Our German friends arrived at roughly 0030 Tues Night/Wed Morning, 29th May. There were twenty-one 9 to 12-year olds and three teenagers. The kids were accompanied by 6 adult/coaches from JS Harley plus 5 adults from the Forres-Vienenburg Twinning Association.
They were met by Paul Lynch (FASS Chairman), Tommy Smith (Treasurer) and Dave McFarquhar (Twinning Association Chairman).
Wednesday 29th May 2019
By the time Paul arrived at the Pavilion at 0745 most of the kids were already awake. They had been up from about 6 am (clearly excited for their first day in Scotland). Our visitors had breakfast, which most of it was kindly donated by Tesco Forres, in the bowler’s function room.
At 9 am it was time for the 9 to 12-year olds to go to Anderson’s Primary school along with 3 adults. They took part in morning classes as well as having a school lunch.
The remainder of the adults were accompanied by Paul, Tommy and Tommy’s wife Jennifer to go to a whisky tour at Glen Moray in Elgin. Luckily the tour guide could speak fluent German, so she was able to do the tour in both English and German.
For lunch the adults wanted to get Fish & Chips as well as see the sea-side. We took them to Lossiemouth Fish & Chip shop and sat by the beach, luckily it was a nice day.
We arrived back in Forres just in time for all our visitors to be given a guided tour of Forres by Dave MacFarquhar.
In the Tolbooth Courtroom – currently undergoing a makeover – they sat in the seats where the forces of law and order dispensed justice (a long time ago) to Forres’s ne’re-do wells (could there have been any?) They then visited the police office in the basement where they lined up against the wall, had their heights measured, and had mug shots taken before visiting the gloomy cells where prisoners were kept overnight or for longer depending on their misdemeanours. It seems that when the administration of justice moved to Elgin many years ago, one poor chap was forgotten about, as he was lying there, still as a tailor’s dummy and covered with a piece of sacking and completely unresponsive to the stimulating questions which the young Germans put to him – even after they tickled his feet.
Then it was on and up to Nelson’s Tower. Although this visit was all part of the ill-conceived plan to tire the German boys out before the big game on the Friday, they all enjoyed the experience.
Understandably, they didn’t have a clue who Nelson was, but both Tower volunteers on duty that afternoon were very knowledgeable local Germans. So, by the time they escaped and returned to Grant Park, they knew everything worth knowing about the great man – 1805, The Battle of Trafalgar, getting one over the French (and the Spanish) and why on earth the most northerly Nelson Tower in the world was to be found in Forres? The colourful episode involving Lady Hamilton was left for another day.
Finally, when they had all gathered in Grant Park, they were informed about Alexander Grant – the local man who gave the park to the town. Their interest could not have been greater when they heard that he was the man who invented McVitie and Price chocolate digestive biscuits and – to a man – they all bravely volunteered to try one when a packet was produced. They were then set the task of finding an ornamental stone somewhere in the park which carried a plaque upon which was inscribed the word ‘Vienenburg’.
With the speed of light they dispersed and, within five minutes, they found the stone placed there 35 years ago when the Forres-Vienenburg Twinning Association was founded. Whether it was the desire to find the word ‘Vienenburg’ or the desire to win more chocolate biscuits which inspired them is difficult to say.
An historic photo was, however, taken which brought all these elements together – Grant Park, youngsters from our twin town having a great time in Forres and, of course, chocolate biscuits.
Wednesday evening consisted of football training where some of our Forres kids joined in, hopefully they picked up some good tips from the German coaches. For dinner, we ordered and ate 40 Pizza’s from the Pizza Pan in Forres High Street. I think some of the kids now know what it feels like to be a stuff crust pizza.
Thursday 30th May 2019
The kids had a wee longer lie in that morning. We had a coach booked for 10am to take everyone to see Nessie at Loch Ness. That day we were accompanied by one of our Board Members Glenn Roberts, he seemed quite happy as we only had to pay the ‘Senior’ price. We arrived at the Loch Ness Visitor’s centre in plenty of time, the visitors had time to spend in the gift shop whilst we waited on the boat.
We took the boat trip to Urquhart Castle, it was not the warmest on the boat but luckily it was only raining in small doses. We never got to see Nessie so some of the kids and adults were a wee bit disappointed.
The Boat docked at Urquhart Castle where we spent just over an hour learning about the castle and its pervious occupants. There is a cinema room where a video gives information about the castle’s history, plays every 10 mins and it has German subtitles, so that was quite handy.
On the way back, the coach stopped at Nessie Land and the kids got to play in the soft play and then bought some Nessie gifts. The plan was to go to Nairn Beach on the way back where everyone would play at the park and the beach as well as eat some lovely ‘fish suppers’ in the sunshine. Unfortunately, it rained a lot, quite heavily in fact. We decided to head back to the comfort of the Pavilion where we would eat our fish suppers.
After dinner we played bingo with some dodgy German bingo calling from Tommy. It is amazing the excitement of winning packets of sweets bring to people, not just kids- adults too.
Friday 31st May 2019
Another busy day instore for our friends. By the time they were showered and fed, Mundole Taxis and Minibuses were at the pavilion, ready to take them to Ace Adventures for an adventurous day. They took part in White Water Rafting and Disc Golf. Due to the rain that had fallen the past few weeks, the water was raging more than normal which added to the excitement.
The visitors were later getting back than we expected but when they did arrive back they were Piped off the coach by the Forres and District Pipe Band. They did an amazing job considering it was torrential rain.
Now for the main reason behind the trip.
Due to the weather, it was decided to play the 2 age groups at the same time. Ideally, we would have played the matches one after the other.
The 8 – 10-year olds played on a 7s pitch, this was the first time that many of our Forres kids had played on a pitch of this size.
The 11 – 12-year olds played on their normal 7s pitch and it proved to be a terrific game. With lots of chances and some cracking saves from both goalkeepers. Germany ran out 3 – 1 winners.
The Adults match finished the football off. Simon Allan scored what looked like a 40-yard thunderbolt to score his 2nd goal of the season, it was nearly followed by his 3rd goal of the season but a miraculous save by the 12 year old German goalie prevented it hitting the back of the net. The team from Vienenburg equalised with a few minutes remaining and when the referee blew the full time whistle it was decided that we would go to penalties.
Why we did this, I don’t know! We had a good few English guys in the team, why we thought we could win on penalties against Germany with the English guys in the team is a bit silly. I think we must blame our manager, Mr Roberts.
We then closed the evening off with a BBQ in the rain, thankfully we have a Army 12 x 12 tent to keep things dry. We had our presentation/gift ceremony in the bowler’s function room as well as a few drinks of alcohol to celebrate our friendship.
Saturday 1st June 2019
Sadly, it was time for our Vieneburg friends to go home. Before they left, Danyelle Simpson cooked them a full Scottish Breakfast, including square sausage, black pudding, haggis, tattie scones and a few other items. The Maynes coach arrived in good time and our friends packed the coach, ready for the 1st leg of their return journey to Aberdeen Airport. After a few goodbye cuddles and handshakes, it was time for the coach to go and time for us to get the pavilion back to normal.
Since 2015 our clubs have visited each other 3 times, in 2015 our Vienenburg friends came over to Forres with 15 kids and 15 adults, in 2017 Forres Soccer7s took 16 kids and 16 adults to Vienenburg and this year 24 kids and 6 adults plus 5 Twinning Association adults came back to Forres.
We are hoping that this will continue every 2 years with Forres Soccer7s making the trip to Vienenburg in 2021.
A big thank you to our sponsors who helped with the visit and for supporting our club throughout the year, they are: –
MacLean’s Highland Bakery, for supplying our breakfast rolls and scotch pies.
Fraser Bros Butchers, for supplying our burgers, square sausage and steak pies.
Mundole Taxis and Minibuses for transporting our guests to and from Ace Adventures.
Tesco Forres for donating breakfast cereals and food to stop our friends from going hungry.
Pizza Pan for supplying us with 40 pizzas for our pizza party.
Dolphin Chip Shop in Nairn for supplying us with 43 fish suppers.
A massive thank you to our friends at Grant Park Bowling Club who gave is full access to our pavilion, including their function room.
And to everyone else that made the visit so special. We know that the 16 kids that we took to Vienenburg in 2017 will never forget it and we hope that the kids from Vienenburg will never forget this trip.