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Friendship honoured as Lowestoft group visits twin town in France

PUBLISHED: 16:10 11 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:10 11 June 2015

Plaisir twinning trip 2015

Plaisir twinning trip 2015

Archant

The bonds of friendship between twin towns on both sides of the Channel were strengthened on a visit to France.

My warm welcome on trip

What was most remarkable to me about Plaisir wasn’t the picturesque chateau or the glistening fountains on every roundabout, but the warm reception.

I arrived in Plaisir a stranger, having never been involved in the twinning before, but I certainly didn’t feel like it.

I was heartily welcomed by my wonderful host family, and the rest of the Plaisirois association bent over backwards to make our trip enjoyable.

They organised a VIP tour of the Paris Town Hall, threw us a party and led us on tours.

I was overwhelmed by their kindness and their enthusiasm to get to know me, simply because I’m from Lowestoft and that means we had a connection.

And that is what the twinning is all about. It’s more than a sign on the way into town.

It’s knowing that our visits are keeping the connection between Lowestoft and Plaisir alive, and long may it continue.

The Lowestoft Plaisir Twinning association took more than 30 of its members for a week-long trip, where the group stayed with host families in the town.

As well as visiting Plaisir, the group spent a day in Paris, St Germain en Laye and Auvers sur Oise – where Vincent Van Gogh died and is buried.

And organisers said the visit, which ran from Tuesday, May 26 to Sunday, May 31, had been one of the most successful trips in the association’s history.

Chairman Richard Pulham said: “It was great to take such a wide range of ages with us, from people in their early teens to those in their early 80s.

“Everyone was thrilled by the warmth of our reception by the people in Plaisir and the cultural visits were very enjoyable.

“And it’s lovely for all the members to see each other and also for the new hosts and members to meet for the first time.”

Members of the Reydon and Southwold Pantomime Group also went on the visit, and performed a condensed version of Cinderella for both the English and French audience.

They were accompanied by other members of the association who sang, danced and performed in sign language as part of an evening at the theatre, before a local French theatre company took to the stage.

The French hosts also organised a tour of Paris’ city hall and threw a party in honour of the visit.

Mr Pulham’s wife Pat, who organised the accommodation on the visit, added: “We were very privileged to have a tour of the city hall in Paris, not many people get that opportunity and certainly not many people get to have lunch there.

“A lot of people said it was one of the best visits we’ve had, not just for what we saw but for the wonderful atmosphere.”

The association holds events throughout the year and will welcome a group of visitors from Plaisir next summer.

Anyone interested in joining the association should email lowestoftplaisirtwin@hotmail.co.uk or call Richard Pulham on 01502 723648.

■ Have you got a story? Contact reporter Polly Grice on 01502 525832 or email polly.grice@archant.co.uk

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