Launceston has one of the most active twinning associations in Cornwall as more and more people discover that being entertained in France – or entertaining friends from Brittany – is the perfect way to make lasting friendships and to find out about Breton food, traditions, culture and heritage.
Exchange visits between Launceston and its twin-town of Plestin les Grèves have been taking place every year since 1983 and the aim of the Launceston and District Twinning Association is simply to foster friendships between the citizens of the two towns.
Our next twinning exchange visit will take place in Spring 2017 when it will be Plestin's turn to host Launceston. This year, nine new families visited Launceston with the Plestin exchange when we entertained them to a choice of a river trip and National Trust property visit or a visit to Paignton Zoo. On the final nigbt of the long weekend, the Town Hall was filled to capacity for the traditional party.
You don’t even have to speak French to be part of twinning – half the fun is finding out how easy it is to communicate without advanced language skills! There are usually friends on hand to translate.
Patty joined the experience a few years ago and had this to say: "We didn't know what to expect; our French was from schooldays and we were worried about what they would like to eat and to do, but we decided that it was only for a weekend and if we didn't like them or the twinning experience we had nothing to lose.
"Seven years later, and Francoise and Jean Yves are our very good friends. As well as the regular exchange visits, we have explored lots of Brittany with them and been guests at their son's wedding near Paris.
"This year we see them twice in the UK - in April for the twinning exchange and then in August spending ten days together touring Scotland."
Twinning is also a good way to make new friends locally because there is on-going and enjoyable activity as twinenrs raise funds to host their French visitors through barbecues, murder mystery evenings, bowling evenings and a range of social events to suit all tastes and age groups.
The Twinning Association welcomes new members - be they young families, pensioners or people on their own. If you are interested in joining the Twinning Association and would like more information, Chairman, Jill Whitechurch (01840 261781) or Secretary, Jenny Birkett (01566 777978) would like to hear from you.
Updated July 2016