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Delegation from Richmond, Virginia visit London to celebrate the links between two great rivers
The event celebrated the Transatlantic links between the James River and the River Thames
A 20 strong delegation from Virginia, including two representing Indian tribes, visited London recently as part of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the Thames Landscape Strategy partnership (TLS), an organization dedicated to the conservation of the Arcadian Thames. TLS works alongside its charity The Father Thames Trust with Scenic Virginia and The James River Park System (in Virginia) as part of the River Friends partnership, a Transatlantic connection that links two famous rivers, the Thames from the Old World, and the James River from the New.
The Virginian delegation was led by Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock tribe and Assistant Chief Ken Adams of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. They came to thank Londoners for their support in assisting the Virginian Powhatan Indian Tribes in gaining US Federal Recognition in 2018. Hosted by The Lord Watson of Richmond and Baroness Kramer, the Indian Chiefs were guests of honor at a special event in the House of Lords and at the launch of the London Border Crossing Festival at Shoreditch to celebrate the contribution that indigenous people make to the capital city.
The Virginians were also able to meet with like-minded people from all manner of environmental and heritage groups in London during TLS' 25th Anniversary reception on June 13 at London's City Hall. Guests of honor at the event also included TLS Patrons HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Sir David Attenborough and Richmond City Councillor The Hon. Kimberley Gray.
A gala event at Sudbrook House in Richmond gave the anniversary its grand finale, with 200 guests in attendance. At the gala, Lord Watson, the President of the Father Thames Trust, and leading landscape architect Kim Wilkie, the founder of the Thames Landscape Strategy, received awards of the Richmonds medal for their work. The award, presented jointly by TLS and Scenic Virginia, is given to an individual who has helped to conserve either the James River in Virginia or the Arcadian Thames.
Jason Debney, Director of the Thames Landscape Strategy, said "We celebrated our quarter century in style. Over the years we have restored the riverside and seen a transformation of the world-famous Arcadian Thames that few thought possible. It was an honor to mark this occasion with our friends from Virginia who we share so much in common with".
Going forward, the Transatlantic River Friends partnership is seeking a sponsor to allow for an exciting raft of joint projects to be taken forward. Joint aspirations developed during the Transatlantic trip include "the conservation of nationally important views, the restoration and promotion of the James River and the Arcadian Thames that share so much in common (both being a string of pearls that has played a significant role in the making of their respective nations), the continuation of the cultural ties between the Virginians, the Virginian Indian tribes and the Thames and a series of natural environmental enhancements including the re-introduction of the sturgeon, for example".
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