Verwood and Three Legged Cross Twinning Association - UK
 "Currently Twinned with Oree d'Anjou in France and
Liederbach in Germany."

1981 Sounding

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The Verwood & 3 Legged Cross 
Twinning Association. 



  • 1981 : Champtoceaux and Niederheimbach ( Germany ) twinning.

Niederheimbach am Rhein Verwood

Following is a link to their website which unfortunately is in German, but you may find it interesting. Niederheimbach am Rhein is situated on the west side of the River Rhine north of the town of Bingen and not far from Rüdesheim (Famous for its Brandy). It was initially considered a a town that Verwood could twin with and initial exploratory visits were made but Neiderheimbach considered itself too small to twin with an expanding town like Verwood.

  Niederheimbach am Rhein - site in German.

  • 1981 : In the Beginning

In 1981, a letter was sent from a director of Manitou (Mr Himsworth) to the Verwood Parish Council, requesting a meeting to discuss a possible twinning between Verwood and Champtoceaux.

A meeting was arranged at the Monmouth Ash Public House, at which Mr Himsworth (the Director) and four Parish Councillors, R V W Curd, L Roberts, G J Thorne and F W (Bill) Williams, were present.

  Manitou is a wordwide French company making "Rough Terrain Handling Equipment" that has its headquarters and factory based in the town of "Ancenis", which is situated on the "River Loire", with a number of workers living close by in Champtoceaux and the villages making up the Canton. Manitou had recently set up new distribution centre on the "Ebblake Industrial Estate" in Verwood.

The Councilors reported to the full Parish Council and received short shrift from the Chairman, who opined that "Twinning is only an opportunity for councilors and officials of big towns to go 'junketing abroad' at ratepayers' expense"

Indeed, in the case of some places, this may well be true, but, with regard to Verwood a decision was reached that an independent Twinning Association could be set up with the blessing of the Parish Council, but that no demands were to be made on public funds

Note that Verwood was not officially designated a Town until 1988.

  • 1981 : Preliminary Discussions.

A public meeting was called in September 1981 in the Memorial Hall with a speaker from Corfe Mullen to describe the problems and pleasures of twinning. 

At the meeting those members who had visited Champtoceaux reported back and though there was some opposition it was agreed that a committee should be formed for the Verwood Twinning Association

The committee met for the first time on 1st October 1981. The officers were Mr G Thorne (Chairman), Mrs C Thorne (Secretary) and Mr R Bishop (Treasurer) and nine members: Mesdames D Curd,  L Slater and Messrs R Curd, A Cutler, D Hockaday, L Roberts, T Sims, F Williams and a representative of Verwood Concert Brass. 

Later in the year, a meeting was held at which Mr David Bailey of the Fordingbridge Twinning Association gave us an interesting talk on the revival of his association. 

Subsequently, Mr White, a solicitor and member of the Shaftesbury Twinning Association, gave the Committee much helpful advice on the preparation of our Constitution.

  • 1982 : Additional Discussions.

In February 1982 the Mayor of Champtoceaux, Monsieur Alain Levoyer, visited Verwood, and the Committee entertained him and Mr Himsworth, together with the local Manager of Manitou, to lunch at La Fosse Restaurant (which was then in Verwood prior to its move to Cranborne). In the afternoon, Gordon Thorne took M. Levoyer on a guided tour of Verwood.

In May 1982, the then Mayor of Champtoceaux, M. Alain Levoyer  visited Verwood again, bringing a small party. A coach tour was arranged to show them the New Forest, lunch being taken at the High Comer Inn.

Some months later a few of the Committee and their wives went to Champtoceaux.  They were shown the area and entertained at "Le Champalude" the hotel next to the church. This was by all accounts an extremely enjoyable weekend, apart from a car accident suffered by the Mayors car with Gordon and Cherry Thorne as passengers. Fortunately nobody was seriously hurt.

During this time French lessons were also arranged, which were held in the evenings, first at the Thorne’s' and later at the Curds'.

  • 1983 : Official Twinning Agreed

In 1983 it was agreed that the official twinning ceremony would take place in Verwood in 1984 during Carnival weekend, with the second part in Champtoceaux the following year (1985). 

Meanwhile, fundraising had proceeded apace with a car boot sale, coffee mornings and wine & cheese evenings. 

Also in this year, four teenagers came to Verwood for a fortnight, and we were very grateful to the Palethorpe’s, Martins and Thorne’s for hosting them, as it is always difficult to find hosts for children.

  • Logo and Constitution

A competition was arranged for the people/schoolchildren of Verwood to design a logo as Verwood being a Parish didn't have one at that time.This produced some very amusing and artistic designs, which were put on show at a wine & cheese evening in the Verwood Memorial Hall and the design on the left was chosen. The chosen design was a shield, including Forestry and pottery plus a hint of closeness to the sea.  When Verwood become a Town in 1988 it adapted the design, which for heraldic reasons could not be a shield, and it became the Emblem for the Verwood Town Council and now includes Besoms.

An early problem was the raising of funds as the Verwood Twinning association was independent, although it had Parish Council members on the committee, it had no money of its own. The early exploratory visits had been funding by the initial members who travelled to Champtoceaux and hosted return visits.

Updates:- Please note the following administrative changes in France 

The initial website for Champtoceaux no longer exists as the political landscape of France changed under M. Holland on the 15th December 2015 as he attempted to reduce the cost of local administration. Verwood was initially twinned with Champtoceaux and later twinned with the 9 towns and villages of Champtoceaux and its Canton. It had 9 elected Mayors, one for each community. Under the re-organisation Champtoceaux and its canton of 9 communities have been merged for administrative purposes and it is now called "Orée-d'Anjou" which consists of the communes of BouzilléChamptoceauxDrainLandemontLiréSaint-Christophe-la-CouperieSaint-Laurent-des-AutelsSaint-Sauveur-de-Landemont and La Varenne. Interestingly the number of mayors has increased from 9 to 10 as "Orée-d'Anjou" now has its own mayor.

Further information can be found on Wikipedia etc, Use link "Orée-d'Anjou".



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