From carriages designed for Kings and Queens to a sombre moment at a first world war memorial, Todmorden Town Twinning Association packed in plenty of activities on their recent exchange trip.
Todmorden’s French twin town Roncq was their destination, and they began their bi-annual visit by driving to Dover on May 24 for a 6am ferry the next morning.
They were lucky with the weather - although it was windy, it was a good crossing and the Todmorden party arrived in Roncq at noon, where they were met by their host families and spirited away to various houses to be fed and watered, said chairman Sue Thornton.
“Sunday was Mother’s Day in France and we were each entertained by our hosts. Monday was an early start to the memorial at Vimy which is in the Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada and stands on Hill 145, the highest point of the 14 kilometre-long Vimy Ridge.
“In the first world war, Vimy Ridge was a highly significant part of the German defence system. We then were taken to the French Memorial Church to view the many graves of the war dead. It was very moving,” she said.
Next was lunch and a chance to do a little shopping before meeting in the square of Arras and a walk to the Le Chateau De Versailles A Arras, where there was an impressive display of horse-drawn carriages used for ceremonial occasions and some specifically built for Kings and Queens.
“They were magnificent. Finally, we went home for our evening meal. On Tuesday we were taken to a very large Auchan, which is a grand supermarket and shopping mall where you can buy everything under the sun. Most of us headed for the wine aisles to buy stocks!” said Sue.
The farewell evening was in the local hall and as usual was a noisy affair with lots of food, music - from a local young band, who the Todmorden twinners thought were were very good - and wine and fruit juice.
“Our youngest member, Ella, who was visiting Roncq for the first time was presented with a small carved hippopotamus, made in the town.
“We left on Wednesday morning and arrived in Todmorden, weary but happy,” said Sue.