With love from Backnang — a Christmas Candle of Unity

Backnang in Germany has been twinned with Chelmsford since 1990. In 2020 we will share our 30th Anniversary. This is at a time where the world sees many divisions, so we believe messages of love, sharing and unity are important — especially during the Christmas holidays.

From schools and markets to orchestras, colleges and sports clubs – there have been a wide variety of exchanges between the two destinations. However, a significant number of residents in the Borough are still unfamiliar with Chelmsford’s partnership (which also includes a twinning with Annonay in France).

Over the next two years, in the build up to our 30th anniversary, the newly established Ignite Chelmsford Cultural Partnership will work with our Twinning Association and representatives from Backnang to curate and co-ordinate a series of events and activities. Our aim is to celebrate and raise the profile of our ongoing exchange while starting a new conversation about what it means to be twinned. Finally, and most importantly, we want to help both sides to get to know one another – spanning all aspects of city life – economic, social and cultural.

To get things started, Backnang commissioned three Christmas candles hand-crafted by their local candle maker. The first will be hosted at Chelmsford Cathedral, a second (pictured) will tour six local community groups to highlight different aspects of city life whilst collecting messages and gifts along the way. A third candle has remained in Backnang and will make a similar tour.

Participating groups in Chelmsford include:

  1. Bearded Gyspy Traders Fayre
  2. Ideas Hub
  3. City of Chelmsford Mencap
  4. Admiral’s Reach Care Home
  5. Margretting Primary School
  6. Chelmsford City Council

On the 1st December the inaugural touring Candle was presented to the Ignite Chelmsford Cultural Partnership at the Bearded Gyspy Christmas Pop Up store in Meadows. Members of Chelmsford’s Cultural Partnership, our Twinning Association and representatives from Backnang sampled Glühwein from the Baden-Wurttemburg region, whilst discussing the long term opportunity to make this a permanent fixture in our annual calendars.

The occasion ended by taking a shared moment to reflect, lighting the candle for the first time and sending it on its journey. The candle will return to the City Council’s Civic Centre on the 22nd December, complete with photographs, gifts and messages of unity — to be exchanged with Backnang in the new year.

Find more information about the Chelmsford and Backnang Twinning visit www.chelmsfordtowntwinning.org.uk. Follow the candle’s journey via our Facebook page or Twitter using the hashtag #TwinningCandle