Selby to link up with

SELBY will finally "tie the knot" with a German town at a special ceremony this weekend in Selby Abbey.

Civic delegations from Selby and Filderstadt will sign the official twinning document immediately after Sunday's morning service in the abbey.

The historic event will be followed by a traditional lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in the nearby Londesborough Arms Hotel.

A 12-strong delegation from Filderstadt, near Stuttgart, is due to arrive in Selby tomorrow and will stay with host families.

They will be given a talk and slide demonstration on the history of Selby by local historian Richard Moody, in the town hall.

On Saturday they will be given the choice of sight-seeing, in York, or watching Selby Town FC's match against Brigg.

The Ober-Burgermeister (Lord Mayor) of Filderstadt, Dr Peter Bumlein, will light Saturday's community bonfire, along with the Mayor of Selby, Colin Trevor, and local MP John Grogan, followed by a buffet supper at a local pub.

On Sunday afternoon the German delegation will plant a Lime tree in Selby as a gift from the people of Filderstadt.

A Selby civic delegation will visit Filderstadt next Easter to countersign the twinning document.

Although Selby has been twinned for many years with the French town of Carentan, it is the first time it has twinned with a German town.

With a population of 40,000, Filderstadt lies between the Black Forest and Lake Constance, and has a mixed economy of agriculture and industry.

A German-British Association was recently founded there to promote understanding between the two nations.

"Two world wars between our peoples are two too many," said a spokesman.

It is hoped next year to arrange a number of exchange visits involving schools, as well as sporting, social and cultural groups.

Selby town councillor Melanie Davis said she hoped Sunday's ceremony in the abbey would be the start of a lot of new friendships.

She said: "It's been a long time coming, but we've done it the right way with a few exploratory visits.

"We are now keen to broaden it out to include schools, clubs and organisations and would like to hear from interested parties."

Anyone interested in exchange visits with Filderstadt can contact Selby Town Council on 01757 708449.

Updated: 17:05 Thursday, October 31, 2002