We are the Twinning Association of the town of Wellington (Shropshire) and the surrounding area.
The Association was set up in 1998 with the broad aim being to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the communities of Wellington and a similar one in France. Châtenay-Malabry, an outer suburb of Paris, was chosen as being of a similar size with an industrial background and a population including a proportion of people of ethnic origin. Like Wellington is one of a group of townships making up Telford, Châtenay-Malabry is a member of the group forming Hauts de Bièvre.
The relationship encompasses a growing range of activities of a cultural nature. Wellington’s Brass Band has played at several concerts in Châtenay-Malabry and also entertained our visitors when they have been in our town, whilst musicians from Paris have paid reciprocal visits to Wellington. Musicians and singers from Wellington have been invited to join Châtenay's musical project - a virtual rendition of "With a little help from my friends". A choir from our area has also been on a visit to Châtenay and we are keen to continue this musical relationship. The Twinning Association has arranged contact between churches in our two towns and, on several occasions, military veterans have joined our local British Legion and townspeople for the service of remembrance and Armistice Day parade in Wellington town centre. Members of the Wrekin Arts Association have had paintings and other artistic objects exhibited in the Châtenay-Malabry arts exhibition.
We are also trying to encourage any sort of sporting links and one junior football club has already played in a tournament in Paris and hope to return in the future. We have been invited to take part in a Volleyball competition, originally planned for 2022. We have also had invitations to send athletes, fun-runners or walkers to take part in the annual Châtenay festival of running. The Tour de France cycle race regularly passes through Châtenay-Malabry and our members have planned visits to the town to coincide with this event.
Appreciating that young people are our future, we make every endeavour to bring together students from schools and colleges in Wellington and Châtenay-Malabry. We are hoping to restart the school correspondence project, twinning our primary and secondary schools and resume the planning of visits from students. There has been regular correspondence between students from most of the Wellington secondary schools, giving an opportunity for students both to make friends and to practise and improve their knowledge of each other’s language, history and culture. The Twinning Association has helped to arrange exchanges or visits for several schools and colleges. Exchanges with primary schools are obviously more difficult to arrange but one school in Wellington has already had a successful visit from a school in our twin town. A school trip was due in May 2020 - a visit from a Châtenay secondary school to HLC which unfortunately had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. French is one of the many languages introduced to young pupils in primary schools and with the compulsory teaching of foreign languages at Key Stage 2 (7-11 year olds), we hope, we hope that they will avail themselves of the opportunities for real contact with French children.
The Association had regular monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month at the Cock Hotel, Wellington starting at 7.30pm. We now have walks. We hold a wide variety of events throughout the year – have a look at our Events page. We’re always on the lookout for new ideas for social events, so please do get in touch with any suggestions!