Cupar and Howe of Fife link with Sainte-Menehould in France
When it comes to famous sons, the town of Cupar in Fife is in an uneven contest with its twin community in the Argonne region of northern France, Sainte-Menehould. In around 1638, the French town was the birthplace of the Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, who is often – but erroneously – credited with the invention of Champagne. He did, however, significantly improve the process of wine-making by introducing blending and by avoiding refermentation, which caused bottles of wine to explode. Sainte-Menehould commemorates Dom Pérignon in stone (perhaps sampling a grape), whereas Cupar has a statue of a 19th-century local landowner and religious activist, who successfully campaigned for a bridge over a railway line in the town.
Exploding bottles of sparkling wine were not known to be a problem in Cupar, but the two communities, nevertheless, have much in common. Both are located in productive agricultural areas. Cupar’s rural hinterland, known as the Howe of Fife, extends mainly to the west of the town and contains a number of small villages surrounded by fields. Sainte-Menehould enjoys a similar rural setting, but is located fewer than 70km distant from the vineyards growing grapes for the production of Don Pérignon and other brands of vintage Champagne.
Informal contacts between the two communities were initiated in the early 2000s and a number of exchange visits, mainly involving young people, took place over the following years. The Cupar and Howe of Fife Twinning Association (CHFTA) was established to promote the relationship, working in conjunction with the municipal authorities in Sainte-Menehould. The flourishing partnership became a formal twinning relationship at a ceremony in Cupar in October 2010 and was confirmed the following year at a reciprocal event in Sainte-Menehould.
The purpose of the twinning arrangement is to further develop contacts between Cupar and Sainte-Menehould across a range of areas, including educational, cultural, sporting and economic activities. In addition to school parties, exchange visits have taken place by musical groups, sports enthusiasts, local farmers, business people and others. The young people involved participated in a range of sporting and other activities, such as visits to local places of interest. A group from Cupar was taken on a tour of tunnels, remaining from the fighting on the western front during the First World War.
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Cupar and Howe of Fife Twinning Association Facebook page
English Wikipedia page for Sainte-Menehould