Devon Twinners at telephone box inauguration

Telephone Box InaugurationThree months ago, a gleaming refurbished British telephone box arrived in Fontaine-Henry, Normandy. A gift between Scoriton and Buckfastleigh and their Twinning counterparts across the Channel.

It was the result of a four-year project, held up by Covid and Brexit uncertainties. But by both communities pulling together, the box eventually made landfall in its new home.

Now, the Devon Twinners have been able to see the box in situ with their own eyes. Over the August Bank Holiday, a large group headed to Normandy for the annual Twinning get-together.

“It is wonderful to be in Fontaine-Henry again,” says Anne Goulborn, president of the Scoriton & Buckfastleigh Twinning Association. “We kept having to postpone our trip to France due to the pandemic but finally we’ve made it.”

This year is of particular significance — the 40th anniversary of the Twinning. The French were keen to mark the occasion in true Gallic style.

Village mayor Cyrille Rosello de Moliner presided over the official inauguration of the telephone box. He alluded to the years of close contact and mutual understanding between the two communities, stretching across generations.

A large crowd gathered in the village centre to witness the event. After the speeches, two of the younger members cut the ribbon to declare the telephone box finally open.

“We have decided to use the telephone box as an information post for the village,” explains Véronique Mauduit-Grisel, president of the French Twinners. “Tourists can find local guides and information, while residents can use it as a magazine exchange.”

Anniversary cakeAfter the inauguration, the group moved to the local park to enjoy drinks and canapés in the shade of the plane trees.

Following tradition, individual French families host the visitors, with the Devon Twinners reciprocating when the French make the trip to England next year.

As always there was a full programme of events for the four-day visit. Included were visits to the Pegasus Bridge Museum commemorating the vital first airborne assault on D-Day and a Viking theme park celebrating Normandy’s historical links with Scandinavia.

Back in Devon, the Twinners are already starting to plan for the French visit next year.

Pegasus Bridge