The twin towns of Whitehill & Bordon and Cond�-sur-Vire have a long and involved history following their twinning. Bridget Lindsted, chair of the Cond� Link Twinning Association, tells more about their special pairing.
Cond�-sur-Vire is a town five miles south of Saint-L� in Normandy and was twinned with Whitehill & Bordon in Hampshire three decades ago. However, it was only during the celebrations held to commemorate our 30th anniversary that the true reason behind our twinning came to light.
Originally it was believed that in 1970 a headmaster from Bordon, Luath Grant Ferguson, suffered engine trouble in Cond�-Sur-Vire, whereupon he met his counterpart Daniel Delamontagne. They developed a friendship that resulted in the first exchange between the junior schools when 36 children went to France and stayed with local families, with the French children coming to the UK a few weeks later. However, the far less romantic truth was revealed at the celebrations when we found out that the school exchanges started by going through the proper channels, contacting the respective educational departments – as a result our towns were twinned.
Over ten years later the parents decided that they wanted to join in, and a twinning charter was agreed and signed between the two towns in May 1980. These visits, organised by coach, occur in alternate years with families staying at each other’s homes. Over the years friendships have grown and there have been invitations to weddings, christenings, and special holidays. These friends have become part of our own family. The twinning produced other benefits, as we now boast our own p�tanque club – other sports that twinned were football, kayaking, cycling and table tennis. Our secondary school also regularly goes out to Cond�-sur-Vire for a week as part of their work experience programme.
There is nothing special about Whitehill & Bordon or Cond�-Sur-Vire, but what is special is the people who live in the two towns. Some English families can’t speak French, and vice-versa, but we always have an enjoyable time regardless of the language barrier. Our banquet this year was very special and the speeches by both chairmen – Bridget Linsted from Whitehill & Bordon, and Caroline Mahe from Cond�-sur-Vire, celebrated the 30 years of continuous visits and that new families are still joining the association from both sides of the channel.