How did town twinning start in Largs?
The Association was formed on 11th May 2006 following work done by a steering group. It is led by an enthusiastic committee, has an agreed constitution and a growing membership.
It’s purpose is to develop friendship between people in different parts of Europe by voluntarily twinning towns, cities and Council areas with others in different countries so that a variety of cultural, sporting, educational and commercial activities can take place. Largs’s town twinning motto is ” Joining Towns Together” and that sums up the benefit of town twinning.
How did you twin with Andernos-les-Bains and why France?
We took advice from Largs Academy about which country would be appropriate for our twinning. It was felt that France would be a good choice as it would fit in to the school curriculum and enable close educational links to be formed with our twin town. Through the Local Government Association, we learned that Andernos-les-Bains was seeking a twin in Britain. During a visit to the town in October 2006, the Largs representatives were made very welcome (although Scotland beat France at football that same evening). Further contact ensued over the next two years including a visit to Largs and North Ayrshire by the Mayor of Andernos. Town twinning signing ceremonies were held in Andernos in December 2008 and Largs in January 2009.
Where is Andernos-les Bains?
The town is situated in the Gironde department on the north-east shore of the Arcachon Basin in south-west France. It is some 30 miles from Bordeaux – roughly the same as Largs is from Glasgow. The town has a population of approximately 10,000 which swells in the summer time with visitors and youngsters from the city and other areas occupying ‘colonies’. The town is famous for oysters and is set close to the Bordeaux vineyards – a great combination! It is a great place to visit with very friendly people.
Of course. It was started after public advertisement and anyone in the Largs area can be a member. We hold an annual general meeting each May and are always keen to encourage more people to get involved.
Do you have to be able to speak French?
Not at all. In some of our exchange visits, we have had Largs’ people who could not speak French and Andernos’ people who cannot speak English. This is not a problem as there is always some one at hand who can help you out. Also – sign language is international!
How is the Association funded?
As a voluntary organisation, we set out to raise as much of our funds as we can. We do this by holding fund raising events such as race nights, quizzes, wine tasting evenings, a fashion show and other local events. However, the Association does represent the town in its relations with Andernos so additional expenditure is incurred towards which North Ayrshire Council provide grants from its various funds. We have to apply for these which are considered by a committee of councillors. Members are required to pay the full cost of, for example, an air fare or event ticket and do not expect to receive subsidy from public funds
What are the main events each year?
Details of the events can be found on the Events page. The two main events which involve Largs are the biennial exchange between citizens of each town and participation in the Twin Town Games. Reciprocal visits are held between the two towns in alternate years.A group from Largs visited Andernos in late August 2017 while this year we will welcome a group in late June to Largs.
The Twin Town Games are held every two years between Andernos and its other twin towns of Nussloch, near Heidelberg in Germany and Segorbe, near Valencia in Spain. Two of the committee visited the games in Nussloch in 2007 and, following an invitation to take part, we sent a team of 24 young people to the Andernos Games in 2009. In 2011, 28 young people and committee participated in the Games in Segorbe. In 2013, Largs hosted the Games. This was a tremendous feat for the local committee who were assisted by North Ayrshire Council, Sports Scotland, Awards for All and KA Leisure. Some 120 visitors came from France, Germany and Spain with the main teams accommodated in Inverclyde Sports Centre. Mayors from Andernos, Nussloch and Segorbe also attended with the Provost of North Ayrshire handing over the trophies at the closing ceremony at Inverclyde. Largs won the overall Games Trophy for 2013. The most recent Games were held in Nussloch in 2016 when we came joint 3rd out of 5 teams as Nagyatad from Hungary joined in on that occasion.
How can I keep in touch with what’s happening?
Why not read the website which will be updated regularly. Also, if you are a member, you will receive a regular newsletter letting you know what is being planned. You can follow us on your Facebook by searching for Largs Town Twinning Association. Of course, you could get involved either as a committee member or an active supporter. We would be pleased to have more younger people involved.