Families from both communities are matched up and entertain one another for a weekend, usually in September. Some families group together for meals and other activities, which helps by mixing the different levels of language.
Entertainment basically means providing sleeping facilities, meals and visits to places or events of interest on the Saturday and Sunday.
All this, plus simple interaction between the families gives the visitors a flavour of the host’s way of life, what the local community is like, what they eat and drink, and the culture and traditions of the country they are visiting.
The full English breakfast will produce cries of amazement from first time visitors and the traditional English roast on the Sunday is a winner! On Saturday night everyone assembles for an evening of feasting and entertainment provided by the host community.
The two communities exchange corporate gifts and the host association provides a small locally themed individual gift for all the visitors. It is expected that the visiting family will bring a gift for their host family in thanks for their hospitality.
The pairing of families can change from year to year but some pairings have formed lasting friendships and also visit one another outside of the umbrella of twinning.
It is important to emphasise here that fluency in the language of the visitors is not a necessity, and this should not put anyone off.
Natural reserve and concern about communication soon disperses as friendships and understanding develop from the convivial atmosphere of a group of people sat around a table enjoying good food, with perhaps a little something liquid to loosen tongues and dispel inhibitions.
It is surprising how the odd word of the foreign language, some sign language or mime, and a good English/French dictionary on the table can lead to a hilarious and relaxing time.
Without exception, we have always had positive feedback, even from those people on their first twinning with little or no knowledge of French.
This sounds interesting. How can I/we get more information or become involved?
The Bere Regis group holds regular fund raising events throughout the year to enable us to provide the formal entertainment and welcome for our guests and to contribute towards the cost of transport when we visit France.
We have just held our main annual formal Twinning event this month (September 2014) when Cerences visited Bere Regis for the weekend. We will be going to Cerences for a similar event next September.
If you would like to join us, please contact our Membership Secretary, Sue James on 01929 472113.
The current annual membership fee is £10 per family.
We will then include you in our circulars and give you information on our next fundraising event.
If you would like more information, please contact our Chairman.
Bob James, Association Secretary, September 2014