October 2017: Students help twin towns celebrate anniversary

On Saturday October 21, our Sixth Form Centre will be the venue for an anniversary concert celebrating 65 years of twinning between Rossendale and Bocholt.

In 1952 it was suggested that Rossendale twin with the Northern German city of Bocholt because, like the Lancashire borough, it had industrial roots in the textile trade.

Families from around the borough will welcome 35 visitors arriving from Bocholt.

In the evening a concert, entitled ‘Ode to Joy’ after the European anthem, will be held at St Peter’s Church, Haslingden, featuring Rossendale Ladies Choir and 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band; both groups have visited Bocholt several times.

Treasurer of the Friends of Bocholt John Davey first went to the twin town when he was 19 in 1966 and he was a founder member of the Friends of Bocholt, which set up in 1983.

He said: “For many years the twinning links revolved around youth visits between the two countries.

“We went to celebrate 30 years of the twinning arrangement and from that visit it was decided to set up the Friends of Bocholt and in Germany they set up the German British Society.”

Since then, the two groups have supported each other at a variety of different events on both sides of the channel and formed strong friendships.

Haslingden High School Chair of Governors John said: “One of the visitors this time will be Crystel Feldhaar, she is a former Mayor of Bocholt and her son is now studying at Lancaster University. It will be great to see her in Rossendale again.

“We will be having a social evening on the Sunday night at Rossendale Golf Club from 7.30pm and anyone who has been involved with twinning in the past is welcome to come along.

“By letting someone stay in your home you can make a lasting friendship. People should not worry about not being able to speak the language as 99 per cent of the people who come here speak English.”

Students from Haslingden High School also attended a photography course in the German city and provided pictures for a book that has been produced to celebrate all of Bocholt’s twin towns.

In preparation for the visit the Friends have cleaned up all the twinning plaques in Rawtenstall and Bacup and the German telephone box in Whitaker Park.

A special new plaque is being created for the commemorative stone next to Rawtenstall Railway Station.

For concert tickets, priced £8 or £5 concessions, contact Russell Helm on 01706 875819.

John added: “We are also hoping to attract more people to get involved with the Friends. If you want to find out more about our twin town and all that is has to offer why not join?”

For more details email Susan Davey on susanmdavey@btinternet.com