Testbourne Parishes (Whitchurch and surrounding parishes) recently welcomed their French compatriots for the 35th year of association between them and their twin town of Neuvic sur L’Isle.
Greeting the French
Thirty French people were greeted after their arrival by a traditional cream tea reception at Barton Stacey Village Hall, before going on to stay with their host families for six days between 6th and 11th May.
Visits to local attractions
Activities included an informative visit to Whitchurch Silk Mill, the oldest silk mill in the UK still in its original building. There was also a tour of Laverstoke Park Farm, owned by former racing driver Jodie Scheckter. The French were surprised to encounter buffalo in the wilds of Hampshire and also by the soaking they got on the back of a farm trailer while touring the farm.
Cheese before or after dessert?
If that was not enough, another day there was an English cheese and rich fruit cake evening, accompanied by English wines, when the French were given the chance to sample this unaccustomed north-country savoury-sweet combination. The whole Anglo-French debate of whether to have cheese before or after dessert was given a new twist by having them together on the same plate!
The visit culminated on the Saturday at Testbourne Community School with a celebration meal of local produce including smoked trout from Chilbolton and roast lamb from Northington. Original members of the twinning of 35 years standing were recognised for their continued association and were honoured in a group photo.
Since the beginning of twinning in 1979, many people living in Whitchurch and its vicinity have enjoyed valued friendships with their compatriots in Neuvic sur L’Isle, in the beautiful Dordogne region of France. Apart from alternate-year visits between the two communities, for 6 days usually during May, various fund-raising social events including lunches, cream teas, coffee mornings and quiz evenings, are arranged in the homes of members or in the Whitchurch Parish Hall throughout the year.
Colin Follett, Chairman of the Testbourne Parishes Twinning Association, said:
“We are a long-established twinning group with strong connections between our respective communities. We wish to maintain this link for many years to come and are always on the lookout for new members, of any age.”
Membership is available to anyone residing in Testbourne Parishes and who is interested in establishing a friendly connection with a French family and willing to host that family.