Councillors offer gift to US town

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DESPITE a distance of more than 3,000 miles, councillors in one Mid Suffolk town are set to get involved with an American community’s 300th anniversary celebrations.

Needham Market Town Council has decided to send a memento to Needham, in Massachusetts, as a mark of their tercentenary celebrations.

Two councillors from Needham Market are also planning a visit to the American town during its celebratory year.

Kevin Hunter, Needham Market town clerk, said: “There is a long history of a relationship between Needham Market and the town of Needham, Massachusetts, and a bond of social and cultural friendship has developed over the years.

“This bond enriches both towns and their residents.”

At a council meeting held on June 1, councillors agreed to provide a gift of £250 and send their best wishes to the town, which was foundeed in 1711.

Cllr Ray Darnell will present the gift to Needham when he visits later this month.

Cllr Martin Spurling is also hoping to visit the town in November. Both visits are at the councillors’ own expense.

Mr Hunter said: “There have been a number of mementos passed between the towns recognising and celebrating anniversaries and events special to each community. Needham’s tercentennial is one of those occasions.”

The American town of Needham was established when people living in nearby Dedham began to explore with hopes of finding gold.

In 1681 the land was purchased from a tribal leader and by 1711 more than 50 families had moved there. A church, a school and local government was set up and Needham was born.

The royal governor named the town Needham after Needham Market because of its close proximity to Dedham – just like in Suffolk.