What we do


















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 French.

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 phil@waterton.org.uk

Beryl Dixon




The Sunday highlight for our 120 people audience was a combined choir performance by the English “The Madding Crowd” and the French “Villanelle” choirs.

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 songs.
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.

Caesar Slattery























Many thanks to Sandra, our wonderful Membership Secretary, for organising another successful pool party in her garden on the 28th August.  The weather was a bit showery but a good number of us were able to eat our food outside, in between the showers, and quite a few people swam in the pool.  If anyone has any photos of the event please send them to me (Phil) and I'll post them on the site.


Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Friday 21st October in St Lawrence Parish Room in Colebrook Street. The Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Jane Rutter, chaired the meeting.  Minutes and Reports are available from the Committee on request.


This has been postponed until 2017


Annual membership subscriptions were due on the 1st August and just a small number of people haven't paid.  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, Sandra Savage.


We will be holding our annual Fête des Rois evening on Friday 6th January, 2017, at 7:30 pm in the Bianchi Suite at Otterbourne Village Hall. This is the venue we used in January this year. This is a fund-raising event and the price will be £16 per person, which will include a meal comprising a main course (to be advised) with a vegetarian alternative, served with a baked jacket potato, and followed by traditional galettes and bread and cheese. Wine and soft drinks are included. Please notify us in advance if you require the vegetarian meal. We are delighted that the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr. Jane Rutter, and her Escort, Duncan Rutter, have accepted our invitation to join us for the evening.

We have to limit this event to fifty people and places will be allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis. No late bookings will be accepted. Therefore, to ensure your place please send your cheque, payable to Winchester-Laon Twinning Association, for £16 per person, to Elspeth Brown as soon as possible.  Alternatively, you may pay by direct transfer to the Association’s Bank Account.  Please let Elspeth know by email if you pay by this method. We do need to finalise numbers as soon as we can so it’s vital that we have your payment no later than Friday 16th December, and it would also be helpful if you could let us know if you will not be coming.


Those of you who were at our AGM or who joined us for the meal at Côte Brasserie will know that we have had to change the dates of the visit of our friends from Laon in 2017, and it has now been confirmed that they will arrive on Friday 7th July and return on Monday 10th July. The group will include 25 to 28 choristers. We’ll let you have more details as soon as we know them, but at least you now know the dates so hopefully you’ll be able to plan your holidays round them!




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Send email to Phil Waterton (phil@waterton.org.uk) with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2016 Winchester-Laon Twinning Association
Last modified :  21st November 2016