Sheringham seals its twinning link with French town
- Credit: Archant
Sheringham celebrated a decade of entente cordiale with a group of visitors from Muzillac, France, today, with the signing of a document sealing the twinning link forged between the two towns in 2005.
Watched by town councillors and twinning association members from both sides of the Channel, Sheringham mayor Tricia Brooks and her French counterpart Jo Brohan signed an official charter.
They were then driven to the community centre in a chauffeur-driven 1953 Bentley for a celebratory civic lunch.
Guests were welcomed by Sheringham Muzillac Twinning Association chairman Hugh Bradbury and his opposite number from France, Henri Le Cadre, with Mr Bradbury translating from English to French and twinning founder Graham Fenner translating for the Muzillac group.
Mr Fenner is the great-grandson of William Marriot, who built the North Norfolk Railway in 1887 and ran the line until 1964.
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He came up with the idea of linking the two towns after bringing a group of friends to Sheringham from his home in France, where he is an English teacher at an engineering school.
'I have strong childhood links to Sheringham and it has lots of things in common with Muzillac,' Mr Fenner explained. 'The populations are about the same, they are both tourist-orientated towns and the countryside is similar – Muzillac even has salt marshes.'
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Over the past ten years, the association has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a total of more than 100 members, who have linked up with schools and community groups in Sheringham and Muzillac to organise visits and exchanges.
Mr Bradbury, who has been a twinning association member since moving to Sheringham in 2005, said taking part in exchanges was a valuable experience for young and old alike.
'What it has brought is a really good empathy and, because we stay 'en famille', we not only experience French culture, but we have also built up some really strong friendships,' he added.
After an afternoon tour of the town, the 17-strong French party, who arrived in Norfolk on Wednesday, were invited to join in the singing at an evening concert celebrating St George's Day at St Peter's Church.
Other highlights of group's visit will include a trip on the North Norfolk Railway and a guided tour of Cley, with the Muzillac delegation also attending morning assembly at Sheringham Primary School.
Muzillac mayor M Brohan thanked the English group for their hospitality.
'It is true our two nations have lived through a lot in the last ten years, so it is very important that we create links between us,' he said. 'And the relationship we have with each other wouldn't be possible without the friendship between the people and the towns.'