Plans to mark 50th anniversary of Barnsley’s twin town partnership with Germany’s Schwabisch Gmund on hold

Plans to mark the 50th anniversary of Barnsley’s twin town partnership with Germany’s Schwabisch Gmund are on hold, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 11:17 am

Officials say preparations are underway to make up for it next year in both towns.

Barnsley’s twinning with Schwabisch Gmund began in 1954, when a youth party from Schwabisch Gmund’s visit to South Wales was cancelled due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The trip was saved by Arthur Williams – a former member of Barnsley Council, who arranged for the group to visit our very own Scout Dyke Camp in Penistone.

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A previous visit.

Several years of successful exchange visits followed but an official town twinning link wasn’t established until 24 June 1971, when Barnsley’s then-mayor and mayoress, Alderman Theodore Hinchcliffe and his wife, made the first official visit to Schwabisch Gmund on the borough’s behalf.

Since then, groups from both communities – ranging from bands and choirs to sportsmen and women, have visited each other regularly. The twinning proved so successful that in 1978 the Barnsley Schwabisch Gmund Society was formed, to further friendly links between the two communities.

Councillor Caroline Makinson, the mayor of Barnsley, said: “To celebrate the anniversary, we had several plans in place – but sadly, due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, these plans have been put on hold this year. It’s hoped that next year, celebrations will be hosted in both towns to mark the huge milestone. 

“It’s a real shame we are unable to give the anniversary the celebration it deserves this year, but we will definitely make up for it next year.”