AGM & Transforming Lives in African Schools

The recent Annual General Meeting of the Cheltenham Twinning Association held at the Municipal Offices presented an opportunity to highlight just some of the many positive twinning events and activities, which have taken place during the past year.

Over 400 people from Cheltenham and its twin towns have actively participated in events organised by the Twinning Association. Some of the benefits for the local community include the opportunities for young people to participate in school exchanges. For example, through student exchanges by Balcarras School, Belmont School and Pates Grammar School and educational visits, such as 37 University of Gloucestershire students attending the annual Annecy Animated Film Festival and 13 Gloucestershire College hospitality students visiting a catering College in Annecy.

We thank all those who have been involved with the many and varied successful activities of the Twinning Association and look forward to another successful year ahead.

An engaging talk at the AGM by Nigel Linacre, a Trustee of WellBoring, highlighted the valuable work of this charitable organisation in providing water solutions across Kenya. Based in schools, the simple water wells encourage better school attendance and performance, improve the health of children and enable food to be grown for school lunches, as well as benefiting the wider local communities.

We are pleased to support WellBoring’s tremendous work in Kisumu, which as the third largest town in Kenya, has been a friendship town of Cheltenham since 1985. For further details please visit


Twinning Chairmanship Relinquished after 15 years

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.

Off to Sochi

On Tuesday 14 November 2017, the Mayor of Cheltenham, cllr Klara Sudbury, handed a letter of greetings destined for the Mayor of Sochi to Mark Smyth and Michael Lazarev as they embarked on a 3,200 mile road trip to Cheltenham’s twin town of Sochi, Russia.  The two men, Mark from Gloucestershire and Michael from Sochi, left Cheltenham with a letter for the Mayor of Sochi expressing our wish to continue co-operation between the two towns.  The purpose of their journey is to gather and test data collected on their on-board micro-computer device in urban and rural environments where broadband signals may be poor.  The journey will also raise awareness of the link with Sochi and rekindle exchanges and dialogues between the two towns.  The journey will finish towards the end of the month in Sochi Autodrom where the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix is held.

Top Twinning

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.

Weihai pupils visit Cheltenham

Around 40 students from our Chinese twin town of Weihai spent two weeks in Cheltenham from 8-22 July 2017 attending Gloucestershire College’s International summer school.  The youngsters all stayed in local host families and spent an afternoon meeting with the Mayor of Cheltenham asking her questions about the town of Cheltenham and her role as Mayor.  The Mayor was presented with several gifts of friendship.

Göttingen Festival in Cheltenham

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!

Summer Work Placements in Annecy

Two summer work placement jobs are available in Cheltenham’s beautiful twin town of Annecy this summer from 3 July to 1 August 2017.  One is working with the Parks and Gardens team maintaining and keeping Annecy’s wonderful green spaces tidy.  The other is working in the Youth Information Office giving advice and helping visiting students to Annecy.  A high level of French is required for the office position.  The posts are remunerated and accommodation is provided.

If you have A level French and see this as a great opportunity to improve your language skills, please send your CV and letter of motivation to the Twinning Officer.  Further details of the positions can be viewed here.

POSTS now filled.   Watch this space for details of next year’s work placements in Annecy.