Blog Image

Haddington Twinning Association Bulletin Board

Miss Jean Fairbairn 7th Nov. 1935 – 29th Jan. 2022

Uncategorised Posted on Fri, February 18, 2022 11:36:47

As most of you know, Jean had a great interest and passion for the Twin-Town relationship between Haddington and Aubigny sur Nere in the beautiful French Loire valley.

Jean was a vital contributor to twinning for many years. As in other local groups and organisations she gave help, support and valued advice generously and always with great enthusiasm. A woman of great conviction, she put her views forward effectively but always with great respect and warmth. Her formidable teacher voice and ” Look ” was only a weapon of last resort.

She eagerly promoted the unique connection with Aubigny, producing several fabulous exhibitions for community events, giving many presentations to schools and local groups and helping with all the fundraising ventures over the years. Jean also demonstrated her fine musical talents whenever the opportunity arose.

Jean visited Aubigny many times during the annual Fetes Franco Ecossaise, becoming a well known face in the French town. She was hosted there by her friend Madame Therese Laroche-Smolenski, and latterly with Madame Christiane Morice whom some of you know very well.

Jean was also a warm and friendly host to many guests from Aubigny into her home who were participating in the regular exchange programme with Knox Academy. Jean had very much a ” chez moi, chez toi” approach, and she was a really fascinating woman to be with. More impotantly she was deeply interested in the students and what they were planning to do.

We all benefited from Jean’s wide knowledge of the history of Haddington and its ancient links with Aubigny. Being an expert on the history of Haddington Twinning Association, she knew of Madame Helen Stuart-Stevenson who hailed from a well connected Glasgow family and who, following a visit to Aubigny in the early 60’s , had been struck with the long history of the two towns that she suggested the idea of a twinning link to the Town Council officials in Haddington.

With this in mind, in 2009, Jean decided to track down Madame Stuart Stevenson’s grandson to invite him to Haddington to attend the 45th Anniversary celebrations of the Twinning with Aubigny . And he did attend …. travelling all the way from Washington State in the U.S. Jean’s wily powers of persuasion and cajoling having done the trick !

I asked Jean’s other twinning friends if they had any memories or stories of Jean that they’d like me to share with you, and one memory that was mentioned several times occurred during a group visit to Aubigny a few years ago.

As part of the programme, we went on a bus trip to Chateau de Guedelon, a 13th century castle in Burgundy. After a super day we all got back on the bus, a roll call was carried out …..Yes all on the bus, so off we headed. It was only 2/3rd of the way back to Aubigny when somebody said ” where’s Jean? ” The dawned the realisation she was still at Guedelon !! The roll call had somewhat gone awry!

Now, anyone who knows Jean will understand that roll calls were second nature to her…. as a primary school teacher and as a Cub Scout leader she would have done quite a few in her time! I’m sure we can all probably hear Jean’s voice and words on discovering that the bus had gone without her!

Anyhow, it was too late to turn back, but a taxi was organised and Jean arrived back in Aubigny in time for the soiree that night, none thw worse for the adventure and remarkably calm despite being left at a mock medieval camp in the middle of nowhere in a foreign land. A woman of pragmatism, resilience and just good common sense.

As Carol who recalls of the day put it…. ” As always she just kept the heid” Jean was reminded of this event on many occasions but she always laughed about it. Irene, Wyn and Carol and few others all recalled this story and we can still have a laugh at it yet.

June, another of Jean’s friends in the Twinning Association , told us about visiting jean in hospital at the end of last year. Although weak and not very well, she was still able to proffer a frank opinion on the hospital food! Again we can all probably hear Jean’s words ringing in our ears!

To finish this short account of Jean and her twinning adventures I’d like to read a couple of brief messages from her friends in Aubigny.

Martine Destenav, Secretary of Aubigny Twinning Committee : ” Quelle triste nouvelle. Je connaissais tres bien Jean. Je l’aimais beaucoup… lors de mon premier voyage a Haddington j’avais passe une journee libre avec elle a Edimbourg. J’aurai une pensee pour elle lundi. J’allumerai une bougie en son honneur.

and a message from Aubigny Twinning Committee :

” C’est avec beaucoup de tristesse que le Comite de Jumelage Aubigny – Haddington a appris le deces de Jean. Elle etait tres appreciee au sein du comite et nous la remercions pour tout ce qu’elle a fait pour le jumelage. Nous adressons nos sinceres condoleances a sa famille”

This really only scratches the surface of Jean’s contribution to Haddington Twinning. She was an outstanding woman in so many ways. We will miss Jean as a mainstay of our twinning group – for her warmth, wisdom and enthusiasm – but we will miss her as a dear friend.

Written and read at Jean’s funeral by Mrs Elaine Wilson – Secretary of Haddington Twinning.



Miss Jean Fairbairn

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, February 02, 2022 15:58:30

It is with great sadness that I’m informing you of the death of our friend and fellow Twinning Association member Miss Jean Fairbairn, Jean was a member of many local groups throughout her entire life and always gave her help, support, invaluable advice and musical talents so generously. She was an outstanding woman in many ways and she will be greatly missed.

Jean’s niece Carol has sent the following details about Jean’s funeral.

The Cremation will take place at West Lothian Crematorium on Monday 7th February at 10:00am. A Service to give thanks for her life and to remember her will also be held at 2:00pm on Monday 7th February at Holy Trinity Church in Haddington.

Carol emphasised that everyone who knew Jean is welcome.

Jean in happier times – entertaining Marine Baron an exchange student from Aubigny our twin town – with some of Twinning Committee.

Elaine Mitchell – Secretary – Haddington Twinning.



Haddington Twinning ” Zoom ” Burn’s Supper – with Friends from Aubigny.

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, February 02, 2022 11:13:30


Haddington Twinning Burns Celebration – 2022

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, January 19, 2022 09:31:16


The Parish Church of St. Mary’s – Haddington.

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, December 22, 2021 15:47:11

At the very heart of Haddington is to be found one of the semi jewels of Scotland, where the East Haugh runs towards the Nungate Bridge. Many times I have stood with visitors , whether from the South or further abroad, gazing Westwards from the old bridge over the Tyne, to the great church of St. Mary, Lamp of Lothian. I shall never tire of this, one of the most beautiful townscapes in Britain, and it never fails to astonish my guests with its grandeur and unspoiled beauty.

St. Mary’s Parish Church – with an Auld Alliance iris, to celebrate our twinning with twin town Aubigny.

Haddington has been a Royal Burgh since the 12th Century and in Medieval times it was one of Scotland’s more important towns, Kings and Queens from William the Lion, Alexander 11 [ who was born in Haddington ] , Henry 1V of England, Mary of Guise and Mary Queen of Scots have had associations with the town. Wars and seiges took a heavy toll of Haddingtons’ medieval buildings, leaving only the great church which was itself partly ruined until its restoration in 1973.

The Lamp of Lothian Trust has played a key part in raising funds and public support for the restoration of St. Mary’s – Haddington House – the home of Jane Welsh Carlyle and the unique community centre of Poldrate Mill. These are among the key attractions of Haddington.

The Seige of Haddington had lasted one and half years, the longest seige in our History, and it reached Haddington in about 15th September 1549, their first act on taking Haddington had been to destroy the Kirk of St. Mary, their last was to set fire to the town, and so they went, taking with them the kirk bells, strangely unhindered in their retreat, which may in part have been due to the weather, the continuous rain which demoralised the English was equally a hindrance to their opponents. The River Tyne in flood has been a fearsome event even into recent times.

The Abbey which not many years before had hosted Parliament, lost its Abbess when she married, the buildings were abandoned and were soon ruinous, and no trace of it survives apart from some masonry which was probably used for improvements to the Nungate Bridge.

By 1561 Presbyterianism was well established and in that year work was started on the ruined St. Mary’s to re-roof the Nave and wall it off from the Choir and transepts. The Nave thus became a satisfactory venue venue for the new forms of worship, and the rest of the Church, open to the skies and the elements, soon bore the air of a romantic ruin, and so it remained for over 400 years, perhaps awaiting a miracle.

The Lauderdale Aisle occupies the former sacristy of St. Mary’s Church , built in the mid 1400s , it was reappropriated as a burial aisle for the Maitlands of Lethington after the east End of the Church fell into disuse at the Reformation of 1560.

John, 2nd Lord Maitland became James V1’s Lord Chancellor in 1586. He was credited with revolutionising Scotland’s goverance by removing power from Scotland’s aristocracy and creating an administation of professional people.

At his death in 1595, Maitland was laid to rest in the family burial vault at St. Mary’s Church. His wife, Lady Jean, was buried next to him on her death in 1609.

The vault before restoration in 1973.

Some years later, John’s son, created Earl of Lauderdale by James V1 in 1624, erected an elaborate monument to his father’s memory on the north wall of the burial aisle. James wrote an epigraph to the former chancellor to be placed on top of the monument, but this is now lost.

The Maitland Monument is a spectacular piece of commemorative sculpture. Richly ornamented, its one of Scotland’s most impressive memorials. It holds near full- size effigies of John Maitland and Lady Jean, and herald display.



Merry Christmas…..to all.

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, December 18, 2021 08:27:46

To friends near & far.



Haddington Twinning’s Visit to Aubigny – July 2017

Uncategorised Posted on Sun, November 07, 2021 14:57:36

Hope you have enjoyed a little bit of Aubigny ! 6th November 2021



Peeps into the Past – Special occasions.

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, October 23, 2021 12:46:20
40th Anniversary Celebrations.
40th Anniversary Celebrations Glenkinchie Distillary.
Glenkinchie Distillery.
Celebration Cake – Year ???
Another Cake, another year ???
Joe Forte Sports shop window. Year ?
Fabrication Shop window. Year ? ??
Some ladies with style year ?
The Bead Shop celebrates with Twinning….. year ?
Aubigny with Provost Ludovic Broun- Lindsay
Some weil kent faces around this table in Corn Exchange. Year ?
Reception Town Hall. Year ?
Reception Town Hall – Haddington. Year ?
Reception in Aubigny 2012?
To finish with Pipe Band – Aubigny 2012.


« PreviousNext »