Dunstable visit Belgium Twin club

The annual visit to our twin club in Belgium took place from Wednesday 16th to Saturday 19th October.

On Thursday we were collected from our hotel at for the first visit to a German military cemetery at Vladslo. Our guide explained the history of the cemetery and showed us a sculpture at the far end, created by a German artist named Kathe Kollwitz, called the Grieving Parents in memory of their son Peter who died in WW1 and who was buried there. In 2016, it was commissioned by the Deutsche Kriegsgraberfursorge in Kassel and was renovated, costing 260,000 euros and took 3 years to complete

We next visited a brewery “De Dulle Brouwers” in Esen. Our guide’s sister owned the brewery with her husband, an accomplished artist as well as a brewer.

We were taken around the brewery, which started in the 1800’s, and looked at some of the original equipment that is still in use today.

We carried on our journey to “ The Trench of Death”  in Diksmuide where our guide took us down the trenches next to the river Yser, where the Germans pushed forward towards France and built a bridge over the river to achieve this aim.

We laid a wreath at the Menen Gate in the evening and then enjoyed fellowship with our Belgian Rotarians and their wives.

Friday morning was our usual visit to Menen Rotary Club for lunch at Ter Biest. During lunch one of their members was made an Honorary member of our club for all the work he does to keep the association alive. He was very delighted with this special award.

After lunch another visit was arranged to Leiestroom, a recycling centre. This plant produces renewable electricity from organic waste, enough for 30,000 people to use and the waste is processed into 650,000 tons of compost which is sold to French farmers! There are four other recycling plants in Belgium as part of the group of companies which also included an injection moulding company and a wood recycling centre.

This was a very full visit but thoroughly enjoyable with huge input from our Belgian friends. with whom we have been twinned since 1976.

The picture shows, prior to the wreath laying, the three main officers of our club, President Graham Bourne, centre with Vice President Rtn. David Footitt on his right and Second Vice President, Rtn. Julian Murch.

Chris Smith

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