PORTSMOUTH — Yesterday was the big day for the local contingent that’s visiting its sister city of Portsmouth, England.
Several town officials and members of the Portsmouth 375th Steering Committee began the day at Portsmouth Guild Hall for the lord mayor “making” ceremony, a public event with several hundred people in attendance.
“During this impressive hour-long ceremony, the outgoing lord mayor, Frank Jonas, was congratulated for his many accomplishments over the year and the new lord mayor, Ms. Lynn Stagg was installed,” said Doug Smith, chairman of the Portsmouth 375th Steering Committee, which organized the trip at no cost of taxpayers.
The main purpose of the delegation’s trip was to extend a formal invitation to Ms. Stagg to attend the Portsmouth 375th group’s grand celebration over Labor Day Weekend.
Monday’s ceremony was followed by an array of public service and youth awards, a performance by the local children’s choir, and much ceremonial pomp and circumstance, he said.
“In addition to our own delegation, we met the delegations of Portsmouth’s sister cities from Maizuru, Japan; Caen, France; and Duisberg, Germany. Portsmouth’s close connection to the Royal Navy was also on display in the form of a Royal Marine Band and several color guards from Navy and Cadet units.”
After posing for pictures with Ms. Stagg, the group attended a business session of the Portsmouth City Council, which Mr. Smith said “turned out to be quite contentious and interesting to us ‘colonials.'”
The mayors of Portsmouth’s sister cities also spoke at this meeting, discussing the high value that they put on the cultural and educational exchanges that had been put in place as part of their “twinning” relationships. “I think these kinds of exchanges would be especially useful for our own students if we can establish a similar relationship with Portsmouth, England,” said Mr. Smith. “The new lord mayor herself was a school teacher and would be very supportive of such activities.”
Afterward members of the local group enjoyed tea and cookies in the lord mayor’s parlor, they formally presented their proclamation and invitations to the lord mayor and lady mayoress to visit Portsmouth, RI at the end of August for the town’s 375th celebration events.
Later that evening the group ate in the lord mayor’s dining room, which seats about 100 people comfortably. Mr. Smith gave a short speech of greeting from citizens of Portsmouth, RI, and described the town’s 375th anniversary celebration.
The local delegation had a stroke of luck following the meal.
“The evening was concluded with a charity raffle, in which we had six winning tickets from our table of 10,” said Mr. Smith. “Altogether, a very educational and enjoyable day.”