Councillor Kate Rowbottom has paid tribute to Horsham Twinning Association at their annual general meeting.
On Friday March 9 Councillor Rowbottom honoured the accomplishments of the members of the Association who foster social, sports and cultural links with Horsham’s twin towns in their own time and almost entirely at their own expense.
Presiding over the Association’s annual general meeting, Councillor. Rowbottom said that the work of these ‘twinners’ was greatly appreciated by the District Council and she thanked the officers, committee and members for their very hard work.
If passers-by give it a second thought they probably imagine that town-twinning is a scheme which gives local dignitaries some foreign travel at the tax payers’ expense.
The truth is in fact the very opposite.
In other countries, such as France, twinning work is taken care of within local government.
In the UK, however, it is predominantly taken care of by volunteers.
Set up in the 1980s Horsham Twinning Association has around 100 members.
The twinning with Lage (pronounced lager) in Germany was formalised with a charter in 1985 after existing contact had been made between sports clubs in the two towns.
Links with Saint-Maixent in France, Horsham’s second twin, go back even further.
Horsham’s links are sustained to a large extent by sporting connections - between Horsham Joggers and TG Lage for example or between Horsham Rugby Club and Saint-Maixent.
Kingslea Primary School has a close relationship with Ehrentrup Grundschule, a primary school in Lage.
Last year children from Kingslea travelled to Germany where they sang together with German pupils, taking part in a particularly moving concert.
Cultural connections are now also in focus, particularly with Horsham’s Year of Culture 2019 in mind.
Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham, who came and supported the work of the Twinning Association added: “Horsham’s twinning links are maintained and fostered by volunteers and would like to thank them for their commitment.
“As our relationship with our European partners changes these cultural links are even more important and I look forward to the connections being fostered – the 2019 Horsham Year of Culture providing a golden opportunity.”
Anyone who is interested in the work of the Horsham Twinning Association is invited to contact its chairman, James Prentice, at email@example.com