Twinning can boost economy
TOWN twinning is back in the news after it was revealed that Abbottabad – the town in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden hid for a number of years – was involved in a twinning scheme with Blackburn.
But despite the Lancashire town's surprise at this old link being highlighted following the Al Qaeda leader's death, in reality twinning of all kinds can be a boon for the towns involved and, FindaProperty.com has found, overseas cities and towns are still queuing up to twin with us.
The practice started at the end of the Second World War to contribute to peace and reconciliation mainly in France and Germany, the two countries that still dominate the leader board. Some 943 UK towns are twinned with French counterparts and 445 with German ones.
The concept has evolved into a worldwide movement and is now just as likely to involve exchanges of friendship and culture with far flung destinations as with Europe. For example there's the USA – which has 106 towns twinned with UK opposite numbers.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Twinning continues today and 63 places overseas are waiting to be partnered with somewhere in Britain, so if you want your town to be given an economic and cultural boost perhaps it's time to embrace your foreign twin, something councils are keen to encourage.
But despite the 1,200 towns that remain untwined, 2,000 already have made the leap including Nottingham with Harare in Zimbabwe, Birmingham with Milan in Italy, Bournemouth with Lucerne in Switzerland and Bristol with Bordeaux in France.
Then there are the novelty twins: Perth is with Perth in Canada; Stratford-Upon-Avon with Stratfords in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand; Whitby with Whitby in Canada; Richmond-Upon-Thames with Richmond in Virginia, USA.
And then there's Hay, which is twinned with Timbuktu in Mali.
So what benefits does it bring to a town? Meet Max Hill, who looks after the twinning between Sandy in Bedfordshire and Skarszewy in Poland, a relationship he started 15 years ago.
He says that although the concept is not as popular as it once was, it still has "enormous potential" to make a British town a better place to live.
Hill still takes a gang of A-level students from the local comprehensive to Poland every year where they teach English to Polish children.
"It would be nice to see the twinning movement properly revived, although it's difficult in times of financial restraint and when there is so much uncertainty," says Hill.
"Whether or not town twinning can play a role in counteracting what's going on in the Middle East and Asia I don't know, but it has had a very good rebuilding role in the past so there's no reason it shouldn't."