Volgograd will be the first city to receive the Merit Award from Coventry

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Volgograd is to become the first-ever city to receive The Coventry Award of Merit.

Coventry has been twinned with the Russian city for 75 years following a friendship cemented as a result of both experiencing the devastation of the Second World War.

No city has received The Coventry Award of Merit before – an honour usually handed to individuals who reflect the highest ideals of citizenship or outstanding performance.

However, “the long, historic and significant relationship between the two cities totally captures the spirit of the award”, a council meeting on Thursday, October 10, was told.

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Pervez Akhtar, Whoberley. Election count at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.

Cllr Pervez Akhtar, deputy cabinet member for policing and equalities, said in a written nomination: “Over the last 75 years Volgograd have maintained links with Coventry and have kept in constant contact with the city, visiting regularly and attending Remembrance Day services and other special commemorations.

“As one of the original UN International Peace Messenger Cities, Volgograd continues to work hard to promote peace and understanding between nations.

“To thank the city and its citizens for all it does to promote peace and reconciliation, we hereby nominate Volgograd for the Coventry Award of Merit and look forward to continuing our work together.”

Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, was reduced to rubble in 1942 when it was subjected to one of the largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare.

At the time, women from Coventry sent messages of hope to the women of Stalingrad having experienced the Coventry Blitz just a few years earlier.

During the Battle of Stalingrad, 900 Coventry women signed their names on a tablecloth which was sent with a message of sympathy to the women of Stalingrad, which remains in the Panorama Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad.

The award will be approved by full council on October 15.

Arrangements will be made for an Awards Ceremony to tie in with a visit to Coventry by a delegation from Volgograd in November to mark the 75th anniversary of the twinning.

A new plaque dedicated to the city will also be unveiled in November outside Primark, Cllr Abdul Khan told Thursday’s meeting.

Source: Coventry Live