SHERINGTON TWINNING ASSOCIATION
THE TWINNING HISTORY
SHERINGTON TWINNING ASSOCIATION
It started with a suggestion to the Parish Council of Sherington tofind a twin village and Bill Lewis volunteered to investigate and report back. Somehow Bill got landed with the job to try and set something going. We had a small meeting, formed a nucleus of interested people and made contact with a ministry bureau in London. This bureau acts as form of matchmaker and thus we came into contact with a community in Brittany.
2. THE BRITTANY CONNECTION
We made a series of visits both in Brittany and here, got on well at a personal level but when it came to formalising the twinning we hit a snag. One of the key players was the mayor and we suspected that he felt unsure about supporting this idea in view of his upcoming re-election. Anyway, they didn`t proceed.
We reconsidered our position. Should we continue? Should we try other countries? What had we learnt? Firstly we felt that the most important thing is the people you twin with. The location is of secondary importance. To travel by car for a weekend was at the practical limit with Brittany so why not look closer to home?
4. SECOND ATTEMPT
We returned to the data base of the London bureau but this time asking for potential partners in the Pas-de-Calais region. We knew we wanted a similar village, largely rural and a similar size of population. We selected four or five examples and planned an un-announced trawl through our short list. We left one Sunday at "sparrows ......." , crossed the Channel and started to visit villages from the coast and working towards Lille.
Some places didn`t feel right but a couple were possibles. The last one on our list was Saméon and this is what happened :
We arrived in Saméon about midday. It started to drizzle and we had been going for some long hours, so we decided to drop into the bar for a reviver before completing our look around. The bar was busy with mostly locals having their pre-lunch aperitif. Bill went up to the bar and started to order our drinks in French and calling to the group for the orders in English. This caused some interest at the bar and it was commented that they didn`t get too many tourists at that time of year from Holland. Clearly they worked out that we were foreigners and to their ear Dutch or English equals " Foreign ". Probably a similar response to a non-English speaking group turning up in our White Hart ! When we said that we were " Anglais" they concluded that the last one of those had been an RAF pilot in the second war.
We then explained that we were visiting because Saméon wanted to twin with an English village at which incredulity broke out. The flabbergasted publican called for "Jean-Louis " to assist. From one of the tables rose a man dressed in working clothes ( it transpired he was a local farmer ), but was in fact introduced as the Mayor. After a bit of thought he said that they had had a suggestion about this but Richard was dealing with it.
Without more ado Jean- Louis called Richard on his mobile and we were invited to go round to meet him and his family.
Suddenly things were changing from our semi-clandestine visit towards a full reception.
At Richard`s house we were welcomed by Richard, his wife Veronique and a continuous stream of sons ranging from about 10 years down to a new born. In fact they have six boys including two sets of twins. We were served with aperitifs and invited to join them for lunch. We were some six people in our group and it was totally out of order for us to accept this kind invitation but it underlined their immediate generosity. We finally departed to lunch at a local restaurant but thus started our Twinning Marriage.
We had exchange visits, prepared our Charter and finally concluded our "contract " in 1997. Each year we make a group visit - one year here and the next there. Families host visitors and, in most cases, the same families reciprocate. Some members stay in Gites, others just support the Association but do not get involved with a French family - it`s up to you.
We have found many extra aspects that came as a bonus. Joining the Association brings you into contact with Sherington villagers which you may otherwise never meet. Some folk have changed their view about French people after they have had an opportunity to actually meet them.
We need to raise funds to cover our hosting costs and therefore have various events during the year. Some examples range through Proms-in-the-park, Quiz Night, Summer B-B-Q incorporating the Boules competition, Dances, Curry Evening, Talent Competition, etc.
7. NEW MEMBERS
We welcome new members young and older, with or without young children. We hope to offer something for everyone - so why not give it a try.
Call Mick Inskipp 01908 216214 (President) or any member of our committee who will glad to help.