BRIDGWATER’S international influence has grown once again as the town gathered yet another twinning link.

Last month the mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Diogo Rodrigues headed up a delegation of visitors to Madeira where a new link was established with the parish of Camacha.

This will be Bridgwater sixth twinning link, including La Ciotat in France, Homberg in Germany, Uherske Hradiste in the Czech Republic, Marsa in Malta and Priverno in Italy.

Cllr Rodrigues travelled with Bridgwater Town Council leader Brian Smedley, Ana Luisa and Milene from the Somerset Portuguese Association plus Tim Mander and Julie Cooper from Sedgemoor District Council.

The delegation was met at the airport by Goncalo Santos on behalf of the Madeiran Government, who entertained the group with facts, figures and personal anecdotes.

Madeira is a major wine producer, so the first stop was to the Henriques & Henriques Wine Company.

Over the course of the week, Diogo and the delegates met with mayors of the various parishes, as well as visiting the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum.

Later in the week Cllr Rodrigues and co visited the presidential palace in Madeira, where they met the president Dr Miguel Albuquerque.

They also met with the island’s tourism and culture secretary Paula Cabaco who was sold on the possibility of being linked with the ‘home of carnival’.

Cllr Smedley said: “At each of our visits we made sure to hand out a good number of the new Bridgwater Tourism Guides.

“On Saturday it was Diogo’s triumphant homecoming.

“His family lived in the parish of Camacha in the district of Santa Cruz before leaving England to find work in the restaurant business.”

The group sat down in the town hall in Camacha with its mayor Pedro Fernandes, and it was enthusiastically agreed that it would be great for Bridgwater and Camacha to twin.

This week the move was fully ratified at a meeting of the Bridgwater Town Twinning Forum.