A specially commissioned sculpture has been unveiled (Monday 12 September) in Westbury Manor Museum gardens, to celebrate 50 years of Fareham being twinned with Vannes, France.
The sculpture, which is approximately 3 metres high, has been designed to stand as a permanent reminder of the strength of ties between the two towns.
Speaking after unveiling the statue, the Mayor of Fareham, Cllr Connie Hockley, said:
"Over the past 50 years ties between Fareham and Vannes have gone from strength to strength. It was a pleasure to welcome representatives from Vannes as we celebrated this anniversary and with this statue we now have a lasting reminder of our friendship."
Anyone can go and admire the sculpture in the gardens, which are open daily. Next to the sculpture there is a plaque which describes the concept behind it:
"The strong trunk in two halves represents the two towns intertwining to signify their bond. Each trunk culminates in five branches, symbolising friendships that have blossomed. The gilded spheres seem to explode in celebration. The sculpture sits on its stone base, telling us the twinning of the two towns will last well into the future."
As part of the anniversary celebrations, a Freedom March was held through Fareham town centre. Around 150 sailors from HMS Collingwood exercised their 'Freedom of the Borough,' marching through Fareham with 'colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed.' They were accompanied by the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.
Since twinning arrangements began in 1966, more than 2,500 young people have discovered Fareham or Vannes during school or sporting exchanges while for adults there have been sporting, cultural and professional exchanges.
Notes to editor:
Vannes is on the Gulf of Morbihan on the north west coast of Brittany and is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the area. It dates from the second century and balances a proud heritage with a progressive and diverse hi-tech economy. The first exchange visits between residents of Fareham and Vannes began with Fareham Round Table in 1964. After other visits, it was agreed that the link should be formalised. Vannes is similar to Fareham in that it is a former port, has attractive historic areas and is a popular sailing centre. Charters were exchanged and formal twinning arrangements began in 1966.
A video of the day's events can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngTjxUhR_JE&feature=youtu.be
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This and previous media releases can be viewed on the Council's website: www.fareham.gov.uk/pressreleases