All in the name as Mansfields join up for Sister Cities events

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MANSFIELDS across the globe will be saluted when our town hosts a celebration of the unique bond which unites 40 namesakes - from a trapper’s hut in the Arctic to the Queensland coast.

Thirty-two representatives from six of these Mansfields will be heading to Nottinghamshire for a week of events organised by the Sister Cities Association from 12th to 20th May.

The group’s chairman Stewart Rickersey says the week will be an opportunity to celebrate the positive effects brought by the twinning of Mansfields and chance to inspire a new generation to its benefits.

“It will allow us to showcase the very best of the town and the wider area,” he said.

“Our visitors will be walking around the heritage trail, visiting Mansfield Museum and places nearby like Newstead Abbey and Chatsworth.

“We are hoping to bring another generation into the association. Mansfield’s youth mayor will be involved and is also travelling separately to Mansfield, Ohio.”

Stewart says the mutual benefits of the association with different Mansfields have included the D.A.R.E. drug education scheme and the Mansfield 2020 business networking organisation, which were both copied from our namesake in Ohio.

“It is a two-way street,” he said. “Mansfield in Canada has copied the farmers’ market we have here.”

Excitement is gathering across the Atlantic where members of sister associations in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are preparing to visit England.

President of the Mansfield, Ohio, Sister Cities Association Doug Versaw said: “We thoroughly enjoyed our visit in 2000 which included many Mansfields from around the world.

“We will again renew our friendships that we established even before our 2000 trip to England and hope to develop new friendships.

“In the past we have exchanged programmes and ideas established in one Mansfield and adopted by another Mansfield. We have learned much from each other.”

Former president of the association in Ohio, Ann Brown, said she was looking forward to the ‘civility, politeness and friendliness’ she has experienced on previous visits.

“I especially look forward to any opportunity that allows our young people to learn about other countries and cultures,” she said.

Former Miss Mansfield and Sherwood Forest Trish Mapletoft is also urging young people to get involved with the association and take advantage of the opportunities she had in 1990 when she visited Mansfield, Ohio.

“I was only 19 at the time and for me, coming from a small place like Warsop and the daughter of a coal miner, it was a massive opportunity and really changed my life,” she said.

There are 40 places called Mansfield, or at least have Mansfield as part of their name, in the world and 33 habitable cities, towns, villages suburbs and hamlets which formally share the name.

Among the more obscure is Camp Mansfield, an old wooden trapper’s hut on the Norwegian island of Blomstrand Island.

It was named after Ernest Richard Mansfield, 1862-1924, a mining engineer and explorer who played a leading role in the mining history of the area.

Other Mansfields can be found in Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Those in Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts in the USA and Victoria, Australia, and Ontario, Canada will be sending representatives to England this month.

The Sister Cities Association is planning a host of events during the visit and is urging the public to go along. The last visit in May 2000 was described as a ‘major success’ with more than 100 people making the trip. Stewart is particularly keen for people to attend the dinner at the Civic Centre on 17th May at 7.30pm.

For more information on the sister cities visit Sister Cities.