City to fight US twin 'snub'

HOPES that Worcester could rekindle its relationship with its American namesake looked to have been dashed.

For several years Worcester's Twinning Association has tried to build relationships with Worcester, Massachusetts, sending numerous e-mails and letters across the Atlantic.

But this week an article appeared in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette which appeared to cold-shoulder the suggestion.

When asked about the possibility of building better relations with us, the American town's newly-inaugurated Mayor Konstantina B.Lukes reportedly said she could recall no emails or letters arriving during her two years in office.

"Given the fact that teachers don't have money for pencils in our schools, I'm not sure what we can do officially," she said. "It would have to be voluntary."

The two cities were twinned in 1999 but, as the Telegram reported, the relationship quickly fizzled out.

The issue came to light following a visit earlier this month by American reporter Jaime Flores to Worcester.

During an audience with our Mayor, Councillor Stephen Inman, Mr Flores, who writes for Spanish-language newspaper El Vocero Hispano and has his own radio show in Massachusetts, was alerted to the problem.

But despite the less than positive response, Worcester is determined to continue its efforts to build relations with its American twin.

Neville Swanson, chairman of Worcester Twinning Association, said: "A group of us went over in 2000 and we were very well-received. We were looked after, shown around and struck up friendships, which remain in place today.

"We thought it was the start of twinning as we know it now but really, since then, nothing much has happened."

The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Stephen Inman, said attempts to maintain the relationship are, and always have been, ongoing.

"I don't want to hype it up," he said. "This is on-going and, I hope, something is now starting to happen."

And their efforts have not been entirely wasted, in the front page article reporter Thomas Caywood said: "The sustained rejection is enough to test even the famously stiff British upper lip. But in the indomitable spirit of Winston Churchill, our English twin is giving it another go."

  • To read the Worcester Telegram and Gazette article click here.
  • For more information about the Worcester Twinning Association click here.

Worcester's twins

Kleve, Germany
Kleve, near the German Dutch border, became Worcester's first twin in 1987.
Every year, Kleve takes part in the popular Victorian-themed Christmas Fayre and residents take part in exchange trips.
Kleve Walk, near South Quay, is named after the German town.

Le Vesinet, France
Le Vesinet, on the outskirts of Paris, was twinned with Worcester in 1994.
The town also takes part in Worcester's annual Victorian fayre and gave its name to Le Vesinet Promenade, near Sabrina Bridge in Worcester.

Vernon, France
A short drive from Le Vesinet is Vernon, with whom Worcester has a Friendship Pact.
In August 1944, the Worcestershire regiment helped liberate the city and it was this historic event that promoted the two cities to become closer.
In May, a group from Worcester visited the city and attended the Festival of Cherries.

Worcester, Massachusetts, US
The two Worcester's were twinned in 1999.
There are established links between the city's camera club and it is hoped the relationship will now be strengthened.

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