In 1967 a group of Anglophiles in the small Loire Valley town of Meung conceived the idea of a “twinning” and set up a committee to pursue it. One of the committee members, Monsieur Jean Brun, was at the time attached to the U.S.A.F. base at Burtonwood near Warrington. One Sunday, his committee having already rejected a possible link with Bude in Cornwall, he drove out to the far side of Warrington and stopped for a leisurely pint at the Spread Eagle in Lymm. By chance a young local, one Peter Dixon, was at the bar and soon the two were in conversation since Peter was a Francophile and spoke the language. Their acquaintance developed as their thirst was slaked and enthusiasm for a link between their two small towns grew irresistibly.
By the Spring of 1968 a public meeting arranged by the then Lymm Urban District Council was well attended by Councilors representatives of local organisations and members of the public. They were given an outline of the town of Meung-sur-Loire and its Twinning Committee, following which there was unanimous support for the idea of a link and a steering committee was set up. Shortly afterwards, a Lymm delegation to Meung was led by Council Chairman Lou Boon, whose great enthusiasm for the project and general bonhomie more than compensated for his limited French.
At Easter 1969, the first of many Lymm High School student groups, headed by George Hunnam, Head of Modern Languages, and his successor Peter Birchall, spent two weeks camping in Meung where the local secretary, Flora Thoma, arranged for each of the ten boys and two teachers to be accommodated for dinner by a different family on each of the ten evenings of their visit. In this way, they became the first of a long experience of generous Magdunois hospitality.
Annual exchanges of 40 to 50 French and English grammar and high school students continued for more than 25 years until the expansion and enthusiasm of the 11 to 18 Lymm HS became too big for the resources of the 11 at 16 Meung College. Then Lymm, now a language college, was forced to bond with a larger high school. Along the way many life friendships have been forged, including a marriage between a Lymm girl, Margaret Burgess, and a young Meung doctor, Henri Destouches.
Since 1972, there have been biannual visits to Lymm or Meung alternately, with 40 to 50 “Twinners” being hosted by families over four or five days. More than 50 Magdunois came to Lymm and District in 2003 and more than 40 from here visited the Loire Valley in 2004. The Meung company extends over a number of small villages in this charming rural region, and Many Lymm members live in the surrounding areas or further afield a field.All throughout the Company 45 years of activity, its purpose has been the concept Simply said, but grandiose to promote international friendship and understanding through personal contact , exchange and social activity. Over the years English and French have come to know each other, matched and appreciated each other’s society and hospitality, and perhaps earned a command to work from the language of others. The highlights of each twinning visit were a dinner reception and joint day trip. In 2003, our French friends reveled in some energetic after-dinner English folk dance and a sunny day trip to Warwick Castle. On the other hand, our English imaginations were stretched in 2002 by a visit of an exhibition of “erotic garden design” at Château de Chaumont. Meanwhile there have been occasional exchanges between local fishermen and football teams, a cross-channel lottery with the price of a free stay at Meung or Lymm, art contest with works presented and prizes awarded in the twin city, and many more unofficial common activities.