Opportunity for School Children to Learn About Reading’s Historic Links With Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf exhibition panels
Düsseldorf exhibition panels

READING Düsseldorf Association is offering local primary schools the opportunity to find out more about the history of Reading’s link with Düsseldorf.

The association has a series of exhibition panels it can loan to schools, produced as part of the 70th anniversary of the friendship links between the two towns that took place last year.

The panels focus particularly on the part placed by former Reading Mayor, Phoebe Cusden MBE, the peace campaigner, trade unionist, writer and theatre founder who helped Germans starving in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Representatives from Reading Düsseldorf Association are also offering to provide assembly presentations on the history and importance of the friendship between Reading and Düsseldorf, which was started by Phoebe Cusden after the Second World War in 1947 and continues to present day.

To find out more contact cforsey3009@gmail.com or call 0118 9615939 or 0790 9813039.

Robert Dimmick, Vice-chairman of the Association, said: “Phoebe Cusden’s initiative grew into a strong and lasting friendship between Reading and Dusseldorf which has given great pleasure to many people.

“We should be proud of that and continue to develop it. I hope many local primary schools will take up our offer so that future generations in Reading keep Phoebe’s spirit of international friendship alive.”

Mayor of Reading, Cllr RoseWilliams, said: “It is a wonderful achievement the historic links between our two towns to have stayed in place and strengthened over seven decades. It’s a testimony to the work started by Phoebe Cusden MBE and carried on by the Reading Düsseldorf Association. I hope that many schools in Reading will embrace this opportunity.”


Note to editors:

The exhibition panels have been put together by local photographer and historian, Chris Forsey.

The friendship between Reading and Düsseldorf started after the Second World War in 1947. Major General Jack Collins, Colonel of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, was stationed in the Rhineland and appealed to councils in Berkshire to adopt and aid towns of the Rhineland devastated by heavy bombing.

Phoebe Cusden, the then Mayor of Reading, travelled to Düsseldorf to see the situation for herself. On her return, she rallied support from residents and arranged food parcels clothing and toys to go to the area. She also arranged for friends to offer hospitality for three months to an undernourished Düsseldorf child and the following year, 25 children came to Reading and 60 children went to Düsseldorf that summer.

These regular exchanges have continued right up to today and are supported by the Reading Düsseldorf Association, which has been in existence since 1948.

To find out more about Reading Düsseldorf Association visit www.reading-dusseldorf.org.uk

Exhibition Panels

There are 5 main panels of which the dimensions are:

·         Phoebe Cusden: 34″(width) x 36″ (depth)

·         Modern day Dorf: 36 x 26

·         Dorf bombing clean up post WW2: 28 x 36

·         Cartwheeling boys: 36 x 24

·         Press cuttings: 36 x 33

Some smaller panels are also available dependent on space.

Victoria Nickless

For media enquiries about this release email victoria.nickless@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 3957