THORNBURY folk young and not so young have been helping their German twin town celebrate its 850 anniversary.

Members of the Thornbury Twinning Association acted as South Gloucestershire ambassadors during the highly successful five-day visit to Bockenem, the Lower Saxony town with which links were first established almost 20 years ago.

Association members, along with representatives from Bockenem's other linked towns in Poland and East Germany, took part in a parade through the town to mark its anniversary - the German equivalent of Thornbury's owner charter celebrations which took place two years ago.

They went bearing gifts - a plate specially fashioned by Thornbury potter Chris Zair and, from the Town Council, a unique glass sculpture crafted by Thornbury student Rachael Richardson.

They also took a gift of music - courtesy of Castle School's steel band Panache who were making their first visit to Bockenem.

"It was a wonderful visit and we were particularly proud of our young musicians," said Shirley Holloway, the town council's representative on the trip.

"They were really excellent ambassadors for the town and were fantastically well received.. They gave two performances at different schools and also played a during a marvellous medieval market held to celebrate the anniversary. People kept asking when the band would be making a return visit. "

The people of Bockenem were also fascinated by demonstrations of Severn salmon putcher making by Deryck Huby who had to take supplies of willow with him.

"The celebrations were really well organised and we were all looked after very well by our German hosts," said Cllr Holloway.

"It showed that the relationship between the two towns is thriving."