A Chinese mayor was hoping to see his town twinned with Epping five years ago this week.

A delegation of Chinese business people left the Far East to see a glimpse of what life is like in Epping.

The 11-strong group, from Shaoxing Keqia District, visited the town to celebrate the links between the two regions.

The Chinese town’s Deputy Mayor, Zhu Jianming, spoke of the numerous business opportunities available to both areas.

In his speech, he drew on the differences between its leisure, water sports, tourism and economic development.

Mr Zhu added that he hoped to see the two districts twinned in the future.

Tour operator Chigwell Tours brought the delegation to the district, and provided a tour of the iconic White Water Sports Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge.

Salome Ahenkora, managing director of Chigwell Tours, said: “We hope this visit will be the start of a long term relationship in developing both business tourism opportunities between Epping District and Keqiao in China.”

Councillor Gagan Mohindra, deputy portfolio holder for economic development in Essex, also spoke at the ceremony, where he championed the support of the economy in his county and the visit of the delegation.

The group, which also took in trips to Buckinghamshire, Cambridge and Oxford during its stay, completed their Epping leg with a traditional meal at Theydon Bois’ Queen Vic.