Home Maidenhead Exchange Visits St Cloud Exchange Visit to Maidenhead and Maidenhead 50th Anniversary Celebrations 2015




11th - 15th May 2015

Maidenhead Women’s Group for European Friendship welcomed twenty visitors from their sister groups to join in the celebrations of their 50th anniversary from 11th to 15th May this year. In addition to the main delegation of twelve ladies from St Cloud, there were two representatives each from Bad Godesberg, Frascati, Kortrijk and Salzburg. Our visitors were accommodated in the homes of our members who were happy to receive old friends and to make new ones over the course of their stay.

We began on Monday by hosting a Welcome Supper at the Stubbings Parish Centre near Maidenhead Thicket, where words of welcome were extended and a brief history of our group was outlined. The first official meeting of the group took place in March 1965 following an invitation from a member of the St Cloud Group to visit them together with a group from Bad Godesberg in 1964. Links with the other groups followed over time.

On Tuesday morning, in the splendid surroundings of the Guildhall in Windsor, our guests were welcomed by the Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, who gave a short talk and looked resplendent in full ceremonial dress. After morning coffee, our friends from St Cloud treated us to a splendid presentation on the metallic architecture of Paris in the X1Xth century. This included the construction of the Eiffel Tower of course but also gave details of many other interesting buildings, bridges and even entrances to the new Metro stations. After the presentation, our guests and their hostesses proceeded to walk to Eton for lunch  at the Cote Brasserie overlooking the River Thames. After lunch, many hostesses and their guests chose to remain in Windsor in order to visit the Castle, Windsor Park Farmshop or the Windsor Railway Station shopping centre. The evening completed with Supper Parties for our guests and their hostesses, hosted by some of our members in their homes.

The weather was kind to us on the Wednesday as we set out for a day trip to historic Greenwich. We travelled is by coach as far as Westminster Pier and thence took a boat on the River Thames to Greenwich Pier, which enabled our guests to see the London landscape from the River. The sun shone and it was unseasonably warm. Nobody complained about that! After a pub lunch of "traditional fish and chips" our excellent guides took us a tour of the Naval College including the Chapel and the Painted Hall. Then some of us walked up to the Observatory where photos were taken on the Meridian line, while others visited Queen's House or strolled in the grounds of Greenwich Park.

The main event on Thursday was our farewell lunch at Leander Club in Henley, overlooking the River Thames, where we spent a wet afternoon, lingering over good food and exchanging ideas, gifts and addresses as well as looking forward to the next group visit. This will take place in October when twelve ladies from Maidenhead will be going to Kortrijk for five days.

Fond farewells were said on Friday morning as our guests departed for home after another successful visit which had allowed us to understand each other a little more and to cement relationships with our friends in Europe.

Michaela Howard, Webmaster,

July 2015


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