Cllr John Aldridge said: “Against the backdrop of Brexit negotiations it is refreshing to see the depth of friendship between our two nations is as strong as ever.
“It is encouraging that so many members of the Great Waltham community are prepared to welcome our French neighbours into their homes and promote the rich heritage of our County of Essex.”
The Great Waltham Twinning Association members, which have been welcoming their French counterparts for more than 30 years, hosted a week packed full of activities, including sightseeing visits to London, Cambridge and Leigh-on-Sea – all paid for by fundraising initiatives held throughout the year.
Cllr Aldridge and the Chelmsford City Mayor also took the Ceyrat contingent on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Essex County Council and City Council chambers, before hosting a buffet lunch and afternoon tea.
The annual visit also represents a showcase for local businesses with Dons of Dunmow providing transport for English hosts joining the trips and Katy’s Kitchen, based in Ford End, putting on the farewell meal.
The English hosts, whose twinning activities continue to grow in popularity attracting members aged three to 83, were thanked for their hospitality and in traditional fashion exchanged gifts with their French friends.
The mayor of Ceyrat also personally thanked Skip Catley, one of the original twinning members, who gives poppies to Ceyrat, Boissejour and Saint-Genes-Champanelle every year by presenting a photograph of the 2016 Remembrance Service held in Ceyrat.