History

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Signing of the original Twinning Charter in 1976, by Town Mayors Tinker Taylor & Raoul Cartroud

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The Twinning sign in Civray

 

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A stall on Civray Market, run by members of Downham Market Twinning Club

 It all began in 1975 when Swaffham European Club acted as a sort of marriage broker and introduced Downham Market and Civray.  The following year the Charters were signed by Mayors Tinker Taylor and Raoul Cartraud and Downham Market Twinning Club came into being. Downham Market’s Charter is hanging in the Assembly room upstairs in the Town Hall.  The Town Council has always been a supporter of the Twinning club with grants and civic receptions. Many of Downham Market’s Mayors have made the trip to Civray and been well received.

Civray lies about 35 miles south of Poitiers, just off the road to Bordeaux.  It is a town of around 3000 people on the attractive river Charente and has been there since Roman times.  It has a number of historical buildings, but the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the splendid 12th century Romanesque Church of Saint Nicolas which dominates the market square in the centre of the town. You can also find in Civray a red English public telephone box in full working order, a special twinning gift from our club.

Since 1976 hundreds of people, of all ages, have crossed or gone under the Channel, in both directions.  The main visit alternates each year between England and France, usually in the first week of August for eight days.  Guests are accommodated in members’ homes and the twinning clubs organise a week of activities to show visitors something of their country and its way of life.  Naturally, very close contacts have been built up between members in the two towns. Some have attended weddings in their “twin families”.  One Downham Member has moved to live in the Civray area and in 2000 became part of the first Downham Market/Civray marriage.

In addition to twinning club visits, other organisations have made their own exchanges, including schools, the football club and cycling policemen.  Ryston Runners have twice run between the two towns.  Hilgay Silver Band has played in Civray and has received the Civray band in return.  The list of such visits continue to grow.

One of the benefits of twinning visits is that you are not perceived to be a tourist, you seem to belong.  The Club holds regular monthly meetings, talks, outings, social events and has petanque teams.  You can go to a meeting and meet other members.  Maybe you would like to visit Civray or even have a French person to stay, (you certainly don’t have to). Maybe you might just like to meet the French people on their visits (they are very friendly). If you would like to know more then please contact Chris Nunn on 01366 388129 or email chris.nunn54@btinternet.com

The Twinning sign in Civray

 

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A stall on Civray Market, run by members of Downham Market Twinning Club