A new organisation has been formed to strengthen links between towns in south east Northumberland and Germany.
The Ashington and Newbiggin by the Sea Town Twinning Association is aimed at furthering friendship between the two and the Remscheid area.
The links between them go back to the early 1950s.
The town twinning agreement was one of the first between the United Kingdom and Germany following the Second World War. The objective was to develop peace and understanding between the nations.
To support these historic links, a new town twinning group has been developed and will host its first open meeting on Wednesday, April 11. People are being encouraged to go along to find out more about town twinning and how they can get involved. The meeting will take place at the Elephant Public House, in Ashington, at 7pm.
The signing of the town twinning agreement, in 1952, started formal links between Ashington, Newbiggin by the Sea and the Remscheid area.
A rich history of friendship has been developed and continues right up to the current day. Many cultural and sporting exchanges have taken place over the years, as well as a focus on encouraging links between the young people of the two areas.
Following the reorganisation of local government in Northumberland in 2009, there were concerns that this would have a negative effect on town twinning. Links have been maintained and, in 2015, a new partnership agreement between the town councils of Ashington and Newbiggin by the Sea and the City of Remscheid Council was signed by the respective mayors.
In the spirit of the agreement, the new group has been developed with the aim of encouraging more people to participate in town twinning, as well as to provide practical support in developing and organising exchange visits.
Association chairman Peter Millar said ‘We are delighted to develop the Association which we are sure will build on the links that have been made over the past 60 years.”
Secretary Bill Gale added: “In recent years, the Luttringhausen Church Brass Band has visited the area, performing at both the Holy Sepulchre Church and the Newbiggin Maritime Centre, and in coming weeks a coach party from Germany is also planning to visit with the new Association supporting the visit.
“We are planning to visit Remscheid later in the year to attend a community festival and where we will also have the opportunity to meet our German counterparts in their town twinning group.”