A delegation from Lytham St Annes Twinning Association heads to France later this week in a bid to make further progress towards establishing a twinning link with Normandy town Caudry.
The group of seven is being led by Association chairman Coun Tony Ford, who set up the visit following an impromptu trip he made two years ago after hearing Caudry was seeking a English partner.
An exchange of emails featuring ideas and suggestions for collaborating on projects has prompted a photographic exhibition in Caudry featuring 25 images of Lytham and St Annes and on arrival tomorrow, the delegation will be attending its opening.
Visits to a lace museum and a working factory, will follow, along with a meeting with civic dignitaries at Caudry’s tourist information facility.
Trips to the British war graves site close by and a local school in the hope of setting up an e-pen pal scheme, are also on the itinerary.
Local products, including jams and chutneys from the St Annes-based Ormerod Trust’s Spice Up Your Life social enterprise company, along with a memento from Fylde Rugby Club, are being taken along and Coun Ford is hopeful a reciprocal visit by the French and formal links will follow.
He said: “Although this isn’t an official visit and hence no civic members are involved, it is hoped a return trip by a small delegation from Caudry will be followed by an official signing of documents and a charter either later this year or early next year.”
Lytham and St Annes have been twinned with German town Werne for more 30 years and exchange visits are regularly made between the two towns.
Coun Ford added: “There was a downturn in interest and membership some 10 years ago but the Association has bounced back and grown in strength, with regular social and fund-raising events.”
Caudry is just over 100 miles south east of Calais and Mayor Guy Bricout, who will welcome the Lytham St Annes delegation, said: “We look forward to welcoming a party from Lytham St Annes and hope we can build a lasting relationship.”