In 1945-47 the First Youth Exchange was inaugurated between Dagenham and Witten in Germany.
The Dagenham-Witten Youth Exchange was taken over by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in 1979 when the two towns were officially ‘twinned’, but it had been members of Kingsley Hall with their pacifist outlook, believing in the importance of building bridges between young people for the future that had begun the Exchange after the Second World War. Especially noteworthy in this respect were Arthur Durrant who received the Freedom of the Borough in 1990 and the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the highest award that the then West German government could confer in 1984, and Phoebe Norris-Kirk who was also given the Freedom of the Borough in 1996 and the M.B.E. for her services to the community, especially town twinning, in 2000.
To hear a short (1m 25s) audio clip by Daphne Harris (nee Saville) about her participation in an early exchange click here.