Monday, 20 September 2021

Living Advent Calendar eyes 2016

ORGANISERS of the fifth Henley Living Advent Calendar are celebrating a record year — and already planning for 2016.

ORGANISERS of the fifth Henley Living Advent Calendar are celebrating a record year — and already planning for 2016.

The 24 performances during December raised more than £5,000 for a large number of charities, more than £1,000 better than the previous highest total.

The final performance took place on Christmas Eve when a large crowd gathered outside St Mary’s Church in Hart Street to hear carols.

Over the previous 23 evenings, different acts including musicians, singers and children performed at various venues around the town, watched by crowds averaging about 150. Charity bucket collections took place each night and business “partners” served refreshments.

Richard Rodway, chairman of the Living Advent Calendar, said: “I think it went really well, so I am really pleased.

“We always want to put on a good show for people and I’m sure we delivered on that.

“I book acts that I know people will enjoy and there was even more variety this year, with wildly varying acts but all of a high standard and thoroughly enjoyable for different reasons.

“They seem to have been really well received by the audience and we were significantly up on footfall.

“We’re only in year five and still growing — there are people who only attended one or two nights last year but went to many more this time.

“Inevitably with an event this young, it has gathered momentum and we really hope that continues.

“We’ve raised more money than ever before and there was a great spirit among the audiences who showed up every night, whatever the weather. That was really heartening. We were actually very lucky with the weather.

“We’ve already booked a few things for 2016 and we’ll be looking at it again in earnest at the end of January.”

Henley Mayor Lorraine Hillier said: “This year’s calendar was fantastic. Every night was spectacular and it raised so much money.

“The businesses which partnered with the events did a brilliant job catering for everyone.”

The Living Advent Calendar’s main sponsor was Higgs Group, publisher of the Henley Standard. The other beneficiaries were the Teenage Wilderness Trust, Thames Valley Animal Welfare, Oxfordshire Mind, Bishopswood Special School in Sonning Common, Henley Regatta for the Disabled, Nomad, Riverside Counselling, the Chiltern Centre for disabled children, Henley Music School, Sue Ryder, Headway Thames Valley and the Henley Festival Trust.

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