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Sussex’s rare copy of American Declaration of Independence displayed for POTUS at Downing Street

The Sussex Declaration – a rare copy of the American Declaration of Independence – has been displayed in No 10 Downing Street during the Presidential State Visit to the UK.

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The Declaration is one of only two contemporary handwritten ceremonial parchment manuscript copies, the other being the signed copy housed in the National Archives in Washington D.C.

Wendy Walker and Louise Goldsmith examining the Sussex Declaration.

West Sussex County Archivist Wendy Walker will be delivering a short presentation to Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump about the document and its historical significance.

Wendy said:
“It is a huge privilege to speak to the President about this important piece of West Sussex history. It further demonstrates the close ties between the UK and the US spanning more than three centuries.”

Great efforts were taken to transport the document from the Record Office in Chichester to Downing Street this week. A conservation expert from the National Conservation Service was involved and a specially-designed exhibition case, previously used for the Magna Carta, was loaned by Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust to display the historic document.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: 

“West Sussex County Council is the guardian of the county’s history and we are all so proud of the considerable work the Record Office does to protect, conserve and preserve the heritage of West Sussex. The significance of the Sussex Declaration cannot be underestimated and we are thrilled it has helped in demonstrating the country’s transatlantic ties. It’s a historical treasure that we are very honoured to house in West Sussex.”

In the event of celebrations to mark 250 years since the declaration of independence, the Record Office is keen to explore options for this important historical document to form part of the commemorations in 2026. We look forward to being part of future work with both the UK and US governments and academic institutions, to celebrate transatlantic ties and the richness of our shared heritage.

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Council offers four new apprenticeships

Kick-start your career and make a positive difference to our community, is the message coming from Crawley Borough Council

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The council has four exciting roles available:

  • Worth Park Horticultural Apprentice
  • Communications Apprentice
  • Apprentice Building Maintenance Surveyor
  • Apprentice Specialist Fitter (Vehicle, Plant and Equipment).

Our apprenticeship opportunities aim to help talented people take their first steps in specialist areas while gaining local government experience.

If you’re passionate about helping others and making a difference to Crawley’s residents and the local environment, an apprenticeship with the council could be perfect for you!

The full-time 18-month Horticultural Apprentice role is a unique opportunity based at Worth Park; it’ll combine your passion for sustainable horticulture, hands-on outdoor tasks and a thirst for learning new things.

If you enjoy writing and have a keen interest in the media, Communications Apprentice might be the role for you! During the 18-month programme you’ll write press releases, schedule social media posts, work with local and regional press and so much more.

The Building Maintenance Surveyor vacancy is a two-year apprenticeship with Crawley Homes. You’ll work alongside experienced surveyors and get hands-on experience as a valued member of the Responsive Repairs and Planned Maintenance Teams.

Learn how to service and repair a wide range of vehicles, plant machinery and mechanical equipment with the Specialist Fitter apprenticeship. For three years, you’ll be part of our experienced Vehicle Workshop Team based in County Oak.

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “As a council, we’re committed to offering these opportunities to young people and those looking to start a new career.

“With our apprenticeships, you can be earning a competitive salary while gaining invaluable work experience and a transferable qualification – there are no drawbacks!”

All vacancies close on Sunday 21 July and offer a starting salary of £12,042.

Find out more about our apprenticeships and register for vacancy alerts at crawley.gov.uk/apprenticeships

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