Richmond rink have been running a scheme called ‘Twickenham Alive’ in the past 3 years, to keep families around the area occupied and having fun, especially around Christmas time.

For three enjoyable years, they ran an ice skating rink on strawberry hill in Twickenham. It was right outside Horace Walpole’s Gothic House, a monument very dear to the Twickenham area. The huge house is lit top to bottom with lights and a festive glow, designed to highlight the glorious works of the stained glass windows. A percentage of the ticket sales went to Strawberry Hill House to add to funding for the ongoing restoration of rooms inside and educational tours around the house.

The event held between early December and late January, was extremely popular. Within the three years of activity, thousands of people would buy tickets to skate on the ice, annually. Many pop up food places and tea rooms would come to join and sell hot drinks and Christmassy snacks to tide rumbling bellies over until they got home and would also put the customers in a warm, jolly mood. Parking on site was not busy due to an abundance of room and with so many transport routes, be it the bus stop directly outside of the venue or the train station a few minutes walk away, it was definitely an easy enough location to travel to.

However in 2016 permission was refused by local councillors and the unfortunate news spread around the area that the Richmond Ice Rink was not to return the Strawberry Hill that Winter. The locals had hope that a new location would be found for the following year, that wasn’t too far away from the area, so that ice skating in winter was not just an occasion, but a regular Christmas activity for everyone to partake in, like the previous years.

Although it has been a year and locals have been signing petitions as well as other councillors fighting hard to bring it back, no change has been made. Therefore Ice Skating at Strawberry Hill House has been refused permission and will not be coming back this 2017 winter either and unfortunately will not be held in any other location too.

The only hope we have is from the website which clearly states, “The rink will return to a new and exciting venue – details online soon”. This will raise hopes for next winter when we hope to see Richmond Rink up and running again.

To find out more information about Richmond rinks, Strawberry Hill House or Twickenham Alive, feel free to check out these websites; , ,

Ellie Gilbert, Gumley House Convent School