Could Stalybridge have an e-twin?

A COUNCILLOR is exploring ways to revive the twinning link between Stalybridge and French partner Armentieres.


Huddersfield Narrow Canal running through Armetieres Square

Cllr David Sweeton has been saddened by the demise of twinning that was established by the two towns in 1955.

And Cllrs Sweeton and Frank Travis, from Mossley, are looking into a new e-twinning initiative.

Cllr Sweeton, who represents Dukinfield/Stalybridge ward, said: “We used to have a twinning committee and a good relationship with Armentieres.

“In the last four or five years it has fallen off a cliff and doesn’t exist anymore. It is a shame as I knew what it used to do.”

In its hey-day there were alternate trips every year, with Stalybridge residents paying a visit to France every two years.

Cllr Sweeton believes twinning has become a victim of changes in modern lifestyles.

He explained: “When twinning was set up years ago it was an opportunity for children to meet foreign families, stay in their homes and learn a new language.

“For many it was their first trip abroad, but the world has moved on and families go all over the planet on holiday.

“It is not the same, but I think twinning still has its merits which is why Frank and myself have investigated e-twinning, a Government-backed initiative as it has set aside money for its implementation.”

The concept of e-twinning would see schools in Stalybridge establish contact with counterparts in Armentieres and build up a relationship, culminating in an exchange visit.

Cllr Sweeton continued: “Money is available and it is just a question of thinking what to do and putting flesh on the bone.

“I would like to explore it further and, by throwing it into the public domain, may be one or two people may come forward and say they want to give twinning another go.”

Cllr Sweeton explained the former twinning committee dwindled and at the end had only one member, Astley Grammar School teacher Eileen Monies who single-handedly kept it alive.

He said: “When Eileen retired and gave up the twinning as well it was a thankless task.

“A succession plan was put in place but it didn’t work out and within six months it had collapsed as did another move to resurrect it.

“It is such a shame that the tradition and history has been lost which is why I am keen to explore ways to re-establish links between Stalybridge and Armentieres.”

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