The twin towns of Alresford and Bricquebec have a long and involved history following their twinning. Terry Foreman, president of the Alresford Twinning Association, tells more about their special pairing.
Alresford and Bricquebec came together as twin towns in 1982, at which time a very healthy school exchange programme was blossoming. Both towns are similar in size and structure, being old medieval market towns with many traditions that have survived through the centuries until today. Both are also fortunate to be only 30 minutes from the respective Channel ports of Portsmouth and Cherbourg, which makes travel between the two towns relatively easy.
Although Bricquebec does not have its own steam railway to compare to the Watercress Railway in Alresford, it is very much a tourist centre for the area of the north Cotentin peninsula. It is very close to the Normandy landing beaches to the east, which every year attracts thousands of visitors – out to the west lies a spectacular coastline of dunes and cliffs that look out across to the Channel Islands.
This year members of the Alresford Twinning Association visited Bricquebec in early June 2010. A highlight of the weekend was an excursion to the Parc Naturel R�gional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin near Carentan. We enjoyed an informative boat trip round the waterways and were lucky to spot nesting storks and an amazing array of wildlife. In September our friends from Bricquebec visited the local agricultural show in Alresford – it was a big hit, especially with the younger members. In the evening we treated our guests to a curry evening where they could sample the UK’s second national dish (after rosbif of course!). It turned out that one of our Gallic neighbours’ particular favourite was chicken tikka massala!
Our French friends responded in kind by offering a trou normand and a shot of Calvados accompanied by the singing of a lively French sea shanty.
Apart from the exchange visits we run a number of other social events through the year, as well as a small conversation group which helps keep our French up to standard when we’re not across la manche. The camaraderie between the two groups is exceptional and many lifelong friends have been made.
For more information visit www.alresfordtwinning.org.uk