Promoting sporting, cultural and educational links across Europe
New Year Greetings from Fontainebleau
It is the custom in France to send new year greetings cards rather than Christmas cards. We have just received this one from Thierry Bernard-Tambour, who is the president of the Jeu de Paume (real tennis) club which plays at the château de Fontainebleau & is in the process of twinning with the Royal Tennis Court at Hampton Court Palace.
A celebratory match in Fontainebleau had been arranged in 2020 to celebrate the partnership & the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold. Hopefully this will now take place this year.
Weihnachtsgrüße aus Konstanz
2nd December 2020. We received the following message from our friends in Konstanz today.
“Es war ein außergewöhnliches und anstrengendes Jahr für alle und leider konnten viele direkte Begegnungen im Rahmen unserer Städtepartnerschaften nicht stattfinden. Wir hoffen, dass sich das bald wieder ändert und wünschen Ihnen einstweilen eine schöne Adventszeit, besinnliche Weihnachtsfeiertage und gute Erholung im Kreise Ihrer Familien. Halten Sie diese besonders fordernde Zeit weiter gut durch und vor allem bleiben Sie alle gesund!”
We certainly echo these thoughts & look forward very much to welcoming our partners from both Konstanz & Fontainebleau to Richmond in 2021.
“Wir werden immer Freunde, Partner und Verbündete sein.”
15th November. Volkstrauertag. Prince Charles gave a speech in English & German in the Bundestag in Berlin to remember the victims of war & to celebrate 75 years of peace between Britain & Germany. He said, “Wir werden immer Freunde, Partner und Verbündete sein.”
Second New Town Twinning Information Board Unveiled
1st October 2020. Richmond Council leader, Gareth Roberts, unveiled the second of the fabulous, new information boards about our twins towns of Fontainebleau & Konstanz in the garden of Orleans House. The weather once again was beautiful, but sadly, because of the coronavirus, the number of guests was limited to five plus the cameraman. To see the film please click on the following link.
Marina Tuffier from the REA committee welcomed & introduced everyone in French. She explained that the duc d’Orleans lived at Orleans House from 1815-17. In 1830 he ascended the throne as Louis Philippe I, the last King of France.
Marina announced that a service tree of Fontainebleau will be planted in the garden to commemorate the reaffirmation of Richmond’s partnerships with Konstanz & Fontainebleau. She then invited the council leader, Gareth Roberts, to say a few words.
Gareth stressed the importance of Richmond’s bonds of friendship with our fellow European towns & praised the work of REA in strengthening these bonds. This was even more important, he said, at a time when others were trying to pull us apart. Again, because of the coronavirus restrictions, it was not possible for one of our partnered musical groups to perform, but a powerful CD player boomed out Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as Gareth & REA vice chairman, Clare Head, unveiled the information board. Before & after the ceremony a selection of English, French & German music by Grainger, Vaughan-Williams, Bizet & Händel was played.
It is hoped that the new information boards will raise awareness of our twin towns for decades to come.
First New Town Twinning Information Board Unveiled
Thursday 10th September 2020. The mayor of Richmond, councillor Geoff Acton, unveiled the first of the magnificent, new Town Twinning Information Boards in the Terrace Gardens, Richmond Riverside. The boards were commissioned by REA, with the aid of a Civic Pride grant, to commemorate the reaffirmation of the partnerships with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which had been due to take place in Richmond in June 2020, but which have had to be postponed because of the pandemic.
Geoff addressed a gathering of REA members, limited to 30 in number because of the coronavirus, in beautiful autumn sunshine. St. Margaret’s Elastic Band, which is partnered with Union Musicale de Fontainebleau, played appropriate French, German & English music.
The mayor, who is one of the three patrons of REA, along with the mayors of Fontainebleau & Konstanz, said that the council fully supports the strengthening of Richmond’s bonds with our European partners & that this work is even more important in the light of Brexit.
The information board in the Terrace Gardens stands next to a commemorative tree which was planted by the three mayors in 1990. The second board in Orleans House Garden will be unveiled by council leader, Gareth Roberts, on 1st October. The boards, which are identical, were designed by REA, treasurer, Hugh Morrison.
Town Twinning Signs Refurbished
You might have wondered what had happened to the 15 cast iron town twinning signs which used to greet travellers as they entered the borough. They are 30 years old & had been returned to the foundry for refurbishment. However they are now back in place & look magnificent.
Even better news is to follow. A few boundary crossings still lacked a twinning sign so a further 7 new ones have been ordered & these will be installed shortly in the following locations:
Barnes: Mill Hill Road & Queens Ride.
Whitton: Hounslow Road & Rugby Road.
Hampton: Lower Sunbury Road & Oak Avenue.
Twickenham: London Road.
The sign on the A316, which is the main road into the borough from the west, had been in the worst condition, but has now been restored to its original glory.
A New Patron for REA
Geoff Acton, the new mayor of Richmond, has accepted an invitation to become one of the three patrons of REA, along with Frédéric Valletoux, the mayor of Fontainebleau & Uli Burchardt, the Oberbürgermeister of Konstanz. Geoff has been a member of REA for over 12 years. He has already been to Konstanz for Fasnacht in 2009 & has spent holidays in Fontainebleau.
Geoff says he supports twinning because, “It promotes connection with European neighbours & provides many cultural, sport, art & business opportunities as well as friendship & goodwill.”
The charities which the mayor will be supporting during his year of office are the South West London Environment Network & A Dose of Nature, both of which seem particularly appropriate given the environmental theme for the reaffirmation of the partnerships with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which is due to take place in Richmond next year.
For further information please click on the following links.
Our chairman came across this stunning bird’s eye view of Konstanz during his recent visit. Permission was sought from the photographer, Achim Mende, to use the photograph on the two new information boards which are being installed in Richmond to celebrate the reaffirmation.
A Royal Visit to York House
REA committee member, Anthony Bailey, recently drew our attention to archive footage of the Queen’s parents, the future King George VI & Queen Elizabeth, visiting the town hall in Twickenham in 1926. They are accompanied by King Manuel II of Portugal who was living in exile in Twickenham.