TWINNING WEEKEND 27-30 MAY 2016
54 visitors from Winchester spent the late May bank holiday weekend as guests of
host families in our partner city in Picardy which is situated 50km from Reims
and 130km from Paris.
The Winchester Twinning Association has developed strong ties with its opposite
number in Laon, through annual exchange visits which take place in each city in
alternate years. On this occasion the Twinners were accompanied by 25 singers
and musicians from the Madding Crowd Group who gave a joint concert with a Laon
choir – and most impressively, introduced themselves and their pieces in perfect
An action packed weekend included an interesting visit to the Mining History
Centre near Douai, where the group experienced an underground tour of a former
coal mine, now a tourist attraction, followed by an excellent lunch and a pause
in Arras on the return journey. On the Sunday, Winchester visitors were
entertained by their hosts, some taking a guided tour of the old city, and
everyone enjoying a French Sunday lunch, either home cooked or in a restaurant.
The evening concert was followed by a buffet supper with a welcome in fluent
English by the Mayor of Laon who is also the area's Sénateur (equivalent to a
Member of Parliament).
Laon is a lovely city, France's largest listed historical site, with a beautiful
early Gothic cathedral, many other mediaeval buildings and ramparts and is well
worth a visit, it sits on a plateau overlooking the plains of Champagne and
Picardy. Champagne of the liquid variety was a prominent feature of the weekend!
The welcome, hospitality and friendship could not have been warmer and everyone
enjoyed the experience and had a marvellous time. Language was no problem, with
even people who spoke little of each others' language managing to communicate.
The Twinning Association holds a number of social evenings for members in
Winchester, usually with a French flavour, and produces a quarterly newsletter.
New members are always welcome and it is not essential to speak French. Anyone
interested in joining should please contact the Secretary, Phil Waterton, at
TWINNING WEEKEND - ANOTHER SHORT REPORT
The Sunday highlight for our 120 people audience was a combined choir
performance by the English “The Madding Crowd” and the French “Villanelle”
In a historic church near Laon, “Madding Crowd” sang and played authentic 17th
century and 18th century English songs – and even two songs in French!
Villanelle choir (dressed in black in the photos) then sang traditional French
As a grand finale, both choirs sang and played two songs together – quite
outstanding, and the acoustics of the church meant our audience of about 120
people heard and
enjoyed every single note clearly.
SUMMER POOL PARTY AND BRING & SHARE LUNCH, ON SUNDAY 28TH AUGUST
Sandra, our wonderful Membership Secretary, has again invited all of us to a
summer garden party with a Bring & Share lunch at her house in Chandlers Ford on
Sunday 28th August (the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend) starting at 11.30 am
with champagne and aperitifs. Friends and family are welcome. Those of you that
have been before will know that Sandra has a lovely, very large, garden, with a
heated swimming pool, so bring your costumes! Please bring sufficient food for
your party and drinks will be supplied. Although there is no charge for the
event, there will be a ‘donation bowl’ for voluntary contributions towards the
running of the Association, and to help with the funding of next year’s visit by
our friends from Laon, should you wish to contribute. Parking is limited and
it’s suggested that you park in Chalvington Road, a couple of hundred yards past
Sandra’s house, on the left going towards Eastleigh. The No.1 bus from
Winchester stops on Bournemouth Road just past its junction with Leigh Road.
Do please come if you can as it will be a fun-filled afternoon. Please let
Sandra know if you will be coming and what food you will be bringing.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Our Annual General Meeting will be held at 7:30 pm on Friday 21st October in
St Lawrence Parish Room in Colebrook Street. The Mayor, Councillor Jane Rutter,
or the Deputy Mayor, will chair the meeting. Agenda and other papers will
be circulated to members at least two weeks before the meeting.
We are hoping to organise a Quiz Evening in November. Details will
appear here when known
Finally, a reminder that annual membership subscriptions are due on the 1st
August and I would ask you to pay them as soon as possible. Single membership is
just £15 and family membership is £20. Please make your cheque payable to
Winchester-Laon Twinning Association and send it to our Membership Secretary,
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