Abergavenny’s Youngest Autistic Councillor Goes Abroad for the Very First Time in His Life


Going abroad for the very first time in anyone’s life can be an extremely daunting thing, but have you ever thought what it can be like for an autistic adult in particular? Kyle Jamie Eldridge who is Abergavenny’s youngest Autistic Councillor did just that and as a result… he has come back a renewed and somewhat changed man. 

Kyle along with his fellow councillor and somewhat political and personal mentor Councillor Maurice Barnes and the Mayor and Mayor’s Consort of Abergavenny, along with the towns Twinning Association and Rhinos Football Club went to Beaupreau-en-Mauges in the region of Pays de la Loire in Western France for a twinning expedition to strengthen the bonds between the two towns. The expedition took place between the 28th of March to the 1st of April, across a range of countries, regions and settlements such as Abergavenny (Wales), Portsmouth (England), Caen (France), Mont Saint-Michel (France), Fougeres (France), Beaupreau (France), Cholet (France) and Clission (France). 

According to Kyle, there was a lot of expected travelling, but over a noticeably brief period of which people did not really have much time to themselves – meeting various new people and getting exposed to many new environments during the process of the expedition. 

Despite these common set of challenges everyone faced during the expedition, Councillor Maruice Barnes shares that: 

“Kyle was well prepared to go on his first trip overseas to Beaupreau  France where he was hosted by the local Mayor being an important person in our twinning delegation. 

He made his usual good impression on our hosts and this culminated in him giving our thanks speech at the closing ceremony where he reminded us all that ” There is nothing impossible to him who will try” which went down very well with all present.

It was great to see him enjoying himself while there”.


Despite Kyle being seen as having a good time during the expedition, he shares his inner most thoughts with us:


“Of course I was scared deep down, but how can I say it? How can I tell you what it was like to feel free, to feel, big things and believe when the horizon on the ferry looked you in the eye you could do anything… anything! In the horizons presence by the light of its landscape I was better than myself and from there all my fears subsided going into this new experience forever.


When I think of fear now, it is like a mountain – It stares you down thinking you will never be able to conquer it and victory belongs to the brave who never give up!


During the trip, the spirit of Wales was honed, carried and left in Beaupreau by each and everyone of us. Through that, we made our country proud, our own very way of life proud and our people proud… glory to Wales!


This was the first and certainly not the last trip abroad!”. 

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