ROYAL Agricultural University (RAU) Director of Business Development, Simon King has jetted off to Australia to build relations between Bathurst, New South Wales and Cirencester.

Simon, who has worked at the RAU for 34 years, has overseen the Farm491 and Cirencester Growth Hub. He’s also a former president of Cirencester Chamber of Commerce who was inspired to aid the friendship after a previous trip to Australia.

“I represented the RAU at the Bathurst Friendship business launch in June as I’d heard of Bathurst when I visited Australia late 2014,” he said.

“I thought the Bathurst Friendship was a great idea with loads of potential and spotted an opportunity. I’m passionate about Cirencester, having lived here for 34 years. This friendship has significant potential, if time could be invested in its development.”

Simon, who started his journey down under on February 22, is a keen runner and is chairman of the Cirencester Park Run.

The Business Developer is also hoping to complete the Bathurst B2B race at the Cycle Festival in April.

Simon’s trip will also see him volunteer at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the Grand Prix as well as visiting Cotswolds ex-pats along the way.

“I use Independent Bike Works, based in the centre of Cirencester. The owner, Jim Bartholomew, is actually from Bathurst – it is a small world,”

“The plan is to start training to enter the B2B race on April 21,” he said. “I also want to test my skills in 60ha Bathurst Mountain Bike. The Friendship initiative has given me an opportunity to volunteer and give something back.”