An historic link-up with the borough of Woodland Park in New Jersey, USA and Farnham Town Council took place on 12 June.

The connection with Woodland Park, formally known as West Paterson, began in the 1970s when the Farnham Girls’ Choir visited the town to perform a concert.

During the visit in 1976, the Choir presented a painting of Castle Street, which had been donated by Charles Bone. They also gave the town a limited edition print of St Andrew’s church, which was also by Charles Bone.

In 1977, visitors came over to Farnham from West Paterson and planted a tree in Gostrey Meadow to commemorate the Queen’s silver jubilee. The tree has flourished and can still be seen today.

This year marks the centenary of West Paterson, renamed as Woodland Park in 2008. As part of the centenary celebrations, Mayor Keith Kazmark presented Farnham Town Council with a painting called ‘Town Park’ by artist Carol Clemons. The presentation took place by web conferencing during a specially convened Woodland Park council meeting and a Farnham Town Council meeting.

Cllr Jeremy Ricketts, Mayor of Farnham began the meeting by welcoming Woodland Park and congratulating them on their centenary. He described Woodland Park as ‘our big sister city’ and said ‘we send you our warm wishes for a memorable year.’ He went on to note how a historic milestone was being created by the holding of the first transatlantic joint meeting in each council’s respective chambers.

During the presentation, Woodland Park’s Historical Society president gave an overview of the centennial and former Mayor Mary Zaccaria shared her experiences of Farnham’s visit to West Paterson and the return visit to Farnham. Meg Daniels, who was a member of Farnham Girls’ Choir recalled her memories of the original trip. Charles Bone and Carol Clemens spoke about their respective paintings.

Cllr Ricketts closed the meeting by thanking Woodland Park for a ‘most beautiful painting’ and wishing them every success as they celebrate their centenary and proud past.

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