Members of Grantham Twinning Association were treated to a private tour around the European Astronaut Centre, as part of their annual visit to Sankt Augustin in Germany last month.
Twenty one members made the annual trip to Grantham’s twin town, where they were met and hosted by members of the Sankt Augustin Twinning Association for the duration of their five-day stay.
They went on to enjoy several guided tours, including visiting The Villa Hügel, a 19th-century mansion in Bredeney built by Alfred Krupp in 1870-73 as his main residence. It was the home of the Krupp family of industrialists until after the Second World War. They also took part in a guided tour around a Lava-Dome Museum, visited a volcano brewery to take part in a beer tasting session and enjoyed a cruise on Lake Baldeney, the biggest of the six reservoirs in the river Ruhr.
But the highlight of the trip was a tour of the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) situated near Cologne, organised by Dr Rudigar Seine, a Sankt Augustin member and a scientist employed at the centre.
He arranged for the group to meet with astronaut Reinhold Ewald, who invited the members on a tour of the centre and spoke about his experiences of travelling to the orbiting space station three times as part of the Columbus space mission.
Members were also shown the space capsules, the operations control room and a full size mock-up of the space station.
Vice chairman Janet Armes, said: “Every day was completely different and very interesting.”
Before returning home, the members all attended a farewell party and were given a plaque from the burgomaster of Sankt Augustin, which they presented to the Mayor of Grantham, Councillor Mike Cook, during a ceremony in the Mayor’s Parlour on Tuesday.
Grantham Twinning Association chairman Barry Phillips, who has been part of the association for two years, said: “It was a formal presentation from the burgomaster of Sankt Augustin and members of the Sankt Augustin Twinning Association to the mayor of our town.”
Coun Cook said: “It is a great honour to receive the plaque. It will be displayed in a prominent position in the Mayor’s Parlour, so everyone can see it. It is nice to support the twinning association and be able to keep traditions alive.”
The Grantham members are currently planning the reciprocal visit, due to take place in June 2018.
A christmas tree will once again be displayed on St Peter’s Hill in Grantham to mark the 36th anniversary of the association.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the twinning association can callBarry on 01476 574088.