Although I have not been back to Europe to see friends and family since 2019 due to the pandemic, I still follow important cultural and sporting events across the pond.  Did you know that later this month the 108th Tour De France will take place, the most famous and prestigious bicycle race in the world?

The Tour De France is regarded as the world’s hardest and highest profile men’s multiple stage bicycle race, primarily held in France over 23 days.  It began over a century ago on July 1, 1903, when 60 men from France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland mounted their bicycles in the outskirts of Paris for the glory of achieving this test of endurance and the significant prize money. 

It started as a promotional idea for French sports newspaper L’Auto in an attempt to boost sales.  L’Auto’s name aimed to evoke the excitement that the new sport of auto racing created, although it focused on sports of all kinds, including cycling. The initial race challenged riders to complete a 1,500-mile clockwise loop of the country running from Paris to Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Nantes before returning to the French capital. The route was so gruelling that twenty-three riders gave up during the first stage of the race.  This is not surprising as back in 1903, road conditions were primitive, riders were expected to continue through the night for long distances with insufficient rest, and it was each man for himself. There were no helmets, support vehicles or help provided if the bicycles developed mechanical problems.  The riders sometimes rode with spare tires and tubes wrapped around their torsos in case they developed flats.  So rather than simply cycling, it quickly became a test of endurance, strength, tenacity, and general all-around toughness.

I remember as a student in the 1980s going on one of my many trips to France (it is less than 300 miles between London and Paris – not much more than driving to Atlanta from here) and I experienced the thrill of seeing the riders finish the race as they rode into Paris.  It was intensely exciting, and one of the great sporting moments of my lifetime.  Being at the finishing line of The Tour De France was the European equivalent of going to game seven of the World Series or attending the Superbowl.  While sport isn’t my thing, the excitement and pageantry of it was just fabulous.

During the 1500s, Italian inventors including Leonardo da Vinci designed human powered vehicles with 4 and 2 wheels, but it is believed that the first true bicycle was developed about 200 years ago in Germany. In 1816 there had been a serious crop failure in Germany and many horses were slaughtered.  The following year, Baron von Drais of Karlsruhe, an acclaimed inventor who is credited with invention of a wide range of “firsts” including the first meat grinder, the first typewriter, and the first human-powered railcar, invented the velocipede as a replacement for horses.  It was a two wheeled wooden contraption which required farmers to push off the ground with their feet in the absence of pedals.    

By 1864, designs had evolved, and the “Boneshaker” bicycle was introduced in France, named for the terrible vibrations that riding the stiff frame on the bumpy roads of the time produced.  Back in Britain six years later, I am proud to say the famous two-wheeled Penny Farthing was introduced, with its very large diameter front wheel and tiny rear wheel which reduced the vibrations experienced by riders. These early bikes were prohibitively expensive for most people, but the Industrial Revolution quickly led to improvements in design and affordability across the world. 

One interesting aspect of the bicycle’s history is the role it played in developing women’s rights.  Women had previously been focused on the home, in part due to culture but also because a cheap mode of transportation was not widely available.  Bicycles in the late 1800s became an inexpensive and socially acceptable way for women to move around communities without chaperones. Women became more aware of the public climate and could meet each other freely to socialize and become involved in community events.  As women adopted this mode of transport, there were also major moves in fashion towards comfortable clothing to accommodate bicycling. 

On into 20th century, sitting down to pedal was yet another design breakthrough, and today bikes are again growing in popularity for racing, mountain riding, keeping fit, and an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to travel. There is more information at  and

I say goodbye this week with a quote by American women’s rights icon, Susan B. Anthony – “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood.”

God Bless America!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at  or via her PR and marketing agency at



SAVANNAH, GA – May 27, 2021 – As the Center for Disease Control (CDC) continues to update its COVID-19 guidance for people who are fully vaccinated, Asbury Memorial Church has announced that it will reopen for in-person worship on Sunday, June 6. The church looks forward to welcoming back members and opening its sanctuary doors, located at 1008 E Henry Street.

Two services will be held each Sunday at 9:15 and 11:15 a.m. and Asbury Memorial Church will continue to provide a virtual option with livestreamed services. 

“Our choir will not perform during in-person services initially, but they look forward to returning to Sunday Worship soon,” said Asbury Memorial Church Rev. Bill Hester. “We are thrilled to reopen our sanctuary doors and safely welcome back congregation members and guests alike to our in-person worship services.”

Those that are interested in attending Asbury Memorial Church’s in-person worship services are required to register either online at or by calling the church office at 912-233-4351.

Asbury Memorial is a Christ-centered, forward-thinking, all-inclusive congregation that celebrates the joy of God creatively and is committed to remaining a welcoming and affirming congregation for all.


For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950, or Kristyn Fielding at or 229-393-6457.




SAVANNAH, GA. – June 14, 2021 – The Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire is holding its semi-annual Boston Butt fundraiser sale to benefit the families of fallen first responders. Placed orders will be available for pick-up from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, July 2 at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Complex, at 1050 Carl Griffin Dr. in Savannah.

These delicious, fully cooked 5-pound Boston butts cost $30 each and are expertly smoked by the best pit masters in the area. Orders of 10 or more can be delivered upon request. All the proceeds from this event go to support the work of the Two Hundred Club, which has given over $3.5 million to support local families of fallen and critically injured first responders.

“The Boston butt sale is an event that our supporters have come to look forward to every time it rolls around. We are thankful for the traffic that this event brings in, helping us continue to provide for our fallen heroes’ families,” said Two Hundred Club President Mark Dana. “We want to say a huge thank you to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office for hosting our pick-up each year. We hope that local residents continue to support our mission by donating and purchasing a Boston butt to enjoy on 4th of July weekend.”

To order a Boston Butt, please visit or, to pay by cash or check, contact Liesl Tanner at 912-721-4418 or All donations are tax-deductible and directly support the communities’ heroes.

The Two Hundred Club is a 501(c) (3) organization who “cares for those who care for us” by providing for the surviving spouses and dependents of first responders who have lost their lives or sustain critical injuries in the line of duty. The organization serves a 20-county area within Georgia and South Carolina. All proceeds from this event will go directly toward supporting the families of fallen heroes. The Two Hundred Club provides a one-time financial contribution to the surviving family members and provides a fully paid college education – including tuition, room and board, textbooks and a computer – to a fallen first responder’s children and spouse. For more information, go to, call 912-721-4418 or email

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



Historic Beaufort Foundation

By Mary Thompson 


As you stroll along the streets in Beaufort, South Carolina, the charm and sense of nostalgia are unmistakable. There is something special about Beaufort. Is it the breeze off the water, the tree-lined streets, or the beautiful old homes reminding us of the past? It is the combination of these elements that truly represent Beaufort and it’s unique and idyllic charm.

Combining architectural beauty and its distinct terrain, Beaufort’s city plan was designed to fit the landscape and benefit from the Beaufort River. Beaufort is defined by its coastal setting, strategic location, and the architecture that developed over three centuries. Out of this design, a unique sense of place and a link to the Lowcountry has developed. One of the most defining forms of Beaufort architecture has grown out of this marriage of coastal land and history: the Beaufort Style.

The Beaufort Style is based on five architectural elements that are conventionally found in more rural settings. Different from the rowhouses of Savannah or Single Houses of Charleston, Beaufort homes were built on spacious lots—more like smaller versions of plantations.

 Colonial settlers of Beaufort designed homes with techniques that incorporated the topography and climate of the area—and specifically the South Carolina Lowcountry. Large windows take advantage of the breezes from the water, deep porches provide shade from the hot summer sun, and low-pitched roofs don’t hold onto the heat. But what architectural elements particularly set the Beaufort Style apart from other historic southern architecture?

The Beaufort Style typically employs these architectural elements:

A raised foundation of usually tabby or brick.

Tabby is a type of concrete that is made by combining lime, oyster shells, water, sand, and ash. This was popular foundation used by colonist settlers up and down the coast. A tabby foundation was an extremely popular choice in Beaufort, due to the abundance of oyster shells on the shoreline. Beaufort County has one of the largest collections of tabby structures in the country.

Houses that do not have a tabby foundation, will have a brick foundation. As bricklaying was an art previously known to settlers, it is no surprise that some homes feature this type of foundation.

A southern orientation toward the Beaufort River. Early settlers of Beaufort knew the importance of capturing cool breezes off the river. 

Porticos and piazzas on the southern façade, facing the river and the breeze.

Beauty and function combine with beautiful porticos and piazzas on houses  throughout Beaufort. Shady porches help residents manage the heat, but they also serve as key architectural elements that characterize the Beaufort Style.

Low pitched roofs.

Again, in an effort to beat the heat, colonial settlers focused on low pitched roofs that would prevent the heat from being trapped in the house. This picture of the Tabby Manse House shows this popular roof line.

A T-shaped plan.

The Beaufort “T” first appeared in the late Federal Period and allows for better cross-ventilation in the back area of houses. In 19th century examples, we can see the T-shape design being extended to outdoor spaces. The T-shape was tied to piazzas wrapping around three sides of the house—always on the southern elevation.

A distinctly southern town, Beaufort, South Carolina architecture makes it unique. The Beaufort Style has grown out of a combination of architectural preferences and livability. Large city lots and stately residences  bring the grandeur of plantation  architecture  to the city—a unique combination only found in Beaufort. As observed by Russell Wright in the early 1970’s, “Beaufort houses, free-standing on large lots, are more akin to the architecture of southern plantations of the period, plantations brought into town, than anything found in Charleston or Savannah.”


I have been thinking about how much the world has changed during my more than five decades on earth.  Of course, the rise of the internet and social media is one of the most significant changes to society in my lifetime. When I was a teenager we turned to friends, family and of course – teen magazines for entertainment, validation, and advice.  I particularly remember reading ‘Jackie’ magazine from cover to cover during the late 1970s and early 1980s.  One of my favorite sections was their ‘advice’ column which gave wholesome information about handling the challenges of growing up.  I was not alone, because before the days of the internet, smartphones, and endless connectivity, millions of people turned to a pair of internationally famous cultural icons, Ann Landers, and Abigail Van Buren. 

Back in the early 1940s, an Illinois nurse named Ruth Crowley started writing a column about child-care in The Chicago Sun-Times. This was very popular, so the paper asked her to write a second column, giving advice to individual readers for the benefit of their entire newspaper audience.  Ms Crowley did not want readers to confuse the two columns, so she decided to write the advice column under a penname.  She simply made up the pseudonym Ann Landers.

Americans apparently really needed advice in the 1940s and 50s, and they loved to read the questions from anonymous readers and see what Ann Landers recommended.  The column was soon syndicated to dozens of newspapers and Ms Crowley, who worked hard to hide her identity from the public, wrote the column from 1943 until her untimely death at 48 in 1955.

A contest was held to find the next Ann Landers.  Eppie Lederer grew up in Sioux City Iowa and who, along with her identical twin sister Pauline “Po-Po”, wrote a gossip column for the Morningside College newspaper where they both attended. Eppie won the contest and kicked off the new Ask Ann Landers column and advised a whole new generation of Americans for almost 50 years.  Mrs Lederer eventually became owner of the copyright for “Ask Ann Landers” and decided that she didn’t want anyone else to take it over for her upon her death, which came in 2002 at the age of 83.

But let’s go back to Eppie’s twin sister Popo.  They were born in 1918, inseparable, went to school together, and both got married in a huge and lavish double wedding service on the same day in 1939.  Eppie Friedman become Mrs Lederer and Pauline became Mrs Phillips.  And in 1955, a few months after Eppie became the new Ann Landers, what did Popo do?  Started a competing advice column with a different newspaper using the fictious name Abigail Van Buren…Dear Abby!

Pauline and her husband had moved to the San Francisco area, and in January 1956 she contacted the San Francisco Chronicle and offered to write an advice column.  The doubtful editor gave her a few letters to respond to, and Pauline made a success of it.  She combined the old testament name Abigail with the last name of American President Martin van Buren.  Dear Abby was born!

The identical twin sisters both had direct, punchy writing styles.  Ask Ann Landers tended to be a bit more serious with longer answers and often more supportive of the writer of the letter, while Dear Abby was snappier with more direct and sometimes sarcastic advice.  But both had attitudes that in many ways were before their time.  Both supported equal rights for women, minorities, and people with disabilities, both opposed racism and both urged readers to do the right things with an unwavering moral compass.

The two sisters both had fantastic success.  Ask Ann Landers was reported at its peak to have 90 million readers in 1,200 newspapers, and Dear Abby was reported to be in 1,400 newspapers with 110 million readers.  The Dear Abby column is still widely syndicated and read by many – for entertainment value if nothing else! I feel a sense of satisfaction when I see this newspaper column in print or online, so I can only imagine the pride and sense of accomplishment these two felt.

Unfortunately, their relationship never really recovered from the competitiveness.  They vied for syndication rights and competed for column space and readership and had an on-again / off-again relationship for the rest of their lives.  While they publicly reconciled on several occasions, they also went through years of not speaking.  But both were credited with offering sound advice, common sense, and good humour. Over the decades, millions of readers have benefitted from their wisdom, as well as being entertained and sometimes outraged

When Dear Abby died in 2013 at the age of 94, The New York Times said in her obituary that if the famous short story writer “Damon Runyon and Groucho Marx had gone jointly into the advice business, their column would have read much like Dear Abby’s. With her comic and flinty yet fundamentally sympathetic voice, Mrs. Phillips helped wrestle the advice column from its weepy Victorian past into a hard-nosed 20th-century present.”

The two columns live on today in different ways.  Popo’s daughter Jeanne Phillips took over Dear Abby in about 2000 and still publishes it today, and Eppie’s daughter Margo Howard continues her mother’s work at

Of course, I have to say goodbye this week with a letter and reply from Dear Abby herself.

Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? —Wanting to Know.

Dear Wanting: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it.

God Bless America!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at  or via her PR and marketing agency at



It is no secret that I am very proud of my talented team at LFPR, and I was thrilled to celebrate LFPR’s10th anniversary this May. Depending on which studies you look at, only between 4-33 percent of new businesses survive 10 years. The fact that I have been fortunate enough to do this twice – once in London, England, and now in Coastal Georgia in the USA – makes me happy. Although to quote famous 20th century movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” 

We truly have a lot to celebrate at LFPR – not least that we and our families are all vaccinated against COVID-19 and healthy. We have adopted the saying “#LFPRStrong” over the past 18 months and I am thankful to my staff and our clients for their resilience and loyalty. We are returning to some normalcy and planning excitedly for a return to in-person events for our clients. Georgia Tech-Savannah will offer in-person summer school and fall seminars; the ninth Savannah VOICE Festival will take place LIVE this August; and Historic Savannah Foundation’s famous gala will return in October. Another client, Savannah African Art Museum, has just celebrated Juneteenth in style and LFPR was thankful to our local TV stations and other media for covering this wonderful celebration as it became a federal holiday.

In late May, we welcomed our new marketing assistant, Ashleigh Johnson, to the LFPR team. Ashleigh is from Macon, Georgia, and recently graduated from Georgia Southern University with her Bachelor of Science in public relations. We are also enjoying working with our summer intern, Ivey Grace Smith, who was born and raised in Hazlehurst, Georgia, and is an upcoming senior at Georgia Southern University, majoring in public relations with a minor in communications and digital marketing. Both young ladies are fitting in very well and we are delighted that they have joined us.

We have recently been contracted to work with some wonderful new clients. The National Opera Association has appointed us to promote an exciting new initiative. Convention Consultants (sister company to our client, Official Savannah Tours) has asked us to work with them as tourism and conventions return to the Hostess City. In other news, LFPR has developed a whole new image – logo, website and social media presence – for Ariel Savannah Angel Partners, We are also partnering with the talented people at Marsh Meadows Marketing to promote Indoor Ag-Con Orlando, which will take place at the Orlando Hilton in Florida on Oct. 4-5, 2021.  

Here in Richmond Hill, we are working with Bryan County as they plan for hurricane season (hoping for the best while preparing for the worst) and raising the profile of the wonderful Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer.