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Oakham and District Twinning Association looks to expand its links with Barmstedt in Germany

Cultural links with a German community are set to be reinvigorated with the relaunch of a twinning programme.

Oakham has been twinned with Barmstedt in the state of Schleswig-Holstein near Hamburg since 1987.

As the 40th anniversary approaches, members of the twinning association hope to attract new members and continue the links which have been formed in that time.

Guests at a previous twinning dinner in Oakham
Guests at a previous twinning dinner in Oakham

An open meeting will take place next month for people to find out more about the twinning programme and the opportunities it presents.

Angie Humphreys, who co-founded Oakham’s twinning association with her husband Francis, said: “In Barmstedt our contacts would be pleased to revitalise this successful link following many previous exchange visits by families, school sports groups, concert bands, scouts, footballers and cyclists.

“The many benefits of twinning include travel, language, culture and the experience of living with families and trying new foods: a true way to meet people in their own environment.”

A visit to the German town is planned for September
A visit to the German town is planned for September

The group will now be known as the Oakham and District Twinning Association to encourage those living outside of the town to join.

A drop-in evening will take place at Oakham Castle on Thursday, May 30 from 6-8pm when people can learn more about the history of the group and view photos of Barmstedt. It will be attended by Susanne Schmidt, chairperson of the Barmstedt Twinning Association, and the Mayor of Barmstedt, Frau Heike Döpke.

A trip to Germany is already in the pipeline for September and there are also plans to launch a children’s pen pal scheme.

Susanne said: “For us town twinning means international understanding. It’s good to know about each other, talk to each other, understand each other’s concerns and also share ideas on the challenges of climate change, for example. Current events in the world show that we must work together to protect our peace.”

Oakham is twinned with Barmstedt in Germany
Oakham is twinned with Barmstedt in Germany

Anyone interested in attending the information evening should contact Adam Lowe on adamfromoakham@gmail.com or 07801 541389 by Thursday, May 16.

Adam joined the twinning group in 2018. He said: “It opened my eyes to what is a very easy and relaxed friendship between our two towns. No expectations or demands.

“Twinning offers an opportunity to maintain ties and friendships with a great country, mixing with great people who have shared values and vision. I would love for like-minded people to join us in taking what Angie and Francis started to another level.”

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