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Four decades of friendship celebrated as town welcomes French visitors

PUBLISHED: 15:51 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:08 09 July 2018

Lowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Lowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas Chapman

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A symbolic milestone was reached as French and English towns celebrated the 40th anniversary of their twinning.

Lowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas ChapmanLowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Residents from the French town of Plaisir arrived in Lowestoft on Saturday, June 7, and are being looked after and entertained by their English counterparts until June 12.

Overseen by members of the Lowestoft and Plaisir Twinning Association, the visit maintains a 40-year tradition that has allowed hundreds of people to cross the Channel and experience a different culture, forming life-long friendships along the way.

Marie-Laura Girard, who has been involved with the twinning project for more than a decade, said: “Lowestoft is a very nice town and the people have always been very welcoming. We have a long friendship with all the members of the twinning association and we’re really enjoying the visit.

Lowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas ChapmanLowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas Chapman

“These visits are a very good thing because they enforce the link between the towns and also help us collect new members.”

Pascal Poussin, a former president of the twinning association’s Plaisir group, added: “I’ve been coming here for 20 years so I know Lowestoft very well.

“For us, the best thing about Lowestoft is the fact it is a port and by the sea. We also love the English spirit - that is something I have appreciated since I was young.”

Lowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas ChapmanLowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Having enjoyed a special performance at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield at the weekend, the French visitors will spend the rest of the week touring Lowestoft as well as Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

This morning they were officially welcomed by Lowestoft mayor Ian Graham, who led a special presentation and exchanged gifts with representatives from Plaisir.

Speaking to the congregation at Hamilton House, Mr Graham said: “Our town council was only formed last year, but in contrast Lowestoft and Plaisir have been twinned for 40 years.

Lowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas ChapmanLowestoft has welcomed visitors from Plaisir to mark 40 years since the towns were twinned. Picture: Thomas Chapman

“Today we have come to celebrate the friendship the towns have formed and how it has benefitted us. I wish you all an enjoyable time and would like to thank the twinning association for all their hard work.”

Also in attendance was Plaisir’s own mayor, Josephine Kollmansberger, who added: “Lowestoft and Plaisir will always be linked with a faithful and unwavering friendship. Others may think that twinning is an old-fashioned concept, but it is a living a vibrant thing.

“For 40 years the flame between the towns has been kindled and today it burns as brightly as ever.”

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