A well-attended gathering of the Woking town twinning annual general meeting heard its president, Cllr Illyas Raja, Mayor of Woking, outline a programme of events for members, friends and family to enjoy during the coming year.

Reporting on behalf of the management committee, chairman John Kingsbury said that the association, formed more than 40 years ago, was gaining momentum after lockdown, and 2023 had been particularly successful with an excursion to the D-Day Museum in Southsea and visits in June and July to the festivals in Le Plessis-Robinson and Rastatt.

Le Plessis-Robinson, which dates back to at least the 9th century, is some six kilometres south west of Paris, while Rastatt is a vibrant city located in south west Germany, bordered by the River Rhine and the Black Forest.

In France, there had also been increased development in education thanks to the participation of Ruth Kidd from Barnsbury Primary School, who gave an English lesson to Class CE2 pupils at the Henri Wallon School.

The visit to the Stadtfest in Rastatt included an enjoyable trip to the Black Forest, and members of the committee travelled to the forum in Le Plessis-Robinson in September which produced promising feedback.

John also thanked Tahir Masud, who organised in November a successful primary school football tournament between youngsters from Le Plessis-Robinson and their families and pupils from Barnsbury, Hermitage and West Byfleet schools. A return visit will be made by the English teams to France next month.

John added that, with the events planned in 2024, he would welcome more members to join the association, including those who were willing to join the management committee. The modest annual membership fee of £10 includes free copies of bi-monthly newsletters and the twice yearly Twinning News.

After the election of officers and members of the committee, the following events were confirmed: The Tete a Tete in Rastatt from May 29 to June 2 and the Fete des Guingettes in Le Plessis-Robinson from June 14 to 16; an outing to Chartwell on Wednesday July 10 with free entrance for those who are National Trust members; and the annual dinner at Sutton Green Golf Club on Wednesday September 25, details of which will made available nearer the time.

As the members enjoyed refreshments at the AGM they looked back on their Belle Epoque-style dress for the Fete de Guingettes in Le Plessis-Robinson and at Rastatt’s famous baroque castle during the Stadtfest.

A membership form, a copy of Twinning News, a twin town leaflet and details of the above events, can be obtained from the treasurer, Chris Sansom at [email protected], telephone 01483 726974.