Last November, Bath’s famous culinary daughter, Mary Berry, came to help children plant spring bulbs in Parade Gardens.
Now the tulips – some of the 5,000 bulbs donated by Bath’s Dutch twin city of Alkmaar -are in full bloom and providing a burst of rich colour for the city centre in the warm sunshine.
The bulbs were a gift to help celebrate 70 years of friendship between the two cities – a link which has its origins in the Second World War.
Over a thousand of the bulbs were distributed to junior schools across the city, and to the Bath Carer Centre, while the rest were planted in the Orange Grove, next to the Guildhall, as well as in several beds in Parade Gardens.
Bath-Alkmaar Twinning Association (BATA) Chairman, Martin Broadbent, explained:
“These tulip are not only lovely to look at, they also commemorate something rather special. In 1945 Bath welcomed 50 children from Alkmaar recovering from a terrible famine in the Netherlands in the last year of the War. The following year the people of Alkmaar gave children from bomb-damaged Bath a wonderful Summer holiday in their rivers, fields and historic City. 7 decades on, we are still sending citizens, including children, back and forth, to experience life in a different country, and to make friends across international borders.”
Children from Widcombe Junior School’s gardening club joined members of the B&NES Parks Team, Peter Turner of Bath in Bloom, and Chris Davies from BATA to celebrate the tulips being in full flower. (see photo).
A programme of special events is being planned for an anniversary ‘Alkmaar Week’ in Bath, starting on July 10th. The Mayor of the Dutch city will be paying an official civic visit, meeting officials from B&NES and undertaking fact-finding tours of heritage sites across the City. The week will end with two concerts at the Roper Hall and St Michael’s Church by the Alkmaar Regional Youth Orchestra.