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"A brief look back at Town Twinning with our great friends and hosts Keith and Margaret Jowett."

garden margaret In 2003 we stayed with Keith and Margaret for the first time and straight away we had the impression that they were a very hospitable couple who liked to welcome everyone to their home.

I vividly remember one time, when Wine and Winfried Baum could not stay with their usual hosts for some reason and Keith and Margaret immediately offered to host them at their house. Not only that, we were mortified (and astonished) when we found out that in order to make their visitors as comfortable as possible they had given up their own bedroom to them. As four guests we had a lot of fun together and got up to some mischief but Keith and Margaret treated us like a benevolent and tolerant set of parents would do. It was easy to see from the many family photos in their living room that they were extremely committed parents and grandparents.

Usually during town twinning visits to Barnsley, one of the highlights for us was the party at Keith and Margaret’s place as they very much believed in “mixing with people” and “socialising”. We always thought they came across as a strong team on such occasions, effortlessly providing a successful night with a delicious buffet. Often it was Keith who took on a more front-of-house role during the parties whereas Margaret did a great deal of the background work, both of them contributing in their own, very effective way. Due to Keith’s great sense of humour the atmosphere at such events was always fantastic and Margaret loved to join in with laughter and chuckles.

I also have great memories of our trip together to visit Margaret's father on the East Coast. It was a lovely day and Keith knowledgeably pointed out features of the landscape. After some sightseeing and an extended visit at her dad's we set off home again. That evening a dinner had been scheduled for both Societies.
Keith judiciously took us back to Barnsley in the car. We even had enough time for a quick change of clothes as the festivities were not starting until 7pm.

When we arrived at the venue we were met by a very agitated John Bennett who informed us that the party of guests had already been waiting for their Chairman for a full hour! As a man of precise timing Keith was extremely distraught. But he picked himself up, squared his shoulders and proceeded to enter the room in order to hold his speech in English and German in his typically unflappable way. Margaret couldn't stop laughing about the whole episode and was extremely amused. By nature, she was a jolly and cheerful person who was generally in high spirits.

In 2014 Margaret and Keith stayed at our house in Waldstetten during a Society visit to Gmünd. Unfortunately Margaret had a bit of an accident and was in some pain. We decided to organise her a wheelchair in order to explore the different areas of the Garden Show in Gmünd. Keith took great care in pushing the wheelchair and Margaret endured this new mode of transport with poise and grace. We all had some fun taking turns to push her. Margaret had a pleasantly modest and unassuming personality which never revealed how dedicated she was to her lifelong work for charity and in the community.

Discussions about politics never became a problem due to the respect they both showed towards people of a different opinion, although Klaus liked to coax Keith to such talks on a regular basis over a glass of delectable malt whisky.

The four of us really did have some enjoyable and interesting times together and we are extremely saddened by Margaret's death and the fact that it will no longer be possible for us to meet in that way.

We wish Keith all the best and hope he can find the strength and fortitude to live his life without Margaret. Both of us, however, are confident that the strong family ties they both have, their commitment to the Methodist Church community and their many friends in England, the society and all over Europe will provide a great deal of comfort and support to him in the future.

Isolde and Klaus Leyhausen
Schwäbisch Gmünd

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