CITIZENS from the French town of Gien have been enjoying the hospitality and sights of Malmesbury during the latest exchange organised by the two towns’ twinning associations.

The largest delegation from Gien to ever make the 13-hour coach trip to Malmesbury arrived to a civic reception in the Town Hall, hosted by mayor Wayne Jones.

The 25 guests stayed in the homes of local residents including councillor Jones, Wiltshire councillor Gavin Grant and deputy mayor Fran Vandelli who hosted her Gien counterpart Steffan and his 13-year-old daughter.

“It was great fun having Steffan and his daughter in our home”, said Fran.

“Steffan spoke good English and had been here before but for his daughter, this was her first visit to Malmesbury.

“It was really interesting to compare his responsibilities as deputy mayor to my own.”

Among the activities the guests enjoyed was a visit to Amesbury’s stone circles, a trip to Dyrham Park and a gala dinner at the Horse Guards pub in Brokenborough on the final night.

Gavin Grant, who hosted first time visitors to Malmesbury Patrick and Annie, said: “Patrick spoke a little English but Annie none so I had to dust off my schoolboy French.

“They were delighted to discover Avenue de Gien in our town.”

Julia Bowen, chair of Malmesbury Town Twinning Association, said: “I am delighted so many Malmesbury residents stepped forward to open their homes to host our guests.

“We are very grateful to everyone who hosted and worked so hard to make this visit such a success.

“With Brexit coming at us, it is all the more important to sustain and deepen these relationships."

Members of Malmesbury Town Twinning Association will visit Gien next year and host guests from Niebull.

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