Dignitaries gathered in view of the River Thames in Richmond this week for a ceremony to mark the borough's links with a South American hero.

O'Higgins Square, which is just to the Surrey side of Richmond Bridge, is named after Chilean Bernardo O'Higgins, one of the foremost leaders in the Chilean struggle for independence and head of Chile's first permanent national government, who lived and studied in Richmond upon Thames in his late teens.

On Tuesday, August 29, the square was the scene for a colourful programme of events attended by Councillor Bill Treble, Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, and Rafael Moreno, the Chilean ambassador.

The Chilean Army Band marched from Cholmondeley Walk to O'Higgins Square for a ceremony that included a wreath-laying at the O'Higgins statue, which stands in the square, and performances of Chilean folk dancing by the Evendart Folk Dance Group. The event marked the 228th anniversary of Bernardo's birth.

Senor Moreno, the ambassador, said: "The great figures of history forge their personalities at an early stage of their lives, and Bernardo O'Higgins was no exception.

"One of the key moments while growing up was his stay in Richmond. It was here he became acquainted with British culture and received the inspiration for his free spirit."