Friday, 15 February 2019

I was amazed, excited and proud to win, says environment campaigner

I was amazed, excited and proud to win, says environment campaigner

JULIA CAREY won the waste recycling and reduction award in the inaugural Henley Heroes awards last year, writes David White.

Mrs Carey, who lives in Reading Road, set up the Refill campaign with Henley town councillor Sarah Miller.

This  encourages traders to allow customers to fill up their water bottles in their shops.

She also campaigned for a plastic-free aisle in the town’s supermarkets and bought the rights to Bag It, a film which illustrates the effects of plastic pollution on the world’s oceans, and organised free public screenings.

She said: “I was amazed, excited and proud to win the Henley Heroes award. I have to say I was very nervous walking up on stage but it was a proud moment. It was a lovely evening and it was a really good group of people. It was interesting as well to hear about everybody who had been nominated. Everyone had an introduction and we learned about other people in the town. It was very special and quite emotional hearing about people who have been working hard for years and it was fantastic seeing them celebrated.”

Since winning her award Mrs Carey has grown the Refill campaign and now has 25 cafés and restaurants in the town signed up to the initiative.

Shops, including gift, homeware and clothing store Stocks in Bell Street, are also promoting it and will allow people to refill their water bottles in their kitchen.

Henley Plastic Reduction staged an exhibition during August featuring work from local schools and businesses and sculptures made from plastics, including a chair made from melted milk bottles.

Mrs Carey, who is married and recently gave birth to her third child, said: “I’m very pleased with the response and it’s very typical of Henley people to embrace it. Because of Henley, Maidenhead are now doing it.

“This town has a lot of people who are very proud of living here and love it. We love the community feel of Henley — I don’t think there’s another town like it.

“It’s quite large and there’s a lot of fun things happening but there’s a very tight-knit community at the same time. It’s fantastic to be acknowledged and it encourages people to get involved even more.

“You come into Henley and it’s not what you expect. People essentially think it’s quite stiff upper lip and smart but if you lift the carpet there are all these fantastic, exciting and interesting people doing things so an awards ceremony really keeps the fire stoked.”

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