FORDINGBRIDGE is set to celebrate a significant milestone – the 35th anniversary of twinning with Vimoutiers in France.

Fordingbridge Twinning Association has organised a diverse programme of activities to welcome about 60 visitors from the French town in Normandy next week, which will run from Friday, May 26 to Sunday, 28.

The weekend of celebrations will start with a special reception and live music from the New Forest Jazz Workshop on Friday.

Anyone is welcome to come along to the official signing of a new charter on Saturday, May 27, which takes place in the town hall at 10.30am.

All the French guests will be there, and it will be a chance to meet some of the visitors who are in Fordingbridge for the first time.

Fordingbridge Twinning Association chairman Alison Ayling said: “Thirty five years is a milestone, and in the current climate of leaving Europe it is an opportunity to maintain and sustain the friendship that has lasted this long and see it continue into the future.”

Fordingbridge Turks football club will be hosting various events and tournaments at the recreation ground from 2pm on Saturday, May 27 and midday on Sunday 28, which members of the public can attend.

There will be a special ecumenical service on the Sunday at St Mary’s Church, at 10.30am. All are welcome.

The French visitors will also enjoy performances from Hyde Band on Saturday morning and a barn dance on the Saturday evening, featuring Lynden Bowen, at the Avonway Community Centre.

There will also be a special tree at the memorial gardens.

Alison says there has been an increase in support for the twinning group with interest in twinning being “regenerated”.

The association has seen its membership increase from fewer than 30 to more than 60.

President Dennis Bailey reported at the group’s recent AGM that membership had nearly doubled.

He said: “Anyone who is not completely involved in twinning this year, is completely missing out.”

To find out more contact Alison or Derek Ayling by calling 01425 650770, or by emailing