Scarboro’ visitors rendezvous with French hosts in medieval port of Pornic

editorial image

The latest exchange visit with Scarborough’s twin town in southern Brittany on the Cote de Jade has been hailed a sun-soaked success.

French hosts in the picturesque ancient port of Pornic hosted about 40 members of Scalby and Newby Twinning Association in a five-day visit which continued a partnership dating back 26 years.

Although no members of the parish council were able to attend, the Scarborough contingent were treated to a civic reception, a formal dinner and parties and events organised by the Pornicais.

Some visitors travelled independently but most flew to Nantes as a group and stayed with the hosts in Pornic, on the Atlantic coast.

“We were treated to great hospitality and look forward to their return visit to Scarborough next summer,” said twinning chairman David Coates, of Scalby, who outlined the historical links between the two countries.

At a welcome reception where the original twinning charter was on display, Pornic maire Jean-Michel Brard toasted the visit and introduced one if the original French town-twinning founders Catherine Ruesche. He also presided over an official dinner where entertainment included a rendition of Scarborough Fair.

Mr Coates relayed a message from the parish council which underlined the importance of the international bonding and he told the hosts in the stylish marina port of 14,000 people: “You have made everyone most welcome.”

In a translation delivered by twinning secretary Michele Harriott, he said the citizens of Pornic, Scalby, Newby and districts shared a brotherhood and an enlightened view of each other’s countries.

He told The Scarborough News that the trip was a “sunsoaked success”.

The visit coincided with an annual music festival.

A traditional red telephone box gifted from Scalby a number of years ago still stands near the yacht moorings. The visit also took in the surrounding area, including the Jules Verne city of Nantes, home of a hugely-popular 40ft high mechanical elephant that carries 50 passengers.

The hosts organised days out, a picnic and a “safari dinner”. The traditional hat competition on the theme of music was won by Carol Asquith and David Henderson.

The former sardine-fishing harbour which is overlooked by a medieval castle, has a Commonwealth cemetery dedicated to 399 servicemen including a total of 200 RAF pilots and British soldiers, some of whom were among the 4,000 victims of the bombing of the Lancastria troop ship in 1940 near St Nazaire.

The visitors included a number of both new and long-standing members of the association. For Neil Wrigglesworth, who took part in the exchange with wife Ann, the visit to brought back an unexpected link with his former job as a printing press technical director. Mr Wrigglesworth, who worked in France and other countries for Japanese print company Komori, visited a print museum in Nantes where one of the guides turned out to be a former business contact from more than 10 years ago. “It was nice to see him again after all these years,” he said.

The Pornicais will pay another return visit to Scarborough early next summer.