Hollingbourne’s French Twinning Committee to be dissolved.

At a meeting in Foxgrove House in Eyhorne Street this evening, Hollingbourne’s Twinning Committee with Templeuve en Peveule, near Lille, voted unanimously to dissolve itself and to transfer the accumulated reserves of £479.97 to Hollingbourne Parish Council which signed the Twinning Agreement with France in March 2013. Last year the Chairman of the French Twinning Committee resigned and since discussions about further activities have regrettably come to nothing. The matter will be discussed at the Hollingbourne Parish Council meeting on Monday 13th May at 7.30pm in the Cardwell Pavilion.

The Agreement was signed with much hope for the future in Leeds Castle in 2013 with a second signing in the Templeuve Town Hall in the market place of Templeuve. Since then there have been a number of exchange visits including many trips to Templeuve for their Armistice Day holiday celebrations and visits to Hollingbourne for the Annual Fete and Exemption Dog Show. Unfortunately it has not been possible to for local organisations on both sides of the English Channel to engage in such a way as to make the relationship as successful as been hoped at the start.  One of the reasons may be the fact that Templeuve has a population of six thousand with many more facilities while Hollingbourne has a population of less than one thousand. Both communities have changed over the last few decades and are now mainly dormitories for larger cities with Templeuve being mid way between Lille and Valenciennes.

Previously Templeuve was a centre of the textile trade while Hollingbourne has changed because of the lack of affordable housing and the influx of commuters which has coincided with the loss of local shops and services and a reduction in the number of local organisations. Over the last three decades Hollingbourne has lost the Hollingbourne Society, the Mothers Union, the Young Wives Group, the Darby and Joan Club, the Cricket Club which may come back, and others. Some of the remaining organisations rely on membership from outside of the villages. Attempts to promote sports events such as soccer between the the two communities have failed and Hollingbourne School already is involved with Maidstone’s Twin Town of Beauvais.

Despite the fact that both Twinning Committees have come to an end, it is hoped that some of the friendships made will last and pictured below are some of the events since the signing of the Twinning Agreement in 2013. 

The signing of the Twinning Agreement in Leeds Castle in March 2013. On the left is Luc Monnet, Mayor of Templeuve and on the right is Mike Bedwell, Hollingbourne Parish Council Chairman.
A Hollingbourne group at the Templeuve Windmill in 2014.

 

Armistice Day in Templeuve in 2015 with members of the Leeds and Hollingbourne Branch of the Royal British Legion carrying standards.
Templeuve guests at on a visit to Hollingbourne Village Hall in 2016.

 

Templeuve Zumba dancers leading the children at the Hollingbourne Village Fete in 2017.

Many more pictures of Twinning events have been published over the years and it is hoped that some form of relationship will continue.