Royal Wootton Bassett entertained an appreciative party of French visitors from Blain for four days of friendship and fun that included special events, visits and enjoyment of the town and countryside. The visit was another great success for this long-established link across the Channel.

Next year, when the two towns will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their twinning, people from Royal Wootton Bassett will be welcomed in Blain . The local association receives no funding from the EU or the Town Council, and raises money from social events throughout the year. Hospitality is the key to the outstanding success of the venture, which has yielded many warm friendships between people of the two communities, over the years.

A welcome innovation this summer was the involvement of the Blain junior council, represented by eight young people aged between 11 and 17.

They were delighted to be in Royal Wootton Bassett, and presented a sculpture and a wreath, in tribute to the Fallen, at the town's War Memorial, where they were greeted and welcomed by town and Royal British Legion representatives. A formal midday reception at St Bartholomew's Church Hall included light refreshments, the exchange of gifts and more speeches. An evening party with supper, line dancing and music provided fun for alll.

A large party enjoyed a day at the Bath & West Show, and hosts also accompanied guests to visit local places of interest, including Lechlade.

The finale, an excellent barbecue and pool party at the Eastgate family's garden, included great fun for youngsters, and a good time for everyone, with a superb array of food before the final farewells.

Each young person from Blain received a commemorative bauble with a picture of Royal Wootton Bassett Town Hall, as a special souvenir of their twin town.

As the coach prepared to depart for Portsmouth, and everyone crowded to say goodbye to friends old and new, Denise Bray, chair of Royal Wootton Bassett Twinning Association, said, "It's all been thoroughly rewarding!"