MORE than 100 hanging baskets have been ordered since the Henley Standard launched its Buy a Basket campaign four weeks ago.
We are urging town centre shops, businesses and residents to buy the summer hanging baskets to boost Henley’s chances of becoming Britain in Bloom champion and hope to beat the record of 146.
Marisa Francini, a member of the group which is co-ordinating the sales, said: “To have achieved over 100 hanging basket sales in less than a month is unbelievable and shows just how many people in the town are willing to pull together to support this local community initiative.
“Half of the orders received so far are from people who have not bought baskets in previous years, which is fantastic. We still need another 50 baskets to hit our target, so please keep the orders coming in.
“I can’t wait for the baskets to be hung up in early June to see how stunning the town will look.”
She thanked Caroline Langler, a fellow Henley in Bloom committee member, for handing out leaflets to business and retailers.
Five summer baskets were ordered by businesses at the Hub in Station Road while Ruth Cassidy, of Thame Side, has ordered four baskets for her house.
Gavin Maitland-Smith, director of Legion Trade finance, which moved to Bell Street in August, bought two baskets.
He said: “This has been our first opportunity to support Henley in Bloom and we are delighted to do so.
“Henley is well known for the river and the regatta but something like this also shows that local businesses take great pride in their town and want it to be the most welcoming and attractive that it can be.
“The flower displays lift the mood of residents and visitors alike and we will continue to support Henley in Bloom and hope it receives the regional and national recognition it deserves.”
Jane Loader, office manager for Stonehouse Properties Care, a damp-proofing and water-proofing company in Station Road, ordered two baskets for the first time.
“The industrial units can look a bit drab and so we thought the baskets would brighten up this end of town,” she said. “It always cheers you up to see flowers and maybe the other units might like to join us.”
Stephen Bleakley, manager of the Brew House in Market Place, ordered two baskets.
He said: “We wanted to back Henley in Bloom and take part. The baskets really brighten the place up and make a big difference.”
Graham Steward, landlord of the Bird in Hand in Greys Road, ordered two baskets as he does every year.
“It makes the pub look absolutely stunning,” he said. “I think the more the town has, the better. I know you can’t make everybody have them but I am pleased to do my bit.”
Roger Cole, pastor of Henley Baptist Church in Market Place has also ordered two baskets as usual.
He said: “They are always delightful. They last for a really long time and all the watering is done for us so we think it’s good value for money.
“They make the front of the property look nice and everyone having similar ones gives a feeling of togetherness, which we think is really nice.”
Kelly Summers, receptionist for Ceramica and Stone in Bell Street ordered two baskets.
“We want to make the shop look nice like everybody else,” she said.
Tasha Essery, store manager of White Stuff in Bell Street, also ordered two baskets.
“We like to be part of the Henley community and it adds something to the store,” she said.
Ann Manning, managing director of Manning UK in Reading Road, has bought two baskets.
“I think anything that makes the town looks nice is worth supporting and I sincerely hope we can win Britain in Bloom this year,” she said.
Stuart Mullins, a partner of the Head Partnership solicitors in Bell Street, ordered one basket.
He said: “We think it’s important to support projects like this because they are what make Henley a little bit of special place to live and work and we value that.”
Peter Hose, manager of the Christ Church Centre in Reading Road, has also ordered one basket.
He said: “The Henley in Bloom scheme encourages us all to contribute to making our town an attractive place to visit.
“We are pleased to continue to support the scheme and trust that local residents appreciate that this is something from which we all derive great benefit.”
Carol Jones, office manager for E T Sheppard memorial masons, also in Reading Road, has ordered a basket for the first time.
“We want to make Henley look good,” she said. “I think the baskets look nice and I always like to see flowers.”
Mark Evans, managing director of Towergate Insurance, in Duke Street, has also ordered one basket.
He said: “We are lucky to be working in one of the nicest towns in England so I think it is vital to support community initiatives such as this, which enhance the look and spirit of the town.”
Residents Judith Ingram, Susan Keane and Juha Seppälä have each ordered one basket for their homes.
Mrs Ingram, of Hart Street, said: “I think the hanging baskets are an excellent idea and it’s going to make Henley look even prettier. If every business bought one it would make a huge difference.”
Mrs Keane, of Bell Street, said: “I just feel it is part of what we should do to make the town look nice. I think everybody in the centre of town should have a hanging basket.”
Mr Seppälä, of Reading Road, said: “I certainly support the idea. I really like to see what Henley in Bloom does in the town. I’m not here all the time so having this it maintained will mean it will look its best all the time.”
Paul and Mary Barrett have sponsored a basket to be placed somewhere in the town.
Mr Barrett said: “I think our bid to be Britain in Bloom champion is a very worthy cause and we should support it.”
Two anonymous residents have ordered another three baskets for the town.
Windowflowers, based in Burnham, provides the baskets which will be installed next month and maintained until October at a cost of £49.50 plus VAT per basket.
This year’s basket will feature gold bidens to celebrate Henley’s success in the regional round of Britain in Bloom last year.
To order a hanging basket, complete the form printed here. Alternatively, pick up an application form from Henley town hall.
The form can also be downloaded at www.henley towncouncil.gov.uk
Henley in Bloom will hold a plant sale and swap in Market Place tomorrow (Saturday) from 9.30am.