A four-year campaign by Italians living in Bedfordshire has secured the return of an Honorary Consul.
From a protest march through the streets of Bedford, to appearing on an Italian talk show, the Italian community has kept up the pressure to re-open a consular office in the town, after the original one closed in 2012.
The newly-appointed Honorary Consul of Italy, Gaetano Moliterno, proudly opened the office.
The consular campaign was led by Dr Luigi Reale, who was supported by a committee made up of a number of local associations, including the Bedford Labour Party Group.
Dr Reale said: “All of this has come about thanks to the massive effort by the large Italian community that lives here in Bedford. They have made sure that the best possible outcome was achieved.
“I am very happy that we now have Gaetano as the first Honorary Consul in Bedford.”
As part of the campaign, Italian MPs visited Bedford and lobbied the Italian Foreign Minister for the Bedford cause. The campaign leaders were also invited as guests on a popular talk show on Italian national television.
Thanking the campaigners for their efforts, Mr Moliterno said: “It’s a great achievement and honour for us all in Bedford. I assure you all that I will do my upmost to provide the services required by the community to the best of my ability.”
The Consular Office is in Mayfair House, 11 Lurke Street, Bedford MK40 3HZ, and will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9.30am to 1pm and Fridays from 1pm to 4pm.
Assistance will be given by appointment only. Call 01234 356647 for more information.
Picture courtesy: Angie Voluti AV PR