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History - How it began...

Barnsley and Schwäbisch Gmünd were officially twinned on 24th June 1971 but exchange visits between students, parties, youth groups and civic dignitaries started well before then.

An outbreak of 'Foot and Mouth' disease in South Wales in 1954 meant that a visit being made by a youth party from Schwäbisch Gmünd had to be abruptly cancelled.

Mayor Cllr. Margaret Sheard with some members of the choir

An early youth exchange to Barnsley from Schwäbisch Gmünd
just after the 'official twinning' of the two towns in 1971.

Arthur Williams, then a member of Barnsley Town Council, realising their plight, made hasty consultations with council colleagues and the authority's youth services and the party was invited to visit Barnsley's Scout Dyke Camp. Well, the visit was such a great success it led to regular bi-annual youth exchange visits.

As chairman of the authority's further education committee and later the hospital management committee, Arthur supported all these visits and played a leading role in the official twinning of the towns. That, however wasn't enough, he agreed with Schwäbisch Gmünd's Oberburgermeister Herr Scheffold that twinning must also involve ordinary towns people and not just civic dignitaries and officers.

What he didn't know was that would take another six years of hard work for the Barnsley Schwäbisch Gmünd Society to come into being.


History of the Society >

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