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Rallying call to revive Stourport twinning
6:20am Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
Buy this photo » Get involved: Stourport town councillor Dixon Sheppard is appealing for organisations to set up exchanges with French town Villeunue-le-Roi.
A TOWN councillor is appealing for more organisations to set up exchanges with Stourport’s twin town Villeneuve-le-Roi in France.
Independent Community and Health Concern councillor Dixon Sheppard, who is chairman of Stourport’s twinning committee, is appealing for sport, youth and arts groups to get involved after Stourport Town Council voted to discontinue annual civic visits at a meeting in August.
The council decided it would review the decision if community organisations develop cultural, sporting, educational or social links with Stourport’s French counterpart.
Mr Sheppard said: “I’m quietly confident that we will get things on the right track again. I was very upset at the council meeting, I was against the way the vote went - particularly because we have a good contact, Tracey Meunier-Parker, in France.”
Stourport was twinned with Villeneuve-le-Roi, which is eight miles from Paris, in 1971. Coach trips used to take place between the two towns for people to visit each other’s carnivals.
Mr Sheppard added: “It’ll be a crying shame if we abandon it. Some of our councillors are concerned that the recent exchanges have largely been with councillors and representatives.
“We had a very positive meeting with Wyre Forest Swimming Club when the French delegates came over for the carnival. It seems extremely probable that Villeneuve-le-Roi swimmers will travel from their swimming club next year and there will be a return visit in 2015 .
“In addition, we have been distributing leaflets to people around Stourport and organisations, in particular, those taking part in the carnival.
“The future of twinning lies with organisations rather than school children. It isn’t helped that the school children in Villeneuve-le-Roi are not allowed to leave France in term time and Stourport High School has alternative twinning arrangements with another school in another part of France.
“I encourage all local organisations to get involved once again with Villeneuve-le-Roi. There is a comradeship that’s been established over many years.”
Any organisation that is interested in setting up an exchange should contact Stourport’s town clerk Dennis Rook on 01299 877214.
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