Twickenham Green Fair 2018
The new REA gazebo was the centre of attraction at the Twickenham Green fair on 28th May.
Blessed with fine weather we were able to raise awareness of the boundless opportunities which twinning affords & many new members were recruited.
Fresh from his triumph in Fontainebleau REA committee member, Len Griffiths, instructed young passers-by in the intricacies of pétanque, using a mini-terrain.
If you would like a free private lesson on a full size terrain please click on the following invitation.
Richmond’s New Mayor
REA were invited to the mayor making ceremony at York House on the evening of 22nd May. The new mayor, Ben Khosa, automatically becomes president of REA. Ben is looking forward very much to working with our French & German friends.
Richmond Green Fair 2018
12th May 2018. The new REA gazebo was unveiled at the Richmond Green Fair. Enjoying a prime site it helped a small army of REA volunteers, led by Helen Baker, to raise significantly the profile of the twin towns. Despite the inclement weather, much interest was stimulated & several new members were recruited.
6th May 2018 Former chairman, Rodney Mantle, & REA committee member, Len Griffiths, met ARCIF President, Evelyne Wenzel, in Fontainebleau. Evelyne was presented with a picture of Hampton Court Palace on behalf of REA to mark the occasion. Among the topics they discussed was the establishment of links between primary schools in Richmond & Fontainebleau. If you know of a primary school in Richmond which teaches French (or German) please could you put them in touch with REA. Fontainebleau has no railway station of its own. One has to alight in the neighbouring town of Avon. However in recognition of its illustrious neighbour the station is named Fontainebleau Avon.
The Richmond Art Society Spring Exhibition
Friday 4th May 2018. REA vice chairman, Helen Baker & secretary, Carol Wain, were invited to a private preview of the Richmond Art Society spring exhibition at the Landmark Arts Centre. The theme was “Going to Waste” or “Recycling.” The exhibition ran from 5th -7th May. The Richmond Art Society is twinned with Art Fontainebleau.
1st May A team from Richmond was invited to an international Pétanque tournament in Fontainebleau.
The competition was tough & the terrain was unfamiliar.
However the Richmond players acquitted themselves very well.
The winning triple included Nick Eriksen from Richmond (pictured right)
Over 100 people participated & many new friendships were made.
REA members are invited to learn to play pétanque or French boules in Richmond for free. For further details please click on the following link.
An Evening with Judith Kerr & Axel Scheffler at die Deutsche Schule London
1st May 2018. Famous children’s author Judith Kerr & illustrator Axel Scheffler were interviewed, in German , by Tilman Spreckelsen, the literary correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung before a packed audience at the German school in Petersham. For Rodney Mantle’s report of the evening please click on the following link.
An Evening with Sir Vince Cable at die Deutsche Schule London
About 20 REA members were amongst a packed audience of about 400 people at the German School in Petersham on 23rd April 2018.
Sir Vince answered questions for two hours on the implications of Brexit for British & non-British EU citizens. He said that there is still hope that Brexit will not happen. There is growing cross-party support within the Houses of Parliament for a referendum once the outcome of the negotiations is known.
What is German About German Music?
Professor Eric Levi of Royal Holloway College gave an interesting lecture to the Guildford-Freiburg Twinning Association on Monday 16th April to which REA members were invited. We are grateful to Rodney Mantle for the above photo & report below.
Memorial Service for Portuguese Soldiers in WW1
St. James’ Church, Twickenham
Not a seat was free in St. James’ Church at lunchtime on Monday 9th April 2018 for a Requiem Mass & the dedication of stained glass windows in honour of the over 100,000 Portuguese soldiers who fought & nearly 12,000 who died during the First World War.
The Guard of Honour was provided by members of the armed forces. The service was held partly in English, partly in Portuguese & partly in Latin. The role of Dom Manuel II, the by then exiled King of Portugal, who lived in Fulwell, was also remembered. He donned a British uniform & served as a red cross volunteer. The most moving moment was the playing of the Last Post by a teenage trumpeter.
The windows were dedicated & the associated plaque unveiled by the Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, a former Chief of the Defence Staff and the Portuguese Ambassador, whose grandfather had been one of those soldiers.
After the service everyone moved to the parish hall, where delicious Portuguese snacks & good company did much to compensate for the grey weather.
The Richmond in Europe Association was represented by former chairman, Rodney Mantle, & David Ferguson. Rodney wrote this report & took the photographs.
For further information about the links between Twickenham & Portugal please contact Clare Head or Anthony Bailey.
REA sent 18 young delegates to the Konstanzer Europakonzil in November 2017. They joined 80 young delegates from France, the Czech Republic, Italy & Germany to discuss the role of town twinning in the future of Europe.
The project was one of a hundred entries in a competition for youth initiatives throughout the whole of Baden-Württemberg. The final was held in Stuttgart in March 2018 & the Konstanzer Europakonzil won 2nd prize.
Apart from the honour & prestige, the team was awarded a prize of €1250. Team leader, Anja Deschler said, “We are naturally delighted. The Europakonzil has already won the prize for the best twinning project awarded by the Institute for European Partnerships & International Co-Operation. This second award confirms that the Europakonzil has chosen the right path.”
The aim of the project was to show young people that they can actively fashion the future of Europe.
Well done to all the delegates who took part & who contributed to this success.
The award made the headlines in the German media.
Kensal Green Cemetery
David Ferguson led a tour of Kensal Green Cemetery on 25th March. Members discovered many fascinating graves and memorials including those of William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, George Cruickshank, (who illustrated Dickens’ works), the tight-rope walker , Blondin, British world chess champion Howard Staunton, after whom the most popular style of chess pieces is named, & Isambard Kingdom Brunel & his father Sir Marc. Sir Marc, a refugee from France, was a brilliant civil engineer. His son, Isambard, became one of the greatest of all Britons.
REA vice-chairman, Helen Baker, was particularly interested in the graves of First World War Belgian soldiers who had died of their wounds in England after being evacuated from the trenches.
Die Deutsche Schule London
REA members were invited to the grand opening of the new state of the art sports centre at the Deutsche Schule London, Petersham on 2nd March 2018. The children provided the musical entertainment, ranging from Ed Sheeran ballads to African drums.
The school orchestra and choir also performed songs from the Lion King.
The German government, which provided financial support for the sports hall, was represented by Charlotte Schwarzer, die Leiterin der Kulturabteilung, of the German Embassy. She is very interested in twinning & has invited REA to a meeting at the Embassy to discuss how we might work together to strengthen sporting, cultural & educational links between Richmond & Konstanz.
Outside the snow fell heavily. A section of the Berlin Wall by the entrance to the Sports Hall provided a powerful reminder of the division of Europe in the past.
Inside there were interviews with those responsible for the successful completion of the project.
The roof is covered with solar panels which can generate 10% of the school’s energy consumption.
This British designed, ultra modern facility will be opened up to the local community, as the school wishes to integrate fully with its neighbours. Please contact the school on 0208 940 2510 for further details.
A delegation from Richmond recently attended the Fasnacht celebrations in Konstanz.
Richmond Mayor, Lisa Blakemore, had the opportunity to meet local people.
including the Oberbürgermeister, Uli Burchardt
and Tobias Bücklein, who runs an event agency in Konstanz.
The bands played
and many Konstanz residents expressed an interest in the partnership with Richmond.
Lisa Schommer joined the festivities. She normally works in the Tandem-Buro of Konstanz University. She brings English & German native speakers together so they can learn from one another.
If you would like a native German language partner please contact the Tandem-Buro. It is totally free & the best way to learn a foreign language is from a native speaker.
A School Exchange
One of our members, Paul Kershaw, who was born in 1935, grew up hating Germans, but in 1951, when he was 15 years old, his school, Thames Valley Grammar, organised an exchange with the Christian School in Hermannsburg in the Lüneburg Heath. His stay there with the von Kloppenfels family, who were very anti-fascist, radically changed his views on Germany, especially when he was taken to the village of Häcklingen, SE of Hamburg, and proudly shown Timeloberg Hill, where on 4th May 1945 Montgomery accepted the German surrender for the Netherlands, NW Germany & Denmark.
66 years later, after losing all contact with his former host family, Paul returned to Hermannsburg & found the street where the von Kloppenfels family had lived. He stopped the first passers-by he met and, to his surprise, they knew the family. The parents were, of course, dead by then, but he made contact with one of the daughters, Melsene, who immediately came & picked him up and took him (and his sister who was travelling with him) to her house & started to fill in everything that had taken place in the ensuing 66 years. He discovered that the von Kloppenfels originally came from Prussia where the father, a university lecturer, who had been forced into the army, died on the Russian front, leaving 4 young children. His wife decided to leave their home & all their belongings & took the children to Hermannsburg to join her sister Tati. They were living in 3 rooms so the mother, the aunt & 4 children must have slept in one room, leaving a living room & Paul’s bedroom.
On Paul’s return in September 2017, Melsene gave Paul the address of her brother Georg & her 2 sisters Uta & Reinhild. Paul has written to all of them & heard from everyone, including an invitation from Georg to visit him & his wife in Bonn in 2018.
Kultur eint Europa
Following the great success of their concert at Twickenham Rugby stadium in October the European Youth Orchestra, comprising musicians from Konstanz, Fontainebleau, Lodi & Richmond, gave another outstanding performance in the Stefanskirche, Konstanz on 10th December 2017. This time they were also joined by musicians from Tabor in the Czech Republic.
Bavarian Christmas Dinner 2017
Over 30 members & guests gathered in Stein’s Bavarian Restaurant in Kingston on 8th December for our annual Christmas Dinner.
Annual General Meeting
15th November 2017
The Winter Garden of York House, Twickenham was packed for the 40th REA annual general meeting . The Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Lisa Blakemore, presided over the proceedings, which began with a demonstration of the Argentine tango by 85 year old member, Eric Ruggier & his partner Mieko. You can see their performance by clicking on the following link.
After the formal business, members were treated to an illustrated talk on J.M.W. Turner, Twickenham & Konstanz by Catherine Parry-Wingfield of Turner’s House Trust.
Das Konstanzer Europakonzil
REA sent 18 delegates, aged 18-30, to the Konstanzer Europakonzil which took place from 2nd – 6th November 2017. They joined 80 delegates from France, the Czech Republic, Italy & the hosts, Germany, to explore ways in which they could help to keep the people of Europe together at a time when others are trying to pull them apart.
The themes of the conference were
The Refugee Crisis
Trust in the Media
Europe’s Enemies &
Richmond Councillors Jean Loveland, Gareth Roberts & REA Chairman, Alan Mockford, were guests of honour at the final presentation before 500 invited guests in the historic Konzil building, in which the original Konstanzer Konzil took place 600 years ago.
The Konstanzer Konzil of 2017 received extensive coverage in the German press.
Ambassadors were chosen from each European country. They had met in May to plan & prepare for the full conference in November. REA ambassadors Jack Lewis & Omega Love, pictured left, took part in a presentation before a huge crowd on the banks of Lake Constance.
At the conclusion of the full conference in November the young delegates identified 4 priorities for action.
1. An exchange programme for refugee children in Germany with the Czech Republic.
2. An exchange programme for workers in the 5 European towns.
3. A festival pass to encourage young people to visit the 5 towns &
4. A combined website for the 5 towns.
You can read more about the Konzil & keep up to date with developments by clicking on the following facebook link.
Ein Großes Partnerschaftstreffen in Konstanz
On the day after the Europakonzil Richmond councillors, Jean Loveland, Gareth Roberts & REA chairman, Alan Mockford, were invited to a meeting with 100 representatives of clubs & associations in the Konstanz area who are seeking partners in the Richmond area. Representatives from Fontainebleau in France, Lodi in Italy & Tabor in the Czech Republic were also invited.
REA has already found partners for some associations. In the coming weeks we will be seeking to find partners for, among others:
Zimmerbühne (Theatre, music & literature)
Fahnenschwinger (Flag twirlers)
Kulturamt (Konstanz cultural office)
Konstanz Swimming Club
Konstanz Fire Brigade
Malteser Hilfsdienst (St. John Ambulance Brigade)
Chorohnenamen (Singing group)
Konstanz Hockey Club
Konstanz Stamp Club
Konstanz Rowing Club
If you would like more information please write to
or telephone 0208 890 0202
Belgian Refugees in East Twickenham
On Sunday 29th October 2017 local historian & REA vice-chairman, Dr. Helen Baker, addressed a packed meeting at The Stables Courtyard room, Orleans House, after the first public screening of the film, “Memories flow through me like a boat flows down the river,” a dance theatre performance which celebrates the history of the Belgian refugees who lived & worked in East Twickenham during the First World War. You now can see the film by clicking on the following link.
40th Anniversary Celebrations
The 40th anniversary of the twinning between Richmond & Fontainebleau was celebrated in Richmond on the weekend of 7th-8th October 2017. Guests from France, Germany & Italy were invited.
It began with a tour of St. Mary’s University & Strawberry Hill by the advance party of guests & REA members.
A reconstruction of Horace Walpole’s beautiful shell seat provided a suitable resting point for Claus-Dieter Hirt, representing Konstanz council, Evelyne Wenzel, the President of ARCIF, & Alan Mockford, the chairman of REA.
A dinner was later held in the magnificent surroundings of the Waldegrave drawing room.
A string quartet played under the watchful gaze of Lady Waldegrave.
Between courses a solemn pledge of continuing friendship between ARCIF & REA was first read in French by Christian Lequesne from ARCIF.
Then in English by Helen Baker from REA.
The pledge was then signed by Evelyne Wenzel, President of ARCIF, & Alan Mockford, chairman of REA.
One copy of the pledge was framed & presented to Evelyne by Alan.
Evelyne presented REA with a beautiful engraving of Fontainebleau.
Alan was the invited to say a few words which were well received. He said,”Twinning has never been more important. It brings people together when others are trying to pull us apart.”
Sunday morning began with a bi-lingual service of thanksgiving at St. Mary’s Church Twickenham.
Then Frédéric Valletoux & Lisa Blakemore, the mayors of Fontainebleau & Richmond, unveiled a commemorative plaque in the grounds of Orleans House.
St. Margarets Elastic Band performed the national anthems. Please click on the following link to hear them.
Bernd Steinlechner (right), our former chairman, was delighted to meet friends from France & Germany.
There was an exhibition of the twinning in Orleans House. Thank you to all those members who loaned us their memorabilia.
St. Margarets Elastic Band performed in the courtyard.
The finale to the weekend’s events was a magnificent performance by the European Youth Orchestra, which was enthusiastically received by a full house at the Live Room, Twickenham Rugby Stadium.
The orchestra, comprising young musicians from Richmond, Fontainebleau, Konstanz & Lodi in Italy, performed pieces by composers from the four European countries,
led by conductors from each country.
Cyclists Arrive Home Safely
The sponsored cyclists, including the borough’s cycling champion Jean Loveland, arrived to a wonderful reception at Orleans House on 17th September after a gruelling 263 mile ride from Fontainebleau.
St. Margaret’s Elastic Band provided the music & the mayor, Lisa Blakemore, presented each cyclist with a commemorative miniature bicycle.
The cyclists had set off from Fontainebleau 3 days earlier after an official French reception which was attended by Carol Wain, our secretary.
During her stay Carol was entertained by Evelyne Wenzel & Christian Lequesne from ARCIF.
She also met the two French ambassadors to the Konstanzer Europakonzil, Josephine Levedaq & Hajna Nagy.
The cyclists are raising money for StreetInvest, a charity which supports street children around the world. £25,000 was raised.
REA were there to welcome them home & to publicise the twinning with Fontainebleau & Konstanz. Lots of interest was generated & we acquired many new members.
The REA annual garden party was held at Brenda Morris’ house in Sheen on 19th August.
The weather was kind & a delicious three course meal was enjoyed by 15 members & guests.
After the wine, plum crumble, sherry trifle, cheese & crackers, tea & coffee some guests were in the mood for dancing.
Eric, fresh from his appearance on Channel 4, took the opportunity to audition another tango partner.
Next year we hope to hold the garden party before the school holidays so that more of our younger members will be able to attend.
Many thanks to Brenda for hosting the occasion & preparing the feast.
On 5th August members of the committee & one of our young ambassadors ran a stall outside the German Bakery, on the corner of Church Street & Water Lane, Twickenham.
We were able to raise awareness of REA & the Konzil with many passing shoppers before a heavy shower forced us to take refuge in the bakery.
Needless to say the deutsche Konditorei proved impossible to resist!
The baker, Harpreet, was born in Freiburg & grew up in Germany. He knows Konstanz well & is proud to wear his Konstanz badge
James Mallord William Turner
What is the connection between the Borough of Richmond, Konstanz & one of Britain’s finest painters?
J.M.W. Turner lived in a house he himself designed in the vicinity of Marble Hill park.
Turner also spent a lot of time in Konstanz where he painted many famous landscapes.
Turner’s house in St. Margarets has been conserved by Turner’s House Trust & recently was re-opened to the public.
Richmond Art Society Exhibition
The work of artists from Fontainebleau was featured in an exhibition by Richmond Art Society at the Landmark Arts Centre in Twickenham from 23rd – 25th June 2017.
Evelyne Wenzel, the President of la Comité de Jumelage, ARCIF, Fontainebleau, (the French equivalent of REA), was invited to open the exhibition.
REA members were invited to a private viewing where they were delighted see the works on display & to meet Evelyne.
A description of the exhibition by Carol Wain can be seen by clicking on the following link.
Following the private viewing it was our great pleasure to invite Evelyne to afternoon tea & cakes at Brenda Morris’ house on 24th June. Cedric Marx of Le Cercle Français de Richmond also joined us. The occasion enabled us to discuss many ways in which we can develop & strengthen the links between our two towns.
Before her departure RAS hosted a dinner in honour of Evelyne at A Cena restaurant in Twickenham. Some REA committee members were also invited.
A very interesting talk on China was given on 7th June by one of our members, Rodney Mantle, at the invitation of the German School in Ham.
One of our members, Marina Tuffier, who is French, joined the audience, which was mainly German, to listen to Rodney giving his talk in English about China.
You can read her report, in English, below.
Union Musicale de Fontainebleau
Musicians from Fontainebleau played with St. Margaret’s Elastic Band at a well attended concert at St. Stephen’s School, Twickenham on Saturday 3rd June.
Helen Baker & Rodney Mantle attended on behalf of REA
Click here to read a brief report of the concert by Rodney Mantle.
You can watch short extracts from the concert here
On Sunday 4th June the two bands played in Kew Village Market, where their performance was much appreciated by the passing shoppers & travellers as well as invited guests. Finally they performed for the third time in Kew Gardens.
Richmond & Twickenham May Fairs 2017
The REA ran very successful stalls at both the Richmond & Twickenham May fairs. Many new contacts were formed, twenty new members joined & eight young delegates for the Konstanzer Europakonzil were recruited.
Lisa Blakemore, the new mayor of Richmond and honorary President of the REA, called at our stall on Twickenham Green.
St. Mary’s University
Jack Lewis, one of our youth ambassadors, was also busy recruiting delegates for the Europakonzil at St. Mary’s University on 22nd May.
Our membership has quadrupled in the past year and over half those joining have been under 26 years old. Our younger members can see the opportunities which closer ties with our European neighbours afford & many of them will be representing us at the European Youth Council in Konstanz in November.
Belgian Refugees Ceremony on 1st April 2017
100,000 Belgian refugees were given shelter in Britain during the First World War – 6,000 of them in East Twickenham, which became known as the Belgian village on the Thames. Many of these refugees worked in the Pelabon munitions factory, founded by Monsieur Pelabon, which stood on a site which was later to be occupied by Richmond ice rink. A memorial to the refugees in Warren Gardens was unveiled by the Belgian ambassador on 1st April. Two hundred guests attended the ceremony, including a descendant of Monsieur Pelabon. There were presentations by local school children & the Royal Military Band played the national anthems of the UK & Belgium.
The memorial in Warren Gardens next to the Thames.
An exhibition about the Belgian Village was displayed in Twickenham Museum, 25, The Embankment, Twickenham from April until July.
Helen Baker with Guy Trouveroy, the Belgian Ambassador, after the ceremony.
Today we have refugees from war torn Syria. “Refugees Welcome in Richmond” is seeking to provide housing & support for Syrian refugees. For further information please click on the following link:
Um einen Bericht in deutscher Sprache zu lesen, klicken Sie auf diesen Link
Richmond Council Appoints “Twinning Champion”
One of our members, councillor Martin Seymour, has just been appointed as the borough’s “Twinning Champion.”
Martin first became interested in town twinning as a ten year old when he sat as Youth Twinning Representative on Clacton Urban District Council. That was a while back! His interest was re-ignited when, as Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, his very first official engagement was in Fontainebleau in 2015. Martin says, “Half of my relatives live on the continent. At a time when other ties are being broken the friendships & understanding that flow from Twinning are all the more important.”
Helen Evans Memorial Lunch
Pictures from the memorial lunch at Cote Bistro on 23rd March in honour of our former chairman, Helen Evans.
Fasnacht in Konstanz. February 2017
This is an annual carnaval in Konstanz when everyone goes crazy for a few days. Here is a report from the Südkurier Deutschland on 27th February.
“In Konstanz cross border friendships are traditionally celebrated, especially during Fasnacht. During the foolish season Bernd Steinlechner from Richmond is a regular guest. He was spotted yesterday at the Fish Market with Renate & Francis Hodsman from England who are now residents in Konstanz. Renate was an au-pair in London when she met Francis at his 21st birthday party and fell in love with him. They got married & lived in England. After Francis’ retirement they moved to Renate’s home town of Konstanz.”
Bernd is pictured below with the carnaval procession.
Visit to the German School in Petersham:
In December 2016 twenty six of our members visited the German International School in Ham, (Die Deutsche Schule London), with which the REA now has close links.