The history of Town Twinning 

The earliest form of town twinning in Europe was between the German city of Paderborn and the French city of Le Mans in 1836. Keighley in West Yorkshire had a "sister cities" arrangement with Suresnes and Puteaux, France starting in 1905.

The first recorded modern twinning agreement was between Keighley and Poix-duNord, Nord, France which started in 1920 following the end of World War One. This was initially referred to as an adoption of the French town, with formal twinning charters not being exchanged until 1986. The practice was continued after the Second World War as a way to bring European people into a closer understanding of each other and to promote cross-border projects of mutual benefit. For example, Coventry twinned with Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and later with Dresden as an act of peace and reconciliation, all three cities having been heavily bombed during the war.Each twin city is represented in a specific ward of the city and in each ward has a peace garden dedicated to that twin city. 

Another early example of town twinning dates back to 1947 when Bristol Corporation (later Bristol City Council) sent five 'leading citizens' on a goodwill mission to Hanover. 

Within Europe, town twinning is supported by the European Union. The support scheme was established in 1989. The Council of European Municipalities and Regions also works closely with the Commission (DG Education and Culture) to promote modern, high quality twinning initiatives and exchanges that involve all sections of the community. It has launched a website dedicated to town twinning. 

Many German cities still are twinned with other German cities. The partnerships were established in the last years of former East Germany. Famous examples are the partnerships of Hanover and Leipzig (both having important trade fair grounds) or between Hamburg and Dresden. 

Bury’s Community Twinning Association Bury Council has no official Twinning Department at present so most of the twinning functions (except school exchanges) are carried out by the Bury Metro Community Twinning Association (B.M.C.T.A.) an organisation which is independent of the Local Authority. Established in 1979 B.M.C.T.A. took over from the Town Hall Twinning Committee which was disbanded in 1992 as part of a cost cutting exercise and agreed to carry out adult twinning exchanges. 

The association has members of all ages and from many walks of life from Bury and its surrounding region. It arranges exchange visits to Angouleme, Schornndorf, Tulle and Woodbury for adult or family groups. These sometimes include special interest, groups, such as musicians, choirs, dramatic societies, chefs, policemen, firemen and nurses.  The Association also advises and facilitates other organisations wishing to exchange and importantly raise the profile of Bury abroad.  

The main work of the association has been visits to and from our twin towns. Members stay with families for four or five days, explore their town and region, share their customs and celebrations; with similar hospitality being given to visitors to Bury. The B.M.C.T.A. have established a regular pattern of visits with our twin towns, visiting one year and hosting them another. 

The Association is managed by a Committee which meets monthly, with Sub-Committees for each twin town. There are regular meetings and social events organised for members , such as winetasting, concerts, lectures and dining evenings. In addition, there are activates when a visiting twinning group is being hosted in Bury