AN ASSOCIATION which brings cultures together has announced it will be ending the alliance after celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Testbourne Parishes Twinning Association, which has joined Whitchurch and French community Neuvic-sur-l’Isle together since 1979, said it will be dissolving the group due to difficulty attracting new members.

Committee member Colin Follett said the decision was made with both parties in agreement, but not without first celebrating the union’s 40-year relationship with a final visit to the French town in May.

He added it has been a downward trend for the last 10 years despite advertising upcoming trips around the Whitchurch area.

Colin said: “It has been a great cultural exchange.

“We just can’t attract new members. It’s a natural end, it will all carry on but not in an organised way, I think we will still go over in smaller groups of friends. There is an open invite both ways.”

The union funded by membership subscription and fundraising events was initially formed for those living or working within the Testbourne Community School catchment area, to promote friendship with their French counterparts, living in the Dordogne region of France.

While sporting activities was once an key component of the get-togethers, the make-up of older members has led a shift to a socialising focus.

Last year 26 visitors from the French contingent came to Whitchurch, sharing nearly a week with their English friends who hosted the occasion.

For the 40th anniversary visit the Whitchurch group are gifting engraved cheese knives to their fellow twinners, but they are also arranging to present as many memories and thoughts about the duo’s history together in commemoration of the union.

In an appeal to former members, the committee said: “We are currently in the process of gathering information to compile a document to present to the French commemorating the last 40 years.

“We really need your help to make this year’s visit an outstanding success. If you are a former member, or know anything about the association we are looking for your thoughts and memories.

"If you have stories of visits or photographs that you could share with us, we’d be delighted to receive them.

“It really will make a difference and jog memories both here and in France.”

The group is also looking to hear from past members of the Whitchurch Majorettes who were part of the celebrations when the twinning association was officially formed in 1978 and a ceremony took place in Lord Denning’s garden.

Anyone with information, photographs and more should contact association chair Beth Shearing at by April 4.