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Viva la Avon! Melksham comes together to celebrate last twinning visit

Representatives from both towns at the Town Hall

REPRESENTATIVES from both Melksham and Avon’s twinning associations came together at the Town Hall  for the last time, to celebrate 38 years  of ‘twinning’, with a presentation of gifts and speeches on Friday 27th April.

For 38 years, members of each towns’ twinning association have connected via biennial visits, with each town taking it in turns to host and share their local culture.

Although the town of Melksham will continue to be twinned with Avon, members of the association gave their fond farewells to each other as the biennial visits come to an end. It was decided at the last AGM that the link was no longer viable. Members are hoping that ‘unofficial’ trips can still be made to keep in touch and continue with the strong relationship, which the association has allowed the two towns to make.

A formal reception at the Town Hall gave both the Mayor of Melksham, Adrienne Westbrook and acting chairman of the Twinning Association, Pam Wiltshire, the chance to thank Deputy Mayor of Avon, Madame Beatrice Rucheton and president of the Avon Twinning Association, Madame Michele Hibon for their hospitality over the years, with the hope to continue their long friendship.

The town of Melksham also got involved with the farewell including local business Ma Maison, where owner, Philip Shone, welcomed Avon visitor, Laurent, to his store with the flying of the French flag in the Littlebrook Courtyard.

A link had also been made between Melksham’s River Mead School and a local Avon primary school with thanks to French teacher, Helen Simonsen, whose pupils regularly wrote letters to children in France.

During this year’s visit, young Avon pupil, Iris, met up with her pen-pal Nadia, where they exchanged parcels. Both students then took the gifts back to their schools to learn about each other’s culture.

Other activities that Melksham hosted for the French visitors included a trip to Cardiff Castle and St Fagans National Museum of History, an afternoon tea at Bowood house, a trip to Lacock, an evening dinner at Cleeve House and an open bus tour around the historic city of Bath.

Pam Wiltshire said, “The whole weekend was considered a great success and although this visit may be the last organised by the current committee, the twinning between the two towns continues.

“It is hoped that there may be an opportunity for some visitors from Melksham to visit Avon in 2020, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Charter. If you are interested in hearing more about the association and the possibility of visiting Avon, please contact me on 01225 708306.”

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