Years of friendship...

Early Memories of Twinning

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Published November 2020

This picture was taken in the Summer of 1977 to celebrate the decision to formalise the arrangement. The occasion was celebrated by getting together in Bad Münstereifel.

This photograph was taken in the garden of Cure House, just prior to the ceremony taking place. On the left is the Mayor of Fougères (Michel Cointat) and his wife, Brian Prebble, Mayor of Ashford and me his wife, Ann. To my right Mimi Renno and on the far right Herr Gerlach and his wife. 

As you can see, I was wearing a hat for the occasion which was the accepted attire for a fairly formal event in this country at the time. We were staying at the Witten Hotel and had to walk up to Cure House. It seemed that nobody had seen a woman in a hat before because I found that I was being stared and pointed at as we progressed along our route, and when we arrived, I realised that nobody else was wearing a hat! I had two choices, carry it around with me all afternoon or keep it on.

The formal part of the meeting was very pleasant and, during it, the Mayors’ wives were each presented with a lovely Hermes scarf. Mine had a nautical theme, and the French Mayor said he chose that one for me because I came from a seafaring country. It is very lovely and I still treasure it. It was a most enjoyable occasion to be involved in.

The picture below shows a group of members when we organised a Bier Keller at the Stour Centre. We catered for, if memory serves me right, for about seventy members and friends. We spent the afternoon organising it and the whole works were directed by Imi Simpson. It was a three-course meal and all the food was German, which we prepared in advance. There was also music and entertainment. It was quite an ambitious thing to do with the number we were catering for, but I think a good time was had by all.

The photograph is of all who helped organise the event. It shows, starting on the left, John Simpson, Dorothy Buckingham, then I think the little girl is Dorothy’s daughter, Mabel Smith, and Imi Simpson. I am not sure who the man with the big moustache is, but he may be Amy Mason’s husband who is between myself, Ann, and Brian Prebble. We were drinking a toast with German wine and beer.

Story by Ann Bewick
The picture on the right shows a group of members when we organised a Bier Keller at the Stour Centre