A GROUP of lucky teenagers have gone on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hartlepool’s twin town.
The group of 17 young people, who attend the senior youth club at the town’s The Annexe, in Wharton Terrace, are in Huckelhoven, in Germany.
It is a trip that has been two years in the making, after the teens, aged 14 to 18, saved up and held their own charity events to raise funds.
They were boosted by a donation of around £5,000 from Hartlepool ceremonial mayor, Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, who met the group in the Council Chamber before they said “auf weidersehen” Hartlepool and “guten tag” Huckelhoven.
Their trip was almost scuppered by the national passport delay fiasco.
But they managed to get on their way on Wednesday, with some having to make a trip to Sheffield to collect their passports.
Staff at The Annexe say this is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for some of the teenagers, who are predominantly from the Dyke House area, which has been traditionally known as one of the town’s most disadvantaged areas.
The Annexe manager Sacha Bedding, who has joined the young people on the trip, said: “Lots of people over here and in Germany have been helpful in making this come to fruition.”
Annexe youth worker Jade Bromby said: “They raised the money themselves and were given money from the mayor. “They did bag-packs and raised over £600 and also held coffee mornings, cake sales and other fundraisers.
“They have been given free accommodation in a local school.
“They have been really looking forward to it.”
Jade said the group will be visiting a mine and a lot of the activities will be educational, but they will also be having some fun, with a trip to a theme park.
She added: “The mayor mentioned it was a twin town and also said it would be good to resurrect the twin town tradition.
“It’s a great experience as a lot of the young people have never been abroad before.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The group are set to return on Sunday.