AN 18-YEAR old from Cirencester has made the trip down under, in what is a first in the friendship initiative between Bathurst in New South Wales and the Cotswold town.

Alice Chandler, who recently completed her A'Levels at Cirencester College, was recommended for the opportunity to visit the Australian town by Libby Reed, the former vice principal of the college.

She left Cirencester on October 4 and was in Bathurst for their world famous supercar race, Bathurst 1000 on October 6 as a guest of the Bathurst mayor Graeme Hangar.

She will also have the opportunity to visit Sydney for the Invictus Games at the end of the month.

Bathurst Regional Council approached Cirencester Town Council with a view to forming a friendship in 2015.

Since then, a series of events have taken place to further the friendship between them including various Bathurstians visiting the Gloucestershire town as well as the Australian High Commissioner.

Cirencester businesses have agreed to sponsor the initiative and some of this fund has been used to send Alice to the other side of the globe as part of an educational opportunity.

She will be expected to gain information that will help support next year’s candidate, as the plan is to send someone every year.

Speaking ahead of her trip, she said: “I am not nervous, more excited. It is a great opportunity and I intend to make the most of it. I will be in Bathurst for three weeks and during that time I intend to visit Scots (college) and the city’s Youth Council.

“There is also a mental health charity called Head Space that I am interested in and would like to get involved. I want to look into how different groups and societies of young people view politics and how they can be engaged – it will be interesting to look at the difference between the UK and Australia.

"I will also get the chance at the end of the month to go to the Invictus Games which are being held in Sydney,” Alice added.

Gloucestershire business mentor Simon King visited Bathurst in early 2018 and has been advising Alice on where to stay and sharing his vast contact book with her.

He said: “This is a landmark moment for the friendship and I would like to thank the Cirencester Community Development Trust Ltd, Cllr Mark Harris, Cllr David Fowles and Cllr Clare Wardell as well as the mayor Nigel Robbins for their support in making this happen.

"The Earl Bathurst has also played a pivotal role as he was the first one to go over in 2015 and wished to thank all the businesses, in particular Aura, for their support in making this opportunity for a young person to travel to Australia. Alice is a trailblazer for the friendship and our plans to send someone over every year."

To get in contact with the Friendship to find out about next year's opportunity email: