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BINGHAM TWINNING ASSOCIATION

The foundation for the partnership was instituted by Major Volker Woern and the then Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Leonard Sparrow. Out of the friendship of the respective Legions grew the twinning of the towns Bingham and Wallenfels, Bavaria. A formal charter, which can be seen in the Old Court House, Bingham, was signed at a ceremony in Bingham on 25 October 1984.

It was during this visit that the people of Wallenfels presented the town of Bingham with a tree. It was transported as a three-foot sapling on the 770-mile coach journey from Wallenfels and was re-planted in Bingham Market Square as a token of friendship between the two communities.

This is particularly significant as the principal industry in Wallenfels is forestry, which whilst commercial is selective in that large areas are not felled piece meal rather selected trees are harvested for their specialist properties. This in turn adds value to the product. Prior to 1956 wood, which was felled around Wallenfels, was floated up the Rivers Wilde Rodach, Neckar, Main & Rhine to be ultimately used in the ship building industry in the Netherlands. Since that time the wood has been transported by road to all parts of Germany and is now used primarily in the construction of buildings.

Friendship tree photographed in November 2001. It was planted in March 2000 near the start of the Linear Walk. The tree is Abies lasciocarpa var. arizonica "Compacta" (Photo: Peter Allen).

Regrettably the tree failed to thrive in the Market Square and a replacement tree, kindly donated by a Bingham resident, botanical name Abies lasciocarpa var. arizonica 'Compacta', was planted in a short ceremony attended by Bingham Mayor Mrs Maureen Stockwood in March 2000. This "Friendship Tree" can be seen growing by the Twinning Sign at the entrance to the Linear Park. Although this tree is not native to the Wallenfels area it will grow easily in the Wallenfels and Bingham conditions alike. It is a slow growing variety able to withstand temperatures down to -15C and when fully grown will achieve a maximum height of 5 metres.

Looking to the future we hope that the tree will become a focal point and continue to be visited by our many visitors especially our friends from Wallenfels.


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