MEMBERS of Carnoustie Twinning Association are in the process of organising a programme of events both in Scotland and in France to mark next year’s 20th anniversary of the founding of the organisation.
In 1992, after research by historical groups in both Carnoustie and Maule, France, had identified strong links between the two areas, it was decided to form a twinning association which it was hoped would be to the mutual benefit of both towns.
As a result Carnoustie Twinning Association and the Comité de jumelage de Maule et de la Vallée de la Mauldre were formed.
The objectives were to be promoting friendship and understanding between the residents of Carnoustie and Maule, encouraging and organising visits by individuals, families and groups between the twinned towns with group visits taking place within school holidays when possible. The development of personal contacts would follow which, it was hoped, would broaden mutual understanding of cultural, recreational, educational and commercial activities in the twinned towns.
Most of the objectives have been achieved but sadly, are only enjoyed by a minority of Carnoustie folk.
During the first years many families with school age children who were, or about to start, taking the French language at secondary school became involved, giving the children more of an insight to French life and language. Visits to France meant staying at the homes of the Maulois, getting immersed, although there was always the safety-net of the dictionary close-by. It was not all serious work as visits to chateaux, and other places of interest in Paris were also on the agenda. At the end of the visit, the ‘soiree’ was the party to bring the festivities to a close.
Travel to Maule over the years has been made by coach, by rail by Eurostar and by air from both Prestwick and Edinburgh. Connections were made between sporting clubs, with cycling enthusiasts leading the way. ‘International’ rugby matches and long distance walks have also been carried out, both at home and away.
The smaller villages in the Valley of the Mauldre river were also included in the geographical title of the French association and in 1997 the Village of Aulnay close by to Maule entered fully into the twinning arrangement.
There have also been cultural exchanges with a feature of the past 20 years being the annual Burns Supper which has been held alternately in Carnoustie and Maule. Dancers and musicians from the local area participated in Maule Highland Games organised by the Maulois and in April of this year Carnoustie choir made the journey to Maule to entertain the French at concerts.
Now that the summer break is almost over members of Carnoustie Twinning Association committee are laying down plans for the association’s celebrations leading in to next year, starting with a fund-raising quiz night planned for October.
Easter weekend in April, 2012, is the target for the visit to Maule and the key event for the French in their celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the twinning arrangement. This also falls in the middle of the school holidays. It is hoped that travel can be made midweek to try and keep costs down.
This extended weekend will probably feature a Scottish night to replace the Burns Supper which has been suspended for 2012.
Continuing the celebrations, the Maulois are planning a return visit to Carnoustie at the end of June next year to coincide with the Carnoustie Gala Week festivities.
More information about Carnoustie Twinning Association and its activities is available at www.carnoustie-twinning.org.uk Information about the activities of the Comitee de Jumelage de Maule at de la vallee de la Mauldre is available at http://cjmvm.free.fr