Angmering and French ‘twin’ Ouistreham mark 40th anniversary

A commemorative planter in the Village Green marks the occasion
A commemorative planter in the Village Green marks the occasion

Angmering will celebrate 40 years of being ‘twinned’ with Ouistreham, in France, with a special visit.

Residents from Ouistreham will come to the village across the bank holiday weekend, August 26 to 28.

The Angmering Twinning Association will hold events for more than 40 participating families, four decades after the twinning charter was signed in 1976.

Gill Partington, chairman of the Angmering Twinning Association, said: “It’s quite incredible to have gone on so long. I think it is a quite an achievement.”

During the weekend, an exhibition at the community centre will detail the history of the towns’ relationship. There will be an official dinner on Friday night and a lunch on Saturday at Ecclesden Manor, as well as a trip to Chichester Harbour.

The whole community is invited to watch the guests ring the bells at St Margaret’s church on Sunday, before they return to France.

Chairman Gill Partingdon’s family have had exchange visits with the same family in Ouistreham since 1979.

“We go there on odd years and they come here on even years,” she said. “Going on holiday to a place is one thing but staying with a family is different.

“I can walk down a road in Ouistreham and meet people I know. You get a feeling of belonging to another place. You can’t put a price on that.”

As well as arranging exchanges between families in Angmering and Ouistreham, the association holds social events, including a coffee morning on the second Wednesday of every month at Angmering manor.

“It’s a very good way to get to know people in Angmering, as well as in Ouistreham. I know people that are new to the village who have joined and made friends,” she said.

Some of those who will attend the event have been a part of the association right from its inception.

Eric Holmes, who founded the association along with Leslie Baker and John King, and still lives in the village, will be involved during the weekend.

But the history of the relationship between the two towns goes back even further than 40 years.

Two members of the twinning association landed at Sword beach, which is right in the middle of Ouistreham, on D-Day. Another resident was involved in the capture of Pegasus Bridge, also in the French town.

Several members attended an event in Ouistreham to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014.

Susan Francis, the chairman of Angmering Parish council, visited the French town twice last year.

About the upcoming visit, she said: “I’m looking forward to seeing them all again.

“The village will be decorated and it should be a really good weekend for everyone involved.”

The parish council and West Sussex County council gave a grant towards a commemorative planter to mark the occasion, which has been placed in the Village Green.

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