Medal of Honour awarded during twin town trip

Published on 10th August 2011

Twinning chairman, Cllr Garth Barnes was awarded with a prestigious Medal of Honour when more than 100 local people visited Göttingen last week.

The trip was organised to celebrate 60 years of friendship with Cheltenham ’s German twin town.

A particular highlight of the visit was Cllr Barnes’ award which acknowledges more than 35 years of dedicated work towards the twinning link. 

‘’Many of the links, contacts, meetings and projects which we have been involved with are due to the efforts of Cllr Garth Barnes. As a former mayor, active councillor and chairman of Cheltenham ’s twinning committee, Garth always worked passionately to further the idea of twinning,’’ said mayor of Göttingen, Wolfgang Meyer, who presented the medal to Garth.

Cllr Garth Barnes said: ‘’I was enormously proud to receive the Göttingen Medal of Honour which I wasn’t expecting at all.  The medal will be a treasured memory of all of the twinning activities I have taken part in over the years.’’

The council’s twinning officer, Annette Wight was also thanked for 25 years of service towards the partnership and she was presented with a limited edition sketch of Göttingen.

Annette said:  ‘’I was delighted to receive the gift in honour of my work, but it is real partnership work with my twinning colleagues in Göttingen that make these trips such a huge success.  All those involved had an enjoyable and memorable time.  It was particularly valuable for our mayor, officers and chief executive as they were able to work alongside their peers to exchange ideas and best practice.’’

Most people stayed with host families during the visit, which was organised by the council and led by the Mayor of Cheltenham. Main events included a welcome reception, tours of Göttingen including the German aerospace centre and Geopark which is a facility of the university. There were also tours to Hann Munden and Eisenach (where composer Bach was born).The Cheltenham Art Club took over a selection of paintings for an exhibition together with the Göttingen Art Club, Kries 34, entitled 60 Years Twinning. This was opened by the mayors of both towns.

Photo opportunities of Cllr Garth Barnes with his medal can be arranged

Contact: Katie Sandey, communications and web team leader, telephone 01242 775050 or email: Katie.sandey@cheltenham.gov.uk