Friday, 17 September 2021

Charitable trust honours late Henley Mayor

A CHARITABLE trust to benefit groups and individuals in Henley has been set up on the wishes of a

A CHARITABLE trust to benefit groups and individuals in Henley has been set up on the wishes of a former mayor of the town.

Tony Lane died in March 2014 aged 87 and lived in Henley for most of his life.

A cobbler, Mr Lane was a Conservative member of Henley Town Council between 1965 and 2002 and was mayor for a record four terms between 1971 and 2002.

He set up the Anthony (Tony) Lane Foundation, a charitable trust in his will, and it became a registered charity with the Charity Commission last month.

Anna Burnside and Fiona Wheeler, partners at The Burnside Partnership, are trustees and they wish to make grants to a wide range of organisations.

They are particularly keen to help grassroots community groups and small-to-medium-sized voluntary organisations in Henley.

Groups do not have to be a registered charity to apply, but the work it asks the foundation to support must be legally charitable.

The foundation plans on focusing on one of five themes every year. Applications would be invited from organisations, or projects within an organisation, which are particularly relevant to the year’s theme.  The five themes are:

• Engaging children and young people in Henley

• Providing for the social wellbeing of the elderly of Henley

• Preserving and celebrating Henley’s heritage and history

• Improving the health of the people of Henley

• Encouraging new business in Henley

The first year’s theme will be engaging children and young people in Henley and the deadline for applications is the end of September. Mr Lane was awarded an MBE in 1995 for his contribution to the community. He had lived at the Acacia Lodge care home in Quebec Road at the time of his death.

He was born in Friday Street in January 1927 on the site of the present Henley Air Training Corps 447 squadron Drill Hall.

His first school was at Bix when his parents moved the family to Assendon. His father was a waiter at the Red Lion Hotel but the long hours spent away from the family precipitated a move to Greys Road in Henley when Tony was five.

He attended an infants’ school in Greys Road then Trinity School in Greys Hill and finally the National School on the site of what is now The Henley College.

After leaving school at 14, he worked for the gas company as a meter reader which meant he got to know the people of Henley. He was then sent to Durham to work down the mines as part of the war effort.

Sixty-two years later, Mr Lane was rewarded for his efforts when he received a medal to recognise his work as a Bevin Boy.

Upon his return to Henley, he started his shoe repair business from a shed in the back garden of his home in Greys Road. A year later he took a unit in Singers Lane even though it then had no gas, electricity or water. 

At his peak, Mr Lane repaired hundreds of pairs of shoes a week and employed several staff.

Former Beatle George Harrison, Minder actor George Cole and Lord Hunt, the leader of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, were among the customers at the workshop between 1946 and 2010.

His workshop, Tony Lane Shoe Repairs, closed in 2010 as Mr Lane was finding it increasingly difficult to stand up. He moved from his home in Western Road to Acacia Lodge soon afterwards.

Mr Lane stood for re-election in 2003 but was voted out of office after serving 38 years as a town councillor and 27 years on South Oxfordshire District Council.

His council highlights include leading the fight to save the Regal Cinema. He was also a member of the Conservative group which was voted into power in 1999 to stop the Market Place redevelopment going ahead but failed.

Applications to the foundation should be made in writing to: The Trustees of the Anthony (Tony) Lane Foundation, The Burnside Partnership, The Carpenters Workshop, Blenheim Palace Sawmills, Combe, Oxfordshire, OX29 8ET.

Your letter should include a summary of your organisation’s objectives, details of financial support including copy quotes or estimates if applicable, an explanation of how the financial support, if provided, would meet the year’s stated objective and a correspondence address.

If your application is successful then you will be asked to provide copies of your governing documents and evidence of your bank account before funds are released.

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