Ashford’s Twin and Triplet

As it is just days away until the European Referendum, some of my posts this week will be on Ashford’s links with the wider world.

Twinning symbol

Twinning really began after the Second World War as a means of fostering friendships: finding commonality and celebrating peace and reconciliation, particularly with former foes.  But, as one might expect with Ashford, their history of such alliances goes back further than that.

Bad Munstereifel was occupied by British troops during the First World War.  One of the Commanding Officers, Major J Goode, formed strong personal friendships with many people in the town, which continued, even throughout and beyond the Second World War.

Major Goode’s brother-in-law, John Wiles, Mayor of New Romney, continued his work.  He travelled to the Rhineland with Winston Churchill and organised many exchange visits between young  people in both Bad Munstereifel and Ashford, at a time when travel between the former enemies was still unusual.  This resulted in an official Twinning ceremony on 26th August, 1964.

Bad Munstereifel: its river, its medieval buildings show its common links to Ashford … as do the red letterbox and phonebox!

Bad Munstereifel ©

In 1966, after a similar process of exchange trips between young people, Bad Munstereifel was also twinned with Fougeres in Brittany, France.  In 1984 a triangle was formed – perhaps a triplet – when Ashford, too, was twinned with Fougeres.

Fougeres, with its castle at the foot of the hill

There are annual exchange visits to each of the three towns, including children from the various secondary schools, creating musical, sporting, cultural and business links and friendships between the different countries, celebrating their joint heritage.

friendship stone plaque
Plaque on the Friendship Stone, lower High Street, Ashford

As this wouldn’t be a blog post from me without some reference, or tenous link, to my dog, here he is:

You guessed it: a Brittany!

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