Twinning – and how we do it in Downham Market

A description of the twinning arrangements in Downham Market

Downham is twinned with Civray, a small, attractive town south of Poitiers on the River Charente. It is about 12 hours drive from Calais. Twinning began 29 years ago and focuses on visits between the towns: a group of 40-50 people, young and old, go to Civray in August one year, with a similar visit to Downham from Civray the following year. Each visit lasts about 8 days; about half that time is taken up by planned trips or events, with the rest of the time being spent with the host family who make their own arrangements for your entertainment.

While these visits are the most important event of the year, other visits of a shorter duration have also been organised: special weekends to celebrate every 5th anniversary, and occasional ‘tasters’ to give those unsure of what is involved a chance to experience twinning for themselves, and to realise that communication difficulties are easily overcome. Over the years other links have been built up involving exchange visits of the schools, football teams, brass bands, cycling enthusiasts, Rotary Club and many others.

Downham Market club has a membership of about 130, which is somewhat smaller than that of the Civray Club. (Although their population is smaller than ours, they have actively encouraged the surrounding villages to become involved.) The Club is run by a Committee elected every May at the AGM. Individuals pay £3 and families £6. Apart from the exchange visits, the Club arranges a programme of monthly meetings with a variety of speakers, and other events such as a summer barbecue, a dinner and a wine tasting. In addition, the Club runs a 200 club which is the main source of funding. A lot of money is needed to meet the cost of entertaining the visitors, and something like £3500 is needed. The monthly meetings are also the occasion when the draw is made – an added inducement to encourage attendance!

We would be very happy to hear from anyone within the Village Pump catchment area who might be interested in twinning. Please ring our Chairman John Sadler on 01 366 382371, or our Secretary Phyllis Marais on 01 366 382993 for any further information.

Leave a Reply