Civic address to German counterparts

Blackpool Mayor Coun Peter Callow with the German newspaper reporting his visit to Blackpool's twin town Bottrop with Mayoress Coun Maxine Callow
Blackpool Mayor Coun Peter Callow with the German newspaper reporting his visit to Blackpool's twin town Bottrop with Mayoress Coun Maxine Callow
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He is more than used to making speeches in Blackpool’s council chamber – but the resort’s first citizen found himself addressing his counterparts in Germany this week.

Mayor Coun Peter Callow was invited to speak in the rathaus in Blackpool’s twin town of Bottrop.

The invitation was part of a three-day visit to Bottrop made by Coun Callow, Mayoress Coun Maxine Callow and Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn.

Coun Callow, who is also a former council leader, said: “It was the first time a Blackpool Mayor had addressed the rathaus, so it was a real honour.

“The invitation came from the Oberbuergermeister of Bottrop who I first met many years ago. I spoke about the importance of the twinning between our two towns, and about
the changes that have been made in Blackpool over the years.

“The visit was widely reported in Bottrop’s local newspaper, and they even had a picture of me on the front page!”

Coun Callow, whose speech was translated for the German councillors, told the rathaus that Blackpool and Bottrop had “forged close links over very many years”.

He told the assembled dignitaries: “Long may these continue and go from strength to strength.

“I also believe our two countries should work closely together and I myself am a great admirer of Angela Merkel, a no nonsense woman who is at Germany’s helm.”

He went on to outline investments which have been made in Blackpool in the Promenade, the Tower and the Winter Gardens, and talked about the ongoing plans for a new museum for the town.

Coun Callow concluded: “We are all proud of Blackpool, just as your are proud of Bottrop.

“Each is very different from the other, but our residents respect and admire each other –isn’t that what town twinning is about?”

The trip was funded by Bottrop.

Blackpool has been formally twinned with Bottrop, a mining community in the Ruhr area of Germany, since 1980.

Regular visits take place between school groups from the two towns.

When Coun Maxine Callow was Mayor in 2005, she
also made a speech in Bottrop after being invited to talk in the town square at events to mark the sixtieth anniversary of 
the end of the Second World War.