New town sign marks special bond between Great Yarmouth and its continental neighbours

FRIENDLY faces from both sides of the Channel enjoyed an extended celebration to mark the long-standing bond between Great Yarmouth and its twin town - including the unveiling of a new sign.

Dignitaries and residents of Rambouillet travelled from France to the seaside resort to take part in various civic activities and further strengthen ties with their continental neighbours.

Last year the towns celebrated their 55th anniversary of twinning but the French contingent could not make it over to Norfolk's shores to mark the milestone - as they do every five years - as Rambouillet's mayor was unavailable.

At his request the trip was postponed until last weekend when a group of 90 French twinning members travelled to Yarmouth to watch as the town's new sign, proudly displaying its link to Rambouillet, was unveiled and to enjoy a special concert in the Minster Church of St Nicholas.

Hilary Evans, chairman of Yarmouth's twinning association, said the continental visitors 'thoroughly enjoyed themselves' especially at the concert, which featured a joint musical performance from a Rambouillet choir and members of various groups drawn from Yarmouth and Gorleston.

Mrs Evans added: 'It was an absolutely splendid weekend, the praise for the concert was very high indeed. They had two hours together on Sunday afternoon before they actually did the performance. I think it says an awful lot for the quality of the choirs that they could do that.'

Among the congregation was the Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton and the mayor of King's Lynn.

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The sign, which was unveiled on Saturday , was Great Yarmouth Borough Council's contribution to the celebrations and is the first ever welcome marker to be placed at the entrance to the town from Acle.

Yarmouth has the second longest town twinning link in the country, thanks to its relationship with Rambouillet, and Mrs Evans hoped the towns' bond would continue for many years to come.

She said: 'I think 56 years is quite an achievement. It's 56 years of unbroken friendship and we have had lots of friendships formed in that time and they last. We're hoping that it's going to go from strength to strength.

'We're now trying to involve schools so the next generation will be ready to take it on.'

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