Wiltshire Publications

Issue 506 – Find out more about town’s twin

WITH another trip to France planned for this year, the Westbury and District French Twinning Association is inviting people to join the group and find out more about town twinning.

While many towns in Britain are turning their back on their twin towns, according to a recent BBC report, twinning is continuing to thrive in Westbury, with local people continuing to enjoy links with its twin town of Château du Loir, now in its twelfth year.
Château du Loir is situated between Le Mans and Tours in the region of Sarthe. It is in a beautiful rural area, and is about the same size as Westbury. The association’s trip this year will depart on the evening of Thursday 26th April, returning on the evening of Monday 30th April.
But the twinning arr-angement gives visitors the chance to not only enjoy the area, but also to get an insight into the culture of the local people as well.
Jean Dew, chair of the association explained, “We do something different every time! We usually take a night boat over to France, and have a visit on the way – this year we hope to be visiting a chocolate factory. Then we arrive in Château du Loir, and there’s a reception from their mayor and we get distributed to our hosts.
“Some of us have regular friends we go to and others meet new people. On the Saturday they’ll have arranged a visit out – this year the visit will be to a private chateau that isn’t usually open to the public. On the Saturday night there’s a big reception – dancing and the town band play – we try not to have speeches as we’re far too relaxed for that! We spend Sunday with the families, but we often get together in small groups so that there are people who speak both languages.”
For Jean, the twinning visits are all about friendship between the people of the two countries, and a chance to experience the culture of local people.
“There’s no need to speak French – a lot of our twinners don’t speak French and a lot of them don’t speak English, but we don’t seem to have a problem! They’re lovely people, some of us go back year on year!”
The twinning visits are now in their twelfth year, with a visit to France every second year and a visit from the French delegation to England in the years in between. Last year, Westbury welcomed a delegation of around 45 people, in a visit that coincided with the Royal Wedding celebrations.
The group is holding its AGM on 25th February. If you would like to find out more about twinning, please contact Jean on 01373 864 935 or email postmaster@ jeandew.plus.com