City Councillors promote Winchester's charms abroad

Three Winchester City Councillors are heading for the twin town of Gießen this weekend to promote the District to our German cousins. Gießen's annual Stadtfest - town festival - this Saturday (21 August) will provide the colourful setting for some friendly overseas marketing.

Cllrs Therese Evans, Robert Johnston and John Higgins are heading out to Germany armed with German miniguides, stylish posters, the Winchester Visitor Guide and some giveaway pens promoting the tourism website They will also be running a competition to guess the distance from Winchester to Gießen in kilometres, with a first prize of a crystal box engraved with the Winchester crest.

Accompanied by Hampshire County Councillor Pamela Peskitt and her husband Hugh, the five will be travelling at their own expense. Twinning enthusiasts, they are also hoping to find some time to enjoy the festivities in between recruiting potential visitors to England's ancient capital.

Cllr Evans, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, said they are looking forward to promoting Winchester and the surrounding District at the twinning stand. "Whilst local residents are out enjoying the music, performances and stalls selling sausages, beer and other goodies we shall inform them of the many local attractions that we have to offer over here in England and perhaps persuade some to visit," she added.

The Secretary of the twinning association in Gießen , Astrid Reinewald, said Winchester was like a second home to her and she could not wait to visit again.

"There will also be representatives from our twin towns in Italy and Hungary at the Stadtfest," she added. "It is one thing to learn a foreign language, but if you really want to get to know another country you must also understand the culture. Twinning activities are the perfect way to do this. It is important that this cultural exchange continues, and we very much hope to use the Stadtfest to recruit some new, younger members for our association. "

Cllr Johnston, who is Chairman of the Winchester-Gießen Society, added: "There are regular exchanges between Winchester and our German twin town, which I greatly enjoy. In addition to building lasting friendships, however, we also believe that we can create benefits for our tourism industry. And by doing the round trip in three days using a low-cost airline, we will show the Germans how easy and cheap it is to come to Winchester for a short break."

More information on the Winchester-Gießen Society can be obtained from Cllr Johnston by e-mail at or on tel 01962 620610.