Czech Links

April 1986April 1986

Sheep Worrying secretary, Brian Smedley, visits Communist Czechoslovakia during his time researching a series of socialist local history plays. The third in the series would go on to be ‘The Vernon Bartlett Show’.

August 1991August 1991

Uherske Hradiste region Social Democrat chairman, Antonin Machala, puts an advert in Labour News asking for help in the ‘first post-communist elections in Czechoslovakia’. Bridgwater Labour secretary Cllr Brian Smedley replies and hitch-hikes over to visit him.

November 1991

Bridgwater Czech Twinning

Antonin Machala visits Bridgwater and speaks at a meeting at the Arts Centre about recent developments in Czechoslovakia. He is received by Bridgwater Mayor Cllr Ken Richards and the Friendship Society is formed.

June 1992June 1992

Bridgwater Mayor Cllr David Baker & Uherske Hradiste Deputy Mayor (later Senator) Jaroslav Petrik sign the twinning document at Sydenham Manor Bridgwater 18. 6. 1992.

July 1992July 1992

The first Bridgwater-Czech link up. A minibus containing 10 hardy pioneers (plus an outrider) in the form of rock band The SkaCats visits Prague and Uherske Hradiste. Two of them never leave!

July 1993July 1993

Cllr Patrick Daniel (Chairman SDC) and Cllr John Turner (Mayor of Bridgwater) lead the return twinning visit to Uherske Hradiste and are interviewed on Czech National TV attending the Vlcnov ‘Kings Ride’ festival.

May 1994May 1994

Chairman of Sedgemoor Cllr Ken Dyer & Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Trevor Donaldson receive gifts from an ever expanding troupe of Czech visitors as the Society flourishes. Dyer famously mispronounces the Czech town ‘Ooosky Radoosky’.

June 1996June 1996

Sedgemoor Chairman Cllr Sandy Buchanan & Bridgwater Mayor Cllr Adrian Moore welcome Czech visitors from Ceske Budejovice. Both visited Prague at different times with Buchanan fronting a Somerset Czech Trade Mission which netted 6 contracts.

October 1998October 1998

Sedgemoor Unison kick off their first of 10 years of Football tours starting and finishing in the Czech Republic accompanied by Antonin Machala’s ALTECH S.R.O.

May 2000May 2000

As the Millenium arrived the Society was going strong with over 500 travellers a year. In this picture Czech/Slovak Chairman Cy Bartlett (himself 1/4 Czech) shows Moravian horticulturalists around his Somerset garden.

May 2001May 2001

Sedgemoor Chair Jessica Healey welcomes Czech visitors with Mayor Ken Richards. Jessica visits Czech & Slovakia several times, including the 2002 Anniversary trip, hosts up to 20 Czech students at a time and even names her cows after Czech visitors!

August 2002August 2002

Czech-Slovak Society Chair Cllr Marilyn Wallace along with husband Ian,   take annual trips to Czech and Slovakia with young people from their Young Somerset Organisation.

May 2004May 2004

At the Somerset County Council International Links conference – Milos Salus (Slovakia) and David Pribyl (Czech Rep) addresses the audience alongside GB secretary Brian Smedley.

October 2007October 2007

Mayor of Bridgwater Phillip Smeed, visits UH for the 750th Anniversary of the foundation of the town. Antonin took him flying in his personal learjet.

September 2008September 2008

Rhode Lane Wanderers under 16 Football team plays three games in Uherske Hradiste and one in Kladno.

November 2008November 2008

Ant and Smed. Still going strong (despite both reaching 50…)