Four nations joined hands and shared wine and song at an evening to celebrate Borehamwood’s links with the world.
Members of the public, town councillors, clergymen and rotary club members gathered to officially launch Borehamwood and Elstree Twin Town Association’s (BETTA) new association with Wanshan in China.
There was not a spare seat in Fairway Hall in Brook Close as people shared conversations and enjoyed food from China, Germany, France and Britain and wine from German twin town Offenburg.
Soprano Denise Clark was praised by all attended for her “beautiful voice” as she sang traditional English songs and performed pieces from the three countries Borehamwood is twinned with.
Rowetha Lamb and Peter Sellars played folk music from all of Borehamwood’s partner towns.
BETTA chairman Martine Eni and Councillor Charles Kelly spoke about the “tremendous opportunity” the association with China would bring to the town.
The former mayor of Borehamwood said: “China has gone from nothing to the second biggest superpower in the world.
“Wanshan is an excellent town, it was going to form links with someone so it’s great it’s us.
“People from China will come over here, we will have links with businesses, it will provide a huge economic boost for Borehamwood.
“People have said to me China is too far away and they don’t speak the language, but Britain conquered the world in sailing ships and it’s a much smaller place now.”
Rotary Club president Cynthia Barker was resplendent in a red Chinese dress.
She said: “The town has been trying to form links with China for two years, and it’s excellent it’s finally come to fruition.
“Successful local businessman Peter Wong-Morrow, who came from China with nothing, was instrumental in setting up the link, spoke and brought food.
“I t was a lovely, relaxed evening.”
Councillor Richard Butler described the event as “fantastic”.
He said: “The atmosphere was wonderful, the flavours of the food were amazing. It was a brilliant way of bringing the community together.
“My hat goes off to Martine Eni and BETTA for organising it.
"I remember when the organisation was moribund. Now it’s going from strength to strength, long may it continue in the town.”
Organisers Andrew Grady and Ms Eni said the event had been far better than they hoped, especially as they had sold far more tickets than expected.
Mr Grady said: “Our priority was to develop links with China and strengthen our existing ones with France and Germany, we did that very well.”
Mrs Eni commented: “The event was fabulous. We had a group from our twin town Offenburg who had been visiting Borehamwood and said how impressed they were by the event and the town.
“The success of the event demonstrates a new look for the organisation and Borehamwood.”