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Thursday 20th October, 2005

Trading Places
(Top) Vicki in Angers’ Jardin du Mail and (bottom) Claire at Wigan Parish Church.

Wigan has once again exchanged ambassadors with its French twin town Angers.

25 year old Claire Lemonnier has just arrived in England for her year-long sojourn in Wigan, while Billinge-born Vicki Cunliffe will spend the next 12 months developing Anglo-French links, and using her translating and interpreting skills.

Former Up Holland High and Winstanley College student Vicki, 22, graduated from Nottingham University this summer with a 2:1 in Modern Languages, which included French, Spanish and Russian.

Vicki’s flair for languages and spirit of adventure has already taken her to France and it Russia. She has previously worked as a school assistant in Brittany and at a children’s summer camp near Moscow, and spent a semester studying at St Petersburg State University and in San Sebastian, Spain.

Claire Lemonnier first came to England 10 years ago on a school exchange to Liskeard in Cornwall. Now she’s back – and already she loves the place.

"Wigan seems a lovely town. There’s lots going on and I’m looking forward to carrying on the good work of my predecessor Anne."

Claire is from Quimperlé in Brittany, but has family further south in Angers. She had just returned from seven months travelling and working in Australia when she spotted the advert.

"I’ve always wanted to work in England" she adds,"and as soon as I saw the ad I knew Wigan was for me."

532 miles separate Claire and Vicki, but they’ll still be working together closely and any individuals or organisations with twinning projects or ideas for either side of the English Channel can contact Claire on 01942 828950.

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