Monday, 11 December 2017

McAlpines host sparkling Festival launch party

ABOUT 100 supporters of the Henley Festival attended a “sparkling” evening party to celebrate the launch of this year’s event

ABOUT 100 supporters of the Henley Festival attended a “sparkling” evening party to celebrate the launch of this year’s event at the family home of Sir William and Lady McAlpine.

Guests were treated to a champagne reception and canapés while 19-year-old pianist Oliver Poole, who will perform at the festival, entertained them with a specially-adapted piano version of Wagner’s Ride Of The Valkyries.

Stewart Collins, artistic director of the festival, thanked the McAlpines for the loan of their “beautiful and stylish” home which, he said, encapsulated the spirit of the fetival.

He said he was delighted that this year’s star line-up — Madness, the Beach Boys, Jamie Cullum, Paloma Faith and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra — included a household name on each of the five nights.

Chief executive Gill Mitchell said: “We wanted to thank all our sponsors, patrons and gold friends for their loyal and vital support every year and this time we were able to do it in the intimate surroundings of the fabulous McAlpine family home. It was a delightful evening enjoyed by everyone.”

Meanwhile, the festival has reached an agreement with the town council over the use of two flagpoles in the town centre.

Festival organisers wanted to display the flags in Market Place between July 1 and 15 to advertise the event but some councillors were worried that this could affect Henley’s Britain in Bloom entry as the judges were due to visit during this period.

Speaking at last Tuesday’s full council meeting, Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin said that an agreement has been reached.

She said: “They will be putting up their flags two weeks before the festival and then the Henley in Bloom flags will be going up.” She added that there was an “absolute need” for protocol on flagpole usage and it would be raised at the next town and community committee.

The 31st annual Henley Festival runs from Wednesday, July 10 to Sunday, July 14 and tickets are on sale at www.henley-festival.co.uk

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