Europe comes to Sherborne!


During April, Sherborne hosted the 48th General Meeting of Douzelage with 140 members from 24 partner towns gathering under the theme Wellbeing Through Nature and Music. The event featured a rich programme of music and nature excursions, providing attendees with a showcase of local talent, including musicians and dancers.
The event was started with a welcome reception at the Boys’ School Big School Room, where Mayor Cllr Margaret Crossman and other dignitaries, including local MP Chris Loder, greeted guests. Entertainment included performances by local pianist Andrew Priest, The Blackrock Dancers, and the Sherborne Town Band.
Friday’s general meeting was enjoyed by all – translation equipment helped with 24 different languages. Discussions covered the organisation’s operations, past and future projects, and culminated in the election of a new president. Mrs. Annigje Kruytbosch-Luns from the Netherlands, who had led Douzelage for eight years, ably assisted by three vice-presidents, Mette Sorensen from Denmark, Tibi Rotaru from Romania and Miha Ješe from Slovenia. Annigje’s husband Alexandre Luns has looked after the website and taken minutes at General Meetings. Together they travelled Europe planning and co-ordinating many events. Annigje was succeeded by Shane Smith from Ireland. The newly elected team also includes vice-presidents Maria Rocco from Rovingo, Croatia, Evelin Koev from Skofja Loka, Bulgaria, and Thorsten Wohleser from Judenberg, Austria.

Musical exchange
Following the general meeting a concert was held in Cheap Street Church, where students from Leweston School performed, followed by the prestigious Sherborne Chamber Choir.
A highlight of the event was the Ad Hoc Orchestra, under the direction of Dr Rachel Milestone, Director of Music at Leweston School. The DouzYouth students had been asked to bring their own instruments – they had just one rehearsal and performed five pieces on the last night, much to the delight of the audience. The event closed with performances by the Wessex Morris Men, who encouraged audience participation, providing a fitting end to the conference.
Founded in 1991 by Jeremy Barker, Andre Poirier, and Henri Haffray from Granville, and since that time many students and members have exchanged visits and shared cultures. Lasting friendships have been made, and
Douzelage continues to foster international cooperation and cultural exchange.

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