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Our visit to Bad Bruckenau 12-15 July 2019

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Another very enjoyable weekend!

Most of the visitors from the Kirkham area arrived in time on the Friday evening for the champagne (what else?) reception at the Georgi Spa Hall. It was lovely with some people meeting up with their new hosts and others, like my wife and I, meeting up with old friends both German and French from the Ancenis area. On Saturday morning we were offered the choice of watching various sports events with local youngsters playing or most of us chose to go out into the beautiful local countryside to visit the Pilgrim's church in Volkersberg built around 1650. It was magnificent with a conducted tour in English and a tour of the monastery garden. Then it was off for a 'hot white sausage snack' at the Sports Hall in Romershag before piling into a coach for a trip to a typical Rhon distillery. Unfortunately the planned walk (for those who wanted to do it) over the local hills to the distillery was abandoned as the weather wasn't too good so we stayed in the coach. The distillery was great with lots of explanations about all sorts of processes that produced all sorts of spirits which, of course, we got to taste and buy! In the evening many of us went with our hosts to the garden of Staatsbad for a glorious evening of music provided by a very professional 'rock' group and food bought from one of the many fast food outlets in the park. Many of us visited the biggest model railway exhibition that certainly I had ever seen! At 11pm the evening was finished off with a brilliant firework display. On the Sunday morning there was a church service followed by a superb concert from 11am by the combined orchestras of Ancenis and Bad Bruckenau. Lunch was provided by the 'Reservists' a group of ex-army guys cooking large steaks over an enormous BBQ! We moved on to the Georgi Spa-Halle for drinks about 6pm then sat out in the garden for the 'official' speeches and exchange of gifts between the three representatives of the twinning towns. Then it was off to the main hall for a superb buffet with lots of choices and lots of chatting with fellow twinners from the three towns over a few drinks. On the Monday it was goodbye to our hosts like many people and off hope with very many happy memories. Come and join us next time!

Some photos (no particular order!) to give you some idea of what a very enjoyable, varied weekend we had......

Double click on the photos to see a bigger image

Our chairman Adrian Long gives his speech The superb firework display at the Parkfest The Reservists cooking our lunch on a 8ft BBQ! Our lunch courtesy of the Reservists
Celebrating our visit to the distillery! The magnificent reception in the Georgi Halle The visit to the magnificent church on the Volkersberg The beautifully restored interior of the church
The drinks just before lunch at the distillery We were entertained by musicians and dancers at the distillery

The combined Ancenis and Bad Bruckenau bands entertained us during the afternoon

Meeting up with old friends and meeting new hosts
The incredible model railway exhibition some of us visited Just to give you some idea of just how big the Staatsbad park is. The mayor of Kirkham  Peter Hardy giving his Thanks speech Some of us know how to dress for Bad Bruckenau!

Our visit to Ancenis 10-13 May 2018

What a weekend!

We were met on the 10th at the Charbonniere by our hosts and everyone was introduced to their respective hosts and celebrated their arrival with a glass of wine. We then spent the evening getting to know our hosts, many of us were staying with old friends. The following day was the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War so there was a quiet remembrance held in the garden around the memorial. This was followed by a wonderful 'Hoc Nido' in the Loire room where all the hosts provided dishes for everyone to help themselves to an enormous buffet. There was then an evening concert Magnificent! The following day {12th} there was for the a trip to Puydufou. I had heard of this 'theme park' but nothing prepared us what we were about to see! It is difficult to describe but we were there for 9 hours and only saw about half of what was there to visit! The 9 hours included a free 3 course meal with wine (of course). We saw an incredible 'bird show' with hawks, eagles, buzzards, owls all flying around creating this story about life in a castle in a young girl's past; Vikings attacking a French village with a longship rising from a lake; we went out in a 17th century galleon rolling in Atlantic waves and the biggest revolving theatre in the world! All just too difficult to describe, you must go! Some of the pictures below might give you some idea. All too soon it was over and on the 13th many people left to make their way home others stayed on with friends. It wasn't all organised activities, many of us took time with our hosts to explore Ancenis and the beautiful Loire area.

Some photos below  to give you some idea of our varied activities during our stay in Ancenis

The welcome at the Charbonniere The Bad Bruckenau band at the Remembrance The Ancenis band at the Remembrance The raising of the flag
Three nations raising their flags Christian leading the combined band A welcoming drink after the service Getting to know each other!
The incredible 'Bird Show' at Puydufou Viking raid at Puydufou Clossis another day, another beautiful town A farewell drink with friends



The weekend of the 25th to 28th August 2017 was when 83(!) visitors arrived in Kirkham from Ancenis and Bad Brückenau.We had a wonderful time!

Friday 25th

The two coaches arrived in Kirkham and the first thing we did was either find and hug our old friends or introduce our selves to our new visitors who would be staying with us for the weekend. Always a brilliant time. Then we moved into Kirkham Grammar School's Old Hall where we had a reception with a drink and some nibbles for our hungry visitors. After a welcome address by Peter Hardy our deputy mayor it was off to our homes with our guests and a welcoming meal.

Saturday 26th

As with all our activities the hosts and visitors are free to organise their own activities but we had arranged a trip to Clitheroe and I'm pleased to say we had about 100 people joining us for a very social occasion. Wandering around Clitheroe with its typically 'English Market Town' feel with its busy shops, pubs and the Castle Keep with its superb views over the surrounding hills. The weather played its part too and it was lovely! We organised a meal and varied menu at the Atrium restaurant adjacent to the castle and this was a very enjoyable social occasion. Travelling home we had another lovely evening with our new friends.

Sunday 28th

Another lovely day meant lots of different activities for our hosts and guests. We had groups out touring Bowland, exploring Blackpool and the Tower and visiting Liverpool for trips on the Mersey as well as lots of other activities suggested by our visitors. We had a wonderful evening at the Community Centre for a BBQ and a concert by the Ancenis and Bad Brückenau bands with songs by the Kirkham Singers. The Centre reckons they have 150 chairs and there weren't enough chairs to give you some idea of how well it was attended! There were lots of short speeches in French, German and English with translations ( as well as some wonderful singing in the three languages) and lots of gifts were exchanged. It was a wonderful evening ending with a 60+ conga around the room accompanied by the band! A very enjoyable evening!

Monday 29th

An early start! To make their ferries back to Europe an early start was needed. The French coach left Kirkham at 6am and the German coach at 6.30am! Lots of hugs and kisses for friends old and new and promises of meetings in Ancenis in May in 2018

All in all a wonderful weekend, can't wait for next May!


Our friends from Ancenis and Bad Bruckenau arrive! Great to see them all

Lovely reception at Kirkham Grammar School's Old Hall

Welcoming dinner with new friends

Trip out to Liverpool on the Mersey Ferry. Everyone had a great time!


Very enjoyable day out in Clitheroe visiting the Castle Keep

No visit to Clitheroe is complete without a visit to Byrne's Wine Store! The French were impressed

Superb evening with the bands from Ancenis and Bad Bruckenau

Lots of fun with 60 people congering around the room!



The programme our friends arranged for our visit to Bad Brückenau

in July 2016 was a great success.

This is what we did....

Friday8 July 2016

Many of us met up and spent the day with our hosts, some with old friends, some meeting their hosts for the first time. Then at about 7.30pm we attended the reception as we have done before at the Georgi Halle together with the French guests from Ancenis. Great to meet up with all our German and French friends again. Lots of drinks and snacks! 

Saturday 9 July 2016

9.30am We met down at the hall behind the main square to have a typical German snack for breakfast : Weisswurst (white German sausage), pint of beer and a pretzel! Unusual breakfast!

11.00  We drove to Fulda in a coach and there was a visit the cathedral for an 30 minute organ recital. Many of us explored Fulda for the rest of the afternoon, we even had a meal in an Italian restaurant with German friends and did a bit of shopping whilst exporing. 

At 16.30 We returned back to Bad Brückenau on the bus, a good opportunity to see some of the lovely Bavarian countryside.

We had a great evening meeting up with friends and our hosts in the Park Fest, a massive park in Bad Bruckenau with lots of stalls, music from live bands, and the biggest collection of model railway layouts I have ever seen. The evening finished off with a firework display.

Sunday, 10 July 2016 

10.00 There was an open air church service in the park.

11.30 - 13.00 We all had a meal in the park, cooked by the army reservists in their uniforms - a band of reservists played all afternoon. I've never seen a pork steak like it! About 5 inches across and 2 inches thick! Amazing

During the late afternoon we were entertained  with a joint concert between the bands of Bad Brückenau and Ancenis.

In the evening we all attended the 'official part' of the weekend at the Geori Halle with speeches by the presidents of the three towns. There must have been 160 people there!The buffet was superb with a magnificent hot buffet, cold buffet and desert buffet. As you might expect there was lots to drink as well! What really made the evening (for some!) was the projection of the Euro Cup Final, France v Portugal onto a wall of the hall where we ate. Unfortunately, France lost, much to our friends disappointment.

Monday, 11th July

Many of us said goodbye to our hosts and friends and set off for home after thanking them for a wonderful experience.



What an incredible weekend!

We went to see our friends in Ancenis over the weekend of May 14-18th 2015

If you want to see our 'fame' in the local French news paper Ouest-France check out

also we are on Twitter at @kirkancenau

and if that wasn't enough....

check out Adrian's blog at


Thursday: Many of us arrived either by air or in our cars to be met by our hosts and given a tremendous welcome. It was so nice to meet up with so many friends from previous visits. We had been told that there was a special Ascension Day market in the old part of the town but we weren't told just how big it was to be! It was enormous, covering just about every street and square in the centre of town! At about 3pm we all went to a big car park in St Géréon to meet our German friend's coach from Bad Brückenau who entertained us with an impromptu band concert in the car park. Brilliant.

The evening was spent with hosts and friends.

Friday: A coach trip was organised in the morning out to the Guérande salt marches and La Briere a beautiful area with a claimed 3000 thatched cottages. The surprise was the arrival of a little road 'train' which took us on a wonderful sight-seeing trip along the coast to La Croisic and to La Turballe, two lovely holiday destinations in the area.  At lunchtime we stopped at La P'tite Casquette, to be joined by the German coach for a very enjoyable 3 course meal with the obligatory lots of wine!   After lunch the coach then took us to La Briere where we boarded a boat for a trip around the marshes to see the wild life and many types of birds. Much to our surprise we then boarded  a horse-drawn carriage for a trip around the beautiful village of La Briere to see some of it's claimed 3000 thatched cottages. After returning to Ancenis my wife and I and another English couple spent the evening at a dinner party with three French families, 13 of us, with everyone getting to know everyone again. A lovely evening.   

Saturday: A visit out to La Cave des Galloires, a well-known local vineyard for a wine tasting. Be fair, it has to be done! It would be churlish not to buy some wine after 'tasting' so much of their lovely wine, so we did! We returned to the Salon de Gotha in St Géréon for a magnificent buffet style meal for about 100 people. Quite amazing.

The afternoon was spent with our hosts doing the things we both enjoyed as there is plenty of free time apart from the organised events. Our friends took my wife and I off to see a display of vintage and classic cars which just happened to be on locally on that day as they know I am vey keen on classic cars. About 6pm there was an open-air concert by Geogi Blaiser band from Bad Brückenau and the Harmonie d'Ancenis, this proved a very popular event with many people sitting out on the warm evening. This was followed by a communal cold buffet in the evening back in the hall.

Sunday: The German visitors left in their coach at 8am, there weren't many there to see them off after the night before but we'd said all our good byes the night before. Some of our visitors from Kirkham had to leave for home after a lovely weekend, some of us stayed with our friends and enjoyed some quiet time with them before leaving.

In summary, a wonderful weekend were there were lots of planned activities (thanks to our wonderful hosts) but you could just sit back and enjoy the company of your French friends if you so wished. If it all appeals to you then come and join us.

Our friends from Ancenis and Bad Brückenau visited Kirkham on 13-16 June 2014

These dates were picked to coincide with Kirkham Club Day weekend.


On Friday: Our guests arrived about 7pm, our French friends by coach, all 33 of them! Our 7 German friends arrived by car and train from Manchester Airport to be welcomed with a small reception in the Community Centre. Nick Long gave a short talk and showed his very interesting film on the history of Kirkham's Club Day. I don't think many locals realised how old Club Day is!


On Saturday: A free day to allow our hosts and guests to watch the Club Day procession. This proved a great success as the weather was perfect with many of our visitors out early to watch the whole parade. The rest of the day was a 'free day' with hosts and guests free to do their own thing. For example, my wife and I took our three French teenagers, children of friends in Ancenis, up to the Lakes for a ride on the Haverthwaite steam train and then on the Lake Steamer up to Bowness for a walk in the sunshine with fish and chips (it has to be done!) in the John Peel Pub.


After the return trip we had other hosts and their visitors around for a meal. A really enjoyable day!

On Sunday: A lot of our friends took part in the Civic Sunday procession and then went off for a free day with their hosts and friends. My wife and I took our teenagers off to Scorton Steam fair, there was a craft fair, stalls of all sorts, lawn-mower racing, a sheep dog herding geese (!), ferret racing and mediaeval knights jousting. Come on! You can't get more English than that lot!

We had arranged a BBQ at Kirkham Cricket Club with entertainment by the Kirkham Singers Thank you ladies and gentlemen, very enjoyable! OK it did rain, very slightly, but we were listening to the Singers so who cared! It stopped raining long enough for the exchange of gifts between the Ancenis and Kirkham committees.


On Monday: We expected most of our guests, particularly the French in the coach, to leave early to make their way home after a very enjoyable weekend. What we weren't expecting was just HOW early! We'd been told to expect the French coach to be leaving about 7.30am. Because of a change the timing of the ferry to France it turned out to be 5.30am! everyone up at 4am to pack and a quick breakfast, make some sandwiches for the journey and off. Phew!


Just a final THANKS to all our hosts and the committee for making the weekend a great success. Here's to Ancenis 14-17th May 2015

Photos to follow soon


We have a new Chairman!

At the meeting on the 14th April 2014 Adrian Long took over as chairman from Sylvia Awbery. The committee would like to acknowledge the contribution that Sylvia has made to the success of the Kirkham Twinning Association since she took over the chair in 1990 just in time to organise the initial twinning ceremony to welcome Bad Brückenau into our 'tripling'. She played a very significant part in organising the twinning element of Kirkham's 700th charter anniversary which was a great success. She thanked all the officers past and present for their help in making the events successful and creating the many friendships that exist today. Adrian thanked her for her considerable efforts over the years and hoped to continue her success

Adrian is head of 6th Form and Kirkham Grammar School. We wish him all success!

Another superb visit to Bad Brückenau on 5-8th July 2013

    Nine members of the Kirkham Twinning Group led by our president, Sylvia Awbery and past mayor of Kirkham Peter Hardy, met up with their friends old and new from Ancenis in the beautiful Bavarian spa town of Bad Brückenau. The sun was shining, as it did all weekend, as we welcomed the French coach on its arrival at the Georgi Hall with 45 friends from Ancenis. The evening was spent reacquainting ourselves with our German and French friends from previous visits and getting to know everyone. The music was provided by the Georgi Blaiser band and everyone had a great time before moving off to stay with old friends, new hosts or a local hotel.

    Saturday was glorious when we set off for a trip through the beautiful Bavarian countryside in two coaches to Wasserkuppe to visit the flight museum on the site of the first flights ever made in Germany. We were taken into the dome of the now disused NATO radar station and listened to the amazing echoes as lovely music was played. Standing in the middle and talking was an uncanny experience hearing the echo of your own voice coming back to you 8 times! Now it is the main gliding area in Bavaria and gliders were circling over us all the time. It was a great opportunity to see the beautiful area around Bad Brückenau from the air and some of us couldn't resist a quick flight over the area! In the evening many of our party attended the turning on of the illuminations in the park of the Staatsbad. For some of us it was a free evening with friends and my wife and I went off to an evening buffet with 16 friends of our hosts with everyone making us feel very welcome. You'd be amazed how many Germans speak very good English, so any language 'difficulties' we may have anticipated were quickly dismissed. Come and try it!

    Sunday was a 'free day' spent with hosts so there was an assortment of activities on offer. My wife and I went with Helge, the local doctor, up to Volksberg for a walk up to the beautiful church there returning to meet up with Adelheid, his wife, for a lovely walk though the gardens around the palace of King Ludvig the First.

    Sunday evening was the time for the formal dinner with a wonderful buffet and lots of wine and the speeches from our hosts. Sylvia and Peter replied on our behalf and invited the fellow 'twinners' over to Kirkham for Club Day (14/15 June) in 2014

    Monday saw us up early to say goodbye to our French friends as their coach departed at 8.30 am. Some of us drove home to Kirkham, some flew from Frankfurt and some let the train take the strain.

All in all, a wonderful experience. If you would like to join us please check out the contacts page

or call Norman Harris on 01772683827

The reception with the Georgi Blaiser

band playing

Brigitte mayor of Bad Brückenau

meets Peter Hardy

Nathalie, Brigitte, Christain and

Norman in their new polo shirts

The beautiful gardens around the spa

Speech time! Peter, Brigitte, Christian

and Sylvia

The beautiful church of Volksberg Coffee and cakes at Wasserkuppe

Inside the radar dome listening

to the music and the echo>>>>>>

It just had to be done!

A flight at Wasserkuppe

Goodbye to our French friends

A la prochaine!

What a weekend (24-27August 2012) in Ancenis!

Ancenis 2012

To see all the photos please click the button above

 Well, our friends in Ancenis certainly celebrated the 40th anniversary of the twinning with Kirkham in style!

The weekend started on the Friday evening when we all met up and welcomed our fellow travellers some of whom had come by car, some by air and the German party by coach. Inside the Charbonnière, Ancenis' beautiful community centre, we all had a welcome drink and a buffet and got reacquainted with our French and German friends. Then it was off to our host families to get settled and in some cases, to get to know the hosts.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and started with the formalities of a short remembrance ceremony outside the Town Hall where a wreath from the three countries was laid at the war memorial. The less formal part of the weekend continued with welcoming speeches by the three mayors and the exchange of small gifts in a small 'amphitheatre' overlooking the Loire. The new mayor of Kirkham, Peter Hardy, made a big impression with his less-formal style and he was obviously thoroughly enjoying the occasion, when he took the opportunity to remind his audience that a 'local' boy, Bradley Wiggins, had just won the Tour de France, which was greeted by a round of applause! Around midday we assembled back on the terrace at the Charbonnière for drinks before moving inside for a superb buffet and drinks while listening to the German band and Ancenis' own Harmonie. The idea was to have a boule tournament after the buffet but everyone was having such a good time at the buffet that I think it got forgotten about! The evening was spent sat on a grassy bank with the Loire behind us listing to classics, big band and jazz played by a combination of the German and French bands. The evening rounded off with a magnificent firework display from boats anchored in the middle of the Loire.

Sunday was an early start for those who wanted to take the coach to the Machines d'Ile at Nantes. If you don't know this group they built the 'little girl' who was about 30ft high wandering through Liverpool last year and the 25 ft high mechanical elephant that wandered through London a while ago. Check out to see what you missed. We had a superb conducted tour with demonstrations of the prototypes for their mechanical bird and 15ft long caterpillar and the planned tree which they hope will be as iconic to Nantes as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The tree will be enormous 150ft high? with the birds flying around the top of the tree with people in the baskets they will carry with the caterpillars walking out along the branches among the people in the tree. Sound amazing and worth a trip in its own right! Then it was all back in the coaches and back to the Charbonnière for another buffet and then off to the host families for the last evening.

Monday was another early start to see our German friends off in their coach and to say goodbye to the friends leaving to head home to Kirkham and, of course, to say a sincere 'thank you' to all friends and hosts, particularly Christian and Monique and the Ancenis twinning committee for their wonderful hospitality.



French Breakfast 24th November 2012

We had a lovely 'French Breakfast' at the home of Jane and Duncan Cairns (thanks to you both!)

It was a good opportunity to meet up again and talk over our recent experiences with our trip to Ancenis.

We had a continuously running slide show as Norman and Adrian had brought along their photos of the Ancenis visit which brought out lots of memories and conversation which were greatly enjoyed by all.



Kirkham 2011 26-29th August

What a weekend we had!

All aboard for the Twinning!

The Kirkham Twinning Association welcomed 46 visitors who arrived by coach on Friday afternoon after a long trip from Ancenis, Kirkham’s beautiful twin town on the banks of the Loire in France. Our five visitors from Bad Brückenau in Germany arrived on Saturday. We all had a lovely welcoming reception with Elaine Silverwood, the Mayor of Kirkham and the mayor-elect Peter Hardy. The Saturday was spent with the host families; some took their visitors around Kirkham and were surprised to find the Mayor serving their ice creams in Silverdell! The French children thought the new play ground was superb! Others went out to Blackpool, the Lake District, Bowland and the visitors were all impressed with what a beautiful part of the world in which we live. We had arranged a typical pub afternoon at the Conservative Club with a buffet provided by the association and the club was packed with everyone out on the bowling green trying their hand at crown green bowling in glorious sunshine. On Sunday we took a full coach load for a tour of Liverpool taking in the Mersey Explorer, which is a trip up the River Mersey on one of the famous ‘Ferries across the Mersey’ followed by visits to both the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals. Our visitors were all totally impressed by the cathedrals, so were some of the Kirkham locals, which are just so amazing in their own right (the cathedrals that is, not the locals!) but so different to each other. We all had a wonderful time and we are looking forward to next year’s visit is to Ancenis.

 6am on Monday morning and ready for home after a very enjoyable weekend. Bon Voyage!

           All ages trying the bowling                  Great fun this new climbing frame!     Out on the Mersey with the Liver Buildings

                                                                                                                            in the background

Allan Clarke (thanks Allan!) has produced a 'video slideshow' of the reception.

To see it full screen click  on the two small arrows or the small rectangle in the lower right hand corner of the video

To see it click the link below.

To see Norman's  'video slideshow' of our Visit to Liverpool click the link below:

To see Allan's 'video slideshow' of Kirkham/Ingleton click the link below:

To see Norman's 'video slideshow' of Kirkham and the Bowling click the link below:



The visit to Bad Brückenau took place over the weekend of the 16-18th July 2010 and we had a great time. to see a report on how we got on  press the button.

Bad Bruckenau 2010

Ancenis 2009