Möckmühl welcomes Hedge End Councillors

Twinning partyRepresentatives from Hedge End Town Council visited the German town of Möckmühl last weekend, at the invitation of Ulrich Stammer, the Mayor of Möckmühl.

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.

German hospitality

Cllr Louise Bloom enjoying German hospitality

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…

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 


  10 comments for “Möckmühl welcomes Hedge End Councillors

  1. December 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    It would be nice to think that there was sufficient interest in Hedge End for active twinning, but the omens are not good.

    The Hedge End / Comines twinning association dissolved itself in January 2010 due to lack of interest, and the relationship between the two towns is now in name only.

    That said, the initiative for the visit you report came from the people of Mockmuhl, and it would have been terribly impolite not to have responded to their overtures. I think it’s quite admirable that four councillors were willing to undertake the trip at their own expense (OK, three of them do get a councillor’s allowance as borough councillors, but all the same) at a busy time of year to at least investigate the possibility.

    I think I am right in saying that there is already a relationship between Wildern school and Mockmuhl, so there may be a nucleus of a community interest there.

    • December 18, 2011 at 12:22 am

      I fully accept your 4th paragraph Keith. That’s a very fair point.

      I wasn’t aware that the Hedge End / Comines twinning association had dissolved itself. Thanks for letting us know.

  2. December 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t how much twinning costs the council but we need to look after the pennies.
    I am not sure there any substantial benefit other than to provide Councillors with the occasional jolly.
    The Mayor of Villeneuve St Georges has not attended the remembrance day service for the last two years and this year Kornwestheim sent someone from their planning department – I don’t think they value us much.

    • December 18, 2011 at 12:24 am

      I completely agree. We need to look after the pennies. Funding jollies to Germany (and vice-versa) shouldn’t be a priority at the moment…

  3. chris byatt
    December 18, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Hedgeendblogger is quite wrong about Mockmuhl having a relationship with Wildern – they DON’T, the school has no links and I am in a position to know.

    Secondly, David Lloyd worked really hard to continue the Twinning with Comines but as there was absolutely no interest from the people of Hedge End – including sports clubs and other groups, it was deemed no longer viable. Through no fault of the Lloyds this relationship was dissolved. This must show that there is NO appetite for Twinning in Hedge End and we should not waste money on this Council’s beauty project.

    Thirdly, we see that Madam HE Chairman,JANE WELSH, is off on jollys (with her husband) and basking in reflected glory that she had NOTHING to do with promoting. Also, she is willing to go off on nice little trips but does not support events in her own patch – Hedge End. Indeed, if she had her way she would stop everything going on bar the Carnival (which she chairs!). In the year she has been Hedge end Chair,she has thoroughly upset the W.I. – a large and worthy organisation – through her meglomania. She is trying to chop down a Hedge End memorial tree for her own ends and recently I overheard her hysterically verbally abuse event’s organisers at a Christmas concert. This woman is a liability. Once people are well past 70 they should really get off the Council.

    • December 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Chris.

      I’d support the idea of Hedge End divorcing itself from Comines-Warneton. If there’s no activity on the twinning front, there’s no point having the relationship with the Belgian town.

      Thanks also for your comment about the bust-up at the Christmas concert in Hedge End. Eastleigh News wasn’t there unfortunately, but we did get to hear about it. Feelings were running very high earlier in the week, so I’ve restrained myself and have not run the story yet.

      But seeing as you’ve raised it, I’ll post the story now.

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        December 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

        I think it is worth repeating that this particular trip was NOT at the public expense.

        I think its fair enough if you think a Councillor has been high handed,for you to say so but age in itself, is not a bar to serving as a Councillor or in any field of employment.

    • December 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      I am happy to defer to your privileged knowledge Chris. I had it from two independent sources that the initial introduction of the mayor of Mockmuhl to the Town Council was by teachers from Mockmuhl who were already visiting Wildern. I may have read too much into that fact.

  4. Peter Stewart
    December 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Twinning stinks of “Europeanization” and “appeasement”. The English are very good at that. Twinning stinks of commissions and big new expensive signs saying “Hedge End…Twinned with somewhere unpronounceable in Deutschland” Who the hell cares whether Eastleigh is twinned with Kornwestheim? Who the hell cares if parts of Eastleigh are twinned with parts of Europe? I say stuff twinning! Let’s pull down all those awful twinning signs designed to make us believe the Continentals are our “partners”. They are not! They are our ruthless economic competitors and the sooner we understand that, the sooner we can begin to reclaim our lost manufacturing base. It’s time to get out of the EU and put Britain’s interests first. Let’s get England (and the rest of Britain) back to bl**dy work!!!

  5. December 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    The subject of twinning arose during the Chairmans remarks at the Town Council meeting of 21st December.

    The Town Council’s position was stated to be that that twinning was NOT for the benefit of Councillors and that the idea cannot proceed without some support (and active involvement) from the people of Hedge End. Particularly from the schools, who would be approached by the Council to see if they were interested.

    The matter would be discussed further in the New Year.

Comments are closed.