American award for Bideford author

FORMER Mayor of Bideford Cllr Andy Powell has been honoured in America for his book Grenville and the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

He has become the first Briton to be honoured by the North Carolina Society of Historians, winning its annual Willie Parker Peace History Book Award for his book and for ‘the valuable contributions he has made toward the collection, preservation and perpetuation of North Carolina history.’

Mr Powell won the award from 72 entries and received it at a ceremony in Mooresville, North Carolina.

His book is the result of four years of research into the links between Sir Richard Grenville and the famous ‘lost colony’ of settlers in 1587 and, importantly, the part played by the people of Bideford.

Mr Powell has taken part in a number of archaeological digs in North Carolina, where the ‘lost colony’ landed and later disappeared, in a bid to establish the claim that they were not lost, but assimilated into the native population, and that people from Bideford were among the first permanent settlers in America, 30 years before the Pilgrim Fathers.

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In 2009, when Mayor of Bideford, he signed an official twinning document between Bideford and the North Carolina town of Manteo, reinforcing a modern link first established 25 years earlier.

Mr Powell is chairman of Bideford 500, a project set up to celebrate and promote 500 years of Bideford history.

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