2002- To the Summit and Beyond…

2002 was the 10th anniversary of the Bridgwater Czech Society being established and one look at the programme after those 10 years could see it was enormous. We had numerous Czech schools touring to Somerset every year and Somerset students returning back. In fact our totals were 451 Czechs and Slovaks to Somerset and 322 Somerset travellers to Czech or Slovakia. We also now expanded to Lithuania. 93 Lithuanians had visited Somerset and 40 Brits had visited Lithuania, In 2002 Bridgwater International had more Czech workers helping us out. Petra Kuskova (from Prague) Feb to June, Inka Kleinova (from Pardubice) July to October and then, as a major break with tradition, we hosted Richard Gaskell (the outrider from the 1992 trip) and employed him as Czech assistant

Feb 21-March 6 Smedley’s annual planning visit

Mar  3-7 -39 Bridgwater College Health &Social Care students to Prague (Walsh) to visit Prague 6 council, a prison, Sheltered Housing, Klanovice childrens home,  Ministry of the Interior &  Drug rehab

March 11-19..12 Alkana dancers (Sk) from Bratislava to Bridgwater link with Chilton school. The group performed  at the Arts Centre, Hugh Sexeys, King Alfreds & Bridgwater College and ran community dance workshops.

March 25-2845 Lithuanians to visit Somerset including 3 school groups. These students visited Cheddar, Bridgwater, Glastonbury, Bath & Bristol & stay in Crowcombe. Organiser was Vlad Rancev

March 29 -Apr 8 ROCK Tour 40 musicians >Prague, UH, Olomouc, Ceske Bud, + Karlovy Vary. New young groups from the Sedgemoor area linking with  venues &  Czech rock musicians + performing live

April 12-14 Betts – Alaister Betts takes a Yeovil group to Prague

April 5 -14  17 Chilton students>Bratislava to link with Alkana. Away leg of the Bratislava-Chilton exchange. Chilton students stayed with Slovak families and developed a joint dance project

April   27-   22 Unison footballers play in London vs Czech & Slovak Embassies.

May 1-4  35 Uherske Hradiste ALTECH footballers visit Sedgemoor.  Workers from the aviation industry in our twin town visiting Bridgwater for the 10th anniversary to play 2 friendly football matches.

May 5-12   60 student teachers on the 3rd annual PLYMOUTH Uni Educationalists study tour of Prague & Olomouc. Residential ‘Comparative Education’ project now in it’s 3rd year.

Plymouth teachers in Olomouc

May 5-11   45 Ceske Budejovice  students to link up with Haygrove under Honza Muzik

May 14-18...14 strong Olomouc council ‘Flower show ctte visit Sedgemoor

May 15-25 A father and son duo from Latvia stayed with us.  Mitrokhins Master Band-also known as ‘The Latvian Beatles’.

Chair of SDC Jessica Healey with Mitrokhins Master band

May 19 23   40 Petriny Sever students (Prague 6) visit Sedgemoor under Martina Havlikova

27 May–  12 Bridgwater College caterers on a residential to Prague + Ceske.Budejovice

June 2-7   12 Arabska High school students-(Prague 6) Home hosted in Bridgwater. led by Dr Jan Soucke and Andy Pole

Dr Soucek, Andy Pole and Arabska

In June we organised work for 10 Czech and 4 UK students at the Glastonbury Festival c/o the Workers Beer Company. This was now an annual thing and generated income which we shared with the Bridgwater Trades Union Council.

June 1-8  45 South Bohemians over for Jubilee week

June 28-July 2   10 Uherske Hradiste Councillors + Mayor in Bridgwater for 10th Anniversary.

This week is the 10th anniversary commemorations June 28-20 Prague 6 Councillors + Mayor in Sedgemoor for Anniversary and at the same time 20 strong Czech ‘swing band’ in Sedgemoor for Somerfest in Cranleigh Gardens . This is David Pribyl bringing his swing band to Bridgwater. The ‘Backside Big Band’ are popular and tour the area.

There was a major flood in the Czech Republic. The 2nd in 4 years. The Czechs called this single flood ‘stoleti voda’ 100 years water…But twice in 4 likely meant climate change was a reality. In Bridgwater we organised fund raising gaining some £1,350 (61,000kc). We donated it to the village of Opatovice near Uherske Hradiste which had almost been swept away. End of August Brian was in the Czech Republic when the floods hit. In Prague, Ceske Budejovice and Uherske Hradiste -all suffered.

July 14-21 12 strong Sedgemoor trip to Lithuania and Latvia with the Bartlett family

July 21-28 Anniversary trip to Prague, UH, Olomouc and Ceske Budejovice with receptions in each place

Aug 3-17 Tour of Czech by ‘Sgt Peppers Only Dartboard Banned’ (a Beatles tribute band from Frome). Almost every gig is cancelled as floods wipe out each venue. Finally in Prague, staying at  U Melounu, their bus is robbed and their Beatle wigs stolen….

Aug 19-24 Lithuanian coach party visits Somerset

Sept 6-9 Steve Seamonster -takes Plymouth students to Olomouc

Sept 11-16 37 Czech Doctors from Uherske Hradiste visit England and play a game against a ‘Partisan Bridgwater’ team organised by Smedley. Afterwards they go to the newly opened Wetherspoons where a local headbutts a Czech doctor for complementing his Man Utd shirt

Sept 22-28 Irena Korvasova group of ecology students to Bridgwater & Eden Project

Sept 29-Oct 6 Kate Bartlett and Spencer Sutton get married in Prague. The wedding is organised by Smedley. The 40 strong guest group stay at the Hotel Praha and also visit the High Tatras in Slovakia

Oct  3-7 30 Sedgemoor Unison footballers tour Lithuania. The tour is organised by Ritas Vaginas, the Lithuania football association chairman. They play the national stadium against veterans and lose 13.1. The sole Sedgemoor goal is scored by Chipper Chorley, who dribbles the length of the pitch to put it in.

Oct 7-10 Bridgwater College Counsellors x 14 to Prague and Olomouc

Oct 6-13 30 Kazdancers from Burnham travel to Moravske Budejovice on a dance tour with a Czech partner school

Oct 18-25 40 Moravske Budejovice dancers return visit to Burnham on Sea to link with Kazdance . Trip organised with Alec Brice and Blanka.

Oct 28-Nov 6 20 Young Somerset members to Moravske Budejovice on exchange project looking at rural disadvantage

Oct 40 Kings of Wessex (Cheddar) students exchange visit with Emy Destin school, Prague 6

November Czech and Slovak Embassies visit for Carnival

Nov 11 20 Danzatak Students, Cheddar link with Prague 6 school Petriny Sever

At the end of our most busiest year Brian and Matt find time to play onstage at the Palace with Joe Strummer from the Clash. Actually November 17th -anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Sadly, in December the same year he dies at his home near Bridgwater.

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