Hebden Bridge's Twin Town: 25th anniversary

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

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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.

During the Mayday weekend a party of more than 50 people from St. Pol arrived on the Thursday afternoon to be greeted by the Mayor, his consort, and the President and members of Hebden Bridge and District International Group. After a welcome drink at the Church of the Good Shepherd they were taken home by their hosts for an evening meal.

On Friday a tour of Halifax was organised, travelling by historic double-deck bus, a real novelty for our guests! After visiting the Gibbet the group went to the Piece Hall to view the exhibition at the Gallery and browse the shops. Next stop was the Town Hall where the Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale showed the French visitors around the building ending in the Mayor's parlour.

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.

Saturday morning saw a choice of programme, the most popular destination being the Little Valley Brewery whose products were appreciated by all. Younger visitors were entertained by decorating pottery at the Flying Saucers Cafe, whilst others were taken for a wider view of our Pennine scenery. In the afternoon there was a walk up Hardcastle Crags for the more energetic with a look at some of the wide variety of wild life living in the valley. The wide views from Shackleton hill were greatly admired by guests who have learned of our dark satanic mills at school rather than our green open spaces.

a volleyball match was arranged on Calder Holmes

Volleyball in Calder Holmes Park

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.

Eric Denudt

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

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.

See also:

Twin towns, passport to peace (Hebweb,May 2005)
A weekend in France (Hebweb, May 2005)

Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise - Wikipedia
Warstein - Wikipedia
Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise - website

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