TRANENT Belters marked the group’s 50th anniversary with a trip to Wales to continue a relationship with a charity that dates back longer than the club itself.

The Belters, a social group which began in 1974, has had a relationship with Welsh charity Gilfach Goch Bowler Hats since 1967, when the Belters were previously known as The Stovies Club.

The relationship began when members of the Bowler Hats were visiting Scotland for the Six Nations fixture between Wales and Scotland.

With the visitors in need of a place to stay, members of the Stovies Club offered to put up their Welsh visitors.

Since then, members of both groups have been visiting their neighbours every time the countries’ rugby teams meet in the Six Nations, with members alternating between visiting Scotland and Wales each year.

This year, for the Belters’ 50th anniversary, 18 members visited the Welsh town of Porth to enjoy the game on Saturday, travelling down last Thursday and returning on Monday evening.

East Lothian Courier: Tranent Belters members arrived in Wales on Friday eveningTranent Belters members arrived in Wales on Friday evening

Members spent time with friends and enjoyed the game together before a night of celebration of the groups’ friendship.

To mark the club’s 50th anniversary, the club was presented with a special plaque from their Welsh friends.

Ahead of the trip, Dougie Robertson, secretary of Tranent Belters, said: “We are all good friends and it’s always great to see them and we get a big welcome. When we visit, we stay with them, and when they visit, they stay with us. We have friendships that go back decades.”

East Lothian Courier: Tranent Belters members enjoyed a trip to Wales to mark the group's 50th anniversary

Both groups also raised more than £3,000 for Stroke Association, which helps support those recovering from a stroke.

On the club’s anniversary, Mr Robertson added: “I’ve been going along for a good 40 years now. We don’t have any original members left but the group is such a big community.

“We are delighted to reach this milestone and look forward to a year of celebrations ahead.”