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G.H.A. Events 2019


Chairman Jim Shiach welcomed more than 50 guests at a dinner in Aberdeen to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between the Grampian Region and the City of Houston and the 25th anniversary of the student nursing exchange between Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and Houston Baptist University.

The company at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa included nine past Chairmen of the Association – Robert Anderson, Brian Kilkerr, Eric Duncan, Margaret Hadley, Ian Gordon, Jimmy Hay, John Reynolds, Ron McKail and Brett Jackson (see picture above).

Also present were the four student nurses taking part in the 2019 Grampian-Houston exchange – Leigh Watson and Brett Hillson, of Robert Gordon University, and Sofia Hernandez Mendoza and Joshua Samp, from Houston Baptist University.

Association President Lord Provost Barney Crockett, recently returned from his second visit to Houston this year, proposed a toast to the Sister City relationship. He said the link continued to thrive and there was a great determination to ensure that continued.

Founder Chairman of the Association Bob Anderson explained how the official twinning relationship was arranged and paid tribute to the work of the first Convener of Grampian Region, the late Councillor Sandy Mutch and the former Mayor of Houston Louie Welch. He described them as “men of vision.”

Mr Anderson believed there was still scope to extend business links with Houston. “The business is there to be done but we have to work at it,” he stated.

Aberdeen business man Charles P. Skene recalled his many visits to Houston since the 1960s. He said he was one of six Scottish businessmen who travelled to Midland, Texas to explore investment opportunities. One of the oilmen they met was a young George W. Bush who went on to become President of the United States.  “I did make an investment and did reasonably well out of it,” he said.


The 2019 Jazz Lunch was held at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen on Sunday, 20 January with a guest of honour from Texas in Lorna Ramsay (pictured), President of the Houston-Grampian Association attending..

Grampian-Houston Association Vice Chairman Kristin Jackson Brown welcomed the company and the Rev. David Atkinson said Grace before the Stuttin Futrets transported guests to Dixieland.

Kristin said 2019 was a milestone year for the Grampian-Houston Association with the 40th anniversary of the twinning link with Houston in May and the 25th anniversary of the student nursing exchange programme. She said the Association was proud of having been able to offer 50 student nurses from Robert Gordon University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery the opportunity to pay a study visit to Houston.

Lorna drew the winning tickets in the prize draw and the proceeds will go towards the cost of sending two student nurses to Houston in September.

The four student nurses expressed their appreciation of the “once in a lifetime opportunity” for them to study and compare healthcare systems in Texas and Scotland. The students are pictured here with Lord Provost Crockett.

Mr Shiach presented the two Houston students with inscribed quaiches as a memento of their two week study visit to Grampian and handed over cheques to Leigh and Brett to cover their expenses in Houston in September.

Deputy Provost of Aberdeenshire Councillor Ron McKail said Grace and Eric Duncan, a founder member of the Grampian-Houston Association, proposed a vote of thanks to all those who had contributed to the success of the anniversary celebrations.

Some of the guests who attended the dinner are pictured here.


One of the Texas founders of the Grampian-Houston twinning link was a surprise guest at the Grampian-Houston Association’s 2019 Annual General Meeting at Deeside Golf Club on 26 June,

Founder Secretary and a Past President of the Houston-Grampian Association Aurise Bain (formerly Wogan) was on vacation in Scotland and she presented all those at the AGM with  cups commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Sister City relationship.

Aurise paid her first visit to Aberdeen in 1979 to market her business Liaison International and she helped many oil-related businessmen from Grampian to set up  in Houston in the early days of North Sea oil..

 In May, 1979 she returned to Aberdeen with a 40-strong delegation for the official signing of the twinning charter. She said many wonderful friendships had been forged and she declared, “Long live the Grampian-Houston relationship.”

Kristin Jackson-Brown was appointed  Association Chairman to take over from Jim Shiach and Mike Barrie was appointed Vice-Chairman.

Two Board members – long-serving George Duncan and Allyson Ewen stood down and  Prof. the Rev. David Atkinson  a member of the Board.

Aurise is pictured with her commemorative cups and with some of those who attended the AGM.


Grampian-Houston Association Chair Kristin Jackson-Brown presided at the Association's 2019 Thanksgiving Dinner at the Royal Northenr & University Club, Aberdeen and welcomed guest speaker Jordan Smith who moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Aberdeen.

Jordan, a manager at the Transition Expreme Sports complex at Aberdeen Beach, recalled family Thanksigiving get-togethers in Ohio and explaincd he moved to Aberdeen when his German-born wife Xenia began studying for a Master's degree at Aberdeen University.


In the picture (L to R) are
Grampian-Houston Association Vice Chair Mike Barrie, Jordan, Xenia and Kristin.