How many residents of Frome have visited one of our three twin towns? Do you even know where they are? I can hear some of you asking, “Why do we have twin towns? With ‘AirBnB’ it’s easy to travel anywhere. What’s the point? ”.
The original concept of town twinning came about after the Second World War to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation. In later years this has also extended to commercial ties and holidays. Getting to know our European neighbours isn’t easy but maybe we ought to make a bigger effort, especially in the light of BREXIT. I would offer that it’s all about long-term relationships and trying new experiences. Twin towns are not identical to each other. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Frome was officially twinned with Château-Gontier, France in 1975, and with Murrhardt, Germany in 1983. The official twinning with Rabka-Zdrόj, Poland, followed in 2009. The Frome Twinning Association exists to promote twinning between the four partner towns, but of course anyone can visit any town whenever they are able. A wide variety of exchange visits continue to take place. There are formal civic events and social ones. We have regular student exchange visits. There have been many trips by schools, the college, our churches, the emergency services, youth organisations, clubs and most often just small friendship groups of like-minded individuals or families.
This weekend, as the town Mayor, I will be visiting Murrhardt to take part in the official ceremonies marking the hundred years since the end of WW1. I’m looking forward to some sightseeing, meeting people and experiencing a different culture.
If you can, do try to visit one of our twin towns. A warm welcome will surely await you.