SCHOOLCHILDREN joined civic dignitaries from both sides of the Channel at Canterbury's Guildhall on Friday to witness the official signing of the twinning agreement between Bridge and the French town of St Andre-Lez-Lille.
Young members of Bridge and Patrixbourne's school choir sang to guests during the ceremony, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Councillor Ian Thomas, and city MP Julian Brazier.
The day was the culmination of years of work by the school's head teacher, Ren Chinnadurai, and Bridge Twinning Association chairman Louise Tasou, who began talks with St Andre in 2009. Friday marked the official start of the partnership.
Guests were welcomed to the Guildhall by John Hill, the chairman of Bridge Parish Council, who looked forward to the contacts and exchanges that would be made through the twinning.
The Mayor of St Andre, Olivier Henno, said that twinning agreements were not symbolical or theoretical partnerships.
They make a huge contribution to the social and cultural life of a community. They explore and discover new places through excursions and visits, opened up the opportunity to meet new people, especially through children and their parents.
He added: "This twinning agreement contributes modestly, but surely, to encouraging a spirit of curiosity and tolerance which are inherent to the cultural exchanges we are about to embark on.
"I am very enthusiastic about such a twinning agreement which will create a solid resource for future generations who will have access to endless moments of discovery and much self-fulfilment."
Mrs Tasou thanked committee members Brigitte Ward,Rene Renault and Alan Atkinson, for all their help and encouragement.
She presented Mr Henno with framed photographs of bygone Bridge and he gave her and other members of the twinning committee clocks featuring the town clock of St Andre and specially labelled bottles of champagne.