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Dartmouth Massachusetts a great success

Rob and Di Lyons, the Mayor and Mayoress of Dartmouth write : “The kind invitation from a team of organisers of the 350th Anniversary from Dartmouth, Massachusetts was sent out earlier in the year. The Town Council voted to send a delegation to represent Dartmouth, Devon to support and congratulate them on their Founding. Gina Coles, who headed the tour from Devon, liaised with the organising
committee in America, headed by Peggy Cabral and Ed Tavares, and did an excellent job of booking the flights, the transport and finding host families to accommodate everyone. This was quite a logistical campaign, which was carried out with great success.

On our arrival, we were met by the Deputy Sherriff, Jamie Melo and Eric, who were waiting with transport and helped organise the cars for the various members of the team who were driving. The Town Sergeant took on the Mayor’s car and we all set off in convoy to Dartmouth, where we met our families. The kindness and generosity of all these families was amazing. Nothing was too much trouble and they welcomed us and had organised an itinerary so that we could see and appreciate the many interesting and diverse aspects of our ‘Sister City’. We all attended the hospitality Gala Dinner on the Saturday night where the delegation from the Azores was also welcomed to the city. Many welcome speeches were given and the companionship between the three countries was established. Sunday was the highlight of their celebrations with a Parade, which was over three miles long with over 100 floats, vehicles, bands and everything in between.
The Parade was headed by the Mayors of three Azores towns, some young people from their schools followed by the Town Sergeant, Ron Lamden, the Mayor and Mayoress of Dartmouth, Rob and Diane Lyon, Councillor Tony Fyson, MBE, Mrs. Hilary Fyson and Nigel Way, MBE, who were walking. Gina Coles and Peggy Cabral rode in a bright red Cadillac with the rest of the visitors, headed by Old Dartmothian President, Lewis Langworthy and his wife Janet, transported in a wonderful old tram.

The crowds lining the route all greeted and cheered The Mayor in his long red coat and Regalia, with the Town Sergeant leading the way. The temperature on the day was about 35 degrees, which is not a good temperature to wear a long, wool and fur coat with a very large hat ! The Town Sergeant was also wearing his formal attire of long, black wool coat and top hat. The Mayoress was more fortunate in being able to wear a summer dress and sun hat ! This Parade lasted over three hours and was a sight to behold! The Dartmouth, Mass marching band has won many awards and it was easy to see why. Dressed in dark green (the town’s colour) with long white feathers in their peaked caps they marched playing instruments, twirling flags and cheer leading the whole procession. So many community organisations were represented in the Parade so we were able to see and appreciate the pride that they have in their town.

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