IN celebration of 70 year twinning anniversary between Stuttgart and St Helens, more than 80 visitors from the German town visited St Helens over the weekend.

The twinning dates back to 1948 and is special as it was the first to be formed in Europe following World War Two.

As a leading manufacturer of glass, St Helens was able to support the rebuilding of Stuttgart, parts of which had been destroyed or damaged by bombing during the conflict.

The Stuttgart group included the town's Deputy Mayor, Dr Martin Schairer, along with councillors from the main political parties, Kaufmannische Schule (KS1), a business school; Stuttgart University; two high schools, the Leibniz Gymnasium and the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium; and a football team, TSV Uhlbach.

They attended the International Food and Drink Festival, as part of the borough’s 150th anniversary celebrations, as well as Cowley International College and a tree planting ceremony at Victoria Park.

A special beer, called Siebzig (meaning 70), was also created, which was in a collaboration between Stuttgart brewery Dinkelacker and local brewers Connoisseur Ales.

Deputy Mayor of Stuttgart, Dr Martin Schairer said: "I think for peace in Europe and understanding each other, the best way is that people meet together in the frame of the twinning-ship, that we have done for 70 years.

"It's one of the first in Europe so the partnership between St Helens and Stuttgart is very important and very unique."

The group also visited the Dream, the World of Glass and, in the spirit of the World Cup, a friendly match between Stuttgart football team TSV Uhlbach and St Helens Town AFC was held at Ruskin Sports Village.