Twickenham has seen its first-ever artisan bakery open, after it received sponsorship from the Town Centre Management Board.

Owned by Igor Occhiali, Ruben’s Bakehouse in Richmond upon Thames was officially opened by the mayor for the London borough, councillor Rita Palmer, on Tuesday 4 December.

Until last year, Occhiali was an interior designer, but after joining The Real Bread Campaign, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both bakers in Italy. He started making bread at home in Ham, selling it at farmers’ markets in Kew and Surbiton.

Councillor Palmer said: “I felt privileged to open the new bakery. It’s a wonderful venture, full of character and individuality. I was delighted at the interior: it’s clean, fresh, organised and a great addition to the area, really heightening the shopping experience in Twickenham.”

Sponsorship from the Twickenham Town Centre Management Board comes in the form of contacts and free publicity via advertisements. It aims to create “a prosperous town centre that offers local people and visitors a rewarding experience”. In particular, they work with local community organisations and initiatives “which will benefit the town centre”.

John Austin, chairman of the board, added: “We’re really proud to have sourced the only artisan bakery in Twickenham.”

Ruben’s Bakehouse offers a Hamlands seeded bloomer, malthouse crown loafs, pane al farro, Ruben’s ciabatta, the Lock olive sourdough and a Twickenham cottage loaf.

In October of this year, Ruben’s Bakehouse’s Hamlands Sourdough made it to the finals of The Real Bread Campaign’s competition to find the best loaf of bread in London.