Image showing a night shot of the Menin Gate, one of the stop off points for the Wolverton Twinning Trip to Ploegert Belgium

Communities Forming Lasting Friendships

On alternate years, Wolverton and Ploegsteert, Belgium take turns to visit each other as part of the annual Twinning Trip.

The trip is primarily designed to maintain relationships and encourage exchanges, promote and continue mutual friendships. However, it all started as a way of paying tribute to a young Bradwell resident, Albert French. It’s his story that has forged the lasting bond between these two communities.

Would you like to part of the:

Planned Twinning Trip – 25-27 November 2022

The trip normally takes place in June each year, unfortunately, the pandemic has caused its postponement. This year, Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council have decided to move the trip to November instead of postponing it.

The Town Hall and Community Engagement Officer, Joe Quinn lead the trip and a working group of people, who would like to be part of it, assist.  Their job is to propose an itinerary of what to do and where to go and work with the Belgium partners. Ideas often include a celebratory evening meal or party or a lunch gathering.  In Belgium, they’ll work hard to take us to the best places of interest and show off their local knowledge.  This trip and the united partnership continue to forge lifelong friendships.

A trip to Menin Gate, Ypres to lay wreaths remains a tradition that will not stop. Every day, 365 days a year, at exactly 8 pm, four buglars sound the Last Post for this exceedingly moving experience. For those who don’t know the Menin Gate, this beautiful archway contains the names of thousands of allied troops who died at Ypres during the First World War but for whom there is no known grave.

The History of the Twinning

The Town Twinning idea started in Europe after the second world war. It was simple:

repair damaged relationships between France, Germany and the UK.

Organisers found towns that had suffered during the wars, paired them and then encouraged people from these areas to meet, mix and get along.

The official act of Twinning Wolverton and Ploegsteert took place in May 2006. Two council representatives signed The Affirmation of the Twinning Charter and since then the two towns have taken it in turn to visit one another.

Every June on the anniversary of Albert French’s death in the First World War and on Remembrance Sunday, residents of the two towns celebrate their relationship.

Wolverton and Ploegsteert

Information from Living Archive about Albert shows:

Albert Edward Mortlock French was born in New Bradwell on 22 June 1899. He was an apprentice engineer at the Wolverton Railway Works when he left home to enlist in The Kings Royal Rifle Corps in 1915, aged just 16 years old.

Albert lived with his sister Mabel and two brothers Will and George, in Young Street, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire. Their mother had died and their father employed an elderly spinster, Miss Gates, to look after them and they referred to her as ‘Aunt’. Albert wrote home regularly to his sister Mabel, called ‘May’, and the rest of the family. Just six weeks after he left for France in May 1916, on 15 June 1916 Albert was killed, a week before his 17th birthday.

Website: Albert French Living Archive  

Read More and Express an Interest:

Website: Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council Twinning

If you are interested in attending the Twinning Trip

Community Engagement and Projects Officer – Joe Quinn

Telephone Joe01908 326800