A Celebration of Cheltenham and Göttingen Storytelling Project

A beautifully illustrated bi-lingual English/German book of short stories was launched on Thursday 21 July 2022 at a reception event attended by delegates from Göttingen and supporters of Cheltenham twinning association.

The inspirational joint collaborative project marks the 70th anniversary of the link between the twin towns of Cheltenham and Göttingen in Germany. The 13 stories are written by William Lewis of Cheltenham, translated by Christiane Christen of Göttingen and illustrated by members of the Göttingen Kreis 34 Art Club.

The book launch was a highlight of the visit of the Mayor of Göttingen, Petra Broistedt, and a delegation from Göttingen – the first exchange visit since 2019.

The Mayors of both towns endorsed the book, with Cheltenham Mayor, Cllr Sandra Holliday, citing it as a ‘Collaborative celebration of our cultures’, and Mayor of Göttingen, Frau Petra Broistedt, saying, ‘A project like this is a symbol of good international understanding’.

The project received financial support from Cheltenham Borough Council’s community fund, Göttingen Town Council, and Cheltenham and Göttingen’s Twinning Associations.

Annette Wight, twinning officer, said: “We were delighted to welcome a delegation from our twin town after a long break due to the pandemic. It was the first visit to Cheltenham for a number of the visitors, and we very much enjoyed showing them what Cheltenham has to offer. 

“We also had discussions to see where we can work together on future twinning projects with topics around the climate emergency, eco exchanges, festivals and refugees all high on the agenda.”

Cllr Diggory Seacome, chair of the Cheltenham Twinning Association, said: “I would like to express our huge thanks to William Lewis, and the team at the Göttingen Art Club for producing such a wonderful book it was wonderful to make copies available to attendees of the celebratory launch event. Cultural exchanges have played a prominent role in this longstanding and successful twinning partnership, and this storytelling collaboration typifies twinning at its best.”

The book, 13 Short Stories by William Lewis, is available for purchase on Amazon in book and e-book formats.

Twinning at its Best

A celebration of the Cheltenham-Gӧttingen storytelling project
On Thursday 21 July 2022 6pm to 8pm
At Chapel Arts Centre, Knapp Road, GL50 3QQ

In the presence of the Mayor of Cheltenham and an Official Delegation from Göttingen,
headed by the Mayor of Göttingen Frau Petra Broistedt

This project highlights joint cultural collaboration and celebrates
the 70th Anniversary of the twinning link

The book of 13 short stories, written by Cheltenham author William Lewis, translated and illustrated by Kreis 34 Art Club members Christiane Christen and Greta Mindermann-Lynen, will be launched.

Please come and celebrate the Best of Twinning with us

No entrance charge but donations welcome on the day.
Drink and nibbles and copy of book available

RSVP to Annette.wight@cheltenham.gov.
by Tuesday 19 July latest

13 Short Stories by William Lewis

Visitors from Stampersgat

The Mayor of Cheltenham and CheltenhamTwinning Association were delighted to welcome a group of 20 visitors from Cheltenham’s Friendship town of Stampersgat from 26-29 May 2022. The visit marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the link and the group were the first overseas visitors post pandemic. The Dutch visitors layed tulips at the war memorial and took part in a short service of remembrance.

The visitors enjoyed a visit to Goucester Quays and The Gloucestershire Regimental Museum, as well as a social evening for visitors and their host families, where the Cheltenham team regained the Boat Race Trophy.

Cheltenham Charity supports Schoolgirls in Kisumu County

Cheltenham based charity Global Footsteps has supported the Aniga Women’s Community Based Organisation in Kisumu since the 1990’s with several initiatives. This year saw the latest one when Benter Ndeda, the CEO of the Aniga Women helped Kenyan girl pupils by successfully delivering sanitary pads to local schools in Kisumu County.

Ethical Giving, a charitable organisation, provided £2,000 that was transferred directly to the Aniga Women to support a “period poverty” project.

The successful provision of sanitary pads has helped girls between the ages of 10 and 17 years old to increase their self-esteem, with improved school attendance and information on menstrual hygiene management and awareness of HIV & AIDS.

In Kenya, there are significant cultural taboos around menstruation, which pose a serious challenge to access to sanitary towels. Many girls in Kenya can miss an average of four days of school every month, due to embarrassment and lack of guidance. This means a high likelihood of falling behind or even dropping out. The dropout rate among female students in primary and secondary schools is already a problem in Kenya.

As well as affecting their education, the girls’ health is also endangered by the absence of support and guidance on menstruation. Problems such as unhygienic ways to dry menstrual materials or dispose of them appropriately are commonplace. Girls also worry about leakage and lack of resources (e.g. soap, clean water). Consequently, many girls grow up in isolation with low self-esteem, afraid of prejudices and negative attitudes.

Global Footsteps was able to transfer funds direct to the Aniga Women CBO and then our contact Benter Ndeda travelled from the rural county of Kisumu to Nairobi to purchase the bulk quantity of sanitary pads needed. Weather and road conditions made the trip challenging but she bought a total of 2,050 pieces of sanitary pads, enough to provide 670 pupils, with three months’ supply each and guidance on their use.

A final health concern is that schools cannot effectively dispose of sanitary pads. They use pit latrines as toilets, which quickly fill up. Ideally schools should use an incinerator to dispose of the pads and reduce the risk of disease. Possibly a future project.

Visit to Annecy

The Twinning Association is organising a seven day trip in October 2022 to Cheltenhams’ beautiful twin town of Annecy with stops enroute in Ypres and Bruges and five full days in this delightful town by the lake in the foothills of the Alps, known as Little Venice, with its canals, rivers and floral displays.

The trip will coincide with the Descente des Alpages, a traditional folklore day when the animals parade through the old town and local produce, traditional costumes and folklore are in abundance. Other trips and excursions will also be organised.

Bookings for the trip have now closed, but do keep an eye out for any future visits.

For more information, download the accommodation, cost and other trip details and the visit to Annecy booking form or view them below.

Statement from the Cheltenham Twinning Association on the situation in Ukraine

Councillor Diggory Seacome, chair of Cheltenham Twinning Association has issued a statement on Cheltenham’s link with Sochi in relation to the situation in Ukraine.

“Fostering links through Twinning was borne out of a desire after the Second World War to encourage greater co-operation and understanding between towns and cities. Cheltenham’s Twinning Association has a proud history of following that post-war tradition. We are both saddened and dismayed that peace in the Ukraine has given way to military action which has potential to create significant destruction, loss of life and unimaginable damage to the Ukraine and its people. As a result of the distressing events that continue to develop, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend all twinning activities with Sochi.”

World Water Day Social Evening on 22 March

Please join us on World Water day as we end our appeal for a water well at a school in Kisumu. Hear how the appeal is going, as well as our other twinning projects, over a glass of wine and nibbles.

Tuesday 22 March 2022, 7.00pm to 9.30pm at St. Andrew’s Church (Garden Room), Montpellier Street, Cheltenham GL50 1SP.

Tickets are £10 per person, please send payments in advance by BACS to Cheltenham Twinning Association – Sort code: 23 05 80 Account: 37075221.
RSVP by email to annette.wight@cheltenham.gov.uk

We look forward to seeing as many of our twinning friends and supporters as possible.