Manteo twin ceremony to put record straight

BIDEFORD will be putting the record straight when a formal twinning ceremony with Manteo in North Carolina takes place in the town this spring. Three years ago a representative from Manteo surprised the town council with a gift to mark their 25 years of t

BIDEFORD will be putting the record straight when a formal twinning ceremony with Manteo in North Carolina takes place in the town this spring.

Three years ago a representative from Manteo surprised the town council with a gift to mark their 25 years of twinning.

While there had been a long association between the two towns, Bideford was embarrassed at that time to have no record of an official twinning.

But now the record will be put straight with a formal twinning visit by representatives from Manteo from March 30 to April 5.


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It will be marked by a civic reception and the signing of a formal twinning charter between Bideford and Manteo, cementing a connection that has existed since Sir Walter Raleigh first founded a colony on the site of Manteo in 1587.

A programme of visits to a number of leading attractions in the area are also being planned as part of the celebrations.

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Mayor of Bideford Cllr Andy Powell said he wanted to encourage businesses and the people of Bideford to support this visit as it presented an enormous opportunity to promote the area as a tourist destination for Americans.

He said: "This will also be seen as an opportunity by the council to correct the embarrassment of 2007 when the council received a gift from a representative of Manteo to celebrate 25 years of 'twinning' and which ultimately led to Bideford being labelled 'the town that forgot it was twinned'.

"It was because of this incident that a group from Bideford, under the leadership of the then Mayor Councillor David Ratcliffe, travelled to Manteo to find out more about the events of 1982, when representatives of Manteo first came to Bideford.

"While there, the Bideford party realised just how much the two towns had in common. People may not believe it, but Manteo also suffers from a lack of affordable housing and has flooding issues, yet like Bideford it lies at the centre of an area filled with National Parks, beaches, wildlife and stunning scenery.

"Making this twinning formal was the only option and one I am thrilled and delighted to be able to host."

Mr Powell said many American citizens believed they had strong historical connections with the Bideford area that may go back to a colony settled 30 years before the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth. Emphasising the connection, Manteo had received from the Royal College of Arms, the title granted to Sir Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth I to name that colony the "Cittie of Raleigh," he said.

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