Last weekend (1st to 5th May) 20 people from Newbury, including the Mayor of Newbury Councillor Nigel Foot and his wife Councillor Sarah Slack, the Mayoress, visited the South of France to celebrate 50 years of twinning with the town of Bagnols sur Cèze.

On the Friday the group were treated to a visit to the Cocalière Caves – more than a kilometre of stunning limestone stalactites and stalagmites reflected in underwater lakes, and a fascinating museum at a disused coal mine. Lunch was a thirteen-course banquet of regional cooking and unlimited wine.

Saturday morning saw the official celebration of twinning at the Town Hall in Bagnols, followed by visit to the well-stocked art gallery on the second floor, which includes works of art by Matisse, Rodin and Picasso. Guests were taken by their host families to a variety of local tourist destinations in the afternoon, but everyone came together for a dinner dance in the evening, including guests from six other European towns; Eeklo in Belgium, Braunfels in Germany, Carcaixent in Spain and Feltre in Italy (all twinned with Newbury), as well as Kiskunfélegyháza in Hungary and Zamosc in Poland.

The weather was at its best on Sunday, for a picnic in a meadow under a shaded arbour.  The hosts brought delicious dishes for all to share, including a basket full of freshly picked cherries.

As ever, there were heartfelt goodbyes on Sunday evening, prior to the early departure for a flight back to England. Newbury Twin Town Association will be hosting over 40 guests from their twin and associate towns in July, for the celebration of 60 years of twinning with

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.

Twenty three members from the association went to Braunfels to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the twinning of Braunfels and Newbury and the 65th anniversary of the twinning of Braunfels and Bagnols-sur-Ceze. The Mayor and Mayoress of Newbury accompanied the group.

Thursday 31st Aug 2023

From 6pm at Kurparktreff Lindenallee, Am Kurpark 6, Braunfels
Arrival of guests from Bagnols, Newbury and the other twin towns
Welcome and allocation to host families.

Friday 1st Sept 2023

9.30am Coach trip from bus stop Gartenstrasse (behind the Haus des Gastes)to Koblenz and fortress Ehrenbreitstein; cable car ride to the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) and boat trip to Winningen/Moselle.
~8pm Arrival in Braunfels; evening with host families.
(a small lunch pack will be distributed to all participants of the trip; the trip will involve walking short distances)

Saturday 2nd Sept 2023

10.30am Possibility to join a guided tour of the castle and town of Braunfels or free time.
Lunch with host families

4pm Ceremonial act at the Kurparktreff Braunfels. This is the main event of the festive weekend with ceremonial speeches and the renewal of certificates. It will be accompanied by the folk dance group as well as the Bonbaden brass band and 5.30pm followed by a reception hosted by the town of Braunfels.

7pm Anniversary celebration and dinner at the restaurant Obermühle for guests and hosts in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

Sunday 3rd Sept 2023

Free time for meetings and exchange and/or activities with the host families

6pm Farewell evening at the Biergarten Kurpark (drinks and snacks will be served).

Monday 4th Sept 2023

Departure of guests. Individual departure times to be arranged with the host families.

All events during the festive weekend in Braunfels are open to the public. Only the coach trip to the Moselle and the festive evening at the Obermühle will be exclusively for the guests and their hosts.

Twenty five members of Newbury Twin Town Association enjoyed a summer ‘picnic’ at Shaw House on Friday 18th August.

Unfortunately the rains fell all morning so an outside blanket style picnic was impossible . Shaw House came to the rescue and offered the Chandos Dining Room for members to use and enjoy their picnics. This was followed by a very interesting talk by Sarah of the Shaw House team  giving a potted history of the ownership of Shaw House up to the present day. Members then had the opportunity to tour the house with audio guides  and  view the sculptures in the grounds as the sun finally came out.

The project ‘ImagE50 – Immaginare il future: percorso in otto tappe verso l’Europa del 2050’ has been submitted to the European Union. The project involved the twin towns of Newbury, Feltre, Carcaixent, Braunfels, Bagnols-Sur-Cèze, Eeklo and Zamość. The reports from the projects acn be found on the project page of this website.

Annual General Meeting welcomes friends from Braunfels

The Newbury Twin Town Association Annual General Meeting took place on 11th February at the Newbury Town Hall. Gernot and Christel Buseck from the Braunfels Twining Association (Partnerschaftsring) attended the meeting. Gernot gave a small speech where he extended the warm greetings from the Braunfels Bürgermeister and the Braunfels twinning committee. He also extended an invitation to the NTTA to visit Braunfels this year to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the twining agreement between Braunfels and Newbury.