Middleham twinning group plans 2023 trip

Young people who made exchange visits as part of the twinning scheme.

Families are being invited to get a taste of France and its culture by a twinning association in Middleham.

Middleham Twinners, an association which organises exchanges between families in and around Middleham, and its twin town Azincourt in northern France, is hosting a breakfast next month and is inviting families from across Richmondshire to attend.

At the breakfast, which will include baguettes, pancakes and croissants, guests will learn more about how they can join the association and take part in upcoming exchange trips.

There will also be entertainment, a raffle and chat with the French friends by Zoom.

Those who would like to know more but are unable to attend in person can also join online.

Funds raised from the raffle will go toward visits to France and entertaining the French in Middleham.

The group which was formed 40 years ago, will host their French counterparts in 2023, so those who join now will have the opportunity to be part of that.

Jane Cole, who’s been involved with group for many years, said families shouldn’t be put off if they can’t speak the language.

“Speaking French is not a requirement, many of our French friends can speak some English, especially the children.

“However, it is a necessity that you’re up for fun and willing to learn more about life in a different community, but one that is also rural and with historical links to our own.”

As part of this push, members of Middleham Twinners are strengthening links with local schools like The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form, where past students have benefitted from the programme.

Rosalind Monaghan is a former student whose family are part of Middleham Twinners and she has enjoyed exchanges between the two communities.

She went on to study French and Spanish at A-level and is currently spending a year in Morocco as part of her Arabic and Spanish degree.

She added: “The twinning programme kickstarted my love for languages.

“I can’t recommend exchange programmes enough, the experience gained by developing your confidence, independence, social skills and self-belief is really indispensable.”

Headteacher Julia Polley believes joining the association can provide such invaluable life and educational experiences for students and their families.

She said: “We all know learning is not purely about academic study and the Middleham Twinners group offers young people and their families another way to grow and learn about the world around them. Rosalind is proof of this.”

The twinning group was recently awarded a grant of £770 from the Two Ridings Community Foundation associated with the Betty’s and Taylors Group. The grant is helping the members to put on this relaunch breakfast and create online opportunities for those in isolated areas to take part.

The breakfast takes place on Saturday 11th June 10-12am, at the Key Centre in Middleham.

Entry is £5 per person or £10 for a family.

To join in person or online, email janecolefrance@gmail.com