Members of Basildon Twinning and five actors from DOT Productions visited Meaux over the weekend of 05 and 06 November 2016, with David Harrison, Mayor of Basildon and his wife. We were also joined by friends from Heiligenhaus, including members of the folk band, Fricklesome Amsel.
On Saturday morning, we were invited to attend the opening of the Museum of Brie de Meaux cheese. The mayor of Meaux and presidential candidate, Jean-François Copé opened the museum in the presence of members of the Confrérie of Brie de Meaux.
Jean-François Copé with members of the Confrérie of Brie de Meaux
After the opening of the museum, Jean-François Copé was presented with a memorial plaque which contains the names of the men from Basildon, Meaux and Heiligenhaus, who died in the First World War.
In the evening, we attended the performance of ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ in a theatre in Meaux. It was performed for the first time in Basildon in 2014 and again last year in Heiligenhaus. Members of DOT Productions, Andrew Lindfield, Sophie Farquhar, James Le Lacheur, Christopher Walthorne and Zac Wancke performed with Fricklesome Amsel and two choirs from Meaux.
The play tells the story of three servicemen – one from Wickford, one from Meaux and one from Heiligenhaus.
George Burnett, from Wickford, Basildon Borough was a policeman and member of the Wickford Cricket Club. He rejoined the Coldstream Guards and went missing in action shortly after the beginning of the war. His body was never found.
Albert Kiekert, from Heiligenhaus, was studying to be a lawyer when he joined up. His aeroplane was shot down a few months before the end of the war, killing him and the pilot.
Louis Vallin, from Meaux, worked selling surgical instruments. He joined up just before Christmas 1914 and happily, he survived the war, going on to marry, have children and to found The Association of the Friends of the Air Museum, of which he become vice president. He died in 1971, at the age of 76.
At the Basildon performance in 2014, we were thrilled to welcome Suzanne Vallin, daughter of Louis Vallin. The following year, a descendant of Albert Kiekert attended the performance in Heiligenhaus, as well as Suzanne. This year, we traced members of George Burnett’s family in Sussex, and Karen and Jill, who share a grandfather with George, travelled to Meaux to join us for this year’s performance and of course, Suzanne, who lives in Meaux, was there.
Thomas Rickal, representing Heiligenhaus, Karen and Suzanne laid a wreath in honour of the three ‘Sons’ at the end of the performance.
A similar memorial plaque to that presented to the mayor of Meaux earlier in the day was presented to our friends from Heiligenhaus.
Thank you to everyone involved in the weekend.