Nearly 200 members of the Friends gathered on 29 June at Pembroke Lodge on a gloriously sunny early evening to celebrate the FRP’s 50th anniversary.
Guest of honour was Wendy Macaulay, who co-founded the Friends in 1961. She and Friends’ Chairman Ron Crompton (pictured right, photo by Nicola Albon, [email protected]) made speeches on the history of the FRP. Wendy told Friends how she and her colleagues took on the Minister and government officials, opposing attempts to urbanise the Park and increase through traffic. These included, at one stage, a proposal for a dual carriageway through the Park.
Stalls representing the diverse range of Friends’ activities included those on conservation and ecology; the Friends’ activities; the History Project and archive; and the Poems in the Park poetry competition. The Guide to Richmond Park and newly-published greetings cards were on sale. In a special exhibit, The Nature Table, naturalist Susanna Ramsey presented her wonderful collection of wildlife samples and exhibits, many from Richmond Park. (Susanna’s Family Trails booklet will be published by the Friends later in July.)
As food and drinks were served, guests mingled, visited the stalls and strolled onto the terrace where a jazz band played cool music during the warm evening.
At the centre of the event was a huge cake showing the whole of Richmond Park with features such as the wall, Pen Ponds, White Lodge, ancient oak trees, red deer, a green woodpecker, a large stag beetle and many other examples of flora and fauna. Created by Twickenham company Sweetie Pies Bakery Boutique and sponsored by Russell-Cooke solicitors, the metre-wide cake was cut by Wendy Macaulay and Ron Crompton and shared amongst the guests.