalls and the French even put on a Scottish pub with everything including square sausage, haggis and a glass of wine.

Paris is also just a little more than an hour away, as are the battlefields of the Somme for those keen on history.

Most importantly, anyone from the town can join in.

Claire added: “The association wants to record its appreciation of all the local people, organisations and businesses that have supported us in so many ways.

“These include Hillfoots Rugby Club, Clackmannanshire Council, TCD Community Council, Tillicoultry Scouts, The Co-op, Safequip, The Masonic Lodge, The Woolpack, Tillicoultry Allotments Association, The Tartan Juggler, Jack Delaney's Band, Hillfoots Music for Youth to name but a few.”

To get involved find Tillycoeur on Facebook or email