Hythe Twinning Association
The Association was founded in 1978 by a group of forward thinking people who realised that our future was linked to Europe.
To this end they looked at several towns in France, Belgium and Germany before they chose Poperinge & Berck.
The connection with Poperinge is via Toc H and Lord Wakefield. The Rev Tubby Clayton started Toc H at Talbot House in Poperinge which was used by him to set up a rest centre for officers coming out from the Front.
When the house came on the market in about 1929, Lord Wakefield, a personal friend of Tubby, bought it and presented it to Toc H. It has been the ‘Mecca’ of that association ever since. A local representative has served on this association’s committee since it’s inception.
Berck-sur-Mer was chosen because of it’s similarity to Hythe. A seasonal sea-side resort with about the same population facing us across the Channel.
In addition, Portex had set up a factory there to comply with French regulations for supplying their Health Service and this provided a starting point.
The aim of the Association is to foster friendship with the peoples of our twin towns and to encourage – activities, hospitality, exchanges etc.
Situated just to the north of the estuary of the river Authie, Berck has a huge expanse of sandy beach and impressive grassy-topped dunes facing north onto the English Channel. The town comprises two parts to the east, the old fishing town of Berck-Ville and to the west the seaside area, Berck-sur-Mer. Berck is the most southerly town in the Pas-de-Calais to have a name with Germanic roots, variously spelt over the centuries. Its origin has been conjectured to come either from berg (a hill or possibly dune); bekkr, the Norse name for a stream (‘beck’ in northern England); or beorc (a birch tree), designating a wooded area
Poperinge is situated about 8 miles to the west of Ieper/Ypres. The region is famous for growing hops and furnishes 80% of Belgian production. The town is home to the national hop museum and is called the hop capital – hoppe stad in Dutch, a play on hoofd stad, the word for capital. A triennial hop festival and parade is held in the month of September. The local brew is known as Hommel (which means hops in the West Flanders dialect). The carillon in the tower of the town’s oldest church, Sint-Bertinuskerk, was noted as one of the most beautiful in Flanders in mediaeval times. It was destroyed during warfare in 1677 and restored in 1781 Population of around 11,300