Syston Twinning

– because Countries may be different, but People are the same the world over!
Have you had visitors who have stayed with you for an occasional weekend? They may be friends or relatives who have visited off and on for years, which may make it difficult to think of new things to do or places to visit to entertain them.
Or you may have agreed to help out by putting up people you have never met before, so you don’t know what they’ll like or dislike.
Then throw in the fact that they are French, and sometimes their English is as bad as your French! How will you cope with making yourself understood – and you understanding them?
It may sound like a bit of a nightmare and you’d rather not have anything to do with it.
In fact it can be a wonderful experience to get together and discover that, as ordinary people, we can enjoy each other’s company and have fun together, whilst realising that our differences aren’t as great as some people would have us believe.
This has certainly been the experience of those who belong to Syston Twinning, which has been going since 1980.
Over those many years of visiting each other’s homes and seeing children growing up and old friends passing away, it’s natural that finding new ways of entertaining our visitors becomes more of a challenge.
However, when our French friends arrived in Syston for their bi-annual visit, there was plenty of entertainment and culture planned for a lively weekend.
It began with the usual drinks reception at the Syston Community Centre, where the French were welcomed, the new hosts and guests were introduced and the weekend’s packed programme was distributed. Following this, some stayed to enjoy the hospitality of the Town Council Chairman, Mr Paul Henry, at the Town’s Civic Reception, while others were keen to go home to talk and eat.
On the Saturday morning, which was cool and blustery, but dry, everyone assembled at Birstall Railway Station to experience the delights of British steam train travel. All were issued with a ‘hop on – hop off’ ticket so that they could enjoy the various activities at each station along the line to Loughborough. At Rothley Station there was an exhibition of veteran vehicles, and some tried the NAAFI tea room which was under the bridge with a kitchen c1940s. Others went into Loughborough and enjoyed a pub lunch and walk around the market before getting back on the train for the return journey to Birstall.
In the evening, everyone was invited to Rearsby Village Hall where there was a typically British fish and chip supper, served from Dobson’s van.
The entertainment for the evening was provided by the excellent Syston Town Band, led by MD Chris Banks, with the addition of Jean Luc Pigne as a surprise guest representing the Deville Brass Band.
Such stirring music soon had the livelier element of the audience up on their feet and dancing, and singing along to favourite tunes. The evening ended with everyone joining in singing of La Marseillaise and the National Anthem, either of which would have easily won the Eurovision song contest!
On Sunday, each family arranged various activities for their guests. Some visited the Sherwood Forest Robin Hood centre where there was a medieval fair and a display of training of warfare used in the Wars of the Roses. Some relaxed at home while others visited Bradgate Park or ventured further afield to Foxton Locks and Warwick Castle with its scary dungeon tour and soaring eagle flights. The day was warm and sunny and it was finished off with another evening of food, fun and laughter.
However, a weekend goes by so quickly, and it seemed very early on Monday morning that the coach arrived in the car park to take our friends back home to Deville Les Rouen, along with dozens of library books and hundreds of happy memories.
Should you feel that you’d like to be part of this international group, then get in touch with Mrs Kathryn Grocock- Matts, our secretary, on 01509 813 723 for more information about our regular social events and fund raising activities. You’ll be guaranteed of a warm welcome.
On the other hand if you’d like to get to know our group better before committing to join, why not come and see us at the Syston Yard Sale on Saturday 17th June, 55 Goodes Lane for some refreshments and a chat.