Douzelage celebrates year of expansion and new projects
A VERY full year, marked by international exchanges as well as the creation of a large project on volunteering during the next two years, were key themes reported by Kevin Waterfall, the newly-elected chairman of Sherborne Douzelage, to the annual meeting in the Catholic Church Hall, Westbury, Sherborne.
The Douzelage continues to expand, with Siret, in Rumania, being accepted as the 24th town, and there are expected to be three more towns joining next year at the general meeting in Granville, France, which is also Sherborne's twin-town.
This will mark 20 years of the Douzelage organisation and includes as part of the event a resigning of the charter by mayors and civic representatives. There will also be a European Market and local producers are requested to provide goods for sale that will demonstrate the quality of foods and other items produced in and around Sherborne.
Kevin thanked Mayor Jane Smith, along with fellow councillor Peter Rhodes, for the support provided by the town council. The mayor emphasised the value of the Douzelage activities and how enjoyable it was to take part, as she had experienced in Lithuania.
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Hon treasurer Michael Morrell reported on Sherborne Douzelage finances, showing these to be robust. Clifton Jelbert was elected treasurer and Clare Brignall, of The Gryphon School, chairman. Sheila Phillipson and Marcus Ainley
were elected as new committee members, as was Jonathan Dolbear, a pupil at The Gryphon, who will represent youngsters in the area.
This has been another excellent year for Sherborne Douzelage and, following the business of the annual meeting the evening, included presentations on some of the key events by those involved. Activities included:
Eleven adults and four students attended the 35th general meeting in Susice in May.
Four Gryphon School pupils went to Austria for a Climate Change Summit.
Four Leweston pupils took part in the Mini Parliament, Theatre Workshop in Bellagio.
Wessex Morrismen represented the town at the Spring Festival in Turi, Estonia.
Polish, French and Italian student had work experience placements in Sherborne.
A Comenius Regio project between Dorset Local Education Authority, The Gryphon School, Douzelage and their equivalent bodies in Poland resulted in a series of exchange visits.
The chairman said: "2011 promises to be a very busy one for Sherborne Douzelage, with activities that will involve visits from six other Douzelage towns. This is a project being developed with Volunteer Centre Dorset and involving volunteer groups in and around Sherborne.
"The events will include interchanges of ideas with other countries and provide an opportunity to learn from different experiences, as well as showcase the best of Dorset volunteering.
"There will be a wine-tasting in the Old School Room and a concert by Serendipity recorder consort. The Oisu Folk band from Estonia will return next summer, plus other functions. The series of Euro Travel Talks will continue and next year there will be some external speakers for these.
Kevin thanked members of the committee for their outstanding contributions throughout the year, especially Jeremy Barker for his endless activities for the Douzelage. Special mention was also made of treasurer Michael Morrell, secretary Mary Clothier, Janet Parsons, Michael Peart, Sue Larkin and Moira Western who co-ordinates local events in Sherborne.
Douzelage is open to everyone living in and around Sherborne and welcomes contacts from local organisations interested in exchanges with like-minded people in Europe.
Anyone who would like to learn more about Douzelage can visit http://ww.douzelage.org.