Teenagers from US help tidy up Richmond

Young people from the 4-H Development programme with their leader, Jeff Howard (third from left) and Councillor Stuart Parsons (fourth from right)

Ten young people from the United States visited Richmond this week to help with the work carried out by the Original Richmond in Bloom team and Richmond Pride.

The teenagers are on a visit to England, staying at the Kiplin Hall Study Centre during their time in Yorkshire.

Their task was to tackle an overgrown footpath and the steps down leading from The Channel, the footpath, which lies behind the shops at the bottom of the market place, leads to Park Wynd and the new community Soft Fruit Orchard, the Gas Holder Gardens and the waterfall.

The teenagers are in England as part of the 4-H Youth Development programme, the largest youth development programme in the United States with just over 6 million youth participating annually. 76,178 of these are in the State of Maryland, which was founded by the builder of Kiplin Hall, George Calvert.

Accompanied by Jeff Howard, the assistant director of the University of Maryland Extension State 4-H Program, and three other leaders, the young people got to work on clearing brambles, ivy and weeds making the stairs from the town to the river easier to negotiate and certainly more attractive. They even discovered a handrail, covered in many years of ivy growth!

Helping with projects such as this is part of the activities in which the 4-H members engage in at home and on visits away.

The teenagers in the group were chosen following a selection process, which included writing a letter telling why they wanted to and should be included in the visit to England.

Marcia McLuckie, chair of the Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association was impressed by how the work was carried out.

“The group approached the project with enthusiasm and really got on with the clearance work.

“Within a couple of hours they made a terrific difference. It is impressive that volunteers to help with Original Richmond in Bloom travelled over 4,000 miles to assist with keeping Richmond beautiful! We are very grateful for their help”.

Following the morning’s work, Andy Macey at Richmond Town Hall gave a short talk about Lord Robert Baden Powell and the Scout movement and showed some of the photographs and documents about Baden-Powell’s time when he was stationed in Richmond Castle.

The young people then went off for a tour of the Georgian Theatre.