The Friends of Alzey

Town Twinning with Germany

Harpenden Common 2018

Forthcoming, recent and past events

We hold a number of social and fundraising events throughout the year. Following are entries of events - future and past..
Check your diary and join us, we look forward to seeing you!

Recent and past events

German Book Group meeting - 19th March 2024

Book group ensemble Book group ensemble

This month the German book group read and reviewed Der Grund by Anne von Canal. They gathered and discussed it at Rosemary and Gavin's house and pleasant and informative evening was spent there. Click on the pictures for larger versions.

Annual General Meeting - 22nd February 2024

With 27 attendees our AGM was held at the Plough & Harrow pub in Southdown. Formal business was concluded then dinner and a enjoyable social evening followed! Please see the minutes of the meeting (members only) and the annual report from our Chair. The staff at the Plough and Harrow looked after us very well but particular thanks go to Jo for her organising and supervising.

Zoom Christmas call: Harpenden & Alzey - 12th December 2023

Zoom screen shot

Celebrating the season of Advent, Members and our friends in Alzey joined in a Zoom call on 12th December at 7.30pm local time and 8.30pm in Alzey. With Glühwein and Stollen we toasted 60 years of partnership and engaged in friendly conversation. Thanks to those who joined, it was good to see everyone.

Unique collaboration with the Lea Singers - 11th November 2023

The large audience at the High Street Methodist Church was treated to an unforgettable evening of intriguing choral works, expertly performed by the Lea Singers under the direction of Benjamin Kirk. The Lea Singers are Harpenden's foremost chamber choir and Benjamin Kirk put together a fascinating programme entitled Choral Discoveries: Found in Translation. This included the world première of Der Fluss (the River), a setting of text from Hermann Hesse's Siddharta. The Friends of Alzey and Friends of Cosne were proud to support this commission from British composer, Kim Porter, in celebration of several decades of town twinning with our friends in Germany and France. The Lea Singers toured to both Alzey and Cosne in the 1970s and 1980s and were the ideal choir with which to work on this project; after the concert over Lebkuchen and madeleines there was a chance for choir members and audience to mingle and reflect on the power of music to bring people together.
In the photo above from left to right are: Kim Porter and Miriam McKay (Lea Singers), Gill Clark (Friends of Cosne) and Susan Vinther (Friends of Alzey).

Alzey school students receive certificates - 11th July 2023

SJL group

We were delighted to present certificates of participation in the school exchange in our 60th anniversary year to 41 students and 6 members of staff at a Reception at Sir John Lawes School. 21 students in years 9 and 10 in Harpenden hosted their guests from Elisabeth-Langgässer-Gymnasium for a week of activities after visiting Alzey in their Easter break.
Town Mayor Cllr Fiona Gaskell (front row, 3rd from left) spoke to the young people about her own time in Germany and love of German, and thanked Head of German, Mrs E Brown (second row, left of Chair Susan Vinther in the centre) , for leading this exchange for over 20 years. Headteacher Phil Newbury highlighted the benefits of international exchanges and how the students can learn about different cultures through each other. Long may this productive exchange continue!

Friends of Alzey at the Harpenden Carnival - 17th June 2023


We booked a stand on the Common for the Harpenden Summer Carnival.

Generating Town Twinning awareness we met and chatted with many individuals and families in the summer sunshine. On offer were small measures of Rheinhessen Wine, a Childrens' Quiz with prizes, and plenty more. It was a great opportunity to greet existing members and enrol some new ones.
The photo shows some of the helpers, from left to right Susan (Chair), Harriet (Membership Secretary), Cornelia (Publicity Secretary and literature group coordinator) and Sima (Youth Representative).

Town Council award for our Chair - 23rd May 2023


Susan, our Chair, was presented with a Certificate of Merit and a medal (shown right) at the Annual Meeting of the Town Council on May 23rd in recognition of her commitment to Town Twinning and her work for the Friends of Alzey. The presentation was made by newly installed Town Mayor Fiona Gaskell. Fiona, with her husband Philip, has been a member of the Friends of Alzey for a number of years.

60th Anniversary Tea Party - 22nd April 2023

Celebratory cake Our tea party on April 22nd was a very special occasion. The 60 year anniversary of the signing of our town partnership with Alzey is in September, but this was our chance to celebrate the enduring friendship here in Harpenden with an afternoon tea, cake and sparkling wine. The Town Mayor Councillor Lisa Scriven proposed a toast to continued friendship and spoke warmly of her pleasure in getting to know our Alzey friends when they visited Harpenden in July 2022. The archive exhibition drew a great deal of interest and featured memorable events and initiatives from the six decades of twinning, for example the Alzey marching band in medieval dress leading the carnival floats at the 1988 Harpenden Carnival, the positioning of a red telephone box from Harpenden in a square in Alzey and, from more challenging times, a screen shot of a zoom celebration during the pandemic. With the Covid restrictions behind us, we were able to share recollections in person in Park Hall, and to look to the future together. Our two speakers struck the perfect note - Karen Cardy, joint Chair of the Lea Singers spoke of Cutting the cake our innovative collaboration with the choir for this anniversary year, and Ruth Armistead from Sawbridgeworth Town Twinning Association inspired us with news of the recent reinvigoration of the Sawbridgeworth / Moosburg partnership ; twinnings between UK and German towns are still relevant and a source of much learning, enjoyment and mutual understanding. Click here to the Photo Page and a link to the Photo Album.

The German Literature group makes a start

recommended reading

Having received interest from 14 people the German Literature group held its inaugural meeting on 7th March with appropriately, 7 attendees. Going forward, the plan is to hold meetings at 8.00pm at the Oddfellows Arms, Leyton Green every 4 to 6 weeks.
Check the News column for further announcements.
The book group's current read is Was man von hier aus sehen kann by Mariana Leky.

AGM 2023 - 23rd February 2023

Friends of Alzey Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 23rd February in the Function room of the Plough & Harrow in Southdown. As always, a good evening was had by all, business was kept to a minimum and the committee were re-elected. Minutes and statements to follow.

Christmas zoom with Alzey - 13th December 2022

snow in the garden

A special Friends of Alzey Zoom session took place on Tuesday December 13th at 7:30 pm, UK time. In the call our Friends in Alzey joined us. We exchanged friendly greetings, banter and several toasts drinking Glühwein/mulled wine in both countries. Two of our Harpenden members joined from Alzey, which was a lovely surprise and a first for our shared zooms! They were on a short visit to their long-standing friends and being treated to Christmas market visits in Mainz, Wiesbaden and Bad Kreuznach as well as in Alzey! Highlights were being introduced to the new Mayor of Alzey and sitting with a glass of Glühwein in a repurposed wine barrel in Mainz and. 30 people in Harpenden and Alzey joined the lively zoom call to say Happy Christmas/Frohe Weihnachten and to exchange news and hear about how this pre-Christmas time is spent in the different countries, both now and in years gone by. The snow in Harpenden was a talking point, and by the next day it had arrived in Alzey, a Christmas gift to our friends!!

Quiz Night - 29th October 2022

This popular event took place on Saturday 29th October. A good time was had by all and it was a significant fund-raising event from ticket sales and the raffle. Thank-you to everyone who made it such an enjoyable occasion.

Friends Social Evening - 11th October 2022

A plentiful group of Friends put in an appearance at the October social evening, fourteen in total, even with certain regulars missing...a good time was had by all. Check our Facebook page for the most recent entry and photos.

Friends Social Evening - 12th July 2022

Summer evening at the Odds! Summer evening at the Odds!

As for most of Europe, Harpenden has been experiencing unusually high daytime temperatures. But day turns to evening, the heat dies down, with perhaps a gentle breeze, then what could be better than a refreshing drink with friends in the garden of the Oddfellows Arms? And this was us on Tuesday evening 12th July, reviewing the excellent past weekend visit of Freunde von Harpenden and essentially chilling-out. Two photographers Paul Gloess and Linda Fryd, ensured that no one was left out.

Town Twinning visit - 7th to 11th July 2022

After a two year wait our Friends from Alzey visited us for a planned and well featured long July weekend. Please see the Visits page.

Joint Town Twinning at Harpenden Carnival - 18th June 2022

To promote town twinning in Harpenden, Friends of Alzey shared a booth with the Friends of Cosne at 55th Harpenden Summer Carnival on the Common.

In spite of the wind and rain it was a good summer event!
See the entry on our Facebook page.

Town Twinning celebration evening - 23rd April 2022

Annual dinner 2022 at Park Hall

We were delighted to see many of you with your friends and neighbours at Park Hall last Saturday for our Twinning Celebration Evening. It was a very special occasion at which we were joined by the Town Mayor and some Friends of Cosne for a scrumptious buffet meal and presentations on Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire and Alzey.
Thanks to those who prepared the foods, the salads and desserts so expertly, donated prizes for the raffle, decorated the tables and the hall and assisted making this an enjoyable and memorable evening.
We were very pleased that some guests decided to join the Friends of Alzey following this evening’s success, and we warmly welcome them.

Annual General Meeting - 24th February 2022

The 2021/2022 AGM was held in the Function Room of the Plough & Harrow pub. It was the first face-to-face meeting of the year and very well attended. An excellent get-together with food, drinks and a lot of conversation. Back to business: Susan Vinther (Chair) presented her reflections on the year. Hayley Young (Vice Chair) presented the financials, deputising for Andy (Treasurer). Rosemary Ross (President) thanked the committee for their endeavours. Click here for a copy of Susan Vinther's (Chair) report and click here for the meeting minutes. Special thanks to Jo (Social Secretary) for organising the event.

Friends Social Evenings

Friends Social Evenings (in English), take place at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month in the Oddfellows Arms. They are good relaxing evenings, pleasant conversations and a few surprises sometimes! Interested? Join us next month. Check the News section on the right or the latest Newsletter to verify the date.

Zoom meeting with Friends of Harpenden - 13th December 2021

We held a Zoom call / joint celebration with our Friends of Harpenden in Alzey on Monday 13th December. As we had done in December 2020 we celebrated in our own homes with Glühwein and Christmas cheer. There were about 12 sets of people on the call including 5 from Alzey. All went well. For those interested, Glühwein recipies still may be found here

Annual Quiz Evening - 9th October 2021

Our Quiz Evening on Saturday 9th October at Park Hall, was a huge success. Question Master, Ginny St John Glew conducted the quiz presenting a wide range of interesting topics. Every quiz participant was a winner and many too who entered the raffle. Including a fish & chip supper, ticket prices were reduced to £10 per head to encourage members and friends. 45 attendees participated and we were still able to return a profit for the event. A fun time for everyone and vielen dank to all those involved with the event planning and organisation.

Friends Social Evening - 10th August 2021

Evening at the Odds! We spent a pleasurable social evening in the garden of the Oddfellows Arms. After such a long interval it was just good to meet again and chat, put the world to rights and so on. Thanks to Paul for the picture.

Sunday Walk - 11th July 2021

We had a pleasant short Sunday morning walk into Rothamsted Park around to Hatching Green and then back to the town via West Common. It was well attended and we were delighted to meet a new member, Karine. Thanks to Jo for the picture.

Zoom with Mayors of Alzey and Harpenden - 4th July 2021

Screen shot of zoom call Our Town Mayor Councillor Paul Cousin, Bürgermeister Christoph Burkhard and many members of the Friends of Alzey and Friends of Harpenden met online recently to celebrate our ongoing friendship. The pandemic has made in-person visits impossible, but our determination to keep the friendship alive was the keynote of the Mayor’s speeches.
There was also a most entertaining contribution by Sylvia and Tom, who talked about their first visit to Alzey and how they are looking forward to hosting their friends Klaus and Hiltrud. Cornelia was a superb translator, and the whole event was inspiring. Susan ably chaired the meeting and made a presentation on behalf of the Friends of Alzey.
Following our successful call, Cllr. Paul Cousin wrote us a letter of thanks and re-iterated the importance of keeping our twin towns alive.

Annual General Meeting - 24th April 2021

Owing to the pandemic our AGM was moved from February to April. It took place as a Zoom call with some of our German friends in Alzey joining us. Following our March social call, members submitted photographs and two collections were presented:  one showing pictures of Harpenden and the surrounding areas with the changing seasons and one that is specifically Covid-19 related including tests and vaccinations. The meeting was an upbeat and positive event, enjoyed by all. Click here to view the meeting minutes for 2020/21.

Festive Celebration Call 14th Dec 2020

A Glühwein Social Evening Zoom call took place in the comfort of our own homes! From the November newsletter we followed recipes for mulled white and red wine and imbibed as the call progressed. A cheerful prelude to Weihnachtszeit.

Online Quiz Evening - 24th October 2020

Following a successful event in June, Andy Young compiled and hosted another Zoom Quiz evening on Saturday 24th October. The quiz was fun with a range of general and topical questions. Included too was an interesting round of identifying tourist detinations from visitors' negative reports! As before there was no emphasis on winning, it was all about enjoying time together. Thanks again Andy!

Joint Celebratory Event with our Friends in Alzey - July 2020

On Sunday 5th July we toasted our friendship with Alzey. We hosted a Zoom call at the time when our celebration dinner would have taken place ending our German friends visit here. Our new Town Mayor, Cllr. Nicola Linacre and Bürgermeister Christoph Burkhard from Alzey took part in a short get together with friends from both Harpenden and from Alzey. Over 30 people attended the call. It featured messages from both town mayors, a song beautifully performed by Nina Vinther and a presentation celebrating past times and looking forward to the future.
Click here for a copy of the presentation slides.

Friends of Alzey Online Quiz - 27th June 2020

Another 'first' for Friends of Alzey: an online quiz conducted via Zoom on Saturday 27th June. This event lived up to the promise of a fun and social event. Questions of a general nature were set and the event hosted by Andy Young. Between 20 and 30 people atended, some in family groups and it was pitched very well for all participants. Particular thanks to Andy for his industry and we look forward to another such occasion. Click here for a copy of the quiz slides.

Friends of Alzey Stammtisch Conference Calls 2020

Screen shot of conference callAs of 2nd May we have now had two Virtual Stammtisch conference calls for Friends of Alzey members using the Zoom meeting facility. They were conducted in English for all members and both went particularly well. We had 16 participants in the first call and 24 in the second. In the second call we were joined by two friends who dialed-in from Germany. There will be meetings in the future and details will be provided via email.