We are the East Twickenham Centennial Group, created in 2014 to commemorate the First World War Belgian Refugees in Twickenham and Richmond. We now have over 100 members, with Helen Baker as Chair and Su Bonfanti as Secretary.
Since 2014 we have:
* followed up our story in Richmond and Belgium
* traced and spoken with some Belgian Refugee descendants
* given talks to local history societies and museums, and to the Richmond Literature Festival
* won publicity for our Belgian story in the press and on TV
* created a concept for the memorial, secured consents, and located a qualified craftsman (Kristoffel Boudens from Bruges)
How We Fit In
East Twickenham Centennial Group (us!) is part of an overall network of neighbourhood groups called "East Twickenham Village". This name is a bit confusing so we sometimes call it the "East Twickenham Village Group".
Two very active groups within ETV are the East Twickenham Traders Association and the Friends of Cambridge Gardens. The Traders Association promotes shops and businesses. FOCG works to improve our two local parks, Cambridge and Warren Gardens, and also puts on community events.
Both these parks were part of the Pelabon Factory lands in 1914 and Warren Gardens (as it is now) ran all along the frontage of the factory building which later became Richmond Ice Rink. The Belgian Refugee Memorial will stand just by the River Thames in the centre of Warren Gardens.
Both FOCG and the Traders Association are active partners with ETCG in the East Twickenham Belgian Refugee Project. The Project, led by ETCG, has four aims:-
*fundraising to make all this happen
*achieving the Belgian Refugee Memorial
*organising a major commemoration in 2017 when the memorial is unveiled.