Trip helps strengthen Gosport’s French connection

The group at Bordeaux Airport
The group at Bordeaux Airport
Fly-tipping in Harold Road. Picture: Andrew Pearce

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THE anniversary celebrations of Gosport and its French twin city made for a weekend to remember.

The previous mayor of Gosport, Councillor John Beavis and his wife Christine and the then deputy mayor Wayne Ronayne and deputy mayoress Paula Carter went to the city of Royan in France, for a celebration.

The two were marking the 55th anniversary of their twinning and spent four days sharing their cultures and exchanging stories.

And for Cllr Beavis, it was a great way to finish his role as the mayor of Gosport.

He said: ‘It was very exciting going over to Royan and meeting their city dignitaries to celebrate our 55th anniversary.

‘We take it in turns holding the celebrations so it was nice to go over to France this year.

‘We arrived on a Thursday and spent four days in the beautiful city.

‘We had a very busy schedule but it was most enjoyable.’

During the four-day stay, the group visited a school, met in the mayor’s parlour and looked around the city.

Cllr Beavis added: ‘We did a lot of exciting things, one of which was showing our French counterparts the three models of the J Class Yachts.

‘The models were skilfully made by apprentices Craig Kitcher, Jack Bryant, Andrew Willoughby and Macauley Binner of Gosport’s Defence Munitions.

‘These were given to mayor of Royan and he was impressed by them.’

The group also visited the School and College of Saint-Marie which was involved in a student exchange programme with Bay House School, in Gosport.

‘It was good seeing the students who had come over to Gosport in their school,’ said Cllr Beavis.

‘They were invited with us to see the mayor’s parlour and we were able to talk about their experiences of the exchange scheme.’

But the highlight of the trip was his chance to sign an exclusive visitors’ book at the mayor’s office.

He said: ‘On our last day, we got to sign a visitors’ book which only most important people sign.

‘It was a great honour and a lovely moment for us all.’