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30 Years of Twinning

2007 marked the 30th anniversary of Bedford's and Bamberg's town twinning. Events were held throughout 2007including the prestigious bi-annual Heritage Runs in Bamberg on 6th May 2007, where Bedford athletes competed to the highest standard, winning both the 10.9km and the half marathon. More details can be found in the report below by Frank Jackson of Bedford and County Athletic Club

Please click here to download the report on the Bamberg Races 2007

From the 4th to the 7th of May, the 101st Bedford (Kempston) Scout Group hosted a visit from a Bamberg group, who took part in the County Camp at Phasel Wood Campsite. The visit was a great success. Below is a report written by the Scout Leaders Graeme and Michelle Watt and a page of pictures showing some of the activities that all enjoyed over the weekend.

Please click here to download the Report on the Scout Visit 2007

Please click here to view pictures from the Scout Visit 2007


on the 1st June 2007, the Philharmonia played a specially commissioned fanfare dedicated to the 30th anniversary of twinning between Bedford and Bamberg at their concert held at the Corn Exchange, Bedford.


On Sunday 24th June, the Twinning Marquee was set up at Bedford's Kite Festival to continue the 30th Anniversary celebrations. Through the day it served up classic German black bread, smoked trout and pepperami not to mention complimentary samples of the commemorative beer, made by Wells and Young's for the occasion. To get things rolling, the Ramblers Association undertook a friendly walk that finished back at the marquee. During the evening, two members of the talented local band Blues By Five provided the crowd with a set of jazz music. Also during the evening, two members of the Bedford Morris Men provided their own brand of display and entertainment. At 6 o'clock, a live link was set up with Bamberg, where the Oberburgermeister, Herr Andreas Starke toasted Bedford with a speech and the tapping of a beer specially produced in Bamberg for the occasion. This was followed by Mayor, Mr. Frank Branston replying with his own words to mark the event followed by a cutting of the commemorative cake. The whole weekend was an enormous success.

The Heinrichfest Celebrations took place in July 2007, marking the 1000th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese. Fr Keenan of St. Joseph's Church on Brereton Road was invited to Bamberg to take part in this august celebration. Below is a report that Fr Keenan put together of the event.

Please click here to download Fr Kennan's Herinrichfest Report


On 11th August, the Bedford Bamberg Association joined the celebrations of the 30th Anniversary of Twinning between Bedford and Bamberg. Coming together in a member's garden, 30 people had good things to eat and drink, quizzes and games and even a special cake made by one of the ladies to mark the event. The weather was great and everyone had a happy time. Eric Kelk - Chairman - said "It was really great - and in two weeks time we'll do it again when we welcome 24 friends from Bamberg to stay for a few days with our members and enjoy Bedford and places close-by." Visit their website at http://www.bedfordbamberg.org.uk/.


On the 21st September 2007, Mayor Frank Branston and Bamberg's Burgermeister Werner Hipelius celebrated 30 years of Twinning with a train naming ceremony at Bedford's Midland Road Train Station. The Mayor and Burgermeister revealed the new named Silverlink train on platform 1a, with music for the occasion supplied by Bedford Modern School's jazz band. In honour of the year and what it resembles, the train was named the "Bedford-Bamberg 30". Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of Silverlink commented, "Twinning is all about bringing people together, enabling people to meet each other from different walks of life and cultures and to share ideas and experiences. This creates opportunities for citizens of member town to experience and explore other cultures. This is exactly what the railway does in general, and in particular here on the Marston Vale Community Rail line."

Following the platform ceremony, those attending reconvened at the Harpur Suite where the Mayor, the Burgermeister and Tom Joyner, the Silverlink Routes Director gave brief speeches before enjoying a buffet style lunch. The Mayor and Burgermeister was then presented by Mr. Joyner with replicas of the train's nameplate which will hang in their respective Town Halls.


As part of the many range of Activities to mark 30 years of twinning between Bedford and Bamberg, Bedford Creative Arts (BCA) was commissioned to develop a Photomarathon Exchange. The Photomarathon had the objective of giving an insight into aspects of everyday life in Bamberg and Bedford. Following public advertisements here and in Bamberg, local people submitted their pictures based on eight themes. The themes were:


People at Work

The View from My Window




My Living Room


A selection of the submitted pictures has now been printed onto display banners and these were shown in Bedford and Bamberg


Ron Whittingham is the man that set the whole ball rolling. Elected as Mayor of Bedford in 1970 after many years served as a Councillor, he heeded the enquiries made by many people of "twinning Bedford with a continental town." As luck would have it, these enquiries coincided with a letter from Doctor Schleyer, the Bugermeister of the city of Bamberg in West Germany, which mentioned that Bamberg were looking for a place to twin with. After an invitation for Ron to visit, and the suggestions of Anthony Abrahams, the manager of an organisation in Bedford that dealt with exchanges for teachers, a delegation headed by Ron was sent to Bamberg. Immediately struck by the beauty of the town, Ron met with Doctor Theodor Mathieu - the Oberburgermeister. Ron put forth his view of the most important part of twinning, which was a "people to people" approach. A plan for school exchanges was agreed.

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Kite Festival

Bedford Borough is a vibrant area to live in with an abundance of leisure opportunities for residents and visitors. We pride ourselves on offering a fantastic programme of cultural events throughout the year, and providing a wide range of affordable health opportunities, through our quality parks, award winning leisure centres and sports development work.


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