Michael Fabricant has organised a visit to Litchfield in Connecticut in the
eastern US which will take place in October this year. 21 people from
Lichfield (Staffordshire) have paid (including Michael Fabricant) to spend 3
days in Boston (Massachusetts) followed by 4 days in the Litchfield
"I know that Lichfield is twinned with French and German cities" says
Michael Fabricant "but it makes more sense to me, particularly under the
present world circumstances, to build links with Litchfield in the US. We
share a common heritage and a common language and flights across the
Atlantic are not expensive. I hope that we can build enduring ties between
the two Lichfields. I got this idea when Lichfield (Staffordshire)
firemen flew out to help in New York City immediately after September 11th."
A meeting has already been organised between Litchfield (Connecticut)’s
‘Board of Selectmen’ and the visitors from Staffordshire. (The Board of
Selectmen is equivalent to our Town Council). US Congresswoman, Nancy
Johnson, who represents the area in the House of Representatives in
Washington DC has also expressed a wish to meet her ‘opposite number’,
Michael Fabricant, and the other visitors from Staffordshire.
The daily newspaper in that part of Connecticut, ‘THE REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN’,
has just reported the story and the text of their article now follows:-
LICHFIELD FOLKS PLAN TO VISIT LITCHFIELD
21 from England coming Oct. 21
By John McKenna
© 2003 Republican-American
A 21-person delegation from Lichfield, England – Litchfield’s "sister
city" – is scheduled to visit Oct. 21 to meet with local officials and
sample the town’s hospitality.
The group will include Michael Fabricant, the Conservative Party
representative in the British Parliament; Doris English, the mayor of
Lichfield; and Nina Dawes, the chief executive of the Lichfield District
Council, a regional government.
"I’m looking forward to it," Litchfield First Selectman Jerry Zinn said.
"Maybe we’ll be able to talk about issues we have in common."
The highlight of the one-day stop will be a meeting of the Board of
Selectmen, followed by a social gathering at the Village Restaurant, a
popular watering hole on The Green.
"Apparently, they want to have a night at the pub," Zinn said. "Where else
can you get a better feel for Litchfield than the Village?"
Fabricant, who is arranging the trip, sees it as a chance to develop a
relationship between Litchfield and Lichfield, a city of about 29,000 in
"Our visit will be a lot of fun, but I also hope that it will build personal
relationships across the Atlantic that will endure," Fabricant said. "As a
member of Parliament for Lichfield, I am keen to establish long-term ties
between our city and Litchfield. I hope that this will result in increased
tourism." Fabricant, who is the equivalent of a U.S. congressman, planned to
lead a trip to Litchfield last year but arrangements fell through. At the
selectmen’s meeting, Zinn envisions a special agenda in which the board will
be introduced and its functions explained.
Litchfield and Lichfield have had an informal relationship since the 1960s,
when Henry L. Shepherd, then president of the Litchfield Historical Society,
corresponded with Lichfield officials. Shepherd at the time was interested
in discovering how the Litchfield name was derived.
Shepherd details his quest in his 1969 book, "Litchfield: Portrait of a
Beautiful Town." In a chapter on Lichfield, Shepherd wrote of a visit to
Lichfield by Litchfield residents Oswald and Harriet Marrin. The Marrins
spent a day as guests of the Lichfield mayor and we invited to a high tea
and a viewing of the wedding presents for the mayor’s daughter, who was
being married that weekend, according to Shepherd.
In 1968, Shepherd wrote in the same chapter, Litchfield residents Alexander
and Priscilla Liggett visited Lichfield and persuaded the new mayor and her
husband to travel to Litchfield for the celebration of the town’s 250th
anniversary, in 1969.