In 1991, when the Bridgwater-Czech Slovak Friendship Society was founded by Antonin Machala and Brian Smedley, the Mayor of Bridgwater was Ken Richards. The following year when Bridgwater formally became the first British town to twin with a Czech/Slovak town (Uherske Hradiste) the Mayor was David Baker. Every year we change the Mayor in Bridgwater and several of our Mayors have made it across to our Moravian twin town. In September 2011 it was Cllr Pat Parker.
Accompanied by his Mayoress, Jennie Parker, along with a small delegation of the Secretary (Cllr Brian Smedley) and the Town Council rep on the Czech Friendship society (Cllr Mick Lerry) , Pat marched the entire 2 mile length of the Uherske Hradiste wine festival procession route, cheered on his way by wellwishers and alongside delegations from Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia .
Carrying the flag for the duration of the procession was Bridgwater International's admin assistant Jana Branecka and alongside the Mayor throughout was translator Adela Tobolova.
The group also spent some time in Prague where some 20 Friendship Society supporters from the Czech capital joined them for an evening out and made plans for next years programme.
Whilst in Uherske Hradiste, Czech Society co-founder Antonin Machala took the Mayor , Mayoress and Cllr Lerry up for a spin in his private aeroplane to give them an aerial view of the Festivities below.
Cllr Smedley said "During the past 20 years of our very active link, we have taken 4 incumbant Mayors across to UH and they've sent 2 back to Bridgwater. The Civic link is very important , however, more important is the work done by the many active supporters we have who organise, run and fund the trips. Doing the hard work which is often unrewarded , the home hosting, the budgetting,and the promotion of our towns within each other's communities. Although not 'councillors' or 'elected dignatories' the two most important people in our link with Uherske Hradiste for the past 15-20 years are without doubt Antonin Machala and Jana Hubena. It was a shame that they weren't invited to participate in this particular event by the UH Council."