A sec­ond home base

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Adam McCleery Adam.McCleery@cnbtimes.com.au

A DEV­AS­TAT­ING fam­ily loss was be­hind the for­ma­tion of the sis­ter city re­la­tion­ship be­tween Gayn­dah and Zon­hoven in Bel­gium.

Three Zon­hoven res­i­dents vis­ited Gayn­dah and spoke about the re­la­tion­ship’s origins and the dif­fer­ences in cul­ture and life­style.

THE story be­hind the for­ma­tion of the sis­ter city pro­gram be­tween Gayn­dah and Zon­hoven in Bel­gium is a sad one with a bet­ter out­come.

Zon­hoven res­i­dents Roger Bas, An­gelina Di Perna and Marie-Claire Huls­man vis­ited Gayn­dah to com­mem­o­rate the 25th an­niver­sary of the sis­ter city re­la­tion­ships be­tween the two towns.

Mrs Huls­man works for Zon­hoven Coun­cil and has been in­volved in the pro­gram since its in­cep­tion.

“The sis­ter city was es­tab­lished by a friend­ship more than it was two coun­cils com­ing to­gether,” Mrs Huls­man said.

“Our for­mer coun­cil CEO’s aunty was a mis­sion­ary in Pa­pua New Guinea and he would do fundrais­ing in Bel­gium and ev­ery cou­ple of years visit Pa­pua New Guinea to bring the funds and take a look at the projects. In 1987 he, his wife, his niece and his niece’s hus­band all made the trip. Un­for­tu­nately his niece’s hus­band was mur­dered while on the trip.”

Gayn­dah man Mike Goebel was in the coun­try at the time.

“Mike helped to or­gan­ise the search for the body be­cause he was on a guided trip in the for­est when he was mur­dered so they had to search for him,” Mrs Huls­man said.

“Mike was great and helped the fam­ily with ev­ery­thing he could, they got to know each other well and af­ter all of that they in­vited Mike to Zon­hoven and the year af­ter Mike in­vited them to visit him in Gayn­dah.

“When the CEO got home he told coun­cil he wanted to es­tab­lish a sis­ter city pro­gram with Gayn­dah.”

It only took two years from then to launch the pro­gram.

PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY

VISI­TORS: An­gelina Di Perna, Roger Bas and Marie-Claire Huls­man from Zon­hoven with Stu­art Kirk and bull Hazel­ton Sir An­gelo.

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