Saturday, 23 October 2021

Your Letters...

Does hospice need to shut?

Sir, — I am writing in response to Lady McAlpine’s excellent letter about the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed (Standard, March 2).

She mentioned that she had recourse to “a phenomenal offer for Joyce Grove of some millions more than local agents believed to be its worth”.

She went on to say that the prospective purchaser “was more than happy to allow the hospice to retain five acres of land on which to build a fit-for-purpose hospice offering more beds than the present building”.

Lady McAlpine continued: “The money offered would not just have built the new hospice but would have eliminated the need for jumble sales for years to come.”

Then, and this was the most shocking revelation of all, she said: “The offer was not even acknowledged, despite several attempts to extract a response.”

There cannot be many people in Henley who wish to see Joyce Grove closed and this is for a very good reason — it has never failed us. It has always been there for our family and friends when they have needed it. Solid, reliable, compassionate and understanding.

Now we are to have a hit-and-miss outside care service. Sometimes it will be early, sometimes late, and sometimes not at all.And all the time the wait will be stressful at a time when stress is the last thing we want.

At the very least Sue Ryder should let us know why it was so dismissive of the prospective purchaser’s offer for Joyce Grove and why it failed even to acknowledge the offer.

It would also be very helpful if the charity was to publish proof (i.e. via the latest balance sheets) indicating why it is necessary to close the hospice. — Yours faithfully,

Judy Dinsdale

Northfield End, Henley

New hospice, no-brainer

Sir, — I am responding to Lady McAlpine’s comments about the closure of the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed.

Firstly, what a truly honest and inspirational lady she is.

Secondly, I am disgusted with the trustees of Sue Ryder for not acknowledging an offer made for the home and grounds even after several attempts were made for a prospective purchaser.

Even if they did not like the idea at least they could have had the decency to reply.

Who are the so-called trustees, I wonder, and what hope have we got that their best interests are in Sue Ryder and not their own?

A purpose-built hospice in the tranquil grounds which are known and loved by so many people surely is a no- brainer.

The transfer from the home to the new hospice would be so easy and smooth. Even the staff and volunteers could remain on site. Everyone would be happy, I am sure. — Yours faithfully,

Caroline Wood

Bath Road, Reading

Potholes are getting worse

Sir, — Driving and cycling around Oxfordshire leaves one with the impression that the county is aiming to achieve the undesirable status of having the most potholed roads in the UK.

Concerned motorists and cyclists are encouraged to report potholes, preferably with details as to specific location, size and depth, accompanied by photographs.

This is all very well but doing it can be hazardous and it is rarely possible to stop and park safely so as to be able to fulfil these requirements. And how many of us travel with a tape measure?

Furthermore, the faded white markings around some potholes suggest that any attempts at fixing them have become buried in a long deferred road repair schedule.

Add to this that many repairs are slipshod and that the potholes quickly revert to their previous state, so pothole reporters may well feel that their public-spirited efforts have been wasted.

Not only that, but any damage caused by a pothole is ineligible for compensation if the offending pothole hasn’t already been reported.

While realising that there are many competing demands on the county council’s budgets, I can’t help but feel that highway maintenance has slipped so far down the list of priorities that Oxfordshire roads will soon have become comparable to those found in the underdeveloped world — quite an achievement for a wealthy county in one of the world’s richest countries. — Yours faithfully,

Ron White

Milton Close, Henley

How to fight parking fine

Sir, — I know there have been concerns about the new parking system at Townlands Memorial Hospital from your previous articles.

We have just found out that it does not always work and there is nothing you can do about it.

My husband went for an appointment there last week. We parked and filled in the tablet screen at reception with the details as shown how by the very patient receptionist.

Now the enforcement company has sent us a fine saying that we did not do this.

In order to appeal we have to give them proof that we did. How can we when they do not give you any form of printed receipt for the information? Do we appeal for witnesses? I doubt the receptionist will remember us out of the hundreds of patients she sees.

Luckily, we do still have the appointment letter for the clinic and the hospital has advised us to send this, though it may not be enough.

So what I advise anyone attending the hospital to do is what we will be doing in future: keep all hospital documentation regarding the visit but, more importantly, get photographic evidence.

We will be getting an image of the tablet screen we use to input our car details on an iPhone or digital camera that stores the date and time and hope that will be acceptable proof if this happens again. — Yours faithfully,

Anne Reavill

Nun’s Acre, Goring

Put a man on car park

Sir, — It seems that the Townlands Memorial Hospital car park is still plagued by problems, with people being wrongly fined despite following the correct procedure when registering their arrival.

The simple, low-tech solution would be a gated access controlled by an operator in a kiosk.

This would probably be a lot less expensive than the current arrangement and would give a job to an active pensioner. — Yours faithfully,

Adrian Vanheems

Baskerville Road, Sonning Common

Don’t build at golf club

Sir, — About 20 years ago the committee of Reading Golf Club thought it would be a good idea to raise funds for a new clubhouse and at the same time sponsor budding young golfers.

What better way of financing this than by selling off the existing clubhouse, car park and two holes of the course for housing?

A large majority of the membership voted against the plan as it would be too disruptive and would destroy the layout of the James Braid course, so it was put on the back burner.

Fast forward a few years and a new proposal has emerged to relocate the club and develop for housing the whole of the existing golf course.

Reading needs homes and the sale of the land will bring in millions of pounds, part of which can be used to relocate the club and the remainder distributed to the members with a six-figure sum per member being mentioned.

So is everyone happy? Well, actually no. There is huge concern that the loss of a significant piece of open land will be detrimental to the residents in Emmer Green and Caversham.

The considerable increase in traffic pollution, the impact on the already struggling infrastructure and the devastating loss of the 108-year-old golf course as a green lung absorbing carbon emitted in other parts of Reading should be a matter of grave concern to us all.

There is enough brownfield land in Reading to accommodate the town’s development needs and that must surely be the way forward.

The golf club has stated that it is struggling to finance its future needs. If that is the case then surely it can work with residents to put the club on a sound footing?

Encouraging locals to join, increasing the share capital by a rights issue and better use of the facilities that the course offers could all be positive steps in making the club stronger financially.

The club must respond to social changes and attitudes, something which it has failed to do in the last 30 years, and the members should recognise that as well as looking after their own interests.

They are custodians of the land and have a social responsibility to the community as a whole. — Yours faithfully,

Julian Ansell

Brooklyn Drive, Emmer Green

We must not allow ‘Hexit’

Sir, — I read that Harpsden Parish Council chairman Kester George is considering removing his parish from the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan review, “Hexit” (Standard, March 9).

People of Henley and Harpsden, this is not democratic. This plan and its boundaries were approved in a referendum, by the people.

Hexit must be fought against, whether it be a hard, soft or downright muddy.

The people have spoken and their will must be followed. There are no second chances. — Yours faithfully,

Dieter Hinke

Elizabeth Road, Henley

Fewer people, less demand

Sir, -— Tony Chandler’s letter about soaring population (Standard, March 9) is timely in relation to the thousands of additional houses needed to satisfy the demand/current need.

If I may quote Sir David Attenborough: “I have never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people or harder, and ultimately, impossible, with more.”

Surely for a sustainable future it is not much use reducing our footprints if we keep increasing the number of feet. — Yours faithfully,

Valerie Alasia

Makins Road, Henley

No thought for villagers

Sir, — I would like to expand on Geoff Thomas’s letter (Standard, March 9) and ask if Claire Engbers sleeps at night with a clear conscience?

She has pursued her planning application for Thames Farm without a care for the Shiplake community or the impact that this will have on the village.

Relevant parties that have proposed other developments within the village and those thinking of doing the same must feel that their cases have been strengthened by her insistence that the Thames Farm development be approved whatever the cost. — Yours faithfully,

Barrie Jones

Lower Shiplake

How to stop developers

Sir, — To all town and parish councils: don’t waste your money on lawyers or consultants.

Let’s have people power — hold a protest or blockade any site entrances. Involve the national papers and TV companies to get your point over to South Oxfordshire District Council.

We’re coming out of the EU so don’t let them build on agricultural land, let’s start growing our own crops and be self-sufficient like we were during the war. — Yours faithfully,

Ian Clark

Cromwell Road, Henley

What price democracy?

Sir, — Last week’s Henley Standard clearly demonstrated the right and wrong way to gain decisions in our democracy and the divided views of the Henley people on how they see the efficacy of our local government.

Without debating the issues surrounding the Thames Farm development, Claire Engbers is to be praised for using all the tools of democracy to gain the required permissions for developing the site.

No short cuts, no dirty methods, no schmoozing local worthies — just a resolute determination to use agreed procedures and finances to gain a result. Well done, Claire!

Remember this is after the Planning Inspectorate had scorn poured on its head by responsible local councillors in Shiplake and our local MP.

So much for them upholding the pillars of local government.

And still it goes on. An impertinent letter from former Shiplake parish councillor Geoff Thomas requests a financial breakdown of costs incurred by Mrs Engbers on the Thames Farm site. Butt out, Mr Thomas, you have no business asking this.

At least Mrs Engbers has used her own money while Shiplake Parish Council and South Oxfordshire District Council have used taxpayers’ money irresponsibly.

It is now time to support Mrs Engbers to produce the best development for Henley, Harpsden and Shiplake.

On other pages we had the Battle of the Bridge — how not to gain approval in our democracy!

Clive Hemsley is probably a very decent man but has been misled in his “Action Man” installation.

Firstly, the Mayor Kellie Hinton and Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak should have been more supportive of the official planning process and, with their Henley Residents’ Group roots, should have counselled against Disney fantasy lighting here in Henley in a conservation area.

I, along with others in HRG, spent years trying to protect the town from garish lighting displays. Did this all mean nothing?

I am surprised that Mr Hemsley was freely helped under cover of darkness by Hobbs of Henley — did they see themselves as “sticking it up” local government?

I think this would make a great film promoting Henley, along the lines of Whisky Galore or even, for your many letter writers, Cockleshell Heroes.

Without overdoing the arguments against this ill-advised and illegal installation — electrical safety and certification, insurance implications, future maintenance -— communities cannot have maverick individuals running around interfering with public structures in an uncontrolled manner and doing just as they think fit.

I am all for Mr Hemsley submitting plans and gaining the necessary permissions after full exposure of the facts for decision-making bodies.

Test your ideas by the normal democratic methods but let us have no more of this subversion of the democratic process by covert tactics of install/build first and then hope to have a tame Mayor, county councillor and seduced community support a petition for approval.

Might is never right. After all, one day you may need local government to protect your rights. — Yours faithfully,

Barry Wood

Stoke Row Road, Peppard

Make lights permanent

Sir, — At St Mary’s Church on the Sunday before last all was thanks and congratulations to Clive Hemsley for lighting up our beautiful Henley Bridge.

The town does have bits and pieces of lighting in some of the trees and along the river and at Christmas it is aglow but nothing is as lovely as the bridge is now after dark.

Please will all the councillors who run Henley persuade Oxfordshire County Council to give consent for this to be permanent?

We all benefit from Clive’s generosity with his green wall to help with the pollution problem and now the glowing bridge. — Yours faithfully,

Sheila Constantinidi

Wargrave Road, Henley

Long may lighting stay

Sir, — Inspirational. Brilliant. Wonderful.

Long may the new Henley Bridge lights remain. They will certainly attract new visitors to the town and prove a great asset.

Perhaps lights might now be added to the “orgasmo” lady on the Tesco roundabout and elsewhere around town.

May I suggest that Clive Hemsley is awarded the town medal forthwith and that the town itself should be renamed Hemsley-on-Thames? — Yours faithfully,

Derek Hammond

St Andrew’s Road, Henley

Enlightened entrepreneur

Sir, — Having read the whole kerfuffle regarding Clive Hemsley and his lightbulb moment, it seems to me that with so many locals being stirred from hibernation to support him, it’s the opportunity for Oxfordshire County Council to show some creative thinking like Mr Hemsley instead of putting up the usual defensive roadblocks.

As civil disobedience goes, I can’t fault it and Hobbs of Henley, too, are to be applauded for barging in with their flotilla of support.

Such a bright idea needs sanctioning with the minimum delay... and without squandering countless thousands in the process.

Henley needs visitors to generate trade before it becomes a dormitory town in the full sense of the word.

I trust that the town council will stand in solidarity with Mr Hemsley and equally will show a bit of enlightenment without delay by using the power of social media to come out from the shadows and share this progressive vision of Henley in everyone’s interest. — Yours faithfully,

Michael Hodges

Station Road, Henley

P.S. One bright idea frequently spawns another… Sydney is a great example of what to do with a bridge on New Year’s Eve.

Beautifying our bridge

Sir, — As I understand planning law, it is possible for a temporary structure such as the lights on Henley Bridge to be put in place for 28 days without applying for planning permission.

While the consent of the owner should have been sought, it would appear that both the Mayor Kellie Hinton and town and county councillor Stefan Gawrysiak were supportive so maybe Clive Hemsley thought he had consent.

The bridge, however, appears to belong to Oxfordshire County Council so surely, in view of the great support for the lights by councillors and others, they could treat the lights as a temporary matter and ask Clive to dismantle them within the 28 days (provided they don’t consider it a health and safety risk when that is done).

Retrospective planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council could be applied for if Clive so wishes and I imagine listed consent would also be needed.

Unfortunately, seeing how long it has taken to repair the bridge (presumably due to the various consents needed),. I hate to think how long it would take to get approval for the lights!

Please, Oxfordshire County Council, don’t be heavy handed but look upon Clive’s wish to beautify the bridge as being in the best interest of Henley. He did it with the best of intentions. — Yours faithfully,

George Constantinidi

Wargrave Road, Henley

What’s next: Stonehenge?

Sir, — What a brilliant idea to festoon Henley Bridge with fairy lights.

We all know the Grade I listed stonework looks better with thousands of lights glued to it.

What next, Clive, Stonehenge? — Yours faithfully,

Graham Wheal


Don’t need bridge toll

Sir, — I read that someone had suggested having a toll on Henley Bridge to improve air quality. In my mind, that’s madness.

We need to speed up traffic, not slow it down.

It’s bad enough now sitting in a car on the hill for 40 minutes just to get home every day but imagine the chaos if a toll was introduced. Regatta and festival time would be horrendous.

I have an allotment across the bridge and going over four or eight times a week would be so expensive and slow, it would be ridiculous.

The answer, which everyone knows, is to have another way around Henley. — Yours faithfully,

Lewis Every

Swiss Farm, Henley

Time to act on drivers

Sir, — On Tuesday last week, at approximately 2.35pm, a car driven by a Henley College student and containing three other students as passengers was involved in an accident in Deanfield Road, Henley, (Standard, March 9).

The two-door Ford Fiesta ended up on its roof in the middle of the road, which was blocked for more than two hours.

Two parked cars were badly damaged and I doubt that they are not all three written-off.

It was suggested by those who witnessed the crash or the events leading up to it that another car was involved but it sped off without stopping.

This was the second accident at this spot in only a few days involving Henley College students.

I have had cause to complain to the college and the police on a number of occasions in recent years regarding dangerous driving and illegal parking. The only action resulting seems to be a few parking tickets being issued.

Deanfield Road is often a busy road, not an old-fashioned estate road, thanks to the number of college students who now drive to Henley and the foot and road traffic going to and from local schools with many parents pushing prams while trying to control toddlers and young ones on scooters etc.

Deanfield Road, Valley Road, the road leading to Harcourt Close and all the connected side roads now have parking on the bends right up to, and sometimes actually on, the junctions and sometimes on both sides of the road.

I have witnessed parking within the roundabout! It is madness.

Many of the road markings are not clear and no one seems to know what the white lines mean anyway. There are no markings at all on the roundabout.

We currently have more buses than ever before trying to negotiate the Deanfield Road/Valley Road route, which is wonderful for the residents but must often be horrible for the bus drivers.

I, and others, have raised these problems with the principal and acting principal at college/community group meetings.

Since the current principal arrived there has been only one such meeting and requests for them to be continued have been ignored.

Perhaps the principal cannot take the pressure, or perhaps she does not want to be involved in what is obviously a tricky problem. If neither of these reasons, then why?

The parking problem is easy to spot but the dangerous driving problem is another matter altogether.

I was once on the receiving end of threatening behaviour from students after remonstrating with them regarding dangerous driving.

Residents witness it daily. Examples are racing at the speed bumps and braking hard at the last moment to avoid “grounding”, driving around the speed bumps with near-side wheels on the pavements and at little reduction in speed and multiple wheel-spinning circuits of the roundabout which leave the smell of burning rubber in the air for some minutes.

All this is often accompanied by shrieks of excitement and in-car stereo systems operating at volumes that can be heard 50 yards away. Due care and attention? I think not.

Without action, I fear someone will be killed and it is most likely to be a young child who does not understand the danger. They run excitedly, they use scooters and parents or guardians cannot be in two places at once.

So what is to be done? I suggest:

1. Regular foot patrols in the area from 8.30am to 5pm by police and college staff.

2. Double yellow lines at all junctions and the roundabout so no one will park within 10 metres of the junctions, which is the law is it not?

3. The Henley College keeps a register of how each student travels to/from college and ensures that each driver and passenger receives instruction on the behaviour expected while a student of the college. This is surely part of the college’s safeguarding responsibilities. If not, it should be.

4. A 20mph speed limit.

Regarding young drivers, yes, we were all young once and did silly things but it was wrong and dangerous then and it is even more so today because the roads are much more crowded.

What do I expect to be done? Absolutely nothing, at least in the short term, because no one has any money for preventative action.

However, there are duties to the public which cannot be ignored forever, so I expect some action soon. — Yours faithfully,

Mike Phelan

Deanfield Road, Henley

Walking is too risky

Sir, — As someone living near the Deanfield Road roundabout, it has been clear for some time that the flipped car incident on Tuesday last week was an accident waiting to happen.

Inconsiderate parking, aggressive driving, overtaking and even donut turns along Deanfield Road are a daily occurrence by certain Henley College students.

As a parent of a young child, I no longer walk with the buggy along the road between 3pm and 4pm as I consider the risk to be too high.

It is only a matter of time until a pedestrian is injured from poor driving and the council must consider further traffic-calming measures to slow traffic along this stretch of road.

Making all the roads between the college and Valley Road Primary School resident-only parking might be a good start.

This would reduce the volume of traffic and hence air pollution in the town by pushing a number of the students towards using public transport. — Yours faithfully,

Neda Mowatt


Poor driving by students

Sir, — The recent incident that took place in Deanfield Road has been on the cards for a long time and I am far from the only person to have personally witnessed dangerous and inconsiderate driving by students of The Henley College many times over the last 12 to 18 months, both in Deanfield Road and Valley Road. It’s an ever-increasing problem.

Alongside the driving incidents we have the problem of litter being left on the ground around students’ parked cars.

The college appears to do little or nothing to combat the negative effects any of this is has on the surrounding community, one that it’s happy to boast about in its prospectus.

Every day some cars zoom along Valley Road at speeds way over the speed limit, showing no appreciation for the families who live there.

Thank goodness there hasn’t been an incident involving any of the children or parents who walk these routes each day on their way to school or nursery at Valley Road or Gillotts School.

The council installed sleeping policemen in Deanfield road years ago.

It seems incomprehensible that the zones around Valley Road and Gillotts schools were not included in this scheme. — Yours faithfully,

Mark Davies

Valley Road, Henley

Good sense in snow

Sir, — With reference to Richard Milner’s letter headlined “Make town safe in snow” (Standard, March 9), I have no sympathy.

Henley Town Council cannot be held responsible for people’s lack of common sense.

Brought up in North Wales and North Yorkshire, I do wonder how we survived… Henley has seen nothing by comparison.

No gritting... what’s that? No snow clearance... you hung paraffin lamps in the car engine to prevent freezing and wrapped cloth around shoes to avoid going “base over apex” and just got on with it.

What is “with” this NIMBY society? Gone… in favour of “non mea culpa”.

If you are not confident walking or driving in bad conditions, don’t do it — it’s common sense! — Yours faithfully,

Peta Bird


Cold on ice cream trial

Sir, — What is Henley Town Council thinking about, giving permission for a three-month trial to sell ice creams from a vintage Italian tricycle in Market Place when a brilliant, local lady is selling delicious ice creams in Friday Street and there is another ice cream seller by Hobbs of Henley?

It is going to kill all small shops.

Henley now has 18 coffee shops as well as numerous charity shops, all of which do little to attract the public. — Yours faithfully,

Sonia Mason


Disaster that is austerity

Sir, — Recently we had the chance to vote on an additional tax for policing in the hope, I thought, we would get those valuable police community support officers back.

However, in my view, there should be a chance to also have a say on further areas.

Potholes that will suddenly get far worse after the recent weather need more money.

The NHS is obviously in need of a higher dose. Our local schools are being starved. We breathe poor air so more children now suffer from asthma. There are several others.

Austerity has already created a massive backlog and the recovery will be truly expensive. Brexit and its promises will not deliver anywhere near enough if at all. — Yours faithfully,

David Dickie

St Katherine’s Road, Henley

Inequality’s not inevitable

Sir, — Evidence from the Equality Trust shows that the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world and this damages our society in terms of health, crime, levels of trust and social cohesion.

The Government could take a major step, right now, to improve the situation.

It could implement the (currently dormant) socio-economic duty in section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.

This would require public bodies, including local councils, to adopt effective and transparent policies to reduce the inequalities that result from socio-economic disadvantage.

It would be a really powerful force for reducing inequality at a national and local level.

People can email their MP to ask them to support the socio-economic duty via Equality Trust’s website and they can also lobby their local councillors (and council) to act.

Inequality is not inevitable and we can all take action to reduce it. — Yours faithfully,

Jackie Oversby

The Mount, Reading

Better care saves money

Sir, — The Care Quality Commission has recently revealed that (cash-strapped) NHS mental health trusts nationwide are drawing up strict eligibility criteria for under 16-year-olds with mental health problems, effectively giving help only when “crisis point” has been reached.

Imagine if those suffering physical ill health were similarly left until crisis point? Parity of care/treatment et al? I think not.

With other reports revealing that 75 per cent of all adult mental health problems first surface during the individual’s first 16 years (and 75 per cent of this 75 per cent due to having been sexually abused prior to a 16th birthday) leaving help until “crisis point” not only causes avoidable distress and deterioration but is a major false economy (causing the need for later services/funding).

The young victims of eating disorders and sexual abuse suffer most from this current lack of NHS funding/services and, sadly, this is true not only nationally but right here in the (relatively) affluent Thames Valley. — Yours faithfully,

Paul Farmer

Wensley Road, Reading

What about us atheists?

Sir, — While supporting Douglas Kedge’s comments on the content of your Thought for the Week column (Standard, March 9), the great thing about it is that one can just ignore it and luxuriate in the erudition of your letters page and elsewhere.

For those of us not of a God-bothering tendency, there is a much greater worry being caused by the BBC and Government’s drive to establish DAB as the sole source of radio transmissions.

As a dedicated Radio 4 FM listener, I am told at 9.45am daily that were I to switch now to DAB or to long wave I could hear the Daily Service. I just stay put.

The BBC is not telling atheists, agnostics or members of other faiths what will happen at this hour every weekday morning should they succeed in replacing the FM transmission with DAB only.

Will that necessitate our switching off or switching stations for that quarter hour or will the non-religious majority be respected and hear that the Daily Service has been migrated to one of the BBC’s many online channels? We should be told.

As the BBC’s head honcho lives in Henley and, one hopes, reads your esteemed journal, I have hopes of an answer but will not hold my breath. — Yours faithfully,

Philip M M Collings

Peppard Common

Unpleasant dog walkers

Sir, — I am a keen walker, runner and sometimes cyclist in the Sonning Common area and have been chased, bitten (although not badly), jumped upon and tripped many times by dogs and always get a lot of verbal abuse by their owners when asked to control their dogs. I’m not sure why.

Often their first response is that the dogs don’t like walkers or runners. So keep them on a lead.

In the latest incident a couple of weeks ago, a dog ran at me at full speed and tried to jump up at me, not just once, but circled and attempted it a few times while its owner just stood and watched and didn’t attempt to control their dog or call it off.

When asked to control their dog in a friendly manner, which I usually find works best, the owner responded with verbal abuse, as is usually the case.

In contrast, a very responsible dog owner later into my run told her dog, which was not on a lead, to sit when she saw me coming and the dog sat at the side of the lane. In response, I slowed down and thanked her.

The dog never moved until I had passed and the owner had asked the dog to walk again. Why can’t all owners be like that?

I’m not frightened of dogs as some people are but object to them jumping up me with dirty muddy paws often covered with dog poo, resulting in having to wash or dry clean all of your clothes.

Dogs tend to do what their owners ask of them if they are trained correctly, so I can only blame the owners, not the dogs in these cases.

Sometimes I have my two-year-old grandson with me when walking. If the dog had jumped at him it would have knocked him flying.

So I would like to ask the following question to the irresponsible owners of these dogs: Why do you think that it is okay to let your dogs chase, jump up, bite and trip up strangers and then respond with verbal abuse when asked to control your dogs?

Is it the same owners who think that it is okay to hang dog poo in small plastic bags in trees and hedges or just leave it on footpaths for all to tread in?

It would be interesting to have some response from these irresponsible owners as to why they think it is okay. — Yours faithfully,

Name and address

Special night of music

Sir, — I was fortunate enough to attend a very special event at Magoos in Hart Street, where a large and friendly crowd of music lovers of all ages came together to be entertained by some of Henley finest musicians — and all for a worthy cause. Laurence Gordon-Wilson, owner of Magoos and great supporter and champion of young people in Henley, organised the event to raise funds for the charity Mind — mental health being a key issue for many young people in these pressured times.

In addition to £900 for such a worthwhile charity, the audience were entertained from start to finish by a stellar line-up of some of Henley’s best home-grown professional musicians whose skill, infectious enthusiasm and obvious love for what they do was fantastic to watch and listen to.

Thank you to everyone involved and well done Henley for encouraging and supporting our musicians and providing venues where live music is nurtured, appreciated and enjoyed. — Yours faithfully,

Lucie Henwood

Western Avenue, Henley

Wonderful performers

Sir, — May I take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful performers who played at the Henley Youth Festival’s Gig Night at Lovibonds Brewery on Saturday night.

Daisy Lynch, James Grundy, Jodi Anderson, Mia Agar, Sidni Brener, Rees and our two fantastic bands, Dolly and the Dinosaurs and Headspace, put on an amazing evening of musical talent and virtuosity.

Thank you also to the friends and family who came along to support the performers, the festival, Matthew Case, a very able sound technician supporting Henley Theatre Services, and Finlay Burch for taking the photos on the night.

Finally, thank you to Jeff Rosenmeier at Lovibonds, which is a great venue to showcase our local talent.

We are always looking for talented performers to play, so for those who were thinking about it, please do get involved and sign up for next year and for those who are interested in seeing our local talented musicians perform, please do come along next year to support the event. — Yours faithfully,

Kerry Fretwell

Organiser, Henley Youth Festival Gig Night

Thanks for saving me

Sir, — I would like to thank the three kind people who came to my assistance after I was attacked in Henley on Saturday, March 3.

I was walking home after work when, at just before midnight, I was attacked by two men near the Bird in Hand pub in Greys Road.

Although I received some injuries, it would have been much worse had not two men and a lady intervened and chased the attackers away.

I am most grateful for their actions. — Yours faithfully,

Jaime Cintra

Western Road, Henley

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