SHOULD Market Rasen cut its ties with its French twin town of Mamers and set up new links with the Dutch?
Market Rasen French Twinning Association met with members of the town council last week to discuss the waning relationship between our town and Mamers and the possibility of setting up a fresh link with the municipality of Dronten in central Netherlands.
Members of Mamers twinning group were due to visit Market Rasen at the weekend to attend the MR BIG Gastro Market. But the French group cancelled the trip for the second time this year, favouring their other twin town in Germany instead.
The next day Market Rasen French Twinning Association secretary Gail Dennis received a phone call from someone in Dronten looking to foster new links with northern Lincolnshire.
Gail said: “There is this general apathetic feel. They were asked to come last May and they did not because they went to Germany instead so they were going to come this weekend but they rang me and said they could not raise enough people.
“They may come in May next year, but they may have the Germans again so we are looking at what next.”
Gail told town councillors that a link with the Dutch was possible as the group from Dronten were interested in coming to our area because of its strong links with the Lancaster Bomber.
She said that many of the bombers had flown over that area of the Netherlands during the war and wreckage of the aircrafts had been found near Dronten.
Market Rasen’s links with the former RAF Faldingworth, Wickenby, Ludford and Binbrook bases made it a place of interest for the Dutch.
Mayor Steve Bunney also pointed out that the town already has links with the Netherlands through the Rotary Club, which is paired with a Dutch branch.
He added that De Aston School used to twin with a Mamers school, but that link had ended and the twinning had lost its “oomph.”
“The link with the Lancaster Bomber seems to give a link and common purpose,” said Coun Bunney. “What is the common purpose with Mamers and Market Rasen?
“Are people from Mamers going to come to Lincolnshire for tourism and help us commercially, or are people going to be more likely to come across the North Sea from Holland and bring tourism and business?”
Coun Jayne Sankey added: “Mamers have already gone to Germany so obviously they are already thinking the partnership has run its course.”
Twinning Association member Judith Poole said: “I think it would be beneficial if we could get a different twin town, but I think we need to get some younger blood on board.”
The French Twinning Association will now consider offering to host a French party next May before taking a decision on whether to sever the link, but will also look at fostering new links with Dronten.