Prestwick and Lichtenfels have been twin towns since 1974
Prestwick's four decades of friendship with the Bavarian town of Lichtenfels has been officially celebrated in Germany. The towns twinned in 1974 with the aim of promoting shared identity and culture, leaving a legacy for tourism and education.
In the last 40 years, the two towns have enjoyed a special relationship and benefitted from exchange visits which develop language skills, broaden horizons and help forge friendships that last a lifetime. Business links have also been explored to mutually benefit the towns and help enrich local economies.
Lichtenfels held a special event recently* where representatives from the Prestwick Twinning Association joined with counterparts from Vandalia (USA, also twinned with Prestwick), Ariccia (Italy) and Cournon d'Auvergne (France), which was aimed at broadening networks and creating new opportunities for tourism and trade.
The South Ayrshire group were given an insight into the local tourism sector with cultural trips to Bad Staffelstein, Bamberg, Coburg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This was underlined by discussions with representatives from the four twinning associations on the potential to work more closely together in future.
South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie – who joined Prestwick Town Twinning Association for the official ceremony – said the benefits of twinning had evolved over the years, "When our relationship with Lichtenfels was first established, twinning was seen as a way to forge new links with other parts of the world, in areas that would once have had little contact.
"Today the world is a truly international community, and the benefits to tourism, business and education remain as important now as they have ever been.
"I was proud to represent South Ayrshire on this official visit and would like to thank our hosts for their warm welcome.
"With four decades of experience we're now looking to identify new areas of mutual interest to deliver fresh benefits as part of our productive and long-standing relationship."
As part of the ceremony the Provost was presented with a friendship knot to symbolise the relationship the two towns will continue to develop in the coming years.