This summer Cheltenham Twinning Association and some 70 residents of Cheltenham and beyond participated in the highly successful 2019 Big Party visit to Göttingen. Making their way by trains, planes, cars and a comfortable Marchants’ coach, participants were given a very warm welcome on arrival and at a formal welcome ceremony at the Altes Rathaus (Old Town hall), where two David Austin ‘Golden Celebration’ roses were presented by the Mayor of Cheltenham, Roger Whyborn, and later planted in the rose garden in Cheltenham Park, Göttingen.
Guests as well as hosts enjoyed a joint church service, a guided tour of Göttingen on the double-decker ‘Miss Marple’ bus, a bus tour on the new e-bus led by the Göttingen Integrated Transport Association (GŐVB) as well as a demonstration of the latest hybrid technology.
The opening of the Cheltenham Göttingen photo exhibition by Mayor Ulrich Holefleisch at the Torhaus Gallery showcased a selection of outstanding photographs organised by Mike Walker of the Cheltenham Camera Club. Highlights of the 5-day visit included trips to the Friedland Museum, the historic city and castle of Wernigerode in the Harz Mountains and Scharfenstein Castle as well as the traditional party at the Kiessee.
The benefits of the trip are manifold and encompass a renewed commitment to peace. With longstanding and active twinning links between Cheltenham and Göttingen dating back some 68 years, the significance of the enduring peaceful relations, which continue to exist between the two countries, should not be forgotten. Information about policies and best practices in e.g. environmental developments in public transport were shared. In addition, through a working meeting, Cheltenham’s status as a ‘Festival Town’ was promoted and opportunities for mutual collaboration discussed. Links with the University of Göttingen as well as educational establishments and Göttingen’s tourism office were reinforced, and youth exchanges and work experience programmes were reviewed. At a personal level, old friendships were celebrated, and new acquaintances kindled.
This would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment in Cheltenham and Göttingen of respective Mayors, Twinning Officers, host families, interpreters and friends of twinning to whom we send a big thank you.
In summer 2021 we look forward to welcoming Göttingen guests to Cheltenham, when the two twin towns will celebrate their 70th anniversary. In the meantime, if you are interested in connecting with a business, educational establishment, club, society, or if you are a young person interested in doing a work experience placement in Göttingen, Annecy or any of Cheltenham’s other twin towns, or perhaps you might be interested in hosting guests from our twin towns, do please get in touch with Annette Wight.
Carol Stephens,Vice-Chair Cheltenham Twinning Association