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Tributes paid to Jean Lefort, French Worsley town twinning champion

Tributes have been paid to a great exponent of Worsley’s town twinning with French commune Saint-Ouen.

Jean Lefort, president of the Saint-Ouen Twinning Association, died suddenly on 2 December at a convalescent home in France after a heart operation last month.

He leaves his wife Nicole, two daughters and two grandchildren.

Mr Lefort, a former history teacher, had been involved in twinning with Worsley since the agreement was signed between the two towns in 1961.

His father Fernand Lefort and the then leader of Worsley Council Joseph Pennington, whose son Bernard is pictured with Mr Lefort, inked the deal to link Worsley with Saint-Ouen.

Town twinning arrangements have been supported by Salford City Council since 1974.

Over the years the pact has seen French guests visit from Saint-Ouen to see all aspects of Salford life including sports programmes, photography, language training placements for students and even a city-wide chess tournament.

Saint-Ouen on the river Seine is a town of of 44,000 people in northern Paris famous for its seven collectors’ markets.

Saint-ouen city hall

Saint-Ouen City Hall

Vintage seller Marche Dauphine

A vintage goods seller at Saint-Ouen’s Marche Dauphine – via Flickr

Councillor Derek Antrobus, chair of the Salford town twinning association, said: “Town twinning was an idea to bring Europe together in the wake of World War Two before the internet and social media made the world a smaller place and made connections easier.

“Jean was a prominent local historian and had an amazing knowledge of Salford and English history.

“He was an Officier des Palmes Académiques, a prestigious French honour, which was awarded to him for his services to French education.

“Jean and his family were lifelong supporters of the idea of town twinning and he and Nicole made many friends in Salford over the years.

“Saint-Ouen has lost one of its outstanding citizens and Salford has lost a great friend.”

Main image: Mr Lefort (left) with former Salford councillor Bernard Pennington (son of Joseph Pennington)

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.