Signing the Charter in South Molton
Signing the Charter in Livarot
The twinning between Livarot and South Molton was conceived back in the early 1970’s when the talk was of "entente cordiale" and there was much enthusiasm about joining the Common Market.
The first step taken was when M. Jacques Mauger, the head of the Language Department at the College d’Enseignement Generale de Livarot wrote to the head of the Language Department at South Molton Community College, Mr. Douglas Hopkins, to suggest a link between the two schools.
In the Spring of 1973 the first successful exchange of school pupils took place with the students staying with families in order to practice and improve the foreign language that they were studying.
From this link the idea of twinning the two towns emerged – Twinning Committees was formed on both sides of the channel and the idea became a reality in 1975.
In May of that year over 200 people of all ages travelled by coach and ferry to Livarot to stay with families for a week-end of celebrations and to witness the signing of the Twinning Charter.
The town was decked with Union Jacks and Tricolors and the atmosphere was one of gaiety and friendship – with the English overwhelmed by the generous hospitality that they received and the French impressed and appreciative of the music played by members of the South Molton Town Band.
Concerts in the streets, a dance, a carnival, the signing of the Charter and a outdoor Champagne reception were enjoyed by all.
A few weeks later, during the week of South Molton’s Old English Fayre, the town was "invaded" by a similar number of citizens from Livarot. South Molton people made great efforts to return the hospitality and welcome that they had experienced in Livarot a few weeks earlier.
The town was gay with red, white and blue and all the windows of the shops were dressed in a French theme.
The Old English Fayre had a distinct French flavour, a football match (Livarot v South Molton) was arranged and a cycle race starting from the Square took place.
The weather was kind and on a warm, June evening the Square was crowded with people gathered to watch the second signing of the Twinning Charter.
The Charter states that "We hope that these links will establish a firm basis for friendship which will…increase understanding and respect, encourage cultural, educational, sporting and social exchanges between South Molton and Livarot, and further strengthen European relationships".
Many enduring friendships between the peoples of the two towns have been established and groups regularly cross the channel to enjoy a week-end with their "twin" family. Unfortunately the pupils of the two schools no longer exchange visits but perhaps one day this link will be re-established.
Created by Shirley Bray
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