Formation and development of our Association. The first ideas for the twinning of
our Parish began in October 1973. This came about from the contact with a member
of the Horsted Keynes Twinning Association. In 1971 they had set up a twinning link
with Cahagnes, a small village community in Normandy, and after a couple of years,
it appeared that another community nearby (St. Martin) was looking for a similar
sized region in Sussex that might be interested in forming a link.
By the following year, committees had been set up on both sides of the channel and
arrangements made for the first visit.
On the 6th Sept. 1974, a group of sixteen people set off from St. Martin in four
cars. They drove to Dieppe where they boarded a ferry for Newhaven and then headed
for Handcross, to be accommodated and entertained as guests for the weekend before
returning back to France on the Monday.
One presumes that they must have taken back favourable impressions and reports, as
an invitation, from them, was extended to us and in the following year a group from
Handcross went back to France for a return visit. And most enjoyable it turned out
to be, as the process of annual alternating ‘Exchange Visits’ continues to this day.