Ashford Twinning Association’s flood fundraising

This July, the German town of Bad Münstereifel fell victim to the catastrophic flash floods that caused devastation through the town leaving many residents helpless and some even homeless with no access to drinking water, electricity and gas. As its twinned town, secretary of Ashford Twinning Association Philippa Seager started a JustGiving page to help raise funds for the people of Bad Münstereifel setting an initial target goal of £10,000.

 

Fast forward to September and that goal was well and truly surpassed with hundreds of supporters contributing to help their German friends. CommunityAd caught up with Philippa to find out more about the appeal and the wonderful club that is the Ashford Twinning Association…

 

Can you explain to readers the process of how your flood appeal first started, the communication you have had with Bad Münstereifel during your appeal and how much you have raised? 

We were devastated to hear the news of the flooding in Germany and that it had affected our twin town, Bad Münstereifel. We felt we wanted to help our friends in some small way to show that we appreciate our links and friendship forged over the many years. We launched the JustGiving page and the news spread very quickly through the various media channels and websites who offered to assist us in our quest. We were amazed at the speed of progress and watched daily the total rising upwards. It is currently standing at £12,750.

We also decided to hold a fundraising event, The Big Munch, at Repton Connect Community Hall on Saturday 21st August. The hall was kindly given to us free of charge, the local Co-op donated soft drinks and Ashford Folk provided the entertainment all afternoon. There was a BBQ and a huge choice of homemade cakes. In total we raised £742 which is quite an achievement in such a short time. We thank everyone involved for their generosity, both in time and financially.

 

You have smashed your initial fundraising goal of £10,000, have you been surprised by the response and donations?

We have truly been overwhelmed by the response we have received. It has been heart-warming to read the messages that people have written with their donation. Some are from visits with school exchanges, others with organisations that share a common interest i.e. beekeeping, rifle shooting, WI, choirs, arts and crafts to name but a few. Also, memories of visits staying with families which is at the true heart of twinning. It’s been amazing to see how the experiences have stayed with people throughout their lives and that they want to help because of the positive impact of these.

 

What is the current status of Bad Münstereifel and how will this money help support the town and its people? 

The clearing up is a mammoth job before they can even begin to assess the real damage and issues to be addressed to restore and rebuild their beautiful medieval spa town. We have agreed with the Mayoress of Bad Münstereifel that our money will be used towards the things that are not covered by State Aid and insurance. It is too early to identify exactly what this is going to be, but we will inform everyone as it progresses.

 

What do you enjoy most about being in Ashford Twinning Association and are you looking for any new members? 

Ashford is twinned with two towns, Bad Münstereifel in Germany since 1964 and Fougères in France from 1984. Over the years, we have visited one another on a regular basis and built-up good relationships with each other, both on a personal level and as an association. We stay in each other’s homes and are privileged to experience the culture and regional delights of each place on a first-hand basis.

The Ashford Twinning Association hold social events throughout the year so that members can enjoy outings, quiz nights, get togethers, meals out, picnics etc. We have a quarterly newsletter which helps keep everyone in touch and contributions are always welcome for this.

We have welcomed several new members recently, but really do need more people to belong if the twinning association is to continue. Anyone interested please visit our website ashfordtwintowns.uk or email [email protected] for more information.

 

How difficult have the last 18 months been for you as a Twinning Association? 

Like every other organisation the fact that we have not been allowed to get together to arrange events, socials and visits has been difficult for our members. We have been unable to see our friends in either of our twin towns although we have kept in touch on a regular basis.

 

Have you got any trips planned later this year or in 2022, perhaps a trip to Bad Münstereifel when all is okay? 

We have not been able to plan anything for this year because of the uncertainty surrounding travel abroad. However, we are hoping to visit Fougères in the Spring and Autumn of next year and hope that some members from Bad Münstereifel will be there too.

At present, it is too early to plan anything in Bad Münstereifel as they have enough to contend with. However, we would like to welcome them to Ashford next year to stay with our families when they are in a position to consider this.

 

How can readers donate to the flood appeal? 

Please visit our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bm-flood-appeal.

 

Find out more about the Ashford Twinning Association by visiting their website or follow @ashfordtwinning on Facebook for updates.

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