MORE than 200 people are expected to attend the launch event for a community friendship between Cirencester and the city of Bathurst on Wednesday evening.

The Australian High Commissioner, The Hon Alexander Downer AC, will be one of a number of high profile guests expected to attend the much-anticipated gathering at Cirencester Parish Church at 5.30pm.

The community evening will see Cirencester’s voluntary and local organisations all come together to hear about the plans for the initiative and to suggest ways of getting involved.

Part of the plan is to set up a fund that will pay for a young person from the area, who would not usually have the chance, to travel to Bathurst in New South Wales.

The lucky winner will experience a life changing opportunity – be it through work, study, sports or in the voluntary sector.

“We are honoured to have the commissioner come and visit Cirencester,” said Cirencester Community Development Trust (CCDT) chair Shirley Alexander.

“We are delighted to be playing a central role in this initiative and we are urging community groups, clubs, organisations and businesses to get in contact so that we can add them to our guest list for the evening.”

Mr Downer was appointed to his current role in 2014, having joined the Department for Foreign Affairs in 1976 and served at the Australian Embassy in Belgium before moving into politics.

Elected to the Federal Parliament in 1984, he held this seat until his retirement from Parliament in July 2008.

He served as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, from 1996 to 2007, making him Australia’s longest-serving Foreign Minister.