A LITTLE piece of East Lothian was flying proudly as it marked the start of an annual festival celebrating the links between Scotland and France.

John McMillan, Provost of East Lothian, was carrying the Haddington flag through Aubigny-sur-Nere on Sunday afternoon during a parade in the Franco-Scottish Festival.

The Haddington and Lammermuir ward councillor was flanked by his son Douglas and brother Jim, who were carrying the town keys.

Mr McMillan is visiting the town on a family holiday and was joined there by Haddington Pipe Band.

He the Courier: “It was quite a long parade and I thought I really should be flying the flag.

“Everybody in the pipe band played tremendously over the weekend.

“I am here on holiday but was asked to open the festival and the flag was here.

“I had been given the keys to the town on Friday evening at a formal ceremony and it was a real honour to march behind the pipe band as they were leading the parade.”

Liz McDougall, the pipe band quartermaster, carried the flag at the morning ceremony at the war memorial alongside the town’s veterans.

A copy of last week’s Courier – wrapped in tartan and red, white and blue ribbon – was also presented to the town’s archive.

A link between the East Lothian town and Aubigny, which is between Orleans and Bourges in central France, dates back to 1965.

Residents of each town have regularly made the trip to their counterparts.

The twinning links are evident throughout Haddington, with a sign outside Haddington Corn Exchange bearing the street name Place d’Aubigny, and the town’s leisure centre also named after the French settlement.

Mr McMillan explained the importance of the relationship between the two countries and the two towns.

He said: “I think the French are aware of the Auld Alliance but in Aubigny it is particularly alive and remembered with links to the Hundred Years’ War, when a Scottish lord rescued the town from the English and gave wood to rebuild the town.”