By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The move South
An English rose in Georgia
Placeholder Image
My name is Lesley Francis and I am delighted to have been transplanted from green (or wet and grey) England to beautiful, sunny Richmond Hill.
I grew up in and around London, England, and married my American husband, Carl – from Cincinnati – in 2000. We dated and were engaged for five years before this. Part of our future life planning was that I would go to live with him in America – eventually – if we could find the perfect place.
After years working for a number of European marketing and public relations companies, in 1998 I founded hsdcommunications, an award-winning, London-based public relations and communications agency, where I was CEO and managing director until 2009.
Having grown my business from one person to No. 14 in the U.K.’s PR Week’s “Top Healthcare Agency League Tables,” in 2007 I sold it to Gyro International, a large marketing group with 20 offices in 11 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North America. During 2008, I established and ran their global PR activities and left in early 2009.
Which brings me to crunch time. Even before we married, Carl and I had looked at many places in the U.S. across New York, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, California and Nevada. None of them were quite right. We wanted a sense of community, nice people, a good climate but some seasonal changes, a good airport and road connections, a city nearby (ideally with a sense of history). It was difficult.
In 2004 we came to Savannah and then found Richmond Hill – our search was over. For the next five years we split our time between the U.K. and U.S. when happily last year we were able to make the move permanent.
Now, I undertake freelance PR, marketing and copywriting and enjoy time with my family and dogs. I am on the board of the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill, and the chair of the membership committee for the Ariel Savannah Angels Partners business angel group and also recently became involved in the marketing of the Savannah Book Festival.
I must make it very clear that I think the United States of America is the best country in the world, and I am thrilled that Uncle Sam saw fit to award me a Green Card. I love my home in beautiful Richmond Hill, my dogs have settled well, I have become involved in the community and my life is now here. Of course I miss friends and family in England, and Great Britain will always have a special place in my heart as it is where I was born and raised.
However, that does not mean that I have not observed some quirks and amusing differences in our cultures and ways of life. It was suggested that I should share some of these perceptions as “an English rose in Georgia” in an occasional column.
So watch this space for thoughts on how an alien (me!) sees the weird and wonderful world of road kill, baseball, Thanksgiving and more. God Bless America!

Francis can be contacted at
Sign up for our E-Newsletters