We recently celebrated our 30th Anniversay again in BellÍme in May 2010 together with our friends from Stuhlingen.
Above is a picture of all the visitors in BellÍme, just prior to departure (Larger or Full Size picture).
Below is a summary of the weekend. A Full Report with many photographs is also available.
Exactly one year after the very successful 30th anniversary celebrations here in Goring, BellÍme played host to both Goring and StŁhlingen, BellÍme’s twin town in Germany. 85 people from Goring and district made the trip to BellÍme in blazing sunshine and enjoyed another action packed weekend.
Our group included people who have been involved in twinning from the very beginning, as well as others coming for the first time, children of various ages and two families who had members from three generations.
This was the first time that BellÍme had hosted such large numbers from both towns at the same time, with some host families being brave enough to have both German and English guests.
We arrived on the evening of Friday 21 May 2010 to a very warm welcome from our hosts. On Saturday, we visited a photographic exhibition featuring business life in all three communities, with the English photographs provided by Adrian T. We hope this exhibition will be coming to Goring later in the year.
Next, we were taken on a coach tour of the rural district of BellÍme, an administrative area created in 1999. The highlights of this tour were the magnificent national forest which covers the area; pretty, unspoiled villages such as Dame-Marie, Appenai and Eperrais; and the magnificent grounds of the Ch‚teau des Chaises, home of M. de Caffarelli, Chairman of the district council, where we had a picnic lunch.
The official ceremony was held outdoors, in front of the town hall, with speeches from dignitaries such as the sub prefect, the mayor Vincent Sťgouin, J-F de Caffarelli, our own Ann Ducker, District Councillor for Goring and Alan Strong our own Chairman of the Parish Council. The chairmen of the three twinning committees made a trilingual speech, with each speaking in a language other than their own.
A band from StŁhlingen played the three national anthems and the European Anthem, and a group of French school children sang for us in English and German.
Sue Lyons, Chairman of Goring and District Twinning Association, presented Goring’s gift of a British letter box, engraved with the Twinning crest. Phil Robson presented the Shops of BellÍme with a large plan of Goring on behalf of the Goring Gap Business Network. John Farrow was honoured with the town medal of BellÍme for his services to Twinning.
On Saturday evening we were treated to an Edwardian dinner dance, La Guinguette, with two bands and demonstrations of 20’s dances, and a meal culminating in baked Alaska.
Sunday started with a church service, with music from the German band and a reading by Peter B. This was followed by the food and wine fair (an excellent shopping opportunity), lunch and a “kermesse” a traditional village fÍte. Mary L and David A had made a splendid “Bat the Rat” stall, to complement the variety of other traditional games; it caused great hilarity as people queued to try their hand at hitting the “rat”. The Twinning stand, shared by the three towns, was very professionally designed by Bob G and Mary L, and we distributed leaflets in French, German and English describing Goring. Bob J showed examples of his beautiful products in turned wood, Margaret K provided us with samples of home-made jams, and beer from the West Berkshire Brewery proved very popular.
We spent the evening with our host families, who spoiled us as usual, and an emotional farewell ceremony, involving about 300 people, took place on Monday morning, still in blazing sunshine.
New friendships were forged, old ones renewed; our hosts had excelled themselves with their hospitality: another great twinning weekend!