Sidmouth hosts twinning success

IT MAY have been a wet week, but such a rapport was built up during Le Locle s twinning visit that five host families are planning future trips to the Swiss town.

IT MAY have been a wet week, but such a rapport was built up during Le Locle's twinning visit that five host families are planning future trips to the Swiss town.

Firm friendships were made between the 22 visitors and Sidmouth twinners.

Lisa and Roger Booth of Roselands, were among those acting as hosts.

They joined Sidmouth Twinning Circle three years ago after retiring to Sidmouth and were hosted by Bernard and Francoise Faivre during a stay in Le Locle.

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Last week they reciprocated when the couple stayed with them.

Lisa is a confident French speaker, having spent a year in France at university "and Roger has a good bash at it," she said.

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Only Bernard was unable to speak English, so, said Lisa: "quite a lot of the time we spoke in French to bring him into the conversation.

"We struck up a friendship with them two years ago when we went to Le Locle, and asked if we could host them to cement our friendship," said Lisa, who was one of those involved in organising last week's busy programme for the visitors.

Roger and Lisa enjoyed joining in barn dancing at Sidford Social Hall and skittles as well as visiting Pecorama and having a tram ride.

"On Thursday when they went to Exeter it was a lovely day, but they smiled all the time and took what weather was thrown at them," said Lisa.

"They had a French-speaking guide at the cathedral they were impressed with."

After a cream tea at Fancy That!, East Budleigh, partly funded with a grant from Councillor Stuart Hughes, Bernard and Francoise enjoyed a meal at the Booth's home.

On their last day, Lisa took them to The Byes and then Woolcombe House for coffee and biscuits before driving to Branscombe for a look round.

"I think I enjoyed the evening meals here," said Roger, "with their wide-ranging discussions with a dictionary at the ready."

Other families used Friday to take their Swiss guests on day trips, including long drives over Dartmoor and a visit to the National Trust's Killerton House.

Winner of the farewell skittles contest for 60 at the Blue Ball, Sidford, was Carine Aeschlimann from Le Locle.

Norma Pearce, chairman of Sidmouth Twinning Circle, expressed the hosts' warm appreciation of the exceptional friendliness of the Swiss visitors, and their leader, Michel Giordano, expressed delight at the faultless delivery of the programme of events.

On Saturday the group visited Bath before their flight home. They were seen off by 26 locals, including Councillor Peter Sullivan, chairman of Sidmouth Town Council.

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