LAST month retired Peeblesshire Rotarian Denis Robson was forced to fork out more than £2,000 to quarantine in a hotel after travel restrictions changed midway through his trip Malawi.

The visit was part of a twinning partnership between Innerleithen, Walkerburn and Traquair and the Rotary Club of Limbe.

At the time he insisted that he had no regrets and now explains his reasons for being in Africa.

A total of 14 years ago, the small town of Thondwe in Malawi joined up with Innerleithen, Walkerburn & Traquair in a partnership initiated through a Church of Scotland congregational link.

The communities now have a long-standing association which involves the whole Peeblesshire community including St Ronan's Primary school, St Ronan's Health centre and several businesses.

Mr Robson has been a regular visitor to Malawi, known as the Warm Heart of Africa, and believes that in this divided world there has never been a greater need for communities to come together to connect and develop close ties of friendship.

And he is appealing for anyone who would like to get involved to get in touch with him.

He told us: “Following exchange visits in 2016/17 an action plan was developed to share experiences and develop sustainable solutions, with people working together to address what matters to them.

“What started as a inter church humanitarian response to a food crisis has developed into an exciting twinning programme pairing schools, health centres, Rotary clubs, businesses, and individuals.

“Together we are empowering both communities to be the solution with a hand up not a handout.”

Describing the legacy of the 14-year church twinning programme, Rev Fraser Edwards said: “ I think it does a power of good – and it helps to bring one part of the world, and another part, together in a special way.”

The people of Thondwe are addressing their challenges by identifying, leading, and managing the projects that affect their community.

Members of team and community in the Tweed Valley are passionate, learning from the experiences and having fun.

And you are interested in more information or want to be part of it, contact Denis Robson at: