On Wednesday 23rd June 1982 the Parish Assembly was asked 'to accept the invitation and formally become 'twinned' with that town, this for cultural, educational and social exchanges'. Sid Proudley, Procureur, proposed the twinning which was seconded by the Dean, the Very Rev Tom Goss. The initiative came from the Conseil Municipal de la Ville d'Avranches, and was supported by the Constable of St Helier, Peter Baker, the Honorary Consul for France, Monsieur Jean-Jacques Roos, and Senator Reg Jeune. According to the JEP report of the meeting, 'only a handful of parishioners turned up to vote on the twinning proposal (and) they were overwhelmingly in favour of the plan', although 'one voice of dissent was raised, that of Mr Gordon Journeaux, who said that he was vehemently opposed to any sort of link with France'. The twinning was formally agreed at a ceremony in Avranches in December that year.
The St Helier Avranches Jumelage continued its celebrations of its 30th anniversary with a pétanque competition held in Avranches, followed a fortnight later by attending 'La Nuit des Jumelages', a traditional 'bal dansant' held every two years to which Avranches' other twin towns - Korbach (Germany) and Crediton (UK) - are also invited. The St Helier delegation was also taken around the recently completed 'Scriptorial', which houses the famous illuminated manuscripts from Mont St Michel, while a Jersey oak tree was presented to the town for planting in 'Le Jardin des Plantes'.
Celebrating the pearl anniversary of St Helier and Avranches:
Just before Christmas 2012 a delegation from the Parish's twin town in Normandy travelled to St Helier to mark thirty years of jumelage. Included in the group were three of the original architects of the link between the two communities: Maire Adjoint, André Bazin; former director of tourism, Ursula Hau; and Conseiller Municipal, Michel le Brun. Also present for the occasion was former Senator Jean Le Maistre, who was a St Helier Deputy at the time of the signing way back in December 1982, and former Constable of St Helier, Bob Le Brocq. The event was also opened to representatives of the other twinning associations: the partnerschaft with Bad Wurzach, celebrating its tenth year in existence; and the geminação with Funchal, signed just months earlier in April 2012.
Chairman of the Jumelage Annabelle Bishop, Michel le Brun,Ursula Hau, André Bazin and Jean Le Maistre
If you're interested in learning more or wish to join the group, please contact Chairman Annabelle Bishop on 07797 762008 or email email@example.com.
The 'Partnerschaft' with Bad Wurzach
History of the twinning:
The twinning with Bad Wurzach would never have happened had officials of the Third Reich chosen a different town in which to intern English-born people from Jersey in 1942. Despite the hardship of internment, the local people in this small town in southern Germany treated the islanders well and rejoiced with them when the town was liberated. After the war links were gradually established and friendships established, but an early attempt to make a twinning was abandoned in 1973. Procureur Sid Proudley proposed the idea at a Parish Assembly and it was seconded by the late Michael Gabb, a former internee; however after some opposition from the floor the matter was withdrawn. Nearly twenty years later in the Pomme d'Or Hotel the present Constable of St Helier met the then Mayor of Bad Wurzach who had been invited to the Liberation Day service by the Bailiff, and the twinning became a reality, seconded, once more, by Mr Gabb, in 2002.
Members of the St Helier - Bad Wurzach Partnerschaft organised a visit to our German twin town to mark the 70th anniversary of the internment of over 650 British-born Jersey people during the Occupation, and the tenth anniversary of the twinning. The Bailiff, Sir Michael Birt and his wife Joan, along with the Chief Minister, Ian Gorst, accompanied the group. Deputy Rod Bryans represented the Parish and took some excellent photographs which can be viewed online at www.parishpics.blogspot.com. Deputy Bryans said: 'St Helier's twinning with Bad Wurzach was a simple act of reconciliation that has had a profound effect on both towns. Anyone that now finds themselves in the town will be royally treated.'
Jersey has been home to thousands of Madeiran people, the first having arrived after the Second World War looking for work in agriculture and tourism. In 2004 the possibility of 'um accordo de geminação' between St Helier and Funchal was suggested to the Madeiran authorities, a Friendship Agreement having been signed by the Bailiff and the President of Madeira in 1998. The St Helier Parish Assembly approved the idea in 2007, following the successful visit to St Helier by the Mayor of Funchal, Dr Miguel Albuquerque. A twinning agreement was signed in Funchal in 2008, but for various reasons including the disastrous floods which occurred at the beginning of 2010, it has taken until Easter 2012 for St Helier's third twinning to be formally created.
The St Helier - Geminação is evaluating the lessons learned from the running of the successful Portuguese Food Festival at the end of the summer 2012 in order to produce an even better event this year.
If you're interested in learning more, or wish to join the Group, please contact the Constable at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 811821.
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