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Phil, with fellow aspiring tennis professionals in Arkansas.

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

Paul with Evelyne Wenzel in Fontainebleau
Evelyne in Moret.

Mid-November 2021.

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 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 are being 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

Cllr. Julia Cambridge admiring the new service tree of Fontainebleau outside East Sheen library.

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. 

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.

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.

Edwina & James at their wedding on the island of Mainau.

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:

France receives remains of Napoleonic general from Russia.

Charles-Étienne Gudin

Catholic Church honours one of the founders of the European Union

Robert Schuman

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:

Robert Schuman


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

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.

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

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.

Napoleon III

To access the channel please click on the following link:

REA YouTube Channel

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.

Ho Narro Dehom!

Bernd proudly wearing his bronze award

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.

Das Schnetztor

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.



 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