This year marks the 30th anniversary of the twinning arrangement being signed between Kendal and Rinteln in Germany.

Last night (June 15) the Kendal Rinteln Association was due to host a German-themed evening of wine, cheese and socialising, to which people had been invited. The aim was to reflect on the achievements of the friendship between the two towns and encourage the future vitality of the relationship.

Rinteln is a lovely town in Lower Saxony, located on the banks of the Weser river. The oldest part of the town, including the Marktplatz, features many attractive half-timbered houses.

I have visited the town twice, the first occasion with members of the Kendal Rinteln Association in the 1990s.

I recall climbing to the Klippenturm, an observation tower on a hill above the town, as well as visiting nearby Hamelin, of Pied Piper fame.

Rinteln features a ‘Kendalstrasse’ (Kendal Street) while Kendal, of course, features Rinteln Square in the Elephant Yard shopping area, which also includes a ceramic panel depicting the twinning links, created by the late artist Maggie Berkovitz.

Over the years numerous groups have made exchange trips to and from Kendal and Rinteln, including schoolchildren, choirs, concert bands and table tennis clubs.

In 2004 three German hospitality students spent four weeks at Kendal College in a trip arranged by Rinteln. They joined in classes including the Higher National Certificate course in Hospitality Management and spent time on work placements across the region.

Kendal is also twinned with Killarney in Ireland. Other Cumbrian towns also have ‘twins’. They include Ulverston, which is twinned with the French town of Albert; Coniston, which is twinned with Illiers-Combray in France as well as Solto Collina, Riva di Solto and Fonteno in Italy; Sedbergh, which has been twinned with the Slovenian town of Zreče since 2005; and Windermere, which is twinned with Diessen in Germany.

Twinning arrangements can bring economic benefits to the partners involved. They also help build strong bonds of friendship and increase our awareness and understanding of communities in other parts of the world.

At a time of increasing conflict in the world such things are incredibly valuable.