Visit of the “Altavillois “

On the sunny Friday evening of  16th May a group of friends from our French twin  village Hautvillers, pulled into Church Meadow. Fresh and smiling despite their channel crossing and the tedium of the  M25, M3 and M27, they were delighted to go straight to Palace House where Lord Montagu was there to welcome them with a cooling glass of Beaulieu Bubbly, and where Frederick Norris said a few words of greeting.


Our fellow twinners then dispersed to have supper with their host families, and reconvened on Saturday morning in the Twinning Garden by Beaulieu school to admire the new wall plaque. From there, some left for  the Motor  Museum and  some for Exbury Gardens  where they were given a guided tour by Lionel and Charlotte de Rothschild and enjoyed a trip on the Exbury steam railway.

After lunch at Exbury we all went to Bucklers Hard where Mary Montagu welcomed the party with a short history  of the village and  an introduction to the exciting Shipbuilding new ship building project. After visiting the Maritime museum and sampling the beer at the Master Builders, we embarked on the tour boat for a trip downriver to the Solent, pausing for a moment abreast of Inchmery, where Andrew Rawlings gave a short talk about the activities of the S.O.E. during the war years which highlighted the precious collaboration between our two nations at that grim period in our histories.

Disembarking at Gins farm we sat down for our farewell supper at the Royal Southampton where the BTA chairman Andrew Rawlings gave a short speech of welcome to which  Isabelle Galimand, President of Hautvillers twinning, and  Patrick Lopez, Mayor of Hautvillers, replied.  Toasts were drunk and a jolly evening ensued.

All too soon, Sunday morning came round and our guests had to get en route, leaving Beaulieu looking at its best on a sunny, warm, early summer morning.

The BTA would like to thank Lord Montagu for a lovely welcome reception, Lionel and Charlotte Rothschild for  hosting the visit to Exbury, Mary Montagu, Ralph and Ailsa  Montagu for their enthusiastic interest and support, and all the members of the BTA who welcomed our friends into their home s, and, in general, helped make this visit such a marked success.

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