Carnforth's Mayor has returned from a visit to France after commemorating 20 years of twinning with the town of Sailly-sur-la-Lys.

Councillor Jim Grisenthwaite conducted the trip with a delegation of 22 members from the Carnforth & District Twinning Association.

Hosted by members of the Sailly twinning association, the guests from Carnforth enjoyed three days of historical and cultural visits to Dunkirk and the chateau of Chantilly.

Councillor Grisenthwaite said: "‘The value of this type of cultural exchange should never be underestimated.

"Seeing first-hand how ordinary people live their everyday lives in another country is fascinating."The Westmorland Gazette:

The visit ended with an evening of celebration to remember the 20-year history of the twinning between the two towns and included a buffet and music from a local rock band.

The mayor and Carnforth Twinning chair Lesley Simon presented the Mayor of Sailly, Monsieur Jean-Claude Thorez and Sailly Twinning president Rashida Bounoua with a key to the town of Carnforth and a commemorative plate made specially by local potter, Alvin Irving.

Councillor Grisenthwaite added: "The relationship between the residents of Carnforth and Sailly that has developed over the last 20 years has demonstrated that very few things, apart from the Channel, separate us.

"We make light of language differences, making ourselves understood with a sign or gesture when necessary, which is usually the occasion for a good laugh."

In 2003, the town of Sailly sought out a town to twin with, sending out 1,200 prospective letters, with Carnforth the ultimately unanimous option.

Jane Barton, the widow of Frank, the Town Mayor at the time of the initial twinning, was also part of the recent delegation.

Carnforth town clerk Bob Bailey said: "‘Thanks to the spirit of what the Twinning between our two towns means I have become firm friends with over 30 people who I had never met before.

"The genuine friendliness and sincere interest in our communities together with the wonderful hospitality of our hosts has reminded me of the importance of face-to-face interaction for our well-being and understanding."