A RED, white and blue carpet was rolled out in Kilmacolm as the village said ‘bonjour’ to special visitors from their sister town in France.

Residents pulled out all the stops to welcome VIP guests from Kilmacolm’s sister town Mérignies — a small village close to Lille in the north-east of France.

Among the French delegation was Francis Melon, right, the mayor of Mérignies, and their local councillors.

To mark the occasion, the mayor presented the people of Kilmacolm with a medal of honour to signify the special friendship between the two villages.

Gerry Boyle, who is the chairman of the Kilmacolm-Merignies Twinning Society, said the bond between the two villages is going from strength to strength.

He said: “A medal of honour was presented to Kilmacolm from Mérignies in recognition of the friendship we have.

“It was quite a special moment and we are going to display that in the community centre.

“We thought it would be nice to have a display of the town twinning documents and the medal for people to see.”

During their stay, the French guests were treated to a tour round the Kilmacolm and Port Glasgow Agricultural Show.

Gerry said: “We are both strong agricultural and farming communities so it was interesting for them to visit the show and they really enjoyed it.”

As part of their trip, the French contingent also enjoyed wine tasting at Vino13 and sampled some delicious Scottish food at Kilmacolm Golf Club.

A special meeting was also held to discuss the twinning project.

Gerry said: “We discussed how things were going and what projects we’d like to do in the future.”

As a result of the twinning, several initiatives are already up and running, including a school exchange programme between St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm and a counterpart in Mérignies.

Gerry added: “We also plan to have a linguistic project between Kilmacolm Primary and a school in Mérignies where the children Skype each other once a month.

“We’re also looking at linking the two libraries and the two golf courses also have a reciprocal agreement so they can use each other’s facilities.

“We both have strong historical societies so we’d like to do something between the two communities to strengthen our heritage and historical links.”