Bromley Town Twinning Association – Event reports

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event reports 2014


This year saw our Biennial Visit to our twin town Neuwied – from Friday, September 19, to Monday, September 22.

Two highlights marked the visit. Road sign

Firstly three of our members, Lynne and David Noble and Alan Roberts, were awarded the Bromley Shield of Honour, presented by Neuwied to Bromley people who have given outstanding service to our twinning. This is now the fourth time in the 27 years of civic and festival links between our two towns that Bromley people have been honoured by Neuwied.

The second was an inspired idea which greatly amused our Neuwied friends. We presented them with a gift of a full-size road sign stating Bromley 641 km. So getting back from the Rhineland wine country to our borough has been made that bit easier. Pictured with the sign are the chairwoman of our sister organisation, Freundeskreis Neuwied-Bromley, Inge Gütler, and our chairman Peter Brown.Honour shield

There was a full weekend of activity starting with a guided tour of Neuwied by one of 18 English residents there. We had a ride through the rolling hills to a most generous produce-sampling (think nine glasses each) at a schnapps distillery. We enjoyed a visit to a fairy-tale Cochem castle overlooking the deep Mosel river valley, complete with its baronial halls and witches tower. This was followed by a cruise on the Mosel where splendid views of the vineyards could be seen on either bank.

The Shield award

The award to Lynne, David and Alan is not only tribute to their sterling work in the BTTA but far beyond it – for a lifetime of voluntary work helping the elderly, raising money for needy causes and working with young people.

Among their many activities were the Bromley Carnival and Miss Bromley Pageant and they brought many German Karnival groups to England. In 1985 they started up a Lions Club in Bromley and in 2003 they set up the Bromley Community Events Group.

Their dedicated work was marked in 2007 when Lynne was awarded the Mayor of Bromley Gold Medal for her “voluntary contribution to the people of the London Borough of Bromley”. Alan has long been a prominent campaigner for deaf people. In 1992 he was awarded the British Empire Medal.



Business and school links were among the subjects brought up for discussion when the mayors of our twin towns met during the annual civic visit to Neuwied by the Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Julian Benington.Mayor Germany

He and the Mayoress Valerie Benington were welcomed by his counterpart Nikolaus Roth and also by members of the Freundeskreis Neuwied-Bromley. Councillor Benington also met with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce from Koblenz, whose area of responsibility includes businesses in the Neuwied region.

The forging of business links will now be a major priority for Mayor Benington who commented: “It was not only interesting, but a thoroughly enjoyable visit in which we were made very welcome. We will certainly plan to go to Neuwied again.”

Since his return to Bromley, the Mayor has already had meetings with several Bromley business managers with a view to arranging contacts with businesses in Neuwied.

Pictured left is Julian Benington and right, Nikolaus Roth.



The association for the first time ran a stall on June 7 at Hayes Village Fair. Among those visiting were the new Mayor and Mayoress of Bromley, Counclllor Julian Benington and his wife Mrs Valerie Benington, pictured in their civic chains of office.

Featured on the stall was a hamper draw, plus a map of Germany with a pin guessing game on our twin town's location, with the prize a free trip to Neuwied for our September visit.


Hayes stall



The association's annual garden party took place in brilliant sunshine on Sunday, June 22, at the home of Peggie and Mollie Bensaid in Chislehurst with the usual accompaniments of strawberries and cream and Bucks Fizz plus lots of conversation. Our thanks to Peggie and Mollie for their very generous hospitality.


garden party



This year has seen Hayes School take part for the first time in exchange visits with a Neuwied school. Hayes student Rachel Thomas reports here on the exchange.

The German students from the Heinrich-Heine-Realschule, aged between 14 and 17, arrived in England in April and 20 Hayes students in Years 10-13 welcomed them into their homes for a week. During the week, the German students participated in various activities within the Bromley region, as well as visiting the more touristic areas of Brighton and London. In London, the German students learnt about British culture and history on a boat tour along the River Thames, as well as taking advantage of the opportunity to take photos of the nearby famous sights. They also enjoyed some leisure time in London, including visiting Madame Tussauds and the ever popular Primark.

Hayes School

After two months, the schools were reunited in early July. This was an incredible experience for everyone as we got to know our German partners a lot better and we learnt a lot about German culture. During our week’s stay, we visited the renowned cities of Cologne and Koblenz. We also met with the Oberbürgermeister of Neuwied, where we learnt about the town’s heritage and history. Students from the two schools are pictured above near the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel rivers at Deutsches Eck.

Our stay also included several enjoyable activities, such as travelling over the River Rhine on a cable car and visiting the zoo. Smaller groups found the time to go bowling or have a small gathering to watch the extraordinary game where Germany beat Brazil 7-1!

It was an amazing experience, which was unforgettable and very helpful for learning vital social skills as well as practising the German language. Many friends have been made and we thank both the schools for the experience!



Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag (Rhineland-Palatinate-Day) is the big annual get-to-together of towns and cities in the Rhineland Palatine state of Germany. Neuwied had not hosted the event since 1993 so it was a big honour for the town to stage it this year. The delegation from Bromley included members of the Bromley Town Twinning Association led by Councillor Ian Payne, the Beckenham Concert Band and those perennial favourites of Neuwied, the Ravensbourne Morris Men. For the Beckenham Band, it was quite an experience. They were guests of the Musikverein Heimbach-Weis band but they had a slight problem. They aren't a marching band, but a sit-down-one. But they became one for the day and took part in the big Sunday procession on the day itself, July 20. Below, they are seen playing by the side of the Rhine in Neuwied on the morning of the big day. They are on the right and Heimbach-Weis on the left.

The Beckenham Concert Band and Ravensbourne Morris Men in Neuwied

Rhineside musci

Morning music from the Beckenham Concert Band by the Rhine

Morris men

Morning dance by the Morris Men at the Beer Garden on the Dyke

Neuwied sign

The Ravensbourne Morris Men sit down for a morning beer by the Rhine

Beer at the Biergarten

Chairwoman of the Freundeskreis, Inge Gütler, with the Morris Men

Concert band

The Beckenham Concert Band get ready to be a marching band


Susan TaylorWe recorded with sadness during the year the death at 95 of Susan Taylor, one of the founder members of our association.

Susan had come to England from her homeland of Germany in 1934, aged 14, leaving her parents in Belgium but was reunited with them after the war.
She trained as a nurse and during this time met her future husband Brian, a trainee dentist. They had a dental practice in Hayes and lived for many years in Bickley, before moving in April 2013 to the north-east of England to be near their daughter Wendy.

Susan and Brian, who predeceased her by just over a year, were active members of the Steering Committee which initiated the search for a twin town for the London Borough of Bromley. It was through a contact of their elder daughter Sheila, then as now living in Germany to the north of Neuwied, that they heard that Neuwied was interested in finding a twin town in the UK.

Susan became deeply involved, with others, in the protracted negotiations which led to the formal signing of the charter linking our two towns.
That involvement lasted for many years, with Susan serving as the Association Secretary and then as a committee member.

Susan and Brian’s other life-long interest, apart from their very close family, was in the Liberal (later Liberal Democrat) Party, and they were often to be seen on television reports of the party’s conferences.

For our 2011 reports, click:

Reports 2011 

For our 2012 reports, click:

Reports 2012 

For our 2013 reports, click:

Reports 2013 

For our 2014 reports, click:

Reports 2014