THE first official visitors from Bathurst have been welcomed in the English town of Cirencester as part of the growing friendship arrangement between the two communities.
Having heard about the friendship, brother and sister Andrew Prior and Denise Garland of Bathurst included Cirencester, north-west of London, on their itinerary when they decided to visit the United Kingdom.
Specifically, they wanted to visit Old Sodbury, Wiltshire, where Mr Prior has relatives buried.
Mr Prior, a retired civil engineer, and Ms Garland, a teacher at the Scots School, were given a guided tour of Cirencester with councillors Mark Harris and Claire Wardell, taking in the historic Black Jack Street and the Corinium Museum, before being taken around Cirencester Church.
They were also joined by Earl Bathurst, who showed them around his gardens on the Bathurst Estate.
Their visit was organised by Simon King, who recently spent two months in Australia and Bathurst as part of a fact-finding and relationship-building tour.
“It was great to show them round our town and talk to them about the possible links we can develop with their council and educational bodies,” Mr King said.
“We are expecting other visitors from Bathurst over the coming months and this was a significant step into bringing the town [Cirencester] and city of Bathurst closer together.”
Mr King made plenty of local connections during his extensive visit to Bathurst earlier this year, including with the parkrun, cycling and business communities.
When he spoke to the Advocate during his visit, he said one of his dreams is to one day see a shop in Cirencester selling food and art and craft from Bathurst and one in Bathurst selling the same items from Cirencester.
He also thinks there are more opportunities for student exchanges between the communities.
The friendship arrangement between Bathurst and Cirencester, home of the Earl Bathurst, grew out of the Bathurst bicentenary celebrations in 2015.
A series of events have since taken place to further the friendship between the communities.
Cirencester has plans to send someone to Bathurst as part of an educational opportunity coming up later in the year.