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Written by Keith Spittlehouse   
Thursday, 07 May 2015 15:57

As well as planning for our twinning trip to Pont l’ Eveque, our twin town in France, in May Ottery Twinners spent the last week in March entertaining group of students from Ilsfeld, our German twin town.

TwinnersThis was a first collaboration between Bicton College and the Twinning Association which resulted in a group from Bicton College going to Ilsfeld in Southern Germany last November and the German group now coming to Devon and staying mainly in Bicton students family homes for a week.

A full programme of activities started with the excellent Bicton College Lambing Sunday followed by a comprehensive tour of all of the College departments. For the rest of the week there was continuous talk of their hands on experiences with the wide range of animals and machinery, particularly their first attempts at tractor driving.

The weather was kind, dry but cool, for the visit to the National Trust Knightshayes, the boat trip to view the Jurassic Coast and the guided tour of Woodbury Common.   These were all new experiences for the German students since they live near Stuttgart some 400 miles from the sea and in a more urban community near to where Mercedes cars are manufactured.   Ilsfeld is also the centre of a wine growing area and understandably the host parents were appreciative of the gifts the Germans had brought with them.

Later in the week the Twinning Association had planned a day in Ottery St Mary and a day in Sidmouth.   Otter Nurseries was the first venue where knowledgeable staff showed the group behind the scenes where plants are cultivated before being put on sale. Later the group visited the historic Ottery Parish Church, the highlight of which was to climb the bell tower and get a magnificent birdseye view of the whole town. The Ottery Carillion was demonstrated and coincidentally we were in the bell tower as it chimed 3 o’clock. At the end of the afternoon the Mayor of Ottery welcomed the visiting group to the Town.

In Sidmouth the workings of Local Government were explained at EDDC offices and the differences between English and German administration were discussed followed by an excellent tour of the Sidmouth Lifeboat station.

The students spent their final day in Exeter, shopping and sightseeing before departing for their flight home ,all appreciative of the opportunity that twinned towns can provide and taking with them lasting memories of the pleasures that Devon can offer.

Keith Spittlehouse