Friday, 18 June 2021

‘This gets people in the Christmas spirit’

BUSINESSES are doing their bit to welcome spectators during the Living Advent Calendar by providing refreshments.

BUSINESSES are doing their bit to welcome spectators during the Living Advent Calendar by providing refreshments.

The calendar involves a variety of 15-minute performances at different venues around the town from 6.15pm. The identity of each performer is kept secret until they appear, just like opening a door on a child’s Advent calendar.

The Communications Group, in Station Road, will host the performance on December 13.

Alan Shraga, managing director of the Fidelity group, which is supporting the evening, said: “The calendar is an exciting concept and the team are delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the fun. Given our location so close to the station, we are particularly pleased to be bringing some yuletide joy to all those weary commuters as they come off the train.”

The 14th night will be hosted by the Henley Youth Centre in Deanfield Avenue and is supported by record store In The Groove.

Andy Tucker, who owns the shop, said: “The calendar is a nice community thing and that’s all it needs to be.”

The 15th night will be at the Bull in Bell Street, which is owned by Brakspear, and is being supported by County Douglas Law.

Owner Keith Douglas said: “The calendar is a perfect Henley event as it is a community thing. Last year I was a marshal and collector. This year, apart from a couple of weekends when I am away, I will be there every night.”

Hotel du Vin in New Street is hosting the 16th night, supported by Precious Love in Duke Street. Tom Bulgarelli, who owns the jewellers, said: “We are always happy to support any activity in the town.On the night I think I have to dress up as something.”

The Henley College is hosting the 17th night. Ajit Panesar, of Cartridge Zone in Greys Road, who is one of the sponsors, said: “This is a great event for the community, children and adults alike. We are a community-minded organisation and we hope you enjoy our gift to you all.”

Co-sponsor Niki Schäfer, who runs her own interior design company, added: “I’ll always want to add some sparkle and colour and this time I’ll add a glass of mulled wine to keep us all warm.”

Estate agents Simmons & Sons in Bell Street are hosting the 18th night.

Elizabeth Cleall, whose interior design company is sponsoring the event, said: “I was involved in the first two years as part of the organising commitee. It is a really nice event for the town and gets people into the Christmas spirit. It is also nice to see how it is growing and catching on in other towns.” The 19th night is hosted by Delegate in Hart Street and supported by accountants Kench & Co, of Station Road.

Managing director Eric Kench said: “This is our second year of being involved and we think it is a novel way of bringing the community together and is therefore worth supporting.

“From our point of view, we are not a venue but we are a partner with another business we previously haven’t had any contact with. This year in particular, not only are we going to the event and helping but we are encouraging our clients to go along.”

Lovibonds brewery, off Market Place, is hosting night 20. Chris Tampsett, owner of Henley Shutters, which is supporting the event, said: “I think it is a very good idea and a very nice thing to do leading up to Christmas.”

The performances on December 21 and 22 will take place in the Market Place.

The first is supported by The Square restaurant. Spokeswoman Ondine Carrington said: “The calendar has become a unique part of Christmas in Henley and we were delighted, especially being a new business, to be invited to participate in this wonderful fund-raising concept.”

The following night is sponsored by the neighbouring Green Olive restaurant. Manager Eki Bajcinca said: “We are supporting it because we are part of this community. It is a very good thing for the town as we help each other.”

The penultimate night will be hosted by the Kenton Theatre in New Street and sponsored by the Bell Bookshop.

Manager Alison Rosby said: “It has been really successful the last couple of years. It is fantastic for the town as it raises our profile and gets more people involved and interested in the community.”

St Mary’s Church in Hart Street is the final location on Christmas Eve.

Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths said: “We invite the town to return to its 13th century parish church where so many of our predecessors gathered to celebrate the birth of Christ. And we wish everyone a happy and (if possible!) peaceful Christmas.”

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