The Twinning Association of St Pierre Ile d’Oleron invited the Lane End Twinning Association and a team from Lane End Primary School to join them in this World Cup year for St Pierre FC’s annual football competition, which included schools and junior football clubs in the region.
The newly formed mixed football team from Lane End Primary School travelled to the village’s twin town, St Pierre Ile d’Oleron. The Lane End Primary School football team was only started this year and the boys and girls are aged eight to 11. Many of them had never been abroad before but they travelled approximately 650 miles to represent England in a superb stadium with 25 French and German teams.
Headteacher Debbie Williams said: “This is the first team we have had for some years. Taking part in an international competition in France was a huge opportunity. The children were fantastic from the moment they left. They demonstrated their skills and they showed incredible determination and tenacity. They held their heads up high. Not only did they learn about teamwork, they also developed their communication skills by making new friends with the French teams which was lovely to see. It was a fantastic experience for all of us”.
The competition at the weekend began with a a special game on the Friday between Lane End Primary and St Pierre FC U11. This was followed by a knockout tournament on the Saturday with other teams that had played together for a long time and were all 10 and 11-years-old. Lane End played four French teams in the earlier stages and came 14th out of the 26 teams, winning a category cup and banner. They were one of the few teams to score a goal against St Pierre FC who were the eventual champions.
While staying on the island the pupils, parents and staff were given a tour of the island to see the lighthouse, oyster farming and the huge fish market.
Phil Mann, chairman of the Lane End Twinning Association, said: “Ever since Lane End established links with St Pierre, it has been the association’s wish to facilitate a trip for Lane End Primary School to the island. The success of this event is beyond our wildest dreams”.
The trip was made possible by generous support from Buckinghamshire County and Lane End Parish councils, the school, parents and village businesses. This included The Grouse and Ale, who provided a picnic for the party on the journey. Lane End Twinning Association is very grateful for these financial contributions without which this fantastic cultural link between Lane End and St Pierre would not have been possible.