Lewes Twinning Association are very sad to announce the passing of one of our longest members and committee member Chris Walsh. Many will have known Chris for his active involvement in Lewes Twinning especially when he was the Town Clerk, he will be sadly missed. Our condolences to Jane and all of the family.
The annual three town summit meeting between delegates of the three Twinning Associations/Societies took place in Blois on the weekend of 15th/16th October 2022. Also present were the Mayors of Blois, the Mayor of Waldshut-Tiengen and the Mayor of Lewes. Delegates from Lewes arrived on the Friday and in the evening were welcomed at a dinner along with representatives from Blois and Waldshut-Tiengen.
On the Saturday delegates and the Mayor's from the three towns were welcomed to the Mairie by the Mayor of Blois and the delegates met for the summit meeting to discuss events and ideas for 2023. After the meeting there was a photo opportunity before a buffet luncheon. In the afternoon everyone attended a tribute at the Blois Cemetery to Mr Auld, the schoolteacher from Lewes who brought the first school exchange from Lewes County Grammar School for Boys in 1947 and died in Blois in 1954 while on a school exchange.
Following the tribute, delegates were taken on an excursion along the Loire organised by the Blois Twinning Association. In the evening a formal dinner was held for the guests at the Mairie hosted by the Mayor of Blois.
On the Sunday the delegates from Lewes were entertained on excursions lunch and dinner by the Blois Twinning Association.
The East Sussex Bach Choir were the hosts of a visit to Lewes of the Kantorei Hochrhein Choir from Waldshut. On the evening of their arrival on Thurday 26th May the visitors were treated to a meal held at the Depot for the visitors to meet with members of the E.S.B.C. The following day they had a tour of the Sussex Coast and Lewes. Then in the evening the Mayor of Lewes Councillor Shirley-Anne Sains welcomed the visitors to a reception at the Corn Exchange. After the reception the visitors and members of the E.S.B.C. rehearsed together for a concert which was held in the Town Hall the following evening. On the Sunday the visitors began their journey home.
At the Three Town Zoom meeting held on Saturday 19th June everyone was feeling more positive on the way forward for Twinning events to start happening from this Autumn.
We heard that great progress has been made in uniting students from Schools and Colleges in Lewes and Blois and hopefully soon between Lewes and Waldshut.
This summer there will be students from Lewes and Waldshut-Tiengen on work placements in Blois Chateau and it is hoped that next year we will be able to take students from Blois and Waldshut-Tiengen in Lewes.
In September, Blois will be holding their annual Heritage Day and Crafts people from Lewes and Waldshut-Tiengen will be invited to take part.
In October this year Waldshut is very keen to host the Three Town Summit meeting in Waldshut and they hope that large numbers from Lewes and Blois will attend.
We will keep members updated of the current situation but there can be no doubt that with more and more people being vaccinated against covid-19 the mood is positive and we will be starting to plan events at our next Committee Meeting. So watch this space and if you want to take part please contact us.
On Saturday 6th February at 9.30am GMT the Twinning Committees from Lewes, Blois and Waldshut-Tiengen along with guests the Mayor of Lewes Councillor John Lamb, the Mayor of Waldshut-Tiengen Councillor Dr. Phillipp Frank and Deputy Mayor Councillor Cedric Marmuse from Blois Council.
At that meeting we learnt that there would be no Blois Carnival this year and at the moment no decision has been taken regarding the Fete de la Musique in Blois on 21 June 2020. Sadly, we also heard that both Schwyzertag and the Jazz Festival held in Tiengen in July have also been cancelled. Nothing has been said about Chilbi in August. On the plus side however, it is hoped that the Three Town Tennis Weekend at the end of July in Blois will go ahead this year and also the East Sussex Bach Choir will hopefully visit Waldshut-Tiengen in December. The Blois Committee would like to visit Lewes in the the Spring of 2022 (this was postponed in 2020) and we will know by June if the Heritage Day (Craft Fair) in Blois will go ahead in September as well as the History Day in October.
Blois Council are also extending an invitation for a work exchange student to work in the Chateau over the summer holidays and it is hoped that we will be able to reciprocate by offering a work for an exchange student here in Lewes.
More importantly, to help young scholars to learn their French language the Blois delegates would like us to try to setup a school exchange with a Primary School in Lewes, this could start as an on-line exchange, but it is hoped it will lead to a mutual exchange between the schools.
In addition to this, Sarah Beauchamp one of our committee members, is actively pursuing an online exchange between students from the Lewes area with Blois and Waldshut as an aid with their foreign language classes. This was reported on during the meeting and it is hoped that schools from both Waldshut and Blois will participate.
We are all hopeful that twinning activities will resume in the summer or autumn of this year with a programme of events and normality of some kind returning in 2022. The committee are still seeking new ways to promote twinning between the three towns and are continually looking for new twinning activities between partner organisations to expand our friendships.
Chairman - Lewes Twinning
Back in the summer our Chairman received a very unexpected phone call from a Mr Levi. Mr Levi explained that on his way to stay with his son and family who had recently moved to Firle he noticed as they drove through Lewes, a sign showing Lewes was twinned with Waldshut-Tiengen. Mr Levi said that he was born in Waldshut in the early 1930’s and his family then moved and lived in Tiengen for a number of years before being evacuated before the second World War. After taking some details our Chairman then shared the information with his contacts in Waldshut-Tiengen and in October Mr Henry Levi (88) was then invited to our Summit Meeting in Lewes where he also met visitors from Waldshut-Tiengen and exchanged information about his past. On 20th November this year Henry Levi visited Waldshut-Tiengen for two days as a guest of the Mayor where he was made contact with the other former evacuees and their relatives and given a tour of the Towns and recalled some very emotional times.
This story shows the value of bringing people together through Twinning
On the 16th November the Waldstadtfagar Guggenmusik Band from Waldshut-Tiengen celebrated their 40th Anniversary. To help them celebrate the band invited their Revival Members along with guests from the Commercial Square Bonfire Society from Lewes to take part in a procession through the Town and on to a Concert at the Town Hall where Waldstadt Fager along with other Guggenmusik Bands gave a loud performance that went on into the early hours. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, with members of the Bonfire Society singing a resounding Auld Land Syne.
On the Sunday after the visitors from Lewes were taken on a tour of the Black Forest where they visited a Schnapps Museum, and some enjoyed a traditional Black Forest Gateau. In the evening the guests were given supper and a jam session with both the Revival Band and the younger Waldstadt Fager Band. Afterwards presentations were exchanged, and each guest was given a CD to commemorate the 40 years.
At the beginning of October we welcomed representatives of the Blois and Waldshut-Tiengen Twinning Associations in Lewes. The main event of the weekend was the annual three town summit meeting, held in the Town Hall.
This meeting was very well attended. As well as our French and German friends, there were members of the Lewes Twinning Association and representatives of a range of local organisations which are involved in twinning activities.
The meeting started with a welcome and introduction by John Lamb, the Mayor of Lewes and was followed by a review of events held over the past year and a discussion of plans for the forthcoming year.
We are organising an exciting programme of events including visits to Lewes, Blois, and Waldshut-Tiengen by music and sports organisations. There will also be trips for local festivals such as Schwyzertag in Tiengen and the Carnival in Blois and a group from Germany will be in Lewes to join in the bonfire celebrations. There are strong links between Commercial Square B.S. and Waldshut-Tiengen, also between Cliffe B.S. and Blois they are both planning visits to Germany and Blois in the coming months.
The Twinning Associations are particularly keen to involve young people in links and visits and to work with local schools and the College. An idea was suggested that perhaps we should organise a debate between youngsters from the three towns to discuss climate change and the environment.
After the meeting a dinner was held and earlier in the day the visitors had enjoyed visiting the market and seeing the festivities for the introduction of this year’s Harvey’s Old Ale.
Whilst two members, travelled to Waldshut by train on the Thursday; six of us travelled by plane on the Friday morning, leaving Lewes at 5am to catch our plane from Gatwick to Basel. The plane journey went well, and we arrived more or less on time. We were met at Basel airport by a large taxi to take us to our hotel in Waldshut and we arrived in fine warm weather. Once we were unpacked and refreshed, we all had some late lunch and afterwards a siesta was in order. At 5pm we had a reception to attend at the new Town Hall. This reception was to welcome us and the Mayor of Lewes and his guests from Lewes Town Council. Here we were met by the Mayor of Waldshut Dr Phillipp Frank and the Waldshut-Tiengen Twinning Committee including the Vice President Elvira Hansmann and other civic dignitaries. Afterwards the six of us retreated back to the Kaiserstrase to a restaurant for dinner which was finished off with an ice cream looking over the Rhine.
On Saturday we woke to a cloudier day, but it was still quite warm. After breakfast we had most of the daytime to ourselves and we all did our own thing, which included investigating the Saturday market and some shopping. In the evening at 8pm we sat down in the Kaiserstrasa for the “Heimatabend” this year it was play about the history of the Kaiserstrasa. Unfortunately, if started to rain during the performance but we were not deterred and plastic capes were handed out to all the audience. When this finished at about 10.30pm the rain had stopped, and we were all treated to an ice cream each by the Mayor Waldshut before being treated to a late supper at the marquee up at the Chilbi Plaza
On the Sunday morning we woke to a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. We had free time, some when to church and others went for a walk. At lunchtime there was a small reception before the start of the Chilbi procession in the afternoon. Then it was all up to the marquee again for more food and beer. In the evening some of us were invited to dinner at the Waldshuter Hof as guests of the Mayor of Waldshut. After dinner the party broke up and we were all able to view the “Romantiische Sommernaght” when the Kaiserstrasa is illuminated by Chinese lanterns. The only problem was the rain, but the night sky was also illuminated by streaks of lightning.
Monday morning the light rain was relentless, some went for a walk while others did more shopping. Then after lunch we all met up and caught the train to Tiengen, where we met by Elvira who had organised for us an interesting tour of Tiengen. Luckily, the rain had stopped, and it was a delightful tour showing the history and culture of this lovely old market town. After a stop for coffee we were then treated to drinks and refreshments by Elvira and Franz at their house, sitting outside brought on the rain and the umbrella’s, we sat outside in the rain enjoying our refreshments and the generous hospitality. For many of us this tour was the highlight of our weekend.
We returned to Waldshut and the Chilbi marquee at about 5.15pm in time for the performance by Stadtmusic and the “Wunschkonzert”. By this time, it was raining hard with thunder and lightning. When number 7 was called for “Sussex By The Sea”, most of us all went up to the front of the stage (including the Mayor and Mayoress of Lewes) and sang the words of Sussex By The Sea, this went down well with the packed audience in the marquee. After more beer and food, we all took advantage of a break in the rain at about 9pm and returned to our hotel in the Kaiserstrasa.
On the Tuesday morning it was raining again, after breakfast it was time to pack and buy any last minute shopping. We had lunch and were then met by Elvira at 2pm when we said our goodbyes and our taxi returned us to Basel airport.
This year it was the turn of the Southdown Club to welcome visitors from the Tennisclub Hochrhein in Waldshut and the AAJB tennis club in Blois for our annual twinning weekend, which took place from Friday 26th July to Monday 29th July.
For a various reasons (including a flight cancellation), the number of visitors was lower than three years ago, but everyone had a great weekend and it was very gratifying to see participants of the different nationalities getting on so well and enjoying all the events with such enthusiasm.
As soon as the French contingent arrived they were on court, making the most of the opportunity to play on the grass courts, which is very special for them.
On the Friday evening we served supper at the club for our guests and their hosts then on the Saturday we arranged a trip to Eastbourne where we visited the Towner Gallery then caught the open top bus, stopping off at Burling Gap for lunch and a walk. Our visitors were most impressed by the views of the coast and the Downs as we were driven past Beachy Head, then East Dean and back to Eastbourne.
On Saturday evening we held a dinner at the White Hart Hotel, enjoying a complimentary Pimms reception on their terrace before the meal. The evening was enhanced by music and dancing with one of our French visitors taking the role of teacher!
On Sunday morning the tennis tournament took place and we were pleased that a number of other members of Southdown came to join in and make our visitors feel welcome. After a BBQ lunch there was lots more tennis – back on the grass! We awarded a prize to the visiting man and lady who won most games – a Wimbledon sports towel.
Our weekend finished with a final meal at Côte restaurant and following the usual tradition those who had been hosted in members’ houses treated their hosts.
We were sad to say goodbye after such an enjoyable weekend, but we are looking forward to meeting up again in Blois at the end of July next year.
We are grateful to the Town Council for a grant which meant that we were able to cover the full cost of the catering and varied activities for our guests.