Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee

In 1971, with the establishment of the Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee, the idea of forging close ties with a French town by way of a twinning arrangement began in earnest. However, fate was to play a hand in the selection. St. Pierre-sur-Dives, a small town located in the department of Calvados in Normandy was originally suggested as a twin for Plympton St Mary Rural District Council (PRDC) but with the impending Local Government Act, PRDC was to be dissolved and so it was suggested that Ivybridge should consider the link up. Following preliminary exchanges with St. Pierre-sur-Dives, a visit by an Ivybridge delegation was organised for October of that year to evaluate the town’s suitability. The visitors were warmly welcomed and given a tour of the area.

Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee

In 1971, with the establishment of the Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee, the idea of forging close ties with a French town by way of a twinning arrangement began in earnest. However, fate was to play a hand in the selection. St. Pierre-sur-Dives, a small town located in the department of Calvados in Normandy was originally suggested as a twin for Plympton St Mary Rural District Council (PRDC) but with the impending Local Government Act, PRDC was to be dissolved and so it was suggested that Ivybridge should consider the link up. Following preliminary exchanges with St. Pierre-sur-Dives, a visit by an Ivybridge delegation was organised for October of that year to evaluate the town’s suitability. The visitors were warmly welcomed and given a tour of the area.

St. Pierre-sur-Dives

St. Pierre-sur-Dives at this time had around 3,500 inhabitants, (Ivybridge had a similar population of around 3,000). It was described as “attractive, prosperous and developing”. Notable buildings included a 11th century abbey and a large medieval market hall. The latter had been destroyed by fire in 1944 but was entirely rebuilt respecting the original building techniques using hand-made chestnut dowels rather than any nails.

 

More information on this building can be viewed on the ‘Normandy then and now’ website at

The main industry of the town was the manufacturing of boxes for the locally produced cheeses (Camembert, Livarot and Pont-l’Evéque) whilst an actual Camembert cheese factory employed about 25 people.

 

Following the visit, the delegation was unanimous in their feeling that St. Pierre-sur-Dives and district would make a very suitable twin. A reciprocal visit to Ivybridge was arranged for January of the following year.

St. Pierre-sur-Dives

St. Pierre-sur-Dives at this time had around 3,500 inhabitants, described as “attractive, prosperous and developing”. Notable buildings included a 11th century abbey and a large medieval market hall. The latter had been destroyed by fire in 1944 but was entirely rebuilt respecting the original building techniques using hand-made chestnut dowels rather than any nails.

 

More information on this building can be viewed on the Normandy then and now website at

The main industry of the town was the manufacturing of boxes for the locally produced cheeses (Camembert, Livarot and Pont-l’Evéque) whilst an actual Camembert cheese factory employed about 25 people.

 

Following the visit, the delegation was unanimous in their feeling that St. Pierre-sur-Dives and district would make a very suitable twin. A reciprocal visit to Ivybridge was arranged for January of the following year.

Camembert de Normandie

Camembert is one of the most popular of all French cheeses. It is documented that Camembert cheese was created by a young farmer’s wife called Marie Harel after she helped a priest escaping the French Revolution during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The priest came from Meaux, a town in the Brie region. To show his gratitude, he shared the secret of how to grow the unique mould used to mature the traditional cheeses of the region.

 

Whatever the truth, there is no documented association between the village of Camembert and cheese until Napoleon III opened a railway linking Normandy to Paris in 1863. After sampling a local cheese and enquiring its name, the reply was Camembert. The new railway enabled cheese produced in Normandy to reach the expanding population of Paris within hours instead of the four days it traditionally took by horse and coach. However, despite this, Camembert was almost certainly considered too fragile to transport over such long distances in the layers of straw commonly used for packing soft cheese at that time.

 

The real popularity of Camembert cheese occurred in the late 19th century with the arrival of industrial processing and the adaptation of wooden boxes to safely transport it. For the first time it enabled Camembert to be distributed further afield. The wooden box had a second advantage as it provided a unique micro-climate in which the encased cheese could mature.

 

Modern Camembert is generally wrapped in wax paper and then packaged in wooden containers.

Town Hall at St. Pierre-sur-Dives

Ivybridge and District Twinning Association

At a public meeting in May 1972 it was decided to form an Ivybridge and District Twinning Association to assist with the development of links and exchanges between Ivybridge and St. Pierre-sur-Dives.

 

The official Twinning Charter (la charte de jumelage) was signed in St. Pierre-sur-Dives at the Town Hall on 26 June with a second Charter signing ceremony in Ivybridge scheduled for the weekend of 23/24 September. Under the Charter, the two districts were to undertake exchanges promoting economic links, culture, tourism as well as social and sporting interaction. It was also to develop exchanges between schools and families to foster feelings of friendship and understanding.

 

On the evening of 23 September 1972, the Twinning Charter was officially signed at Plympton St.Mary Rural District Council offices with the raising of a glass of champagne!

 

Following ratification of the twinning arrangement, bi-annual exchange visits between the two towns were established. As visitors stayed with families of the host town, long-lasting friendships were forged. The twinning associations also arranged special events such as fairs, barbecues, quizzes, dances and walks.

Ivybridge and District Twinning Association

At a public meeting in May 1972 it was decided to form an Ivybridge and District Twinning Association to assist with the development of links and exchanges between Ivybridge and St. Pierre-sur-Dives.

 

The official Twinning Charter (la charte de jumelage) was signed in St. Pierre-sur-Dives at the Town Hall on 26 June with a second Charter signing ceremony in Ivybridge scheduled for the weekend of 23/24 September. Under the Charter, the two districts were to undertake exchanges promoting economic links, culture, tourism as well as social and sporting interaction. It was also to develop exchanges between schools and families to foster feelings of friendship and understanding.

 

On the evening of 23 September 1972, the Twinning Charter was officially signed at Plympton St.Mary Rural District Council offices with the raising of a glass of champagne!

 

Following ratification of the twinning arrangement, bi-annual exchange visits between the two towns were established. As visitors stayed with families of the host town, long-lasting friendships were forged. The twinning associations also arranged special events such as fairs, barbecues, quizzes, dances and walks.

Fanfare for Europe

In 1973, Ivybridge was one of the few places in Britain to participate in the Fanfare for Europe celebrations, marking Britain’s entry into the Common Market. An invitation to the community of St. Pierre-sur-Dives to join in the festivities was duly accepted and a large party made the journey across the channel, including a 25-piece band. The Mayor of St. Pierre-sur-Dives was invited to participate in a tree planting ceremony at Victoria Park and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the new sports pavilion located at Erme Playing Fields.

PaTre73

Plant a tree in ’73 was a national campaign encouraging the planting of trees following the Dutch Elm Disease which was sweeping the country

A day after the tree-planting ceremony in Ivybridge, of the 16 young saplings that were planted, 9 were found either snapped off or uprooted, much to the displeasure of the local community. The culprits of this mindless vandalism were never found … Ivybridge should have called in ‘Special Branch’!

On a happier note, the rescued saplings were replanted and still survive today in Victoria park.

Fanfare for Europe

In 1973, Ivybridge was one of the few places in Britain to participate in the Fanfare for Europe celebrations, marking Britain’s entry into the Common Market. An invitation to the community of St. Pierre-sur-Dives to join in the festivities was duly accepted and a large party made the journey across the channel, including a 25-piece band. The Mayor of St. Pierre-sur-Dives was invited to participate in a tree planting ceremony at Victoria Park and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the new sports pavilion located at Erme Playing Fields.

PaTre73

a national campaign encouraging the planting of trees following the Dutch Elm Disease which was sweeping the country

A day after the tree-planting ceremony, of the 16 young saplings that were planted, 9 were found either snapped off or uprooted, much to the displeasure of the local community. The culprits of this mindless vandalism were never found … Ivybridge should have called in ‘Special Branch’!

On a happier note, the rescued saplings were replanted and still survive today in Victoria park.

Square Ivybridge

Le Square Ivybridge

In 1992, to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two towns a delegation of around 50 from Ivybridge visited St. Pierre-sur-Dives for festivities and the unveiling of a plaque in a new square, appropriately named ‘Square Ivybridge’.

Le Square Ivybridge

In 1992, to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two towns a delegation of around 50 from Ivybridge visited St. Pierre-sur-Dives for festivities and the unveiling of a plaque in a new square, appropriately named ‘Square Ivybridge’.

Square Ivybridge

50th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion

In 1994, visitors from Ivybridge again made the trip across the channel to participate in a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Former mayor, John Congdon was presented with a special commemorative medal in recognition of the part he played in the invasion in 1944 which led to the liberation of Europe.

50th Anniversary of VE Day

A year later Ivybridge welcomed a French delegation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE Day with a tree planting ceremony in Harford Road car park.

Images : (left) The Chairman of the Ivybridge Twinning Association with the President of the St. Pierre-sur-Dives Twinning Association planting the sapling in 1995 (Ouest-France 22-23 April 1995), and (above) the flourishing VE commemoration tree today

50th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion

In 1994, visitors from Ivybridge again made the trip across the channel to participate in a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Former mayor, John Congdon was presented with a special commemorative medal in recognition of the part he played in the invasion in 1944 which led to the liberation of Europe.

VE Tree

50th Anniversary of VE Day

A year later Ivybridge welcomed a French delegation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE Day with a tree planting ceremony in Harford Road car park.

Images : (The Chairman of the Ivybridge Twinning Association with the President of the St. Pierre-sur-Dives Twinning Association planting the sapling in 1995 (Ouest-France 22-23 April 1995), and (above) the flourishing VE commemoration tree today

50th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion

In 1994, visitors from Ivybridge again made the trip across the channel to participate in a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Former mayor, John Congdon was presented with a special commemorative medal in recognition of the part he played in the invasion in 1944 which led to the liberation of Europe.

50th Anniversary of VE Day

A year later Ivybridge welcomed a French delegation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE Day with a tree planting ceremony in Harford Road car park.

VE Tree
Images : (The Chairman of the Ivybridge Twinning Association with the President of the St. Pierre-sur-Dives Twinning Association planting the sapling in 1995 (Ouest-France 22-23 April 1995), and (above) the flourishing VE commemoration tree today
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Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee

In 1971, with the establishment of the Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee, the idea of forging close ties with a French town by way of a twinning arrangement began in earnest. However, fate was to play a hand in the selection. St. Pierre-sur-Dives, a small town located in the department of Calvados in Normandy was originally suggested as a twin for Plympton St Mary Rural District Council (PRDC) but with the impending Local Government Act, PRDC was to be dissolved and so it was suggested that Ivybridge should consider the link up. Following preliminary exchanges with St. Pierre-sur-Dives, a visit by an Ivybridge delegation was organised for October of that year to evaluate the town’s suitability. The visitors were warmly welcomed and given a tour of the area.

St. Pierre-sur-Dives

St. Pierre-sur-Dives at this time had around 3,500 inhabitants, Ivybridge had a similar population of around 3,000). It was described as “attractive, prosperous and developing”. Notable buildings included a 11th century abbey and a large medieval market hall. The latter had been destroyed by fire in 1944 but was entirely rebuilt respecting the original building techniques using hand-made chestnut dowels rather than any nails.

 

The main industry of the town was the manufacturing of boxes for the locally produced cheeses (Camembert, Livarot and Pont-l’Evéque) whilst an actual Camembert cheese factory employed about 25 people.

 

Following the visit, the delegation was unanimous in their feeling that St. Pierre-sur-Dives and district would make a very suitable twin. A reciprocal visit to Ivybridge was arranged for January of the following year.

Town Hall at St. Pierre-sur-Dives

Ivybridge and District Twinning Association

At a public meeting in May 1972 it was decided to form an Ivybridge and District Twinning Association to assist with the development of links and exchanges between Ivybridge and St. Pierre-sur-Dives.

 

The official Twinning Charter (la charte de jumelage) was signed in St. Pierre-sur-Dives at the Town Hall on 26 June with a second Charter signing ceremony in Ivybridge scheduled for the weekend of 23/24 September. Under the Charter, the two districts were to undertake exchanges promoting economic links, culture, tourism as well as social and sporting interaction. It was also to develop exchanges between schools and families to foster feelings of friendship and understanding.

 

On the evening of 23 September 1972, the Twinning Charter was officially signed at Plympton St.Mary Rural District Council offices with the raising of a glass of champagne!

 

Following ratification of the twinning arrangement, bi-annual exchange visits between the two towns were established. As visitors stayed with families of the host town, long-lasting friendships were forged. The twinning associations also arranged special events such as fairs, barbecues, quizzes, dances and walks.

Fanfare for Europe

In 1973, Ivybridge was one of the few places in Britain to participate in the Fanfare for Europe celebrations, marking Britain’s entry into the Common Market. An invitation to the community of St. Pierre-sur-Dives to join in the festivities was duly accepted and a large party made the journey across the channel, including a 25-piece band. The Mayor of St. Pierre-sur-Dives was invited to participate in a tree planting ceremony at Victoria Park and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the new sports pavilion located at Erme Playing Fields.

Le Square Ivybridge

In 1992, to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two towns a delegation of around 50 from Ivybridge visited St. Pierre-sur-Dives for festivities and the unveiling of a plaque in a new square, appropriately named ‘Square Ivybridge’.

50th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion

In 1994, visitors from Ivybridge again made the trip across the channel to participate in a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Former mayor, John Congdon was presented with a special commemorative medal in recognition of the part he played in the invasion in 1944 which led to the liberation of Europe.

50th Anniversary of VE Day

A year later Ivybridge welcomed a French delegation to commemorate the 50thanniversary of VE Day with a tree planting ceremony in Harford Road car park.