Town Twinning Association


This year our friends arrived in good time having spent Wednesday night crossing from Caen to Portsmouth and paying a visit to Blenheim Palace on the way to Ashby. The Friday trip we had arranged was to Ironbridge and then on to Blists Hill Museum to show them something of our industrial history. Ancient though it now is, the Ironbridge remains an impressive monument of industrial archaeology and after inspecting it we offered complimentary tea or coffee at a nearby café before continuing to the Victorian Museum and lunch. We were then free to roam the fascinating streets of this re-constructed historic town with its collection of typical trades and professions of the era. All of this proved most intriguing to both us and our visitors, despite the very heavy rain. Indeed it was such weather which presented a minor disaster on our return to Ashby that evening to find the roof of the Royal Hotel, where the Civic Reception was to be held, brought down by the storm. We were grateful to the Ivanhoe Social Club for offering their premises at such short notice and the Pithiviers civic party of five was duly received there by out Mayor and Town Clerk. As usual gifts were exchanged and speeches made.

Saturday was left entirely free for host families to entertain and again the rain had its effect on a number of plans!

Sunday began with a service at St. Helen’s church. The heavens opened once more and we were able to see the waterlogged street-party on the way to the Twinning Lunch at the Lyric Rooms. All this, of course, only served to create the winter ambience needed to support the planned theme of an English Christmas Lunch with turkey, Christmas pud and “all the trimmings”. There was music, singing and dancing, presents and even a special visit from Santa Claus and his little helper.

The Monday visit was to Chesterfield and its famous church with the crooked spire, where the vicar himself conducted the tour. Lunch was a typical fish and chips affair with local beer and in the afternoon we visited Denby Pottery to see actual production in progress and even get some hand-on experience ourselves.

Of course, all too soon the time was over and, at the crack of dawn on Tuesday morning our goodbyes were said, again in the Royal Hotel car park, as our guests began the long journey home (via a planned strike in Paris!) wishing each other well until we meet again next year in Pithiviers.

Click here to see a brief video of the visit: 2016 Visit from Pithiviers


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