Whitchurch and Goring Heath Twinning Association

Whitchurch is twinned with La Bouille, a beautiful French village on the banks of the Seine in Normandy, just to the north of Rouen.

For many years, a group of residents of Whitchurch and Goring Heath has been going to La Bouille in even-numbered years and entertaining people from La Bouille in odd-numbered years. The visits usually take place over the bank holiday weekend in early May. Private visits between the two villages are sometimes made at other times.

Over the years, large numbers of people have made the journey and many lasting friendships have resulted. Newcomers are always welcome and it is not necessary to be able to speak French.

The Twinning Association offers an opportunity to:-

  • make friends on the other side of the Channel
  • get to know your Whitchurch and Goring Heath neighbours better
  • participate in the French way of life
  • explore a beautiful region of France
  • practise your French

If you don't speak any French at all, it doesn’t matter as there are plenty of English-speakers in La Bouille who are happy to host you if you are visiting their village.

Next visit

It is Whitchurch’s turn to visit La Bouille in the Spring of 2024. Details will be publicised nearer the time. If you are thinking of joining in, you are welcome to contact the Secretary, Wendy Ferguson by email.

Recent events

In 2023 members of the La Bouille community visited Whitchurch from 29th April to 1st May. A Twinning dinner was held in the village hall. There are photos here.

In February 2023 a Menu Gastronomique was served to 46 members and friends in a packed village hall. Jean Marc Grosfort presided in the kitchen. Six cooks brought their Poulet Provencal to share. There are photos here.

Art Café

From time to time the Twinning Association hosts a Saturday morning Art Café in the Old Rectory Stables, Whitchurch High Street. For the date of the next session see the What’s On page of this website. All welcome.


The association is a loose-knit organisation. There is no membership fee. A committee is elected by those present at the AGM, which usually takes place in January. The main topic of discussion at the meeting is arrangements for the next visit. The officers on the committee in 2023 are:-


The twinning relationship between Whitchurch on Thames and La Bouille was established in 1978. See this photo page.

Peter Hawley has provided this appreciation of the origins of the Association:

“Just over 40 years ago, the late Sheridan Thynne of Whitchurch was staying in the Hotel St. Pierre in the small gastronomic resort of La Bouille by the banks of the Seine. The hotel manager asked him about Whitchurch and suggested that the two villages might be suited to each other as twin villages.

The local councils of both villages approved of the idea, which the Whitchurch parish council chairman Robert Noble took up in conjunction with Christopher Claxton, the first chairman of Whitchurch Twinning. The villages each sent small delegations to explore their potential 'twins' and in spite of official advice that they were 'too small' the project went ahead.

Twinning charters were duly signed in 1978 (some years before either Goring or Pangbourne followed the example), and in view of the healthy number of Whitchurch Hill participants, the parish of Goring Heath was included from 1985.

The decision was taken from the first to avoid a formal 'civic' association and to base the twinning firmly on personal relations between residents. In one of the initial groups was M. Roland Cousin (who died in 2017), accompanied in 1978 by his 17-year-old daughter Martine, who has emphasised the family nature of our twinning by serving as the President of the La Bouille committee for over twenty-five years.

Leaders for Whitchurch have included Ian Bruce and Vicky and Martin Jordan. Peter and Tanya Hawley have been ever present members. Relaxed groups of us go to La Bouille in alternate years, staying with local families and enjoying at leisure the hospitality, good food and picturesque surroundings. Language has been no barrier and several generations now have fond memories, including children who are also most welcome, whether learning French or not.”

Photos of earlier visits

Two earlier websites of the Twinning Association still exist and contain many photos of visits since 2006. The more recent site, which contains a link to the older one, can be found here.