The essence of twinning is learning about other people's way of life and sharing educational, business knowledge and other opportunities. In recent years, the focus has been on civic and educational links, eg representatives of both communities are invited to important civic events such as Remembrance Day, commemoration and annual Mayor making.
Spelthorne Borough Council is twinned with Grand Port, Mauritius and Melun in France.
Earlier this year, we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the twinning with Grand Port with a renewed commitment to establish even closer ties.
The twinning was arranged when former Mayor of Spelthorne Simon Bhadye, who was the first Mauritian mayor in the borough, was approached by the Mauritian High Commission. The twinning was agreed at a special council meeting in May 2009 and, subsequently, the two councils have exchanged ideas and information on a range of topics including environmental issues, waste management and economic development.
The two areas have similar features with the area hosting Mauritius' premier international airport, while Spelthorne is neighbours with Heathrow. Grand Port is a delightful area of the country with a population in the region of 113,000 and lies on the east of the island. It boasts astonishing nature parks, beaches and heritage areas.
Spelthorne's first twinning partnership was with Melun in France, which was agreed in 1990. Melun, the county town of the Seine et Marne region, has a population of 40,000 and lies on the banks of the River Seine, 35 miles south-east of Paris.
The two towns have similar features and are working to develop closer links with each other.
Melun is a charming and attractive town with an excellent range of facilities including a sports complex, covered market, a University and indoor swimming pool. It has lovely old houses, plenty of shops and the churches of Notre Dame (11th Century) and St Aspais (15th Century). It is also close to the Barbizon, the charming village famous for its art and the 17th Century Vaux le Vicomte Chateau. Every September, a cheese festival is held in Melun, where the Mayor of Spelthorne is named a chevalier. We are looking forward to celebrating 30 years of our twinning with Melun in 2020.
For more information on Grant Port visit their website: https://dcgp.mu/
For more information on Melun, visit their website http://www.ville-melun.fr/