Delegates from Stuttgart, Germany, paid a visit to St Helens over the weekend as part of a town twinning partnership celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Representing Stuttgart Council, Peter Pätzold, Andrea Klett-Eininger and Dr. Frédéric Stephan made the trip which saw the group:
- Meet senior councillors and officers at St Helens Town Hall
- Attend Saints vs Leeds and the Borough of Culture launch event at the World of Glass
- Go on a heritage trail walk of the town centre led by Ian Rimmer of St Helens Rotary Club
- Join the Mayor of St Helens, Cllr Sue Murphy, in officially starting off the St Helens 10k
- Visit the Dream sculpture
- Spend an afternoon in Liverpool, visiting the museums and taking a trip on the ferry
Peter Pätzold, who is the deputy mayor of Stuttgart, also planted a cherry tree in Vera Page Park by the worker’s memorial.
St Helens’ relationship with Stuttgart dates back to 1948, just a few years after World War II and is believed to be the oldest twinning partnership in Europe. As a leading manufacturer of glass at the time, St Helens was able to support the rebuilding of Stuttgart, parts of which had been destroyed or damaged by bombing during the war.
Ever since, the two have enjoyed regular twinning visits, with this year marking 75 years.
Commenting on his first time in St Helens and the importance of the town twinning partnership, Peter said: “For us, it’s a very important partnership. 75 years, directly after the Second World War – enemies becoming friends.
“It was amazing weekend, attending my first rugby game which was a very good atmosphere despite the result, and having the honour to plant a tree here.”
Councillor Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Communities and Culture, said: “Twinning partnerships are a productive way of fostering long-term friendships between people from different countries, opening opportunities to share ideas and good practice, and of course to celebrate what makes each of us unique.
“It was a pleasure to welcome and host our friends from Stuttgart on what was an action-packed weekend for the town, with rugby league world champions, Saints, kicking off their season at home; the launch of our year as Borough of Culture, and the tenth St Helens 10k run, which is always a special occasion. Here’s to the next 75 years.”
Mayor of the Liverpool City region Steve Rotheram said:
“What I love about Borough of Culture is the way that it empowers our local areas to showcase their own unique blend of culture – and celebrating their own links with the world, like those St Helens have built with Stuttgart over 75 years.
“We are lucky to be home to a community of creative and talented individuals who make our area one of the most exciting, vibrant places to live. It is because of their contributions that I can say with confidence that the Liverpool City Region is the UK’s cultural capital. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for St Helens – watch this space!”