Twin visit of music and memory

3 Valleys Gospel Choir at St Roch Church, Roncq
3 Valleys Gospel Choir at St Roch Church, Roncq

On Saturday, May 23, 40 local residents travelled by coach to Todmorden’s French twin town of Roncq in northern France two miles from the border with Belgium.

Welcomed by their hosts, and following being taken to their homes to freshen up, 3 Valleys Gospel Choir sang at St Roch Church.

On Monday, the visitors from Todmorden climbed Mont Cassel to admire extensive views; they lunched in the coastal town of Bray-Dunes, a site of many casualties during the world wars; then they visited Bergues, a German army headquarters during the First World War, since rebuilt.

In the evening, the hosts treated all their visitors to a sumptuous supper - 3 Valleys Gospel Choir sang and a local Roncq band performed.

On Tuesday, 3 Valleys Gospel Choir director Ailsa Nicholson led workshops with delighted Roncq schoolchildren,with the support of choir members.

Other Todmorden visitors went to Ypres where they had the opportunity to visit the very moving museum of Flanders Fields which displays photographs and film reconstruction of the horrors of the First World War.

This Twin Town visit was a moving experience in so many ways: The wonderful welcome; the joy of song in a beautiful church; local children; but not forgetting the memories of war, death and destruction which unite us all. And of course the trip itself; we were very ably driven by Nicola.

Everyone is very welcome to join amateur community 3 Valleys Gospel Choir.

Come along any Monday evening at 7.30pm to Todmorden Central Methodist Church; full wheelchair access.