A party of members, including the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Colin and Helen Cook, made the annual visit to Leiden to take part in Remembrance Day and Liberation Day events in May 2019.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress laid floral wreaths and other members laid traditional poppy wreaths at the two main war memorials.
The following day, we joined celebrations to mark the end of German occupation of Holland at the end of the Second World War. A team of athletes ran from Wageningen, where Germany signed the surrender in 1945, to Leiden with a torch and lit the flame of liberation, to huge cheers, in the middle of the traditional street market.
We were delighted to hear that Leiden chairman Roelof Hol has been made a Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau, a major award from King Willen Alexander of the Netherlands.
In April 2019, Kidlington Youth Football Club and RCL Leiderdorp, near Leiden, enjoyed the 31st
anniversary of a special relationship. They met for a football tournament at Easter 1989 and have continued ever since with annual exchanges, one year in Kidlington, the next in Leiderdorp. This year’s tournament took place in Leiderdorp, with two boys’ teams and two girls’ teams from Kidlington competing.
We held a special wreath-laying ceremony in Leiden Square in Oxford’s Westgate Centre on Saturday, November 11 2018 to mark the centenary of the First World War Armistice as well as the annual Remembrance Day. The Lord Mayor, Colin Cook, and the deputy burgomaster of Leiden,Yvonne van Delft, laid a colourful floral wreath and Link member and former serviceman Brian Hawtin laid a traditional Poppy wreath.
The ceremony took place by the Oxford-Leiden mosaic which was unveiled in the square in November 2017. Shoppers joined Link members from both Oxford and Leiden at the ceremony, which included singing by Cumnor Choral Society and everyone joining in our two national anthems.
The deputy burgomaster also laid a wreath on behalf of our Link at the Remembrance Day service in St Giles the following day. Our programme for Remembrance weekend also included a social evening, our annual dinner at Kirtlington Golf Club and a Poppy Day concert by Kidlington Concert Brass.
In August 2018, young footballers from the UVS (1914) club in Leiden visited Oxford to take part in a football tournament with teams from Oxford and two other twin cities, Bonn and Perm. The event followed a successful visit by Oxford footballers to Perm in 2017.
In June 2018, 14 cyclists employed in 10 McDonald’s restaurants across Oxfordshire took part in a 300-mile charity ride from Oxford to Leiden. The three-day event started at Ronald McDonald House at Headington and ended at Ronald McDonald House in Leiden. This was the fourth year it had been held. All the money goes to Ronald McDonald houses, which provide free accommodation for families at or near hospitals while their children are having treatment.
Leiden student Mara Smeele visited Oxford to play her recorder at the three-day Tandem music and arts festival at Ramsden, near Witney, in June 2018. She and her fellow musicians from 20 countries took part in an hour long concert in Bonn Square in the city centre to publicise the three-day event.
Twenty-eight girl hockey players, aged 14 to 16, from the Roomburg club in Leiden were guests of Oxford Hockey Club in May 2018 and played in a tournament with clubs from Banbury, Witney, Thame and Buckingham at the Oxford Brookes University sports centre. During their two-day visit, the Dutch party also managed to fit in a tour of Oxford’s historic centre and a trip on the River Thames.
All the latest news is included in the Link’s quarterly newsletter, published in March, June, September, and December.