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
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.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
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
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,
FETE DES ROIS PARTY, FRIDAY 6TH JANUARY, 2017
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.
ADVANCE NOTICE OF 2017 TWINNING VISIT
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!
WINCHESTER EXECUTIVE TRAVEL
A local business specialising in port and airport
transfers using Mercedes cars and VW 8 seater MPVs
5% discount to members of Winchester-Laon
07795 254 193