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Cross the Channel, pass by Paris and travel south. Ninety miles from the capital, through the forest of Orléans and just before the banks of the Loire, you will find our twinned village of Ouzouer-sur-Loire. Its name is usually shortened to simply Ouzouer (pronounced 'Oo -zwah').

Ouzouer is less than half the size of Great Ayton. There are 2500 Oratoriens but, just as GATA members can be found in Stokesley and the surrounding villages, support for the French twinning extends beyond Ouzouer. Until recently Ouzouer was even smaller, more than doubling in size with the construction of the big nuclear power station at neighbouring Dampierre in the 1970s. Families moved into the village from other parts of France, and many new houses were built. This influx of newcomers has revitalised village life, and one aspect of this was the decision to seek a twinning partner. This coincided with our search for a partner, which began in 1995 and culminated in the two towns agreeing to twin in 1997.