Norwegian Stone of Friendship Unveiling: Whitesands, Dumfries, Set For A Historic Event

Unveiling of the Norwegian Stone of Friendship will take place at Whitesands, on the grass between Devorgilla Bridge and Buccleuch Street Bridge. Time: 4:30pm on Saturday 16th September 2023.

The Scottish Norwegian Connection (SNC) group are gifting a 1.5 tonne ‘Stone of Friendship’ to the town. This will be a permanent reminder of the gratitude felt by Norwegians, for the people of Dumfries and Galloway, when over 2000 were stationed in and around the area during World War 2. Their land was invaded and overrun but, here in Dumfries, they found a home and a place to train for the eventual liberation of Norway.

The townspeople of Dumfries welcomed the men and women of Norway, treating them as their own. The humanity shown them, in their time of trouble, was never forgotten. Friendships, formed during these times, were continued and expanded through the generations, to where we are today.

This visiting group of 35 Norwegians, along with friends in Dumfries, formed the recognised association Scottish Norwegian Connection (SNC) in 2017. The intention was to maintain and promote the links already formed.

SNC wanted to ensure that the gratitude of their forebears was not forgotten. The idea of gifting the Town of Dumfries a piece of their country, in the form of an engraved stone, resulted in this ‘Stone of Friendship’ being created and brought to Scotland.

(Turid and Aslak Wahl in traditional costume known as Bunad.)

Aslak Wahl, Chairman of SNC says,” Our Scottish Representatives, Beverley and Michael Thom of Dumfries, have organised a very full and interesting weekend of events in and around Dumfries.”

“They have both worked closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council to coordinate the public events – especially all the detail around placing the ‘Stone of Friendship’ in a suitable position.”

“Our tour begins with a Flag Raising Event at the Midsteeple on Friday 15th September at 10.00am. This is followed by a visit to what was Norges Hus, opposite Burns’ statue to view the plaque erected by D&GC in 2005. These events are open to the public.”

“On Saturday 16th September at 4:30pm we gather in Dumfries, at the Whitesands, in preparation for the all-important unveiling of the ‘Norwegian Stone of Friendship’ by Captain Pål Hope, Norwegian Defence Attaché to UK. This will begin with a parade, starting at the Robert Burns Centre, crossing Devorgilla Bridge and finishing at the Stone of Friendship. The Buccleuch and Queensberry Pipe Band will lead the parade.”

“Sunday 17th September, we are invited to take part in a special commemorative service at St Michaels’ and South Church at 11.00am.”

“Dumfries and Galloway Council honour us with a civic lunch before we proceed to Troqueer Cemetery War Graves to lay wreaths, in a Service of Remembrance to the Norwegians who lost their lives while stationed in the Dumfries area. This will take place at 3:00pm.”

“Along with all the Public Events, we are delighted to be welcomed to Private Visits including, Duncow Primary School, Newlands House, Maxwelton House, Maxwelton Chapel, Dumfries Museum and Drumlanrig Castle. All of these places have a strong Norwegian connection and we are looking forward to fulfilling this busy schedule.” His Majesty, King Charles lll, will be represented by The Lord Lieutenancy at each of these public events, as will King Harald V of Norway, who has appointed Captain Hope and Honorary Norwegian Consul General, Prof. Julian Jones, as his representatives.”

( Beverley and Michael Thom – Organisers of Event.)

Beverley Thom, Organiser of the Norwegian Visit says, “This is a very important and emotive occasion for our community. Who could have thought that the simple, basic, acts of friendship and kindness, shown by our predecessors, could have led to such long lasting relationships through the generations. To have the Town and its’ people recognised, and honoured, for doing what comes naturally, is praise indeed. My hope is that these links continue and grow as we move forward.”

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