To Eltham, from the old Eltham

South Taranaki Star - - STARS PAST - JANE MATTHEWS

When Ma­ree Lid­ding­ton vis­ited Lon­don she didn’t want to see any of the well-known sights.

She didn’t want to see Buck­ing­ham Palace, she wanted to see Eltham.

Lid­ding­ton of South Taranaki is the chair of the Eltham Com­mu­nity Board and wanted to see what the name­sake of her town was like.

Dur­ing her time there she was pre­sented with a gift for her lo­cal li­brary - a pho­to­graph of the Eltham Li­brary in the United King­dom.

‘‘I was blown away - I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it at all,’’ Lid­ding­ton said.

Lis Mar­row, the branch li­brar­ian at Eltham Li­brary in Taranaki, re­ceived the gift from Lid­ding­ton when she re­turned to Taranaki.

‘‘I think it’s won­der­ful, it’s a nice new con­nec­tion

‘‘It's won­der­ful.’’

with Eltham in the

UK,’’ Mar­row said.

Miriam Storey, the head li­brar­ian in Eltham, Lon­don, has made con­tact and is also keep­ing in touch with Mar­row now.

‘‘Next time I go to the UK I’ll def­i­nitely pop in and see her be­cause I think it’s re­ally nice to have that con­nec­tion.’’

Mem­bers from each of the towns have kept in con­tact for decades, shar­ing cel­e­bra­tions and more.

When Eltham, Taranaki, cel­e­brated 75 years in 1979, the English Eltham do­nated trees to be planted.

‘‘They’re still grow­ing in our Tau­mata Park,’’ Lid­ding­ton said. ‘‘So I took them pho­to­graphs of the trees from their Eltham Park grow­ing here.’’

The two Elthams have many dif­fer­ences, Lid­ding­ton said.

‘‘They’ve got a pop­u­la­tion of around 35,000 and we’ve barely got two [thou­sand] so there’s that dif­fer­ence,’’ she laughed.

‘‘Also, ev­ery­thing here is new and young com­pared with over there.’’

How­ever, she noted sim­i­lar­i­ties.

‘‘There’s the same things like strug­gling for fund­ing for the arts, strug­gling for vol­un­teers to help with things and strug­gling to re­tain their her­itage build­ings and keep ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity happy,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s just a bal­anc­ing act, and it’s just the same over there as here.’’

The pho­to­graph is yet to be put up in the li­brary, but Mar­row said it would hope­fully go up on dis­play soon.

‘‘I’ve been putting it by my desk be­cause I think it’s re­ally cool, but we will be find­ing some­where to put it where ev­ery­one can see it,’’ Mar­row said.

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