HRFCA attends Kirking of Council

September 22, 2023
Cadets with the St Valery Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Highland RFCA Head of Engagement Michelle McKearnon attended the Kirking of the Council parade and church service in Inverness on 10 September.

The event returned this year following a three-year break. The service was held in Ness Bank Church and led by the Rev. Ian Manson.

Staff and members of The Highland Council along with guests from the twinned town of Saint-Valery-en-Caux (St Valery) in Normandy, the University of the Highlands and Islands and community councils paraded, led by the City of Inverness Pipe Band along with uniformed youth groups including young people and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) from the Sea Cadets, Army Cadet Force (from 1st Battalion The Highlanders) and RAF Air Cadets; and school representatives.

Cadets and civic leaders in discussions.
Cadets and civic leaders in discussions.

Highland RFCA is closely involved in work to re-establish links between young people of both Inverness and St Valery in order that the loss of members of the 51st Highland Division, who were drawn from all over the Highlands, is not forgotten.

Read more about the Battle of St Valery.

The Army Cadet Force then had a meeting with the Mayor and Deputy Mayors from St Valery to talk about the work of the cadets as a youth organisation. What followed was an interesting discussion with the cadets doing a great job given that the Provost and some councillors were also in attendance; along with the challenges of conversing across two languages, albeit with some translation assistance.

There is no equivalent military-themed youth organisation in France, but it is hoped the detachment will link up with the local Scout group as part of the twinning arrangements.

Mayor of St Valery Jean-François Ouvry (left) with Councillor Glynis Campbell-Sinclair, Provost of Inverness.
Mayor of St Valery Jean-François Ouvry (left) with Councillor Glynis Campbell-Sinclair, Provost of Inverness.

Provost of Inverness and Area, Councillor Glynis Campbell-Sinclair, who delivered the Provost’s traditional reading during the service at Ness Bank Church said: “The Kirking is for people who work in the public sector of all faiths or no faith who wish to come together and reflect on their public service.”

The Kirking is the oldest annual gathering in Inverness, bringing more than 400 years of tradition and pageantry to the streets of the Highland Capital. Typically held on the second Sunday in September, the Kirking marks the official end of the Inverness Summer Festivals programme.

Next September sees the 80th anniversary of the liberation of St Valery. Highland RFCA will be involved with events in France to commemorate the occasion.