"This is the end of the beginning" was the phrase used by the Chairman of the Billericay Twinning Association at the signing of the Twinning Charter in the Town Hall at Fishers Indiana. The signing of the Charter by the Chairman of the Billericay Town Council, Vice Chairman of the Billericay Twinning Association, President of the Town of Fishers, Fishers' Town Clerk and all the Town Councillors of Fishers and the President of the Fishers Sister Cities Committee, on 24 June completes the requirements of Sister Cities International and the Local Government Information Bureau. The ceremony was attended by municipal officers in full dress uniform, members of the church, administrative staff of the Council, members of the public and representatives of the press. An informal buffet followed the signing.
In the evening a celebratory dinner was held, attended by about 70 people, when the Senator of the State of Indiana presented the State flag to the Chairman of Billericay Twinning Association and the President of the Town Council presented a collage, drawn by a local artist Mary Lou Grey, to the people of Billericay. This collage now hangs in the Council Chamber of the Billericay Town Council along with the two Twinning Charters.
Thursday 24th June 1999 at 4pm
as seen by a citizen of Fishers
Although the settings were quite different, the purpose and resolve were the same - linking our two cities for educational, cultural, social and economic exchanges to better our communities and expand our knowledge in a global perspective. The event took place in the Fishers Town Hall Auditorium and Walt Kelly, our Town Council President, presided over the ceremony. As Walt welcomed everyone to the ceremony, he spoke of the official Sister Cities process as not being complete until a signing ceremony had taken place in both cities. As this was the final ceremony, the pact between our two cities is now complete. By the eyes of the governing bodies (the Local Government International Bureau, UK and Sister Cities International - Washington, DC) we are officially 'twinned'. Trevor Stansfield said it best when he spoke that 'this is the end of the beginning'; the end of the linking process, and the start of a sister cities relationship. So much has happened in the two short years since this process began that we must feel a great sense of kinship towards one another. Several groups have visited on both sides of the 'pond' from Fishers and Billericay. We are well on our way to making lasting friendships that will stand the test of time.
The gathering was given a blessing from Reverend Mike Reed of the Fishers United Methodist Church and Psalm 133 'The Blessedness of Unity' was read to the assembly. Two of the Town Councillors were asked by President Kelly to reflect on the importance of the proceedings and what effect their involvement had in joining our two communities. Once their comments of appreciation and global awareness concluded, each of the Town Councillors signed the two twinning documents - one for the Town of Fishers, Indiana, USA and one for the Town of Billericay, Essex, UK. The Trevor and Margaret Stansfield (representing the Billericay Town Council and Billericay Twinning Association respectively) signed the documents and finally Terry Johnson, President of the Fishers Sister Cities Association. The signatures on the documents were then duly approved and certified (with signature) by Linda Gaye Cordell, Clerk-Treasurer of the Fishers Town Council. With all signatures in place, closing remarks were given by the respective Twinning Organisations with accolades being given to BTA and Sister Cities members present in the audience.
Final comment was given by Walt Kelly who charged everyone in attendance and in both towns to strive towards a strengthened relationship between our two cities. He asked that we begin to find ways to exchange ideas, concepts, and even economic development towards a better future for use all.