A group of Wellington Majorettes has just returned from a 7-day exchange trip to France. The team left in the early hours of the morning to travel by Berry’s coaches to Portsmouth for a 7-hour crossing and then a further 8 hours travelling to La Roche Chalais in the South West, just a hours’ drive from Bordeaux.
The 24 strong group was introduced to host families and built up fantastic friendships, which will last forever. Louise Brierley, Troupe Leader, said, “I first went on an exchange trip with Wellington Majorettes to Lillebonne when I was 8 years old. We were twinned with a troupe of majorettes called Les Miss d’Auberville. It was a fantastic experience that many ex-majorettes still talk about today. I have kept in contact with Aurélie and Romuald Passeriux who were members of Les Miss d’Auberville and 5 years ago they decided to set up a troupe of their own. This is when we decided to get the teams together.
“In 2016, Romuald and Aurélie made the first trip to Wellington in 25 years with their Majorettes Les Rochal Twirl to join Wellington Majorettes for Carnival weekend. Two years later, we finally raised the funds to return with a small team.
The team performed twice during their visit, the first at an official ceremony in the centre of La Roche Chalais. Les Rochal Twirl Majorettes led the parade and Wellington Majorettes followed providing the music for both troupes. Both teams performed short routines and were then presented with keepsake medals by the Mayor.
“The second performance took place on Sunday afternoon in very hot conditions at a Summer Festival in the next village. Both teams were warmly welcomed by hundreds of spectators and the audience loved our traditional uniforms and band.
“During the visit, there was also time for some sightseeing and team-building fun between the two troupes. A visit to Saint-Émilion was popular, with a historic underground tour and wine tasting – for the adults only of course! A visit to Saint-Aulaye was when the 2 teams were really united as one, sharing canoes to make their way down the river, dodging overhanging trees and brambles (or not) and testing their skills and teamwork, overcoming the language barrier and going over dams in 16 canoes to a little village called Parcoul.
“The session was only supposed to be 2 hours but 3.5 hours later our canoeists arrived safely. They were all very wet and a little muddy as they decided to stop for a swim in the river and were shown the art of bridge jumping!”
Louise added, “I was so pleased to be designated “BAG LADY” for this excursion!
“The week passed so quickly with many picnics, late nights, shopping opportunities, hours of fun in the village pool and a fantastic disco. So many memories and friendships have been made and we hope to return in 2020!”
The team are now looking forward to the end of the month when not only Les Rochal Twirl Majorettes will return for Wellington Carnival weekend but they will be bringing their friends from Les Batons de l’Estuaire Majorettes. They will also welcome 14 friends from Wellington’s Portuguese twin town, Torres Vedras.