Tale of two cities as Newcastle welcomes French visitors

Three days of activities mark 60 years of friendship between Newcastle and Nancy, France

Mathieu Quirin of Nancy and Leah Chan of Newcastle
Mathieu Quirin of Nancy and Leah Chan of Newcastle

Friends from across the Channel are visiting Newcastle in celebration of 60 years of friendship with Ville de Nancy.

The three-day visit, which ends today, has seen the signing of a new Twin City agreement between the Newcastle and Nancy, France, aiming to promote cultural and commercial ties.

It comes six decades after the cities - both in the North East of their countries - were first twinned.

In signing the new agreement, Newcastle and Nancy are agreeing to maintain friendly relations and promote co-operation.

During the visit, the international guests have been exploring the shared history between the two cities - cities which dates back to before the start of World War I - and the benefits of working together in the future.

And to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I this year, Ian McArdle delivered a lecture on The Battle of Verdun at the Lit and Phil in the city during the visit, which paid respect to the suffering and heroism of those who lost their lives in the Great War.

Angela Hamilton, policy and information officer at Newcastle City Council and the event’s organiser, described the “friendly atmosphere” of the visit, saying the two cities have “more things in common than different”.

She added: “This alliance builds relationships with business, educational, social and economic benefits.”

Simon Underwood, director of International Newcastle, who is also taking part, described the friendship as like a marriage, saying it is: “based on trust, understanding and compromise which is mutually beneficial to both parties.”

The event is part of Newcastle City Council’s Reminding and Reconnecting Citizens, Communities and Young Peoples Project, which is funded entirely by the European Commission programme Europe for Citizens.

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