Burnham twinning programme with St Denis de l’Hotel in France
Burnham has been twinned with the village of St Denis de l’Hôtel, situated on the River Loire, since 2012. Le Jumelage was the brain-child of Jean-François Raffestin who desired to link his community with one in England. The Hôtel was, long ago, a hospital for lepers of which nothing remains. But surprisingly for such a small place St Denis has within its boundaries a Mars factory, an airport and a private château! If you follow the link to the brochure (above) you will see fine photos of the area
The Burnham Village Twinning Association was formally established in mid-2013 and has been running a number of successful events. In 2014 we took a stall at the Donkey Derby, and in September held a highly successful Pétanque afternoon, the latter with the invaluable assistance of the Burnham Pétanque Club.
One regular feature of the twinning (Le Jumelage) has been the exchange between the Mayor of St Denis and the Chairman of Burnham Parish Council for the Remembrance commemoration. In November 2013 twenty-seven French people arrived here for the weekend and for the first time were put up by local families. They brought their flag bearer with them and he paraded along with all the folk of Burnham. On the Saturday evening we put on a meal for over one hundred people at Burnham Park Hall; we were greatly helped by Pop Goes the Choir who had visited St Denis that summer to take part in their annual Fête de La Musique.
The group who visited St Denis in November 2014 were entertained royally. There was even a Twinning Cake which looked and tasted delicious. We spent two nights with charming hosts, were taken to a local restaurant and then a nearby ‘Musée de la Marine de Loire’ at nearby Châteauneuf-sur-Loire. Our two-day trip ended with breakfast at the Mairie followed by a visit to the tiny airport when we were even allowed in the control tower since the rush hour was over!
In July 2014 we had a visit from a group of six youngsters plus four adults who arrived, on a hot day, just in time to enjoy Burnham Carnival and the local bands at Burnham Park later that evening. We found family homes for them and friendships blossomed when both St Denis and Burnham youngsters met up for a fun evening at Burnham Youth Centre.
One of our regular activities is a Video Link Evening when we are able to meet our French friends on screen and even try out our French/franglais! We have shared much about our villages through this medium, including history, customs and shown patchwork at which some of the French ladies are wizards. We had a Quiz which was highly successful and resulted in a draw. For the last two Decembers we have shared a Christmas Party in this way; the most recent also being a Wine Tasting.