Sunday, 22 April 2018

Review of the year part 2: Bright ideas, proud moments, heroic deeds

Review of the year part 2: Bright ideas, proud moments, heroic deeds

ARMED police were present at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta, helping to ensure it went off without incident.

Tens of thousands of people descended on the town for the five-day rowing extravaganza, which ended with five race records being broken.

As usual, the banks were a sea of colour thanks to the women in their summer dresses and men in rowing blazers.

Up to 150 police were on duty on Saturday and officers armed with automatic rifles were drafted in as the regatta stepped up security following the terrorist attacks across the country in recent months.

A BOY from Henley was thrilled when All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams gave him his shorts and socks.

Luca Coleman caught up with the New Zealand lock forward moments after his team had beaten the British and Irish Lions in the first test match.

The nine-year-old Lions fan was at the game in Auckland with his family with whom he is on a six-month world tour.

He was caught on live TV asking the Kiwi player for his shirt but Williams was wearing an orange training top rather than the iconic black shirt so he whipped off his shorts and socks and gave them to Luca instead.

“Can you believe that, that’s amazing,” said Luca as his younger brother and sister each waved a sock at the cameras. “Sonny Bill is a legend.”

THE chief executive of the Henley Festival has hailed the 35th event a success despite two of the nights being marred by walkouts.

Audience members were seen leaving the lawn and grandstand areas during performances by Chaka Khan and Goldie.

Some took to social media to express their anger, branding Khan’s performance “dreadful” and Goldie’s “awful”.

About 26,500 people visited the festival site over the five days dressed in dinner suits and ballgowns as temperatures reached 30C.

A RECORD 760 swimmers took part in this year’s fifth annual Henley Mile challenge on the River Thames.

They followed a straight, mile-long downstream route along the Henley Royal Regatta course, the booms of which were still in place, between a pontoon moored opposite Fawley Meadows and Temple Island.

As well as the mile, there was a half-mile swim and a 200m Henley Splash event for children aged eight to 12, some of whom swam with their parents.

Later in the day there was a “suits versus skins” race in which competitors completed the course twice, once in a wetsuit and once in ordinary swimwear, and were ranked according to their total time for both.

MORE than half of the defibrillators in Henley and the surrounding area are at risk of failing and must be replaced as soon as possible.

That’s according to the Millie’s Dream charity which has installed 55 of the devices since 2013.

A Henley Standard investigation has found defibrillators so low on battery that they display a red warning light. This means that the device may not have enough power to deliver a shock to the heart that could save someone’s life.

In other cases, the pads used to stick to a casualty’s chest have become non-adhesive and are a year beyond their use-by date.

A FAMILY’S bid to transform their house into a “dream home” has turned into a nightmare after their builder carried out allegedly sub-standard work and then failed to finish.

Dawn and Naunton Cheesman paid Mariusz Noga £135,000 to renovate their five-bedroom property in Bix, where they have lived with their five children since 2001.

He was supposed to fill in the central archway which led to the garage, creating an additional bedroom, then build a new garage by extending the house to the north.

Instead, he demolished more than half of the house without consulting the family and failed to complete the replacement structure, leaving most of the property open to the elements.

For the past 18 months the Cheesmans and their children, Nico, 17, Kiri, 15, Dino, 14, Enzo, 13, and Starr, 12, as well as Blue, their great dane, have been living in one half of the house with no central heating and a leaky roof.

MEMBERS of the Henley Synchronised Swimming Club performed a special routine in the River Thames at the wedding of one of its coaches.

The 11 girls and one boy put on the short show in the water outside Leander Club for under-12s coach Mikki Bennett, who married Jaime Carter, a former Great Britain gymnast.

The youngsters, aged 10 to 17, performed the routine to Jessie J’s Flashlight in front of wedding guests.

Ms Bennett, 27, lives in Sonning Common and makes synchronised swimming costumes, providing the ones for the GB duo Olivia Federici and Katie Clark at the Rio Olympics. She also works as a colour and style consultant.

HENLEY’S new £290,000 skate park has been completed. The “wheeled sports facility” at Makins recreation ground has sunken obstacles rather than hollow metal ones, which will reduce noise, and will cater for BMX bikers, skateboarders and roller-skaters.

It was designed by Maverick Industries, of Dorset, for Henley Town Council and replaces the old skate park, which was built in 2004.

Construction work began in March, ending a six-year campaign by the Henley Skatepark Initiative, supported by the council.

AN independent Henley shop that sells men’s and women’s skiwear and swimwear is to close. Penny Badenoch, who has been running Sno and Sun Gear in Market Place for eight years, is retiring.

Mrs Badenoch, from Benson, said she had enjoyed running the shop but rising business rates and competition from the internet were making it harder for small traders like her to thrive.

THE Deputy Mayor of Henley has been kicked out of the local branch of the Conservatives after more than a year of internal disagreements.

Lorraine Hillier was expelled following in-fighting which culminated in her refusing to support party colleague Will Hamilton at the mayor-making ceremony in May.

She says she will appeal against the decision, claiming the branch acted beyond its remit. She still represents the Conservatives on South Oxfordshire District Council and remains a member of the national party. Councillor Hillier had been a member of the branch for 18 years.

THREE generations of one family travelled to Belgium to pay tribute to relatives who fought in the First World War.

Chris Copland, from Crazies Hill, attended two services in Ypres with his father Mike and seven-year-old son William. The special commemoration services were held on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

Mr Copland’s grandfather Bill fought in the battle, while his great grandfather Will Longstaff was a renowned war artist who also served and later painted a famous picture of the Menin Gate, a memorial to those who died in the conflict.

Both men received medals for their service and Bill went on to serve as a major in the Second World War.

GUNFIRE and explosions rang out around Mapledurham as the village hosted a weekend of Second World War battle
re-enactments.

Hundreds of visitors attended the fifth annual Mapledurham at War event, which took place in the grounds of Mapledurham House.

More than 500 enthusiasts took part in staged displays while playing the part of British, American and German troops. They wore original uniforms and carried authentic rifles as well as props such as grenades.

A TEENAGE boy who stole a forklift truck then tipped over a car while armed with a stolen air rifle has escaped a custodial sentence.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was instead sentenced to six days’ community service and ordered to pay £455 following the incident in Sonning Common.

The boy, who lives near Henley, had pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, careless driving, possession of an unloaded firearm and criminal damage before he appeared at Oxford Youth Court for sentencing.

The court heard that the boy was caught on CCTV stealing the £800 vehicle from Oliver Agriculture, a farm machinery dealer in Cane End.

POLICE have been accused of failing to investigate a serious crime because they “can’t be bothered”.

The attack on Thames Valley Police was made by the parish clerk for Sonning Common following an incident in which vandals stole four buggies from a golf club and then set them on fire at the village’s skate park, causing a total of about £37,000 in damage.

Philip Collings claimed that police had made no effort to contact any of the victims until being prompted to do so more than two weeks after the incident.

POP and rock stars from the Eighties turned back the clock as they performed at the Rewind South festival.

About 32,000 fans descended on Temple Island Meadows in Remenham for the ninth annual music extravaganza.

Gloria Gaynor, Village People and Status Quo were among the headliners. Former Haircut 100 frontman Nick Heyward, who lives in Henley, was also among the performers and was mobbed by fans wanting pictures and autographs when he was in the VIP area.

Many festival-goers wore colourful day-glo leggings and there was a vast array of fancy dress costumes, as is the festival’s tradition.

STARS from the worlds of entertainment and sport attended the wedding of comedian Russell Brand and his partner Laura Gallacher at Remenham church.

The couple, who live near Henley, were married in a traditional ceremony at St Nicholas’s Church, where the chief guest was their baby daughter Mabel.

After the service, the newlyweds and about 150 guests boarded The New Orleans to take them to the reception. The guests included rock star Noel Gallagher, actor Jason Segel, who starred with Brand in the 2008 film comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, the bride’s sister, and their father Bernard, a former professional golfer.

HENLEY’S doctors’ practices have scrapped their clampdown on parking after being bombarded with complaints from patients being fined unfairly.

The Hart and Bell surgeries have cancelled their contract with enforcement firm Smart Parking just four months after the new system was introduced.

The GPs say it has caused their staff hours of unnecessary work and some have even been threatened by angry drivers. The system was introduced in April in a bid to stop shoppers abusing the spaces in the surgeries’ car park off York Road.

ONE of Henley’s biggest and longest-established employers is set to expand following a £50million management buyout.

Nine senior managers at pump manufacturer Stuart Turner, whose factory and offices are in Greys Road, have completed the purchase of the company from about 300 shareholders.

They are led by chief executive Mark Williams and backed by private equity investor Lloyds Development Capital. The company, which employs 110 people, says it is committed to staying in Henley and it has renewed the lease on its 40,000 sq ft premises for another decade.

TWO Henley sea cadets have spoken of their pride at being part of a crew that won a 1,460-mile sailing challenge around the Baltic Sea. Sophia Stevens and Charles Washbourn, both 15, were among 24 youngsters from cadet groups around Britain who took part in the 61st annual Tall Ships Race.

The pair, who both attend Gillotts School in Henley, were up against more than 80 other crews of all ages, abilities and nationalities and didn’t know they had won until they returned to London.

A HENLEY shopkeeper has told how he helped recover hundreds of pounds worth of stolen jewellery.

Sam Buckett, who owns jewellers D J King in Bell Street, was offered the goods, including a valuable pearl necklace, by a woman who came into his shop.

He grew suspicious of her “erratic” behaviour and she left without agreeing a deal. Mr Buckett then called the police who examined CCTV footage from the shop before recovering the jewellery from a shop in Reading. It has now been returned it to its owner in Henley.

A TEENAGER lost seven stone in seven months because he was worried his weight would damage his health.

Charlie Dart, 18, weighed 19st when he decided to embark on a strict meal plan and exercise regime in January. Now he weighs just over 12st.

His transformation was so dramatic that he needed new clothes and family friends failed to recognise him.

Charlie, who lives in Backsideans, Wargrave, is now looking forward to starting university with a new figure, which he says has boosted his confidence.

JAMES MARSH is enjoying his first days at school as he comes to the end of two years of cancer treatment.

The four-year-old, who was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2015, is excited about being with new friends as he has had to spend much of his young life in isolation.

One of his biggest thrills was having his photograph taken this week for the Henley Standard’s First Class supplement as he had missed an earlier class picture due to illness.

James is one of four children of John and Nicole Marsh, of Charlotte Close, Caversham, and is in his first term at Caversham Primary School, where his twin sisters Isabella and Finley, seven, also go and his little brother Adam, two, will follow.

EMMA CRANSTOUN was bathing her two young children when she came up with the idea that has attracted one of the biggest retailers on the high street.

She was using baby shampoo to clean her son Max and daughter Leila yet neither was a baby and this is what led to the Professor Scrubbington’s range of children’s toiletries that has just gone on sale in 400 Boots stores nationwide.

Mrs Cranstoun, 41, of Western Road, Henley, is one half of the team behind the five natural products, which include a hair and body wash, bubble bath, hand and face wash, a shampoo and conditioner and a deodorant.

THE wealthy owner of Fawley Court in Henley has bought 44 acres of neighbouring land.

Aida Dellal snapped up Meadows Farm, off Marlow Road, which had been marketed by estate agents Ballards for offers in excess of £2.75million.

The main house, outbuildings and riverside meadows were sold by Billy Pinches, who ran a plant hire business while his brother Richard still runs a photography and video business, Meadows Farm Studios.

A TEENAGER’S dream of owning her own car was wrecked by a hit and run driver who smashed into it.

Emily Pitcher had not even been behind the wheel of the Fiat 500 before it was badly damaged while parked in Harpsden Road, Henley, just hours after her parents bought it.

The young male driver fled without leaving any of his details following the smash in the early hours.

THE Henley Literary Festival celebrated its 11th year with a host of star names and record-breaking ticket sales.

The total number of tickets sold for the 160 talks and events over the week was more than 22,000, up more than 3,000 on last year’s previous record figure, and there were 60 sell-outs.

Among the most popular events was Princess Michael of Kent’s appearance at Phyllis Court Club She discussed her book, A Cheetah’s Tale, which recounts her visit to Africa in the Sixties.

A COUPLE have complained that their home is overlooked after a developer ripped out trees unlawfully.

Colin and Phyllis Vincent say they have lost their privacy after a bungalow backing on to their home in The Close, Henley, was demolished and a two-storey house was built in its place.

A leylandii hedge used to block the view of the neighbouring property but this was ripped up by the developer Oraclemarker, of Wargrave, and has not been properly replaced despite that being a condition of the planning permission.

Robert Edwards, who owns the company, has said he won’t replace the screening until the house is occupied — it is currently on the market with an asking price of £2.6million.

A DISABLED pensioner has been left feeling isolated and lonely after being moved into care 20 miles away from her family in Henley.

Betty Thatcher, 85, had been living in Gainsborough Crescent for more than 30 years when she was moved to The Meadows care home in Didcot in March as she was struggling to look after herself and needed 24-hour care. Her family say they were told the move would be for only a few weeks but she has now been away seven months, which they claim is bad for her health.

DOUBLE Olympic rowing silver medallist Debbie Flood married personal and spiritual trainer Jaco Bruwer at Christ Church in Henley.

Flood, 37, who was the first female captain of Leander Club, arrived at the church in Reading Road in a classic VW Beetle and went inside to the sound of Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major played by organist Brian Gegg.

A COUPLE saved an elderly disabled man’s life after he plunged into the River Thames in Henley when his carer lost control of his wheelchair.

Clint and Angela Botha leapt into the water and pulled the man to safety just in time as if he had been under for much longer he could have died from hypothermia.

The couple then waited at the scene while he was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

RUBBISH has been stored illegally by Henley Town Council for months, the Henley Standard can reveal.

The Environment Agency says the council does not have a permit to store waste at its depot off Reading Road that would ensure it was within the bounds of the law.

The council claimed to have solved the problem with commercial waste being left piled high in the town centre and began using the depot to store it before it was collected. But it has now been told by the agency that it must comply with the law.

A HENLEY town councillor has resigned, saying he has had enough of colleagues playing politics.

Conservative Simon Smith was been elected in May 2015 for his second period on the council.

In a statement, he said: “I feel the town council is being unbalanced by certain councillors who have forgotten what being a town councillor is all about.”

A TEENAGE footballer has told how he suffered cuts to his mouth after being attacked following a match.

Nico Cheesman, 18, claims he was the victim of a “premeditated” attack by an opposition player following Henley Town FC’s game against AFC Burghfield reserves in the Industrial Cup.

The incident happened just a week before a team-mate was hospitalised following a clash during another match.

PLANS to redevelop an old garden centre near Henley have been shown to the public for the first time.

Aida Dellal, who owns the former Wyevale site off Reading Road, near Shiplake, is proposing to build up to 40 new homes and an office block on the 4.5-acre plot.

VANDALS ripped a statue out of the ground and then threw it into the river in Henley.

Town councillors have condemned the culprits who struck at Red Lion Lawn, below Henley Bridge. It comes just days after the area was named as a “hot spot” for young people openly smoking cannabis.

The 6ft 6in bronze mermaid statue, which was installed in 2013, was dumped in about 6ft of water, together with umbrellas and awnings, while tables were left upended and broken.

CLASSICAL music will return at next year’s Henley Festival with a “world-leading” act performing on the final night.

The traditional fireworks display, held at the end of each night, will also be back instead of the pyrotechnics show held this summer.

The organisers say they are responding to feedback from festival-goers. The festival last held a classical night in 2016.

AN invasive and fast-growing weed in the River Thames has spread to Henley.

Floating pennywort, which comes from the Americas, can grow up to 20cm a day and forms a thick layer that kills flora and fauna by depriving them of oxygen.

A woman says a stretch of the river outside her home in Wargrave Road, Henley, has a covering of the weed measuring about 15ft x 10ft.

A YOUNG mother was rescued from the River Thames in Henley after jumping in to save her baby.

Staff from Hobbs of Henley came to the woman’s aid after hearing her screaming because she couldn’t pull herself out of the water after rescuing the tiny boy. They said that had she remained in the freezing water for much longer she might not have survived.

A £3MILLION science, technology, engineering and mathematics centre is set to be created at The Henley College.

The state-of-the-art facility would intially be part of the existing Deanfield campus but the college would like a new, purpose-built centre later and has not ruled out selling land to fund the development.

The STEM centre is part of a three-year plan to improve the facilities in Deanfield Avenue and at the Rotherfield campus nearby.

A MUSICIAN says he is lucky to be alive after having a life-saving operation to remove a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball.

Martyn Cooper, 56, underwent more than 11 hours of surgery to take out the malignant growth.

His brain still contains about 1cm of the cancer, which surgeons were unable to remove because it was wrapped around a blood vessel but the former nurse is back performing again.

DEBBIE McGEE says taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing has given her a new lease of life.

The radio presenter from Wargrave narrowly missed out on lifting the famous glitterball trophy after each of the four finalists performed three dances.

But McGee, 59, insisted that it was the taking part that counted and that all she wanted was to have a good time.

A RECORD amount was raised for charity by this year’s Henley Living Advent Calendar. A total of £5,860 was collected during the 24 evenings of festive entertainment, surpassing last year’s record by almost £700.

The previous record was beaten even before the final performance at St Mary’s Church on Christmas Eve, which raised £601, the highest total ever for a single night.

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