Bernd Clemens (right) and the new mayor John Potts with the present for Solingen’s town hall
© Jennifer Preuß
Delegation visited Solingen’s twin town Blyth. In the center of many conversations was the nearing Brexit.
By Jennifer Preuß (text and photos)
Both parties were in good spirits. The town council and the Blyth twinning society arranged a hearty, hospitable reception for the twenty-nine Solingers. This friendship has developed over the years. The town twining exists for 55 years, as the official documents and the sharp presents of “the city of blades” show, which are kept in the showcases of Blyth’s town hall. In this setting, accompanied by cake and coffee, the members of the societies of Blyth and Solingen exchanged what has happened since the last visit in Solingen.
But conversation quickly came to what the future will be like, an uncertain future. This question was subliminal the whole weekend. How will the twinning develop when Great Britain leaves the EU? Many times, John Potts was asked this question. The new mayor was keen to give an optimistic answer.
Only last week he was elected by the town council. One of his first official acts was welcoming the Germans in the administrative building. and already the mayor of the town of 37 000-inhabitants had to tackle international policy. „Many people are only realizing now what they have voted for. We and the legislation are facing so many things we couldn’t assess in advance “said the Labour Mayor „Nobody has properly thought through the Brexit “.
Also, the Solingen Twinning Society which is engaged with a lot of with dedication and toil. In the Anglo-German exchange, will have to face a harder organization for the next visit to Blyth in two years’ time.
In the immediate future, there will no exchange with a school from Blyth. Achmed Gümüser, English teacher of „Vogelsang Grammar School “, tried to make ties with schools in Blyth, but the echo of the headmasters was reserved. As the teacher state, the interest in an exchange is poor. „an exchange is just too much work “Gümüser said regretfully.
During the weekend, the new mayor shows how important the twinning with Solingen is to him. He and his wife Olga joined the Solingen delegation to trips to the fishing village of Amble, the roman excavation site of Corbridge, to Hexham Abbey and the imposing normanic Bamburgh Castle. A friendship must be nourished. Bernd Clemens, chairman of the German twinning society, turned his attention to the present and started right at the beginning to thank for the extraordinary warm and friendly welcome. This is how he wants to greet the Blythonians in the following year. John Potts will be earlier in the „City of Blades “. On behalf of Solingen’s Lord Mayor Tim Kurzbach Clemens presented him an invitation to Solingen for „the nights of lights„ in September, on the civic diner. At a diner in the „Restaurant Steinhaus “, contacts shall be strengthened. This invitation was also handed out to all other twin towns of Solingen.
He had to ask his boss first, John Potts said und looked at his nodding wife. It looks quite good, he translated the gesture.
Anne Dawson wants to visit the bridge of Müngsten
Jan-Claudius Salewski (BFS) as sole representative of Solingen’s town council held a speech at Blyth’s Masonic Hall, during the banquet. „I do not think this will be my last visit to Blyth “, he said optimistically. „The Brexit will not influence our friendship “. Both parties benefit in many concerns of the exchange. „This cannot be destroyed by the Brexit “.
Anne Dawson, who together with her husband Brian had arranged the organization of the weekend, is not troubled by the Brexit. She acknowledged the fears of the others with a smile. „I just enjoy making new friends “, said the Englishwoman who is engaged in the twining for more than eight years. With Blyth’s Swimming Club, she travelled to Solingen on several occasions. On top of her agenda for the visit to Solingen is the bridge of Müngsten. „Solingen is very green, I love it. And people are marvelous. “
Translation: Manu Shareghi