Sun, 25 Sept 2016
NEWBURY was recently the scene of a major cultural event when 80 visitors from each of its six European Twin Towns gathered for an international reunion.
The towns represented were Bagnols-sur-Cèze in France, Braunfels in Germany, Carcaixent in Spain, Eeklo in Belgium, Feltre in Italy and Kiskunfélegyháza in Hungary.
Each of the visitors stayed with local families, giving them a unique opportunity to be part of the local community and to see how life is lived in another country.
Many had visited Newbury before and had the opportunity to renew old friendships, whereas others were visiting for the first time.
Organised by Newbury Twin Town Association, proceedings began on the first day with a welcome from the Mayor of Newbury, Julian Swift-Hook, followed by a multi-lingual conference to discuss the future of the UK in Europe.
At lunchtime, the market place was transformed into a European food-tasting event, when local food and drink was on offer from France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Hungary and England which included a barrel of local beer.
Later that day, a tour of Shaw House was organised, followed by traditional afternoon tea.
The second day of the visit gave hosts and guests the opportunity to spend time together, visiting local places of interest, many travelling further afield to Bath, Oxford and Winchester.
On the final day, all visitors and hosts gathered for traditional Sunday lunch at the Donnington Valley Hotel.
Following lunch, there was an opportunity to visit Donnington Castle and walk through the woodland of Snelsmore Common. A farewell reception was held later in the evening at the British Legion Club.
During the weekend, there was also an opportunity to view the Where I Live 2016 banners, which were displayed in Victoria Park.
These were made up of photographs taken by members of each of the twin towns as part of a year-long project to illustrate life as is lived in each of the towns.