LYME Regis Town Council has considered a request that the town be twinned with Gibraltar.
Local resident Nigel Marsh, who has been visiting the British Overseas Territory bordering Spain’s south coast for 60 years, put forward the request for a formal twinning relationship.
Often referred to as ‘the Rock’, he described Gibraltar as a “special place” and said a twinning arrangement would provide some exciting opportunities for Lyme Regis, and the unique chance to experience a flavour of Britishness in the Mediterranean.
Lyme Regis has been twinned with St George’s in Bermuda since 1997 and, more recently, entered a ‘tripling’ agreement with St George’s and Jamestown, Virginia – the three communities linked by the historic story of former Mayor of Lyme Regis, Admiral Sir George Somers, who was shipwrecked in Bermuda on his way to the new English colony of Jamestown in 1609.
Lyme has also been twinned with Barfleur in Normandy, France, for several years.
Mr Marsh said that the distance between Lyme and Bermuda meant that taking part in twinning activities was too much or too expensive for several residents, and a possible twinning with Gibraltar would provide a more accessible alternative.
He described Gibraltar as having a “fascinating history” and said there were a range of activities and interests for all ages and budgets to enjoy, including various festivals and events, places of military history, caves, museums, a cable car to the top of the Rock, beaches and other tourist facilities.
Similar to the Jurassic Coast, it has also be designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mr Marsh also suggested that the senior school in Gibraltar could also be connected with the Woodroffe School in Lyme, adding: “I am certain that students from the two schools would find ways to benefit from a relationship – for example through exchanges, sporting events, etc. – and form valuable bonds that could last many years.”
Town councillors considered the request at their latest virtual meeting, at which it was noted that twinning arrangements are made through independent organisations and the council’s input is civic only.
The council does not fund twinning visits; individuals who take part are expected to pay for trips themselves, although in the past the council has granted funding to twinning organisations in the town for specific projects.
It was agreed that the town clerk should write to Mr Marsh and ask him to come back to the council when he had a fully developed idea that could demonstrate community engagement, and there was a body to administrate the twinning process.
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