Rotary Club of Maidenhead Thames
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Rotary de Saint-Nom La Breteche
20 Ans d'Amitie et de Service
A group from Maidenhead attended the 20th anniversary celebrations of our twin Club on the weekend of the 24th March: Ed and Pat Cairney, Jerry Duckett, Niels and Molly Krag, Leslie Thorogood, David and Gabrielle Waters. A group of 14 attended from the Falconara Club, St Nom's twin Club in Italy; these were all Rotarians except for the President's wife. The French put a great deal of effort into the arrangements for the weekend to ensure a most enjoyable time for all.
The Maidenhead group met with the Italians and a few of the French for lunch on Saturday at the Brasserie du Theatre, in front of the chateau in Saint Germain en Laye. Very pleasant indeed oysters, foie gras, etc. We then settled the Italians in the Hotel du Coq in Saint Germain, where Jerry Duckett and David Waters were also staying the remainder of the Maidenhead party had made separate arrangements. Jerry and David then joined the Italians for a visit to the Musee du Prieure in Saint Germain, an old building converted into an art gallery featuring the works of a local famous artist, Maurice Denis.
The main event in the evening was in the Golf Club of Feucherolles. There were over 150 people. Joining the Rotarians from St. Nom, Falconara and Maidenhead were former members of the St Nom Club, the District Governor, the mayor and representatives from l'Association pour la Recherche sur les Tumeurs Cerebrales (ARTC). The evening was sponsored by six local companies, whose representatives were also present, and was a charity evening in aid of ARTC and research into brain tumours.
Champagne and canap้s were followed by a meal of very high quality, enjoyed to the sound of an excellent jazz trio. Speeches of welcome were made including the playing of the three national anthems so the sound of God Save the Queen was heard! The Italian President spoke and it fell to David Waters, as the only Past President in the Maidenhead party, to represent our Club and pass on our congratulations and support.
After a short night with the dinner finishing at about 0100 and the clocks going forward and hour! we went for lunch on Sunday to Le Patio restaurant near the old market square in Versailles. This was an enjoyable event in a Spanish tapa restaurant. After lunch we spent time exploring the surrounding area, very interesting with narrow passages and streets with many antique shops. We then made our farewells and the Italians set out for the airport and the Maidenhead group headed for the coast.
Photos of the event are on the Club web site. Copies of the brochure produced for the event were made available to those able to read French via Ron McEvoy. A translation of the section from the brochure covering the twinning with Maidenhead is elsewhere in this Bulletin.
D. Waters March 2007
Twinning with the English Club of Maidenhead Thames
The twinning was begun by Jean-Claude Raoult in 1990, after enquiries within the St. Nom Club had shown an interest for two countries, England or Germany. Circumstances fell that serious contacts and engagement were entered into with Maidenhead Thames. The preparations for twinning were conducted similarly to a marriage. A group of four English visited the St Nom Club and St Nom sent in return "four musketeers" to Maidenhead. These positive contacts led to a twinning ceremony in 1992 at the restaurant of the Chateau of Dampierre under the presidency of Georges Desrumaux.
The Maidenhead Thames Club is on the Thames near Windsor castle and London, just as St. Nom is near Versailles and Paris. The region around Maidenhead is very attractive. It is to be seen especially in Spring with its rhododendrons along the roads and in Autumn for the ochre coloured leaves of the great oaks.
Since the twinning, members of the two Clubs have spent numerous good times together. Until 2004 the visits were annual, each Club taking it in turn to host. Each visit is arranged with a very good ambience and includes excursions to interesting tourist locations. Members of St. Nom have visited the castles of Windsor, Blenheim where Churchill spent his childhood and Waddesdon - which belongs to the English branch of the Rothschilds. From these visits members have been able to appreciate English culture such as from a visit to the Windsor town hall where the mayor received his visitors in a white dinner jacket covered in ancient gold ancestral chains.
The St. Nom Club together with Maidenhead Thames have cooperated on charitable projects for poor regions, under the umbrella of the matching grant, at the initiative of one or the other of the Clubs: wells to aid water in the Sahel, a house for young blind people in Cambodia, a project to provide electricity to a large village in Nepal, in this latter case with the assistance also of the twin Italian Club, Falconara.
These contacts, the pleasure of being together, the tourism and the realisation of joint charitable works have created strong links between many members of the two Clubs.
Members of the St. Nom Club have always striven to strengthen the links between the Clubs, particularly when relations between France and England were not ideal: we think of Jean-Claude Raoult, Dan Nielsen, Thomas Mund-Hoym, Jean Tauveron and Gerhard Rotter.