In 1980 the Sandy Town Council considered the possibility of a town twinning link with another country. Three possibilities were considered, one in Germany and two in France, the German town was discounted on the basis of distance from Sandy and of the remaining two French towns, Malaunay was considered to be the closest to Sandy in terms of population, industry and agriculture. Accordingly, a small delegation from Sandy made an investigative visit to Malaunay and the French made a similar visit to Sandy. As a result both towns entered into discussions which led to the formal signing of Twinning Charters in both towns in 1982. the council decided that the link should involve the Sandy citizens and held a public meeting which resulted in the formation of the Sandy Twinning Association which apart from one council representative was completely autonomous.
Since the inaugural visits there have been several visits between the two towns, with two annual visits in each direction during the early years which has now settled down to one visit per annum in alternate directions. Whilst the link is primarily a family link creating many strong friendships between families, it has also involved sports, musical groups, school exchanges and work experience. Special events have included carnivals, and particular celebrations marking specific occasions with delegations from the twin town.
In 1992 we celebrated the 10th anniversary in both countries and among the celebrations Sandy Twinning Association presented Malaunay with a red English telephone box which is still in daily use and Malaunay renamed one of the town squares as the "Place de Sandy", an honour we were able to reciprocate a few years later when we named a road in Sandy as the "Place de Malaunay". In 2002 we celebrated 20 years of twinning with Malaunay and the major celebrations were held in Malaunay in October, whilst in Sandy we are planning the 25th anniversary to be held in Sandy in 2007.
Malaunay is approximately the same size as Sandy and is situated about 8 miles from Rouen in Normandy, which is roughly the same distance as Sandy is from its county town of Bedford. Malaunay has a reasonable amount of industry and is a commuter town for Rouen although it also has a fair amount of agriculture. Part of Malaunays history was built upon the cotton industry and many of the mills were powered by the local river, in fact a local working museum is an old rope and cord factory using cotton as the raw material.
To discover more about twinning in Malaunay please check out the following link to the Comite de Jumelage -Malaunay-Sandy
Archives - Visit to Malaunay May 2007
Archives - 25th Anniversary 2007