Hailsham Tennis Club made its annual link up with its French twin town counterparts – Gournay-en-Bray Tennis Club.
For 10 years now, the two tennis clubs have been running an exchange visit, one year Hailsham visiting them, the next Gournay coming to England.
This year it was Hailsham’s turn to travel, and a party of 16 left our shores to arrive in France. Most travelled from Newhaven to Dieppe, with one family taking the Eurotunnel. They all met up in nearby Forges-les-Eaux before arriving in convoy at the Tennis Club in Gournay-en-Bray. There they were greeted by a large welcoming committee and champagne.
On the first evening the party was split amongst French families, before the tennis started early on Saturday morning. Bernard, the French coach, kept everybody going all day through a complicated tournament, with a long stop for a splendid lunch.
At the end of the day, Bernard awarded prizes to most of the Hailsham players for their feats on the court. The Hailsham Club presented the French Club with a framed photo montage from last year’s visit to Hailsham.
In the evening the French hosts took the Hailsham party out to a Moroccan restaurant for a slap-up meal, followed by some belly dancing by the waitresses, Then everyone was encouraged to join in.
Sunday saw some more tennis sessions, followed by another grand lunch, before the Hailsham party made their farewells and set sail back to Sussex.
Graham Landon, the Hailsham Club’s President, said he was delighted that this year’s party was mostly made up of first-time travellers.
He said, “We often tell club members how hospitable our French friends are, but there’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself! Now the onus is on us to match their hospitality over here next year.”