2007 Visit of the Polish Ambassador to Bristol

AmbassadorIt was a great privilege to welcome Her Excellency Barbara Tuge-Erecińska, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland, to Bristol.

You will have seen from her programme that many people had the opportunity to meet and talk to her.  She arrived at Clifton Cathedral with a police escort and was met by Monsignor Canon Robert Corrigan, the Dean of the Cathedral.  Father Frączek led the prayers and singing, and H.E. laid a wreath at the Katyń Memorial.

Members of the Veterans’ Association made a special effort to attend, as well as those of the Anglo-Polish Society and members of the community, some of whom had lost relatives at Katyń.

After interviews for TV, radio and the local newspapers, it was “open house” at 50 St Paul’s Road for coffee and delicious cakes.  In fact, the Ambassador stayed later than planned to welcome some people who arrived after work.

Before the dinner, organised by the APS in her honour – and with the Lord Mayor of Bristol present, H.E. had a meeting with the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset.  This was followed by the Reception and an excellent meal. You will notice from the photographs that it was in every sense a relaxed and happy evening.

However, the schedule did not end there for our special guest.  The next morning H.E. visited the Polish Church of Our Lady of Ostrobrama, before meeting Helen Holland, the leader of Bristol City Council to discuss matters of official mutual interest.

After this came a tour of the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, conducted by Harold Clark, Chaplain to the Lord Mayor, a ferry-boat trip to see Bristol from the water, and a walk across Queen’s Square to view a plaque commemorating on 10th June 1997, the 200th anniversary of a visit to Bristol by Tadeusz Kościuszko; Polish patriot, soldier, national hero and statesman who was on his way to America, where he offered his services to the American colonies in their struggle for independence.

We much appreciated the time and effort given to us all on what we understand was the first visit of a Polish Ambassador to the City.

Extract from H.E. The Polish Ambassador’s letter following her visit to Bristol

“Please accept my warm thanks for the Anglo Polish Society’s invitation for me to pay a visit to Bristol and for arranging my programme.

I greatly enjoyed my stay in the beautiful city of Bristol and was very pleased to meet members and friends of the Anglo Polish Society and the representatives of the city authorities and the Polish community.  The meetings were not only very interesting, but also beneficial to my work and gave me a good insight into the local politics and issues facing the Polish community in the Bristol area.

I hope we will have further opportunities to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest in the future.”

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