MEMBERS of Hastings’ twin town of Bethune visited 1066 Country to celebrate 40 years of friendship.
Hastings Mayor, Cllr Alan Roberts, Lady Mayor Helen Prescott, Deputy Mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling, local dignitaries and representatives from the French town met at the Town Hall to sign an official charter.
Guests from the other side of the Channel stayed with local twinners’ families over the weekend in Hastings, taking part in a football match and laying a wreath at the War Memorial in Alexandra Park before the charter was signed at the end of the visit.
Ann-Marie Hassan, chairman of Hastings/Bethune Twinning Association, said: “Our football match was between Guestling Rangers and CAJ, the score being 3-1 to Bethune. Each team was presented with a trophy and medals by two of the Deputy Mayors from Bethune. Afterward the adults took a trip to Eastbourne, before we all had a marvellous meal at the Italian Way.
“On Sunday a black pine tree was planted in Alexandra Park with a plaque commemorating the 40 years of twinning with Bethune. We then walked to the memorial where a wreath was laid by representatives of both towns to honour those who have died in conflict. The national anthems of both towns were sung. We all went to the Town Hall for a civic reception and presentation for the signing of the Twin Town Friendship Charter.
“There were speeches from Cllr Roberts and Stefan Sainte-Andre, Mayor of Bethune and Jean Pierre Verheeche, who was given the Hastings Friendship Medal for his services to twinning.
“This weekend was successful due to the loyalty and consistency of the twinners from both towns, and the outstanding organisation and hard work by the committees on both sides. From my committee I’d like to thank John Sands, Vivienne Bond, Diane and Derek Copp, as well as Cllr Alan Roberts and Town Hall staff Sara Crosby and Lisa Greathead for their willing help, support up to and during last weekend.”