Cutting the cake for 60 years of friendship: Hitchin and Bingen am Rhein

Bingen tourism manager Georg Sahnen and Hitchin Town Twinning Association chairman Tochi Bhatt cut t

Bingen tourism manager Georg Sahnen and Hitchin Town Twinning Association chairman Tochi Bhatt cut the cake marking 60 years of friendship. Picture: Dalia Asher - Credit: Archant

From small seeds do great things grow – and that can certainly be said of the lifelong friendships shared by Hitchin town twinners with their German counterparts in Bingen am Rhein.

The Hitchin and Bingen twinners enjoy drinks and socialise outside the historic Jordans Mill near Bi

The Hitchin and Bingen twinners enjoy drinks and socialise outside the historic Jordans Mill near Biggleswade. Picture: Dalia Asher - Credit: Archant

The link is now 60 years old, and on Friday night the Hitchin Town Twinning Association held a special dinner for visitors from Bingen at Jordans Mill, near Langford.

Hitchin Town Twinning Association chairman Tochi Bhatt and Bingen’s Suze Trouw addressed the gathering with the same speech, alternating to deliver each line in first English and then German.

“The seed planted 60 years ago has grown into a very mature tree,” they said.

“The people who planted and nurtured it as it was establishing were very foresighted, so let us remember and thank them. Now it is our turn to look after this tree so that it may keep growing.

Bingen tourism manager Georg Sahnen, Hitchin twinning patron Richard Cox, Bingen's Christel Stiller

Bingen tourism manager Georg Sahnen, Hitchin twinning patron Richard Cox, Bingen's Christel Stiller and Hitchin twinning chairman Tochi Bhatt. Picture: Dalia Asher - Credit: Archant


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“One of the key aspects of town twinning is the strength of new and enduring friendships that is enhanced by a shared pleasure in learning from each other.

“It also gives us the opportunity to share culture, history and heritage – and most of all, lots and lots of wine!”

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Bingen is in Rheinhessen, the largest of Germany’s 13 wine regions, and along with Hitchin forms a twinning triangle with Nuits-Saint-Georges – the main town of the prestigious Côte de Nuits winemaking region of Burgundy in eastern France.

There was a toast in honour of the 60 years of friendship between Hitchin and Bingen, after which Hitchin twinning patron Richard Cox and Bingen’s tourism management boss Georg Sahnen – visiting for the first time – cut a homemade cake decorated with pictures of the two towns.

Richard Cox of Hitchin's town twinning association presents a memorial plaque to Bingen's Georg Sahn

Richard Cox of Hitchin's town twinning association presents a memorial plaque to Bingen's Georg Sahnen. Picture: David Leal-Bennett - Credit: Archant

The festivities continued yesterday with a barbecue at Mr Cox’s home in Holwell, where the German visitors were presented with a 60-year memorial plaque.

This comes after Bingen had medallions struck for the Hitchin town twinners during their visit there earlier this year, with Mr Cox also made an honorary citizen of the German town.

The twinning triangle with Nuits-Saint-Georges dates back to 1976, when Hitchin and the Burgundian town became linked. Bingen and Nuits had already been twinned since 1960.

To find out more about Hitchin town twinning and how you can get involved, have a look at hitchintwinning.org.uk.

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