By 1999 the Bridgwater Czech Slovak Friendship Society was operating through it’s business arm Bridgwater International. We started employing Czech staff and our first was Lenka Fikarova from Prague. We expanded our projects from Crowcombe Youth Hostel to the first ‘Round Britain’ trips. In Czech we had Eva in Ceske Budejovice, Jana in Uherske Hradiste, Zdena in Kladno, Petr in Prague 6, Jarka in olomouc and Milos in Slovakia.
Feb 4th Lenka Fikarova arrives. She stays at Alfoxton rd with Brian and Elaine and also helps look after Cathy while Brian is away.
Feb 15-21 Smedley’s annual planning trip. Travels by train >London>Euroline to Brussels >Koln>Night train to Prague. This time the trip includes Bratislava, seeking new Slovak contacts and Olomouc where the strangely behaving Martin decides to pour a beer over the buffonted head of Mrs Cardova who was his head teacher…..until this moment.
Round Britain trip. The tour goes around Scotland. Lenka comes too..but gets the food quantity wrong first night..she is traumatised.
During May and June the Crowcombe projects start up again. Mayor of Bridgwater during this time is Roger Lavers who continues the tradition of hosting Czech visitors for a reception.
April ‘The Visitors’ are due to be interviewed on radio. Matt can’t make it, or the photo shoot, so Milos pretends to be him but does the whole interview in Slovak with Brian interpreting.
October Sedgemoor Unison football team join us for the first of a series of annual football tours. They play 2 games in Prague losing 3.0 to Prague 6 and 7.1 to ABC Branik.
October 1999 Gareth and Jitka get married
Nov 15-17 Milos Salus and some Slovak Social Democrats visited Bridgwater to celebrate the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution.
In December the Smedleys decide to see the New Millenium in from the Slovak Mountains where they stay with Milos and Jane