FRENCH visitors were given a warm Weymouth and Portland welcome during a D-Day-themed twinning visit during which the importance of young people was highlighted.

The borough welcomed a party from Louviers in France led by the town’s First Deputy Mayor Anne Terlez.

She came in the place of first citizen Francois-Xavier Priollaud, whose right wing alliance was victorious in recent elections.

Twinning history between Weymouth and the Normandy market town of Louviers dates back 56 years.

The visitors enjoyed a three-day visit which included a D-Day-themed twinning dinner and reception at Weymouth Pavilion.

“Normandy owes a great debt to all the soldiers who came to liberate France,” declared Mme Terlez at the dinner.

She added: “We were delighted to welcome Her Majesty The Queen to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and I want to thank your nation for freeing us.

“Louviers itself was liberated on August 25, 1944 – an unforgettable day which we will be celebrating next year.”

Mme Terlez, an occupational therapist, is the most senior of nine deputy and assistant mayors elected in Louviers.

She said: “The new municipal team wants to strengthen the twinning with Weymouth.

“We have many children and young people in Louviers who would like to participate in exchanges.”

Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Kate Wheller welcomed the 45-strong delegation.

Twinning committee chairman Cath Irving echoed the civic welcome and Jacqueline Hamon, chairman of the Louviers Twinning Committee, said there was a need to create new links and contacts between the twin towns, especially for young people. A delegation from Weymouth will visit Louviers in September.