At a special ceremony held at Knaresborough House by Knaresborough Town Council and the Town Twinning Committee, Herr Horst Gross, Burgermeister of Bebra, Germany was made an Honorary Freeman of Knaresborough.
The Mayor of Knaresborough, Coun John Batt was delighted to make the announcement in honour of Herr Gross’s tremendous loyalty and commitment to the town twinning during his 15 years in office.
The town twinning, now in its 43rd year, began between Knaresborough and Bebra in 1969 and has thrived ever since.
“This is the highest honour we can award and we are delighted to give this to Herr Gross in recognition and in tribute to the work he has done to keep the town twinning spirit alive,” said Coun Batt. “He has been a figurehead for Bebra for 15 years and has become a friend to many people and organisations here in Knaresborough. The honour is given in recognition of the high esteem in which Herr Gross is held.”
32 visitors came over from Bebra for this year’s Bed Race staying with host families in the town. Friday’s Civic Reception also saw Coun Andrew Willoughby recognised for his efforts looking after Bebra Gardens, whilst Coun Batt was presented with two glass tankards from the Bebrans. In return, Knaresborough town twinners gave Herr Gross a framed photo of the viaduct and model of The Mallard train.
For many years, King James’s School held exchange visits with the Bruder-Grimm Schule in Bebra with students visiting families in each of the towns. These visits were organised by former languages teacher at King James’s, Alan Hemsworth and the late Joachim Haase.
Knaresborough’s only other Freeman is George A Moore, CBE KStJ, benefactor to the town. The late Dr Arnold Kellett, historian was also a Freeman.