IN A 'hands across the sea' gesture of unity and friendship, Portland Town Mayor Steve Flew invited Borough Mayor Doug Hollings to join him at the official opening of the Gateway to Portland. While Coun Flew stood on the Portland side, Coun Hollings took up his position on the Weymouth side and between them they cut the ribbon which spanned the two stone pillars. In his speech Coun Flew said: "I think the pillars look very nice and that they are a fitting tribute to Her Majesty's long reign. "To put the record straight I wish to quash the rumours that because of the positioning of the pillars the Portland boundary has been moved. "This chosen site at the entrance to the former HMS Osprey was the third compromise reached after consultation with different agencies." The Rev Anita Thorne gave a blessing to the occasion and town councillors, Dorset Freemasons and representatives of all sponsors were present at the ceremony, along with headteachers Paul Green from the Royal Manor Arts College, April Banbury from Tophill Juniors and Alan McKechan of Underhill Juniors. Accompanying Mr McKechan were 10-year-old pupils Taylor Smith and Heidi Masters. Taylor said: "I am glad to be here on this important day to represent my school." Heidi said: "I am proud to represent the youngest generation of Underhill and I will bring my children here one day and tell them that I was at the opening ceremony." Underhill residents Charles Frampton and Chris Free commented on the pillars and Mr Frampton said: "I am not protesting as I appreciate the difficulties faced by the town council, but the pillars are misplaced." Mr Free said: "If the site could become part of a footpath or cycle track then people could actually pass through the Gateway "Originally, these pillars were commissioned as a tribute to the Queen's Golden Jubilee," commented Portland Rotary president Andrew Coupe, "but in the space of two years, this important fact has become overlooked and they are being regarded solely as an entrance to Portland." Mason John Sellman carved the pillars, which were constructed from stone donated by Hanson Bath and Portland Stone. The firm's operations manager Shahram Hakimzadeh said: "I think the pillars are magnificent and they reflect Portland's heritage."