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22 February 2011, 13:17
Christchurch in Dorset is responding to the news of the devastating earthquake in its twin town of Christchurch New Zealand, by setting up books of condolence at four places in the Borough.
The Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Nick Geary, has sent a message of condolence to Bob Parker, his counterpart in New Zealand. In it he said:
"Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in today's earthquake. Our hopes and prayers are with you all at this most shocking time. We wish all those injured a speedy recovery, and hope that more loss of life can be minimised."
Cllr Geary said:
"I was devastated to hear of the loss of life, especially as they were getting back to normal following the last earthquake in September. We are so far away that we feel a little helpless with regard to what we can do, but we are offering any support we can usefully give and they will stay in our prayers."
Books of condolence will be placed at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street, the Information Centre in the High Street, Highcliffe Castle and The Priory church. Cheques can also be taken at the cash office at the Civic Offices and the Information Centre in the High Street for anyone wishing to make donations.
The towns have officially been twinned with each other since 21 October 1975 although informal links had taken place before then. Official visits between the towns have taken place on many occasions and Twynham School has connections with Linwood College in New Zealand whereby exchange visits are made by students.