Strip the Willow record-breaking attempt in Montrose goes out with a whimper

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Montrose tried and failed to dance its way into the record books at the weekend.

Junior Highland Games organisers were hoping to beat the current Strip the Willow record held by enthusiasts in Edinburgh and had set a target of attracting more than 1,914 dancers.

Sadly the turnout on Sunday fell well short of the record, with only around 100 people eventually joining in at Montrose Town Hall.

It didn’t help that the games had to be moved from the playing field next to Montrose Sport Centre at the 11th hour following what organisers described as a “hiccup” with the public entertainment licence.

Despite the disappointment, a piece of history made in the town earlier in the day with the inauguration of Rue de Luzarches.

The name has been given to a new section of the South Montrose Spine Road in honour of the twin town in France.

The Lord Lieutenant Georgiana Osbourne cut the ribbon at the ceremony along with the Mayor of Luzarches, Damien Delrue.

Angus provost Ronnie Proctor was in attendance along with a delegation from Luzarches and representatives of all the schools and youth organisations.

Mr Proctor said: “Many visits and exchanges have been made since the twinning of Montrose and Luzarches in 1994 and we have found that the people of Luzarches are both warm and friendly.

“Many of us Scots have been a bit apprehensive as many of us do not speak French.

“The language difficulty has never been a problem nor has it caused any obstacle as people from all over the world irrespective of creed, colour or nationality find a commonality and get on with each other.”

The twinning started when Catherine Leduc from Luzarches came to Montrose to spend a year as an assistant at Montrose Academy.

Her father Alain Leduc, headmaster of the primary school, Louis Jouvet, in Luzarches, came over to Montrose to visit her and was introduced to the then headmaster of Lochside Primary Peter Andrews.

Both men were enthusiastic Europeans and they established a link between their two schools which led to a series of exchange trips.

The Montrose Community Council adopted the idea of the link and the twinning charter was signed in May 1994.

Robina Addison, chairwoman of the games committee and twinning association president, said: “There is a Montrose street in Luzarches and it’s taken a long time to get to this stage.

“It’s a very proud moment because the people of Montrose and Luzarches are like family – we’ve had weddings, babies and deaths.”