An official delegation from Andrézieux-Bouthéon finally signed the counterpart Twinning Charter with Soham in a ceremony performed during the 53rd Soham Carnival and Heavy Horse Show on Bank Holiday Monday 29th May 2006 on the Recreation Ground in Soham. The ceremony began with Soham Comrades Band playing of the National Anthems from each respective country in conjunction with the raising of the French Tricolor and British Union Jack.
A heavy downpour of rain took the proceedings inside The Walter Gidney Pavilion where Councillor Mr Peter Beer welcomed all the guests and announced the counterpart of the Twinning Charter would be signed by The Mayor of Andrézieux-Bouthéon, Monsieur Jean Claude Shaulk and Chairman of Soham Town Council Mrs Fiona Ross. Soham Town Councillor, Mr John Kirkham and Madame Martine Crawford, heading the respective Twinning Associations, headed the speeches by emphasising the huge benefits to be gained by both communities in bringing about a better understanding between two societies with both similarities and cultural differences especially for the school children of each town in the way of exchange visits.
The Mayor of Andrézieux-Bouthéon followed on by saying the main aim of twinning with Soham was to ultimately bring the European Union closer together by the bonding of the two towns and two nations. Fiona Ross, chairman of Soham Town Council finished the speeches by thanking the delegation from Andrézieux-Bouthéon along with both Twinning Associations for making the twinning ceremonies such a success. After an exchange of official gifts, the cutting of a ceremonial twinning cake marked the marriage of the two towns which both hope to be a long and lasting relationship.
A French Week in Soham
The week preceding the 53rd Soham Carnival & Heavy Horse Show 2006 and the Official Twinning Ceremony between Andrézieux-Bouthéon and Soham, saw several events taking place with a very French flavour forming part of ‘Soham’s French Week’ organized by the Soham Festival Society.
The week began on Tuesday 23rd May 2006 with a French Film night showing 'Les Choristes' in French with English subtitles, on Wednesday there was a well attended Youth Disco, Thursday saw an 'Eat Out Continental Style' evening, encouraging residents to explore the cuisine of Soham's many restaurants. The Fountain laid on an Anglo-French Menu whilst Poppies Bistro had a French Menu to tempt the taste buds. 'Discover your Twin Town' was Thursdays offering where Madame Martine Crawford, in charge of the French town's Twinning organisation, talked about her home town of Andrézieux-Bouthéon and the surrounding district with a large-screen projection of local views and events to a packed audience in The Walter Gidney Pavilion. After Madame Crawford's talk, Budgens hosted a Food and Wine Fair focussing, naturally, on produce from France. Saturday finished off the week of French themed events where the 'Eel Pie Band & Friends' performed traditionally folk music to a large audience in The Comrades Club.
On Bank Holiday Monday 29th May 2006 at the 53rd Soham Carnival & Heavy Horse Show, The Mayor of Andrézieux-Bouthéon, Monsieur Schalk took part in prize-giving to the Horse Show winners as well as judging of the 13 Carnival Float procession, which is thought to be the largest turnout for the event in recent years. The Weatheralls Primary School were presented with a trophy for the 'Best Float of the Day' by The Mayor and he also gave the school an ornament from Andrézieux-Bouthéon.