Haslemere and District Twinning Association

News of visits and events in 2011

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Awards to Christine Dietz and Michael Biddiscombe

Christine Dietz was awarded the 'Staufer-Medaille' by Peter Friedrich, the Minister of European Affairs (representing the Prime Minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg) for her services to twinning (specifically with Haslemere) and to culture generally.

The article in the Suedwest Presse can be seen here and a translation by Graham Nattrass can be seen here.

A few days before Christine received her award, Michael Biddiscombe also received a medal for services to Haslemere & District Twinning Association. He was among a number of people honoured for their outstanding service to our town, at a ceremony on December 5th, 2011, at which medals were presented by the Mayor, Jim Edwards. Michael was a leading figure in the Twinning Association for many years; he was its first chairman, and also played a key role in setting up the link with Horb in 1991.

Visit to Horb from Friday 2nd September to Monday 5th September 2011.

This year thirty-one of us made the journey to Horb. It was a special occasion, because we were celebrating the twentieth anniversary of our German twinning and also Horb was marking twenty years of twinning with Salins-les-Bains in France and ten years of twinning with Sant Just Desvern in Spain. For this reason, Horb had simultaneously invited all three of their twin towns. Our stay lasted longer than usual, from Thursday Sept. 1st to Monday Sept. 5th.

Most of us arrived on the Thursday evening and had time to settle in with our hosts. This year there was no organised excursion for the whole group, but on the Friday morning many of us were taken separately by our hosts to a variety of attractive destinations, before we all met up again in the afternoon for the start of the formal programme. The venue was the town's technical college, where we were entertained with food, drink and music and met the French contingent for the first time. A great cheer went up when a group of them arrived on their bikes, having cycled in two days all the way from their home town in the Jura.

This year Horb has played host to the Landesgartenschau, a garden festival sponsored by the state of Baden-Württemberg to the tune of several million Euros, which has involved re-landscaping the banks of the Neckar over a length of almost two kilometres and planting numerous beautiful and/or ingenious displays. The town was aiming to receive 200,000 visitors during the four months of opening, but in fact had already reached the 300,000 mark at the time of our visit. On the Saturday morning the group from Haslemere was given a conducted tour of the whole site in blazing sunshine. The culminating point was the Haslemere Garden, conspicuous from afar by the red telephone box donated by our Twinning Association. Click the picture for a larger image.

The afternoon was devoted to "jeux sans frontières" for all four nations, consisting of dancing in the meadow by the Neckar and a game of boules under the plane trees. Dancing in the hot afternoon sun required considerable stamina! In the evening we returned to the grounds of the Gartenschau for the formal twinning anniversary dinner which was held in a huge tent and preceded by numerous speeches in various languages.

Sunday morning was devoted to the serious business of the weekend, namely a discussion of the importance of volunteers to the well-being of society in a European context. Several people from Haslemere had carefully prepared presentations on voluntary organisations in our town with they are associated. The Sunday afternoon and evening were again free with hosts, and the group left Horb on Monday morning to fly back from Stuttgart.

Many more pictures may be found in the Gallery.

Bastille Lunch 2011

A 'Bastille Lunch' similar to the one we held two years ago was held on July 17th. Faith Reynolds nobly agreed to let us hold it in her garden in Chiddingfold - the same place as last time. She was ably assisted by a designated group of helpers coordinated by Ann Fitchett.

Visit from Bernay

The party from Bernay visited us from Thursday April 7th until Sunday April 10th 2011.

Bernayens at Easebourne
Bernayens at Easebourne
Mayors and Chairs at Dinner
Mayors and Chairs at Dinner
They found the maze centre
They found the maze centre
Sunshine at Gulwharf Quays
Sunshine at Gulwharf Quays

This year 40 people from Bernay visited Haslemere. Unfortunately a number of others had had to withdraw due to health problems or other urgent commitments.

Our guests arrived at Portsmouth on 7th April, and were driven to Easebourne near Midhurst where they were treated to a very substantial cream tea in the Priory Café. As they had particularly requested a visit to a brewery, they were then taken to Langham Brewery, at Lodsworth, a 'micro-brewery' where ale is brewed in small quantities using traditional methods. They were lucky enough to be given a commentary 'en français' by Steve Mansley, one of the owners, followed by free beer-tasting and the opportunity to buy the product.

Contrary to our tradition, Friday was a free day with hosts, apart from the formal dinner in the evening, which this year was held at the Georgian Hotel and attended by 90 people. The event was given added significance by the presence of the Mayor of Bernay, M. Hervé Maurey, resplendent in his tricolour sash: he had come over by Eurostar during the day to make his first ever visit to Haslemere. The relaxed atmosphere of the dinner combined with the spontaneity of our own Mayor, Melanie Odell, seemed to put M. Maurey totally at his ease, and he promised to revisit Haslemere before long.

Saturday was given over to a full-day excursion to Hampton Court. We were extremely fortunate with the weather throughout the visit and we had chosen an absolutely perfect day to see the gardens, especially the tulips.

Our visitors left on Sunday morning for Portsmouth where, just as two years ago, they were able to spend a couple of hours at Gunwharf Quays shopping, drinking coffe, or just soaking up the sunshine, before embarking on the afternoon ferry to Caen.

Click here for a report (in french) in the Bernay local newspaper.

News from Horb

The "Island" in Horb gets a dash of British colour:

The little island in Horb now houses a memento of a larger island. Our twin town of Haslemere [sic] is contributing to our garden festival on the banks of the Neckar by the addition of an old British telephone box. It took a few weeks for Werner Peuckert and Wolfgang van Riesen to polish up this worthy object, and Christine Dietz, who is both an ambassadress for the garden festival and also involved in the twinning, was saying yesterday how pleased she was by this new splash of colour which is destined to become a permanent feature of the area near the tip of the island.

The telephone box stands in one of the twinning gardens, which furthermore will soon be planted out in the British national colours of red, white and blue, following the designs of an English lady who is a specialist in gardening matters. It will not be possible to make calls from the phone box, but Christine Dietz is planning to install a mini-library of English thrillers, from which people will be able to choose whatever titles take their fancy.

For those who would like to enjoy the suspense of Agatha Christie or Ian Rankin on the spot, a bench is also going to be erected in Horb's little English garden.

The caption reads: Very british: Christine Dietz, Werner Peuckert (left) and Wolfgang van Riesen are proud of this English telephone kiosk which is being erected on the Flösserwasen in Horb, as part of this year's Garden Festival. It will remain in place when the festival is over.

Click here for the original report (in german) with picture.

News from past years

Reports from 2010.
Reports from 2009.