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THIS WEEK Local MP, Huw Merriman, why would I cross the floor?


COMMUNITY The end of the story for the Beach Tavern site? (or at least this chapter)


LETTERS Paul Minter, You can only wonder how many Conservative MPs are in secret talks

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UPDATES
Ex Chairman of PCC, Maurice Gilbert, (21 August) has given a useful account of what happened in the eighties with a ‘friendly arrangement with a town in France’ here. The account also looks at what happened with the plan to establish formal twinning arrangements in 2009.

Local resident, Carolyn Little (21 August) has offered a detailed account of an exchange visit in the eighties here.

Pevensey Parish Council, with the careful implementation of their three year plan is becoming an engaged, relevant and vibrant body in this community. In relation to a formal twinning arrangement with a town or village in France, is this the time for Pevensey Parish Council to re-consider these things?
—Bay Life, 23 August 2019


The search for our long lost twinned town in France (22 August) has taken an interesting turn, with not one but at least two towns, possibly three, identified as having ‘twinned ‘ links with Pevensey and Peveney Bay in the recent past.

Writing about our search for our twinned town in France we said “We are doing some research on a story about the ‘twinning’ of Pevensey with a town in France. We have a record of a parish council member (possibly chairman) visiting a town or village in France in the sixties for a week as part of this twinning exchange. We would be interested to know the name of the town or village in France that was ‘twinned’ with Pevensey.

“We know that the town or village ended with de-la-mer, that should whittle down the choice to a small number of coastal locations across the water”.

In response, Bay Life reader, Ann Gurney commented,”I have a feeling it was later than the 60s. The late Grace Richard was involved and a visit was made to France. I think a group came to Pevensey, I seem to remember some French children coming into the school. I’m thinking late 80s or early 90s”.

Christine Pollard added, “your remarks are correct, it should be in P.P.C. Minutes”.

Also came an interesting contribution from new Normans Bay resident, Sean Harper, who runs Harper Hair Co in the Bay with his wife Kathy.

He pointed to an article in the Eastbourne Herald dated 9 December 2009.

Although not identified in the article what seems likely is that the article was written by Keith Belcher, who wrote a lively ‘Down Your Way” column for the Eastbourne Herald at the time about  the affairs of Pevensey and Pevensey Bay. He took a wry view of many of the affairs.

The article points to possible moves by Pevensey Parish Council to ‘twin’ with a town in France.

The paragraph about possible twinning arrangements suggests,

Eastbourne Herald  9 December 2009
Bonjour Pevenseyites. Fancy twinning with some Norman Invaders? There is a suggestion (again) that Pevensey and the Bay should be officially twinned with a town in France. One that is suggested is Dives Sur Mare, about 15 miles from Le Havre and the place where William assembled his mighty fleet before sailing off for Pevensey At least they have still got a harbour, called unsurprisingly, Port Guillaume. Pevensey Parish Council has discussed town-twinning a couple of times over the years but each time rapidly lost interest. What would make this different is if enough locals think it would be a good idea. I can see some merit in associating with a town in Calvados country, but it means more than that. To find out what it does mean go to wwww.towntwinning.org.uk. Then if you like it, contact your local Parish councillor or the parish clerk on smalcathome@oal.com or through his office at the Ethel Wood on Coast Road.
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There does not seem to be any evidence, ten years later, that we are twinned with Dives Sur Mare.

Last night also came this explanation of our twinned town status from the Pevensey Villages Partnership. “Pevensey was twinned with San Suzanne. There was a coach trip from here organised by Grace Richards in the 80′s. The Mayor and deputy came over here and stayed with Betty Baker in Pevensey, East Sussex”.

Here we now have two, possibly three, examples of towns in France that were either ‘twinned’ with Pevensey and the Bay or were planned to be twinned.

With our original conversation with a long term resident in Pevensey Bay yesterday (21 August), he recalled his father telling him about a trip to France as a member of Pevensey Parish Council to a town that was ‘twinned’ with Pevensey and that the town ended with the suffix de-le-mer. He dated the trip to either the sixties or the seventies.

In his recollection was he quoting the plan in 2009 that appeared in the pages of the Eastboourne Herald that did indeed propose a visit to a town that had the suffix de-la-mer, or was there a third twinning arrangement planned in the sixties or seventies?

What is noteworthy is that the article in the Eastbourne Herald talks about the suggestion (again) that there should be an official twinning arrangement with a town in France.

What appears likely is that there have been proposals for twinning arrangements over many years and that they have either not come to fruition or fallen by the wayside.

Access to the Parish Pump archives, such a valuable resource (a three monthly publication dating back to 1968, faithfully delivered to every household here), would no doubt uncover  some of the history of these proposed twinning arrangements.

Another useful source of information about these proposals would be, as local resident Christine Pollard has pointed out, the parish council minutes, which are in the public domain.

The other useful source of information would be the Town Trust minutes. These minutes are part of the governing body, the Pevensey Court House and Museum, but these minutes online only date back to May 2015.

Since there is no formal record of any twinning arrangement with a town in France, held by East Sussex County Council (all the other twinning arrangements across East Sussex are detailed), this seems to be a singular omission. Other towns and villages in East Sussex proudly display their credentials on splendid gateways to villages as visitors enter each village.

Pevensey was a cinque port. This information is displayed.

A restoration of a formal twinning arrangement with a town or village in France would add a new dimension to Pevensey and the Bay. As well as the kinds of cultural exchange that have either taken place or have been planned., there could be other kinds of exchange.

In the Digital Age, so much could be done now to further these links, not just between the parish council and the mayorial counterparts in a town or village in France.

These links could be enhanced by the kinds of coach trip days or weeks that took place in the eighties. Of course as a point of reference, Westham and Pevensey Primary School would have a useful link to a primary school in a French village that could make for some interesting teaching materials.

Already a number of possibilities have been suggested in relation to how a formal twining arrangement could benefit Pevensey and the Bay. The organisers of the forthcoming Pevensey Food Festival might have some ideas for how the villages could be linked as part of the ‘festivities’.

Of course we already have a very well established twinning arrangement with France that extends back nearly 1,000 years.

The Norman Invasion changed everything about this country, from government, to the laws, to the language, to the way that people lived in communities, no feature of life in this country was left unchanged.

Our original twinning arrangement as Pevensey is displayed on the Bayeux Tapestry, a UNESCO “Memory of the World” site at the Bayeux Museum Bayeux, France.

Like a promotion billboard, Pevensey is proudly displayed with a panel dedicated to the travel arrangements to the village.

In 2021 France is to loan the Bayeux Tapestry to this country for a year.

The likelihood is that the Bayeux Tapestry will be displayed at the British Museum, to be visited by schools from across the country, as well as historians, families, community groups from across the country.

The likelihood is also that over the year, more than a million people in this country will be recorded as visitors to see the UNESCO “Memory of the World” treasure.

In front of them will be the Pevensey panel.

Up to £10 million is expected to be found by the Government in this country to promote the year long loan in 2021.

Perhaps there is an official twinning arrangement. If this is the case why does nobody seem to know that this is the case? A much more likely explanation is provided by the evidence about the attempts to establish official twinning arrangements that have fallen by the wayside.

There are 21 towns and villages with twinning arrangements in East Sussex linked to French villages or towns. There is no record of historic Pevensey being one of these locations.

Ex Chairman of PCC, Maurice Gilbert, (21 August) has given a useful account of what happened in the eighties with a ‘friendly arrangement with a town in France’ here. The account also looks at what happened with the plan to twin in 2009.

Local resident, Carolyn Little (21 August) has offered a detailed account of an exchange visit in the eighties here.

The prospect in 2021 that the arrival of the Bayeux Tapestry in this country will see such an important place as Pevensey to the story, not having an official twinning arrangement with a village or town in France seems to be a strong possibility.

Having no official twinning arrangement with a village in France might be an embarrassment, not just to the parish council, but to the community.

Pevensey Parish Council, with the careful implementation of their three year plan is becoming an engaged, relevant and vibrant body in this community.

In relation to a formal twinning arrangement with a town or village in France, is this the time for Pevensey Parish Council to re-consider these things?