This first weekend in August saw the visit to Hungerford of 30 ‘twinners’ from Hungerford’s twin town of Ligueil near Tours in France. Every year the twinners from each town take it in turns to visit each other and many become good friends over the years. This year’s group from Ligueil ranged in age from 5 to 75 years old and stayed with host families in Hungerford, Kintbury, Inkpen and East Garston.
It was a very successful weekend, organised by Penny Brookman and the Hungerford Twinning committee. The reception was held, as is traditional, at the Royal British Legion on Thursday afternoon, where a spread of English cakes and sandwiches welcomed the travellers and speeches were made by the Mayors of Hungerford and Ligueil, celebrating the 38 years of twinning.
On Friday, the English host families took their guests on local outings including Hungerford Arcade, Littlecote House and the vineyard at Winding Wood, with the younger families enjoying a swim in the Lido in Newbury and collaborative crafts at City Arts Newbury.
In the evening everyone convened for an entertaining evening at Hungerford Rugby Club with fish and chips delivered by Mr Fry’s and a beetle drive kindly run by Nigel Pateman. It was a great game that everyone could join in whether they spoke French or English.
All you had to do was count to six, draw a beetle and be competitive! The overall winner was Carol Shanahan.
On Saturday the whole group took a coach to spend the day at CountryFile Live at Blenheim Palace where there was lots of English rural traditions to discover including shire horses, birds of prey, duck herding collies and Morris Dancing.
There was also an opportunity for the french visitors to discover some delicious British charcuterie and have a go at wall climbing!
The twinners spent a quieter day on Sunday at the Croft Field Centre in Hungerford, enjoying Pimms and traditional roast Sunday lunch provided by Catering 4 Occasions, followed by lemon meringue pie, apple crumble and croquet, lawn chess, and french skipping in the field, with tug-of-war for the more energetic.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Town Council, Greenham Trust and the Town and Manor,” said Penny Brookman. ” And thanks to Norman Sinclair-Baines for loaning us a marquee that provided welcome shade on the Croft Field. We couldn’t host our french guests without the support of other groups in Hungerford.”
“Many thanks to our friends in Hungerford for another wonderful weekend,” said Ligueil’s mayor, Michel Guignaudeau. “The hospitality, the events – and, of course, the weather – were all superb. Everyone, young and old, had an excellent time. We look forward to welcoming you all back to our town next year.”
Monday morning saw an early departure of French group from John O’Gaunt School carpark after the traditional singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Plans are already afoot for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the twinning association in 2020 when the Ligueil contingent will be back in Hungerford.
To find out more about the twinning association and how to get involved, please click here.
In memory of Dany Bosek, an English teacher at the school in Ligueil who was a passionate supporter of twinning and English/French relations and sadly died earlier this year, there is a proposal to establish a bursary to support students from Hungerford and Ligueil who want to spend time in each other’s countries.