Mayor renews the French twin town connection at golden celebration
A warm welcome was given to the Basingstoke and Deane Mayor and her Consort Dr Andy Taylor when they spent a weekend in the charming twin town, famed for its delicate needlepoint lace.
An official reception was held in the town’s magnificent Hotel de Ville, where Cllr Taylor exchanged commemorative gifts and signed a renewal of the twinning charter with the Mayor of Alençon Emmanuel Darcissac to reaffirm the friendship between the two towns.
The Basingstoke presence was strengthened by members of Basingstoke Table Tennis who were there for their annual tournament with the Alençon team; the Melrose Community Association and members of the Overton Choral Society, who gave a concert with a local choir and entertained the civic leaders and other guests at the celebratory meal.
Cllr Taylor said: “It was a pleasure to attend the 50th anniversary of the twinning between Basingstoke and Alençon.
“M. Emmanuel Darcissac and his civic dignitaries were clearly delighted and encouraged by our visit. We were treated with great honour by the hosts, who appreciated it when I gave my speech in French as well as English!
“We particularly enjoyed meeting local people during the visit. This 50th anniversary is an important milestone and the accord between our two towns has been strengthened and friendships renewed.”
The Mayor and her Consort were delighted to visit Avenue de Basingstoke in Alençon, where a sign reads ‘Basingstoke 348km’ and an old red telephone box, which was previously given to the townspeople of Alençon by Basingstoke.
Amongst other events, they attended a wild west themed fair where Dr Taylor braved a ride on the mechanical bull, and visited the annual Festival Street Market where they were delighted to find an English-style fish and chip stall.
The Alençon accord and the gifts of a watercolour painting of Alençon and a commemorative 50th anniversary plate will be displayed in the Mayor’s Parlour in the Civic Office in Basingstoke.