The Mayor of Chartres in France has paid a special visit to Chichester to mark 60 years since the two cities signed a twinning arrangement. Chatres is located about 50 miles southwest of Paris and is famous world-wide for its cathedral.
To celebrate the anniversary, Mayor of Chartres, Jean- Pierre Gorges, Mayor of Chichester, Martyn Bell, and the Leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith, joined together to tour several sites.
First stop was the County Council’s solar farm in Westhampnett, which has 26,000 solar panels on a 35-acre site and produces enough clean electricity to power up to 2,400 homes.
Westhampnett is the first publicly-owned solar farm to include large, on-site batteries which enable surplus electricity to be stored and fed into the electricity grid when it is needed.
The group also visited the West Sussex Record Office and Edes House where they were able to view the Sussex copy of the Declaration of Independence. This is the only other ceremonial parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence apart from the signed copy at the US National Archives in Washington DC.
Records about the original twinning between Chichester and Chartres in 1959 were also on display.
Martyn Bell and Jean- Pierre Gorges also signed a reaffirmation document to renew the twinning arrangement.
Martyn Bell said: “This is a particularly significant visit as it was 60 years since the original Deed of Jumelaage’ was signed by then Mayors J. Pichard of Chartres and Charles Newell of Chichester.
“I was very proud to be able to continue our history of friendship by signing the reaffirmation document to renew the twinning arrangement.”
Louise Goldsmith said: “The day was a perfect mix of history and modern development. I was delighted to be able to show the fascinating historic documents we hold in our Record Office, as well as accompany Jean- Pierre on a tour of one of our exciting renewable energy projects.
“I look forward to many more years of friendship with Chartres.”