ON September 2nd I flew to Berlin with members of the Taunton/Konigslutter Twinning Association, having been invited to represent Taunton as the town’s Deputy Mayor.

We could not have known that, together with our German friends and hosts we would be marking the loss of our Queen by the end of our stay.

Konigslutter is a small town surrounded by stunning scenery and I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome from our German hosts as well as my English co-travellers.

This was the first opportunity since the Covid outbreak to renew a long-standing international friendship between Association members of both countries.

As well as making new friends, I learned more about German history, current concerns, culture, democracy, and importantly, the things that we share in common.

We were invited to visit remains of the former East-West border known as the ‘Iron Curtain’, which stands as a memorial to those captured and killed as they tried to cross the border, and we were reminded of the part played by the late Mikhail Gorbachev in its removal.  

A programme of visits and events had been arranged, including the official naming, by Konigslutter’s Mayor Hoppe, of a new housing district known as Tauntonring.

A farewell party on the evening of Thursday 8th September was in full swing when news came to us of Queen Elizabeth’s death.

There were tears falling from German as well as English eyes as we stood together in silence. Later that evening, and as we left the next day, German news programmes were filled with reports of England in mourning.

Our late Queen spoke of ‘the family of nations’ and the week was a poignant reminder of both the value and importance of fostering international friendships and mutual interests.

As a new member, and as one who regrets our departure from the EU, I hope that others will consider joining this Twinning Association, which helps keep the flame of internationalism alive.


Cllr Brenda Weston
Deputy Mayor of Taunton