2016 50th Year Celebrations
Rochdale Town Twinning Association; The Friends of Tourcoing celebrated 50 years of family twinning on a weekend of fun and friendship with 54 guests from Tourcoing. We pushed the boat out this year to give our guests a visit to remember. Chairperson Ann Sutton welcomed Deputy Mayor of Tourcoing M. Didier Droart, Mme. Marie-Christine Lejeune Presidente of Les Amis de Rochdale and 4 Council representatives from Tourcoing at Rochdale Town Hall on Thursday 14th April. The occasion was filmed by Georgia Whitley.
The tricolour was hoisted by Mayor of Rochdale and Deputy Mayor of Tourcoing. The programme for the weekend included a Reception with Mayor and Mayoress Councillors Surinder and Cecile Biant, whom we thank for their help at planning stage, for their warm reception at the Town Hall and for their commitment to our Association and the evening dinner party with their attendance and generous support. The afternoon included a visit to Caldershaw School, where the pupils had organised Table Games, a tour of the school plus refreshments and a choir performance. Caldershaw School is linked with Condorcet primary school in Tourcoing. We would like to thank Clare Riley and the staff and children at Caldershaw School for a lovely afternoon.
On Friday the groups had a day trip including an excellent tour of Lancaster Castle and a fantastic meal at the iconic Midland Hotel Morecambe, before spending the evening socialising with families at various venues and homes.
On Saturday Friends of Tourcoing in partnership with Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum hosted a day of fun for all ages open to Rochdale community organised by Bob Banner & Kathryn Rennie. We would like to thank Paulie’s Café for stepping in and providing a range of lunch options at the Museum event, also Angel Café for lots of lovely goodies for the children’s options. Skylight Circus Arts for their entertaining circus workshop, St Anne’s lovely young Morris Troupe who entertained our guests with dance routines and Wardle Senior Band who played a medley of tunes and all the volunteers at the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum.
Saturday evening saw a spectacular celebration with 140 people at the 50th Celebration Dinner in Rochdale Town Hall in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress. Chairperson Ann Sutton welcomed special guests; Deputy Mayor of Tourcoing Didier Droart, Presidente of Les Amis de Rochdale Marie-Christine Lejeune and Deputy Lieutenant Ian Sandiford JP DL and Mrs Sandiford. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mr Michael Bidney.
Gifts were presented to Mrs Dorothy Forshaw in recognition of 50 years membership of Friends of Tourcoing. M. Christopher Dobby received a gift for having been a member of Les Amis since 1966 and at the age of 92, continues to take part in the exchanges. Jean-Pierre Collado was presented with a gift in recognition of his contribution to Twinning. This was his 115th Visit to Rochdale. He began in 1971 as organiser of exchanges for schools and community groups and is remembered by many children now adults in Rochdale Borough. He continues to organise exchanges for groups in EU. The ladies received bouquets of flowers presented by the youth of both Associations. Remi and Paul Vampouille, Megane Milville, Emma Merciere and Ben Cooper.
Cracking entertainment was provided by the Lancashire Fusiliers Corps of Drums followed by Tom Collins Singer and Entertainer. Our thanks go to Crofter’s Catering for the Town Hall meal and presentation of the Great Hall tables, Gordon Riggs for the wonderful floral displays for the dinner, Atec Print Ltd for printing the Commemorative Booklet, Marie & Fred Hamer and the Hopwood Hall Catering Students in Rochdale, for designing and creating the wonderful celebration cake.
We would like to thank the Rochdale Township Panels for giving Town Twinning a vote of confidence and some very useful funding.
Finally we would like to thank members of the committee and association of The Friends of Tourcoing & Les Amis de Rochdale who gave so much of their free time preparing such a special occasion; which will be remembered fondly for another 50 years. A very special thank you goes to Claudette Davies & Ann Sutton for being such a driving force achieving so much behind the scenes, without whom all the above would not have been possible.