The History of the Twinning and its Association in Patchway

The Patchway Twinning Association was started in 1995 by a group of residents in Patchway who, on behalf of the Town Council, wanted Patchway to have a Twin Town in Europe.

This would add a cultural link to the European Community and would allow the residence and children of Patchway to perhaps experience life in the heart of a family in the European Community with a different culture and perhaps very different values.

The first actions of the newly formed committee was to explore where and with whom we could twin and initially it was felt that a parallel approach to Bristol could be looked at i.e. a town somewhere near Hanover.

This proved to be very difficult as the German towns had very strict requirements on what exactly they wanted out of a Twinning link, primarily the access to the local schools. This and the fact that many of the smaller communities around Hanover had formed their links a long time ago.

We were then given the lead to approach a town called Clermont l'Herault in the Languedoc area of France. Initial contacts were made, many friendships were formed and the Twinning process through the Town Halls was completed with the signing of the Twinning Charter between the Mayors of the two towns. Lew Gray for Patchway and Marcel Vidal for Clermont L'Herault

Over the next 15 years many exchanges took place and although the journey was very long, the exchanges were very succesful. Initially it took 23 hours by coach, but it is much better now, by air, no more than 90 mins flying time from Bristol to Beziers.

The success was mainly due to the very warm welcome and hospitality that we gave to our twins and vice versa, a personal relationship, as we have not got many things in common environmentally.

Clermont is a 14th century town steeped in history and whose survival is based in agricultural income, wines and olive oil.

Patchway is a relatively new town which developed alongside the new aircraft industries which started in earnest in the 1940's and is surrounded by factories and high tech companies.

Both however have a couple of things in common in that recently they have become dormitory towns, as people in Patchway commute to Bristol and people in Clermont commute to Montpelier

After a period of 5 years Patchway Twinning Association were still looking for a German twin and Clermont introduced us to its' German twin, a town called Gauting, to the South West of Munich.

Again contacts were made and friendships built up almost immediately.
The Twinning process was completed and the Councils of Patchway and Gauting signed their twinning charter in 2000.

Both charters are proudly displayed on the wall of the Patchway Town Council Chamber.