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WELCOME TO

MAIDENHEAD WOMEN’S GROUP FOR EUROPEAN FRIENDSHIP

One often reads of twinning events between British and Continental towns and cities, but here in Maidenhead we have an example of this initiative which is unique in the United Kingdom. In each of the towns with which Maidenhead is twinned there is a sister Group, with a similar title to ‘MAIDENHEAD WOMEN’S GROUP FOR EUROPEAN FRIENDSHIP’ in its own language. The Group’s aims are to encourage friendship between the women of the linked towns – St. Cloud near Paris, Bad Godesberg near Bonn (at that time the German capital), Frascati near Rome and Kortrijk near Brussels. Although not twinned with Maidenhead, in 2004 Salzburg became a full member of our Circle of sister groups.

BACKGROUND

The Maidenhead Women's Group for European Friendship was established in 1965, following a visit by a group of Maidenhead ladies to St Cloud, to meet ladies of the St Cloud and Bad Godesberg Women's Friendship Groups. The first official meeting was held on 17 March 1965, with Mrs Grete Winton as President and Dr Mary Bell as Secretary. Its first title was ‘Maidenhead Women’s Group of the European Movement’, and its stated aims: ‘…to inform ourselves and others of European problems, to make contact with women in Europe, particularly from our twin towns in France and Germany, and to do this (sic) through lectures on Europe, through meetings with our sister Groups in St Cloud and Bad Godesberg, both as hosts here and as guests in their homes’... In March 2015 our Group celebrated 50 years since its inauguration, with a record membership of over 90 members.

ORGANISATION

The Maidenhead Group meets once a month in the main hall of the United Reformed Church in West Street. We have a speaker on some topic of interest, aimed where possible to improve our knowledge and appreciation of some aspect of Europe, followed by tea and coffee. In addition, we have a number of interest sub-groups, aimed at improving our knowledge of Europe or our foreign language skills. We meet in each other’s homes about once a month and have occasional group outings, open to guests, to places of interest or exhibitions. Current sub-groups include: French, German, Italian and Spanish Conversation, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, European Literature, French Literature and Reading for Pleasure.

Once a year each Group welcomes 10 to 16 members from another town in the Circle, usually for about five days. A guest stays in the home of her hostess and her only financial cost is that of travel at each end of the trip. The hostess is responsible for providing ‘bed and breakfast’ and generally looking after her guest but has no additional expenses. The visit of another Group is an opportunity for everyone to join in and show friendship to their visitors. The activities arranged usually involve a presentation by the visiting group, lunches and days out to places of interest, dinners in the home of another Group member and a final Group dinner. Similarly, during the year, each Group will send a party of members to visit another Group in the Circle. A Congress is held every six years, when representatives of the six Groups of the European Friendship Circle gather together to discuss common issues and coordinate visits and activities. Maidenhead hosted Congress in May 2004 and Frascati hosted the last Congress in September 2010.

The Maidenhead Group is non-political and non-sectarian. It is not necessary to be a linguist to join, just to have a sincere wish to know more of Europe and our fellow European women.  The annual subscription – currently £32.50 – pays for the entertainment of our visitors and for group administrative costs. We meet in the afternoon of the second Wednesday in the month in the main hall of the United Reform Church in West Street, Maidenhead. The meeting starts at 2.15 for 2.30 and finishes at about 4.15.

CONTACT US

If you would like to join us to find out more about the Group, you will be most welcome to visit us at one of our monthly meetings.

For further details contact us by email at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

or call our President, Mrs Anne Home, on 01753 642078.

 

 


 




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