"Twinning is just a cheap excuse for the local coucillors to go on a freebie to France."
This is a common misconception and couldn't be further from the truth - the essence of twinning is to establish links between different communities across Europe - through social, cultural and business links.
The concept of twinning came about after the Second World War to try and rebuild relationships across a broken Europe with former foes coming together to forge links through tourism and trade. Ironically this feels equally relevant today as we move towards the uncertainty of Brexit
Lane End has been twinned with St Pierre d'Oleron for nearly 20 years; the twinning partnership has brought our two communities together - we keep in touch with our French friends through a range of events and visits.
It's also not a coincidence that St Pierre is an Island with beautiful beaches and Lane End is set in rolling countryside about as far from the sea as you can get - again different types of community.