HIS love for the French commune he visited with his family blossomed into a passion project for communities on both sides of the Channel.
Now those memories – which led to the twinning of Hayling Island and Gorron in 1997 – are Ian Pollicott’s legacy.
The father-of-two, grandfather and husband was remembered at a poignant ceremony at the Oaks Crematorium in Havant on November 9, after he died aged 71 six days earlier.
Born in Derby, he enjoyed 46 years of marriage to his wife Averil – who has paid tribute to him and thanked family and friends for their outpouring of support.
‘Ian was a gentle man and he had a wicked sense of humour,’ the 70-year-old said.
‘His service was so touching and I have received more than 100 cards since. Flowers too – the lot. It has been amazing and I just want to say thank you. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of these lovely people.’
Ian and Averil met at the University of Bath and had lived together on Hayling Island for 37 years until his death.
The pair founded the Hayling Island-Gorron Twinning Association after making friends overseas when they bought a house in the the French commune more than 20 years ago.
Charters for the social twinning are displayed in the library in Elm Grove, Hayling Island, and the association now has more than 100 members across Hampshire.
Averil said: ‘The association was a real labour of love for Ian.
‘We wanted to do something for the community and our friend who was an English teacher in Gorron, Cathy Duchemin, suggested a twinning. We took the idea back to Hayling and the rest is history.’
Groups from both sides visit each other every year to enjoy a host of social and cultural activities for travellers of all ages.
In 2019, families from Hayling Island will visit Gorron. Dignitaries from the commune journeyed to Hampshire for Ian’s funeral.
Ian worked as a researcher for National Rail before going on to sell military decoy systems across the globe for Chemring.
He is succeeded by Averil and the pair’s son Ashley, 41 and daughter Faye, 38.
To learn more about the Hayling Island-Gorron Twinning Association, visit haylinggorrontwinning.org.uk