Taxpayers foot the bill for Stafford mayor's trip to anniversary event in America
Taxpayers are picking up the bill for the Mayor of Stafford and her husband to have travelled to a town sharing the same name in the United States, it can today be revealed.
Councillor Angela Loughran and her husband John have travelled to Virginia to mark the 350th anniversary of Stafford County at a cost of £1,748.
They set off on Tuesday and are due to come back on Thursday as part of the 10-day tour.
The trip will see the Labour councillor take part in a huge two-hour parade on Saturday which will include war veterans, five high school marching bands, the winner of the Miss Stafford County beauty pageant, and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln impersonators. During the historic visit, the couple will stay in the homes of members of the Stafford Virginia Stafford England Friendship Association.
They will visit the Virginia home of President James Madison, the Barboursville Vineyard, Longwood Gardens in Delaware, go to Washington DC, as well as taking part in the Stafford County Founder's Day Parade.
Stafford Borough Council, which this year cut its share of the council tax by £3 per person, justified the cost as an 'exceptional' occasion. Spokesman William Conaghan said: "The Stafford County Friendship Association invited the Mayor to join them in what is an exceptional occasion as they celebrate the 350th anniversary of the establishment of Stafford Virginia – and our borough has long standing links with our sister community in America."
Despite the 'long standing' links between the two, bosses at Stafford Borough Council have admitted they did not invite the dignitaries of their American cousins to their own 1,100th anniversary celebrations that were staged during last year.
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