Twenty years of Selby being twinned with Filderstadt in Germany has been celebrated in the district with a week-long programme of festivities and a visit from three German councillors.
Last year the Selby-Filderstadt Twinning Group celebrated 20 years of town twinning in Germany. This year, the celebrations took place in Selby. The Selby twinning group organised a diverse and varied programme including the tower of Selby Abbey with a tour and historical walk inside and around, York, Newby Hall, fish and chips, pub quiz, juke box factory, walks through Leeds, and Drax Power Station.
Hedy Barth-Roessler, chairwoman of the German-British Association of Filderstadt, said: “It was a perfect fit for everybody.” Three councillors of Filderstadt had joined her coming to Selby. The visitors were fascinated by the famous Selby Abbey. The view from the tower was spectacular on a sunny day, the tour through the Abbey very historical and the walk through Selby inspiring – especially while searching for three swans everywhere. Some groups were joined by new MP Keir Mather on the walk - both nationalities of the group were pleased to meet him. A pub quiz in the Unicorn was a new and exciting experience for the German friends. They had fun seeking the right answers – playing in mixed teams of five – and cooling off with a sip of English beer in between. The highlight of the week was the official evening celebrating 20 years of twinning on Friday. The Germans were very pleased and honoured by the attendance of Deputy Mayor Fred Matthews and former Mayor Melanie Davis. The German visitors were enthusiastic when Mr Matthews gave his speech in German and English. He reminded everyone of the very beginning of the twinning more than 20 years ago in a restaurant in Selby. Andrea Faller, leader of the Selby Twinning Group, emphasised the importance and relevant meaning of the twinning.
Cllr Stefan Hermann, first honorary deputy of Filderstadt’s Lord mayor Christoph Traub, talked in his speech about a ‘significant bridge between different nations, cities, people, cultures and languages for a better understanding that grows into friendship.’ Hedy Barth-Roessler thanked the English hosts and friends for opening their home and their hearts to them for 20 years, adding: “You make us feel at home in Selby.” Tamara Postnikova and Stefan Hörz from the staff of Filderstadt presented every host a gift from the city: a wooden carving board with the inscription 20 years of twinning, a cheese knife and salad servers, and fair-trade Filderstadt chocolate. After the formalities, everyone enjoyed dancing to the sound and instruction of the band Odd Socks, forming special traditional dance formations. The Saturday was spent with hosts at the seaside under a bright blue sky. Departing Leeds airport, Stefan Hermann said: “Saying goodbye to friends is always hard.” Hedy Barth-Roessler added: “This special bond between our cities and people that have become dear friends makes the world a better place.” The grateful visitors of Filderstadt said a big thank you - danke schön - and see you again next year in Filderstadt.
A group shot of the guests and hosts. (14-09-10 SU)