From the Last Plantagenet King to Today

Britain’s links with Europe seem to be in the news a lot lately. The election campaigns were full of our relationship with the EU, while the celebrations of VE Day in Europe reminded us all of how close our links are with our continental neighbours.
However, on Friday 8th May, for the members of Syston Twinning, there were never any doubts about the value of the links with Europe as they eagerly awaited the arrival of their French friends from Deville les Rouen. The fact that the French were half an hour late, due to the slow traffic on the M1, only added to the anticipation of their arrival (and the worry that the carefully prepared meals would spoil because of the delay).
Of course, once they arrived, the week-end of friendship passed in a flash.
Although it was sad that the Deville Committee President, Edwige was unable to visit, because of a broken ankle and wrist, a formal meeting was to be held to discuss the future visits between the two groups. In order to attract more young families from both sides of the Channel, it was proposed that the visits should coincide with school holidays to avoid the problems of taking children out of school during term time.
For the Saturday morning, the Twinning Committee had organised a tour of the Richard III exhibition, the Guildhall, and the Cathedral. To give the French visitors an even greater sense of British life, the journey into town was by using the Park and Ride from Birstall, which was also a first for many of the Syston Twinners too.
The visitors were all very impressed by the ringing of the Cathedral bells when they arrived at the exhibitions – though they soon realised that this was for the VE Day celebration rather than a welcome for the French! The whole group were also impressed by each of the exhibitions, which they all agreed were entertaining as well as being informative.
In the evening there was a Party Night at Rearsby village hall. Six year old Jean Mobas, great-grandson of Claude LeBouc, one of the founders of the Deville Twinning, started the evening by giving a spirited rendering of the La Marseillaise, followed by 16 year old Rachel Grocock-Matts singing the National Anthem. The delicious meal was followed by musical entertainment by Mick and Val Ross, who compered the evening’s dancing and games, including the infamous Cucumber Game!
The next day was spent with the hosts and their visitors sharing visits to places of cultural interest, such as Chatsworth House, Twycross Zoo, and the ‘Poo Museum’ at the Abbey Pumping Station, or having a typical British Sunday with the family and friends.
The departure of the coach on Monday morning was as always an occasion of sad farewells. There was however, no matter what the politicians decide, the certainty that the bonds of friendship were further strengthened between the ordinary people of the two towns.
Thank you to all who helped to organise the weekend, JJS catering for the meal on Saturday evening, Rearsby Hall, Lisa at the King Richard III centre for helping to organise our visit.
If you would like to join our group please contact our secretary Kathyrn on 01509 813 723 for more details of our events, you will be warmly welcomed.