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Worcester News Article for August 2021

 

Worcester Twinning Association Zooms over to Paris for “Grande Soirée”

 

In mid-June members always travelled to our Parisian twin, Le Vésinet, for the Fête de la Marguerite. Alas this has not been possible for the last two years due to Covid restrictions. Instead, we decided to have a musical Zoom event to celebrate the Fête de la Musique, which apparently originated in Paris in 1982 and has now become an annual global tradition on 21 June.

 

Worcester was immensely proud to showcase two very talented young musicians at the Grande Soirée. Susie Greenow, former HOW College student sang “Blue Skies”. This jazz song, composed by Irving Berlin in 1926, was also sung by the world-famous Josephine Baker, who lived in a beautiful Louis XIII style mansion in Le Vésinet for some years. Susie’s superbly creative toe tapping performance, her flowing melodic lines and vivacious personality did not disappoint! 15-year-old Abby Warner delighted us with her own composition “Hide and Seek”. She sang and accompanied herself on the guitar and amazed us with her awesome video and recording technical abilities. We wish Susie and Abby every success for the future!

 

There were musical contributions from Le Vésinet, Outremont (Canada), Unterhaching (Germany), Hunters Hill (Australia), Villanueva de la Cañada (Spain). Otto from Unterhaching was quite the hero and deserves a special mention. Having already performed his German song in the style of Georges Brassens, he spontaneously kept us entertained with a medley of songs in different languages during the interval of the concert. Bravo Otto!

 

The Grande Soirée was a huge success and was very well attended by members and friends from twin towns. It enabled us to have an informal friendly get-together, learn more about the music and culture of the twin towns and keep us all up to date with the latest Twinning news.

 

Rosemary Campbell, Vice-Chair WTA

 

 

A decade of twinning with Lithuania

In 2011, the mayor of Worcester signed a twinning agreement with a town in Lithuania called Ukmergė. In May of this year, the then Mayor of Worcester, Cllr Jo Hodges, met virtually with the Mayor of Ukmergė, Rolandas Janickas, to celebrate the 10th  anniversary of this twinning. Jo spoke about the warmth and kindness shown to her when she went to their summer festival. She recalled going to a school for their “last bell ceremony”, the final assembly for 18 year-old students; Jo was asked to talk to the students in the school hall – they all understood English and hung on her every word.

The Lithuanian Mayor said how much he appreciates the annual invitations to our Christmas Fayre. The presence of Ukmergė ladies selling their hand-made products in our High Street is the way many Worcester people know about our Lithuanian twin town; the ladies smile or sing to passers-by, and their products are very popular.

Rolandas went on to present Terry Coles (the Twinning Association’s Ukmergė liaison officer) with the Ukmergė Mayor’s Special Award for “the active promotion of cooperation between Ukmergė and Worcester”. He made some very complimentary comments about Terry, and said that he would put the actual Award (a badge and ribbon) in the post. In thanking him, Terry spoke about the Lithuanian Ambassador making the initial contact with Ukmergė (the Ambassador’s home town), and recalled many productive visits to the town over the years, helping in schools, and meeting many delightful and hospitable people.

The meeting ended with the Ukmergė Mayor presenting the city of Worcester with a gift to commemorate our 400 year-old Charter. He played us a very unusual song (about hope and energy), performed by a local, award-winning ladies’ choir. What a delightful end to a memorable ceremony

Article by Terry Coles published in WN July 2021

 

Worcester and Gouzeaucourt link up again

Imagine the scene: not a single house left standing, rubble filling the streets and no water supply. This was the scene in many towns in our nearest neighbour, France only 100 years ago, at the end of WW1. They were desperate for help and Worcester answered the cry from Gouzeaucourt in 1921, adopted the small town and helped this French community get back on its feet. Today they no longer need our help but, to commemorate the centenary of this historic event, the 2 mayors, Jo Hodges and Jacques Richard “met” in May on computer screens. The mayors looked resplendent in their chains of office, for the watching virtual crowd of Gouzeaucourt councillors and members of Worcester Twinning Association. Jacques recalled that “The town was completely destroyed and you came to our aid and gave us a new water supply”; Jo stressed the importance of friendship and cooperation across boundaries. Then, simultaneously, both mayors signed a new twinning agreement, accompanied by the strains of 2 national anthems. The meeting finished with glasses raised on both sides of the Channel for a toast: “Vive le jumelage” (Long Live Twinning).

Sadly, the man who reunited the towns is no longer with us. Several years ago, local historian Lucien Defawe approached us for 1921 cuttings from the Worcester press to go into his WW1 exhibition. We searched the archives in the Hive, sent the cuttings and made new friends across the channel. Then we went over to commemorate the Battle of Cambrai (1917), which had involved the Worcestershire Regiment and relatives of the present Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire. After that, the Worcester Male Voice Choir sang in their church, accompanied by a superb local orchestra – this really was an occasion, which we hope to repeat in the not too distant future.

Article by Terry Coles, published in WN June 2021

 

Worcester Twinning Association celebrates 25 years of twinning with French visit

By Alicia Kelly  aliciakellyWNReporter

NEVER mind Brexit, Worcester Twinning Association celebrated the 25th anniversary of its liaison with Le Vésinet with a four day visit to the leafy French town, which stands on a loop of the River Seine 12 miles from the centre of Paris.

It was back in 1994 the French Connection was formalised when Le Vésinet's mayor joined a party of 12 of its leading citizens for a weekend in Worcester to attend the formal twinning ceremony in the Guildhall.

Around 20 members of WTA made the return trip this summer, travelling by coach from Croft Road to the western suburbs of the French capital.Their visit included a special 25th anniversary ceremony, which took place outside Le Vésinet's Town Hall.

Worcester’s deputy mayor, Jo Hodges, gave a speech in French and English and presented a gift to the Mayor of Le Vésinet. Representatives from all Le Vésinet’s twin towns took the opportunity to chat to old friends and new, while enjoying drinks and a buffet lunch provided by the town council.  In the afternoon a fashion show was held in the town centre, followed by an Elgar concert.

In the evening there was a “Dîner en Blanc”, which took place by the town lake.  Everyone dressed in white and the atmosphere was enhanced by twinkling candles and lamps. This was followed by a Fête de la Marguerite, when the parishes of St Marguerite and St Pauline invited everyone to an open air Mass on Sunday morning.  Host families organised a picnic for the traditional family garden party lunch in the park.

On Monday morning, before boarding the coach for the homeward journey, the visiting party attended the start of Caryl and Lyndon Bracewell’s bike ride back to Worcester in aid of Alzheimers and Dementia charities.

Councillor Hodges said: “Worcester Twinning Association would like to thank their dear friends in Le Vésinet for a fantastic 25th anniversary and the generous host families who looked after us so well.”

Worcester News  17th September 2019

 

TWINNING: How city keeps in touch with its twin towns

 

In the first of an occasional column, Liz Smith, chairman, Worcester Twinning Association, tells us how city keeps in touch with its twin towns

Worcester maintains regular contacts with most of our twin towns, but one of them, our namesake, Worcester in Massachusetts USA, is a long way away, and maintaining such regular annual visits is challenging.

It was therefore a great pleasure that the Worcester Chorus choir from Worcester Mass made Worcester UK one of its stops on a recent singing tour of this country. They arrived in the Faithful City with true American energy: after an all-night flight from the US they took in a visit to Windsor Castle on their journey here.

With only one full day in Worcester most of their time was taken up with rehearsals before singing in the Cathedral for Evensong. Then off to their next destination – Coventry – in the morning.

However, a number of the 59 strong party stayed with members of the Twinning Association, while other members were able to join the Choir for lunch at the Cricket Club between rehearsals.

We were joined by former mayor Derek Prodger with his wife Mary on this occasion. Derek was instrumental in promoting this twinning over 10 years ago.

Worcester’s other twin towns are in Europe, and over the years many lasting friendships have been formed.

Members will be visiting Kleve in Germany, our original twin town this month and, earlier this year, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our twinning with Le Vesinet while Worcester members have joined with the people of Ukmerge in Lithuania for their annual festival.

Worcester also has a temporary twinning with the village of Gouzeaucourt in France, the village they helped in the aftermath of WW1 and a Friendship Pact with Vernon, the city liberated by the Worcestershire Regiment after the D Day landings in 1944.

Article by Liz Smith Published Worcester News 3rd September 2019

 

 

Raising funds for the Alzheimer Society

 

Lyndon and Caryl Bracewell have successfully completed a sponsored cycle ride as part of the 25 year Twinning  Anniversary  celebrations  between Worcester and Le Vésinet in France.  The journey of around 300 miles from le Vésinet took Four days to reach Worcester They are hoping to raise as much money as possible to contribute to the research into the causes and cure of Alzheimer and dementia.

 For those who would like to add to their sponsorship, details and a link to their Just Giving page can be found at:    https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carylandlyndonbracewe

Published Worcester News 26/07/2019

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