SANTA is arriving early this year at a French town ... to celebrate its twinning with Scalby and Newby

SANTA welcome Pornic visitors in 2018
SANTA welcome Pornic visitors in 2018

Twenty-five members of SANTA, the Scalby and Newby Twinning Association, are preparing to travel to Pornic on June 20 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their link-up.

The group will stay with local host families during their visit, allowing them to immerse themselves in the French way of life, returning the favour and welcoming the Pornic residents into their homes in alternate years.

The beautiful town of Pornic, France

The beautiful town of Pornic, France

Kaet Newton, Chair of SANTA, explained what happens during a typical stay: "When they visit us, the French bring Loire wines and superb local cheeses, including the pungent but delicious Cure Mantais, for their stall at Scalby Fair.

"When we visit Pornic, the French are delighted to introduce us to the range of their delicious local foods - shellfish, fish, wines, fruit and vegetables, ice cream and cheeses, rather than the snails and frogs’ legs traditionally considered French food, but hardly ever seen, far less served."

Kaet, who believes she has only missed one of the trips, says "We enjoy practising speaking French, although the French seem keener to speak English than we do to speak French! Unlike at school, where errors were frowned upon, there is much helpful laughter and encouragement when we misuse, misunderstand or misinterpret any word or phrase. To be 'language ready' for the twinning, we are holding meals during which we will try to speak only in French."

Pornic, an attractive tourist town on the west coast of France, lies just south of the mouth of the beautiful River Loire. It is protected from the Atlantic Ocean by a long spit of sandy land, called Noirmoutier. This creates a lagoon, which creates ideal conditions for a wide variety of water sports and fishing. For much of the year, the town is a blaze of seasonal colour from the huge hanging baskets of flowers and plant, that adorn many lampposts and stands.

Representatives share a meal together

Representatives share a meal together

The visits build on the historic bond between the two areas, through the Duchy of Lancaster, the future King Henry VII and his close childhood friend, the then Duc de Bretagne, based in Nantes, the nearest city to Pornic.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary visit, the group are taking with them three rose bushes, white of course, to represent Yorkshire, which have been specially chosen to withstand the heat.

Four years ago, before the EU referendum, the Mayor of Pornic correctly anticipated the result and affirmed that, regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the close friendships between the peoples of Newby, Scalby and Pornic would continue.

Kaet said: "The link between our two countries and peoples is so strong that it will persist, regardless of politics. We are sure that the friendship, understanding and fun will continue, and grow even deeper."

The group are keen to encourage new members, and hold regular meetings and lunches. Anyone interested in learning more about twinning with Pornic, or SANTA's social events, should visit the website HERE or make contact with members of the committee by emailing neiletann1@gmail.com.