On Thursday 7 March 2019, the Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Kim Botting, welcomed the Mayor of Thunder Bay, Councillor Kristen Oliver and other visitors at the ceremony to sign the Friendship Agreement between the two entities, to commemorate the long history between Orpington and Canada, dating back to World War I. Below is the Mayor of Bromley's speech:
"Mayor Councillor Kristen Oliver, Deputy Lieutenants, High Commissioner, Colonels, Honorary Freeman, Honorary Aldermen, Members of Parliament, Councillors from LBB & Canada, colleagues from the Royal British Legion in the U.K. & Canada, Chief Executives, Ladies & Gentlemen - Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to this wonderful and prestigious event, the Signing of a very special Friendship Agreement between the LBB and Thunder Bay (the City of the Poppy) in Canada.
In 2015 - 2016, when I was also the Mayor of Bromley, I attended a service at Canadian Corner at All Saints Church, Bark Hart Road Orpington to unveil a display panel to mark the 100th Anniversary of Canadian Corner, where 88 Canadian soldiers are buried facing West towards Canada. The display panel was blessed by Bishop James of Rochester and we also planted a tree in memory of Victor Lilia. It was here that I met several Canadians who had flown over for this service. I met John Pateman at the service and he is here today and is originally from Orpington but moved to Canada & became Chief Executive for the Thunder Bay Public Libraries. John reiterated the history of World War 1 and the history surrounding Canadian Corner to me. Looking at the gravestones at Canadian Corner & seeing many of the Canadian Soldiers were teenagers who died for our country, I was moved and, with John & the RBL, we realised a friendship Agreement should happen. There are Canadians buried throughout Bromley Borough, the most at Canadian Corner, and the Royal British Legion had been wanting a friendship Agreement for many years. When I became President of the RBL in Orpington I saw even more of this passion & need for this Friendship Agreement to happen.
In 2018 I was very happy to become Mayor for a second term, not only because I loved being involved with the Community but because, at the back of my mind, I wanted to try & make the Friendship Agreement happen. With the support of the Leader, Councillor Colin Smith, our Chief Executives, Doug Patterson and Ade Adetosoye & fellow Councillors.
I gave them a presentation and, to my delight, gained their support that was needed to make this happen. Thank you - to the Mayor of Thunder Bay, Kristen Oliver, the Chief Executive John Hannam, John Pateman and all of the visiting Canadians. I am absolutely delighted that we are all here today making this happen and making history.
Now I would like to give you some historical facts as to why this friendship agreement is happening today & why it's important to all of us and the RBL.
City of the Poppy
Tomorrow, 8th March, there will be a church Service at All Saints Church Orpington given by Reverend Robert Parker McGee at Canadian Corner & a museum with Memorabilia will be displayed in the Church. So 10am at the Church, museum, followed on to the Church Cemetery and Ivy Millichap’s grave (the last civilian). 11.45am at Canadian Corner for a short service led by Reverend Robert Parker McGee. There will be light refreshments and all are welcome.
Then at 12 noon we go to visit Orpington Hospital where we will kindly be received by Mr Paul White the manager and his team. I will be unveiling a plaque there commemorating the Friendship Agreement.
Thank you all for coming here today and again I am delighted that the Mayor Kristen Oliver & all our honoured guests are here to mark this very special occasion, the Signing of the Friendship Agreement & making history.
Thank you to the Royal British Legion for their continued support and for helping towards making this signing happen.
I would also like to say a big thank you to Honorary Alderman Dr Eric Bosshard and Mrs Terry Bosshard for their brilliant performance and for being here today.
Also to Margaret Lobo, Joanna Rose, the Mayor’s team and all those who have helped out with organising this event – it is greatly appreciated.
Once again thank you very much for attending this prestigious event and let’s say congratulations to all those who are present here today."
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