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Why do Codsall & Bilbrook have a twin village in France?
 

Ten years ago a group of Codsall residents had the idea that twinning would be an ideal way of continuing to celebrate peace in Europe and of helping to promote international friendship. Bilbrook residents wanted to join in too, and so the search began for a suitable twin village.

We found an excellent twin - St. Pryve St. Mesmin - near Orleans - and have enjoyed many visits to France, and return visits from our French friends. All participants pay for the costs of their own travel and stay, without charge, with host families. Usually the visit is by coach, but some travel independently by car, train or plane. Group activities are organised during the visits to give an opportunity for everyone to meet.

To be involved in the Association, you do not have to go on the trips or host some people, just join the events.

So what does the Twinning Association do?

Events include skittles nights, quizzes, our annual boules tournament, salsa dancing and a decorated float entry and crepes stall at the annual Scouts Carnival. We organise these activities primarily to raise funds to entertain our guests from St. Pryve St. Mesmin who visit every other year - we have lots of fun doing it. Each year has seen the development of new activities such as boys from Codsall Middle School playing in football tournaments in Orleans. We do our best to encourage links between St. Pryve St. Mesmin and our village organisations and schools.

As the Twinning Association is self-funding and financially independent, we are grateful for the help and generosity of both Codsall and Bilbrook Parish Councils, village businesses and many individuals since our project twinning was launched. We are always happy to welcome new members, and membership is an excellent way of making international friends. You do not need to speak French to join!

If you would like to join Codsall & Bilbrook Twinning Association, please contact The Secretary, Vance Birch, Rowanshiel, Histons Hill, Codsall, WV8 2ER, ring Lin and Trev Griffiths on +44 (0) 1902 845731 or email annsmithallan@yahoo.co.uk Membership costs £8 per family, £5 individual and £10 corporate.

What is Twinning?

Many people read the sign saying, “Twinned with St. Pryve St. Mesmin,” at each entrance to Codsall and Bilbrook but do not know exactly what it means. Twinning occurs when two or more communities from different countries agree to join together in friendship. They organise activities to promote their own area and that of the twin city, town or village. Many of our surrounding communities are linked with other European countries: for example Penkridge, Shifnal and Bridgnorth welcome visitors from their twin towns and are hosted there in return. The majority of links are with France or Germany, but others go worldwide. There is a Twinning Bureau to help interested communities find a twin town, but we found our own! Cities use twinning as a way of promoting trade, as well as fostering good international relations.

Our twin village St. Pryve St. Mesmin

St. Pryve St. Mesmin is set in a beautiful region of France, between the Loire and the Loiret rivers, and borders Orleans with its historic buildings and Parc Floral.

The commune lies in a conservation zone where the local architecture, countryside, woodlands and wild life are protected. Many acres of the surrounding land are devoted to market gardening and wine growing is an important local industry.

The city of Orleans is always associated with the name of Joan of Arc, and her statue stands proudly in the centre, above the ancient remains of the old city walls - found during construction of an underground car park. During our visits there, our hosts have taken us to a Chateau housing a museum of perfume and on many guided tours of Orleans and surrounding areas, including their beautiful bird sanctuary.

Village News June 2011