In 1991 Hambledon was formally twinned with Reville in Normandy. Reville is a village of similar size and population and is located on the east of the Cherbourg peninsula, south of Barfleur and near to the port of St. Vaast. The relationship arose following tentative approaches by a small group of Hambledonians to the authorities in Caen. The group was seen by the deputy mayor of Caen who recalled that he took a vacation from time to time in Reville and arranged the appropriate contacts. These eventually bore fruit and the twinning charter was signed in Hambledon in October 1991. A similar ceremony was held in Reville in 1992.
These two ceremonies were the only formal events and the relationship has blossomed on an informal basis ever since. Unlike the twinning of major towns, it has nothing to do with officialdom and everything to do with the forming of personal relationships between members of the two associations. Each year, either a group travels from Hambledon to spend a long weekend in Reville, or vice versa. In September 1998, 40 Hambledonians were handsomely entertained by our twin and in 1999, we expect to host a similar number of Revillais in Hambledon. Apart from these organised exchanges there are many more ad hoc visits taking place between families who have now become friends. In particular in 1999, Reville will be a great place to view the total eclipse in August and they are expecting a number of visitors. We have been pleased to see our French friends at the Hambledon Horticultural Show where they have been successful exhibitors. In particular it is an objective of the associations to encourage young people to make contacts, and to support this we endeavour to fund half the travel costs incurred when they make the trip.
We believe that our relationship with Reville has worked for several reasons. It is extremely easy and inexpensive to make the journey, and many members do not even take a car, since they can easily be picked up by their hosts at Cherbourg. Reville is an agricultural community of similar size and with friendly hospitable people well disposed to the UK. And the language problem is always overcome by either the fluency of some members in the other language, the immediate availability of a dictionary, or, more likely, the sampling of the local Calvados!
The Hambledon Twinning Association is entirely self funding and, as well as visits to Reville, organises a programme of social events in the Village, partly to keep the Treasurer happy, but also to provide an opportunity for our own members to meet and have some fun. The membership in Hambledon is now well over 100 and new members are always welcome. We look forward to a continued and happy relationship with our friends from across La Manche and to developing, especially for our young people, the building of even stronger links with our twinned village in France.