Guests from Ringwood’s twin town Pont Audemer in France were entertained in the town at the weekend, including a reception at the Town Council’s Offices in the Gateway building.

The visit is an annual event which is organised by the French Twinning Association in Ringwood and is completely separate from the town council and other twinning groups in the town, who also support twinning activities. The Town’s Mayor, Councillor Michael Thierry, presented a gift to the visitors in the form of a local watercolour picture of Ringwood, and other guests were given mugs and shopping bags inscribed ‘Keep Calm and Shop in Ringwood’.

This is part of promoting the town more locally and supporting shopping on the High Street. Councillor Thierry said ‘events such as these are important for us in understanding each other and they confirm the relationship we have in times of conflict and in times of peace’. It is good to know that such relationships are supported by local residents’.

The Twinning Charter was signed in 1986 and the Ringwood Twinning Association confirmed they are always eager to hear from new members with an interest in twinning activities and learning French. Chairman of the group Mr Colin Nye said ‘it was a great day for our visitors and we are grateful to the Town Council for their support, I hope we can attract new members to our group to ensure our future through these types of activities’.

At one point during the celebrations the visitors performed a traditional French dance and persuaded Councillor Thierry to try a few steps himself.

Anyone wanting more details about Twinning can contact Ringwood Twinning directly at ringwoodtwinning@yahoo.co.uk or via the town council. The new bags are on sale at the town council offices.