Crowborough and Montargis twinned on 22nd May 1966. To mark the enduring friendship between our two towns, last night at the Community Centre, the Mayors of Montargis and Crowborough signed a Charter to mark the 50th anniversary.
The men responsible for the association between Crowborough and Montargis are Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, head of the French section of Special Operations Executive during WWII and his counterpart in France, the highly decorated Resistance leader Monsieur Jean Laurent.
After the war the two men met and they became close friends. Early in the 1960s M. Laurent asked Colonel Buckmaster, who lived at Forest Row, if there was a town which Montargis could be associated with. The Colonel recommended Crowborough and following meetings between the then chairman of Crowborough Parish Council, Doctor William Adam and the Mayor of Montargis Doctor Robert Szigeti, the twinning charter was signed in Montargis on the 22nd May 1966.
Since that time the links have remained strong between the two towns with the two twinning societies keeping the friendship alive. There have been annual visits between Crowborough and Montargis with guests staying with host families in the other country.
The Society of Friends of Montargis organised numerous activities during the weekend and there were special events to mark the anniversary. Yesterday there was a wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial on Chapel Green and today there was a friendly football match between the French and English teams.
Last night (Saturday 21st May) all the families came together to celebrate 50 years of their towns being twinned and to enjoy a buffet super and an evening of entertainment at the Crowborough Community Centre. There was a re-dedication ceremony lead by the Mayor of Montargis, Jean Pierre Door and the Mayor of Montargis, Cllr Ron Reed. In addition Miss Montargis was asked to cut a special ‘handshake cake’ that had been made, depicting the Tricolore and the Union Jack.
Among the performers were an orchestra and a jazz band from the Crowborough Area Music Centre. There were also dancers from the Susannah Cox Academy of Dance and the What You Will Theatre group produced a pantomime. The evening concluded with the Singing for Fun choir, and a collection of French songs the audience could singalong with.