Twin town’s gift keeps on giving

It was a generous and novel gift handed over to Cumbernauld’s French twin in honour of the links the two towns had shared over a decade.

The classic telephone kiosk was given to Bron back in 1983 via the offical twinning association of both towns.

And the spirit of giving it embodies is set to continue.

For the call box with its unique design and trademark shade of red isn’t just good to look at - because it has a new function as a library after years of storing a payphone outside the town’s arts centre.

Books can be left within its shelved interior and swopped for new reads in turn.

An old friend of Cumbernauld, Gerard Houze of the twinning association over in Bron explained: “We had a pleasant event in Bron with the re-inauguration of the phone box

“It has been installed next to the church of St Denis and has been converted into a self-service library.

“After the official speeches, my son Benoit read in English ‘My Heart is in the Highlands’ by Robert Burns and then began his own translation with some comments.

“I am delighted that the phone box has started a new life in Bron.”

The news has been welcomed by councillor and Burnsian Paddy Hogg who said: “This is a brilliant idea.

“It is also very touching too to know that Burns was recited at the recent opening ceremony.

“And it is always pleasing to know that Cumbernauld is still passionately loved and admired by those we twinned with.

“So it would be wonderful if more such cultural ties were made with the people of Bron and continued cultural reciprocation.”

For anyone who is wondering how the telephone box came to be in Bron, the answer lies firmly with the intervention of a well-known Cumbernauld couple - who had a bit of help from two leading firms.

For then Provost Rosemary McKenna who worked in tandem with her husband, BT engineer husband Jim to get their hands on something that just didn’t exist in France.

Rosemary who would of course become an MP said: “ We were trying to find a suitable gift.

Jim knew there were telephone boxes surplus. I contacted BT and they agreed to donate the box. So I then contacted Marks and Spencers as they had a store in Lyon! “They in turn asked their transport people who agreed, free of charge.

And I was delighted to officially open it in Bron.”