Clevedon and Epernay
PUBLISHED: 15:43 13 January 2012 | UPDATED: 11:50 24 February 2012
Clevedon in Somerset has been twinned with Epernay in the Champagne region of France for 25 years. What an unusual connection you might think. Somerset is renowned for cider making whereas Epernay is acknowledged to be in the highest league of - well, champagne, of course.
During the 25 years the two towns have had numerous school exchanges, sporting excursions and students on work experience. Fireman have enjoyed the company of fellow pompiers and we have returned from Epernay with the coach crammed full of champagne for the various weddings that always seem to be imminent.
In Epernay, Clevedon Square has a British red telephone box which was transported a few years ago by some enthusiastic members. In Clevedon we have flower beds beside a wishing well in our own Queens Square dedicated to our three twin towns. Our 100 year historic Curzon cinema was recently twinned with the Kulisse cinema in Ettlingen (Germany), another of our twins, the other being Middelkerke (Belgium).
On a recent visit to Epernay we were accompanied by the Standard Bearer of the Clevedon branch of the British Legion who marched proudly with the French dignitaries and representatives of the French Resistance on their annual VE Day commemoration. It was a remarkable moment for us as he dipped his standard to the strains of our National Anthem.
Epernay is an elegant and opulent town. LAvenue de Champagne is resplendent with the champagne houses of all the famous names and their caves stretch underground for many miles all around. The Hotel de Ville was originally the town-house of Monsieur Mot of Mot et Chandon and is embellished with gold ormolu and Venetian chandeliers. What do we have to offer in Clevedon? We are a medium-sized town with many fine Georgian and Victorian buildings, but our pice de resistance is the Grade II listed pier, our pride and joy. Clevedon looks at its best when the sun shines and the tide is high and we have such joy is entertaining our French visitors. Yes, the two towns are in amazing contrast but the English and French so enjoy that contrast. Vive le jumellage.
Chairman of Clevedon Twinning Association