A DELEGATION from Evesham visited its French twin town of Dreux to take part in a landmark celebration.

Deputy mayor Robert Raphael, town councillors Diana Raphael, John Smith and Frances Smith, as well as Evesham Twinning Association’s Helen Piper, visited the town in Northern France as it celebrated the 45th anniversary of its association with Melsungen in Germany – another of Evesham’s twin towns.

Officials in Dreux invited representatives from all of its twin towns to share in the festivities including Todi in Italy and Koudougou in Burkina Faso, Africa. The Evesham visitors were present to witness the opening of the Odysee Centre; a multimedia building in the centre of the town, an official presentation ceremony and a musical performance.

Coun Robert Raphael presented letters to the mayors of Dreux and Melsungen extending ‘warm congratulations’ on the occasion. The letter said: “Evesham is rightly proud of its own long links with both towns and we wish on this most auspicious occasion, to reaffirm our desire to continue to develop mutual understanding, respect and friendship between our towns.”

Speaking to the Journal, Coun Raphael said: “I was delighted to attend this event as deputy mayor and represent the mayor and town. This completed my twinning ‘hat trick’ as I have already been to Evesham in New Jersey, USA, on a number of occasions and was honoured to be mayor during a trip to Melsungen in 1998.”

Coun Smith said: “The whole weekend was a great success, including the weather which remained hot and sunny for the celebrations. Crowds of people flocked to the Grande Rue to participate in the ceremonies and to enjoy the market stalls and performances around the area – it was truly a carnival atmosphere.”

Evesham has been twinned with Dreux since 1977 and Melsungen since 1982. The link with the French town is down to historical reasons as it was the birthplace of Simon de Montfort, who fought and died in the Battle of Evesham, and is home to the Royal family mausoleum of the Duc d’Orleans, who once lived at Wood Norton Hall, on the outskirts of the town. As Dreux was already twinned with Melsungen, Evesham also established links with the town in Germany.

Helen Piper of the twinning assiociation explained the relevance and importance of twinning.

“It is a non-political, non-religious link-up and open to everybody. By establishing these twin towns we make new friends and learn more about other countries, cultures and people.”

Mrs Piper added that there would be celebrations in Evesham next May to mark the 35th anniversary of the link-up with Dreux.

Last year, mayor Jim Bulman flew across the pond to mark the 20th year of the link-up with the New Jersey town of the same name. The association began after a tax bill meant for Evesham, USA, was mistakenly sent to its English namesake.