Prepared by Peter Copsey - Secretary
1. This report covers the period from 1st April 2010 and is presented to the Annual General Meeting on 7th March 2011.
2. Membership. The Association has 57 members as at 7th March 2010, a decrease of four from last year.
3. Chauvigny Activities. The major event of the year was the visit of our friends from France between 12th to 17th May when 24 Chauvinois visited Billericay. On 13th May our guests were taken to visit Cressing Temple Barns with an audio tour arranged; this was followed by lunch at selected public houses. Terry Gandy opened his garden in the morning of Friday 14th and in the evening the formal dinner took place at Canon Roche Halls with a barn dance following the meal. Saturday was the most eventful day with a coach trip to Cambridge and a conducted walking tour of the town and university buildings with lunch at Brown's Restaurant. Many went to a concert in Brentwood Cathedral in the evening. Sunday was spent with the hosts and there was an evening get-together for all in the Reading Rooms. On the last day a joint committee meeting took place before our guests departed.
An important agreement reached at the joint committee meeting was that twinning visits would subsequently take place every two years; we visiting Chauvigny in 2012 and the Chauvinois visiting Billericay in 2014.
There was a follow-up meeting for all hosts on 14th June to discuss the visit and look at the lessons learnt.
In July, Chauvigny celebrated 40 years of twinning with Trino in Italy and our Association was asked to send representatives. Janet Cosgrove and Mary Hawkins were nominated but David Clark substituted for Mary at the last minute. The event included a guided tour of La Rochelle, a boat trip to the Ile d'Aix, and a ramble in the woods. The last day, July 14th - Bastille Day, was a day full of celebration with parades, market, fireworks and dinner with the Mayor.
Six agricultural students from Chauvigny were placed at Stockbrook Manor.
Maggie Kingston, Martin Hart and Margaret Trasler were our representatives in the Walk of Friendship involving the three twinned towns of Chauvigny, Trino and Geisenheim. The walk took place in August along the banks of the Moselle River in the heart of the Reisling growing area of Germany.
4. Fishers Activities. The student exchange with Fishers continues to be a regular event thanks to the generosity of the Twinning Association of Fishers and the efforts of Marion Wilson.
One teacher and four students from Fishers visited Billericay from 7th to 13th July. The itinerary was similar to the visit in 2009. Time was spent at the two Billericay Schools and there was a reception at the Coach House to which the Heads of the two Billericay schools and members of the Youth Town Council were also invited. A trip was arranged on a barge from Paper Mill Lock travelling up and down the Chelmer. The hosts entertained our visitors with various excursions at the weekend. On Monday 11th July, the day was spent in London taking in the Houses of Parliament with courtesy of our MP John Baron, the London Eye and a tour of London. 12th July included an enjoyable evening at the Hoop in Stock before our visitors left the next day.
The return visit took place between 28th September and 6th October. Again, one teacher and four students visited Fishers. Days were spent at the two High Schools in Fishers where the visitors experienced the teaching methods and magnificent facilities. The weekend was spent at the Renaissance Faire, which celebrates the connections between Billericay and Fishers and is set in 16th century Billericay. Regretfully, the weather was poor and attendance was low. On Monday 4th October the party visited Indianapolis taking in the motor racing track, the Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts, and the Victoria Baseball Stadium. There were also visits to Billericay Park and Conner Prairie.
5. Fund-raising. Considerable effort has been put in by various members in fund-raising for the Association; their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
Table sales took place in Billericay High Street on 17th April and 11th September. Thanks go to Marion Wilson, Rod and Sue Rapley and Trevor Stansfield for the arrangements and manning.
John Baron's Fun Walk took place on July 18th in which nine members of the Association took part. Thanks go to Patricia Clark & Sue Rapley for the arrangements, to David Clark who was one of the marshals and to those of us who took part and their sponsors.
On February 5th the Chauvigny Quiz Night was organised at the main Canon Roche Hall. This event, similar to previous years, was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Over 120 people attended and again it was highly successful and profitable. Thanks go to David and Patricia Clark for their organisation and writing the quiz, and to Ray Keilthy, the quizmaster.
6. Publicity. The Association has been mentioned in The Resident, the Town Crier, the Gazette and the Evening Echo as a result of our activities.
The Association Newsletter Issues 13 and 14 were sent to all members in September 2010 and February 2011 respectively.
The Association's brochure (including application form) is available to the public from time to time in the Library.
The web-site has been moved to a new host and regularly updated with thanks to Rod Rapley.
The Association supported the Mayflower High School by sponsoring prizes for the annual Prize Giving Evenings. Marion Wilson and Gareth Herbert represented the Association at the prize-giving and handed out the prizes that the Association had sponsored.
7. Other Matters. Relationships with Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association (BMTA) are most satisfactory with exchanges in information taking place regularly.
In June 2010 twinning signs were installed on the London Road and at the Kennel Lane Roundabout. The sign on the London Road replaced the one taken after a car accident that had flattened the previous Town and Twinning signs; it was provided jointly by BMTA and our Association, following a successful funding application to Billericay Town Council. Both Twinning signs were kindly installed by Essex County Council when the Town signs were erected, and a flower-bed has been formed around the sign on the London Road with thanks to Billericay Nurseries.
The Association continued to be represented on the Tourism Project Group until it was wound up in May 2010.
The Association has been involved with the Greening Billericay Campaign and was represented at the Green Day celebration at Emmanuel Church on 19th June.
Peter Copsey 7 March 2011