French flair is ooh la la!

Werne, Germany, twin town of Lytham St Annes.'view
Werne, Germany, twin town of Lytham St Annes.'view
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St Annes has always had its fair share of culture and elegance.

But community leaders in the town hope to bring a little more continental flair to the coast as part of plans to set up new twin town links.

Possible French and Polish twinning links are set to be explored by councillors in the town.

The potential new twin towns could be added to St Annes’ already existing link with Werne, near Dortmund, in Germany - which celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.

Two town councillors, Coun Tony Ford and Coun Carol Lanyon, spent the weekend in Werne at an annual celebration which is held to celebrate its town charter being granted.

And Coun Ford says the experience allowed them to network with Werne’s other twin towns to explore potential future links with the French town of Bailleul, which lies close to the Belgian border.

He said: “We’re looking at a three way link.

“It’s important because it gives people the opportunity to look further afield beyond their own parish.

“We had some conversations with a Polish twinning group too because we have a got a Polish community and shops in St Annes.

“Other countries have different ways of doing things in terms of celebrations and the weekend’s shown us how very friendly people are.

“The cultural link is very interesting, experiencing their food and the way they do things.”

As well as Werne, Bailleul is already twinned with the Scottish town of Hawick.

No plans or timescale have yet been set in stone, but it is hoped any potential new link could also enhance education and tourism in St Annes.

Coun Ford added: “We’re looking at a twinning link and then trying to encourage visits between the two towns.

“We want to get schools more involved because French is taught in lots of our schools, including primary schools.”

The historic town of Werne lies with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and received its town charter back in 1385.

It was well known for the coal industry, and a mine operated there from 1899 to 1975.

Plans are already being made for the 30th anniversary link between St Annes and Werne, with more than 40 Germans expected to visit the town on the weekend of the town’s carnival in 2014.

The visit may also include a civic function and a tour of rural Fylde for the guests.

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