Town Twinning History
The twinning between Peterlee and Nordenham, a town of similar size, but different in so many ways, was founded between the Councils of both towns in a formal ceremony in 1981. During this time regular visits have been made in both directions by groups of residents representing all age groups. The ideal mix of groups of around forty in number is one where there is a three way split; young people, usually in their teens, one or both parents with younger children and older folks. Some of the older travellers may be making another of many such journeys, but it is the younger ones that have ensured the continuing success of the twinning venture. In the past this group has been represented on a number of occasions by teams or groups travelling together.
Both Town Councils are supported in their efforts to promote twinning by voluntary teams; here it is the Peterlee and Nordenham Friendship Association (PNFA) that provides that assistance, especially by helping to promote and organize the regular visits between the two towns. The long-standing relationship between the two towns has brought about many genuine and long lasting friendships. Nordenham is at the centre of a popular North Sea coastal holiday area, and rom the start annual visits have been made in both directions.
Some regular visitors from opposite sides of the North Sea have not only witnessed the growth of each other’s children into adulthood but have seen some of them marry or form partnerships and have children of their own. Not everyone who has visited has found the need to form such ties of close friendship; like many holidaymakers, most want only to have an enjoyable time and then move on.
Visits to Nordenham
It has always been our aim to arrange a summer visit to Nordenham once every two years; places are allocated on a first come first served basis once the visit has been publicized on the Town Councils ‘Twinning’ web page. Each visit begins with a coach ride to the ferry terminal, Hull or Newcastle, then an overnight cruise to the continent with all of the usual shipboard facilities to enjoy, (Check out the ferry companies’ web-sites for details). Next morning a journey by road in our own coach to Nordenham, there to be welcomed into the town and to meet with our host families.
It is true to say that most who decide to visit our twin town are anxious; “What will my host family be like? Will we get on together? Will I like the food? How will we spend time together and will language be a problem”? Such fears and questions are typical but the reality is that once the initial welcoming of the group
has taken place and each visiting and host family have been introduced they quickly get along. Your hosts really want you with them and will make your stay a memorable one, and unless you want to practice your German, English is spoken everywhere.
The very first event is a Welcome Evening where hosts and their guests are invited to a barbeque meal and drinks, usually held in the volunteer Fire Brigade building. This breaks the ice and dispels most concerns as visitors and host families enjoy their first evening together.
During the rest of the time in Nordenham there follows a set pattern. After the “Welcome Evening” there is a programme of day trips, using our own coach, to attend local events, places of interest and attractions.
Midway through the stay we are all invited with our host families to an indoor shooting competition at the local rifle club where everyone, including children old enough to hold and aim an air gun, joins in the fun. The club has its own bar, which is open to all.
On the last evening, a “Farewell Party” is held with a buffet meal and entertainment provided with music and dancing to follow; a truly memorable occasion. The final acts in the story are the “Goodbyes” as our coach prepares to leave, often tearful, even for the first time visitors and hosts, then the journey home.
Up-to-date information about the next visit can be found in section d, ‘Next visit’ and on the Facebook site, ‘Peterlee and Nordenham Friendship Association’. There will also be notices around the town and hopefully in the local free newspaper.
Visits to Peterlee
Like the visits to Nordenham, these also take place bi-annually and a progamme of activities for visitors and their host families is arranged for them. As is the case in Nordenham, the first event, after the welcoming of our visitors at Shotton Hall, is a Welcome Evening, usually with drinks and a buffet provided by the Peterlee and Nordenham Friendship Association, using funds raised at the various social events organized by the group’s committee.
During the remainder of the visitors’ stay, like our time in Nordenham, the visitors’ coach is used for various day trips away for hosts and visitors alike; the Association usually arranges other day and evening events to entertain our guests.
On the evening prior to the vistors’ coach departure the Peterlee Town Council host a Farewell Evening in Shotton Hall, another memorable time for all involved. All that is then left to do on the programme is to bid farewell as the long journey back to Nordenham begins.
The next twinning visit will be in the summer of 2019 when a group of up to forty of our friends from Nordenham will be here for about a week; the dates of the visit, along with a full programme, will be published here once the dates and full details are known.
New hosts are always very welcome to join in, and as pointed out earlier, there is nothing to fear about welcoming someone into your home; experience has shown it to be a very rewarding and happy time for both hosts and guests; try it and you will wonder what all the fuss was about and to find out more, read on.
How to join in
Peterlee and Nordenham Friendship Association is a voluntary group of local residents who assist Peterlee Town Council’s twinning in the organization of visits to and from our twin town. New members are most welcome to join in our regular sessions, usually in the lounge of the Moorcock pub in Peterlee. There are many ways to become involved. You may feel like helping to run the Association by joining the committee or maybe help out in other ways such as arranging entertainment evenings, and other events, dealing with the media to publicize what we do or maybe just come along for a drink and a chat, so whatever your interest we would like to hear from you.
If you only want to know about the next visit then please get in touch; you will then be given more information to help you decide your next move.
Text Gil on mobile 07708165922 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest.