Following on from our most successful Battlefields Tour experience, I was very privileged to be invited to a Melbourne City Council reception this week where Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle held a reception for the Mayor of the French town of Villers Bretonneux, Dr Patrick Simon. The occasion was a wonderful opportunity to meet with Mayor Simon once again and to hear from each of the Mayors as they spoke about the historic and enduring relationship that binds Melbourne and Villers Bretonneux together. Mayor Doyle spoke affectionately about the way the city of Melbourne is remembered, particularly with the street named ‘Rue Des Melbourne’ running through the heart of the town. He also spoke about the Victoria School built in Villers Bretonneux in 1927, with the money funded by Victorian school children. Mayor Simon extended a deep appreciation and words of friendship from his community, towards Australia and the people of Melbourne. He was pleased to be able to reciprocate Victoria’s generosity by committing over $20,000 from the people of Villers Bretonneux which went directly towards the rebuilding of a Victorian primary school, destroyed in the bushfires of 2009. I would like to thank Sharon Smith (mother of Oliver Smith) who as an employee of the MCC, played a significant role in organising our school group to be so warmly welcomed at a Town Hall reception in Villers Bretonneux when we were there. I also would like to thank Jean Francois Pierre from the MCC for the warm invitation my wife and I received to attend the reception this week. We hope to continue our firm relationship with Dr Patrick Simon and the community of Villers Bretonneux in future College tours to Europe.
Mr Murray Pryer – Tour Organiser