The EDITOR’S Corner
During his short one-week visit to our very own Gosport, Mayor Richard Dickson of Gosport, England left a lasting impression on our local community, while making many new friends along the way.
Shortly after his return home, Mayor Dickson drafted a personal letter to me commenting on how he enjoyed his first visit to the States, especially his time spent with the King and Trotman families, and his new-found love of American football.
Mayor Dickson’s letter reads as follows:
Now (that) I’m back in England I’ve had time to reflect on my fantastic visit to Gosport, Indiana.
It was really neat to finally meet you at the ball game. I must be the only Owen Valley fan in Gosport, England and I must be the only one here who can watch American football and actually have a rough idea of what’s going on.
I thought your (newspaper) coverage of my visit was excellent.
My visit to the school was without a doubt the highlight; I really enjoyed meeting all the teachers and the students.
My visit to Gosport, Indiana will go down as ‘THE highlight’ of my mayoral year and to be honest will be one of those ‘never to be forgotten moments of my life.’
It’s business as usual here and getting back into the swing of being Mayor of Gosport, England. I’m actually responsible for the Mayor of Gosport, England’s badge of office now having travelled the furthest in its 90-year history. The week went far too quickly but when time passes so fast you know it’s because you’ve had a great time.
What with a trip to the Indy 500 being on my ‘bucket list’ you never know we might meet again.
The people of Gosport and Owen County were very hospitable and all the friends and family of Sue and Jennifer Trotman, and everyone I met, made me so welcome.
On a related note, Mayor Dickson was kind enough to share the following account of his recent adventures in ‘Sweet Owen,’ which was written for and published in The News in Portsmouth, England...
My Journey To Gosport, Indiana
Every journey starts with that first step and my journey to Gosport, Indiana commenced the day I was elected as a Christ Church Ward Councillor on 10 June 2004. That August Gosport celebrated its 800th anniversary, a celebration possible because of the research carried out by local historian, Joan Russell.
At our celebrations we were joined, from Gosport, Indiana, by mother and daughter, Sue and Jennifer Trotman. Councillor Peter Edgar, who had previously visited Gosport, Indiana, had invited Sue and Jennifer to join us and I assisted him during their visit. After their return to America we kept in touch. In May 2011, I was elected as Gosport’s Deputy Mayor and the seed was sown that should I be elected as Gosport’s Mayor in 2012 (not automatic as I needed to be re-elected as a Councillor first), I would visit Gosport, Indiana during my Mayoral year. Immediately after my success at the local elections I contacted Sue and Jennifer and proposed a visit to Gosport, Indiana. The response was immediate, positive to say the least, and created a huge amount of excitement in Indiana.
On Saturday 22 September 2012 I flew to Indianapolis for a one-week, self-funded visit. Jennifer was my ‘honorary secretary’ and produced a fantastic programme of events. The highlight of the week was without doubt visiting Gosport, Indiana’s elementary school and personally delivering some 50 pen-pal letters from our Newtown School. The children from Gosport, Indiana will be replying to these letters and perhaps my legacy may be the commencement of lifelong friendships between our two towns. I visited every class and gave a presentation to 5th and 6th year students about Gosport, England. My presentation was supported by a 20-minute video which I personally had produced shortly before leaving England. It was a visit that far exceeded my expectations.
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