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Ian Munro Webmaster 

The 30th anniversary of the official twinning of Grampian Region with America’s fourth largest city, Houston, Texas, was celebrated on Monday, 11 May, 2009 – 30 years to the day since the signing of the official twinning charter by Grampian Region and the City of Houston.

Board members of the Grampian-Houston Association (GHA) and the Houston/Grampian Association marked the occasion with a video conference.  GHA Board members and Founder Chairman of the Association Robert Anderson are pictured above at Woodhill House,


Taking part in the link-up were four members of the 60-strong inaugural delegation who travelled from Houston, Texas for the signing of the twinning charter at Grampian Regional Council headquarters in Aberdeen on 11 May, 1979.   The four are Ian Gordon, Ida Lou Nicholas, Mickey Carmichael and Aurise Bain, HGA Founder Secretary and current President.

Ian Gordon, who is now a GHA member, became a founder member of the HGA when he worked in Texas. He happened to be on a visit to Houston at the time of the tele-conference and recalled the 24-journey undertaken by the Houston delegation to attend the signing ceremony in Aberdeen. They were flown as guests of British Caledonian Airways to London and then to Edinburgh before completing the journey to Aberdeen by coach.

GHA Chairman Margaret Hadley sent greetings to members of the Houston/Grampian Association and Aurise Bain returned the compliment.   The tele-conference concluded with a toast proposed by David Paton, Honorary President of GHA.   Pictured below are GHA and HGA as they wave goodbye at the end of the video link-up.  

The first Convener of Grampian Regional Council, the late Councillor Sandy Mutch, pipped Edinburgh to secure a Sister City relationship with America’s oil capital and Houston’s Deputy Mayor Jim Westmorland flew to Aberdeen to sign the charter. At that time there were more than 5000 Americans based in the North-east helping with North Sea oil developments. Today there are many more Aberdonians living and working in Houston than there are Americans in Grampian Region.

Initially, the focus of the twinning relationship was business-oriented but with business links now well established the focus is more social and educational.

Sister Cities Celebrate 30th Birthday