Town twin­ning is not just for jol­lies

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION YOUR LETTERS -

I MUST re­ply to the let­ter from Nigel Ed­ward-Few, pub­lished in the Ex­am­iner of July 16 con­cern­ing Che­sham and its twin towns. (Town twin­ning – the hor­ror).

As sec­re­tary of Che­sham Town Twin­ning As­so­ci­a­tion I, along with my as­so­ci­a­tion col­leagues, am con­stantly cor­rect­ing the pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tion that we ex­ist as an or­gan­i­sa­tion to “pro­vide jol­lies for dig­ni­taries.”

When the as­so­ci­a­tion was formed, in 1979, our first chair­man, the late Pauline Wilkin­son, pledged that we would not be a bur­den on the rates, but would pay our way. Only once since then have we asked the town coun­cil for a small grant, which was ap­proved, and that was many years ago

We have a hard-work­ing com­mit­tee de­voted purely to or­gan­is­ing fundrais­ing events and such has been its suc­cess that all group en­ter­tain­ing of our visi­tors from our three twin towns has come from that money raised, mainly from our own mem­bers.

All our mem­bers tak­ing part in ex­change vis­its pay their own way to Ger­many, France and Spain, and that in­cludes any coun­cil­lors, such as town may­ors, who join us on these an­nual vis­its.

Dig­ni­taries? I imag­ine the young foot­ballers who rep­re­sented the town in three-way tour­na­ments some years ago, along with the gym­nasts who took part in sim­i­lar tour­na­ments for many years, the mu­si­cians, artists and many oth­ers who join us on ex­changes, would be de­lighted to be thought of as “dig­ni­taries”, as would our own mem­bers, all of whom pay their own way

We are grate­ful for one as­pect of town coun­cil co-op­er­a­tion and that is the free use of a room at the Town Hall four times a year for meet­ings of our as­so­ci­a­tion com­mit­tee.

Now, I must stress that we have not been in­volved in any talks over the pos­si­ble twin­ning with a town in Pak­istan, about which we have been made aware by for­mer town mayor Mo Fayyaz. We have told him, and the town coun­cil, that we have our hands full try­ing to main­tain our ex­is­tence, with our mem­ber­ship at its low­est level for years and dif­fi­culty in find­ing new peo­ple to take on of­fi­cer roles.

The cost of vis­it­ing our cur­rent twin towns in­creases year by year and that of mak­ing reg­u­lar vis­its to Pak­istan would be very much higher.

We do not op­pose any move sug­gested by Coun­cil­lor Fayyaz, but have stressed to him, and to the town coun­cil, that it must be run by a sep­a­rate or­gan­i­sa­tion from within the Pak­istani com­mu­nity in Che­sham. Ad­vice we can give, time we can­not.

And can we please put an end to the “jol­lies” on the rates think­ing. That may be the case in some cities and towns, but in Che­sham, in re­spect­ing the wishes of our late founder-chair­man, it does not and will not ap­ply.

TONY WHITE Sec­re­tary, Che­sham Town Twin­ning As­so­ci­a­tion

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