Call for Cromer twinning links to be strengthened, despite Brexit

Flashback: 30th anniversary of the twinning of Cromer and Crest. Mayor of Cromer Hilary Thompson wit

Flashback: 30th anniversary of the twinning of Cromer and Crest. Mayor of Cromer Hilary Thompson with Mayor of Crest Hervi Mariton. Picture: Anthony Kelly. - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

A north Norfolk town's links with its European neighbours will not change, despite Brexit, twinning organisations have insisted.

The north Norfolk town has been twinned with Crest in southern France since 1980 and Nidda in south central Germany since the early 1990s.

But once the UK leaves the European Union it is feared funding to keep the links intact could be cut.

Cromer councillor Andreas Yiasimi, who is on the town's twinning committee, is planning to travel with the group on their annual visit to Crest in April.

While overseas, in a speech to his continental colleagues, he intends to call for the twinning associations to continue their great work in bringing different cultures together.

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He said: 'Twinning is more important now than it has ever been - it does not matter which side you voted for in the referendum.

'We are all being asked what kind of Europe we would like to see in the future, and the twinning concept is what I would like.

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'There's nothing to say we cannot continue the twinning links after Brexit. Although I am fairly new to this, I have seen how the project has flourished. Twinning is not a joyride thing, it has vital substance.'

Tony Nash, who is secretary of the Cromer Twinning Association, said while the original concept had changed over the years, it was still worthwhile.

He said: 'Travel across Europe is much easier now and more schools take part in European projects, but I still see a place for twinning towns and cities. I cannot see it changing because of Brexit.

'But you can only access certain funds towards the costs of twinning projects while you are in Europe. It's not cheap to run, say, 20 people going by coach from Cromer to Crest costs more than £300 per person. As part of the EU you can get funding between one third and two thirds towards it. We are trying to keep it going.'

Twin towns or sister cities are a form of legal or social agreement aimed at promoting cultural and commercial ties.

The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, and to encourage trade and tourism.

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