June 2024

Welwyn Street Market and Fun Day

WAFTA will participate in these events – details to be announced soon.


Please visit our Events page for full details of forthcoming events.



The week-end was successful and enjoyable, in spite of the weather (and the potential disruption of the train service, which in the end did not affect them!) and they thank us for our hospitality and trips, visits and the delicious dinner at Tewinbury Hotel.

Thank you to all the hosts for looking after our guests, the Committee members for all their work and especially Graham Howat for organising the events and ensuring that they were interesting and agreeable.

See a few highlights in the photos below.

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The Inter-Association Pétanque Tournament was hosted by the Hitchin Association, last year's winners, and was held at Ickleford Sports Club on Sunday 13th August.

Five Town Twinning groups were represented, with Hitchin, Welwyn and Knebworth fielding two teams apiece and one each from Royston and Baldock.

The weather kept fine (ish), and as ever there were a variety of styles of play on show, and a good mix of competitive spirit and fun.

Our two teams, the Welwynners and Boules de Champagne, both performed well, with the Welwynners going all the way to the final, only to lose to... Hitchin! But not to last year's winning team, the Hitchin Hedgehogs, who were knocked out at the semi-final stage by their fellow twinners the Hitchin Hares. So the Hares were the champions, runners-up were the Welwynners, the Baldock Bulls finished third (despite claiming never to have played before) and the Hitchin Hedgehogs fourth.

Look out for some more Pétanque opportunities soon!

Report by Alan Jones


Bonjour Champagne!

On a warm Friday morning in mid-June, a group of WAFTA (Welwyn Anglo French Twinning Association) members met on the platform at Welwyn North station for our first post-pandemic visit to France. After joining the Eurostar at St Pancras we arrived in Paris, Gare du Nord, and from there we soon reached the station at Champagne-sur-Oise, where our host families were waiting to greet us. Following refreshments in "our" French homes we proceeded to the town hall for an official welcome by Monsieur le Maire, complete with champagne and nibbles. As this is our 50th anniversary year, the French twinning group had made an impressive photographic montage of the highlights of some of our previous visits.

On Saturday morning we boarded the village coach, along with our host families, for a really interesting excursion to L'Abbaye de Mortemer. After a picnic lunch (we were lucky with the weather all weekend!) in the Abbey park, we began our tour with a walk around the lake. The woodland clearings were peopled with beautifully carved wooden statues of the Dukes of Normandy and their families. Among them we recognised William the Conqueror and his son. Next we had a guided tour of the themed apartments at the Abbey. (We hadn't realised that, like us, the French had had their own Dissolution of the Monasteries at the time of the French Revolution.) To our disappointment we didn't see the resident ghost in the Ghosts and Legends Museum, who appears in white gloves if all is well, but in black gloves if a calamity is imminent. After the Abbey, we drove to a stunning medieval village, Lyons-la-Forêt, for sightseeing and refreshments.

The photos below show various Norman knights at the Abbaye de Mortemer, including William the Conqueror, the Abbey ruins, the resident ghost (minus her gloves!), then a poem that young couples about to marry are meant to recite, to ensure a happy marriage. The final photo shows the model of a monk at the kitchen table inside the Abbey with some of our group.

notice on tree wooden statue in woods notice on tree wooden statue in woods notice on tree wooden statue in woods notice on tree model of female ghost ruined abbaye poem on a scroll tour group in a kitchen

In the evening we met at La Tabletterie, a former factory that had specialised in making pearl buttons and that was now partially converted into a restaurant. But not just any restaurant! This meal was really special: we were eating a gourmet dinner in an exquisite setting.

We were kept busy again on Sunday, as there was another ceremony at the town hall, this time in memory of L'Appel: the broadcast that General de Gaulle made to the people of France from the BBC headquarters in London in June 1940, after the fall of France to Nazi Germany. This ceremony was followed by more champagne. To our great surprise, we were presented with a painting of St Mary's church in Welwyn, painted by a member of the French twinning group who was very taken with the church on a previous visit to Welwyn. We then spent the rest of Sunday "en famille", in our case at the house of our host's daughter (this being Fathers' Day in France), having a barbecue around the swimming pool. Other members visited Isle Adam, which has a fabulous Sunday market. A great time was had by all!

On Monday we said au revoir to our French friends and took the train home to Welwyn. We are now planning the French trip to Welwyn next May. As regards what happened to the painting: watch this space!

Please visit our Events page for a full list of WAFTA 2023 events.



Friday 11th to Sunday 13th November 2022

On Saturday 12th November we delighted visitors and hosts with a day trip to Waddesdon Manor which included a visit to the splendid house, gardens, aviary with exotic birds, and a light trail, as well as a magnificent Christmas market providing an opportunity to buy gifts and foodie treats. In the evening we enjoyed a gala dinner at The Sun Inn, Lemsford.

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Our French visitors arrived on 11th November and received a warm welcome at the Civic Centre. We were entertained with a charming performance by St Mary's School Choir, while photo montages evoked memories of many wonderful past twinning visits.

twinning visit brochure twinning visit programme st mary's school choir welwyn twinning welcome reception twinning welcome reception twinning welcome reception welwyn twinning memories welwyn twinning memories welwyn twinning memories



WAFTA members and their friends recently enjoyed our wine tasting event, organised in cooperation with local wine specialists XO Wine Merchants.

Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting

Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting

Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting

Welwyn Twinning Wine Tasting


Welwyn's Petanque team returned to winning ways in this year's Hertfordshire Inter Twinning Petanque Challenge yesterday with victory in the Plate Competition!

The Royston teams were too strong for us to compete effectively for the Cup so after early disappointment we dusted ourselves down and regrouped for the Plate and confidently saw off opposition from the two Letchworth teams.

Congratulations to players Graham Middleton, Jackie and Peter Davis, Dagmar and Alan Jones and Barry Northrop, as well as our chairman Nigel Jefferey.

Thanks also to Geoffrey and Susan Boardman for kindly allowing us to practice on the piste in their garden over the past couple of months (we should've started earlier!), as well as to Fabrice, Dimity and others who practiced but were unavailable on the day.

Roll on 2020!

Petanque Team Petanque Team Petanque Team Petanque Team


The committee have been busy planning a series of new events for the 2022 spring/summer season.

Visit our Events page for full details and mark the dates in your diary now.


For more details about our French Conversation Group please visit our Events page.


A generous 10% discount for WAFTA members – more details here.


They say time flies when you’re having fun and it certainly doesn’t seem like two weeks since we all came back from this year’s superb twinning week-end.

As usual we were very well received, with great company, excellent food and a most enjoyable visit to the historical city of Senlis and its cathedral.

We were especially pleased that Bill Morris, Welwyn’s Parish Council Chairman, and his wife were able to visit Champagne for the first time. And as a special bonus those travelling home on Eurostar were also treated to a complimentary upgrade!

The cyclists wheeled into Champagne-sur-Oise on schedule at 5pm on Saturday afternoon (having even managed a swift ‘verre’ in the village bar!) with klaxons hooting and each carrying French or British flags.

They had cycled 251 miles in total and the only problem, apart from terrible weather over the first two days and a few punctures along the way, was at Newhaven when it emerged that the support van (kindly lent by Stevenage Glass) had been booked on the previous day’s ferry by mistake! Happily that problem was swiftly overcome and it was all aboard for a glass of bubbly and downhill from there right down to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

It was especially pleasing to learn that over £2,000 had been raised by the cyclists for the Alzheimer’s Society and for Breast Cancer. Congratulations and thanks to them all, and especially Geoff Stilwell who planned and led the whole ride.

About Welwyn Anglo-French Twinning

Welwyn is twinned with a village in France, Champagne-sur-Oise, and the Welwyn Anglo-French Twinning Association (WAFTA) actively encourages and fosters a warm entente cordiale between the residents of both villages and the surrounding areas.

The main similarity between the two villages is their geographical position from their respective capitals: Welwyn is 25 miles (40km) north of London and Champagne-sur-Oise is the same distance north of Paris. Just as Welwyn is close to the A1(M) and to the main railway line into London, Champagne has nearby motorway links to Paris and Calais (A16) and a rail service to Paris, Gare du Nord – just change platforms for Eurostar. In addition, Charles de Gaulle airport serves the district.

The history of the Welwyn Anglo-French Twinning Association is an interesting one. The twinning started in 1973 as a result of a visit by the then headmaster, Kit Trevena, and pupils of St Mary’s School, Welwyn, who went to Champagne-sur-Oise and set up a cultural association that has flourished ever since. This has been with the help and support of the Mayor of Champagne-sur-Oise and Welwyn Parish Council.

Welwyn Anglo-French Twinning Activities

Welwyn Anglo-French Twinning includes all ages

What People from Welwyn have Enjoyed about Twinning Visits to Champagne-sur-Oise

Some comments from our members:

Monet's Garden

French Visits to Welwyn

There is no obligation to offer accommodation to the French visitors, unless members would like to. However, great friendships have grown over the years of exchanges and reciprocal hospitality, and both organisations have gained much from them. A knowledge of French is far from being a prerequisite but it can be an ideal opportunity to practice language skills, to let children develop new friendships with their French counterparts and, when visiting France, to get a taste of real life in a French village – an experience not usually encountered by the ordinary tourist on holiday.