Hebden Bridge's Twin Town: 25th anniversary
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Hebden Royd was officially twinned with St. Pol-sur-Ternoise (in the Pas de Calais Département) 25 years ago. Since that time there have been many links, not least the annual school exchanges with Calder High.
St. Pol has been twinned with Warstein in Germany for 40 years and so informal links started with them also at about the same time with school exchanges again being a regular feature. Over the last year there has been increased activity, largely due to the leadership of our Mayor, Stewart Brown, working with the Hebden Bridge and District International Group.
A small delegation from Hebden Bridge attended the 40th Anniversary Celebrations of the St. Pol/Warstein twinning, and in reciprocal fashion a small delegation of St. Polois attended the festivities when Hebden Royd and Warstein reached their 10th Anniversary of Official Twinning.
A buffet lunch was taken at the Asia restaurant before travelling to Bankfield Museum where the history of the house and surroundings was explained before looking round the varied displays. Final stop of the day was at Shibden Hall where St. Pol mayor Maurice Louf knocked at the door to be greeted by ladies in Tudor Costume.
A fine day was concluded with a meal for our guests and their hosts at the Rim Nam Thai restaurant. Towards the end of the meal the German contingent arrived to join in the rest of the weekend.
At teatime a volleyball match was arranged on Calder Holmes between St. Pol’s Sport Sans Frontière and a scratch local team. The Saturday evening meal was taken at home with hosts. An evening social and dance was held at St. Michael’s Church Hall, Mytholmroyd with the Mill Hillies and music by The Owter Zeds.
On Sunday morning there was a walk around Hebden Bridge led by the Mayor before everyone convened at the Mytholmroyd Community Centre for the official ceremony to mark 25 years of twinning and friendship between the two towns.
After the speeches a painting combining features of St. Pol and Hebden Bridge was presented to Stewart Brown by Maurice Louf in the presence of the artist Eric Denudt.
Giant glasses from the Warsteiner Brewery were presented to M. Louf and Mr. Brown by Burgemeister Manfred Gödde which were in due course filled with English beer for the two mayors.
After a light lunch provided by the Mooch Bar the French coach departed for the Channel Tunnel and later in the afternoon the German contingent left for Manchester Airport after an enriching weekend for all concerned. It is to be hoped that the many strong friendships formed and continued over the four days will lead to further visits and a growing participation of people from all three towns.
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