On the 52nd anniversary of the
European flag and through the hard work of all the Twinning
Association Committee, its ordinary members and the Town
Council, Verwood and Three Legged Cross, on the Dorset/Hampshire border, was
one of only 18, and the only UK municipality to be
awarded the "European Flag of Honour” of
the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for 2007. Entrants
were judged on their efforts in European Events, exchange
visits, and twinnings with other towns.
The "Flag of Honour" was
officially handed over to Mayor Alec Nicholls at a civic
ceremony by the Swedish "Hon. Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe -
Kerstin Ekman" (see picture) on Friday the 19th of October. Many
dignitaries attended including mayors, the High Sheriff of
Dorset and the county's Lord Lieutenant.
Two days of
celebrations were arranged by the Town Council and the
Twinning Association of Verwood and Three Legged Cross to
mark the presentation of the flag, while on Saturday the
20th, a Celebration and "Fun Day" for all the town
took place under the name of "FLAGFEST".
Mrs. Catharina Green who retired at the Twinning
Associations AGM, held on the 18th of October said that
"It was wonderful when the town was awarded the
European Diploma in 2005, but this was the pinnacle of the
Celebrations (19th Oct 2007)
celebrations, organised by the Town Council at the new
Verwood HUB, started at 10:30 with guests being given a cup
of coffee before being ushered outside to witness the fly
past of two Chinook Helicopters from RAF Odiham.
photographs were taken, guests returned to the
"Merryfield Theatre", which had been suitably
dressed for the occasion.
In 1981, after discussions with
his friend Alain Levoyer (who was then the Mayor of
Champtoceaux) a letter was sent by Gordon Himsworth (a
Director of Manitou) to the then Verwood Parish Council,
requesting a meeting to discuss a possible twinning between
Verwood and Champtoceaux.
(the photo shows from L to R - Gordon
Himsworth and Alain Levoyer)
A meeting was arranged at the
Monmouth Ash Public House, at which Mr Himsworth and
four Parish Councilors, R V W Curd, L Roberts, G J Thorne
and F T (Bill) Williams, were present which resulted in the
setting up of the Twinning Association and the rest as they
say is history. (Select
here to visit the section on Twinning History).
This photo shows all the
surviving Verwood members of that initial meeting. In
addition it shows all the chairmen of the Twinning
Association since its inception - Gordon Thorne, Jon
Palethorpe, Geoff Higley, Brian Bowey, Catharina Green and
the new chairman Terry Bright.
(from L to R
- Jon Palethorpe, Brian Bowey, Catharina Green, Terry
Bright & Geoff Higley. Seated from L to R are Ron Curd
& Gordon Thorne.)
given by the current Mayor of Verwood and Three Legged
Cross, Kirsten Ekman, Alain Levoyer, Gordon Himsworth,
plus representatives from the Twinning Association,
Champtoceaux and Liederbach am Taunus. Children from
Emmanuel Middle School in Verwood and Queen Elizabeth's
Upper School in Wimborne entertained us, and also led the
guests in singing the European Anthem (Ode to Joy) and both
verses of "The National Anthem". Soprano Emily
Goad thrilled the guests with her rendition of 'Meadowlark'.The
"Flag of Honour" was presented and the cake was
DAY (20th Oct. 2007)
The Recreation Ground thronged with
families enjoying arena displays and activity events
including face painting, bouncy castle and a roundabout,
plus attractions from owls to vintage cars including stands
and displays from many local groups and societies
Courtesy of Manitou, two fearless
boys from Portsmouth known as the biker boys thrilled the
crowd with their daredevil stunts on their mountain bikes,
and rides, 21metres into the sky aboard 2 Manitou Cherry
Pickers, ran all day, and proved very popular.
During the afternoon the Verwood
Choral Society and Verwood Concert Brass added to the
carnival atmosphere and boys and girls from Tae Kwan
Do gave a demonstration which drew applause. In the Memorial
Hall there were displays of twinning memorabilia, the
Verwood Flower Club, the New Forest Spinners and Dyers and
the Library also had stands. Refreshments from cafe Rene.
Forest FM provided the PA with music, commentary and
interviews during the afternoons live broadcast.
On Ferrett Green there was mulled
wine available from the Twinning Committee Marquee, Hot Dogs
and Beef Burgers from Andrews butchers while Terry
Cheater provided Steam Train rides. Chris Albray
demonstrated Pole Lathe turning, Suzuki showed off their
latest motor bikes while the Recycling stand proved popular.
Verwood Hub also hosted a climbing Frame and Play Station
league on the Cinema screen and the Fire Station and British
Legion had open days.
Shops in Verwood and Three Legged Cross decorated
their shop windows, to give the town a Festive spirit.
Donations received went to the Mayor's Charity, which this
year is “St Gabriel's”.
Having been chairman of the
twinning association during the lengthy efforts to pro-mote
harmony and understanding within Europe, Catharina Green was
present at the cutting of a celebration cake in the Memorial
Hall at 2:30 p.m. She was joined by current chairman Terry
Bright and the Mayor and Mayoress of Verwood, Alec and
Lesley Nicholls, plus twinning and town council members.
Swedish MP Kerstin Ekman warmly congratulated
everyone on the prestigious award and A Good time was had by
above shows the new chairman Terry Bright, Mayor - Alec
Swedish MP - Kerstin Ekman and the Mayoress - Lesley