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History - of the Society...

The Barnsley Schwäbisch Gmünd Society was founded following a visit by Coun. Williams and twenty six of his council and hospital colleagues in May 1977. He became the founder chairman and Wilf Kitson the first Secretary, followed by Chris Simmons. The first Treasurer was Coun.Ted Galvin. Although little detail of the actual gathering itself is known other notables present at this inaugural meeting included hospital secretary Mr Nolan, heart specialist Gerald Sandler, Barnsley Council Housing Manager Phillip Mollard, Coun. Ben Fellows and retired hospital secretary John Nunn.

An early problem for the society was the lack of a similar body in Schwäbisch Gmünd to liaise with so they presented a chairman's gavel and block to their hosts on their next visit. The point was very well taken and soon the 'Verein Städtepartnerschaft' came into existence. Since then the two groups have liased closely, planning visits from Barnsley to Schwäbisch Gmünd every two years with reciprocal visits in between.

Despite the passing of time officials of the Barnsley Schwäbisch Gmünd Society have changed little, Arthur Williams was Chairman up until becoming President when long standing Vice Chairman Stan Spencer took over. Chris Simmons was followed as secretary by Mrs Phyllis Galvin, Mrs Eileen Truelove and Mrs Pauline Rowland. The position of Treasurer was held for many years by Mrs June Maw.

In 1996, many people both in Barnsley and in Schwäbisch Gmünd celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the twinning of the two towns and a Silver Jubilee booklet was designed to commemorate the special friendship.

The Late Arthur Williams. M.R.S.H. Founder & Honorary President.




"I am proud of the part I have played and urge Barnsley people to play their part in making our twinning even stronger in the years to come."


- The Late Arthur Williams. M.R.S.H. Founder & Honorary President.

Over the years, great personal friendships have been forged and many private visits in addition to those organised by the societies also take place, as one member put it "they are like family now."

Since 1977, ties have strengthened in various ways, there has been a marriage between residents of the two towns, Barnsley Society members have taken part in Schwäbisch Gmünd's 'Lantern Festival' and their members have taken part in 'Barnsley Mayors Parade'.

Exchanges between the citizens of Barnsley and Schwäbisch Gmünd have blossomed, Secondary schools are twinned and they exchange students every year. Sports and cultural groups have established long standing friendships and join in each others events, artists have exhibited their work in their twin town. Groups have excited the public with performances in the town centre and during festivals and brass bands have also played in surrounding villages, business regularly exchange ideas, the list is endless.

A measure of the friendship was seen in December 1984, when £15,000 worth of presents were distributed in Barnsley following a miner's strike appeal by the Städtepartnerschaft in their local newspaper.

Amongst the many gifts which have made the journey in reverse are a painting of the Barnsley Town Hall, Black Pudding, Pork Pies and of course a 'small' sample of John Smiths Beer!

Chairman Prof.Dr.Reinhard Kuhnert and his wife Adelheid visiting Schwäbisch Gmünd Way, Barnsley.



Städtepartnerschaft Chairman Prof.Dr.Reinhard Kuhnert and his wife Adelheid take time to visit Schwäbisch Gmünd Way during the organised visit of 44 Gmünder to Barnsley in May 2009.

red telephone box


Barnsley has a street named 'Schwäbisch Gmünd Way,' whilst Schwäbisch Gmünd boasts a "fully functional" traditional red English telephone kiosk erected in Gmünd, specially organised and arranged by the members of the Barnsley Society.

All this has been made possible because of the twin town agreement signed by the councils and the active work of both twinning Societies.

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