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25th Anniversary Celebrations 2007

In early May 2007 we had a throughly enjoyable visit to Normandy, however, the fact that we were unable to attract any community group to take part in the visit meant we did not have enough participants ;to warrant hiring a coach so we made the journey to Malaunay in a flotilla of cars.

For the French it wa an eventful weekend with the French Presidential election, bu they did organise a Sunday spectacular at a Spanish-stye ranch out in the countryside where we were treated to a traditional paella followed by a disco.Several of us also visited Rouen to see the progress on the new lifting bridge which should be open in time for the next TallShips Armada in Rouen, this was followed by a trip to the museum of the Grand Horolge and the Joan of Arc museum.

The focus then shifted to the 25th clebrations in November in Sandy, the French surprised us by sending their list of participants as early as July, however this meant many changes in the run up to the actual date which caused some confusion with regards to the hosting arrangements, all however was eventually resolved.a few days before the visit.The longstanding Mayor of Malaunay Joel Clement, and his deputy both took part which was a very positive gesture and we managed to find a couple of new host families.

The weekend itself had a welcoming reception at Sandy Place School, which was delayed for more than an hour because the French coach was caught up in traffic problems on the M25. The mayor of Sandy, Colin Osborne entertained his French counterpart at the Council Offices on the Saturday morning and in the evening we held a grand gala event at the Masonic Hall in Biggleswade.

The evening was an undoubted success. Good food, despite the piquancy of the lamb dish, good music and a very pleasing ambience. The French came laden with gifts and the French Mayor made a very appropriate speech (in English) pledging his support to the future of the link and emphasising the need to involve young people more.

On the Sunday we had a trip to Bletchley Park which seems to have gone down well, although the non-participation of several families again shows that the "twinning philosophy" has rather lost its way in some quarters.

Monday morning was the time for some fond farewells and promises to meet again in May 2008.

Extracted from the Chairmans report at the AGM in January 2008.

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