Visit from Chassieu - May 2012

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary

1982 - 2012

Click here to see the slide show of the visit


30th Anniversary of the Twinning

Coleshill Twinning Association hosted 28 members of Dialogue Chassieu-Coleshill for five days in May. This visit marked the 30th anniversary of our links with the town in the Rhône-Alpes region of France and it was felt the occasion merited special celebration.


We were honoured with the presence of Monsieur Alain Darlay, the Mayor of Chassieu, visiting us for the first time. Our French friends had suggested we plant a tree at Chassieu Walk on the banks of the River Cole, coincidentally an idea that we too had in mind. Well-provided with amenities as the Chasselands are, they do not have a river!



At the planting ceremony on Saturday 19th May 2012, hosts and guests met at the chosen spot to hear the Mayor of North Warwickshire, Cllr. Lorna Dirveiks, the Mayor of Coleshill, Cllr. David Simkin and Monsieur Darlay congratulated all those had worked to maintain the links over three decades. Then, with polished spades, they sprinkled earth over the roots and the gathering gave full voice to La Marseillaise and God Save the Queen. 

 The visit began Wednesday afternoon with a champagne reception and buffet at Packington Hall, by kind permission of the Earl of Aylesford.

The hall, with its pastoral surroundings, gave our guests a glimpse of English countryside at its finest and the French tricolour fluttering at the masthead added a finishing touch.

 In the Pompeii Room, Coleshill’s Deputy Mayor, Bill Richards, speaking in French, said how pleased he was to welcome the Chasselands here and how much he had enjoyed family holidays in their country. He also pointed out that the mixed weather we were having lately was due to the announcement of a hose-pipe ban, since when it had hardly stopped raining.

The stay at Packington concluded with a visit to the Church of Saint James where the organist, Margaret Herdman, entertained us with music by the composer G.F.Handel, who once played the instrument himself. 



 On Thursday we travelled by coach to the S.S.Great Britain in Bristol, a fascinating exhibition of one of Brunel’s masterpieces of engineering and an illustration of just how uncomfortable a 10-week voyage to Australia must have been in the 1840s.

We had lunch at Clevedon in The Little Harp, a pub-restaurant overlooking the Bristol Channel. The sea was today a light brown colour which intrigued our guests who are more accustomed to the azure of the Med. Sadly, the weather was not suitable for bathing but a walk along the promenade provided a breath of sea air before heading home.

No sooner did we engage the M5 than song sheets were handed around with a selection of holiday songs from each nation’s repertoire. 

Friday found us at Aston Hall in the morning and, after a fine lunch at the College of Food, we saw the famous Saxon Hoard at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.     


The Farewell Party took place at Maxstoke Golf club where Mayor Alain Darlay, standing in front of a portrait of the Queen, said that, much as his political leanings were republican, it might be good if some all-powerful monarch could come along to sort out Europe’s current difficulties. He went on to thank us for the warm welcome he had found here and to mention of the good work the Twinning was doing in Chassieu, making special mention of the English language group that now has over a hundred members.

Aline Duret raised a laugh by referring to the weather –‘It’s the first time we’ve been here in winter’, she said and then went on to refer to the Saxon Hoard -‘Perhaps we should all buy metal detectors and check out our fine lawns. She thanked us for a wonderful stay and said she hoped to see a good number of us in Chassieu next year. Malcolm Butler then invited Aline to cut the first slice of our 30th Anniversary Twinning Cake, after which we took to the dance floor. 

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