The Hedge End Town Council website reports that this trip was personally funded, rather than at the Council Taxpayers expense, and that the purpose of the trip was to discuss twinning opportunities with the German town.
The Hedge End Town Council website further reports that;
The Councillors received the warmest of welcomes and were treated to overwhelming hospitality from their German hosts.
Cllr Jane Welsh, Chair of Hedge End Town Council, was invited on stage with the Mayor on Friday evening to meet the towns people as they prepared to switch on their Christmas lights.
Over the course of the weekend they were treated to some wonderful food, glorious sightseeing in dramatic surroundings and a tour of the school, fire station, Christmas market and the historic town and council offices.
Hedge End’s Town Councillors will be discussing potential twinning opportunities for the two towns in the New Year.
So what do we know about Möckmühl…?
Möckmühl is an ancient town in a wine-growing area of Southern Germany. It has a castle, old city walls and architecture that somehow survived WWII largely intact. The town lost 80% of its population to the plague in the 17th Century and its castle has been beseiged. As such, it is very different to Hedge End, a strawberry-growing village that is barely 150 years old and which has only recently evolved into a commuter town and retail centre.
The concept of Twinning towns is much bigger on the continent than it is in the UK, and is intended to promote cultural and commercial ties. Möckmühl is already twinned with towns in Italy and Hungary.
Hedge End is currently twinned with Comines-Warneton, in Belgium.
Although the Town Council seem very enthusiastic about the idea of twinning Hedge End with Möckmühl, it is unclear whether Hedge End’s citizens want to be twinned with another town on the continent, thus incurring the additional cost of official trips to Southern Germany and the reciprocal hospitality for Hedge End Town Council’s German guests…