In 2001, some 600 families were accounted for from all over the world and 126 Venables answered our invitation favourably. This convention took place between the 12th to the 15th July, and once more the Venables found themselves on the land of their ancestor Gilbert, sharing these four days with the Venablois.
Its success was firstly due to the effort the Organisation Committee put into realising this convention with the help of volunteers from Venables and their friends.
The event in itself and the welcoming of the Venables by their host families, the conviviality between the Venables and Venablois and the combined efforts of all the volunteers contributed in giving this occasion the splendour it deserved and had an impact on a regional and national level, despite the last minutes arrangements and the unforeseen problems.
Thursday 12th of July : After the usual gathering at the Town Hall, the Venables and the Reception Committee got together with the Venables for the official photo in front of the Town Hall, decorated with the flags of all participants� countries. In the Village Hall it was the Venablois� turn to welcome the Venables. The day, which is a day of reunion for most of the Venables, finished with the official signing of the Visitors' book, refreshments and a buffet.
Friday 13th of July : A day trip by coach to Bayeux and a visit of the famous tapestry marked this day. Bayeux is a tourist town in Normandy with a wealth of cultural and architectural heritage. The tapestry was commissioned and created by Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror's wife and her ladies. It depicts scenes commemorating the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Our friends enjoyed this day.
Saturday 14th of July : a day for the Venables to spend with their host families. However, for those who wanted to discover the village and its region in detail, they could chose to walk through the village and visit Les Andelys, its museum and its fortress. In the evening a typical Normandy meal was served before the usual 14th of July festivities. It must be mentioned that the Tourist Office in Les Andelys was very much involved in the organisation and was a great help in providing all the necessary information about its town's history and the Chateau Gaillard.
Sunday 15th of July : At 11 o�clock, Bernard Oger (initiator of the first convention) and Robert Venables (the first person who came to Venables), uncovered the commemorative plaque of the � Cultural Centre Gilbert de Venables �, in front of the regional and national press. Mr. Patrick Lequette, initiator of the project, insisted in his speech on the role of the centre to promote in different ways the projects and ideas in order to develop long lasting relations between the Venables and Venablois. During this ceremony we heard once more "la Venabloise", composed by Mr Marc Morel, and interpreted by young Venablois. After a buffet, it was time to say goodbye. It is with a lot of emotion that the Venables left their friends in Venables, promising that they would not wait for another 5 years before coming back.