This is the speech given by Cllr Mark Platt, Vice-Chairman, Tendring District Council, Saturday 4th June 2016 for the 50 Anniversary of Town Twinning in Valence.
Fellow Mayors, Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for inviting me to be here today and the warm welcome that I have received in Valence.
I am here, as the Vice Chairman of Tendring District Council, to represent Clacton on Sea and the wider Tendring district.
Valence and Clacton, like many towns and cities have their roots in settlements founded in ancient times. The name of Clacton dates from around 500 AD when the area was settled by Saxons.
Whilst looking into the history of Valence I noted that the name comes from its time as a Roman settlement and is from the Latin ‘valentia’ meaning strength.
This has made me think about what it is that gives strength to our towns and communities.
Of course, given the reason we are all here today, one key aspect is the unity we share through town twinning.
Valence has been twinned with Clacton since 1969 and with the wider Tendring District since 1990.
The opportunity this has given us to share culture, history and heritage is invaluable.
We can learn from each other. From our ancient pasts whether Roman, Saxon, or Celtic we have each been shaped by our geography, our traditions, our economy and our national and local governments.
This has made us each unique, but whilst our uniqueness can be a strength it should not blind us to receiving ideas and influence from others.
Town twinning allows us to take strength from embracing new ideas and different cultures.
One of the key aspects of Town Twinning is the strength of new and enduring friendships that is enhanced by a shared pleasure in learning from each other rather than being divided by distance or language.
Finally, you will all be aware that soon the British people will vote on whether or not to remain part of the European Union. The council must remain impartial in this debate so I will not comment any further on the referendum other than to say that, whatever the result, it is my sincere wish that the relationship and friendship between us remains as strong as ever.