News from America
November 2021. Phil Exner, one of the members of Konstanz Tennis Club, which is twinned with St. Mary’s Tennis Club in Isleworth, has been awarded a tennis scholarship to the University of Arkansas. Phil, who first came to Richmond in 2013 when he was only 10, is hoping that the move will help him to achieve his dream of becoming a pro. We look forward to seeing him in England again soon – hopefully at Wimbledon!
Paul Douglas welcomed in Fontainebleau
REA committee member Paul Douglas has just returned from Fontainebleau where he discussed forthcoming joint art exhibitions by the Richmond Art Society & Art Fontainebleau with Evelyne Wenzel, the President of ARCIF (the equivalent of REA in Fontainebleau).
Among the many places Paul was taken to during his brief stay was the beautiful historic nearby town of Moret-Loing-et Orvanne, which is well worth a visit next time you are in Fontainebleau.
Evelyne kindly presented Paul with some “Sucre d’Orge des Religieuses de Moret,” which is made from sugar & barley and has balm-like properties. It was originally produced in 1638 by Benedictine nuns and is still made to the original 17th century recipe with no added colours or flavourings.
Pour aller à Fontainebleau? Wie komme ich nach Konstanz?
5th November 2021. In glorious autumn sunshine the Mayor of Richmond, Cllr. Geoff Acton, & council leader, Gareth Roberts, unveiled a stylish new fingerpost sign outside the civic centre in Twickenham to help Richmond residents to find their way to our twin towns.
St. Margaret’s Elastic Band, which is twinned with Union Musicale de Fontainebleau, entertained the crowd of about 100 residents with a programme of French, German, American & English music before the mayor & council leader unveiled the sign to the strains of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”
The sign was commissioned by REA with the aid of a civic pride grant from Richmond council. As soon as it was unveiled, everyone wanted their picture taken with the sign. It will become the “must have” picture for all our visitors from our twin towns once the pandemic is over.
After the photographs had been taken, guests moved to the garden of York House where Geoff & Gareth planted a service tree of Fontainebleau to commemorate both the occasion & climate week. These trees are native to the world famous forêt de Fontainebleau & three more are being planted at sites in the borough associated with our twin towns.
After his exhausting work was done the mayor invited everyone to the town hall for tea & coffee.
To see a short film of the unveiling please click on the following link.
Another service tree of Fontainebleau was planted on the same day beside the new Information Board outside East Sheen library. Another was planted by the new Information Board in Orleans House garden & fourth will be planted on Hampton Common, by one of the new town twinning signs.
Information about the twinning is currently on display in Twickenham library.
Information about the twinning also greets you as you enter the civic centre in Twickenham.
It is hoped that the fingerpost sign will remain a symbol of Richmond’s cherished international partnerships for decades to come.
Another young visitor from Konstanz
We are looking forward to welcoming another young visitor from Konstanz in the new year. Tobias Kamprad, a trainee English teacher, is seeking a school placement in Richmond for the spring term & REA is helping him. Tobias writes,
“I’m 24 years old & currently studying English at the University of Konstanz to become an English teacher at secondary school. I’m looking for an opportunity to come to the UK to get in touch with your culture, to meet people & to improve my English.
Besides English I study classical music, so I am also passionate about music, playing the piano, singing & conducting choirs. Between January & March 2022 I would ideally like to find a placement at a Richmond school or, failing this, at a musical or cultural institution. I am open to engage in any activity, whether it might be teaching, music or sports. Last year I spent 6 months as an Erasmus student in Malmö, Sweden and I really appreciated the cultural exchanges. I would love to hear from you.”
If you would like to contact Tobias please write to
Miss Twickenham Reaches the National Final
Friday 3rd September 2021. Miss Twickenham, Davina Constance Marsh, who is an REA member, was a finalist in the Miss British Isles modelling competition, which took place at the Final Furlong Marquee at Chester Racecourse.
Davina is the daughter of REA members, James & Edwina Marsh, & was the first twinning baby. James comes from Richmond & Edwina from Konstanz. They first met and fell in love in Richmond 31 years ago during the reaffirmation celebrations in 1990. Edwina writes…
“The first time I set eyes on James he was wearing a blue blazer, tartan tie & slacks and holding an umbrella against the typical English summer weather outside the Richmond Gate Hotel. James had already been on several exchange visits to Konstanz with the Richmond & Twickenham fencing club and in June 1990 they were hosts to the Fechtclub Konstanz. I just came along as a guest with my parents’ twinning association, the Freunde für Richmond. My sister Ira was a member of the Fechtclub, so she already knew James, although I was working for a fashion house in Switzerland.
In February 1991 James proposed in the snow outside the opera house in Vienna and in the spring of 1992 we were married, first here in Richmond at the registry office in a civil ceremony, with the Richmond mayor & a Konstanz official in attendance. A week later the church wedding took place on the beautiful flower island of Mainau in the baroque chapel of Count Bernadotte’s palace.
After a three week honeymoon, staying at a coastal villa near Athens & touring the Greek islands, we settled down to our new life in Whitton & in 1999, Davina Constance Marsh, the first twinning baby, was born.”
Davina currently is employed as front of house receptionist at the Petersham Hotel in Richmond. We wish her every success on 3rd September.
Napoleonic General Returns to France
13th July. The remains of one of Napoleon’s favourite generals, Charles-Étienne Gudin, were returned to France, two years after they were discovered in Russia. Gudin was hit by a cannonball near the city of Smolensk during the French invasion of Russia in 1812. His leg was amputated, but he died of gangrene 3 days later.
Gudin had been governor of the château de Fontainebleau.
For further information please click on the following links:
Catholic Church honours one of the founders of the European Union
19th June 2021. Pope Francis has put Robert Schuman, one of the founders of a peaceful modern Europe, on the path to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
For further details please click on the following link:
New Statue Proposed for Richmond Riverside
June 2021. Almost £38,000 has been raised for a statue of the famous author, Virginia Woolf to be installed in a prestigious location on Richmond riverside. Woolf lived in Richmond from 1914-24, during which time she founded the Hogarth Press. It is hoped that the proposed interactive statue of Woolf, seated on a bench, will cement Richmond’s place on the British literary map.
Comparisons have already been drawn with the seated lady on the balcony of the art nouveau apartments overlooking the Bodensee in Konstanz.
For further information please click on the following link:
Brentford Promoted to the Premier League
29th May 2021. Richmond’s local football club, which is called “Brentford” was promoted to the Premier League after defeating Swansea 2-0 at Wembley. Brentford’s brand new home stadium is about 100 metres from the Richmond border.
For a full report please click on the following link.
26th April 2021. The naked ladies cascade in the gardens of York House, Twickenham, has been restored to working order & looks absolutely delightful. It’s well worth a visit if you are in the area & a welcome addition to the attractions of the town hall, especially when we entertain our friends from Fontainebleau & Konstanz.
For more information about the statues, their refurbishment & the York House Society please click on the following link:
REA launches its own YouTube channel
2nd April 2021. REA launched its own YouTube channel. The first films to be posted were the recent lectures by David King, of the Alliance française, on Napoleon III in England & the Twickenham connections of the family of Louis Philippe I.
To access the channel please click on the following link:
Konstanz Close, East Sheen
March 2021. A new road in Richmond has been named after our twin town of Konstanz. The properties in Konstanz Close are “eco-houses,” which are especially designed to have the smallest possible carbon footprint. In Germany they are called Passivhäuser. Given its green credentials Konstanz seems a most appropriate name.
Ho Narro Dehom!
The traditional greeting in Konstanz during Fasnacht is “Ho Narro” (Hallo Fool), but this year it is “Ho Narro dehom” (Hallo Fool at Home).
Former REA chairman, Bernd Steinlechner, adores Fasnacht & has been a member of the Blätzlebuebezunft for 20 years, in recognition of which he has just received this bronze award.
The Zunft has 1500 members & has its headquarters in the atmospheric Schnetztor which has guarded the town for 700 years. The town council had proposed to demolish it when it became dilapidated, but the Blätzlebuebezunft offered to restore it at their own expense if they could use it, so it survives.