Mayoral visit to Saintes
The Mayor of Salisbury and the President of the Salisbury Saintes Twinning Association, John Walsh, accompanied by his wife and Consort Carrie, came to Saintes at the invitation of the town of Saintes for the 14th July celebrations. That gave our sister association, Amitiés Saintes Salisbury the opportunity to meet them and in true Saintes style give them a wonderful reception.
On Saturday 13th July John and Carrie met members of the amitiés at the spectacular site of the Roman amphitheatre, firstly for coffee and then a tour round the site. Catherine Vieuille, president of Amitiés Saintes Salisbury, presided over the meeting and greeted John and Carrie on their visit to this beautiful town. John responded and there was an exchange of gifts. In his speech John was keen to emphasise that next year is the 30th anniversary of the twinning and how keen he was that this should be marked appropriately. Both he and Catherine pointed out that next year is an election year for the Saintes’ mayor and council, which would make planning anything in Saintes practically impossible. Therefore the celebrations would take place in Salisbury.
After coffee and a good chat, Bridget Brennan conducted the group around the amphitheatre giving details of its construction and some of the gory details of its history. In addition she covered some of the history of Roman Saintes, or Mediolanum Santonum as it was called in Roman times. After this brief potted history we all headed to that other wonderful piece of Roman architecture, the Arc de Germanicus, where the party was to board the Petit Train for a guided trip round the town. This was generously provided by Saintes and we were accompanied by Annie Marec, Saintes Council Culture and Museum Clerk.
This was a wonderful start to a very full itinerary that Saintes had laid on for the Mayor and his Consort. They both looked as if the meant to make the most of their trip.