Friendship has lasted 50 years

The visitors from Brighouse with their German hosts on the steps on Aachen town hall
The visitors from Brighouse with their German hosts on the steps on Aachen town hall

LIFELONG friendships were renewed and new relationships were made when the 50th anniversary of formal twinning links between Brighouse and Ludenscheid was celebrated in the German town.

Though the link between the two towns goes back for six decades, it is half a century since the formal twinning partnership was established, forming a lasting bond that has flourished to this day.

A party of nine members of the Brighouse-Ludenscheid Society joined their German hosts for special celebrations of the twinning link.

The visit had a special significance for Chris Redfearn, chairman and president of the Brighouse-Ludenscheid Society, who has been involved in the partnership for 40 years. He first visited the German town in 1972 as leader of a youth group, served as society secretary for 18 years and has been president since 2006.

He was presented with a lapel pin by the Mayor of Ludenscheid Dieter Dzewas. “I must admit I had not counted the years so it was a very pleasant surprise to receive this honour. The link with Ludenscheid has been an important part of my life and I have made a huge number of friends.

“Thinking back to the early days of twinning, it was quite a brave thing to do, so soon after the second world war. The pioneers of twinning recognised that they had to look forward and establish new relationships between countries.”

Chris was also presented with a framed copy of the letter, written in German and signed by the Mayor of Brighouse George Stillingfleet, which was sent to the Mayor of citizens of Ludenscheid in August 1950 and which led to the formal twinning of the two towns.

One of the founder members of the Ludenscheid-Brighouse Society, Erwin Zittlau, was honoured for his 50 years of service. Chairman Jens Holzrichter presented him with a certificate and copy of Chris Helme’s book ‘Brighouse Through Time’.

In turn Jens was presented with a sycamore platter with an engraved brass plaque to mark the 50th anniversary. The tree from which the platter was made was cut down on Birds Royd Lane, Brighouse, in the 1970s.

Visiting for the first time this year was James Garner, a pupil of Crossley Heath School, Halifax, who became interested in taking part in the exchange after meeting members of the Brighouse-Ludenscheid Society at Brighouse Gala.

During the visit members enjoyed a tour of the of the Lindt and Sprungli chocolate factory and the Krugmann distillery which produces the famous Schnapps drink. They also visited Halifax’s twin town of Aachen. Stuart Black, of Clifton Common, first visited Ludenscheid in 2002. He said: “The hospitality and friendship is unbelievable. We are made to feel so welcome and taken around all the sights. I must admit a highlight for me this year was a visit to the distillery where I got the chance to sample six different varieties of Schnapps!”