The Wetherby Twinning Association was formed in the late 1980’s with a view to finding a partner in France. The main criteria were that the partner town should be similar in size and have a river, a bridge and a market. Privas was, at that time, looking for a UK partner. They had already established a link with Weilburg in Germany in 1958, with Tortona in Italy in 1964 and with Zevenaar in Holland in 1966.
The official twinning agreement was signed in 1992 and renewed on the 10th anniversary in 2002. Visits operate on a two-year cycle – our last official visit to Privas was in 2006 and their delegation visited Wetherby last year (2008). Many long-standing friendships have been formed over the years, but like a lot of other organizations, our membership is now fairly elderly. We are trying to reverse that by appealing to a younger age-group. We have just set up links between two of our local primary schools and their opposite numbers in Privas (see school news). Both schools teach primary French and are very enthusiastic about the links. When our French visitors came to Wetherby last year, they visited both schools, much to the children’s delight.
Last year, local solicitors, Hartlaw, suggested that it would be a good idea to convert the Association into a Community Interest Company in order to give the committee and members better protection against litigation. This status was achieved earlier this year and we are now the Wetherby Twinning Association CIC. Things continue much as before except that our annual accounts have to be submitted to Companies House which is not a very onerous task. We are very grateful to Hartlaw who carried out the work on a pro bono basis and to Moulds & Co who audited our accounts on the same basis.
We hold our AGM in March and officers and the committee are elected annually. Other events are held at regular intervals (see forthcoming events). We participate in local events, both to raise money and to publicise the link with Privas. We are proud that part of our new ring-road has been named Privas Way.
Our members come from all walks of life, but have one thing in common – a love of France in general and of Privas in particular.