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).
Niederheimbach am Rhein - site in
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.
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
Note that Verwood was not officially
designated a Town until 1988.
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
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
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.
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
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
During this time French lessons were also
arranged, which were held in the evenings, first at the
Thorne’s' and later at the Curds'.
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 &
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.
A competition was
arranged for the people/schoolchildren of Verwood to
design a logo as Verwood being a Parish didn't have one at
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
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
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.
in France, situated on the banks of the Loire
(site in English)