June 2019 - Twin towns meet in Amiens

Thursday 13th Jun 2019

Tom Nutt along with representatives from other twin towns was invited to the Spring Festival in Amiens. On Friday 14th June they met with the manager of the bus company who had overseen the introduction of the first electric bus system in Europe which had come to fruition over the last year. These buses carry 140 passengers and take just over 4 minutes to recharge at termini at the end of each line. Following this we visited R Luzarches High School where we met the head and other staff and pupils, and this has resulted in them asking about the possibility of a Darlington partner school, as they are interested in exchanges. Their next international trip is to Tulsa. We then attended the opening show before dinner at the Le Quai restaurant on the Quayside.

On Saturday morning I travelled to Meharicourt with the Deputy Mayor of Amiens, Matthieu Beauvarlet, where we were met by the Mayor of Meharicourt, Madame Deflandre and other citizens. I had taken a poppy wreath from the citizens of Darlington to be laid at the grave of Andrew Mynarski VC who on the 13th June 1944 flew on a mission from Darlington over Amiens. His plane was hit, and he sacrificed his life for his comrades and for this act of courage and heroism was awarded the Victoria Cross. As this was the 75th anniversary of his death a similtaneous ceremony was taking place at the airport in Darlington attended by the Mayor, representatives of his squadron from Canada, RAF officers from our local  stations and Citizens of our town. It was so important and moving for me to lay this wreath at his grave.

On the afternoon yet another ceremony. With the Mayor of Amiens, Brigette Foure, and the President, Alain Gest, I was able to inaugurate the sign at the new Darlington Square. This sign had been personally donated by Bill Dixon who unfortunately could not be present. Many years ago Bill had also donated a red telephone box to Amiens and this still has pride of place in the City.

Then it was time for the festival street shows and an invitation to the Main Event 7 boxing gala, before ending the evening with the magnificent Cathedral Light Show.

Sunday morning saw the traditional procession of river boats from the floating gardens, the participants in traditional dress bringing their produce for sale on the quayside. Many people crowded along the riverbanks to watch this spectacle in beautiful sunshine. I then left my many friends with whom I had spent a fabulous couple of days, taking the train to Paris, then to Charles de Gaulle airport and home via Newcastle to Darlington.

Report by Tom Nutt

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