It was a hot and humid day on the last Sunday in June and the community of Alnwick gathered to celebrate a special date in the calendar.
But as the maple-leaf flags prove, this was not the Alnwick we know, but Alnwick/Haldimand, a rural municipality in Northumberland County in Canada.
Residents were marking Canada Day, a couple of days before its official July 1 date, and as part of the festivities, a framed Twinning Friendship Charter was presented to mark the relationship between the two Alnwicks.
As reported in the Gazette in October last year, Alnwick Town Council agreed to forge a relationship with the other Alnwick across the Atlantic.
The council was contacted by Coun Jim Fell, from Alnwick/Haldimand, which is located between Lake Ontario in the south and Rice Lake in the north.
He explained that his hometown shares more than just a name and county with our Alnwick.
In his email, he wrote: “We are a farm-based economy with a large tourist industry centered around the many fishing/hunting and holiday camps on Rice Lake.
“We have similar populations although our township covers a considerable area.”
Coun Fell had suggested, and members of the town agreed, that no full twinning was needed, more a ‘cultural’ relationship.
Coun Gordon Castle said it would be foolish to dismiss it and Coun Alan Symmonds agreed and suggested photos of events could be shared by email.
Since then, work has been taking place on both sides of the world to create a document marking the bond of friendship between the two Alnwick, Northumberlands.
It was felt that the annual national celebrations were an ideal time to hand over the document, which was presented to the Mayor and received positive feedback, including from federal and provincial MPs.
Alnwick has twinning links with three towns in western Europe: Lagny-sur-Marne in France – celebrating 40 years of twinning in 2011, Voerde in Germany and Time Kommune in Norway.
In September last year, the council received a request from Zhenyuan in China for a sister-city relationship. The letter explained that the city had a population of around 500,000, hosted such industries as oil and medical technology and that it was felt that Alnwick ‘was a good fit’. Members decided to decline the request as Alnwick already has three twin towns.