AN unemployed father-of-two was told he had to pay £750 to have his car unclamped after parking illegally. Paul Francis, 41, was forced to hand over the cash just hours after starring in the Henley Amateur Operatic Dramatic Society’s production of Oliver! at the Kenton Theatre. Mr Francis, of Park Road, Henley, played Bill Sykes as well as acting as chaperone to nine of the children performing in the play last week.
Henley is now the fourth most expensive town in England and Wales with the average house price topping the £500,000 mark. A new survey shows that a purchaser would have to pay an average of £504,322 for a property in the town, more than double the amount four years ago.
Raiders robbed two Henley town centre shops in the space of 10 minutes on Saturday. Two men went into a jeweller’s shop at 4.35pm and while one distracted the staff the other forced open a display case and grabbed six rings worth £8,500 before running off. A few minutes later the pair were joined by two others and went into WH Smith, grabbing around £200 in cash and vouchers from the till near the front door.
25 Years Ago
April 27, 1990
THE controversial town centre development of Henley is set to go ahead shortly. A “decision note” giving the all-clear to developers Arundell House and Lynton was due to be signed yesterday by South Oxfordshire District Council. The scheme, which includes demolishing the Regal cinema and the present Waitrose store and building a new supermarket, 13 shops and a twin-screen cinema, has been the subject of wrangling since the district council gave its approval in June.
Police are investigating an anonymous letter which describes Kru and Gill Zakss, the leaders of Henley’s Action Group, as “scum”. The Zakss say they believe the 15-word letter is connected to their fight against the town centre development. “Go back to Latvia. You’re not needed in Henley. It’s not a place for scum,” the letter says. Mr Zakss said it was a mystery to him why anyone would want to send such a letter. “I’m just trying to do the best for Henley,” he said.
Fallen trees still lie over crushed gravestones at Henley’s Fair Mile cemetery — three months after a storm. People with relatives buried there are furious that South Oxfordshire District Council has failed to clear the five trees from 20 graves.
50 Years Ago
April 30, 1965
VISITING Smith Hospital in Henley will be made easier for the families of patients with the opening of a new residential parents’ hostel on Wednesday. Built at a cost of £20,000, the hostel comprises two flats and four flatlets.
When Henley Borough Council election nominations closed on Tuesday there were only two nominations for the two vacancies in the south ward and so, contrary to general expectations, there will be no contest in this ward. The two successful nominees are Isabel Kathe Carson-Bury, of 15 Damer Gardens, the owner of Isabel Carson Boutique in Hart Street, and Anthony Charles Lane, of 26 Western Road, a master boot and shoe repairer, who trades in Singer’s Lane.
On Thursday last week an entry was forced into the premises of butcher A J Botting in Victoria Road, Wargrave, and a cash register containing £10 was stolen. The machine was later found in a backwater of the Thames at Wargrave. The theft was discovered by an employee of Messrs Parslows delivering goods to the shop.
100 Years Ago
April 30, 1915
WHILE an aeroplane was flying over the village of Sonning last week its engines stopped and for a time the pilot lost control. From a height of 7,000ft, the aircraft fell vertically and then in a series of loops, zig-zags and spirals until it was close to the tops of the trees in Holme Park. The pilot then landed safely in a field nearby.
Last Friday, a rumour was freely circulated in the town that Maj Ovey and Sgt G Blackham, who are in the 1st-4th Battalion Oxon Bucks Light Infantry at the front, had been killed. It was also stated that several other men of the battalion had met a similar fate. Fortunately, it turned out that the rumour was absolutely false. Strong enough words cannot be found to condemn the silly, wicked people who start such rumours, or even those who so readily take them in and pass them on. Â
Pte A Minns 9034, whose parents reside in West Hill, Henley, was severely wounded in the head in the battle of Neuve Chapelle on March 15. He was in the general hospital at Boulogne for six weeks but is now in the London Hospital at Whitechapel, paralysed down one side. As his head improves, it is expected he will regain the use of his limbs.