Our twin towns reflect the diverse and multi-cultural community of Reading
Reading has a long tradition of twinning with other parts of the world. In 2007 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of our link with Dusseldorf in Germany. This relationship sprung from the move towards reconciliation which developed after World War Two. This link between the ordinary people of both towns has endured for over 60 years.
Reading’s other twins are more recent. In 2004 we celebrated ten years of our link with both Clonmel in Ireland and San Francisco Libre in Nicaragua. Our growing relationship with these towns shows Reading’s commitment to look beyond our own boundaries and to share the best of our culture with our neighbours around the world.
In January 2003 our newest twinning agreement was signed with Speightstown, Barbados in recognition of the fact that Reading is home to the largest Bajan community in the UK. We look forward to developing this relationship in the coming years.
Our twin towns are an important and colourful part of life in Reading, existing through all levels of society from student exchanges and sports links to Mayoral visits. Looking to the future, as the world community grows ever closer, Reading’s international twins will play an increasingly important role in our growth.
Beruwala, Sri Lanka
The Reading Initiative for Tsunami Action (RITA) is a network of organisations and individuals in Reading, set up after the Asian tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004. It is a people-to-people link directly helping the people of Beruwela in Sri Lanka to rebuild their communities and lives.
Many Reading-based institutions, non-governmental organisations, such as the local Lions clubs, firms, schools, local and national politicians, Reading Borough Council and other similar bodies around the borough have joined in this effort.
Beruwala is an ancient sea port on the west coast of Sri Lanka. As with many coastal communities Beruwala was hit hard by the tsunami with devastating effect. The whole community suffered with many deaths, and many more made homeless and jobless.
RITA decided at its early meetings in 2005 to focus its help on this community, and the first visit to the town took place in 2005 and identified our first projects to rebuild homes, a damaged mosque and a nursery school.
Reading in Berks County Pennsylvania, USA.
Our relationship continues with our namesake town in the States. Reading is a city in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, and seat of Berks County. In 2008 the population was estimated at 80,560, making it the fifth largest city in Pennsylvania after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Erie
In 1743, Richard and Thomas Penn (sons of William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania, and grandsons of Sir William Penn after whom Pennsylvania is named) planned the town of Reading with Conrad Weiser. Taking its name from the town of Reading in England in honor of their home, it was established in 1748. Upon the creation of Berks County in 1752 the town became the county seat.