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Secretary: William I. Neish

2006 Visit to Houston

A 24-strong delegation from the Grampian-Houston Association paid an exchange visit to their twin city in Texas from 25-30 September, 2006.

They are pictured below at the Robert Burns memorial erected by the Scottish community in the International Commemorative Sculpture Garden at Hermann Park, Houston. They were piped into the park by Michael McPartland, a  member of the world juvenile pipe band champions, St Thomas Episcopal School, Houston.

Provost Raymond G. Bisset OBE, Vice President of the Grampian-Houston Association, and his wife Heather laid red and yellow roses at the bronze bust of Burns which is mounted on red Texas granite.

At a luncheon hosted by Houston City Council Councilman M.J. Khan, Chairman of the International Liaison and Protocol Committee, welcomed the delegation to their sister city. He said the City Council valued sister city links for the contribution they made to promoting understanding and friendships in communities across the world.

Councilman Khan presented gifts to Provost Bisset, Grampian-Houston Association Chairman James T.C. Hay MBE and Honorary President David R. Paton OBE.

Provost Bisset  said  Grampian was proud of its special relationship with American’s fourth largest city and took pride in the links and friendships  that had developed since 1979, not just at a business level but at a personal level.  He described the warmth and friendliness of the welcome the visiting delegation had received in Houston as exceptional.

He presented Councilman Khan with a book of photographs of Scottish views and an inscribed clock.

At receptions given in their honour, members of the delegation were welcomed by Judith Slater, UK Consul General in Houston, and James D. Prappas, President of the Houston/Grampian Association.

The week’s programme included visits to the imposing new St Martin’s Episcopal Church which has a congregation of 7600, the Hobby Centre for Performing Arts in Houston’s Theatre District, Messina Hof Winery, the Bayou Bend  Collection  of the Museum of Fine Arts, and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in the City of College Station.  At the museum the visitors spotted a Scottish connection in a telegram sent to Alyth in Tayside where  young George W. Bush was on holiday. The telegram informed him of the birth of his sister in 1959.

The visitors were also taken on a conducted tour of the Continental Airlines systems control centre that directs and controls flights to 280 destinations, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, in 45 countries.

Continental, headquartered in Houston, is the fourth largest carrier in the U.S. and flies to more cities around the world than any other U.S. Airline.

The programme also included a tour of the Port of Houston aboard the 95ft motor vessel Sam Houston.  Houston is America’s leading port for foreign tonnage with services to 1053 ports, including Aberdeen, in 203 countries.

Other highlights of the visit included a Texas Bar-B-Q and entertainment in the grounds of the impressive home of property developer Bruce Bryant and his wife Andrea at Friendswood, Texas, and a black tie farewell dinner at the Houston Club where Ex-President Bush is a member.

At the dinner Jimmy Hay thanked the Houston/Grampian Association for organising such an excellent programme and said the Grampian visitors would take away many happy memories. He presented HGA President James Prappas with an inscribed quaich.  The evening ended with the singing of The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen and Auld Lang Syne.

The Grampian-Houston Association have invited the Houston/Grampian Association to pay an exchange visit to North-east Scotland in 2008.

Ready to turn out with the Houston Texas American football team, Graeme Wilson looks the part

 The Grampian delegation dressed for dinner

at the Houston Club

Enjoying the buffet

Ron Fulton, Provest Raymond Bisset, Alex McLean

About to board the Caledonian Travel bus

Alex McLean, David Findlay and Andrew Ritchie

GHA Chairman Jimmy Hay with Mrs Andrea Bryant

at Friendwood

Ready for the ranch Ian and Marlene McLeod

Ready for the Texas BAR-B-Q at the Bryant homestead

at Friendswood

Lining up at the wine cellar at the Friendswood barbecue

Photographs by Ian McLeod, Aberdeen

For more pictures of the 2006 exchange visit go to the Houston/Grampian Association website at

Silver Jubilee Visit to Grampian

During the last exchange visit to Aberdeen by the Houston-Grampian Association in 2004, the silver jubilee of the Sister City relationship was celebrated with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the  David Welch Winter Gardens, Duthie Park, Aberdeen by Lord Provost John M. Reynolds in his capacity as President of the Grampian-Houston Association.

Pictured at the unveiling of the plaque are founder members (left to right) are Ian Gordon, Micky Carmichael, Heather Anderson, Bob Gilbert, Eric Duncan and Bill Gordon.

UK Consul General in Houston Judith Slater with

Graeme J. Wilson MBE

Aberdeen Harbour Board Chairman David Paton (centre) is shown the Port of Houston by formar Aberdeen oil bosses now living in Texas, Charles Ellis, ex Conoco (right) and John Tyler, ex-Unocal

Houstonian Mickey Carmichael (right) entertains

Bill and Mary Fraser and Christine Neish