Footballers celebrate 38 years of French twinning

Lyme Regis Football Club players on board the ferry to Creully

THIRTY eight years of friendship in sport was celebrated last weekend when members of Lyme Regis Football Club travelled across the channel to their twin club, US Creully/Commes in Normandy.

The two clubs first got together in 1980 when first team manager David Cozens took a party of 12 to the Normandy village for a game of football and a barbecue.

The twinning arrangement has gone from strength to strength since, with the two clubs visiting each other on alternate years.

A party of 34 left Lyme at 4am on Friday, June 8 to catch the early ferry from Portsmouth. On the way to Creully, one of the first villages to be liberated on D-Day, they stopped at Douvre la Delivrande, twinned with Axminster, to meet their hosts.

The two teams than gathered at Creully football stadium for the traditional raising of the two flags, the Union Jack and the French Tricolour, and the singing of the national anthems.

Friday evening was spent with the host families and on Saturday morning the two teams gathered at the Creully War Memorial to lay wreaths to commemorate members of the Royal Dragoon Guards who lost their lives in the Battle of Normandy. The Lyme wreath was carried by club president Philip Evans, a member of the first party in 1980, and the Seasiders’ youngest player on the trip, Kingsley Wellman, aged 20.

A competitive football match in the afternoon ended in a 1-0 victory for Lyme Regis, the goal being scored by Rhys Paterson.

An official reception was held at the famous Chateau de Creully where Mr Evans, celebrating the award of an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours whilst in Creully, presented the host club with a glass in memoriam listing all those involved in the twinning over the years who had died. A similar board will be erected in the Davey Fort clubhouse in Lyme.

Sunday was spent with the host families and the teams gathered again at the Creully stadium for the striking of the flags before the journey home.

The Lyme club will now start planning next year’s visit by Creully to be followed in 2020 by the 40th anniversary in Normandy.

For more pictures from Lyme Regis Football Club’s trip to Creully, see our Photo Gallery

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