Rede von Mayor Arshad Mahmood Halifax/Calderdale
Festakt „30 Jahre Städtepartnerschaft Aachen – Halifax“
Am 26.09.2009

Visit to Aachen
Speech for Saturday 26 September 2009

Good Morning Everyone
Thank you Lord Mayor for your kind words of welcome.
On behalf of myself and my wife and the Chief Executive of Calderdale Council and his wife, may I thank you for inviting us to your wonderful city of Aachen.
I feel honoured and proud to be here with you all this weekend representing the people of Calderdale as we celebrate 30 years of twinning between our two communities. Earlier this year I was delighted to welcome the Lord Mayor and his wife to Calderdale to join our
special celebrations. Did you know that the Lord Mayor’s skills now include playing cricket?

What a pleasure it was to be shown round your city yesterday. It was a most interesting tour which we all enjoyed. It is rather nice to see some similarities in our areas. You have an imposing Town Hall building, Halifax has an ornate Town Hall of great architectural
importance, you have a spectacular cathedral and within two months the Parish Church of Halifax will become a Minster and your cobbled streets make me feel very much at home here. I am sure there are many other similarities too numerous to mention but these
spring to mind instantly.

I have recently watched a DVD about Aachen and it comes across as a vibrant place to live and work and we are delighted to be here on our first visit to your city to promote friendship between our two communities. A friendship which began sixty years ago ultimately led to the signing of the Twinning Charter in October 1979 when it was agreed to maintain permanent bonds between our areas, to encourage exchanges and friendship between our citizens, particularly the young people and to aim for peace in Europe.

Now 30 years on we are privileged to be signing an additional Agreement on behalf of the people of our communities.
This new Agreement will strengthen the links between us and demonstrate to our young people how much can be gained from twinning, how many wonderful experiences it can create and how many friendships can be formed over the years. One only needs to look at some of the long standing friendships in both twinning societies to see how true this is.

A good example of twinning between young people is here with us today for I understand that the Victoria School takes part in exchange visits with The Crossley Heath School in Halifax and I am sure the students are already building relationships which will, I hope, prove long lasting and help to ensure that twinning remains alive and well into the future.

Earlier this week, I unveiled a new signpost in Halifax which states “Aachen 485 miles”.
What is 485 miles between friends I ask? No distance at all. Long may our two communities travel this distance to maintain friendship.
Thank you.

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