Rotary Clubs, like cities, often form twinning relationships across national boundaries, and for similar reasons...to promote understanding through fellowship and cultural exchange. Rotary York Ainsty is twinned with the Rotary Club of Münster St Mauritz. This is the story of how the friendship between the two clubs started and how it has endured for over four decades.
HISTORY OF THE TWINNING:
After considering the possibility of twinning with a club in the Netherlands we found little interest there but, in 1962, we were invited to send a representative to York's twin city of Münster to accompany the Civic Party. This didn't happen, but eventually, in January 1964 the Club agreed to try to twin with the Rotary Club of Münster St Mauritz, a club of similar age to ourselves. With member Finn Hjort regularly visiting Münster on business there was a period of liaison followed by the first visit to Munster in 1969.
An agreement was reached to organise visits every two years and the members of Münster St Mauritz made their first visit to York in 1971. In 1973 the idea of staying in members homes was tried with evident success. However, this was not always possible and in one of the first visits to York Rotarians stayed at the Dean Court Hotel. In 1978 three members went to Munster and stayed in private accommodation belonging to a bank. 1979 saw visiting Rotarians staying at the Royal York Hotel.
Don Wilson (A summary of the early years of the twinning based on a document written by Dick Swallow in 1992 a transcription of which is available as a note.)
And so the story begins. We shall be adding more as we collect reminiscences and photographs, both from our members and our Münster friends.
Rotary York Ainsty members also have fond memories of visits to their friends in Munster. One occasion was particularly special for long-time Rotarian Dennis Miller and his wife Sheila, who heard about the birth of their first grand child when in Munster. Dennis reminisces about the event in the accompanying recording.
"During the Münster Rotarians visit to York in May 2008, as an ex senior fire officer and Rotarian, I arranged a visit to the York, Huntington fire station. One of the Münster Rotarians, a most competent and enthusiastic artist, made this sketch of our group at the fire station while waiting for the coach to arrive to take us on a day trip to Whitby." Alan Stow
The Münster Jug
During their 1987 York visit, the RC Münster St Mauritz presented Rotary York Ainsty with a magnificent brown, pottery jug, which now plays a role in an annual RYA tradition. At our President's Evening, held at the end of June to celebrate the hand-over of the outgoing President to his or her successor, The Jug is filled with about three pints of beer, which is then distributed to the past presidents who bring their engraved tankards or goblets commemorating their years in office. The outgoing president retains the Münster Jug for the following year, although we understand not everybody necessarily appreciates its rare design.
The jug is a limited edition reproduction of a type originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. We were given a document, (see accompanying image), describing history of the design by the 1987 President and Vice-President of RC St Mauritz. A transcription of the document is provided as a note.
Your Early Morning Tea
Rotary Club of York Ainsty by Jörg Heithoff
“Hans-Jürgen. Your early morning tea.” – With these words, Hans-Jürgen Schumacher was gently awoken each morning in York by his host, Ray Langstaff. Whoever has taken part during the past 45 years in the partnership between the two clubs has spoken of great, northern English hospitality and cordial hosts. As is the case of the Landstaff-Schumacher couples, lasting personal friendships developed. These contacts go back to the sixties. It was in 1969 that the first delegation from Münster travelled to Yorkshire. In 1979, there was a Tenth Anniversary Dinner.
The regular, bi-annual visits have continued until today. For many years, it was George Shepeard who coordinated the partnership on the British side. Today, it is Don Wilson. In the early yers, it as Gerhard Rabeler, Paul Lückerts, and Nico Osthues who looked after it for our side. Now, it is Peer Kalvari who has taken on this role. We are York’s only international contact club. The exchange is therefore all the more important for our British friends. “Rotary is one of those organisations which has the ability to foster friendships not only between individuals but also between nations irrespective of all cultural, political or religious considerations,” said President Philip Holdsworth in 2012 during the last-but-one visit to Northern England.
Photo caption. George H Shepeard, an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Münster-St. Mauritz, with the silver mug of honour from our club.
Translated by RYA Rotarian Antony Peck in July 2017.