1,000km walk to take part in twinning visit

A young Frenchman has walked all the way to Winslow from his home in central France for the town’s annual twinning visit.

Alexandre Martinez, aged 22, has covered the 1,000km from Winslow’s twin town of Cours La Ville on foot. About 100 other French visitors have arrived by more conventional means.

Frenchman Alexandre Martinez completes a walk from twin town Cours la Ville to Winslow. With mayor Cllr David Barrie.'130509M-B241

Frenchman Alexandre Martinez completes a walk from twin town Cours la Ville to Winslow. With mayor Cllr David Barrie.'130509M-B241

Mr Martinez was greeted yesterday, Thursday, by Winslow’s new mayor David Barrie and members of the Winslow Anglo-French Twinning Association (WAFTA) in the Market Square.

Music was provided by members of the Harmonie De Thizy, who are staying with members of the Winslow Concert Band as part of the twinning arrangements. Unemployed Mr Martinez left Cours La Ville 10 weeks ago, walking about 10 to 15 miles a day and finding accommodation and meals through contact introductions on the way.

Having visited Winslow several times before with the judo club as part of the twinning, he decided on the walk to show potential employers that he has initiative and drive, and to see whether he could survive without any money, relying on the spirit of friendship and mutual support.

He visited town halls in towns that are twinned with French towns, approached Lions Clubs and visited schools en route to talk about his walk.

He even spent one night at Eton College, which he described as “impressive”.

Finding himself ahead of his target time, in the last fortnight he has been having to find longer stays in each place.

He spent Wednesday night in North Marston to ensure an easy walk into Winslow.

He was greeted in Winslow by a group of Year 9 students from the Buckingham School who have chosen to study French at GCSE.

Their teacher, Rachel Parish, said the students, who are penfriends with students in Cours La Ville, had been teaching French to Year 3, 4 and 5 pupils at Winslow Combined School earlier in the morning.

Mr Martinez brought the students a flag made by students in Cours La Ville, as well as a scarf and badges.

Read more about his journey at www.marchetowin.com