Visitors from Hailsham’s French twin town of Gournay-en-Bray and their ‘friendship town’ – Remshalden in Germany – were welcomed to Hailsham last month to help in the formation of closer links between Hailsham and the German town.
The Hailsham & District Twinning Association organised a meeting between the Mayor of Hailsham Councillor Nigel Coltman and Mr Eric Picard — the new Mayor of Gournay-en-Bray – and Stefan Breiter, Mayor of Remshalden, meeting for the first time on Saturday 24th October.
The meeting was also organised to coincide with the first visit to Hailsham of 16 young people and their leaders from Gournay-en-Bray, who were accompanied by members of the French Twinning Committee.
Time had been spent by the Hailsham & District Twinning Association to arrange a fully planned itinerary for the weekend starting with their arrival on Friday 23rd October and ending on Monday 26th November with their departure. All young people and Gournay-en-Bray Twinning Committee members stayed with English host families.
Hailsham & District Twinning Association chairman Keith Townsend said: “The weather over the weekend was very kind to us and our Committee had worked hard to make this weekend such a success.”
“Everyone enjoyed a trip to Alfriston and Pevensey Castle and a walk along the Eastbourne seafront. English and French youth followed the Hailsham Heritage Trail on Sunday and completed a Trail Quiz devised by the young people of Hailsham. Everyone also took part in ten-pin bowling at Freedom Leisure Centre and Ringos at Knockhatch Adventure Park.”
“We catered and provided a 4-course meal for 60 people on the Saturday evening and members baked cakes for a wonderful English cream tea on the Sunday afternoon.”
“Our Association really pulled out all the stops to ensure everyone enjoyed the weekend.”
The Welcome Meeting for the three Mayors took place at the Hailsham Town Council offices in Market Street and this provided a platform for planning twinning relationships for 2016, particularly with an emphasis on encouraging more youth participation and providing opportunities for Hailsham’s young people to visit France and Germany in the future and vice versa.
A new idea of forming closer links between Hailsham and Remshalden in the form of developing a ‘Town Friendship’ was also discussed and agreed, primarily to provide the young people of Hailsham with a chance to learn cultural differences and historical knowledge, as well as opportunities for friendship and participation in sporting events and activities.
Mr Townsend said: “Our local youth have already taken part in carnivals and events in Gournay-en-Bray and Remshalden – which has already been twinned with Gournay for 25 years. Very positive feedback has been received, particularly regarding what they have gained from these previous events.”
“In fact, the young people want to build on the relationships they have already formed and the Hailsham & District Twinning Association is now encouraged by this to develop further the youth opportunities. The possibility of local schools developing skype contacts and visiting the two countries is something that could also take place in the future.”
Town Clerk John Harrison said: “I’d like to congratulate the Hailsham & District Twinning Association for their hard work in organising such a wide range of social events and cultural exchanges and for making plans to develop our town’s relationship with Gournay-en-Bray and indeed Remshalden, bringing together the people from all three towns.”
The Hailsham & District Twinning Association currently has approximately 70 members and the Committee also has two youth members. New members of all ages are welcome, who can be as much or as little involved as they want to be in the group’s various activities.
The Association is also keen to hear from anyone in the local area who may be interested in driving forward the new ‘friendship with Remshalden.
For further details on joining, contact Pauline Townsend (Secretary) on 01323 846539 or visit www.hailsham-gournay.org
Terry Hall, Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
Telephone: 01323 841702 | Email: email@example.com