A POPULAR walking route at Taylor Park has been named in recognition of the 75th anniversary of St Helens’ twinning partnership with Stuttgart.

The path around Taylor Park lake has been named 'Stuttgart Walk' to commemorate the St Helens’ connection with the German city after forming a twinning partnership in 1948 - believed to be the oldest of its kind.

St Helens Star: Stuttgart delegates and St Helens Council membersStuttgart delegates and St Helens Council members (Image: St Helens Council)

With water from the lake used by glass giant, Pilkington, as part of its glass making process, the gesture is significant, given how St Helens - as a leading manufacturer of glass at the time - was able to rebuild Stuttgart, large parts of which had been destroyed or damaged by bombings during the Second World War.

A group of Stuttgart delegates from the city council made up of elected members and council officers visited St Helens last week where deputy mayor Peter Pätzold was presented a miniature version of the Stuttgart Walk sign as a gift, with the actual sign to be installed shortly and the potential for information boards to be placed around the park to inform visitors about St Helens' relationship with Stuttgart.

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During their two and half day stay, delegates got to see how council services operate to support all residents, with visits to Lansbury Bridge School and Brookfield Support Centre among the busy itinerary - and were shown around housing developments including Torus' Foundry Wharf on Atlas Street, even taking part in a few games of bingo with residents.

Some of the delegates were taken on a tour of some of the council’s strategic business sites including Parkside, where early discussions took place as to how this development could link with some of the global brands based in Stuttgart. While others got to view the fascinating Stuttgart collection in the archive based in the Gamble Building.

St Helens Star: Stuttgart partnership visitStuttgart partnership visit (Image: St Helens Council)

With plenty going on Saturday, the group got to attend Saints vs Catalan Dragons and St Helens Town AFC's friendly against Haydock FC, as well as going on tours of the Grade I listed Sankey Viaduct in Newton-le-Willows – the world’s oldest major railway viaduct; North West Museum of Road Transport; The World of Glass museum where they explored the historic tunnels and viewed the impressive Creative Roots exhibition (on display until September 9) - while also getting involved in St Helens Pride celebrations.

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Cllr Anthony Burns, St Helens Council's Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “Twinning partnerships are a productive way of fostering long-term friendships between people from different countries, opening up opportunities for young people, local sports clubs and groups – and to share good practice as we celebrate what makes each of us unique.

“To have Stuttgart – a major German city home to a number of globally renowned companies – as our twin is a major coup for St Helens as we strive to grow our borough and achieve its potential.

St Helens Star: Stuttgart partnership visit during PrideStuttgart partnership visit during Pride (Image: St Helens Council)

“It was a privilege to welcome and host our friends from Stuttgart again and our absolute pleasure to name such a popular spot in such a beautiful green space the Stuttgart Walk to commemorate 75 years of partnership which is going from strength to strength.

"I would also like to thank all the businesses and community groups who supported the council to host this visit. Here’s to another 75 years.”

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Peter Pätzold, deputy mayor of Stuttgart City Council, said: “We’re very happy to be back in St Helens again, receiving such a warm welcome from our friends and we’re very impressed that we now have the Stuttgart Walk at such a beautiful lake.

“It is a great honour for us to receive such an excellent gift from St Helens. It’s a great friendship and partnership we have with St Helens.

St Helens Star: Stuttgart partnership visit during PrideStuttgart partnership visit during Pride (Image: St Helens Council)

“The last few years have shown us how important it is to have friends in Europe to stand together, learn from each other and I like to be here in St Helens – it’s nice here with nice people.”