Saturday, 31 July 2021

Bloom organisers delighted with Buy a Basket campaign

ORGANISERS of Henley in Bloom are delighted by the response to the Standard’s Buy A Basket campaign.

ORGANISERS of Henley in Bloom are delighted by the response to the Standard’s Buy A Basket campaign.

We are urging town centre shops, businesses and residents to buy hanging baskets in order to reach a record 150 — and boost Henley’s chances of becoming Britain in Bloom champion.

Four hanging baskets have been ordered since we launched the campaign a week ago — two by residents and two by businesses. Another resident has donated £25 to the group.

Sheila Clark, owner of Sparkes jewellers in Station Road, was the first person to purchase a basket.

She said: “It’s a very visual shop and it’s in a prime position so everyone will see the wonderful basket. They are so much better and bigger than anything I could produce and I am sure they attract a lot of people in the town to come into the shop.”

Mrs Clark believes hanging baskets will make a big difference to the town’s Britain in Bloom entry.

“When people get together and get enthusiastic about an idea together it’s always good,” she said.

“If you have never been to Henley and you might only know about the river and the regatta but then see rows of hanging baskets it’s got to be a good thing.”

Aspen Weatherburn, owner of Naughty Mutt Nice in Reading Road, has also bought a basket after reading that just three baskets were purchased by businesses along the road last year.

She said: “I was one of those people who didn’t have one last year — I don’t know why — and I thought that was really bad because it’s not a huge amount of money.

“I have a very small business and things are not amazing but I just think it is still really important.

Ms Weatherburn said she liked the “incredibles edibles” theme of this year’s competition, which is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.

She said: “I am a massive fan of the RHS and I go to Chelsea every year so I think it would be amazing if we won Britain in Bloom. Henley is such a beautiful town and the baskets make it look even more fantastic.”

Nicola Pedley, of Bell Street, was the first Henley resident to buy a basket.

She wanted to “do something nice for the town”.

“It is nice to see Henley with all the baskets because it looks very pretty,” she said.

Pamela Beggin, who has lived in Henley for about 40 years, has also ordered a basket. She said she was pleased to hear that residents are able to buy the hanging baskets for the first time this year.

Mrs Beggin, of Thames Side, added: “I do feel a responsibility because I am on the river. It is important that the town looks as good as possible.”

Josephine Court, of Adam Court, has donated £25 to Henley in Bloom.

She said: “I just love the flowers and they give me great pleasure every time I go into the town. I can’t have a hanging basket of my own but I wanted to show my support because I think they make Henley look wonderful.”

Other businesses and individuals have pledged their support.

James Butler, sales manager at Hamptons, said he plans to buy two baskets for the office in Hart Street after reading about the campaign in the Standard.

“It’s been such a long grizzly winter that the whole town needs cheering up,” he said.

Lady McAlpine, of Fawley Hill, plans to buy at least two baskets to be placed around the town.

She said: “It is all very well for the shopkeepers to buy baskets but who provides the ones for the rest of the town, in the square and along the river? I’ll happily buy more than a couple — it sort of depends on what is needed.

“I think that having got into the main competition it is terribly important that we aim to win.”

Marisa Francini, a member of Henley in Bloom who is co-ordinating the sale of the hanging baskets, said: “Order forms are just beginning to trickle in.

“Clearly it is still early days but we certainly think it’s going to pick up.

“I am particularly pleased that we have residents who are willing to donate to make the town look gorgeous.”

Mrs Francini has visited shops in Reading Road and Hart Street to tell them about the scheme and plans to visit the remaining businesses by the middle of next week.

“The reaction has been very positive,” she said.

“People have said they will think about it and others have said they will need to ask the owner but the general reaction has been that it is a good idea.

“One or two businesses have said times are tough but most have said they will look into it.”

Windowflowers, based in Burnham, provides the baskets which will be installed in June and maintained until October at a cost of £49.50 plus VAT per basket.

This year’s basket will feature gold bidens to celebrate Henley’s success in the regional round last year. To order a hanging basket, complete the form printed here. Alternatively, pick up an application form from Henley town hall. The form can also be downloaded at www.henley towncouncil.gov.uk

More News:

POLL: Have your say