Night to Remember
We held a dinner in the Ramnee Hotel on Friday, 23rd February to celebrate a ‘Third of a Century of Twinning’ with Vienenburg.
The Association was set up in 1984 and, at first, it was not clear whether Forres would acquire a twin town in Germany or France but, after more than a year of struggle, frustration and occasional setback, the steering committee’s persistence finally paid off and the first exchange with Vienenburg took place in Forres in April of 1984. It was quite a spectacular occasion. Local amateur photographer Mr Billy Laing captured the highlights on camera and recently presented an audio-visual record of the key events to the association.
This unique piece of twinning nostalgia – running to more than twenty minutes – was played on Friday evening to an audience of more than fifty people including the Convenor of Moray Council, James Allan (himself heavily involved in promoting twinning in Moray) and Martin Mahnkopf, the Burgermeister of Goslar-Vienenburg (and chairman of the Vienenburg Twinning Association) who had flown over specially for the event.
Messages of goodwill were delivered from former chairman Richard Ross and from Herr Gunter Mund, former town clerk in Vienenburg, both of whom were original signatories of the twinning charter here in Forres in 1984. After that, Mrs Sheila Goddard delivered an eye-witness insider’s account of the ‘secret history’ between 1982 and 1984.
Convenor Allan and Burgermeister Mahnkopf then both spoke enthusiastically about the future of twinning and the importance of involving young people.
Members of the local twinning committee then gave a somewhat unorthodox summary – drawn from the early minutes of the association – of the key developments leading up to the events of 1984.
Mrs Goddard, who has been on the association’s committee (mostly as secretary) continuously since 1984 – nearly 34 years – was then presented, in recognition of her great service, with a bouquet by the association’s youngest member – Daniel Goddard – her grandson.
Finally, the association’s in-house ensemble sang a couple of ‘twinning’ songs to well-known tunes but with new words composed by senior members Alastair Rossetter and David Buxton, with the audience joining lustily in the choruses.