Margarete was touched by the generosity shown by people from Münster when York was flooded in 2015 and as a a result has started to make connections.
York residents, some without adequate insurance, were flooded out of their homes at Christmas in 2015.
Although I have never visited the city of Münster, I feel I already have a connection to it by virtue of the reading and research I have done to prepare for the forthcoming 60th anniversary trip in September. I know how much the city of York and Münster have in common, that it has five Christmas markets, and the role it played in the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia, one of the five most important treaties in history. I can recognise its beautiful buildings, both pre- and post-war, its parks and palaces, and have already fallen in love with its charming street names.
However, more important than this bookish connection is the impact that the good deed done by the people of Münster to the people of York had on me. The spontaneous generosity shown by Münster late 2015 – early 2016 at the time of the floods in York moved me. When ordinary people got together and collected a substantial sum of money to send over to help towards rebuilding the lives of those devastated by the high waters here, this left me with the overwhelming feeling (not for the first time) that it is governments that cause problems and destroy and that it is people who rebuild and mend.
York resident being rescued.
An appeal to help the victims of York was set up by York City Council. Before this was launched people from Münster had already being asking how could they could donate money to help the victims.
Many businesses were affected by the flooding. Some remained closed for months afterwards. Many received help from the appeal funds and local volunteers.
Along with the donations of hard-earned cash were the emails and good wishes, all from people I had never seen and might never see. In fact, I did get the opportunity to speak to an elderly lady, the writer of one of the emails to our town twinning group, when a party of town-twinners from Münster and the surrounding area came over to visit us last July, and we struck up a friendship.
But it’s not only about collections of money. Friends who have visited Germany through exchanges or just as tourists testify to the hospitality and welcome they have received, and to the fact that there is no rancour or bitterness, even when discussing football!
So “No”, I don’t have any memories as yet, but I already have a connection with Münster, and I am looking forward to visiting and seeing this beautiful city soon.