OTISFIELD — Efforts to save a historic building in Otisfield are getting a boost from an unlikely source, thanks to an international friendship forged a half-century ago.

Otisfield Historical Society President Henry Hamilton says he has received word from London banker and lifelong friend Mian Ershad Zaheen that he will offer a $10,000 matching gift to the society to help pay for a $60,000 renovation project for the 1905 Town House.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hamilton tells the Sun Journal he first met Zaheen in the mid-1960s when he was 21 and serving with the U.S. Air Force in Pakistan. Zaheen, then 16, wanted to improve his English.

Zaheen was the best man at Hamilton’s wedding and the men have made frequent trans-Atlantic trips to visit each other.

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