Rochdale Friends of Tourcoing is a friendly, social, family orientated group which has twinned with Tourcoing in Northern France since 1966.

Our exchange visits with Les Amis de Rochdale are in alternate years, usually April or May. The visits are about fun and friendship and afford everyone a unique opportunity to experience each others customs, cultures and language. Visits last 4-5 days when we welcome our guests into our homes and have a programme of events and visits to entertain the joint groups.

Many of our families have made long lasting and rewarding friendships with their French families and some now involve three generations.

There is no obligation to accommodate a French family on their visit to Rochdale but twinning is a little infectious and you may wish to do so. Not all members speak French so don't worry about the language. Communicating is never a problem.

We are self funding and throughout the year we have social and fundraising events to help pay for the exchanges.

We have 7 general meetings each year when we exchange information, plan for visits and often have a guest speaker.

Friends of Tourcoing Chairman Mike Dobavand

Message from Chairman Claire

Hello and welcome to the website for the Friends of Tourcoing, the longstanding twinning group and friendship organisation that exists between Rochdale and Tourcoing. I have just started my tenure as the Chair for the Association, so just wanted to share a few words about Twinning.

Twin towns… most places have got one, some even have several, but many people know nothing about them. Twin towns can encourage tourism, help us experience new cultures and bring us closer to places all around the world. But twinning can be seen as outdated or even pointless - so is it still relevant in 2019? In the year of Brexit (I know, it has to be mentioned somewhere) I feel the work the Association does in keeping alive the friendship, social and cultural links to our French friends in Tourcoing are and will be increasingly important.

Contrary to belief, the council has very little involvement in the Twinning link with direct financial support ending many years ago. So, the Friends of Tourcoing, like most twinning arrangements in the UK is managed by its members and volunteers. In recent years, as an Association we have proactively forged links with the Civic Mayors office of Rochdale to enable us to reenergise the relationship with Tourcoing Town hall. This has been met with considerable success and we enjoy the kind support of successive Mayors of Rochdale. In fact, some recent past Mayors have become members of the Association after their mayoral tour of duty has ended, they enjoyed the time they spent in France and at the social events we invite them to during the year.

However, even with technology such as Skype and the internet and so many other forms of communication available in today’s world, and as the world gets smaller, friendship links sometimes become more difficult to maintain. I am passionate about the way The Friends of Tourcoing have continued in their own unique way, of visiting each other on an annual basis as a group, and how they continue to promote and forge long lasting friendships with people from both Rochdale and Tourcoing. It means Rochdale still has a thriving twinning community, including independently arranged sports activities such as Rugby matches, and Boules competitions having taken place (yes Rochdale has a French Petanque/ Boules league – it’s a thing).

You don't need to speak French to become involved. We visit France, and host French visitors. We have a number of social events in the calendar during the year which are open to members and non-members and new participants are extremely welcome at any meeting or event so please peruse the photo galleries and website, and do contact us about how to join in.



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