"Bridgwater, with 5 twin towns, (La Ciotat- France, Homberg-Germany, Uherske Hradiste-Czech Republic, Marsa-Malta, Priverno-Italy) leads the way in modern day Internationalism around Somerset and this is the second year we've held a Twinning Conference" Organiser, Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said "But when we say 'conference' what we really mean is the opportunity to meet the people that run the twinning groups in town and some visitors from our twin towns.
On Friday 22nd April there was a multinational skittles event at the Squib in West Street hosted by Mayor Leigh Redman. Czechs, Germans, Maltese,Italians and French all tried their hand at our national sport yet it was Lorraine from the Homberg twinning group that eventually won the seemingly neverending game of 'killer'.
TOWN HALL SATURDAY DROP IN
German Town Guards in medieval blue carnivalesque costumes wandered the streets enticing in oblivious High street shoppers, who, once across the threshold, were greeted by Czechs bearing plum brandy and pork scratchings, Italians wielding brocoletti and olive oil, French fish soup and various Maltese and German delicacies.
TWINNING GIG AT THE ART CENTRE
On the evening of Saturday 23rd April was the main twinning party at the Bridgwater Arts Centre which featured not just AFTER DARK from Priverno, but a ridiculously eclectic UN Peacekeeping force opening with Mayor Redman on stage surrounded by the German guards, moving into the French group singing the sentimental Charles Trenet ballad 'Douce France' and followed by the Czechs demonstrating their Moravian folk music and serving yet more slivovice.
No sooner had he left the stage then on came the Alimajanaan Belly Dance group (from Bridgwater) .A rare performance by Bridgwater rockers RED SMED & THE HOT TROT SMASH THE SYSTEM BOOGIE BAND finished off the first part of the evening and then the roof was literally raised (so that'll need to be repaired) by AFTER DARK who had the whole room dancing and singing Volare.
SUNDAY LA CIOTAT FOCUS
On Sunday 24th April it was the turn of Bridgwater's French Twins La Ciotat to have the spotlight on them and so we hosted a garden party for anyone interested in getting involved with next years celebrations. With a history going back to 1957, old hands turned up to reminisce, share experiences and plan for the future. Guests included Derek and Doreen Alder who had kept the twinning going for the past 30 years, Rodney Coates, son of Mayor Oscar Coates who had started the twinning and Margaret Johnson who had organised many of the pupil exchanges through the years and still made a point of visiting La Ciotat every year.
On Monday 25th April it was the turn of the Maltese. 10 years old this year the Marsa twinning group held an event at the Cannington walled gardens where a special Maltese National flower 'The Ears of the Sea' was planted by councillor Dom Spenser and is now on permanent display in their greenhouse..
TWINNING PAST AND PRESENT
Twinning is a great way of making friends and bringing people of different nations closer together and shows peoples compassion and tolerance while proving that we have more in common than we have dividing us. Long may it continue"