The twinning with Helmstedt in Northern Germany evolved purely by accident. Several prominent people of Chard, including Frank Searle (Town Clerk), Jack Harriman (Harriman’s Outfitters) and Linden Howard (Director of R. G. Spillers), organised a coach trip to Berlin. The coach that they hired broke down at Helmstedt. The people of Helmstedt not only organized the repair of the vehicle but hosted everybody on board. Following this hospitality the Helmstedters were invited to visit Chard the following year so that the hospitality could be reciprocated.
In 1953 Somerset County Council set up a Youth Exchange with a dedicated youth organizer, who I believe was Gus Moore.
In 1959 the then Chard Town Clerk, Frank Searle received an informal invitation from the Burgemeister to bring a small party of adults from the area to Helmstedt in 1960, That year a party of ten went to Helmstedt including Mr. & Mrs Bill Summers; Mr & Mrs Lynden Howard; Mr & Mrs Frank Searle, also Mr & Mrs Gus Moore (Stoke sub Hamden); Mr & Mrs Jacobs (Ilminster)
In 1963 The Helmstedt Burgemeister and Stadtdirektor came to Chard as an Official return Civic Visit.
On the 6th December 1972 the Mayor Councillor Laurence Powel convened a Public Meeting with the view of forming a Chard Helmstedt Society. There were twenty six members of the public present. The history of the Helmstedt link was outlined and he emphasised the need to look ahead to the results of a forthcoming Local Government Reorganisation and detailed the Council’s resolution on the matter. It was resolved that a Chard & District Helmstedt society is formed to work with the Chard Corpation in order to accept responsibility for organising adult and youth exchanges after the merger with Yeovil District Council.
The Officers appointed where:
Chairman – Mr. Frank Searle (who was the Town Clerk)
Secretary – Mr. Brian Aske (Accountant)
Treasurer Mr. Lynden Howard (Director of R. G. Spiller)
The Society took full responsibility including financial responsibility on the 1st April 1974.
The Twinning Charter was signed outside the Guildhall of Chard on 12th April 1980 and again in Helmstedt on 7th June 1980.