A DELEGATION from Swindon flew out to Poland today to sign an agreement which could lead to the town's third official twinning.

Swindon is already twinned with Salzgitter in Germany and Ocotal in Nicaragua.

This time town leaders have turned their attention to Eastern Europe and the historic Polish city of Torun.

Council leader Kevin Small (Lab, Western) and mayor Stan Pajak (LibDem, Eastcott) are due to sign a friendship and co-operation agreement with Torun's city leaders tomorrow.

If successful it could lead to a formal twinning agreement being signed in the future.

Also in the Swindon delegation were council European officer Daryl Jones and Polish community leader Mark Sarmowski.

Swindon's Polish community numbers around 3,000 and the mayor's parents are Polish.

He said: "Forming this link is the first stage of the twinning process and it makes us eligible for EU funding. I think a twinning agreement will come with time.

"Swindon is an attractive place for people from Poland to visit and it opens the Polish market to English companies seeking expansion into Eastern Europe."

Swindon has had approaches from towns and cities in such far-flung places as Romania, Tibet, Israel and Bangladesh to sign twinning agreements.

The new move was originally proposed by Coun Pajak and agreed by the council cabinet last November.

Torun is a medieval university town roughly the same size as Swindon and about 80 miles north west of the capital, Warsaw.

Its main claim to fame is as the birthplace of medieval astronomer Nicholas Copernicus.

Some 30,000 students attend the university and it is proposed to establish links with the new University of Bath in Swindon.

The delegation is due to fly back on Wednesday.

Although the cost of their flights has been met by Swindon taxpayer, they are being accommodated in Poland at the expense of Torun Council.

Coun Pajak said future expenses were likely to be met by the European Union.

A group of students from Copernicus University in Torun is expected to visit Swindon later this summer.