Eye-opener: Ms Francis during her recent visit to Lyme Regis. *Photo supplied
Eye-opener: Ms Francis during her recent visit to Lyme Regis. *Photo supplied

St George’s must look to its heritage and history to help reinvent itself, according to the town’s deputy mayor Quinell Francis.

Ms Francis, who joined the seven-strong twinning party that recently travelled to Lyme Regis, said the trip had opened her eyes to ways that the Olde Town could move forward.

She told the Sun that the Corporation of St George’s would look at forging new links with towns on the east coast of the US that have historic ties to the East End such as Jamestown.

And she revealed work was already under way to attract cultural groups from abroad to visit St George’s.

Ms Francis added: “I was really impressed by Lyme Regis and the way the way the town promoted its historical features.

“To see such a historic town marketed in such a modern way was a real eye-opener for me.

“We in St George’s need to move with the modern times but also make our historic qualities more available to our visitors.

“The trip to Lyme Regis showed me that people are still interested in historic sites and we can not afford to let that go.”

Ms Francis said that more also needed to be done to educate East Enders about their historic links with not just Lyme Regis but towns on the east coast of the US such as Jamestown.

“I don’t think I was fully aware of our historic connection with Lyme Regis before I went there,” she added.

“We need to raise this awareness and look at other places that we have an existing, historical link to.

“It’s still relevant even today, and we are in talks with cruise lines to generate interest in places like the Unfinished Church, St Peter’s Church, museums and other historic sites before passengers even leave the ship. 

“We need to start targeting cultural tourism and tapping into what we already have.

“We are already working with the St George’s Foundation and the business community to push this angle.

“I would love to see water tours taking visitors out to places like Smith’s Island where the first settlers’ stayed or mini-vans taking people out to Ferry Reach when they get to the town. 

“Our history as a town must be made available to all our visitors.”