Odiham and Sourdeval are celebrating 25 years of friendship 1993 - 2018
This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the community’s Twining partnership with Sourdeval in Normandy, France. The Twinning Charter was signed by Chris Riley, then Chairman of Odiham Parish Council, on behalf of the community, in September 1993. Although the twinning relationship is formally between our two Councils, the Odiham Twinning Association has managed the day-to-day relationship over the past years.
We are always proud to see the road signs marking our special relationship on the approach to Odiham and North Warnborough. Sourdeval is a close knit rural community with a population of around 3,200 and can be found 50 miles south of Caen and 40 miles to the east of Mont St Michel. They have an enthusiastic and ambitious town council who, like us, saw twinning as a way of developing links for the good of the whole community. Sourdeval is also twinned with Uchte in Germany.
Our relationship should be long term and over the years it has grown and flourished. Those involved have made new friends both within our community and in Sourdeval, it has helped us recognise our differences and similarities and allowed us to share special events over the years.
There has been less national interest in Twinning during the past few years and this has been reflected in our community as daily pressures, opportunity for travel and demands on family time have changed over the past generation. This pattern has also been repeated in France. Originally Sourdeval was very self-contained and rural and people did not travel far, so a visit to Odiham to experience life in the UK was a novel and much sought-after experience. However, their younger generation now have more freedom of movement and like our own young families – have other more pressing commitments for their time and on their purses.
Both Twinning Associations evolved to address this fact and in addition to continuing our annual exchanges, we became the link for other groups to visit and benefit from the positive relationships between our communities. Most recently, a band from Sourdeval came to support our Magna Carta celebrations in 2015 and the Choir from All Saints sang in the Église Saint-Martin in Sourdeval in 2016.
The Association has always been self-funding and for the first fifteen years we were able to apply for small European Twinning grants that topped up our income for hosting our French visitors. All trips to France were always self-funded by members. Unfortunately, the European grants were then redirected to support more obscure relationships and larger towns and cities requesting many thousands of pounds, so European funding for small communities such as our own ceased. Despite this, the Twinning Association continued its relationship with Sourdeval as our friendship was strong and the desire to share every day experiences and understand community life on both sides of the Channel continued.
Although the Twining is more low key than 25 years ago, we are celebrating this significant anniversary and twenty Sourdevalais will be spending the weekend of 5th to 8th October 2018 in our community. They will be hosted and entertained by our members and the weekend will include a visit to RAF Odiham to learn about the station’s work in supporting the French forces in Mali. We will also be visiting All Saints Church to look at the WWI exhibition.
Although we no longer have formal membership of the Association, if you require further information or would like a contact should you be driving south through Sourdeval, then please contact 01256 702664 for further details.