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Beccles celebrates 40 years of friendship with French ‘twin town’

PUBLISHED: 14:39 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:39 16 May 2018

Beccles celebrated 40 years of twnning with Petit-Couronne last weekend. Photo: Beccles Twinning Association.

Beccles celebrated 40 years of twnning with Petit-Couronne last weekend. Photo: Beccles Twinning Association.

Archant

Beccles has celebrated 40 years of friendship, memories and travel with its twin town from across The Channel.

Beccles celebrated 40 years of twnning with Petit-Couronne last weekend. Photo: James CarrBeccles celebrated 40 years of twnning with Petit-Couronne last weekend. Photo: James Carr

The town officially joined forces with Petit-Couronne in 1978.

And last weekend Beccles Twinning Association hosted a series of events to celebrate the momentous occasion.

In total the town welcomed 77 visitors; 65 from Petit-Couronne and 12 from Ahlem, Germany – which is also twinned with the French town and acts as “Beccles big sister”.

Michelle Golding, chairmen of the twinning association, said: “It’s not just about visiting the town, it’s about visiting the people.

Beccles celebrated 40 years of twnning with Petit-Couronne last weekend. Photo: James CarrBeccles celebrated 40 years of twnning with Petit-Couronne last weekend. Photo: James Carr

“It was set up in 1978 to promote understanding with different cultures in Europe.

“By staying at family homes you really get to know and understand different cultures.

“We all have personal and national problems but when we get together we can find solutions.”

Ms Golding added: “I think we all feel very proud we have kept it going this long and we are now focused on getting more young people involved to keep this link going.”

The guests arrived on Thursday evening and stayed with various Beccles residents while enjoying the festivities.

On Friday the younger visitors spent time at Sir John Leman High School and Worlingham Primary School to learn more about English school life while the adults enjoyed the town.

A meeting was held at the town hall to discuss the future of the twinning relationship and it was decided more focus will be placed on encouraging young people to join.

The Bell Tower was open for guests to enjoy spectacular views of the town and the Rumpus Ukulele Experience performance of English and French songs proved especially popular.

However for Ms Golding the highlight of the weekend was the bilingual performance of Hark to the Bells at St Michael’s Church on Saturday.

Actors from both Beccles and Petit-Couronne came together to deliver the performance.

She said: “I was particularly proud of Hark to the Bells which included actors aged from 16 to 93.

“People from two countries, with two languages, coming together to form a cohesive whole.”

After a packed weekend the visitors left for home on Sunday.

She added: “It was a great success – twinning goes on.”

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