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Friendships Strengthened Over the Channel

South Tyneside traders have travelled home after representing the Borough at one of its French twin town's Christmas market.

A trio of local traders travelled to the continent last week to help mark half a century of twinning between the town of Jarrow and Epinay sur Seine. There they showcased their seasonal wares at the French town's annual festive fair.

Visitors to this year's market were treated to a flavour of South Tyneside with specialities from Minchella & Co's famous ice cream as well as handmade gifts from Light Source Art and unique sea glass jewellery by Ocean Colours.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "It was a pleasure to share our world famous ice cream and handcrafted gifts created by our local talented traders with the people of Epinay sur Seine.

"The trip was a brilliant opportunity for our friends across the Channel to discover more about South Tyneside and try something new this festive season. It was also a wonderful opportunity for our traders to introduce their wares to a new audience and for us to strengthen friendships and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jarrow's town twinning with Epinay sur Seine."

Thousands of people attended Epinay's traditional outdoor Christmas market, complete with wooden chalets and an open-air ice rink.

Laura Tokell, owner of Ocean Colours, said "The twin towns celebration was a great success. The local people of Epinay really appreciated the originality of all our products and the hard work it takes to create them.

"The aim of the visit to celebrate 50 years of friendship between South Tyneside and Epinay and build on the friendships, was certainly achieved. We connected with and learned from many people during our stay and feel more enriched because of it."

In the 50 years of the town twinning, hundreds of cultural, sporting and educational exchanges have taken place. They range from exchanges involving school children and young people to visits by artists, choirs and musicians.

Lindsey Grieves, owner of Light Source Art, added: "It was great to be part of the community at Epinay sur Seine and to take part in their Christmas Market. The people of Epinay made us feel so welcome, their hospitality was exceptional and the town's festivities were amazing."

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