Celebrating 40 Years of Friendship

The Henley Falaise and Leichlingen Twinning Association (HFLTA) met to celebrate their 40th Anniversary with the town of Leichlingen last Monday at Badgemore Park Golf Club. Over 80 members from Henley and Germany, attended the event that has been on hold since the pandemic commenced.

The Twinning Association, which was initiated by a group of English and French teachers, originally aimed to develop an exchange programme and increase travel opportunities. Today, as Sue Fitzsimmons, the Secretary of the HFLTA, explained, the Twinning Association has developed into a group that “develops friendships, allows people to better understand different cultures and practice their language skills.”

Henley Mayor, Councillor Michelle Thomas, spoke of the values of twinning and the importance of Henley working together with Leichlingen to continue to develop a cultural understanding with future generations.  Looking to the future, the Mayor was keen to highlight that despite the pandemic the relationship with Leichlingen is still strong and emphasised the importance of continuing to work together to face future challenges.

Patrick Fleming, Chair of the HFLTW spoke about the challenges that the world is facing, with both political issues and climate change, and stressed “we need all the friends we can get, and the friendship this group provides is vitally important.”

Chair of the Leichlingen Twinning Association, Helga Schumacher, who has been involved with the association for many years, endorsed the value of twinning and the importance of  developing friendships in Henley, which has enabled her to have ‘”formed many lifelong friends.”