50th Anniversary of Sefton and Mons Twinning
L-R. Cllr. Peter Dowd, The Mayor of Sefton Cllr. Kevin Cluskey, Acting Mayor of Mons Nicolas Martin. Centre front – Edmond BraquenierA delegation from Sefton Council was invited to Mons, Belgium, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I and also the 50th anniversary of the civic twinning links.
The official guests, consisting of The Mayor and The Mayoress of Sefton, Cllr Kevin Cluskey and Linda Cluskey, Council Leader Cllr Peter Dowd and Andrea Watts, Head of Governance and Civic Services, attended a number of key events, including a ceremony marking the first shot fired between British and German troops in 1914.
The delegation, also joined by dignitaries from Belgian, German, Irish and Canadian governments, attended further ceremonies, including the laying of a wreath at Saint-Symphorien Military Cemetery due to the pivotal role soldiers from the Sefton area played during the war.
A specially commissioned animation of the legend ‘Angel of Mons’ – a short story during which angels intervened to save outnumbered British troops – was spectacularly projected on to the front of the town hall.
The official ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of the twinning between Mons and Bootle (and latterly Sefton) also took place with the signing of a new charter and the exchanging of gifts.
These included stunning photographs of the world record-breaking ‘human poppy’ on Southport beach and images of Antony Gormley’s Another Place in Crosby.
Speeches were made by Nicolas Martin, Acting Mayor of Mons, and Cllr Peter Dowd. Also in attendance was 93-year-old Edmond Braquenier, who was instrumental in the original twinning agreement in 1964.
Cllr Peter Dowd, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “It was a fantastic honour to be invited as guests of our Belgian counterparts to take part in the weekend of World War I commemorations and the re-signing of the charter.
“The high-profile guests over the weekend included Elio Di Rupo, the Belgian Prime Minister, and it is very touching that the City of Mons still holds its twinning links with Sefton in such high regard.
“This is largely down to the strong bonds of friendship that have been developed over the decades, allied with the role and sacrifice of young soldiers from the Sefton area during the Great War.
“We very much look forward to maintaining the twinning links and our bond of friendship during the years ahead.
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