The Mayor of St Helens is to represent the town at the funeral of a top German politician who helped forge one of the most successful twinning schemes in Post War history.
Former Mayor of Stuttgart Manfred Rommel, who died on November 7, was instrumental in strengthening the historic link between the two towns, which continues to this day.
Back in 1948 the then Mayor of St Helens, Alderman Walter Marshall, became the first British civic leader to visit the city of Stuttgart, which lay in ruins following the war.
During his visit, Alderman Marshall and the Mayor of Stuttgart, Dr Arnulf Klett, agreed to establish closer links, sealing the twinning agreement.
Manfred Rommel, the son of “Desert Fox” military commander Erwin Rommel, succeeded Dr Klett as Mayor in 1974.
It is now one of the most successful twinning schemes in modern day history - a partnership which has spanned more than 60 years.
Earlier this year Coun Andy Bowden, who will represent St Helens at Mr Rommel’s funeral in Stuttgart tomorrow, unveiled a new feature garden at the World of Glass to celebrate the first ever town-twinning agreement with Germany following the Second World War.
The city of Stuttgart has already donated a vine garden to St Helens along with the design and funding to begin the long-awaited World of Glass tribute.
The garden is the place where Stuttgart’s history is celebrated along with the role played by St Helens in helping to rebuild destroyed areas of the city after the war.
Today, St Helens and Stuttgart retain many links including educational trips between the two areas. Importantly, there are also strong cultural and business links.