From 21–23 October, Chelmsford welcomed ten civic guests from Backnang. The official visit marks more than 30 years of links between Chelmsford, Backnang in Germany and Annonay in France.
Chelmsford twinned with Backnang in 1990 and with Annonay in 1999 and shares a close connection with the towns. The relationship has been marked over the years with a variety of events, activities, and cultural initiatives.
Events to mark the 30-year anniversary in 2020 were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The visit follows an official trip to Backnang in 2021 by the then Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Jude Deakin, and then Deputy Mayor, Cllr Linda Mascot.
The party arrived on Friday 21 October and received a tour of Beaulieu Development before being greeted at the Civic Centre by the Chief Executive, members and officers.
In the afternoon they visited the Hylands Estate where they received a tour of the house. The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sue Dobson, and Oberbürgermeister of Backnang, Maximilian Friedrich, also planted a Lime tree in support of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative and to mark the continued links between Chelmsford, Backnang and Annonay.
Over the weekend, the group visited Gaia at Chelmsford Cathedral – before receiving a tour of Riverside. They also joined a historical walking tour from the City Centre to Chelmsford Museum, where they explored the galleries, including the new exhibition Forecast22 – Broadcasting Across the Ether. In the evening they attended an event at the museum, organised by the Chelmsford Twinning Partnership. On Sunday, guests attended the Morning Eucharist at Chelmsford Cathedral.
The Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford said:
“It has been a privilege to welcome Backnang’s representatives as they so warmly welcomed Chelmsford officials to their town last year. The visit has presented a wonderful opportunity to renew our city’s deep bond with the two towns of Backnang and Annonay. Chelmsford remains committed to working in partnership with Backnang and Annonay and looks forward to continued cultural and personal exchanges in the coming years.”Cllr Sue Dobson, Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford