YOU’VE done it again! The Henley Standard’s Going for Gold campaign has broken its target, writes Helen Patchett.
A total of 171 summer hanging baskets has been bought by town centre businesses and residents in a bid to help Henley win Britain in Bloom.
That’s one more than the target and eight better than last year’s record-breaking total of 163 baskets.
Caroline Langler, who helped co-ordinate the sale of baskets, said: “I am delighted that we have met our target. It means that Henley will look even more attractive than usual.
“If we are lucky enough to win a gold award in the national competition, we will be able to advertise the fact and draw more visitors to enjoy and spend money in the town.
“Thank you so much to all the generous, lovely people who have helped us to make Henley look so good.”
Marisa Francini, a Henley in Bloom colleague, added: “Yet again, the Henley public and businesses have shown their generosity by supporting the campaign and beating last year’s figure.
“Business is quite tough but a number of people have pulled out all the stops to support us, which is fantastic.
“I would like to thank everybody who has ordered a basket for helping Henley in Bloom. I’m confident that when the flowers are blooming they will make the town look fabulous.
“A huge thank-you should also go to the Henley Standard for its exceptional support, which is exactly what a local newspaper should be about.”
First Great Western bought six baskets to brighten up the station having previously donated £1,000 towards installing the floral train in Station Park.
Station manager David Pinder said: “We are committed to supporting the communities we serve and First Great Western is delighted to support Henley in Bloom again this year.”
Councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs the Henley in Bloom committee, said: “The station is where most of the people will be arriving for the regatta so when they step off the train and see the baskets they will feel really welcome.”
The final two baskets were ordered by the Henley Brew House pub in Market Place.
Landlord Darren Smith said: “The baskets make the town look much better. We want to improve the faÁade of our property but also improve the nature and environment of the town.
“If Henley looks much better it attracts more people.”
Residents of Boathouse Reach clubbed together to order five baskets, which will be placed in between each of the five houses leading to the Shaun Dickens at the Boathouse restaurant.
Linda Key, one of the residents, said: “We are really pleased that the campaign has reached its target. We thought it would be a nice thing to support. The baskets will look really good along the river and they help to brighten up the town.”
The Red Lion Hotel ordered two baskets.
Co-owner Sam Gill said: “We want to support the community and help make Henley look attractive and stay in the spotlight.
“Most of our trade comes from the rest of the country and overseas, so it is in our interest to make sure Henley is looking smart.”
Delegate Office and Conference Services in Hart Street ordered one basket.
Managing director Carolyn Molyneux said: “We are located off the main road but the basket will make the passage leading to our office look nice. We wish Henley in Bloom luck this year.”
The baskets are provided and maintained by Windowflowers, based in Burnham. They are filled with pink and red pelargonium peltatum, purple scaevola aemula, purple and sky blue petunia, yellow calibrachoa, red begonia and violet verbena.
Last year, the town scored 168 points out of a possible 200 in the Royal Horticultural Society competition and won silver gilt, falling just two points short of gold.
Henley has won gold in the town category for the Thames Valley and Chilterns region for the last two years.
This year, the judges will visit Henley on July 17 for the regional competition and July 29 for the nationals.