In 1970 Newbury twinned with the French town of Bagnols-sur-Cèze, the second of Newbury’s five twin towns.  The people of both towns have kept the link alive, and still meet up regularly.  As the anniversary fell during the Covid pandemic, it has only now been celebrated, as a group of French guests came to stay for a long weekend in Newbury.

Members of the Newbury Twin Town Association (NTTA) hosted the guests, who arrived on Thursday 7 December.  The next morning, they enjoyed a lantern making workshop at The Base at Greenham Business Park, before going on to Winchester Christmas Market.

On Saturday guests spent the day with their hosts visiting various National Trust Properties which had been decorated for Christmas, and in the evening, the NTTA members arranged a festive dinner at the Shaw-cum-Donnington Village Hall, complete with crackers and carol singing, which was enjoyed by all.

On Sunday morning the French visitors and their hosts were guests of Councillor Nigel Foot, the Mayor of Newbury at the Town Hall, where the representative of the Mayor of Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Ghislaine Courbet, gave a speech about the friendship that has stood the test of time between the two towns, and she and the Mayor of Newbury signed a document affirming the twinning, fifty years on.  The municipality of Bagnols-sur-Cèze then presented the Mayor with a £300 donation to his charity, West Berkshire Homeless, and he presented them with the new Monopoly Newbury edition as a souvenir of their stay.

Later that day the guests and hosts took part in the Festival of Light in Newbury town centre, before gathering at the Bowlers Arms in Wash Common for a farewell drink.