Mayor of Patchway Cllr Dayley Lawrence, members of the Patchway Friends of Twinning and the Deputy Clerk headed to our twin town of Clermont L’Hérault in France on 31 May to represent the town at the 50th Anniversary of Twinning between Clermont and our German twin town of Gauting.
Our delegation attended a Welcome event on the Wednesday evening meeting the Clermont and Gauting delegations and being matched with generous host families for the four day visit.
On Thursday, a series of films were screened at the Cinéma Alain Resnais in Clermont with the key film produced by students from high schools on Clermont and Gauting featuring interviews with key twinning figures across many years. This was followed by a lunch at the stunning Château des Guilhem where wild goats had to be chased away from the food by brave diners including the Mayor.
The Official Celebration Evening was held at the nearby Château de Malmont where the three Mayors of the twin towns made speeches to celebrate the cultural, educational and sporting links across the three towns. Mayor of Patchway Cllr Dayley Lawrence made a speech for the large, assembled crowd thanking our hosts and partners, and reinforcing Patchway’s commitment to this international exchange of ideas and culture. Cllr Lawrence was also made a Chevalier De La Vigne through a special ceremony.
This evening was also a wonderful opportunity for a number of the Patchway Friends of Twinning to reacquaint themselves with old friends from across many years, including Lucy Hamid, John Thomas, Win and Ken Williams. And for Sylvaine Jestin and Dayley Lawrence to meet more recent international acquaintances.
On Friday, the delegation visited the stunning Lac du Salagou before an official tree planting ceremony outside Clermont Town Hall with Cllr Lawrence representing Patchway. A meeting of the three Mayors discussed the strengths of twinning and ideas for future programmes to include an emphasis on involving the young people of the three towns, and the possibility of a Spanish twin town joining the group. The evening was concluded with the opening of an exhibition of French and German artists at a stunning church location.
The final day of the programme included a visit to the stunning Cap D’Agde with the Musé de l’Ephèbe providing fascinating insights to the local sub-marine archaeology. The delegation then visited the shores of the Mediterranean with the Patchway delegation joining our French and German friends in the warm waters for a swim. The final day was concluded with an informal buffet dinner for people to share their experiences of the past few days and looking to the future.
We are really keen for young people to become increasingly involved through our local schools, and in July a delegation from Patchway heading to Gauting for the final twinning visit of 2023 will include teachers from Coniston Primary School.
The Patchway Friends of Twinning is seeking new people to join the group and ensure that this invaluable link to other cultures in Europe remains relevant and successful for the residents and young people of Patchway. Please email email@example.com for more information and to get involved.