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Minehead Twinning Association Saint Berthevin

Minehead twinned with St Berthevin in France in April 1990 in a ceremony held in St Berthevin which was repeated in Minehead the following year (1991). The twinning link is between the two Town Councils on behalf of the people living in the Towns.
Extracts from the Twinning Charter signed in 1990 by the Mayors of both Towns:

"to maintain permanent bonds between Minehead and St Berthevin... to promote exchanges...with the aim of fostering, through greater mutual understanding, the true spirit of European brotherhood... to combine our efforts in order to further...the success of that essential understanding for peace and prosperity."

Minehead has been twinned with St Berthevin, a small town close to the regional centre of Laval in the Mayenne district of France, since 1991. The tenth anniversary of the twinning was celebrated in France in 2001 when a new walk, the ‘Promenade de Minehead’ was officially opened by Minehead’s then Mayor, Meigan Lyons. In October 2002, Bernard Gastineau, Mayor of St. Berthevin, planted two rose bushes in Minehead’s Millennium Garden as part of the return celebrations.

A lively Twinning Association meets regularly to promote the link and encourage exchange of ideas as well as arranging visits between the two communities. Groups such as College students, local firefighters, sports clubs, musicians and ramblers have exchanged visits and Town Councillors have entertained their French counterparts and vice-versa.

Twinning promotes cultural, educational and social links between communities in different countries in order to promote greater understanding between nations. It helps people understand what life is like in other countries through the exchange trips and other contacts.

Over the years, firm friendships have been made between families and individuals in each town and the twinning link has given many young people an opportunity to broaden their horizons.

Both Twinning Associations and Town Councils are particularly keen to encourage exchange visits between schools and colleges and by other young people.

About St Berthevin

Information provided by Mr Martin Evans

Our twin town, St Berthevin, is very different from Minehead. It is situated in the rolling countryside of the Mayenne department in the Pays de la Loire region of France. The region is mainly agricultural (beef and dairy, cattle, pigs and arable crops) although tourism has also become important in the local economy.

The town is smaller than Minehead at around 7,000 inhabitants. It lies immediately to the west of the large town of Laval and astride the N157 main route between Rennes and Le Mans. Although it has fewer shops and services than Minehead, as it is located close to Laval, it boasts excellent community and sports facilities, including a modern Town Hall, Municipal Sports Stadium, Camp Site and Community Hall where many events take place, including twinning events. There is a wide range of industries in the industrial zone and in nearby Laval. The town has expanded considerably and new houses are being constructed as well as factories and warehouses. A new by-pass has allowed environmental improvements to the main road through the centre, including traffic calming and new shops and services are being established.

The St Berthevin people are very active in community life, much of which is run by an organisation called AFLEC, made up of members of the community. It is highly organised and there are numerous opportunities to take part in educational, cultural, leisure and sports activities. Sport is particularly popular and there are excellent facilities. St Berthevin's table tennis club is in the premier division of the sport!

We are a group of people from Minehead and around who are interested in promoting links and contacts with our twin town. It exists to help ensure that the original twinning aims of promoting educational, cultural and social contacts between Minehead and St Berthevin can be achieved. The Association has received grant aid from Minehead Town Council, but is primarily self-funded. It has around 50 members at present.
One of the main activities of the Association is to give practical help to individuals or groups of people from Minehead to take part in exchange trips to St Berthevin. Since 1991 the Association has given several thousands of pounds worth of grants to help local organisations make exchange visits or host groups from St Berthevin. There have been numerous such visits over the years including the Firemen, the Running Club, Twinning Ramblers and visits by pupils from Minehead Middle School and students at West Somerset Community College as well as exchanges between individuals.
Every other year we organise a visit to St Berthevin to stay with French hosts. You do not need to be a member of the Association to take part. We also host every other year when people from St Berthevin visit Minehead. The people of St Berthevin are passionate about twinning (they are twinned with three other European towns) and always give Minehead visitors a very warm welcome on any visit.
Throughout the year the Association entertains its members and friends and raises funds by organising social events such as wine tasting, skittles evenings, coach trips and quiz nights. It's a good way to meet new friends and have fun.
If you would like to join the Association or want more information about it, please contact the Chairman, Martin Evans:
Tel: 01643 703161
On the weekend of the 28th June to 30th June 2011, members of Minehead Twinning Association travelled to St Berthevin to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Twinning of Minehead with St Berthevin.