COUNCILLORS want to end Wallingford’s historic link with its French twin town after becoming fed up with more than a decade of silence.

Mayor Alec Hayton has tried to stop 30 years of twinning with Luxeuil-les-Bains after repeated attempts to contact civic leaders in the town in eastern France fell on deaf ears.

Mr Hayton has asked the Brussels-based Council for European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), which co-ordinates the schemes in Europe, to ‘de-twin’ them.

He said: “I spoke to the international twinning organisation about this, but they weren’t interested in sorting out the problem.

“They said they didn’t have the forms and it wasn’t their job to de-twin towns. They didn’t think anyone had asked that before.”

Mr Hayton thought Wallingford, which has also been twinned with German town Bad-Wurzach since 2000, could be the first town in the country to try to end a twinning partnership.

He said: “When I was in Germany last year, I had a long talk with the mayor of Luxeuil and he promised lots of things but nothing has happened. We’ve heard nothing now for about 10 years. We’re pretty fed up. I would like some contact, even if they say they don’t want to be twinned with us anymore.

“We don’t know if they’re alive or dead.”

Mr Hayton said school exchanges had not taken place for about 15 years, although former mayor Betty Atkins visited the town in 1998.

He said: “We gave some money for Cholsey Bluebirds to go out and play a football match against them about four years ago, but that was about it.

“We’ve tried to drum up interest with their twinning committee, but it’s hopeless. The committee in Wallingford consists of me, because all the others have got fed up with the lack of interest. I’m very disheartened.”

The mayor of Luxeuil-les-Bains, Michel Raison, was unavailable for comment and staff at his office said they would not be able to comment until next week.

Mrs Atkins said: “I went to celebrate the twinning and the chap who was mayor in Luxeuil was wonderful. But he left office and the person who took over wasn’t interested and it died a death.

“We’ve made approaches over the years, but nothing has come of it.”

Mr Hayton said the relationship began when some French Scouts, stuck in Wallingford town centre, were found by a town councillor and directed to a campsite at nearby Crowmarsh.

One of the Scouts was the son of the then mayor of Luxeuil, who suggested the twinning.

Councillors have agreed to continue sending the town their monthly Window for Wallingford magazine and a Christmas card for the time being.

Mr Hayton said: “Luxeuil is too far away, it’s near the Swiss border.

“English towns want to be twinned with somewhere north of the Loire because it’s easier to get to.”