A friendship mission to Italy proved a great success for Falkirk musicians and officials.
The visiting party, which included depute provost John Patrick and Grangemouth’s Allied International managing director Peter Duncan, arrived in Nibbiano Val Tidone, in northern Italy, at the start of the month to take part in a Scottish-themed celebration night and sign a “pact of friendship” with the village.
Councillor Patrick said: “The hospitality extended to us by the Italian people was excellent. We will be continuing a community liaison with Nibbiano, although it is really too early to consider an official twinning.”
According to the Italians, the friendship pact seeks to “increase mutual acquaintance and open a route that may lead to the sharing of many experiences, knowledge and common values through cultural, recreational, musical and sporting activities”.
Councillor Patrick, who joined the Mayor of Nibbiano to sign the pact, said there was no doubt who the star attractions were during “Scottish night” - veteran rock ‘n’ rollers Young Once featuring Peter Duncan on guitar and vocals.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” said Peter. “There had to be well over three thousand people there - the biggest crowd we have ever played for.
“The response to the band and the feedback we had were very complimentary. Falkirk was well represented on the night, the locals did us proud.
One of the aspects of the night was a slide, with images of Falkirk projected on to a wall.
The event was sparked off by Valter Alberici co-president of the Allied Group, which is headquartered in Nibbiano, who initially asked Peter if Young Once would like to play a gig to mark the firm’s 10th anniversary in the town.
As well as Young Once, Peter and pals Brian Watters (guitar/vocals), Paul Serafini (bass/vocals) and Sandy Drysdale (drums/vocals), playing “guitars under the stars” there was also a Scottish pipe band - made up of Falkirk musicians - and traditional Scottish dancers.
“They have asked us back,” said Peter. “They are looking to do a three-day festival the next time and maybe get involved in rugby matches in the Falkirk area at some point.”
Provost Pat Reid, who was unable to attend the event, confirmed Councillor Patrick’s position.
He said: “The council took the decision a few years ago to only have the two twinnings with Creteil in France and Odenwald in Germany and we are sticking with that.
“However, that does not prevent any local organisations from setting up official links with Nibbiano.”