Swindon has been celebrating four decades since formally town twinning with Salzgitter in Germany and members of the twinning associations from both towns have been enjoying each other’s company and renewing friendships socially during mid-June, visiting Swindon’s attractions and enjoying a specially brewed German style beer courtesy of Arkell’s, Swindon’s oldest business.
In Town Gardens in Old Town, a bench bearing a commemorative plaque marking 20 years of fraternal friendship was rededicated by Mayor Andrew Bennett and Salzgitter twinning association chairman Manfred Voss who unveiled a plaque marking 40 years – pictured above.
At Arkell’s Brewery on Tuesday 23 June, the visitors supped the latest creation of head brewer Alex Arkell, a German style Bock Beer brewed to celebrate the anniversary. Apparently sales were so good when the beer was released to pubs earlier in June that it almost sold out. Luckily, Alex Arkell had set aside a barrel to make sure that the Salzgitter visitors were able to get a taste of home in Swindon.
Following a tour of Arkell’s the twinning association members enjoyed a traditional English lunch at The Sun at Coate Water before meeting pupils at Nova Hreod Academy and Ferndale Community Primary School to chat to about the importance of twin twinning. The youngsters had been learning about Salzgitter. They also had a chance to practice their language skills by delivering a presentation in German focussed on comparisons between the two towns.
Roger Gower, the chairman of the Swindon Salzgitter Twinning Association, said: “The association aims to encourage and expand knowledge of culture, education, industrial and political interests between the residents of our towns by exchanging visits where we stay in host homes.”
All images by Richard Wintle of Calyx