Bampton is twinned with Villers Bocage, Calvados, Normandy, France.
The aim of the Association is to promote visits, exchanges, and links with our twin town in France. The twinning link was first set up in 1974.
For full information, photos, and news of various events, please look at Bampton Twinning on Facebook
You can also visit the Villers Bocage web-site - how good is your French?!
Contact: Bruce on 01398 332048
The Twinning movement was conceived in 1947 after the Second World War to foster friendship, co-operation, and mutual awareness between the peoples of Europe. Bampton Twinning was founded in the 1970’s to promote visits, exchanges and links with Villers-Bocage in the Calvados region of Normandy, France.
The Battle of Villers-Bocage took place on 13th June 1944, one week after the Normandy Landings by the Western Allies, that began the conquest of German occupied France. The town was taken by the allies then lost in a ferocious counterattack by the Germans before being retaken by the invasion forces. Only one farmhouse and half a church remained standing after the onslaught. A modern town has emerged from the ruins, quite unlike Bampton with its 1000 years of history.
Bamptonians are always assured of a very warm welcome on our visits which are planned to be great fun and very interesting for both young and old, learning about local customs and traditions. Twinning visits are planned annually at the early May Bank Holiday with the French coming to Bampton one year and Bampton members travelling to Normandy the next year by coach and ferry. These visits are the highlight of the year, meeting old friends, making new ones, and giving both communities the opportunity of showing their guests the very best hospitality they can offer.
Fundraising is vital to cover the costs of these biennial visits, on the basis that when the French visit Bampton, they pay for their own travel costs but all expenses during their time in Bampton is paid for by the Association and the host families. The arrangement is reciprocated when we visit France. Costs are approximately £5000 over the two years so fundraising is a very important part of the Associations agenda. Fortunately, the team spirit within the Association has always been good so fundraising is great fun, well supported and a very enjoyable way of filling the coffers. Examples of fundraising events are BBQ’s, safari suppers, themed evenings, pool parties, race nights, bingo, treasure hunts etc.
The Association meets every 4 to 6 weeks and all members are invited to attend and have their say. The meetings are normally held in member’s homes (when possible) on rotation which helps to reduce costs. The Chair keeps the meetings short, and they always end in a social atmosphere as we enjoy a supper along with a glass (or two) of French wine.
The contacts between Bampton & Villers Bocage were started by school children having pen-pals. This led to visits for learning each country's language. These exchanges led to friendly football matches between the two towns. The Parish Council then decided to make formal contacts when more families showed an interest in the idea of "Twinning". A committee was formed, and the first visit was arranged in 1973 with a small group going by car to France.
The Twinning Charter was signed by both parties in 1974. The group expanded & the local Fire Brigade joined in, taking their uniforms to march in many official May Day Parades through the town of Villers Bocage.
In 1995, to celebrate 20 years of community friendship, Bampton donated some commemorative trees and a party with folk dancing was held on the sports field as the trees were planted.
To celebrate 25 years of twinning in May 2000, Villers Bocage presented Bampton with a large concrete sundial which is installed above the flower bed adjacent to the War Memorial.