At the Annual German Meeting of the Cheltenham Twinning Association on 23 November 2017, Cllr Garth Barnes stepped down as Chairman of Twinning after 15 years. He was presented with a picture as a token of appreciation for his devoted hard work and support over so many years. Garth has been involved with twinning for over 40 years and has also received the Göttingen Medal of Honour for his commitment and dedication towards developing the very strong link with our German twin town. He has been an excellent Ambassador for Cheltenham in all of our twin towns and everyone involved with twinning thanks him very much for all that he has done. Garth will remain on the committee and Cllr Diggory Seacome was elected as the new chairman.
Over 420 Cheltenham people have taken part in visits and exchanges during 2017 and this figure doesn’t include all the host families, members of local clubs and societies, Twinning Association members, local companies, volunteers and helpers who are all involved in some way or other to make it so successful. Please see the summary of all our 2017 twinning events with a big thank you to all who have supported Cheltenham town’s twinning links.
After four years of waiting, friends from our twin city of Göttingen, Germany, came back to Cheltenham to celebrate 66 years of twinning from 22-27 July 2017. A group of 13 students, 33 senior sports participants and 60 Göttingen residents, including the official delegation led by Rolf-Georg Köhler, Mayor of Göttingen, visited us for the ‘big party’!
After our German friends arrived on the Saturday evening, Cheltenham Mayor Klara Sudbury welcomed them at a reception at Chapel Arts on Sunday. Mr. Köhler presented a picture of the ‘Gänseliesel’ (goose girl), the most kissed woman in Göttingen, and gave it as a present to Cheltenham.
Many of our friends stayed with host families, friends saw each other again and new friendships were made. It was a happy and warm atmosphere which also seemed to influence the weather.
The visitors participated in fantastic day trips to Bath, Gloucester and Three Choirs Vineyard, saw the amazing Waterperry Gardens and took the steam train to Toddington to see the beautiful Cotswolds around the picturesque market town of Stow-on-the-Wold.
After a productive twinning meeting on Tuesday, our long partnership was celebrated with a twinning cake, English humour, interesting talks, entertainment by the Gloucestershire Morrismen and dancing at the Barbeque party.
Friends met again, new friendships were made and our twin cities got closer together. That’s what twinning stands for: bringing people from different countries together, having a cultural and linguistic exchange for a better understanding and standing side by side even in difficult and uncertain times.
We are glad to have this strong partnership with Göttingen and look forward to taking a large group of people from Cheltenham to celebrate the ‘big party’ in Göttingen in the summer of 2019!
Yes it’s that time again!!! Every four years Cheltenham welcomes a large number of visitors from our German twin town of Göttingen on a twinning exchange of citizens that started in 1976. The dates for the 2017 visit to Cheltenham are:
22-27 JULY 2017
The Twinning Association are looking for people to host our visitors in their homes and to take part in the programme of events that is being arranged.
Further details and an offer of accommodation form are available and if you can help or know of any events, concerts etc that will be happening at this time, please contact the Twinning Officer.
Youngsters from Cheltenham’s twin town of Gottingen Germany, together with young people from Gottingen’s twins of Pau in France and Torun in Poland, all came to Cheltenham from 22-29 July 2016 to join with Cheltenham young people in the international youth for peace camp, which was started in 1995 to commemorate the end of World War 2. The 30 young people all stayed together and enjoyed a programme based on this year’s theme of ‘young and enterprising’. This included a day of informal learning by marketing fish and chips in Hatherley and a day in Winchcombe learning about graphic design using the Cotswold town as an inspiration. The group also did raft building, produced a national meal from each country represented and were welcomed by the Mayor of Cheltenham in the Council Chamber.
To mark their 150th anniversary from 1865 to 2015, the Cheltenham Camera Club organised an interclub photo competition during 2015 between Cheltenham and the photo clubs of our twin towns of Annecy and Gottingen. The top three photos from each town, in the categories of Best Picture, Highly Commended and Commended can be viewed below.
In July this year, at the invitation of the Twinning Association, Almost Athletes selected 3 runners to travel to Göttingen to take part in the annual Old Town Run. Graham (Gray) Davis, Matt Proome and Paul Turner were the lucky names drawn from the beanie hat, so we 3 intrepid runners set off via plane and train to arrive at our hotel in Göttingen at nearly midnight.
At breakfast the following morning, we met runners from Göttingen’s other twin towns in Germany and Poland, then it was off to meet our hosts in town for lunch in the new Town Hall building – great views from the restaurant on the top floor! As the day went on, it got hotter and hotter – and we all realised that PBs (personal best times) were highly unlikely. After a couple of shorter races (children’s and a 5km run), we 10km runners lined up in the square for the start of the race – 6 laps winding through the centre of the Old Town. Suffice to say that our PB expectations were accurate – the heat (even after 8pm!) duly played its part – but all 3 of us really enjoyed taking part. Fantastic support from the townspeople all round the course – which was not surprising, as everyone we met in Göttingen was so friendly – and impressed that we’d come “all the way from Cheltenham” to run!
The morning after the race, we were treated to a very interesting guided tour of the Old Town Hall and the old town centre itself – amazing to discover just how closely Göttingen has been linked to Britain for so long via the House of Hannover. Our afternoon was spent sightseeing, then the deputy mayor with responsibility for tourism and twinning hosted a meal at a traditional restaurant for the runners from the 3 twin towns. The liquid celebrations carried on for some time after we’d finished eating…
All three of us really enjoyed our visit to Göttingen, and we were immensely proud to represent Cheltenham at the race; the Old Town, steeped in history and well worth a visit, is compact, thus easy to stroll round, with plenty of good places to eat (and drink!) – and for runners, the races are well organised, marshalled and supported. And flat!
Thanks must go to the Twinning Association for the invitation to take part and for their generous assistance with travel costs.
Report and pictures supplied by Paul Turner, Almost Athletes