Guests from Taunton’s German twin town of Königslutter am Elm gathered to meet Mayor of Taunton Cllr Nick O’Donnell and representatives from the Taunton Chamber of Commerce and the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, taking the opportunity to see the new permanent home for the bench the Germans brought with them on their last visit – the tranquil Norman Gardens, nestled between the Museum of Somerset and The Castle Hotel.
Karen Halls, Friends of Königslutter Secretary and German visitor Andreas Webber, chairman of the Friends of Taunton were thrilled to see the bench sited in its new home. Andreas, who was part of the delegation who visited Taunton in 2019, bringing with them the bench, explained: “In Königslutter, our local Chamber of Trade provided benches for passers-by to stop, rest and reflect and so it was felt fitting to gift the people of Taunton such a bench too. It is lovely to see it will offer Tauntonians the same opportunity to sit and enjoy the wonderful surroundings of the Norman Gardens.”
Karen Halls added: “It is great to start the 2023 hosting visit by showing our German guests the new bench location, reinforcing the ties of friendship between our towns. Being part of the twinning association is so much fun and we would welcome anyone interested in getting involved in our friendly group to email me on [email protected]”
Nigel Pearce, Vice-Chair of Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society who own the Gardens gave the guests a brief history of the spot and the Norman fort that once stood on site, including the grant funded restoration works carried out during 2021/2 to stabilise and protect the walls of the original motte and bailey castle which still border the gardens: “On behalf of SANHS I was delighted to organise the gathering and offer the guests from Germany an insight into the cultural significance of the garden and the reasoning behind the siting of the bench in this location”
Mayor of Taunton, Cllr Nick O’Donnell was thrilled to join the visit saying: “I very much enjoyed meeting the people behind our twinning endeavours and witnessing the warm friendship between guests and hosts. Relationships with Taunton’s twin towns are a vital and enduring connection with continental Europe and the spirit of connection and community is very much supported by Taunton Town Council. Richard Holt, President of the Taunton Chamber of Commerce concurred: “We have so many similarities with our twinning partners, and we were honoured not only to receive the bench initially, but to also invite the Königslutter visitors to see it in its new home.”
Ronan Hunter, General Manager at The Castle Hotel concluded: “It was a pleasure to host this celebratory event for the Friends of Königslutter representatives and their visiting German guests. After enjoying refreshments in our newly refurbished Drawing Room, it was lovely that the warm weather held so we were able to give the visitors time to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Norman Gardens, equally much loved by our hotel guests.”