Students spearhead Harrogate twin town campaign
You may not know this but Harrogate has a twin. The one we’re talking about is the spa town and commune of Luchon, in the Haute-Garonne department in Southwest France. In Luchon the twinning is widely acknowledged, but it seems that a lot of people in Harrogate are unaware of our link. But that may not be the case for long, as some Francophile students over here are campaigning to re-establish and strengthen the twinning.
French speaking students from St John Fisher High School in Harrogate spent some time in Luchon this summer, working in its tourism office when the Tour de France passed through this part of its home country. A-level student Orla Miller and GCSE student Marie Tolin worked in Luchon for three days, promoting Harrogate, Knaresborough and our area in general.
According to Orla Luchon locals have been giving very positive feedback about the Grand Depart:
“People have been so positive about it, everyone saw the district on TV and mentioned how beautiful it looked.”
Marie added that Luchon is “A very nice place to be, and the people are lovely.”
The students spent time with their French counterparts at the Lycee Edmond Rostand, giving them a fuller experience of life in Luchon, and this has encouraged them to promote the twinning further.
“I was quite surprised to hear how many people in Luchon knew about the twinning”, Orla said. “As soon as I mentioned Harrogate people started talking about the twinning link - That attitude isn’t the same in Harrogate. We need to raise awareness and we need to have that same feeling at home.”
And that is what the students aim to do, the Harrogate Advertiser reports, by running educational exchange programmes with the young people of Luchon.
Dennis Richards OBE, who is now a French language assistant at St John Fisher High School said of Orla and Marie:
“The girls were real ambassadors for Welcome to Yorkshire and Harrogate, and part of the generation who want to be involved, and need to be involved.”
“Pupil to pupil exchanges are tricky, but we are hoping a band will come over from Luchon to perform at Harrogate International Youth Festival in 2015. We are very excited about that.”
Watch the below video on Bagnères-de-Luchon.