Dear SHTA Friends,
This time last week we were on the coach travelling back home from Honfleur having said farewell to our hosts for their wonderful hospitality over the four days of our visit. Just a few of the highlights enjoyed by the group during our stay were:
- an excursion to the delightful Château du Breuil to learn about the process of distilling calvados. The buildings, grounds and, of course, the product were all truly amazing.
- a lovely lunch inside the huge calvados barrels at a restaurant in Pont l’Évêque.
- a boat trip from Honfleur harbour out into the Estuary of the Seine and under the vast Normandy Bridge.
- the opening of La Rue de Sandwich by representatives from both towns.
- an impressive performance of songs from all around the world by an all-female group in the inspiring surroundings of the Ancienne Chapelle de l’Hôpital.
- the formal dinner attended by guests, hosts and local dignitaries with speeches by the Mayor of Honfleur, the leaders of both associations and the exchange of gifts.
In addition, our hosts treated us to a variety of activities outside of organised group events. Some enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere of the Friday night Fête de la Musique in town; some were taken to sites of interest in the region; others wandered around the brilliant Saturday morning market; others had a relaxed drink or meal in one of the many cafés, bars and restaurants.
My huge thanks go to Pierre Jan and his committee for the enormous amount of preparation work, all of the host families for their warmth and generosity, and also to all of our participants for taking the opportunity to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the twinning between our two towns. Although our new Sandwich mayor, Councillor Jeff Franklin, was unable to attend the celebrations, he did send a letter of support and appreciation and arranged for a selection of memorabilia from the museum at the Guildhall to be presented to his counterpart in Honfleur. We hope that he will be able to join us when we greet our friends from Normandy in 2020; we are currently in the process of finalising dates for that particular visit.
We were very fortunate with the weather in Honfleur, whereas Saturday 8th June was something of a challenge for our volunteer helpers at the SHTA ‘Le Weekend’ stall: horizontal rain and fierce winds were responsible for our flags, leaflets and even stones to hold them down flying off the tables! We were grateful to the staff of Age Concern for giving us a skipping rope and some cable to prevent the gazebo itself from taking flight!! Many thanks to those of you who gave of your time to promote SHTA to visitors to our stand; good job!
As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, the date of the Annual General Meeting is Monday 8th July at 7.00 pm and it will be held upstairs at the King’s Arms; if you’d like to hear about the SHTA year, 2018-2019, see the annual accounts, and give your views about the way forward, please feel free to join us.
Hoping to see as many of you there as possible,
Best wishes, Stuart and the Committee