Tuesday, 05 July 2022
MORE than 140 Henley summer hanging baskets have now been sold, writes Axel Fithen.
Businesses and residents have bought almost 50 in the past week following an appeal by Henley in Bloom chairman David Eggleton.
Only 95 baskets had been sold compared with 156 at the same time last year and Councillor Eggleton challenged the town to reach 150 in a week. He said: “I am really pleased that we have now got to 141 but I would still urge businesses to buy a basket and do their bit for the town and environment. You’ll make your property look nice.”
Businesses and residents can order the baskets as part of the annual initiative supported by the Henley Standard’s Buy a Basket campaign.
They are supplied by WindowFlowers, of Burnham, which installs and maintains them all summer. This year the baskets will contain purple or blue vein surfinia, pink pelargonium peltatum ivy leaf, begonia, fuchsia, bidens aurea and silver cineraria maritima, which have been selected to support bees and other pollinating insects.
They also contain “hairy” plants to absorb toxins from the air in order to tackle pollution.
Cllr Eggleton, the new Deputy Mayor, added: “I would like to say to those people who have bought a basket thank you for supporting Henley in Bloom and making our town look welcoming to all the visitors.
“Whether it is for a house, business or whatever, the baskets have a big impact and create a wow factor for people coming into the town.
“Now let’s go for 180 baskets. They are value for money and WindowFlowers does an excellent job.”
Last year the final total was 228 thanks to almost 100 businesses, shops and residents that bought at least one.
Ballards estate agents in Hart Street have bought three baskets again this year.
Director Guy Symons said: “It helps our building and we think it’s important that the building looks its best because it’s one of the first things people see coming over the bridge. We are right on the corner.
“I think it brings a bit of colour to the town.”
Jim and Val Stoner have again bought two hanging baskets for their home in Wyndale Close. Mr Stoner said: “The baskets make the town more attractive to visitors. Henley has always been a very nice town and this just raises the ambience and makes it more beautiful and a better town for visitors and residents.
“I have lived here for more than 60 years, so I care very, very much.”
Frost Borneo Opticians in Hart Street has bought one hanging basket again this year.
Practice manager Clare Willis said: “We buy one summer basket every year because we like to support our lovely town of Henley and the baskets look beautiful.
“It is nice that they are looked after so lovingly and I feel they are a welcome addition for the town and visitors.”
McQueen Turner Solicitors in Station Road have bought a basket again this year. Legal executive Julia Turner said: “We are always one of the first to buy ours because we are very community minded.
“When you have a business here, you need to be supportive of the town.
“The baskets are lovely and I think they really do add something.
“They provide a lovely bit of colour for people who get off the train and walk up Station Road. It looks lovely when all the baskets are up as they all match.
“We have a lot of visitors here and this makes it an attractive place to come.”
The Row Barge pub in West Street, has ordered two baskets this year. Landlady Cath Howie said: “We take part to support the community and the hanging baskets campaign. They are really beautiful and we get comments from customers.
“It has a massive effect and makes the town look a lot prettier as the baskets are so beautiful.”
Building merchants Gibbs & Dandy in Reading Road have bought four baskets again this year.
Branch manager Michael Fuller said that the first thing he was asked when he moved to the Henley branch from Slough in 2011 was whether he wanted to continue buying hanging baskets and he said yes.
He said: “It’s a tradition now. It’s very nice and all the local businesses do it. I think it’s uplifting and shows what Henley is all about. People say that it’s quite unusual for a building merchants to have hanging baskets but I think it’s superb.”
Fr Paul Fitzpatrick, of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Vicarage Road, has ordered three baskets again and said the scheme was evidence that people cared about their community.
He said: “I think it’s fantastic. The baskets make the church so beautiful. I think it’s very important to support Henley and the local community. We think it’s important from an environmental point of view, too.
“I do think more people should take part. I do not think that all the churches have them and I often think they should.
“It is true that some of the reasons we do it is to encourage other institutions to do the same — those places that do support it, I will give them my custom.”
The cost of a basket, including maintenance, is £64, including VAT. To place an order, complete and return the form printed here. Order forms can also be found at the tourist information desk at the town hall. They should be returned by Friday, May 24.
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