On May 20th, 2022, there was an international link-up on Skype between the Rotary Clubs of Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom and Neuburg an der Donau, our “Newcastle” in Bavaria, Germany.

The clubs exchanged information about their respective cities and about their Clubs. Despite a difference in size, there are clearly similarities between the two communities. Both are on rivers (the Danube and the Tyne), both have castles (of course) and have great history and heritage, beautiful buildings and excellent cultural attractions for tourists; and both have ambitions to develop further their green energy facilities. One difference between the clubs is that the Neuburg Rotary Club was established in 1988 and the Newcastle upon Tyne Club goes back to 1915, being one of the very oldest in the United Kingdom.

However, both are facing issues on membership – how to attract younger members into their organisations, which both do very good work to support local and international charitable and community causes, as well as promoting good fellowship among their members.

Newcastles of the World would be interested to hear from Rotary Clubs in other “Newcastles” – we know that many have branches of Rotary International. Would you like to share information about how you maintain and increase membership, or other topics? Could there be a project or projects that several Clubs in different Newcastles could work together on? Could you host young people from other Newcastles who might like to visit yours? Email us with your ideas on newcastlesoftheworld@gmail.com
For those who are not familiar with Rotary, it is “a global network of 1.4 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” See https://www.rotary.org/en/about-rotary for more information.

Neuchâtel and Europe Week 2022 – WATER

Janice Burns and Jon Doran from Newcastle upon Tyne perform “The Weary Cutters” as an artistic contribution to the Europe Week 2022 programme of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The Europe Week theme is the importance of water in our respective histories and as a resource that we must protect. “The Weary Cutters” is a 200-year old traditional folk song, a lament for the loss of husbands and fathers who were captured by the “press gangs” and taken to work at sea against their will. In 2017, Janice and Jon were among a group of eight students on Newcastle University’s folk and traditional music degree course who travelled to Akhaltsikhe, our “Newcastle” in the Republic of Georgia, and performed in the city’s prestigious St Shalva festival in the Rabati castle.

You can read about the Neuchâtel Europe Week programme on this link: https://www.neuchatelville.ch/en/votre-commune/relations-exterieures/europe/
Above, former Newcastle upon Tyne City Council Leader and Newcastles of the World co-ordinator David Faulkner, speaks about the role that the river Tyne played in the development of the city and of the environmental challenges faced by Newcastle in water management in the face of pollution and climate change.

We also have a contribution to Europe Week from the city of Neuburg an der Donau, our “Newcastle” in Bavaria, Germany.

This video is by Stella Lindner, a young lady from Neuburg, who now lives as a singer-songwriter in Berlin. She wrote the song called Danube River and produced this video with the synchronised swimmers of Neuburg in the outdoor swimming area.


Our “Newcastles of the World” alliance led to a dream work placement for a Northumbria University (Newcastle upon Tyne) student. For almost a year, mechanical engineering student Chris Brownhill  swapped Newcastle upon Tyne for the city of Shinshiro in Japan. Through the alliance Chris secured a year-long work placement at the Japanese cutting tool manufacturing company OSG, based near Shinshiro.

The story of Chris’ experience in Japan has been written up in detail as a case study which we hope will encourage others to follow.

Having wanted to visit Japan for as long as he can remember, his placement was a dream come true. Chris  (pictured below with former Shinshiro Mayor Ryoji Hozumi, and also at the OSG factory) enjoyed immersing himself in Japanese culture and learning as much as he could. “I knew everything would be completely different, but that is what appealed to me – the culture, the cuisine and of course the language. I was doing my best to learn Japanese once I found out I had secured the placement. My thanks are to OSG, the city of Shinshiro and the Newcastles of the World Alliance who reached out a helping hand to create this arrangement – and gave me the warmest of welcomes.”

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Chris is the first student to secure a placement through Newcastles of the World and it is hoped further international opportunities for work and study will follow. Zélie Guérin, Newcastles of the World Project Director, said: “One of the aims of the project has always been to enable connections through business and education so this placement brings those two together.” Caroline Theobald CBE is Chair of Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School Advisory Board, as well as a Trustee of Newcastles of the World in Newcastle upon Tyne , and she helped establish the relationship with OSG. She said: “I met the team from OSG at a business seminar and they were very interested in forging links with Northumbria through Newcastles of the World. They are a global manufacturer and recruit some of the best graduates around the world, so this link with Northumbria University will have benefited both organisations. The year has been an amazing experience for Christopher and one which will shape his future career.”



This 10 page paper explores the coal mining heritage of some of the Newcastles in the English-speaking world.

Taking Coals to – and from – Newcastles


ROBERT INDIANA (1928-2018): A Giant of Pop Art from New Castle, Indiana

Robert Indiana, a major figure from the world of modern art, died in 2018. Aaron Dicken, of New Castle, Indiana (Robert’s home town) tracked him down and met him in 2015. Here he pays tribute to Robert’s life and legacy

“Reading his biography, one could probably rationalize why Robert Indiana had a reputation for being somewhat unpleasant. He was adopted, he had transient parents who later divorced, and was repeatedly taken advantage of, which includes the copyright debacle of LOVE, as well as the requests for art and more, late into his life (speculation).

However, that is not the man Dick Bouslog and I met in the summer of 2015. For three hours, which is a lot for someone who was 86 at the time, he was gracious, he was warm and welcoming, and he was just another man who enjoyed conversation over coffee and cookies (my mom’s cookies, actually).

He was an enigma and a recluse. So many people had tried to reach out to him after his permanent move to Vinalhaven, Maine, and without much success. The late John Dickey (another New Castle citizen) shared a note he had received from the artist when we showed a small exhibit of serigraphs at the Henry County Art Center in New Castle, which was a rarity. I remember being floored looking back at that visit to the Star of Hope that he had a binder marked “Henry County Indiana,” which I regretfully did not ask to peruse. I can only imagine it was filled with his unreturned collection of correspondence from other community members and articles of interest.

Though over due, I’m proud of how the New Castle community has taken to heart Bob’s legacy, which started with his first breaths in New Castle. A group of people have come together, whether it be with financing, fabricating, or organizing, to create our two LOVE sculptures, a beautiful mural that represents his life and works, and the Robert Indiana Parkway. During this sad time, I am comforted in the fact that I got to show Bob how he is loved and how his legacy will carry on in his “long ago hometown” before he passed.

This artist is obviously world-renown for LOVE, a powerful message and theme in 1966 that will undoubtedly carry his legacy. But his life was so much more than that, such as his stint at the New York World’s Fair with his EAT sign in 1964, his breakthrough into modern art with American Dream I at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961, his avant-garde design and painting of the MECCA floor for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977, or the reimagining of LOVE when he created HOPE in 2008.

Surely, HOPE is something Bob carried with him throughout his life. But that leads me to a word I think he embodied even more…RESILIENCE. Although that word can’t be made into a masterpiece as easily, to come from the beginnings from which he came, to endure the trials and tribulations he endured, it beyond question took resilience. Had he not exemplified that word, the world would be a little less colourful, a little more devoid of HOPE, and a little less full of LOVE.

May his legacy of love, hope, and resilience live on.”





He’s the man who loves the city of Newcastle upon Tyne so much that he named himself after it. Iranian Ali Reza Sarkhofh swapped Tehran for Tyneside eleven years ago in the search for a better life. Now he has celebrated becoming a fully-fledged British citizen by officially changing his name to Peter Newcastle. Peter said: “The people of Newcastle feel like my family. “If you have a son or a daughter or a brother or a sister, they share the same name as you and that’s why it made sense for me to share my name with this great city.”Peter lives in the heart of the city centre, just a stone’s throw away from two of Tyneside’s most famous sites, St James’s Park and the former Brown Ale Brewery site. Working as a secretary for a print firm, in Elswick, he got regular lessons on the Geordie dialect from his colleagues.

Peter Newcastle

Peter said: “They have taught me how to say ‘why aye’ and the biggest thing I have learned is everyone is called ‘mate’. My favourite thing about Newcastle is the people. They will always be your friend and always give you such a warm welcome. The place I like to go the most in the city is the Quayside. I love the bridges and the river.” Peter grew up in the Iranian capital of Tehran but moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in 2001. He instantly fell in love with the area and settled in a house in Spring Garden Lane, Arthur’s Hill. After seven years on Tyneside, he became an official British citizen at a ceremony hosted by the Sheriff of Newcastle Councillor David Wood, at the civic centre’s banqueting hall.



North East England’s leading community circus practitioner made the journey from one Newcastle to another. Steve Cousins – from Newcastle, Australia – now lives in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, and with his wife Helen Averley,  set up “Let’s Circus”.


Let’s Circus is a professional circus outreach company based in Newcastle that creates and delivers programmes of circus performances, street theatre and variety entertainment and is the largest provider of circus training programmes, circus workshops and participatory events in the North East of England.


Steve was born in Wangi Wangi between Sydney and Newcastle, New South Wales, and went to Merewether High School in Newcastle. He’s a committed champion for circus participation and a driving force behind the community circus scene in the North East of England. His focus is bringing people together to engage in new experiences and to spread the universal language of laughter. He has an active career as a solo street entertainer, having worked professionally on four continents and is currently a director of the Circus Development Agency, the UK’s advocacy body for circus.