Latest News

A fourth service tree of Fontainebleau planted in Hampton

Cllr. Suzette Nicholson with REA Chairman, Alan Mockford

28th May 2022. A service tree of Fontainebleau has been planted on Hampton Common beside one of the new town twinning signs, which had been unveiled by the then Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Suzette Nicholson in September 2021.

Suzette & Alan beside the new town twinning sign in Oak Avenue, Hampton.

There are now 22 of the town twinning signs & four service trees of Fontainebleau in the borough. The trees are native to the world famous Forêt de Fontainebleau.The other 3 trees can be found in the gardens of York House, Orleans House & outside East Sheen library.

Host a Teacher from Germany

Applications are currently being invited for the Host a Teacher from Germany Scheme for the next academic year. (2022-23).

Any primary or secondary school or further educational college can apply to host a qualified English teacher from Germany for up to three weeks at no cost whatsoever.

If the school offers German as a MFL both students & teachers will benefit enormously from having a native German speaker in the classroom. If the school does not offer German, the qualified teacher from Germany will introduce the children to the German language & culture.

All teachers will have the German equivalent of DBS certification, which is approved by the Department for Education. Visiting teachers will find their own accommodation or stay with host families, paying them £150 per week.

It sounds too good to be true, but it is true. For further information please click on the following link:

Further information.

Ein Musikalischer Begrüßungsempfang

REA members with Tobias seated at the piano.

5th March 2022. Tobias Kamprad from Konstanz treated REA committee members to a concert in East Sheen. Tobias is a trainee English teacher, who was working in a school in Twickenham to develop his teaching skills & to improve his fluency in English.

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 came 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. In 2020 I spent 6 months as an Erasmus student in Malmö, Sweden and I really appreciated the cultural exchanges.”

REA facilitated Tobias’ visit & held a reception for him shortly after his arrival, during which he performed a programme of largely German classical music.


You can see & hear Tobias playing Kinderszenen by Robert Schumann by clicking on the following link.


Co-incidentally Robert Schumann’s namesake, (with only one “n”), was one of the founders of the European Peace Project, which we know today as the European Union.

After school each day Tobias visited many of the famous sights of Richmond including Hampton Court Palace, where the great German composer Händel lived. Tobias greatly admires his work so he was absolutely delighted to be invited to play the organ in the Chapel Royal. Er war wie in siebenten Himmel!

For further news of Tobias’ visit please see the Past Events page.

REA Members Celebrate Edwina’s Great News.

James & Edwina cut the cake. The lettering reads, “Thank You REA.”

5th March 2022. 32 years ago a young woman from Konstanz, named Edwina, fell in love with James, a young man from Richmond, during a twinning exchange. They married & have lived in Whitton ever since. Following Brexit, Edwina applied for settled status in order that she could continue to live in the UK with her husband and daughter. Incredibly her application was refused & she faced deportation.

Edwina was in despair. She dared not visit her mother in Konstanz for fear of not being allowed back into the country. After 9 months of fruitless correspondence with the Home Office, REA raised Edwina’s case with the German Embassy. Legal officers from the Embassy took up her case & within days Edwina was granted settled status.

At a reception for Tobias, our young visitor from Konstanz, on 5th March REA members also celebrated Edwina’s great news. Edwina & James contributed a special cake for the occasion to thank REA members for all their support.

United in our Support for Ukraine

Richmond Town Hall illuminated in the colours of Ukraine

4th March 2022. The Leader of Richmond Council issued a statement of support for the people of Ukraine and their family & friends living in Richmond upon Thames.

For the full statement & practical advice please click on the following link:

Leader’s Statement

Imperia illuminated in the Ukrainian colours

28th February. The huge, revolving statue of Imperia, which dominates the harbour in Konstanz, is illuminated in the colours of Ukraine to demonstrate the support of our twin town. More practical help is also on its way. Much of this is being donated via Konstanz’s twin town of Tabor in the Czech Republic. Slovakia has a border with Ukraine, which reminds us how close the war is.

The Deputy German Ambassador Visits Richmond

REA chairman,Alan Mockford, with the Deputy German Ambassador, Julia Gross, in the magnificent Octagon Room of Orleans House.
Wie komme ich nach Konstanz?

2nd February 2022.  It was our great pleasure to welcome Julia Gross, the deputy German Ambassador, to Richmond. After lunch at the Petersham Hotel, where Julia was introduced to the first twinning baby, Davina Constance Marsh, REA chairman, Alan Mockford, accompanied Julia on a sightseeing stroll along the Thames to Twickenham, passing two of the new information boards about our twin European towns, the memorial to the Belgian Village on the Thames & Marble Hill House  before calling in at Orleans House Gallery.

There was just time to view Eel Pie Island, the memorial to Alexander Pope & the new fingerpost sign outside the civic centre before Julia was welcomed to York House by the Mayor, Cllr. Geoff Acton, Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Suzette Nicholson, & council leader, Gareth Roberts, before being invited into the Mayor’s parlour for tea & biscuits.

L-R. Alan Mockford, Gareth Roberts, Suzette Nicolson, Julia Gross & Geoff Acton.

Julia thought that York House was one of the finest town halls that she had ever seen. She was particularly struck by the gardens & open air theatre. 

Julia was pleased to accept our invitation to become an honorary member of the Richmond in Europe Association & was presented with lapel badges of Konstanz & Richmond plus a reaffirmation commemorative mug for use in the German Embassy. In return she presented REA with a mug depicting Berlin.

Julia has agreed to come to Richmond again in the spring to visit a local school to promote the teaching & learning of German & to meet REA members. Before her departure there was, of course, the obligatory photograph by the fingerpost sign outside the town hall as the Council of Europe flag flew overhead.

L-R. Alan Mockford, Cllr. Geoff Acton, Julia Gross, Cllr. Suzette Nicholson & Cllr. Gareth Roberts

A new Public Work of Art for Richmond

Der treue Jagdhund was presented by ARCIF to Konstanz council on the occasion of the reaffirmation in Konstanz in 2010.

The Richmond in Europe Association is inviting submissions from local artists for a public work of art to commemorate the reaffirmation of the twinnings with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which will take place in Richmond from 6th-8th June 2025.

The committee is looking for something which will attract both interest and attention. The chosen piece will represent the friendship between the three towns and/or our common European heritage & will endure for decades to come.

For further information please click on the Reaffirmation 2025 link at the top of this page or write to

REA has already commissioned these attractive commemorative mugs to publicise the reaffirmation of the twinnings with Fontainebleau & Konstanz which will take place in Richmond from 6th-8th June 2025.

For further information please click on the Reaffirmation in 2025 link at the top of this page.


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 with York House in the background.

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.”

Geoff & Gareth unveil the sign which had been draped with the flag of Konstanz.
L-R. REA Chairman, Alan Mockford, the Mayor, cllr. Geoff Acton & council leader, Gareth Roberts.

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 were planted at sites in the borough associated with our twin towns.

The Mayor & Council Leader planting the first of four service trees of Fontainebleau.

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.

Film of unveiling

Another service tree of Fontainebleau beside the Octagon Room of Orleans House Gallery
Cllr. Julia Cambridge admiring the new service tree of Fontainebleau outside East Sheen library.

Another service tree of Fontainebleau was planted in the garden of Orleans House, where one of the three new information boards about our twin towns of Fontainebleau & Konstanz can also be found.

A third was planted outside East Sheen library, beside another of the new information boards, & a fourth was planted on Hampton Common, by one of the new town twinning signs.

A display about our European twin towns was also mounted in Twickenham library, which is not far from the fingerpost sign. 

The entrance to 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.

L-R. Former REA Chairman, Bernd Steinlechner, cllr. Julia Neden-Watts, Member of Parliament for Twickenham, Munira Wilson, the Mayor of Richmond, cllr. Geoff Acton, REA Chairman, Alan Mockford & the Leader of Richmond Council, cllr. Gareth Roberts. who are all REA members.

New Statue Proposed for Richmond Riverside

A mock up of the proposed statue of Woolf seated on a bench.
The seated lady in Konstanz.

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:

Virginia Woolf statue

The naked ladies cascade.

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:

York House Society

Konstanz Close, East Sheen

The entrance to Konstanz Close

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.

 A New Patron for REA

geoff acton
Geoff with his consort, Eileen McManus, in the garden of York House.

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.

South West London Environment Network website

A Dose of Nature website

Konstanz aus der Vogelperspektive

Konstanz_Hoernle © Achim Mende_7335
Konstanz from above. The old town lies to the left of the Rhine. The university overlooks the garden island of Mainau on the right. The island of Reichenau can be seen in the background.  Photo: Achim Mende

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

duke & Duchess of York
The Duke & Duchess of York with their daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, in 1926.

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.

A one minute film of the visit.

For more information about King Manuel’s links with Twickenham and The Portuguese Appeal, a new local charity fostering Richmond’s ties with Portugal, please click on the following link.

King Manuel