11th February 2021. REA members were treated to an online lecture on Napoleon III by David King MA., Officier de l’ordre des Arts & des Lettres et Chevalier des Palmes Académiques. This was followed by an interesting question & answer session.
Napoleon spent much of his childhood in Arenenberg on the shores of Lake Constance &, as Emperor of the French, he refurbished the splendid palace at Fontainebleau. He died in exile in England & members will be visiting his mausoleum in Farnborough later this year.
Mieux connaître votre ville jumelle: Fontainebleau
14th December 2020. The first on-line international exchange between the residents of Richmond & Fontainebleau took place in the presence of the deputy mayors of the twin towns. The event was hosted by ARCIF in Fontainebleau, with Christian Lequesne, the bi-lingual vice-president of ARCIF, the equivalent of REA in Fontainebleau, chairing proceedings.
After initial greetings from Evelyne Wenzel, the president of ARCIF, & Alan Mockford, the REA chairman, Judith Reynaud, the deputy mayor of Fontainebleau, & Julia Cambridge, the deputy mayor of Richmond welcomed everyone & reaffirmed the strong bonds between the twin towns.
Julia paid tribute to the sustained & lasting friendship between the twin towns. She said, “It’s more important than ever to keep these ties and perhaps to tighten them and further intertwine our close & eternal bond.”
For a full text of Julia’s welcome please click on the following link.
Participants were then treated to a series of brief presentations in French & English by residents of both towns. These ranged from the world famous château & forest of Fontainebleau to the Anglican church which can also be found in Fontainebleau and a traditional French recipe for Christmas stars with cinnamon.
Alternate presentations from Richmond, again in French & English, included traditional English Christmas customs, pétanque in Richmond, (yes, it is played in Richmond), & a request from a volleyball club in Richmond, which is seeking a partner in Fontainebleau.
Music was provided by St. Margaret’s Elastic Band. which is partnered with l’union musicale de Fontainebleau.
Please click on the following link to hear them play.
The event lasted just over two hours, but the time flew by &, all too soon, it was time to say adieu & to wish everyone “joyeux Noel.”
However the event was such a success that ARCIF is now planning to host a similar exchange with Konstanz in the new year.
Second New Town Twinning Information Board Unveiled
1st October 2020. Richmond Council leader, Gareth Roberts, & REA vice-chairman, Clare Head unveiled the second of the fabulous, new information boards about our twin towns of Fontainebleau & Konstanz in the garden of Orleans House to the accompaniment of Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
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 the French & in 1844 he revisited to the house with Queen Victoria & Prince Albert.
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. Afterwards Gareth congratulated the designer, Hugh Morrison, who is the REA treasurer.
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 stands next to a commemorative tree which was planted by the three mayors in the Terrace Gardens in 1990.
In August REA member, Davina Constance Marsh, as Miss Twickenham, reached the final of the Miss British Isles competition. 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 30 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.”
Eine neue Fähre für den Bodensee
26th June. The new ferry which will operate between Konstanz and Meersburg arrived in Konstanz for fitting out. With its Rolls-Royce gas turbine engines it will be one of the most environmentally friendly ferries in the world. At 80 metres in length it can transport up to 62 vehicles & 700 passengers on each crossing. If all goes to plan it will begin operation in early 2021.
Saturday 9th May 2020
Despite their isolation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, REA members joined their fellow Europeans in celebrating Europe Day on 9th May.
Council of Europe flags were flown, “Ode to Joy” was played in back gardens & members wore their blue & yellow.
9th May 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
On 9th May 1950 the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, proposed the creation of a European Coal & Steel Community in order to prevent another European war. Its founder members were France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg. Membership of this community gradually grew & it is now known as the European Union.
None of its members has been to war with another for 75 years & this peace is celebrated throughout Europe on 9th May each year.
For further information please click on the following links:
VE Day 8th May
8th May. The President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave a very moving speech in Berlin to commemorate the end of the war in Europe. He said,
“8th May 1945 was indeed a day of liberation……. (However) 8th May was not the end of liberation. Preserving freedom & democracy is the never-ending task it has bequeathed us.”
For the full text of his speech please click on the following link.
26th April 2020. The 75th anniversary of the occupation of Konstanz by French troops near the end of WW2. There had been a negotiated surrender & many locals cheered the troops as they entered the town distributing cigarettes, chocolates & confectionery. The war ended 2 weeks later on 8th May.
The rapport with the French grew & this led ultimately to the twinning of Konstanz with Fontainebleau in 1960.
For further details (in German) please click on the following link.
19th – 21st February 2020. Richmond Mayor, Nancy Baldwin, led a small delegation of REA members to the annual Fasnacht celebrations in Konstanz. Nancy is probably the first German speaking mayor of Richmond to visit our twin town. She is pictured left with former REA chairman, Bernd Steinlechner, who regularly goes to Konstanz dressed as one of Richmond’s most famous residents.
After enjoying a hectic programme of activities Bernd was invited over the border to Switzerland for dinner with the Riehle family. There he was able to renew acquaintance with Julius Riehle, who spent last summer with us in Richmond.
February 2020. Both the Mayor of Fontainebleau & the Oberbürgermeister of Konstanz agreed to become joint patrons of the Richmond in Europe Association.
In his letter of acceptance Oberbürgermeister Uli Burchardt wrote that he was pleased to accept the position of patron as a visible sign of the bonds between the towns. His acceptance was confirmed in a brief ceremony in the town hall in Konstanz.
It is hoped that a similar ceremony can be arranged with the mayor of Fontainebleau in the near future.
The REA letterhead will now be amended to reflect the triple endorsement of the three mayors. Their support will also confirm the intention of all three towns to maintain & strengthen the ties between us.
French Connections with Constance
Napoleon III, the last Emperor of the French, enjoyed many summers as man and boy at the family home of Schloss Arenenberg, which enjoys a beautiful location on the banks of Lake Constance overlooking the Reichenau.
As a teenager, the future Napoleon III commissioned the construction of a tower on the hill above the palace, which afforded panoramic views of Konstanz, der Bodensee, die Reichenau & the Swiss Alps. Unfortunately the tower eventually became dilapidated & it was demolished.
In 2017 the tower was reconstructed in Wäldi. Local residents sponsored each of the 208 steps leading to the viewing platform which is 36.4 metres high. Entrance is free & you won’t see many people there as it’s a hidden treasure. It was recently recommended to REA members by one of our local contacts. The panorama is truly spectacular.
As Emperor, Napoleon III lived in his palace at Fontainebleau, but, because of his childhood, he always spoke French with a slight German accent.
February 2020. During his recent visit to Konstanz, REA chairman, Alan Mockford, was invited by English teacher, Petra Matthisson, to participate in a lesson at the Ellenrieder Gymnasium. The children, who already speak English very well, will be coming to Richmond this summer for their annual exchange with Hampton & Lady Eleanor Holles Schools. They had prepared lots of interesting questions about England which Alan tried his best to answer. Better still they will find out for themselves in July.
The children of the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule in Konstanz will also be coming to Richmond in July for their annual exchange with Teddington School. Alan was invited to the school by English teacher, Jürgen Streicher, & was also delighted to meet the headteacher, Thomas Adam.
February 2020. Alan also visited the Riehle family during his stay. Abiturient, Julius Riehe, from Konstanz spent the summer of 2019 working as a intern in the Museum of Richmond to improve his English. He also stayed with local families & got to know many REA members.
The family live in Tägerwilen, which lies just over the Swiss border, but as there is freedom of movement the Swiss & Germans are free to live, work, study or shop wherever they please.
Julius’ father, Hans-Martin, is a pathologist & his mother, Ulrike, is a Latin teacher. The Riehle family introduced Alan to many of the hidden treasures of Konstanz & the surrounding area, such as the Napoleon Turm, Arenenberg & the Schule Schloss Salem where Prince Philip studied from 1932-3.
Julius is currently studying Law at the University of Konstanz. His older sister Friederike is studying medicine. His younger sister, Constanze, plays the cello & will be coming to Richmond in March to perform with the Suso Gymnasium Orchestra. (For further details please see the Forthcoming Events page.)
University of Konstanz
Alan also caught up with Katharina Land & Tina Merzan, two Erasmus students, who studied English for a semester at St. Mary’s University in 2018-19. Tina is currently studying for her masters degree. Her aim is to become a teacher & work in Switzerland.
The students invited Alan to lunch in the University of Konstanz refectory, which enjoys possibly the best view of any university cafeteria in the world.
Arbeitssitzung in Konstanz
21st January. REA chairman, Alan, Mockford, was invited to a working meeting with local community groups in the town hall in Konstanz to discuss plans for the reaffirmation of the partnerships with Konstanz & Fontainebleau, which will be taking place in Richmond from 26th-28th June this year. So far about 150 people from Konstanz have booked their passage & accommodation. These include councillors, the Musikschule, two Fanfarenzuge, the Fahnenschwinger, the Pipes of Konstanz & the Feuerwehr.
Der Konstanzer Bürgerempfang 2020
The annual Bürgerempfang took place on 12th January. Oberbürgermeister, Uli Burchardt, outlined the measures Konstanz council will be taking to address the climate emergency. (Der Klima-Notstand). Konstanz was the first council in Germany to declare a climate emergency. Richmond Council has followed suit. The theme for the reaffirmation of the partnership, which will take place in Richmond in 2020, will be “The Climate Emergency.”
REA Christmas Dinner 2019
6th December. The annual Christmas dinner alternates between French & German restaurants. This year members enjoyed traditional Bavarian hospitality & cuisine at Stein’s in Kingston.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
1st December. REA members were invited by Paul Douglas to a private viewing of the Richmond Art Society, which is twinned with Art Fontainebleau. Among the fabulous array of art was this stunning acrylic painting of the view of London from Richmond Park by Helen Duffy.
“Autumn Glow” by Helen Duffy
REA secretary, Carol Wain, with new member Sylvia Smith.
19th November. There was standing room only at a packed information evening about the 2020 reaffirmation, which was held in the Salon & Winter Garden of York House.
Representatives of about 70 local clubs, churches, associations & schools, who had expressed interest in taking part in the celebrations, were welcomed by the deputy mayor, James Chard. REA chairman, Alan Mockford, introduced many of the representatives while outlining the draft plans. This was followed by an opportunity for networking.
If you would like your group to join in the fun please write to
For further information please click on the 2020 Reaffirmation link at the top of this page.
13th November. The Salon at York House was full for the annual general meeting. Chairman, Alan Mockford, highlighted some of the achievements of the past year & outlined the association’s plans for the future. He welcomed Clare Head as the new vice chairman, & thanked members for all their support.
The formal business was followed by a wine & cheese buffet.
22nd October. After dining at Valentino’s Bellissimo in Twickenham a group of members thoroughly enjoyed a screening of “Loving Vincent,” at the Exchange, Twickenham.
People’s Vote March
19th October 2019
One million people joined REA members in a march on Parliament to demand a People’s Vote.
2020 Poster Competition Winners Honoured
16th October. Selim Bener & Clara de Sancha, the young winners of the competition to design the official poster for the 2020 reaffirmation, which is taking place in Richmond from 26th-28th June, were invited to tea at York House by the Mayor of Richmond, councillor Nancy Baldwin, who is also President of the Richmond in Europe Association. The leader of the council, Gareth Roberts, also dropped in to congratulate the winners.
School Exchanges with Konstanz
October 2019. REA chairman, Alan Mockford, was delighted to renew acquaintance with the teachers from the Ellenrieder Gymnasium during their school exchange with Lady Eleanor Holles & Hampton Schools.
The children & teachers from the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule were also in Richmond for their annual exchange with Teddington School.
Both these enormously successful exchanges have been taking place for over 30 years. What better way is there to learn another language than to spend time in the country of your chosen language? Children also experience another culture & make new friends.
We were delighted to welcome both the staff & children to Richmond and the flag of Konstanz was hung from the tower of St. Mary’s church in Twickenham for the duration of their stay.
For a full report on the Ellenrieder Gymnasium visit please click on the following link.
European Parliament Visit
7th-11th October 2019. 23 REA members were invited by MEP Bill Newton-Dunn, who is also an REA member, to visit the European Parliament in Brussels.
Thanks to Bill’s secretary, Beatrice, we were granted access to every part of the building, including the hemicycle & central lobby, where we mingled with those who are shaping the future of Europe.
After a full tour of the buildings REA members had reserved seats in the visitors’ gallery for an update on Brexit from Jean-Claude Juncker & Michel Barnier.
On the days before & after the visit members took the opportunity to visit the famous sights of Brussels. These included le Grand Place & the Manneken Pis.
On the evening before the tour of parliament Bill invited members to dinner in the traditional aux Armes de Bruxelles which is situated near le Grand Place, which was even more spectacular by night.
The European Parliament visit occupied the whole of 9th October as there was so much to see & do. At the end of the tour members were briefed by a top EU official on the current negotiations over Brexit. He also debunked many of the myths about the European Union. You can see his presentation slides by clicking on the following link.
Belgium has always been a European crossroads which is one reason Brussels was chosen as the centre of the European Union. However in the past this central location meant that the country was a constant battlefield. Several members stayed on an extra day to visit the site of the Battle of Waterloo, which is just south of Brussels.
The brand new visitor centre includes a 4D cinema which gives you the feeling that you are in heart of the battle. Outside there are costumed interpreters recreating the lives of the Napoleonic soldiers, firing cannons & teaching visitors how to drill & fire a musket.
Members learned that Wellington & his officers spent the evening before the battle in 1815 at a ball held by the Duchess of Richmond in Brussels.
Members discovered that the vast majority of the British army, numbering 94,000 men, were German speaking. (The largest contingent coming from Hanover.) The British forces were supported by 123,000 Prussians under the command of Prince Blücher, (after whom a pub in Twickenham is named).
Thus the Battle of Waterloo was largely a fight between the French & the Germans with only 25,000 British troops involved.
The French & Germans fought each other again in 1870, 1914 & 1939. Thankfully today we are all friends & Belgium is at peace. A plaque in an exhibition in the European Parliament quotes Churchill’s famous words at the end of the second world war.
2020 Poster Competition Winners Announced
The result of the competition to design the poster to promote the reaffirmation of the twinning, which will be taking place in Richmond next year, was announced.
The winner is Selim Bener (aged 11), who attends Orleans Park School in Twickenham. Selim lives near Richmond Bridge, which provided the inspiration for his painting.
The standard of entries was extremely high. A winner was chosen in each age category & Selim’s design was selected as the overall winner.
Selim’s stunning poster will be displayed in the three towns, on the various websites & on social media.
Clara de Sancha’s poster was the winner in the 12-16 age group.
Sarah Urbatschek was the winner in the 17-18 age group.
The winners will be invited to tea with the mayor at York House in October & all 3 posters will be exhibited in Orleans House Gallery next year
For further information about the exciting events planned for next year please click on the “2020 Reaffirmation” link at the top of the page.
In August we were very pleased to welcome Julius Riehle from Konstanz, who spent the summer in Richmond working as a volunteer at the Museum of Richmond.
On his arrival he was greeted by several REA members at Brenda Morris’ house.
During his stay Julius visited York House, Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, Brentford Football Club, Richmond Park & many other local attractions as well as making several trips to central London, which is only 15 minutes away.
He also went sailing on the Thames & steered a motor launch from Thames Ditton to Hampton.
Julius also played tennis at St. Mary’s Tennis Club, which is twinned with Konstanz Tennis Club.
On his return Julius will begin a law degree at the University of Konstanz.
Therefore he took the opportunity, while here, to visit St. Mary’s University at Strawberry Hill, which is twinned with the University of Konstanz through the Erasmus programme.
We look forward to renewing acquaintance with Julius & meeting the rest of his family when we go to Konstanz in the future.
Latest School Exchange with Konstanz
July. Pupils from Lady Eleanor Holles & Hampton School have just returned from their annual exchange with the Ellenrieder-Gymnasium in Konstanz. This very successful exchange has been taking place for over 30 years.
Anyone for Tennis?
9th-15th July 2019. Jürgen Kern of Konstanz Tennis Club was invited to Richmond by REA chairman, Alan Mockford. During his stay Jürgen went to Wimbledon where he saw both Serena Williams & Simona Halep play.
Jürgen was also invited by REA member, James Marsh, to play on the grass courts at Whitton Park Tennis Club.
This was the first time that Jürgen had ever played on grass as there are so few grass courts in Germany. Being a natural serve & volleyer, Jürgen found that the grass suited his game.
Konstanz Tennis Club has clay courts, of course. It is partnered with St. Mary’s Tennis Club in Isleworth, which is one the few clubs in England to also have clay.
During Jürgen’s brief stay in Richmond there was also time to see some of the world famous sights.
Jürgen war überrascht, dass Richmond so viel anzubieten hat und er hat nur die Spitze des Eisbergs gesehen.
4th-8th July. The Richmond Shakespeare Society Young Actors performed to critical acclaim in Malta.
For further details please click on the following link:
Das Sommerfest der Deutschen Sprache
3rd July. Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler were the keynote speakers at the annual German Teacher Awards, which were presented at the German Ambassador’s Residence in Belgravia.
REA President, Nancy Baldwin, & REA chairman, Alan Mockford, were among the invited guests. Julia, as the mouse, performed “The Gruffalo” in German with the help of Axel, as the owl, and other guests playing the part of the fox & the snake.
Finally Axel sketched the characters on a large flip chart.
Mayor’s Civic Service
30th June. The formal civic service for the new mayor of Richmond (& REA President), Nancy Baldwin, took place at St. Mary’s Church, Twickenham. The flag of our twin town of Konstanz was flown before & during the service.
It is hoped that the borough will be festooned with the flags of all our twin towns for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the twinnings, which will take place in Richmond in June 2020. For further information please click on the 2020 Reaffirmation link at the top of this page.
REA Annual Garden Party
29th June. The Gods smiled on the REA Annual Garden Party which was once again hosted by Brenda Morris in East Sheen in glorious Mediterannean weather. A cosmopolitan gathering of members enjoyed a sumptuous feast in a convivial setting.
REA member Bill Newton-Dunn, who was recently elected to the European Parliament, was the guest of honour. Between courses Bill updated everyone with the latest news from Brussels. He also invited REA members to a tour of the European Parliament on 9th October.
If you are interested in accepting this invitation please write to
Richmond Art Society Summer Exhibition
28th June. The Richmond Art Society, which is twinned with Art Fontainebleau, staged its summer exhibition at the Landmark Arts Centre.
Twilight of the Beggars
12th & 13th June. The world premiere of “The Twilight of the Beggars” was performed at the Deutsche Schule London in Ham to critical acclaim.
For a full report please click on the following link:
Abiturfeier der Deutschen Schule London
and Ham Fair
Both simultaneous events were outstanding successes. Congratulations were extended by the REA chairman to the multi-lingual, talented & hard-working Abiturientinnen und Abiturienten der Deutschen Schule.
At the same time REA volunteers were able to engage with hundreds of local residents at the fair & many new members were recruited. Particular interest was expressed in our links with Konstanz by German speaking visitors to the fair, of which there were a multitude. Ham has a very large German community, partly because the German School is located here. Consequently there are also many German shops. German is the second most widely spoken mother tongue in the borough of Richmond. If you want to sample German food or practise your German there is no need to go to Germany, Austria or Switzerland – just go to Ham.
1st June – European Youth Orchestra
The European Youth Orchestra, comprising musicians from Konstanz, Fontainebleau, Lodi & Richmond, performed in Konstanz.
Das Konzert war ein voller Erfolg.
The orchestra will be performing in Richmond on 28th June 2020 as the climax to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the twinning of Fontainebleau, Konstanz & Richmond.
England beat Germany on Penalties
May 2019. Ten teachers from Teddington School competed against teachers from the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule, Konstanz in a 5 a side football tournament in Germany. Teddington has had an annual school exchange with the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule for 30 years.
Incredibly one of the English teams reached the final & won on penalties! It is hoped to invite the teachers from Konstanz, plus a team of teachers from Fontainebleau, to play in a tournament in Richmond during the weekend of the 60th anniversary celebrations in June 2020.
Anniversaire des 90 Ans de St. Aspais
May 2019. The children, in blue, & their teachers, in white, celebrated the 90th anniversary of the oldest school in Fontainebleau, Jeanne d’Arc Saint Aspais, in the grounds of the world famous château.
Twickenham Green Fair 27th May 2019
REA President & Richmond Mayor, Nancy Baldwin, dropped in at the REA stand at Twickenham Green Fair on bank holiday Monday. Despite the inclement weather there was a good turnout of local residents & a lot of interest was expressed in our links with both Fontainebleau & Konstanz. Children were shown how to play pétanque & several new members were recruited.
26th May 2019. Two REA members, Bill Newton Dunn & Dinesh Dhamija, were elected as Members of the European Parliament. Bill subsequently invited REA members to visit the parliament in Brussels & a large number took up his kind offer.
Visitors from Fontainebleau
18th May 2019. The REA committee invited two guests from Fontainebleau, Lorna & Alain Guerin, to tea at Clare Head’s house in Teddington.
Lorna, an ARCIF committee member, was in Richmond with her husband, Alain, at the invitation of local pétanque players, who visited Fontainebleau last year.
The New President of the Richmond in Europe Association
The Mayor of Richmond is also the President of the Richmond in Europe Association. On 14th May Ben Khosa passed on his chain of office to the new mayor, Nancy Baldwin. As well as being a councillor, Nancy is also an actress & the first American mayor of a London borough. We thank Ben for all his support during the past year & look forward to working with Nancy in the future.
Richmond Fair 12th May 2019
The REA stand also generated a lot of interest at Richmond Fair. The weather was kind & our team of enthusiastic volunteers engaged with hundreds of local residents, explaining about Fontainebleau & Konstanz &, in particular, the 60th anniversary of the first twinning, which will be taking place in Richmond next year.
The mini-pétanque provided an attraction for younger residents and..
members of many clubs and associations expressed interest in finding a French or German partner or in taking part in the celebrations next year. Many new members were also recruited.
If you would like your club or association to become involved please write to
REA Group Visits Fontainebleau
6th -10th May 2019. A group of REA members, led by secretary, Carol Wain, enjoyed warm French hospitality during a cultural trip to Fontainebleau.
Amongst a packed programme they were invited to the Place de la Républic for the unveiling of a new sculpture, named Europe & the Bull, which was created by German sculptor, Michael Jastram, to symbolise the peace of Europe.
A tour of the world famous château was a must. It’s more impressive than Versailles, but attracts fewer tourists.
France also has elections to the European Parliament this month & a group of supporters for the renaissance of Europe was pleased to pose for a photo in the Place de la République.
After a trip to the artists’ village of Barbizon a farewell meal was enjoyed at BiBoViNo.
Au revoir et à la prochaine.
To read a more detailed report please click on the following link.
Konstanz Council Declares Climate Emergency
2nd May 2019. Konstanz Council became the first council in Germany to declare a climate emergency.
For further details please click on the following link.
Nous parlons français
The children of St. James’ School, Twickenham are a rare exception in this country. They can speak French!
REA members Sophia Siddiqui & Alan Mockford were recently privileged to observe Madame Dion-Jones’ inspirational lesson with year 5 children. French is embedded in the life & ethos of the school from the start and by the time children move on to secondary school they are confident in speaking & understanding the language. This hour long lesson was conducted almost entirely in French.
REA is seeking to promote & share the outstanding practice at St. James with other schools & we hope that our many French speaking members may be able further to assist with the teaching & learning of French.
For further information about the teaching of French at St. James School please contact Madame Dion-Jones on 0208 898 4670 or click on the following link.
Mayor’s Sky Dive for Charity
24th March. REA President & Mayor of Richmond, Ben Khosa, joined Cllr. Avril Coelho, Cllr. Andrée Frieze, Shimon Morad, Catherine Hogarth, Michelle Beaumont, Don Rainbow & Peter Sass in a sky dive from 12,000 feet for his chosen charity of Refuge.
The magnificent 8 boarded the plane with some trepidation. Then it was time to JUMP!
Fortunately all landed safely. There was no need for any by-elections & £5,000 was raised for charity.
The Royal Tennis Court, Hampton Court Palace
24th March. Thierry Bernard-Tambour, the President of the Jeu de Paume Club in Fontainebleau, & Tom Dutheil, the Vice-President, visited Hampton Court to meet Michael Day, the chairman of the Royal Tennis Court & REA chairman, Alan Mockford, to discuss the twinning of the two real tennis clubs. Discussions also focussed on the year 2020, which marks the 30th anniversary of the reopening of the real tennis court in the Château de Fontainebleau, the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold & the 60th anniversary of the twinning between Fontainebleau, Konstanz & Richmond, which will be commemorated in Richmond.
For further details about the Royal Tennis Court please go their website
or write to
For further details about the Jeu de Paume Club in Fontainebleau please go to their website
or write to
People’s Vote March
23rd March. Over one million people joined REA members on the People’s Vote March on Parliament.
For further information & a film of the more than one million marchers please click on the following link:
There is also a petition to revoke Article 50 which has been signed by almost 6 million UK voters.
Fontainebleau Mayor in London
March 2019. Frédéric Valletoux was in London for the first summit of Franco-British mayors. He was accompanied by France’s Europe Minister, Nathalie Loiseau. Frédéric was invited as delegate President of the French Association of the Council of European Municipalities & Regions. The summit gave him the opportunity to highlight the 40 year partnership between Fontainebleau & Richmond.
For further information please click on the following link
The President of ARCIF in Richmond
From 25th February – 1st March 2019 Madame Evelyne Wenzel, the President of ARCIF, was in Richmond to meet the leader of the council, Gareth Roberts, the REA committee & community groups to discuss preparations for the 60th anniversary of the partnerships with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which will take place in Richmond on 27th/28th June 2020.
Evelyne presented Gareth with a Fontainebleau flag, which now adorns the foyer to York House. She then visited the civic centre to admire the large REA poster which greets you as you enter the building.
Among the community group leaders she met was Aileen Douthwaite of Richmond Music Trust. Young musicians from Fontainebleau, Konstanz, Lodi & Richmond perform regularly together as a European Youth Orchestra. Their next performance is in Konstanz in May.
The incredible summer weather enabled the reception with the REA committee to be held in the garden of Brenda Morris’ house.
In a packed programme Evelyne was given a private tour of Hampton Court Palace by the State Apartment Warder team leader, David Packer. The Palace enjoys strong connections with the Château de Fontainebleau which go back many centuries.
2020 marks not only the 60th anniversary of the twinning, but the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold, when Henry VIII met François I to celebrate the friendship between the two renaissance princes. François lived at the Château de Fontainebleau. The famous painting of this stupendous festival can be seen at the Hampton Court.
We hope to work closely with Hampton Court Palace in commemorating both events.
Real tennis/jeu de paume is played at both Hampton Court & the Château de Fontainebleau & there are regular matches between the two clubs. Evelyne was able to meet Nick Wood, the real tennis head professional, during her visit to the palace.
After Hampton Court Evelyne went on to Ham, where she met Howard Davis, the chairman of Ham Polo Club, which has close links with the Polo Club de Fontainebleau. It is hoped that both real tennis & polo will be part of the festivities in 2020.
Finally Evelyne was a guest of honour at an operatic charity dinner at Valentino’s Bellissimo in Twickenham, hosted by the Mayor, Ben Khosa, to raise money for Refuge.
Clarinda Chan sang beautifully
A large number of REA members were amongst the 80 guests, which included the mayors of Kingston & Bromley as well as Richmond.
Fasnacht in Konstanz 2019
The weather was beautiful for this year’s carnival in Konstanz. This was one of many pictures sent to our former chairman, Bernd Steinlechner, who, sadly, was unable to attend this year.
Christmas in New Zealand
This winter REA chairman, Alan Mockford, was in New Zealand, which is full of Germans, especially at this time of year. Many come from the Konstanz area. Some spend just our winter/their summer on the other side of the world & are known as “swallows.” Others have made their lives there, such as Dietlind Wagner, the captain of Kerikeri Tennis Club.
Christmas Dinner 2018
The REA annual Christmas Dinner was held at Chez Lindsay on 7th December. Over 30 members enjoyed the delicious French cuisine and delightful multi-cultural & multi-lingual company.
19th November 2018. Katharina Land, an Erasmus student from the University of Konstanz, joined fellow Erasmus students at St. Mary’s University in promoting the benefits of the Erasmus scheme to British students. Katherina remarked that studying abroad is very common in Germany, but does not appear to be so popular in England. This is something REA is seeking to address as Erasmus offers students such a wonderful opportunity to study in another European country.
For further information about how to study abroad please click on the following link.
Alternatively please write to
email@example.com in England
or Melanie Hochstätter in Germany
To see a film about Konstanz please click on the following link.
REA AGM 14th November 2018
The Winter Garden at York House was packed on 14th November 2018 for the annual general meeting of the Richmond in Europe Association.
The guest of honour was the deputy mayor of Richmond, councillor Mona Adams, who presented REA chairman, Alan Mockford with a certificate & prize of £500 awarded by the Skipton Building Society for the work the association does in promoting the benefits of linguistic & cultural diversity.
743 organisations applied for the prize & the Richmond in Europe Association was selected as one of the winners after a public vote.
After the formal business of the evening members enjoyed a delicious wine, cheese & cold meat buffet.
Armistice Day 2018
Former chairman, Rodney Mantle, represented REA at the Armistice Day ceremony at the Richmond war memorial, laying a wreath on behalf of the association. The ceremony followed a parade from Old Deer Park led by REA President & Richmond Mayor, Ben Khosa.
Meanwhile in France, REA vice chair, Helen Baker, & councillor Penny Frost represented REA & the borough of Richmond at the Armistice Day commemorations in Fontainebleau. On 9th they joined Frédéric Valletoux, the mayor of Fontainebleau and Uli Berhardt, the Oberbürgermeister of Konstanz, at a concert for peace & reconciliation. Penny gave a speech in French, which was very well received. Prior to the concert they visited a First World War exhibition which will also be seen by a thousand schoolchildren this week.
On 10th November there was an open air concert followed by a candlelit procession to the war memorial, which was illuminated for the occasion.
The Act of Remembrance took place on the morning of 11th when there was a joint laying of wreaths by the Konstanz, Fontainebleau & Richmond representatives to affirm the peace & friendship which now exist between us.
Back in Richmond on the afternoon of 11th, Orleans House Gallery was packed for an Arts Richmond poetry & music commemoration. Local poets, including REA members Carol Wain & Anne Warrington, read their own works. Other readings were from the famous works of the war poets.
On 10th November 2018 President Macron & Chancellor Merkel met at Compiègne for a very moving ceremony of peace, reconciliation & friendship to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
REA Awarded a Prize
On 5th November it was announced that the Richmond in Europe Association has been awarded a prize of £500 by the Skipton Building Society for its work in promoting the benefits of linguistic & cultural diversity.
743 organisations applied for the prize & the Richmond in Europe Association was selected as one of the winners after a public vote.
Civic Centre promotes Richmond’s partnership with Fontainebleau & Konstanz
1st November 2018. When you enter Richmond civic centre the first sight which now greets you, after passing the European Union flag, is posters & leaflets promoting the town’s European partners of Fontainebleau & Konstanz. You can also obtain the new REA business cards, featuring a recent picture of the Château de Fontainebleau, at the main reception. Visitors cannot fail to appreciate that Richmond values its European connections.
First World War Centenary Poetry Walk
A well attended WWI poetry walk, organised by Arts Richmond in association with REA, was held on Sunday 21st October. For a full report please click on the following link.:
European Union Flag Hoisted by Richmond Council
The European Union flag was hoisted in front of Richmond Civic Centre by council leader, Gareth Roberts, and fellow councillors to co-incide with the the People’s Vote march on 20th October.
The flag will continue to be flown while Britain remains a member of the EU.
People’s Vote March
20th October 2018 700,000 people joined REA members in a march for a People’s Vote on Brexit once the facts are known.
Even more people have signed a petition calling for a people’s vote. If you would like to sign the petition please click on the following link:
Fontainebleau Hike October 2018
REA members were invited to a fascinating 8 kilometre hike in the world famous Forêt de Fontainebleau led by local guide Monsieur Polton.
The mayor of Fontainebleau, Frédéric Valletoux, welcomed the delegation from Richmond.
One of the many highlights of the visit was a fabulous recital of pieces by Beethoven, Franck, Couperin, Ravel & Wagner by the brilliant pianist, Tanguy de Williencourt in the town’s magnificent theatre.
REA members were invited to a reception by the Comité de Jumelage prior to the performance. It was an opportunity to meet up with old friends & to make new ones. Discussions also took place about the forthcoming 60th anniversary of the twinning which takes place in Richmond in 2020.
On the following day REA members visited the world famous Château de Fontainebleau. The weather was glorious & the palace looked stunning.
On the next day a new partnership was initiated with Fontainebleau Tennis Club
and discussions took place with the headteacher & staff at the Lycée International François I. It is hoped this will lead to links with Richmond at primary, secondary & undergraduate level.
Richmond Honours Konstanz
9th October 2018 The flag of Konstanz was hoisted in front of the civic centre in Twickenham in honour of the children & teachers of the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule and das Ellenrieder Gymnasium in Konstanz, who visited Richmond this autumn for their annual exchanges with Teddington, Hampton & Lady Eleanor Holles schools.
Three teachers from the Ellenrieder Gymnasium were invited by the mayor, Ben Khosa, to York House where they were also greeted by the leader of the council, Gareth Roberts, REA chairman, Alan Mockford & former REA chairman, Rodney Mantle. After the hoisting of the striking Konstanz flag our guests enjoyed a guided tour of York House & its beautiful gardens which border the Thames. Richmond children will be visiting Konstanz next summer.
Many more schools in Konstanz are seeking exchanges with schools in Richmond. If you know of a school which would like an exchange with Konstanz please write to
China Great & Small
6th October 35 REA members & guests, including three from contrasting parts of China, attended a fascinating illustrated presentation by former REA chairman, Rodney Mantle, who worked for almost ten years in China, teaching English as a foreign language & for academic purposes. Rodney was able to travel widely in China & reached places far off the usual tourist routes. Thus he was able to share his experiences of the not so well known parts of China.
The presentation was followed by a delicious Chinese banquet provided by “The Lucky Garden” Chinese takeaway of St. Margarets (0208 892 7363)
Rodney made reference to our twin town of Konstanz which is also twinned with the beautiful town of Suzhou, which is the Chinese equivalent of Venice. A delegation from Konstanz is visiting Suzhou this month.
Also on 6th October an Oktoberfest took place at the Deutsche Schule London. Despite the dreadful weather over a thousand people, many of whom were dressed in traditional Bavarian costume, crammed into the school buildings where they were able to sample German food & beer while listening to the music or chatting with friends.
It was remarkable to hear children switching between English and German with impressive fluency & perfect pronunciation. The best time to learn a foreign language is when you are young, but it’s never too late to learn. (If you would like to learn or improve your French or German please go to our “Current Partnerships” page.)
Seven Erasmus students from the University of Konstanz, Japan & America, who are currently studying at St. Mary’s University, joined the party & met some of the staff from the German school.
It is hoped that undergraduates from Konstanz will visit the school to share their experience of the Erasmus programme with those currently applying for university places.
Willkommen in Richmond
In October 44 students & their teachers from the Ellenrieder Gymnasium came to Richmond for their annual exchange with Hampton & Lady Eleanor Holles schools. REA chairman, Alan Mockford, & the mayor of Richmond, Ben Khosa, greeted the children & their teachers before they set off to see the museums of Kensington.
The Hampton & LEH students will be visiting Konstanz next summer.
In September 2018. Richmond Mayor & REA President, Ben Khosa, welcomed 42 students & their teachers from the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule in Konstanz. The pupils are in Richmond for their annual exchange with Teddington School. Children from Teddington were in Konstanz in July.
18th September. The second free “Introduction to Pétanque” session for REA members was held on the Palewell Common Terrain in East Sheen. Despite the unfavourable weather there was a good turnout & soon everyone was playing. Anyone of any age or ability can play. If you would like a free lesson please contact Len Griffiths on 0208 878 6865
Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme
21st August 2018. The liberator of Chile from Spanish colonial rule, Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme, lived in Richmond from 1795-98; there is a statue to him in O’Higgins Square, by Richmond Bridge. Every year a ceremony is held by the statue on O’Higgins’ birthday. This year, for the first time, REA was represented by vice-chair, Helen Baker & former chairman, Rodney Mantle. Representatives were invited from the Chilean Embassy, with a speech by the military attaché, Colonel Christian Bolivar Romero, who with the ambassador, H.E. Mr. David Gallagher, laid a wreath. Other wreaths were laid by the mayor of Richmond, Ben Khosa, and various Chilean organisations, including Casa Chilena. The deputy-mayor of Richmond, Mona Adams, was also present. The ceremony ended with the playing of “The Last Post” by a member of the Welsh Guards.
A Taste of France
17 adults and children attended the first REA “Introduction to Pétanque” session on the special terrain on Palewell Common on 13th August. Palewell Common is twinned with Le Club de Boules de Fontainebleau-Avon.
Deputy Mayor, Mona Adams, welcomed the players before instruction began. The game is very easy to learn & soon everyone was playing.
If you missed this session & would would like to attend the next one please contact Len Griffiths on 0208 878 6865 or 07904 119521
You can also join others to play, free of charge, every Sunday & Friday at 2 p.m. Please contact John Hockley on 07817 088974 if you would like a game.
Students from Hampton & Lady Eleanor Holles Schools in Konstanz July 2018
Fontainebleau Celebrates the French World Cup Triumph
15th July 2018
REA members attend Belgian Cenotaph Parade.
Members of the Richmond in Europe Association & East Twickenham Centennial Group were invited to attend the Belgian Cenotaph parade in London on Saturday 14th July. Belgium is the only foreign country whose forces are allowed to march past the Cenotaph in appreciation of the part Belgium played in the Great War.
This year however, because of security concerns, the march took place in Horse Guards Parade. The occasion was graced by their Majesties, the King & Queen of the Belgians.
Mayor’s Civic Service
8th July 2018
One of the first acts of REA President & new Mayor of Richmond, Ben Khosa, was to hang the magnificent engraving of Fontainebleau, which was presented to REA by Evelyne Wenzel of ARCIF, outside the mayor’s parlour in York House. Ben was delighted to show the engraving to guests after his civic service in St. Mary’s Church on 8th July.
St. Margarets Fair
The REA stand attracted much attention at St. Margarets Fair on 7th July. Amongst many interested visitors were our president, Ben Khosa, and his wife.
Later in the afternoon another of our members, Sir Vince Cable, with suitable protection from the sun, lent his support.
Len Griffiths taught children how to play pétanque while their parents discussed the opportunities which twinning affords. Much interest was generated and several new members were recruited.
REA Annual Garden Party 2018
Over 30 members attended the annual garden party in East Sheen on 30th June.
The weather was glorious and members enjoyed a delicious main course buffet followed by strawberries, blackberries & cream.
Brenda Morris’ house provided a wonderful setting for members to get to know one another.
Das Sommerfest der Deutschen Sprache
REA chairman, Alan Mockford, was invited to the annual German teacher awards at the German Ambassador’s residence on 29th June 2018. Novelist & screenwriter Ian McEwan gave the keynote speech, partly in English & partly in German. For a full report please click on the following link.
Afterwards a very important guest dropped in to add her congratulations.
(Please look carefully at the photo)
People’s Vote March
23rd June 2018. 100,000 people joined REA members on a march on Parliament to demand a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.
Speakers included local M.P. Sir Vince Cable, Caroline Lucas, David Lammy, Anna Soubry & Tony Robinson who were united in their wish to give the British people the final say on their future once the outcome of the negotiations is known. If you would like to sign the petition please click on the following link:
A Visitor from Konstanz
The president of Konstanz Tennis Club, Michael Jack, paid a flying visit to Richmond on 18th-19th June. Konstanz tennis club is twinned with St. Mary’s Tennis club. After a brief tour of the town Michael cycled back to Konstanz via London, Newhaven, Dieppe & Paris.
German School Graduation
The mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Ben Khosa, & REA vice-chair, Helen Baker, attended the annual graduation at the German school in Petersham on 11th June 2018. After opening words from the Principal, Christian Nitschke, the graduating students were presented with their certificates & special prizes were awarded to outstanding students in a range of subjects. In return the students presented bouquets to their two principal teachers. The event ended in a moving contemporary recital by gifted student musicians, followed by a lively reception with smoked salmon & sausage nibbles & chocolate strawberries to die for.
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, (which now hangs outside the Mayor’s Parlour in York House).
Alan 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.