This week saw the launch of a new beer to commemorate the Belgian refugees who lived and worked here in East Twickenham during World War One. (New readers might like to check out more about them here.)

Belgian-born Tom De Nert, who has lived in Twickenham for a long time now, was intrigued by their story and ashtonished that today you can hardly find any traces of their presence. In fact he only found out about it when he read about it in the Richmond and Twickenham Times. So he decided to do something to say thank you to the English people who provided hospitality to the incomers. As he says, 'the sheer number of them must have been quite challenging at times for communities up and down the country. For that reason, I thought it would be good to give something back while creating a lasting memory.'

So,Tom went along to a Belgian brewery and asked them to create a new beer, described as 'a blonde, hoppy, high-fermented artisan beer' called Bloody Belgian. Each of four different bottle designs has on the back label a story of a 'bloody Belgian' (as we locals sometimes called them). And here's Tom - in the middle - with the deputy mayor, Cllr Jean Loveland (she's the one with the rather fine chain of office), and our own Helen Baker, leader of the Belgian refugee project enjoying the resulting product.

Part of the profits will go to support the project to put up a permanent memorial to the Belgians in Warren Gardens by the river, close to the site of the Pelabon munitions factory where so many of them worked. And of course the beer is available at - where else? - Real Ale our own local beer store.

So drink up! You'll be supporting a local entrepreneur, a flourishing local business and a great local history project all at the same time. Cheers!



14 June 2015