The Cirencester Twinning Partnership with Itzehoe began as far back as 1976. First exchanges began with youth groups, sport clubs and other institutions. An official charter followed in 1982 but it wasn’t until April 1999 that Cirencester formally welcomed 27 eager visitors to its town from Itzehoe, Germany.
The origin of links to St Genis Laval in France is less clear but began with personal friendships across the water and then small group visits.
Committee member Jackie Gloyn writes “It must be 34 years ago that I had my first trip to Itzehoe having read an article in The Standard. I joined a group of around 20 to go to the autumn Weinfest. I was welcomed by Liselotte, a nursing sister, which became somewhat traumatic when she informed me that a tour of their medical establishments had been organised believing incorrectly that I held a high position in our local health service. I was in fact a part-time nursing auxiliary with a young family!
Further trips followed and friendships strengthened. My Soroptimist Club also exchanged visits encountering wonderfully friendly families.
My first visit to St Genis Laval was quite a different experience as we were invited to take part in their Trade Fair. The welcome was wonderful and the programme excellent. I can recommend that this is a marvellous way to get a taste of the culture, food and history of our European partners.”
A glimpse into the past, but then came 2020 and with it, cancellation of all exchange plans.
Our Chair, Anna Colledge writes:
“We are living through strange, unprecedented times and our contact with one another has been limited to distanced meetings outside, Zoom chats, telephone calls and texts.
We are, however, most aware of ourselves as people sharing a common problem across the world. Brexit may have seen us separate politically from our European neighbours but our importance to one another has been highlighted through discussion, negotiation and our common hope for better times ahead as vaccines rollout is shared.
Throughout this time CTA has remained in touch with friends in our partner countries.
We want to maintain these links and give our young people along with us the chance to embrace and celebrate our respective links.
Please visit our website www.cirencestertwinningassociation.org.uk and make contact if you would like to be part of our vision for a more united, not separated Europe.”