A GROUP of American exchange students who were stranded in the region by the volcanic ash cloud covering the country have made it back home.
The party of 23 pupils and four teachers from New Jersey caught a plane from Heathrow Airport on Wednesday night after the flight ban was lifted.
It marked the end of an unexpected extended stay for the group who were originally due to go home on Saturday.
They had been linking up with Lockerbie Academy and Castle Douglas High on the week-long exchange trip.
But as reported in Wednesday’s Standard, kind-hearted locals in both towns put the students and teachers up for an extra few days – after their flight home was cancelled by the ash cloud coming from Iceland.
A council spokesman confirmed yesterday that the group caught their flight on Wednesday night and were now home.
The pupils and teachers were from Northern Valley Regional High Schools.
Fourteen stayed in the Lockerbie area with the other nine in Castle Douglas.
Staff at both schools praised the help of locals in providing extra accomodation.
But the pupils, aged 14 and 15, weren’t short of things to do as their teachers were able to use local school resources to prepare them for forthcoming exams.
The council spokeswoman added: “We would like to send thanks to everyone who has helped out during the extended stay. American guests have expressed their great appreciation to staff and families in Castle Douglas and Lockerbie.
“The students have enjoyed their visit and a reciprocal visit will take place next year, when students in Castle Douglas and Lockerbie will be hosted by Northern Valley students.
“An exchange visit has taken place with Dumfries and Galloway Council every three years in recent times as a friendship link.”
During their trip, the party received a Civic Reception, took part in kayaking at Carlingwark Loch, mountain biking in Dalbeattie Forest, visited Edinburgh Castle, Loch Lomond, Inverary, Glasgow and spent time in Lockerbie and Dumfries.