Local Face: Colin Plant

In 1963, Colin Plant was posted by his bank to a new area so he and his young family had to move. They found an ideal house in Wendover, followed the old adage “new house, new baby”, and have been so happy in it that they have lived there ever since.

Colin didn’t realise that he would be so central to something which started, almost by chance, in 1976. The British Council wrote a circular letter to all Parish Councils of a certain size in England offering Liffre in Brittany for twinning. John Pryor, chairman of Wendover Parish Council, immediately contacted Gordon Newman, Head of John Colet School, who passed the responsibility to his Head of French, Mick Bailey, who has played the vital role of chief translator ever since.

Thus started a new phase in the life of Wendover as well as founder members John Carter, Margaret Doyle, John Pryor, Roger Beechy and Ken Donald. Wendover Twinning Association has always welcomed new families, especially young ones. The annual sub per family is a modest £10. Meetings are on the 4th Thursday of the month at 8.00pm in the Library Room.

The Twinning Agreement was signed in Liffre on 1st August 1976 by M. Louis Lorant, the Mayor, and Mr. John Pryor, Chairman of Wendover Parish Council. The agreement has three aims:

1. Establishing and maintaining friendly relations with each other.
2 To foster and develop mutual understanding and respect between the people of Wendover and Liffre.
3. To encourage and assist youth and adult associations, clubs, companies, groups and all classes of people in Wendover and Liffre to communicate and exchange visits with one another thereby developing human and cultural relations and establishing a firm foundation for future understanding, respect and friendship between the people of Wendover and Liffre.

Colin’s first experience of Twinning came when his elder daughter went on the John Colet exchange with C.E.S. School in Liffre in 1977. This was such a great success that in 1979 his younger daughter went on the exchange. By then, Colin was involved in an exchange himself in his capacity as Chairman of Wendover Carnival when he went over to meet the Chairman of the Fete des Fleurs. He joined the Twinning Committee in 1982.

New special group twinnings start all the time, for example, Halton Singers has been exchanging with Echoes de la Foret since 1984. Naturally, these visits always include rehearsal and concert as well as hospitality and friendship.

The tenth anniversary of this agreement was celebrated with re-signing ceremonies in Liffre on 25th May and in Wendover on 29th June 1986, represented by Wendover Parish Council Chairman Mrs. Kay Weller-Bond and Liffre Mayor M. Clement Theaudin. Soon afterwards, Colin became Chairman of Wendover Twinning Association, a post he has used ever since to inspire and encourage general visits as well as special interest liaisons.

Wendover Youth Centre has been involved in many exchanges over the years, as have Senior and Junior Football teams, Tennis players, Walkers, Scouts. John Colet pupils have exchanged every year up to 1993 and hopefully, it will be reinstated. All the emergency services have had exchanges in the past ten years. Unfortunately, the emergence of the Two Shires Ambulance Trust and the disappearance of Wendover Fire Station mean that now only the Police organise exchanges, the last of which was in 1994 with goodwill and contact still flourishing. 1994 saw the first Churches exchange and that continues to expand. The Twinning Association also appears every year in the Village Quiz and were runners-up this year. Prospective new exchanges for 1996 include Cyclist Touring Club and Forestry.

The twentieth anniversary of the original signing will be celebrated in Liffre on 3rd/6th May (approximately 80 from Wendover including Junior Football) and on 17th/19th May the Liffre Exchange will bring approximately 50 persons to Wendover.