Members of the Bude-Stratton Twinning Association have just returned from a fun packed weekend of activities and celebrations in the twin town of Ergué-Gabéric. The visit, which took place from Thursday, May 2 to Tuesday, May 7 marked the 40th anniversary of the association between the two towns, which was started in 1979 and has continued to thrive since, with members participating in many social events over the years and lifelong friendships being established.
In preparation for this visit, 18 members of the Bude-Stratton Association created a composite painting made up of 12 canvasses, under the artistic direction of Glenda Lavender, which when placed together revealed a beautiful picture of Bude’s Barrel Rock at sunset.
The painting was taken over to France and presented to the Ergué-Gabéric Twinning Association as a surprise gift at the official opening of a joint art exhibition. In addition to the surprise painting, 10 other pictures and 12 photos were taken over to be displayed for the duration of the visit in the Athéna art centre in Ergué Gabéric. Art work was provided by four amateur artists from within the association and two local artists, Pamela Gilhespy and Katie Godden Green who kindly offered to loan paintings for the event.
Over the course of Saturday morning a series of workshops were held for English and French ‘twinners’ and locals.
These included tap dancing, wicker weaving, calligraphy, embroidery, Breton dancing, Breton ‘Kouign Plaket’ cookery, Breton instrument playing and Cornish cookery, with Jeannie and Nick Cole ably showing their French friends how to make delicious pasties! Official photos were taken and coffee, teas and traditional cakes were provided. Commemorative mugs, designed by the Ergué-Gabéric committee were available to purchase.
On Saturday evening, guests were welcomed with traditional aperitifs and beautiful singing by the ‘Coeur des Vallées’ choir. Afterwards the Ergué-Gabéric mayor gave an official address, which was followed by a welcoming speech in English from local children.
The presidents of the respective committees, Loic Frenay and Teresa North-Lewis also gave speeches in French, relaying the history of the Twinning Associations, the various events and exchanges that have occurred over the years and reiterating the continued success of the Twinning Association and the strong common bond and desire to keep the link thriving in the future. They exchanged gifts, with the French Twinners offering a framed copy of the original charter and a 40th birthday plaque; and the Bude Twinners offering a decorated directional road sign.
Everyone settled down to a gastronomic celebratory meal, which was interspersed between each course with a cabaret of song, dance, comedy, musical duets, solos and karaoke performed by French and English ‘twinners’. The meal culminated in a spectacular celebration cake and everyone joined in Breton dancing to finish the evening.
The following morning, Bude-Stratton ‘twinners’ were in for a further treat, as they were taken on a rally in a variety of classic cars, first to a woodland to see the enactment of a local fable, with a picnic lunch in a marquee and visit to a nearby rural abbey. The afternoon comprised of another journey in classic cars to visit a canal and find out about the history of a paper mill, which thrived in the area.
On the final day, both groups were offered a guided tour of Quimper Cathedral, with many exploring the town and shops and enjoying an afternoon in the sun.
Over the course of the weekend, in between the visits and gatherings everyone was able to spend time with their host families and friends enjoying their company and hospitality.
On Monday evening, everyone bid their farewells “à l’année prochaine!”, to make the journey back to Bude, weary but with fond and happy memories of a fantastic 40th anniversary weekend.
President of Bude Twinning, Teresa Lewis, was very pleased with the event overall. She said: “Our 40th Twinning Anniversary was truly a fantastic event. Our French friends organised an unforgettable weekend which included a wonderful joint activities day with tap dancing, Breton musical instruments and dancing, wicker weaving, cookery demos, calligraphy and embroidery.”
Teresa then added: “We hope to reciprocate their kind hospitality next year.”
Deborah Nock and her family are also members of the group andexplained what it is like for younger members. She said: “We have been in the twinning for four years so we have hosted twice and visited twice.
“We are the only ‘family’ in the Bude twinning group but there are quite a few children on the French side.
“I think it’s great to show our daughter (10) that learning and speaking French is for real and not just for in the classroom!
“It’s a really stress-free way to visit France with so many advantages of going in a group and staying with locals.
Deborah explained that you don’t need to know French to enjoy the trip. She continued: “For those of us (myself included) whose French extends to a GCSE 30 years ago, there are lots of French speakers in the twinning who can help.
“The French speak good English and if all else fails there’s always Google Translate! We didn’t have a problem communicating at all.
“I think the twinning is special in Bude because Bude is such a friendly community and we see many similarities in Ergue-Gaberic. I think it makes the perfect twinning pair.”
Bude-Stratton Twinning Association holds social events throughout the year and is always looking for new members whether you’re single, a couple or a family. All are welcome from Bude, Stratton and surrounding villages near or further afield. Please contact Jackie at [email protected] if you would like more information.
More photos of the weekend can be seen on the Bude-Stratton Twinning Association facebook page or the Ergué-Gabéric blog https://erguebude.wordpress.com/
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