THE local Lions Club have stepped in to help avoid any red faces during future visits from members of Tonbridge’s twin town, Heusenstamm.
The group have made a grant of £500 to create a garden around a gift of friendship presented by the German town in 1994, to celebrate ten years of successful twinning.
In the past, the ancient relic from their Bannturm [castle] has been neglected, remaining sat amongst a patch of grass next to Tonbridge Castle’s Watergate.
Such an unremarkable display around the gift had been a source of embarrassment when dignitaries from the twin town visit.
Following the 30th anniversary of the twinning in 2004, the council gave permission for a small decorative border to be made and last spring a small group of volunteers planted a bed of colourful flowers.
The team were made up of members of the Heusenstamm Friendship Circle – an organisation that maintain close contact with the German town and encourage Tonbridge residents to travel there.
Unfortunately, due to a dwindling number of available volunteers, The Friendship Circle is unable to maintain the plot.
The group’s secretary, Eileen Best, said they were ‘anxious’ about the relic’s future, especially with a likely visit from Heusenstamm’s Burgermeister [council leader] set for next year’s Armistice commemorations.
She said that Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council had declined their request to look after the display, citing budgetary concerns.
Fortunately, the circle approached Tonbridge Lions Club, who awarded the £500 grant on Monday [March 6]. This is hoped to cover planting and maintenance for the next two years.
Mrs Best thanked the Lions for their ‘very kind’ donation, and said they are now looking for a gardener to also use the money to care for the site.