This year has seen the 25th Anniversary of Town Twinning between Bridgend and Villenave d’Ornon in France. It was on the 6th of May 1994 that the first charter was signed by Richard Young, Mayor of Bridgend and Patrick Bouillot, Mayor of Villenave, with Mrs. Carol James being the Town Clerk of Bridgend at that time.
Over the years many links have been formed and friendships made and now our relationship with this town is stronger than ever. To celebrate this anniversary a group of forty three delegates from Bridgend recently visited Villenave d’Ornon. Many of these have friendships go back over twenty years but for some it was a first visit and it certainly won’t be their last.
On arrival at Villenave d’Ornon ,one of the communes of Bordeaux Metropole, the Welsh group were welcomed with a reception at L’Espace, the local Recreation Centre and hub of their Twinning Association From there some delegates were met by their hosts and the remainder were escorted to their hotel.
The following day, Friday , saw the delegates travelling to Bordeaux by local tram. Here we were treated to an impressive ride on the Tourist Train, when we weaved our way through narrow streets showing us the history of the city and views of impressive architecture. Everyone cannot fail to be impressed by this world heritage city – as, after Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France.
Friday evening was concert night! Cor Tabernacl had been invited to share the 25th Anniversary Celebrations by performing in a concert with Chorale du Lac. This concert took place in the George Melies Hall and was well attended. The choirs received an enthusiastic applause followed by a well deserved buffet at L’Espace.
Each year Villenave d’Ornon holds a large “Forum” at which many diverse local organisations promote themselves. There were a vast variety of associations, offering opportunities for the local residents of the town to view what sports, hobbies etc were available in their area. Bridgend Town Twinning Association was allocated their own area in order to promote Bridgend and its link with Villenave. We displayed and distributed a variety of promotional leaflets and offered tasting of traditional Welsh cakes and Bridgend brewed beer which appeared to be well received. Links were made with the newly formed Rotary Club at Villenave through Mike Lewis, Chair of the Bridgend branch and a youth rugby team was also interested in forging possible future rugby fixtures in Bridgend.
After an afternoon spent wine tasting at Chateaux Loupiac, it was on to yet another meal, the Official dinner, and of course – Bordeaux wine. This evening saw both Twin Town committees, Mayors and choirs joining together socially for a traditional French meal. Speeches were made by Adrian Kendall, Chair of B.T.T.A., Cllr Alan Wathan, Mayor of Bridgend and Patrick Pujol , Mayor of Villenave d’Ornon . Gifts were exchanged and the evening was rounded off by some amusing entertainment led by Richard Logan, Chair of Cor Tabernacl.
All in all a wonderful weekend was had by everyone and even though Brexit might divide politicians and governments the friendship which Town Twinning provides will certainly, in our case, live on for many years to come. We now look forward to welcoming our French friends back to Bridgend in May 2020 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary on home soil.
If you would like to join an enthusiastic and forward thinking group then please contact our secretary, Mrs Madeleine Walters, on 02920 892011. We are always looking for members with new ideas and you do not need to be able to speak a foreign language to become an active part of our Association. We usually meet on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Carnegie House, 7pm, so why not come along and join us.