Crécy-en-Ponthieu – A Very Special Friendship

LLantrisant Town and Crécy-en-Ponthieu Town Twinning

In 1346 the Llantrisant longbow men, under the command of the Black Prince, defeated the French armies at Crécy, France.

In 2013 the choir visited Abbeville and Crécy-en-Ponthieu to forge friendship between the towns of Llantrisant and Crécy.  As a result of this long-standing connection between the towns of Llantrisant and Crécy, our Chairman, Ted Tidman, supported by our Vice President, Geraint Hughes and the Llantrisant Community Council instigated a ‘Friendship Agreement’ with a charter signed in the Llantrisant Guild Hall in 2015. Since then regular formal exchange visits have been undertaken spearheaded by Llantrisant Male Choir.

Images courtesy of Llantrisant Community Council – https://llantrisant-cc.gov.uk

 

Left to Right: Ceri Harris, Llantrisant Community Council (LCC);  Geraint Hughes. Twinning Committee & Vice President Llantrisant Male Choir (LMC); Veronica Nicholas, LCC; Alan Matheson, Chairman LCC; David Nicholas, LCC;  Alison Jenkins, Clerk to the LCC; Ted Tidman, Chairman LMC & Twinning Committee.

 

Geraint Hughes

Vice President

 “Decisions of importance are often the result of a chat over a pint of beer!” 

 

It was back in 2012 and Llantrisant Male Voice Choir were looking for a venue for their annual overseas tour. I was approached by Ted Tidman and he asked me for any ideas I might have for a tour to France.   Having connections in the Picardy area and aware of the long-standing history between the Black Army and the people of Crécy-en-Ponthieu, I suggested that a week-end in northern France could be a possibility.

After much deliberation and organisation on both sides of the Channel, two concerts were arranged – one in the town of Abbeville and the other in Crécy itself. The choir excelled with two outstanding performances that were much appreciated by the respective audiences.

Staying in this part of France offered choir members an opportunity to visit the battle-fields of the 1914-18 Great War in Flanders.  The most moving moment was at the monument to the fallen 4000 Welsh soldiers killed at Mametz Wood on the Somme. A wreath was laid at the monument to the ethereal strains of O Iesu Mawr, rho,d’anian bur’ and a full, hearty rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. Goose-pimple stuff indeed!

During the visit the idea of twinning the two towns was mooted and the idea received support from both parties. On 1st March 2015 a delegation from Crécy arrived in Llantrisant to sign a Charter of Friendship between the two towns. Celebrations to mark the signing were organised and the choir featured prominently throughout the weekend.

There have been several reciprocal visits in the last few years in the hope of nurturing a lasting relationship between the two communities. Llantrisant Male Voice Choir has played a significant part in creating this bond.

The choir is steeped in the tradition of 130 years of music making by the men of Llantrisant. And to this day that Welsh tradition is at the heart of all that they do. One cannot but amaze at the enthusiasm, commitment, energy, camaraderie and no small musical talent that is the hallmark of Llantrisant Male Voice Choir today.

They are brilliantly led by the exuberant and talented musical director Matthew Nash and all held together by solid and uflappable hand of their industrious chairman Ted Tidman.

I’m not sure who paid for that initial pint in the Cross Inn which instigated all these comings and goings, but I am, along with our French friends, immensely grateful to Ted for opening our eyes and ears to the wonderful talent of this group of men!

Reges Lecuyer, Mayor of Crecy and Ted Tidman Choir Chairman

Presentation of the Medallion sealing the first formal ‘Charter of Friendship’ between Llantrisant & Crécy.

Choristers (L to R) Paul Cook, David Pearce, David Jones, Alan Jones & Karl Lampka enjoying the post-concert performance Crécy Council Reception.

Crécy-en-Ponthieu Church

 

Mametz Wood, Northern France

The Welsh Dragon Memorial, erected in 1987 commemorates the first Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the engagement of the 38th (Welsh) Division of the British Fourth Army.