Claire Smith named ‘goodwill ambassador’ ahead of trip to Wareham, England

Sep 28, 2021

In the near future, Town Moderator Claire Smith and her husband will be taking a trip to none other than Wareham, England. 

Wareham is a market town in Dorset, England. It is located close to the south coast of the island and is bordered by two rivers: the River Frome and the River Piddle or Trent. The town is run by a mayor and a town council. 

For years, Smith has been working to establish ties to the UK town with which Wareham, Massachusetts shares a name. Now, ahead of her trip overseas, the Select Board officially proclaimed Smith as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the town.

At a Sept. 28 Select Board meeting, Smith explained that she has been in touch with a couple who live in Wareham, England for years — ever since the pair visited Wareham, Massachusetts, three or four years ago. Smith said the couple had invited her and her husband to visit the UK. 

Smith said their contact in Wareham, England, has set up a meet and greet with the town council and mayor. 

“They’re going to take us on a walk around the town and we’ll get a little view of what their Wareham looks like,” she said. “And then we’ll spend the afternoon talking about the differences in their government and our government.” 

In 2019, Smith got in touch with officials in the British town.

“There has been a connection,” Smith said at that time. “The mayor of Wareham thinks it is a wonderful idea and she was very excited about it. She brought it before the town council last Tuesday evening and they voted and approved to go forward with it.”

Smith’s trip across the pond as a goodwill ambassador will “reconfirm [the town’s] friendship with the town of Wareham, England,” according to the Select Board’s proclamation. 

In June 2019, Jon Wright, a resident of Wareham, England, gave a presentation about the town’s history to the Wareham Historical Society. Wright spoke of the UK town’s past and present. 

He identified the only apparent connection between the two towns other than their shared name, which was a note in historic records that said the name of the Massachusetts town was borrowed “from an old English town [once of some note],” which Wright noted sounded like a bit of an insult. 

Wright also found evidence that people from the Dorset region were among those who settled in Wareham, Massachusetts, and a rector named John White.