www.barrowvoice.co.uk - First Publised 1975
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Twenty Years of Friendship

Many people have been to France, staying in hotels, gites, caravans and tents, but how many have stayed in the homes of French families and enjoyed their hospitality? This is what the members of the Barrow & District Twinning group do on our bi-annual visit. Marans, the town we are twinned with, is on the west coast of France, a little inland, and stands on the River Sevre. It is approximately twenty miles north of La Rochelle, a picturesque and historic port; the whole region is the Charente Maritime, which is famous for its mouth- watering mussels and Pineau - a wine that is matured in brandy barrels.

Last year we travelled to Marans to celebrate the 20th.anniversary of the signing of the charter. Our hosts had arranged a busy programme of events and everyone had an enjoyable time. This year it was Barrow’s turn to play hosts and welcome our French friends into our homes. Thinking caps on, we set about organising a variety of events to inform and entertain our friends.

We started with a demonstration of Morris Dancing at the Soar Bridge pub; it was great fun to see the French joining in with the dancing. We also had a tour around the Royal Crown Derby factory, and a trip to Stratford-on-Avon, including a cruise on the river. Nearer to home we visited the University Botanical Gardens in Leicester and, once again, the weather was kind to us, being warm and sunny showing our visitors that we do sometimes have good weather in England.

During their four day visit we had two excellent meals; one at the Birstall Golf Club with the Parish Council, where once again the charter was signed. Here we had the pleasure of the company of Pauline Ranson the Mayor of Loughborough. The second was at the Radmore Restaurant on Loughborough College campus and we were delighted with the skills of the young people who not only cooked the meal, but provided an excellent silver service. The team included a young man from Barrow. Next year we will again be going to Marans, possibly in June or July. If you would like the experience of staying with a French family, why not become a member and join us? Some of the group speak excellent French and some of us speak no French at all, but that is not a barrier to us enjoying each other’s company.

If you are interested please contact Helen Duxbury on 01509 552867, Ted Rodgers on 01509 416533 or Val Gillings on 01509 413227.

Val Gillings