A FRENCH mayor got the chance to say “bonjour” at a college he studied at more than 40 years ago.
Monsieur Joel Batteux, mayor of Sunderland’s twinned city Saint Nazaire, returned to Bede Campus, four decades after leaving the centre.
The mayor paid a visit to the Sunderland College’s Durham Road campus, while he was on Wearside to be awarded the Freedom of the City and to attend the annual remembrance ceremony in Mowbray Park.
Monsieur Batteux studied as an exchange student in 1958 at Bede Campus, when the college operated as a grammar school.
He was keen to return to see how the campus is now being used, and to learn more about the work of Sunderland College’s students.
Principal Anne Isherwood said she was delighted to welcome Monsieur Batteux and tell him about ongoing work at the college.
She said: “Though we may be based in the same building that he was all those years ago, the current multimillion-pound development work will transform the campus, and the way we teach has changed immeasurably. It was great to talk to him about the work we are doing to help the city succeed.”
Monsieur Batteux spent time with Mrs Isherwood, before having a tour of the college and visiting business studies students.
The twinning of Sunderland and Saint Nazaire means that the college has played host to students from the French coastal town in the past, giving them a chance to find out more about the city.
and the UK.