On Wednesday 8 May 2013 a group from Leek, including 3 members of Leek Twinning Committee and 5 citizens travelled to Bad Windsheim, Germany, to join with them, as they celebrated 25 years of twinning between Bad Windsheim and St. Yrieix La Perche, in France
The programme started on the Thursday, when we met the French delegation in Bad Windsheim Town Hall, where a welcoming ceremony took place, from the mayor of Bad Windsheim, Ralf Ledertheil. Afterwards there was a dancing and musical display, in the main square outside the town hall, by the French group L'Eglantino Do Limouzi , from Limoges.
The rest of the day was spent at the Fränkisches Freilandmuseum. This was an open air museum which consisted of German houses, farm buildings and schools dating from 1400 onwards. There were also rooms in some of the buildings with weaving looms in them and demonstrations of how wine, beer and flour were made in earlier times.
On Friday morning all the delegations assembled in a local cinema. The Este delegation, from our own twin town, had arrived late the previous evening and included The Este Amazing Gospel Choir. We were shown a film in French, with sub titles in English and German, about the marking the 50 years since the signing of the Elysee Treaty, between France and Germany, by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.
This was followed by a workshop for students from St. Yrieix La Perche, Bad Windsheim and Este.
At midday there was a coach trip to Ipsheim for lunch, at the first vineyard in Europe. After lunch the coach continued to the medieval walled town of Rothenburg.
The evening started with the opening of the 25 th Anniversary photographic exhibition followed by the 25 th Anniversary Dinner, with official speeches and exchange of gifts, by the delegations of Bad Windsheim, St. Yrieix La Perche, Leek and Este. There were 2 gifts from Leek. A Leek Clock Plate from Leek Twinning Committee and a framed print showing the Leek Town Council Crest, together with the history behind the design of the crest, from Leek Town Councillor, Keith Harrison.
Entertainment was provided by the French group L'Eglantino Do Limouzi , from Limoges, The Este Amazing Gospel Choir and the local pop group ‘Tequila'.
On Saturday there was a coach trip to Bamberg, where its historical city centre is a listed UNESCO world heritage site. The Este Amazing Gospel Choir gave an impromptu performance in the Cathedral, of one of their choral pieces.
Those who did not go to Bamberg were able to go on a guided tour of Bad Windsheim.
At 4 pm there was an Ecumenical Church Service in the St. Kilian Church, with singing provided by The Este Amazing Gospel Choir and The Elysium Choir from Bad Windsheim. There was also an organ recital by local organist Luise Limpert. The entire congregation was able to participate in the singing of the hymn ‘All people that on earth do dwell', in their own language.
The final event of the visit was a very informal dinner for all guests and their hosts, in the form of a buffet. Impromptu music and dancing took place, including songs from the Este Amazing Gospel Choir.
At the end of our visit Helen Ratcliffe, Chairman of Leek Twinning Committee, said “Over the last few years, we have met a number of people from Bad Windsheim in Este, while taking part in the many twinning events Este has hosted. To have the opportunity to meet and stay with these German friends in their home town has been a wonderful experience. We were made to feel most welcome and an integral part of their weekend programme. Our ties with them are growing ever stronger and we hope to have some German students over to Leek in November as part of this year's Remembrance visit with Este”.