Pendle has acted as host to an important twinning event. Twenty four students, half from Palestine and half from the UK, came together to work on a project to improve links between the two countries.
And to celebrate the recent decision by Pendle Council to twin with Beit Leed in Palestine, the organisers were glad to include students from both Pendle and Beit Leed as part of the project.
Saja Othman, from Beit Leed, said: “Both of my parents have been to Pendle, so I am very happy to come too. The people here have been very friendly and they wanted to hear about the difficulties we have living in Palestine. I hope some will be able to come and visit us.”
The guests got the chance to sample a traditional British tea at a Nelson fish and chip shop – the Market Street Chippy in Cross Street, Nelson – before meeting a large audience of Pendle people at the ACE Centre just across the road.
The chippy’s partners, Amer Ansar and David Farrer-Wood, welcomed the students, and Amer said: “We were delighted to have the Palestinians come along and have a traditional meal. They loved it and some came back the next day for more!”
The evening included music from both countries, traditional “dubkha” dancing from Palestine, and a performance by Burnley Youth Theatre.
Staying at Coldwell Activities Centre for four days, the students were welcomed by several organisations in the area, including the Prince’s Trust in Colne, the Youth Zone and Safe Space in Nelson, St Thomas’s Church in Barrowford, and Marsden Heights Community College.
Sarah Griffin from Safe Space said: “They were an amazing group of people – absolutely inspirational! We felt really privileged to have been given the chance to meet them all.”
Richard MacSween, chairman of Pendle Palestine Twinning Group, said: “This was an ambitious project for us – much bigger than anything we’ve done before.
“The fact that it could go ahead is down to the generosity of local people who are voluntarily meeting the cost as we receive no public funding.
“We are grateful to all those people, including Pendle councillors, of course, who support this twinning. The success of this project shows the benefits it can bring.”