Buxton hosts 70 French guests during annual twinning visit

Viv Marriott from Buxton and Jean Milon from Oignies.
Viv Marriott from Buxton and Jean Milon from Oignies.

Friends from either side of the English Channel were reunited when Buxtonians welcomed 70 French guests from the twin town of Oignies.

Members of Friends of Oignies Twinning Association and Les Amis de Buxton take turns hosting their meet-up each year.

Among those waiting to greet the arrivals this month were High Peak hosts who have been friends with their French counterparts since the tradition began - 51 years ago.

The meet-up kicked off with a reception at Buxton’s St Thomas More Catholic School and a country and western dinner dance the following day with live band the Hangtown Thieves.

After a free day spent with their host families the French visitors took a day trip in York where they marvelled at historic sites such as the Shambles.

Members also marked the annual visit with a humanist memorial service in remembrance of five Buxton soldiers who were killed in Oignies as they bravely fought to slow the German army’s advance towards Dunkirk in 1940.

Committee member Chris Clegg said this year’s visit was especially heartwarming as some younger French families were in attendance - with teenagers and toddlers coming along.

He said: “The country and western evening was great - the French are much better line dancers than we are.

“They were teaching us and that was great fun.

“It was just great fun - you get a different viewpoint spending time with people from other countries.”

Friends from both sides of the English Channel gather for the annual memorial

Friends from both sides of the English Channel gather for the annual memorial