Unlikely new partnership twins Hackney with ... Scarborough

Hackney may seem a long way from donkey rides, sticks of rock and sand castles – but an unlikely town twinning is bringing the British seaside a little closer to our inner city borough.

A new partnership project will see the home of pie n’ mash and jellied eels twinned with Scarborough, on the north-east coast.

Coast 2012 has been set up by the town halls in both boroughs to build links between sports and arts clubs and organise exchange trips in the run up to the Olympic Games.

Visitors to Scarborough - Britain’s first seaside resort and setting of the traditional ballad ‘Scarborough Fair’ - will see the golden sands of South Bay beach, a 2,500-year-old castle and even a mysterious hole in a cliff called Hairy Bob’s Cave.

Its residents meanwhile may want to visit the Hackney Empire, London’s cool capital of Hoxton, or the home of 18th century novelist Daniel Defoe – then swing by the shops in the Narroway and soak up the sun on Hackney Downs.

Cllr Derek Bastiman, cabinet member for regeneration and planning at Scarborough Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be part of this inspirational partnership. Coast 2012 will use the theme of the world’s biggest sporting event, to raise the aspirations of everyone in our borough, particularly children and young people.”

Hackney already has official twinning arrangements with Haifa in Israel and Grenada in the Caribbean.

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The partnership with Scarborough is part of a wider project which sees the Olympic host borough sharing its work with towns and cities around the country.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games said: “The 2012 London Games have at their heart the aspiration to bring us together through sport and through the arts, connecting communities up and down the land to celebrate not only success but the value of being part of something, the value of joining in and learning from each other. Our partnership can do just this and set about building a rewarding relationship that could serve our communities well into the future.”