In October 1978, in an official ceremony in the Town Hall of Riorges, Elland in Calderdale became twinned with Riorges, seven hundred miles away in France. Before then "visits of inspection" had been made, in January, 1978 by an Elland group to Riorges and in February by a Riorges group to Elland. So successful had these been that by Easter of that year, before the official twinning took place, the first exchange group of school children came to Elland from Riorges and a group from Elland went to Riorges in July.
This established a pattern whereby every year groups of young people visit the homes of their correspondents for a fortnight and welcome their foreign correspondents into their own homes. There is also one adult visit each year.
Hundreds of friendships have been formed, many involving regular family visits and very many young people and adults have become much more proficient in a foreign language and have a greater awareness and understanding of a different culture and way of life. Many of the adults who take part both as guests and hosts in the regular exchange visits say with conviction that they could not have imagined how much pleasure the exchanges bring, adding that they get out of them far more than they would ever have believed possible. Much hard work has been necessary to bring this about but with a great deal of co-operation and support it has all been very worthwhile. Those who put in the work certainly reap the enjoyment.
Why not get involved?
The Association is always actively seeking more members. If anyone would like to know more, you are welcome to contact the Chairperson.