Move to twin Weymouth and Jersey

The unveiling of the memorial for evacuees in Weymouth
Image caption Talks began after the unveiling of a plaque remembering evacuees from the Channel Island

Historic links are behind a move to twin the English port town of Weymouth and the Channel Island of Jersey.

Councillor Ray Banham, the Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, said discussions about a link had begun last year.

The two have been linked by a passenger ferry service since 1794 and thousands of evacuees arrived in Weymouth during World War 2.

Mr Banham said "everyone seems very enthusiastic" and he hoped the official link would be in place early next year.

He said the idea was discussed after the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the evacuation of thousands of Channel Islanders to the town ahead of the German invasion of the islands in June 1940.

'Long overdue'

Mr Banham said he was working with Jean McLaughlin, from the Jersey Evacuees Association, on setting up the Jersey and Weymouth Society (Jaws) to try to improve the relationship between the communities.

He said with some many long standing links the twinning was "long, long overdue".

Weymouth and Portland is already twinned with the town of Holzwickede in Germany and the French town of Louviers, in Normandy.

Mr Banham said: "They've both been very successful for 50-odd years so I feel certain that once we form the association it will be very successful."

He is due to stand down from his position in May and said he hoped to have the association formed as a legacy of his time in office.

All of Jersey's 10 parishes are twinned with French towns, the majority in Normandy.

St Helier is linked with Funchal, the capital of Madeira, and Bad Wurzach, a small town in Germany where more than 600 islanders were interned during the occupation of the Channel Islands in World War 2.

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