A traditional British Barn Dance at Moors Valley Country Park on 3 May was the scene of a celebration between Ferndown families and guests from French twinned town, Segre – proof that the Entente Cordiale is still alive and well.
Organised by outgoing Ferndown Mayor, Cllr Pauline Reynolds who is also Chair of the Ferndown Twinning Association, the evening was a resounding success. The dinner laid on by Seasons Restaurant was praised by the French visitors and dance band Murphy’s Lore called the steps in bi-lingual style.
For the first time in the 20 year history of the twinning, a party of children and staff from Segre School came too. Asked for their impressions of the trip, the children were quick to mention how their stereotypes of serious, strict and quiet Brits were quickly swept away on day one of the four-day visit by the welcome they received, particularly from host families in Ferndown.
Deputy Mayor of Segre, Herve Thaunay commented: “The reception by Ferndown Town Council when we arrived on 1 May could not have been a more cordial, heartfelt and friendly welcome. It was fun too. Ferndown presented a cake to celebrate 20 years of signing the twinning charter and we responded with a chocolate cockerel in the design of the British flag and the French tricolour.”
Four deputy mayors attended from Segre:
- Monsieur Herve Thaunay
- Madame Genevieve Coquereau
- Monsieur Andre Lefort
- Monsieur Jean-Yves Ledoux
The party of 55 arrived from France in a coach decorated with panoramic views of the Anjou region and were hosted by 30 families in Ferndown. Unfortunately, some very British weather rained off a proposed cricket match on the first day. The Royal British Legion came to the rescue and a game of skittles took place instead, won by French team ‘Les Escargots’ who trounced Ferndown’s ‘Roast Beef’ team.
However, the French visitors were reminded of past British triumphs the next day on a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, arranged primarily in commemoration of the 100thanniversary of World War One and the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in France; a first step in the Liberation of France during World War Two. They were thrilled by the Mary Rose ‘history alive’ exhibition, stepping back in time on board HMS Victory, and by their trip round a Royal Navy submarine.