MEMBERS of the Sylvan Social Group belonging to Altrincham Unitarian Chapel travelled ‘around the world in 30 minutes’ on February 3.

Assisted by three members from Altrincham and Sale, their guide was Andy Kelly, president of the Greater Manchester Friendship Force who showed them places he had visited in Brazil, Australia, Japan, Belgium and Germany.

He amused people with descriptions of the high-tech Japanese lavatories with their heated seats, recycled water and numerous buttons.

In Texas he had gone water skiing on a private lake and had been gliding in North Carolina.

He explained that Friendship Force was a force for friendship throughout the world which, In 1992, had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It began in 1977 when President Jimmy Carter had joined the first home hosting exchange between Atlanta and Newcastle.

The Manchester club, which included many Trafford members, welcomed visitors from abroad for two separate weeks each year and went away for a fortnight to another country. Every host club provided a welcome party, cultural visit and a farewell party.

Since the Manchester club’s first incoming visit from Omaha, Nebraska in 1982, the members had visited 13 countries and eight American states.

“I have friends all around the world and am looking forward to making more when we are home hosted in Indonesia in October,” said Andy.

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