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Adastral Park Twinning Association


APTA is the Adastral Park Twinning Association.

It is open to all BT employees and former employees in the Ipswich area, and employees of other companies with offices at Adastral Park.

Twinning is all about exchange visits and getting to know foreign cultures and languages. It’s a great way of making friends in other countries.

APTA is twinned with Orange’s (formerly France Telecom) Amiens section in France, and Deutsche Telekom’s Darmstadt section in Germany. We have regular exchange visits, alternating each year, such that each year we travel to either France or Germany once and act as hosts once. Plus through the wider twinning scheme there are plenty of other varied events and destinations you can experience.

A general requisite is that when you offer to ‘host’ a Twinning visitor you are able to provide a bedroom, bathroom, breakfast and (usually) car travel to & from the various destinations in the programme. Typically, a Twinning programme extends across five days, with the visitors arriving and departing on the first and fifth days respectively. In general, meals and event costs during the programme are shared by all hosts and visitors, once away from the host’s dwelling. Most of the French and German twinners speak good English but there is every encouragement for us to make some conversation in their languages especially when travelling away.

When being hosted in France or Germany, reciprocal hospitality to that which we aim to offer at home, is always graciously provided and is very much the ethos of a long-term successful Twinning relationship. At its simplest, whether home or away, Twinning provides a great basis for some excellent days out amongst friends whilst enjoying cultural visits, food, wine and a positive view of some of the good things in life.

For further details please contact the APTA Co-Chairman, Chris Hatch or call 07484 845603.


Recent APTA Twinning Programmes


Darmstadt, Germany: 27 May – 31 May 2015

Wednesday 27 May Arrival day (typically flying from Stansted to Frankfurt Hahn and bus to Darmstadt).
Thursday 28 May Guided tour of the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt (am).
Darmstadt city centre visit (pm).
Barbeque in a local Grillhut (evening).
Friday 29 May Tour of Pasta factory in Grossfischlingen followed by lunch in their restaurant (am).
Visit to Technikmuseum, Speyer. Time also to visit this fine town on the Rhein (pm).
Dinner in a restaurant in Speyer.
Saturday 30 May Visit to Bayerische Gartenschau in Alzenau (day).
Alternative, visit to central Frankfurt-am-Main, optional 1 hour river trip on the Main (see photo below).
Dinner with host (evening).
Sunday 31 May Departure of guests.


Boat Ride on the River Main near Frankfurt


Ipswich: 21 August – 25 August 2015 (Visit by the Amiens group)

Friday 21 Aug Arrivals day. Welcome party at Chris’s house in Martlesham Heath (evening).
Saturday 22 Aug Visit to Aldeburgh area, including Church, seafront, Britten-Pears Foundation Snape Maltings. Evening meal with hosts.
Sunday 23 Aug Felixstowe tour, including Felixstowe Ferry, Landguard Fort, Museum, Nature Reserve and tea in the café. Evening event, chez Tony & Philippa, Barbeque.
Monday 24 Aug Visit to Woodbridge, including Museum, Shire Hall, river walk and Tide Mill. Hospitality at Tom & Carmel’s for tea & cakes.
Tuesday 25 Aug Departure day.


Ipswich: 25 – 29 May 2016 (Visit by the Darmstadt group)

Wednesday 25 May Direct to hosts’ homes due to lateness of arrival.
Thursday 26 May Morning/ afternoon – visit to Woodbridge.
Evening meal at Carmel & Tom’s house.
Friday 27 May Morning: Visit to Snape Maltings, including shops and galleries adjoining the famous concert hall. Morning coffee then trip on the River Alde.
Lunch – The Cafe at Thorpeness Meare.
Afternoon: Hire a rowing boat on the Meare. Then, visit The Red House and gardens, the Aldeburgh former home of composer Benjamin Britten and musician Peter Pears.
Evening – pub meal in Ipswich.
Saturday 28 May Morning: Willow Grange Vineyard, Crowfield IP6 9SY. Guided tour and wine tasting
Lunchtime & Afternoon – Baylham Rare Breeds Farm IP6 8LG visit. Economical lunch available in café/barn (e.g. home-made soup, sandwiches, cream teas).
Evening meal at Tricia and Brian’s house in Felixstowe.
Sunday 29 May Departure Day. Direct from hosts’ homes due to early departure.


Twinning in Amiens, France: 26 August – 30 August 2016

Friday 26 Aug Arrivals day (typically travelling in shared cars via the Channel Tunnel). Bienvenue (welcome) party chez Brigitte et Herve in Amiens. Disperse to the various hosts’ houses.
Saturday 27 Aug Boat ride on ‘Les Hortillonnages d’Amiens’ (floating gardens & wildlife on the Somme).
Visit to the Abbeye de St Riquier, founded in 625, near Abbeville.
Garden party chez Christine & Ghislain at their country property in Yvrencheux. Wonderful home cooked food and general hospitality.
Sunday 28 Aug Visit to Senlis (near Paris). Roman ruins and a fine cathedral.
Late lunch chez Francoise & Brigitte’s followed by a leisurely roam in the local nature reserve. Diverse birdlife etc.
Monday 29 Aug Visit to St Valery sur Somme. Hospitality lunch provided by hosts in a restaurant on the estuary. Visits to Jeanne d’Arc ‘prison’ and the local church.
Afternoon stop in a café.
Tuesday 30 Aug Departure day, return via Channel Tunnel.


Cathedral in Senlis


Darmstadt , Germany : 29 May – 2 June 2017

Monday 29 May Arrival day.
Tuesday 30 May Visit to museum of ancient ship building, Mainz followed by lunch and a guided tour of Mainz.
Wednesday 31 May Visit to the German Leather and Shoe Museum in Offenbach Mainz followed by lunch and free time.
Thursday 1 June Visit to political puppet museum. Farewell barbecue in a local Grill-hut (evening)
Friday 2 June Departure day


Ipswich: 25 August – 29 August 2017 (Visit by the Amiens group)

Friday 25 Aug Arrivals day. Welcome party at Chris’s house in Martlesham Heath (evening)
Saturday 26 Aug Visit to Ely. Guided tour of the cathedral. Picnic lunch in the cathedral grounds. Visit to Oliver Cromwell house. Boat ride on the River Ouse. Return in hosts’ cars.
Optional evening meal in the Golf Hotel or Swallow pub, Ipswich.
Sunday 27 Aug Visit to Bury St Edmunds. Meet in Nowton Park for a leisurely coffee and walk in the woodland. Visit and take on the Maze in the park. Brief visit to Bury cathedral. Lunch provided by hosts in the Cafe Rouge in central Bury.
Evening garden party hospitality provided by Tony and Philippa at their house in Ipswich.
Monday 28 Aug Sizewell beach day. BBQ near the beach hosted by Eileen. Various beach games and kite flying. Optional swimming in the sea.
Evening hospitality buffet and drinks at Eileen’s house in Felixstowe, as the farewell party.
Tuesday 29 Aug Guests depart to travel home.


Guided tour of Ely Cathedral


APTA and International Twinning

by Armando Téllez-Velasco

  • BT International Twinning Federation (BT ITF) gathers UK groups made up of active and retired employees and was formed more than 35 years ago. Originally it comprised Post and Telecom people organised in various local regional groups, of which APTA is one. After the split (Royal Mail and BT plc) and the privatisation of business two different twinning organisations were formed, BTITF kept all telecom members organized in groups and Royal Mail had their own postal groups. BTITF has the organization support from BT HR and had financial support too; this last one has now diminished to nil. We are still “morally supported” and our President is the Head of Legal in Global Services. Several years ago the Royal Twinning organisation dissolved and BTITF invited all Postal employees to join.
  • BTITF has a national organization of which I am the Chairman (representing London Central) i.e. the official link between BT and Eurojumelages and the various UK groups. The National Secretary (Tony Gould, representing APTA from Ipswich) with responsibility of communicating to all UK groups, the Treasurer is Marie-Louise Wilkinson (representing Birmingham), International Secretary with the responsibility of communication with the Eurojumelages Secretary and a Language Course Director (Armando), Publicity is vacant waiting for someone to volunteer.
  • BTITF was invited to be part of the Eurojumelages Association (formed after the war) and as a result BTITF members and groups can join in the activities i.e. international meetings with other European groups, organised sport activities like OSCAR (walking and cycling) and take part in language courses run by each country. BTITF organises an English language course each year. BTITF has to pay to Eurojumelages according to the number of groups it has each year in the past BTITF paid (68 euros) for each of the 18 groups; a phenomenal amount of money.
  • BTITF has the right of being in the Eurojumelages board, and this year I was elected as Deputy Treasurer.
  • BTITF was originally funded by BT as part of the company activities; nowadays we don’t get any monetary support. We only get some kind of support to print the official certificates and the attendance of the President on the at last day of the course to hand out the Certificates to participants.

All UK groups are invited to attend BTITF’s AGM, and Tony Gould has represented APTA members at the meeting; Eileen attended the meeting once.

In resume:

  • More information, albeit not updated, can be found in the booklet shown in:
  • APTA can continue being part of BTITF and be part of the local organisation of groups in Adastral Park, as I see no conflict.


Armando Téllez-Velasco
Chairman, BT International Twinning Federation
Deputy Treasurer, Eurojumelages


For further details please contact the APTA Co-Chairman, Chris Hatch or call 07484 845603.