Take a look at the latest Newsletters:
8th May 2018
Just a quick reminder: We need to have your written permission to mail you or to contact you by any other means you have given us, due to changes in the Data Protection Act. If you haven’t already replied to my mail this will be the last time we will be able to contact you.
Next Event: Games Night – Saturday 26th May 2018
Future dates for the diary:
Treasure Hunt and Tea – Sunday 24th June 2018
More functions to be confirmed between these dates.
Discover Westbury Event – Saturday 22nd September 2018
Games Night – Saturday 26th May 2018
We will be holding a games night towards the end of this month and we have already a few games ready for the evening. However, we invite any of you to bring along a favourite game to share. The games will be laid out on different tables and, as before, you will be able to move around from one to another. If you want to bring a game please let us know beforehand so we know how many to expect. More details about this night after our committee meeting on the 15th of May.
Treasure Hunt and Tea 24th June 2018
More details about this event in the next Gemini.
Discover Westbury Event – 22nd September 2018
The Discover Westbury Event is being held by the Westbury Festival Organisers and is intended for local groups to advertise what goes on in Westbury. We have booked a table to participate in this event and hopefully we will gain some new members. We will be collecting memorabilia from our 18 years twinned with Château du Loir and before that for over 20 years with Soisy sur Seine. We will be happy to receive any ideas for the display and also volunteers to man/woman the stall.
Château du Loir visit 2018
I hope you have all recovered from the trip. Many of you have thanked Norman and I for the organisation of the trip, but thanks also go to Gill as she liaised with Brittany Ferries and Chandlers for us. We do appreciate your thanks, and yes, it is a lot of work but our group are such good company and easy to please, so on behalf of the three of us thanks to all of you for making it all a success.
On our return there was a mail from the Hotel on my computer. I thought you may be interested so here are the mails from them and my response – translated to and from the French:
From Emeline at the Ibis 26th April 2018:
Following your stay in our hotel, we hope that everything went well in terms of accommodation and catering. We are happy to welcome back a group like yours in the future. In the meantime, I wish you a good return, and to let you know that I stay at your disposal for any additional information.
My reply when we returned 31st May 2018:
Thank you for your mail, we arrived back in Westbury this morning at 00.45 am following an excellent few days with our French Friends. We would like to thank you and all your Staff for your hospitality, the warm welcome, excellent restaurant and the service you provided. The members of our group have only good comments about our stay with you. Many thanks again and hopefully we will see you in 2020.
They replied again 2nd May 2018: I Thank you greatly for your reply, and quickly told all the team. The feeling is mutual, we are happy to welcome you on a future stay, it was a real pleasure to work with you.
Here are the first of your comments about the trip, any more will be in the next Gemini:
Well, what can I say? It was all wonderful, as usual. I had a lot of fun with Janine and on our free days she took me to some most interesting places. Can we do it again this weekend please?
We have just about recovered from the visit to Chateau, our hosts had packed in so much we were worn out! I must say that the stay in the Ibis was wonderful, such a comfy bed! Don’t think I would have coped with a ferry cabin. It is good to get back to simple food and not three courses, etc.
From Pam and Bill
Very Many Thanks for all you did for us all ensuring that the trip was a huge success. We know that behind the scenes a lot of planning and administration goes on as was evident by the smooth and efficient organised trip. We couldn’t fault the event and considering all-in-all, even the weather was better than we expected. We have returned with many happy memories, having made new friends and very full stomachs! Thanking you again
From Caroline and Richard
I have just sent an email to thank Remi and Nicole for a lovely weekend but this is just a note to say thank you so much for all your work towards the twinning weekend. We just turn up and get on the coach forgetting all the preparations you have to do. So thank you, we do very much appreciate it, you can relax completely now and sleep for a week!!!
From Tom and Maureen
Fran & I think that the twinning trip was probably the best one we’ve ever been on (apart from the journey home) events worth mentioning are being taken on a guided tour of the Le Mans racing circuit and seeing (and hearing) the cars practicing on the circuit, Bridget being locked out of her room and wandering along the corridor in her nightie at the Ibis hotel, at Falaise. Seeing the cave village. Our hosts, and the accommodation they provided, were excellent and Fran & I both think we will be hard pressed to equal the return visit next year. I think it will be remiss of us not to mention the work that you and Norman put into arranging the trip so:- Thanks for all you have done and keep up the good work.
From Alf & Fran
There may be quicker ways of getting to France, but by boat, on a calm day, seems the best way to unwind and get in the mood for a holiday. I think the only bad wine we had was at the hotel that first night. We thought we’d be clever and ask for a different type of red wine, but despite stating that any other than the one we had just had, would do, we still ended up with the same glass of rocket fuel. So much for our French! Needless to say, the rest of the holiday was full of wonderful food and wine. Our hosts were asked by their group if we ate the food provided and seemed surprised when they were told yes, no problem. The events organised by both the twinning organisations and town councils were splendid affairs and we were made to feel most welcome. We especially enjoyed the visit to the garden centre/workshop run by people with learning disabilities. Although we had been to Chateau du Loir three other times, we were able to visit new places – Le Mans, Ponce sur Le Loir (art exhibition and glass blowing), as well as the town market and a restaurant. Our host family had only moved to the area 18 months ago but we were able to be ourselves in their home and play games and even catch the end of their 16 year old daughter’s basketball game. Best of all, they wanted to practise their English!
From Carole and Gordon
Surely there are more tales to tell about the trip, please send them in for the June edition of Gemini.
Thank you all for your comments in the past – please keep sending them in. We welcome any more items of news from you so if you have anything you would like to share with our members, please send them to an email address below. We would especially like more of your feedback on any of the events.
The dictionary definition of a “Twin Town” is a town that has civic associations, such as reciprocal visits and cultural exchanges with a foreign town. The Twinning Charter was signed by both Towns in the year 2000, in Westbury during May and in Château du Loir in September. A framed copy of the charter can be seen in the Laverton.
To those who belong to The Westbury and District French Twinning Association “Twinning” means having the opportunity to make friends with families in Château du Loir, welcoming them back to our homes, furthering our knowledge of their way of life, perhaps improving our spoken French, and having a lot of fun.
Twinning is open to all ages, either as a single person, a couple or a family group, for which there is an annual subscription. We distribute our newsletter which we call “Gemini” (meaning Twins) on a regular basis to all our members.
Château du Loir (note the missing “e”, this is the small river Loir) is situated between Le Mans and Tours in the region of Sarthe. A busy main road runs through the centre, it has an important railway junction, is in a beautiful rural area, and is about the same size as Westbury. The town does not have a Château and is not on the Loir but there are lots of interesting places close by to visit and the Châteaux of the Loire are only an hour away.
Should you visit the area and travel through Château du Loir you might see a Red Telephone Box situated outside their Station. On our visit in 2002 We presented the town with the telephone box, in complete working order, having been purchased, refurbished, transported and erected on site, under the guidance of the late Mayor Cllr John Annetts. John organized the whole project and carried out a lot of the hard work assisted by members of the Twinning Association and various businesses in Westbury. The telephone box is admired and used daily by the local people. For our 10th anniversary we presented the town with a White Horse weather vane that sits on the roof of the Tourist Information Office and they presented us with a beautiful patchwork made by some of the ladies in their Twinning group. This is displayed in the Laverton building.
Throughout the year The Association hold fundraising events to raise the money to welcome visitors from our twin town.
These events have included short walks with a cream tea, skittles and fish & chips, sausage and mash night, barbecues, beetle drives, treasure hunts, silent auctions, coffee mornings, quizzes, treasure hunts, safari dinners, Burns nights, a film evening, visits to the theatre, and probably more. These events are aimed at having some fun and meeting others, and normally end up with food of some sort. Even though we are aiming to raise funds the cost of participating is kept low so it is always good value for an evening out.
We visit Château du Loir and they visit us on alternate years. They come to us on odd years and we go there on even years. These visits are usually made over a long weekend, and include organized events and time for hosts to spend with their guests as they wish. The visitors stay with host families and usually become very good friends. There seems to be no problem with the language barrier even though not all speak French.
Many people think of Twinning as “Wining and dining” and yes, it is an important part of the weekends. However, during receptions and evening events you have the chance to enjoy the company of all the members both French and English, experience the way they celebrate, their music, the different way they present their food etc., there is also plenty of time to talk about and compare the problems the people face in their daily lives, and more often than not they are not dissimilar to ours. There is also a misconception that the visits are a cheap way to visit France. This is not true as members pay for themselves to travel and to host when the visitors return, however it is not as expensive as travelling independently.
We can also act as a contact for other organizations to make an acquaintance with an opposite number in France. We have recently managed to make a link between a primary school in Westbury with a similar school in Château du Loir. We know they have clubs for Judo and swimming, they also have a lovely sailing lake very close by at a leisure area that also offers archery, fishing, walking and just enjoying the countryside. “A choir from the Château du Loir area performed with the Philomel Choir at All Saints Church in Westbury during April 2013.”
We are always pleased to welcome new members, simply contact Jean, Peter, Pam or Michael, whose details can be found above.