Children from Widcombe Junior School’s gardening club have celebrated the blooming of 5,000 tulip bulbs across Bath.

The children joined members of the Bath-Alkmaar Twinning Association (BATA), Peter Turner of Bath in Bloom and the B&NES Parks Team to celebrate the blooming of 5,000 bulbs which were donated from Bath’s twin city Alkmaar last Autumn, 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.

Last November, Bath’s own favourite cook, Mary Berry, came to help plant them in Parade Gardens – and now the tulips donated from Dutch twin City, Alkmaar, are in full bloom, providing a burst of rich colour for the City centre in the Spring sunshine.

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. Seven 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.”

A programme of special events is being planned for an anniversary ‘Alkmaar Week’ in Bath, starting on 10 July. 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.