The French have arrived.

The French have arrived.

a boat trip on the Thames

a boat trip on the Thames

Pangbourne Twinning Association Summer Newsletter July 2019

Dear Members

What a busy few months we have had! Thank you to all who helped with our very happy visit from our French partners and to those of you who are now getting into fundraising to support their next visit in two years’ time.

The visit from the Houdanais:

The early May Bank holiday weekend saw a record 48 visitors from Houdan. They spanned four generations and some had been involved from the earliest days of the twinning. For others, it was their first visit.The weekend began with a reception in the Village Hall enlivened by the Pangbourne Silver Band who welcomed the visitors with the Marseillaise, and a set of French and English popular songs. This was followed next day with a river trip on the Thames in beautiful sunshine and, for some families who refused to be put off by the unseasonable weather, a picnic in Pangbourne Meadow amid hail showers. In the afternoon the group met again for a stunning visit to Englefield gardens due to the kind and generous hospitality of the Rt. Hon. Richard Benyon and his family. In the evening, many of the hosts took their visitors to the charity concert in St James the Less, given by the Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir and Anne Denholm, harpist to the Prince of Wales. This was a programme of international music including many welsh songs. The French loved the welsh harmonies and many sang along to the better known American and British songs. They even had a go at a communal rendition of Summer is Icumen In, sung in cannon.

On Sunday we held a reception in the Vicarage garden, by the kind permission of Heather and Philip Parbury, followed by lunch in the Village Hall. The French said many kind things about their visit and their longstanding friendship with the people of Pangbourne. They were delighted with their mascots: cockerels in red, white and blue, knitted or crocheted by local craftswomen. The President of the Houdan Twinning Association presented Pangbourne with a brilliant scale model of Houdan’s famous 12th century keep, made by a longstanding member of the Houdanais Twinning group, which will be displayed in the Village Hall, and promised their Pangbourne friends a warm welcome next year .

Walking through the beautiful gardens at englefield.

Walking through the beautiful gardens at englefield.

The French and English friends in the vicarage garden

The French and English friends in the vicarage garden


You may have visited our traditional French café at the Village fete on June 8th. We offered filled baguettes and quiches in addition to our crepes, all of which were very popular. Profits were little down this year, so we need to rethink what we offer, our pricing and what drinks we sell. We may have been hampered by the poor weather forecast. Some stall holders suffered badly in the wind, but, with our gazebo, our team were well sheltered. I have contacted the fete organisers to make sure there are fewer duplications and gaps in the food and beverage offer as a whole next year.

The first of our three Art Cafés took place In Whitchurch Barn on July 20th. We had delicious cakes and pastries, and a fine raffle. We hope to see more of you at the next two, so please note them in your diaries. We will be asking for help soon with these. The dates are September 21st and November 9th. Arrange to meet your friends for good coffee, cake and conversation.

Film Nights .

Summer may hardly have started, but your film night team has arranged a fabulous season for the autumn and winter months. Look out for posters round the village. The first will be on Sunday evening October 27th in Pangbourne Village Hall.

Our first film is Les gardiennes (The Guardians.) made in 2017 by Xavier Beauvois and starring Natalie Baye, Iris Bry, Laura Smet, Cyril Descours, Gilbert Bonneau, Olivier Rabourdin and Nicolas Giraud. It features a score from the recently deceased, legendary, composer Michel Legrand. Set in France in 1915, where conscription forces the men to leave their homes, it is a family story, set in a farming community, which illuminates a rarely told aspect of the Great War. The impact of the conflict on what is still a largely rural economy forces women into whatever action they can take to make up for the loss of the traditional workforce.

Film nights will continue throughout the winter months from October to February (except December) on the last Sunday evening of the month. Doors open at 6.45pm for a 7.30pm start. As always, drinks will be available. Our French Film Nights are sociable and entertaining occasions so, if you have never been, give it a try! Films are in French with English subtitles, and are open to all whether members or not.

Supporting our Association

You have all shown yourselves to be marvellous supporters of the Twinning effort. I have a couple requests to make which I hope you will consider

Pangbourne Twinning Association exists to promote and foster friendship and understanding between the peoples of France and the residents of Pangbourne and its surrounding areas. In recent years this has focused on the biannual visits to and from Houdan. We realise that we need to modernise our activities to make them more relevant and engaging to a wider section of our community. We are in conversation with our new Parish Council to review how our activities can fit with their aspirations for Pangbourne. We are open to new ideas from you and your friends and neighbours. Our French partners have some funding in the run up to the Olympic games to be held in France and are actively seeking to work with us to organise some sporting exchanges. We want to engage more local people in what we are doing.

As you may be aware, several longstanding and key members of our committee have retired. We are specifically looking for someone to lead our fundraising activities and someone to take the minutes of management meetings and manage our archive. We are also looking for subcommittee members to help organise sporting and other exchanges between ourselves and Houdan. If you have skills in these areas, please do consider giving a little of your time and expertise to the Association. If you can help, please get in touch with me.

We are keen to widen our membership and we would like to find new ways to provide activities throughout the year that cater for families and young people. We want to share our love of the French language and culture and are now working on ways to include other types of exchanges for example through sport. We are open to suggestions and ideas and would welcome input from new members.

May I suggest that each member speaks to one or two neighbours not currently involved with twinning. Either I or Lauren Kilsby (our membership secretary) will be happy to speak to them and hear their ideas. So please do give our contact details to anyone who shows the slightest interest in things French: See our website Or contact Alison Hill 0118 9841401 or Lauren Kilsby on

Best wishes Alison Hill Chairman of the Management Committee