On Friday 21st June a group of visitors from our partner town in south-western Germany arrived here for the first time since the pandemic, travelling mostly by plane to Newcastle Airport. On the first evening a civic reception in the Prior’s Hall of Hexham Abbey was hosted by Mayor Derek Kennedy. The surprisingly good summer weather matched the Pimm’s drinks that were enjoyed by guests and hosts. The Mayor welcomed our visitors and referred to 1350 years since the founding of St Wilfrid’s Church in Anglo-Saxon times. In reply, Deputy Bürgermeister Markus Haas of Metzingen Town Council thanked the Mayor and the Town Twinning for Association for their warm welcome. He hoped for a future in Europe with more tolerance, friendship, peace and solidarity. A donation to Tynedale Hospice by Metzingen Town Council in lieu of corporate gifts was gratefully received by two representatives of the charity.

HC1 Reception210624SMALLImage: at the Pimm's reception in the Prior's Hall of Hexham Abbey on Friday 21st June, from left to right: Raphael Szeider (Metzingen Town Twinning representative for Hexham), Deputy Bürgermeister Markus Haas, Marianne Corder (Chair of Hexham Town Twinning Association), Mayor Derek Kennedy, Deputy Mayor Fay Hartland.

On Saturday participants were invited to visit Roman Vindolanda Fort and Museum, taking their own time exploring the site. Guests were impressed that excavations here are resulting in finds of interest to the public and specialists alike, in particular the leatherware. In the afternoon and evening hosts were free to entertain their visitors as they pleased, some choosing to enjoy the entertainments in and around the Abbey in honour of St Etheldreda, who donated the land for St Wilfrid’s first church.

Langley230624 SMALLImage: Guests assemble for the dinner in Langley Castle on the Sunday evening, 23rd June 2024.



L TatjanaSzeider RapahaelSzeider LangleyCastle230624SMALL cPGiddingsImage: Tatjana Szeider and her son Raphael Szeider (Metzingen Town Twinning representative for Hexham) in a window seat in Langley Castle. © P. Giddings

A relaxing day on Sunday was again blessed by superb weather. Hosts took their guests on various outings, to Kielder, to the coast, and to Wallington. At 7pm a dinner was held in Langley Castle, a location that fascinated many of our German guests, and the tour included a climb up to the roof level as the sun was setting. On Monday it was time to set off for the airport again after three busy days of international friendship.

Coverage of the visit in the regional newspaper for Metzingen, Die Südwestpresse: