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4 June 2023

This last week has been relatively quiet, at least in mayoral terms. The annual round of “Mayor Making” ceremonies is drawing to a close and was rounded off in grand style in Bath with the Charter Trustees of the City electing a new Mayor on Saturday the 3rd of June. I was in Lancashire over the weekend, so Deputy Mayor Denise Bates was there representing Trowbridge at an event that is probably the grandest in the region. Lots of Mayors from far and wide processed from the Guildhall through the city, culminating in a wonderful ceremony in Bath Abbey. I was there last year as Trowbridge’s Deputy Mayor, representing our then Mayor, Cllr. Graham Hill, so I know firsthand just how full of pageantry it is!

The highlight of my week here in Trowbridge was the first “Twinning Forum” meeting that I’ve attended as Mayor. The Twinning Forum is a group set up by TTC last year to bring together all four twinning associations in the town. These associations are the volunteer groups that work so hard (often with little public recognition) to put flesh on the bones of the Council’s twinning charters with Leer in Germany and Charenton-le-Pont in France. Oujda in Morocco and Elblag in Poland Although the four Twinning Charters are covenants between the civic bodies of the towns involved, it falls to the twinning associations to recruit members, organise social events, and host visits from our twinned towns. Without their work and dedication to the cause of maintaining, even expanding, relationships between the actual people in the twinned towns, the Twinning Charters would not be able to deliver their fundamental aim of sharing cultural, social, and educational experiences between communities in our respective countries.

So, last Wednesday’s meeting of the Twinning Forum was a real breath of fresh air. I think it’s fair to say that relationships between the Council and some of the associations have not been as “close and collaborative” as they should have been recently. It was lovely to be able to welcome one of the new joint chairs of the town’s French Twinning Association to our meeting, and I walked away from the Forum last week truly believing that we have now turned a corner and put many of our recent problems well and truly behind us. We all had an open, friendly, and positive discussion about how to promote twinning in the forthcoming year, and yes, we also congratulated each other on the success of the recent visits from two of our twin towns. At the beginning of May, we played host to parties from Germany and Morocco during the coronation of King Charles III. Both the Burgermeister of Leer (and other guests, both civic dignitaries and citizens of Leer) and the President of the Oriental Region of Morocco (accompanied by the Vice-President of the Regional Council and their advisor) were with us in the days leading up to the Coronation and were present in the Civic Centre to witness the Coronation itself. I can honestly say that it was a really positive experience for our visitors and our German and Moroccan “twinners” here in Trowbridge, and yes, for all of us from TTC (Councillors and officers alike) who were in any way involved. THAT is what twinning should be about, and a personal massive “thank you” from me to the German and Moroccan twinning associations here for making it all possible.

If you are in any way interested in becoming involved in any of the twinning activities going on in the town (whether French, German, Moroccan, or Polish), please contact us at info@trowbridge.gov.uk, and we’ll put you in touch with the relevant association.

That’s it for now, so until next time, keep safe, and please be kind to each other.

 

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