In 2005, Chesterfield County and Gravesham Borough, England, entered into a twinning agreement signifying a sister partnership. The twinning relationship was begun as part of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. It also was designed to promote international friendship and understanding through education, tourism and civic opportunities between the two localities for many years to come. Now the community part of that relationship has begun a new phase with the establishment of the new Chesterfield Twinning Association, under the umbrella of the Chester Community Association.
Residents from all over Chesterfield County are invited to learn more about the Chesterfield Twinning Association and Gravesham, England at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6 p.m., at Brew American Gastropub, located in the Chesterfield Meadows Shopping Center, 6525 Centralia Road. Members have the opportunity to host one or two guests in their homes during future visits, and to be hosted by Gravesham Twinning Association members during visits to England. This past June, three Chesterfield couples went to Gravesham representing the Chesterfield Twinning Association in an inaugural visit.
Twinning delegations from Gravesham came to Chesterfield County in 2005, 2007 and 2011. During these visits, Gravesham visitors stayed with, or were hosted by, local families, attended events at historic sites, and learned about the unique history of Chesterfield County and the surrounding region. Plans are currently being made for a delegation from Gravesham to come here in April 2014.
Gravesham Borough is the burial site of Pocahontas, the daughter of Indian Chief Powhatan and the wife of John Rolfe. In 1617, Pocahontas, a native of what would one day be Chesterfield County, visited England with her husband, John Rolfe. She became ill and died just before her departure back to the New World, and was buried at a small church in Gravesham. Nearly four centuries after her death, Pocahontas continues to bridge the histories and people of America and England. In 2006, a delegation of students, teachers, county staff and one elected official went to England during Gravesham’s 400th year celebration of the birth of America. All eight Virginia Indian Tribes also were represented and participated in an Indian drumming and dancing cultural event on English soil for the first time in 400 years.
The Chesterfield Twinning Association meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in various restaurants around the county. Upcoming dates are Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-5443.