Prepared by Peter Copsey - Secretary
1. This report covers the period from 1st April 2012 and is presented to the Annual General Meeting on 18th March 2013.
2. Membership. The Association has 45 members as at 18th March 2012, a decrease of one from last year.
3. Chauvigny Activities. The activity of the year was undoubtedly the visit of the party from Billericay to Chauvigny from 4th to 9th May.
The party was welcomed on arrival with a reception in the Town Hall. The next day saw the highlight of the visit, namely a visit by coach to the spectacular town of Saumer on the Loire. A guide took the party around the old town and up to the castle. After a superb lunch by the castle we were invited on a boat trip along the Loire where we enjoyed the sight of the town from a different aspect. The trip ended with a visit to the caves of the local winery, where we enjoyed a talk about winemaking followed by some serious wine sampling.
Sunday 6th was voting day for the French Presidential Elections and some of the party were invited behind the scenes to witness the counting and the announcement of the results.
Monday included a visit to a Lingerie factory in Chauvigny and visits to Chatellerault or to the 2nd World War Museum at Terce.
In the rain on 8th May the party witnessed the Liberation ceremony at the Chauvigny War Memorial where Jeannine Watson, the Chair of The Friends of Chauvigny, was invited to take part. The official dinner took place that evening at St Radegonde, now familiar to many as the location for this event.
Events arranged by the Chauvigny Group included a tea party at Janet Cosgrove's home and garden on 28th July 2012 and thanks go to Janet for her hospitality.
The Walk of Friendship was this year in Asiago in Northern Italy between 25th August and 1st September. Our Association was represented once again by Mary Hawkins, Maggie Kingston and Martin Hart. There were three days of serious walking interspersed with visits to Forte Interrotto, including an Austro-Hungarian war cemetery, the city of Vicenza and the historic town of Canove.
4. Fishers Activities. The student exchange with Fishers continues to be a regular event thanks to the generosity of the Twinning Association of Fishers, the Billericay Schools and the efforts of our Chairman, Marion Wilson.
One teacher and four girl students from Fishers visited Billericay from 3rd to 10th July. The itinerary was similar to previous visits. Time was spent at the two Billericay Schools. On Wednesday 4th a river trip from Paper Mill Lock and a visit to Ulting Church was followed by an English afternoon tea at St Mary Magdalene Church. The next day was spent in London travelling there and back by train. The party took in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Courts and 10 Downing Street. A river bus took the party to Greenwich where they visited the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Park (just before it was closed for the Olympics) and the Observatory. The hosts entertained our visitors with various excursions at the weekend and the visit ended with an enjoyable evening at The Hoop in Stock before our visitors left for home the next day.
The return visit took place between 2nd October and 9th October. Two teachers, four students and Trevor Stansfield visited Fishers. The first day included a tour of the town taking in the Town Hall and the fire station followed by a visit to Billericay Park and Conner Prairie. Days were spent at the two High Schools in Fishers where the visitors experienced the teaching methods and magnificent well-kept facilities. The weekend was spent at the Renaissance Faire, which celebrates the connections between Billericay and Fishers and is partly set in 16th century Billericay. On Tuesday 9th October the party visited Indianapolis taking in the International Racetrack, home of the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 motor races, and other spectacles of the city including a motor museum. The day finished with departure back to UK.
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 11th August and 27th October.
John Baron's Fun Walk took place on 27nd May in which several members of the Association took part. Thanks go to all of our walkers and their sponsors.
Both Chauvigny and Fishers groups had manned the car park in Basildon on separate Saturdays.
There was no Quiz Night this year but there are hopes for one later in the year.
6. Publicity. The Association has been mentioned in The Resident and the Gazette as a result of our activities.
The Association Newsletter Issues 17, 18 & 19 were sent to all members in May 2012, September 2012 and January 2013 respectively.
The Association's brochure (including application form) is available to the public from time to time in the Library.
David Clark was invited to be interviewed on Pheonix Radio on 16th June and spoke about our twinning with Chauvigny.
The web-site is 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 represented the Association on the two evenings of prize-giving and handed out the sponsored prizes for French.
7.Other Matters. Relationships with Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association (BMTA) remain satisfactory with exchanges in information taking place regularly.
Peter Copsey 18th March 2013. Revised 20th March 2013.