25th Anniversary visit to Saintes
TWENTY-five years of shared friendship have been marked in Saintes with a visit by the Mayor of Salisbury and a group of SSTA members.
Clr Jo Broom, in her role as city Mayor and as SSTA president, planted a magnolia tree in the park next to the River Charente and fulfilled a number of other official engagements during her stay.
She was also given the freedom of Saintes, as was the Mayor of Xanten who was visiting at the same time. (Xanten is twinned with Saintes as well as Salisbury.)
Members had a busy programme of visits and activities that included a guided tour of the town’s Roman sites for those who were visiting for the first time.
While the Mayor and SSTA chairman Caroline Rippier took part in formal discussions on increasing commercial co-operation between both communities, and on other topics, members were able to wander through the town, visit markets and make new friends.
Food formed an important part of the visit, with a buffet supper, buffet lunch, a pair of stunning celebration cakes, as well as restaurant meals, all of which helped put everyone in anniversary mood.
At one of the events, the chairman was presented with an engraved set of salad servers to mark the occasion.
The Mayor of Saintes, Jean-Philippe Machon, officially opened an exhibition charting events of the past 25 years. Displaying press cuttings and photographs, it was clear to see just how much has been achieved.
There have been many exchange visits between people of all ages and with a wide range of interests, be they sporting, cultural, commercial or educational.
Year-long artefact swaps between The Salisbury Museum and the archaeological museum in Saintes took place two years ago, Salisbury Cathedral choir has visited Saintes twice, folk dancers and choirs from Salisbury have visited Saintes, and Les Voies d’Eole choir sang at Salisbury’s Christmas market.
Other initiatives over the years have included student exchanges, rugby players from Salisbury playing matches in Saintes, and artists from both towns taking advantage of the opportunities offered by twinning.
The Association looks forward to welcoming the Mayor of Saintes on his first visit to Salisbury when he is guest of the outgoing Mayor and of the city’s new Mayor during mayor-making weekend.