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Sodbury and District Twinning Association

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Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Gérard Lagny

Sodbury and District Twinning Association: Cesson Mairie

Wreath for Gérard Lagny

Gérard Lagny, Chairman of the English section of Cesson sans Frontières, has died suddenly aged 69.

Pam Pearce and Lilian Bennett went over to Cesson for the funeral on 3rd March.

The church was filled with family, friends and colleagues from SNECMA (Safran Aircraft Engines).

Gérard’s passion was aviation and on his retirement, he had continued to volunteer at the Safran Museum.

Sodbury Twinning visits Cesson

Worries about fuel shortages and torrential rain did not spoil Sodbury Twinning’s recent visit to its twinned town of Cesson, south-east of Paris.

As always, there was a warm welcome from their French hosts.

The programme organised by the French Twinning Association included a meal at a pirate themed restaurant (with pirates performing sword fights and magic) and a guided tour of the Palais Garnier in Paris, which was the main home of the Paris Opera until 1989. Now mainly used for ballet, it is famous for being the inspiration for The Phantom of the Opera.

There was also time to do some sightseeing and explore the shops. Some members visited the Chateau de Fontainebleau, not far from Cesson, during the weekend. See a few of our photos below...

For more information about Sodbury Twinning email Pam Pearce at – they are happy to arrange new links.

Sodbury and District Twinning Association,max400

Palais Garnier auditorium

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Ceiling by Chagall

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Galerie Francois 1er, Chateau de Fontainebleau

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Grand stairway

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Guided tour of Palais Garnier

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Guided tour of Palais Garnier

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Palais Garnier



How the Twinning Association began

British and French aviation engineers worked together on the British-French Concorde Project at Filton.

Robin Blake, who later became Chairman of Dodington Parish Council, lived in Melun (near Cesson) in 1967/8, when he was the Bristol Siddely (later Rolls-Royce) Test Engineering representative.

He knew a number of colleagues who lived in Cesson from working with them at SNECMA Villaroche.

Roland Lacroix was the SNECMA Engineering representative at Rolls-Royce in the early 70s.

He lived in Patchway, but got to know a number of families from the Chipping Sodbury area, as a result of being introduced to Sodbury Round Table by Robin.

Sodbury and District Twinning Association

Gerard Lagny with flag

On his return to Cesson, he told Robin that they had a Twinning Committee and were looking for a similar sized UK community to form a twinning link.

Two public meetings were held in Chipping Sodbury and a committee was formed in March 1978.

The idea of twinning was supported by councils, local organisations and individuals.

Colin Hatfield became the first Chairman of Sodbury & District Twinning Association. Official charter ceremonies between Cesson and Sodbury Town and Dodington Parish Councils took place in 1979.

Since then regular visits have been arranged in both directions by the Twinning Committees in Sodbury & District and Cesson.

About the Association

Sodbury and District Twinning Association: Cesson Mairie

La Mairie, Cesson

Twinning brings together people from different countries to share their values and cultures, promoting friendship and understanding.

The Twinning Association organises visits for individuals and groups, develops links between schools and holds fund-raising activities.

Cesson is 36 miles south-east of Paris, north of Fontainebleau.

It is a small residential town in the department of Seine et Marne: click here to visit www.ville-cesson.fr

Visits take place every year – alternating between Cesson and Sodbury & District.

Would you like to know more?

Click here to download a leaflet about Sodbury & District Twinning Association [PDF, 460kB, updated October 2016].

For further information about Sodbury & District Twinning Association and its activities, or if you are interested in taking part in twinning visits or coming to any of the events, please get in touch.

Contact Secretary Pam Pearce on 01454 323702 or by email at: .

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