IPA UK’s John Bull honoured in Germany

28 Dec 2018

Gallusmarkt Mug (3)For 30 years Anitra and I have visited the October Gallusmarkt, a well-known traditional fair, in Grünberg / Germany, staying with our friends Karl-Ludwig & Doris Ruckelshauss.

Every year, four people not born in the town are honoured officially for giving their time, working voluntarily for Grünberg - it is considered a great honour.

In addition, each year, selected individuals are recognised for taking part in the market and giving exceptional friendship to the town.

I had been warned that something was coming my way this year and so, during the festivities and in the main tent in front of over 3,000 people, I was called to the stage by the Bürgermeister (mayor). A history of my attendances was announced, and I was presented with a unique Bierkrug suitably decorated. I am only the 15th person to have received this award and the first person from outside Grünberg, let alone Germany. My thank-you speech (in German) was a blur but seemed to go down well, as I had managed to open and close it with words in local dialect. I must say that the warmth with which I was received and congratulated was very moving!

This all originally came about through an IPA friendship which has been going for 32 years. It was apt that the catalyst for these friendships, Rene Vuylsteke who is originally from Brussels, was present. Our first contact was through a visit by Milton Keynes Police under the auspices of IPA to Wittlich in Germany, where we met Rene who was part of the organising team of the annual Anderlecht Police March.

This shows where IPA friendships can lead!

John Bull, Secretary Thames Valley Branch, IPA UK