STIRLING provost Christine Simpson welcomed a special group of visitors from sister city Dunedin last week for a civic reception at Old Viewforth.

Mayor of Dunedin, Julie Bujalski, and city manager, Jennifer Bramley, were among the 20-strong party who had travelled from the Florida-based city for a five-day trip to Stirling. 

Stirling Council chief executive, Carol Beattie; council leader Scott Farmer; and cllrs Chris Kane, Alasdair Tollemache and Neil Benny were all in attendance at the event.

After welcoming mayor Bujalski and the rest of the group to Stirling, the provost spoke about Stirling’s rich history and world-class attractions, including its wide array of shops, restaurants and cafes.

The mayor then addressed the room about the significant Scottish influence in Dunedin, which is located on Florida’s gulf coast.

To celebrate the links between the two cities, the provost presented mayor Bujalksi with a replica model of the William Wallace sword, while the mayor gifted a special painting of oranges by a renowned local artist in Dunedin.

Provost Simpson said: “I was delighted to welcome mayor Bujalski and our visitors from Dunedin to Stirling and celebrate this long-standing partnership which now spans over 50 years.

“I know some of them have already visited Stirling, but I am sure they would all have been impressed by our world-class attractions, beautiful rural landscape and vibrant city centre.

“I really enjoyed spending time with the mayor and the rest of the party, and hopefully this trip will strengthen the links between the two cities and draw more visitors to Stirling from that part of Florida.”

The ties between Dunedin and Stirling go back to 1964 when a protocol was signed, declaring them to be “sister” cities and calling for the development of a “people to people” relationship.

After meeting with elected members and senior officers, the mayor and Mrs Bramley continued their trip, which included visits to some of the city’s most famous landmarks such as Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.

They also visited The PEAK Leisure Centre, the Smith Art Gallery and Museum, were VIP guests at Bridge of Allan Highland Games, and held a meeting with the Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Dunedin, which has a population of 37,000, prides itself in its Scottish connections and founders. It has a Council comprising a mayor, deputy mayor and three Commissioners (councillors) elected on a non-political basis.