On the 27th March 1961 an obscure young English beat band started a 3-month residency at the notorious Reeperbahn Club in Hamburg. On the same day that The Beatles were tuning up, Ian Fleming published his 9th James Bond novel Thunderball and…. the Friends of Richmond Park held their first meeting at the Station Hotel, Richmond.

Whilst the Station Hotel has long gone, the FRP looks forward to celebrating 50 years on 27th March 2011 and plans are afoot to make the whole year rather special, marking the anniversary with a number of events. Central to many of our celebrations will be the involvement of the last surviving member of the original committee formed at the inaugural meeting.

A little over 50 years ago Wendy Macaulay, together with a handful of other Richmond locals, wished to oppose the raising of the speed limit to 30 mph in the Park. As well as being a founding member of the FRP she was elected Joint Hon. Secretary. The next edition of the Friends' Newsletter will publish a full interview with Wendy conducted by Michael Davison.

Scheduled events currently in the planning stage include a Members’ summer tea party. FRP member Mary Pollard has been very busy digging into the archives and history of the FRP and as part of the anniversary celebrations we hope to have presentations and displays highlighting key events over the last 50 years. Mary is also currently working on a written history of the FRP which is scheduled to be ready in time for launch event. Another much-vaunted publication, the FRP’s Guide to Richmond Park is, after two years in preparation, due to make its first appearance in March.

After recently redesigning the FRP logo, we’ve also added a 50th anniversary laurel to mark 2011 as a special year and this will be used on various materials and displays throughout the year. Look out for this sign and for more information to be announced soon.