Flashback Friday: Twin town visitors join Royal tribute (2002)
PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 September 2018
In Flashback Friday Enjoy Beccles More takes a look back at some of the town’s major stories and events from times gone-by.
This week we look back to 2002 when visitors from Petit-Couronne paid tribute to the recently deceased Queen Mother.
The article below first appeared in the Beccles and Bungay Journal on Friday, April 5.
French visitors to Beccles were among the first foreigners to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at the weekend.
They were attending a party on Saturday night as part of the latest family exchange in the 24-year link between Beccles and its twin town, Petit-Couronne.
About 90 people - guests, hosts, and other friends of the twinning - were assembled for a meal and dance at Ringsfield Village Hall when the mayor of Beccles, Monty Pitkin, called for a minute’s silence in honour of the Queen Mother.
During the evening gifts were exchanged and a copy of a 19th century woman’s costume from Normandy was modelled. It had been hand stitched following a pattern for a mode of dress popular in Normandy between 1750 and 1850.
On Sunday morning some of the visitors called at Beccles Museum where Mme Arlette Chenu, president of the Petit-Couronne museum committee, gave the costume to the museum collection.
The replica, including an ornate bonnet, shawl, blouse and apron, had been made by Mme Chenu an Mme Sophia Verrier.
After the costume has been modelled by Sir John Leman High School student Emily Turner it was handed to Beccles Museum curator Jimmy Woodrow by Mme Chenu and Mme Woodrow.
Mr Woodrow thanked the French visitors for the gift and wished the twinning further success as it approaches its 25th anniversary.
Last year, when Beccles families visited the French town, a hand stitched replica of a traditional East Anglian countryman’s smock was handed over along with other gifts from Beccles Museum.
Later on Sunday some of the hosts and visitors gathered at the Waveney Centre to compete for the Beccles and Bungay Trophy, a silver tray given by this newspaper about 20 years ago for annual sporting competition between the two towns. An afternoon of games, including carpet bowls, ended with Beccles narrowly the winners.
After the visitors had left the town on Monday, Beccles Twinning Association chairman Pat Clarke summed up “It has been another very hectic but happy exchange with new families becoming involved. It was a great success for our hard working committee which organised the weekend.
“As usual there was a lot of laughter and good fellowship which proves that our twinning continues in very good heart as we approach our 25th anniversary year.
“We have big plans to make next year’s celebrations extra special. Projects are being planned which, we hope, will be of lasting benefit to both towns.”