Half a century of twinning is to be celebrated

Morley Siegen Circle members.

Morley Siegen Circle members.

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Plans are underway to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Morley’s partnership with its twin town Siegen next year.

July 2016 will mark half a century since the German town was officially linked with our area, following a school exchange programme which started in the 1950s.

The partnership has prospered over the decades as visitors of all ages crossed paths to visit each other’s towns and a street and residential home was named after the twin town. Many Morleians have stayed in touch with the German families they stayed with for up to a year, and those involved in keeping the link strong are now keen to fly their Siegen counterparts across for a couple of weeks next year.

Coun Bob Gettings, who chaired the Finances and General Purposes Committee meeting last Thursday where the issue was discussed, said: “After the war many towns and cities were looking for partnerships in other countries. Leeds was twinned with Dortund and Morley’s twinning with Siegen stemmed from its school exchange programme.

“The good thing about this twinning is that such partnerships normally just involve the Lord Mayor, but this was built on that exhange and has involved people.”

Coun Gettings recounted his own personal experience of the citizen exchange as a teenager and said he is still in contact with the son of the German family he stayed with, who is now a retired English teacher living in Dortmund.

“We’re hoping to get some of the old youth leaders involved in the programme across and we’d also some old photos on display from years gone by.”