Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Christmas shoppers urged to visit town

Christmas shoppers urged to visit town

SHOPPERS are being urged to support Henley in the run up to Christmas.

Town and community manager Helen Barnett said traders would need custom in the final three weeks before Christmas once the lockdown restrictions were lifted on December 2.

The town council is trying to market the town as a festive shopping destination and has adopted the slogan “Support Henley” following the cancellation of its Christmas festival.

During December there will be a digital advent calendar, late night shopping and live music.

Ms Barnett said: “Everything we do for Christmas is trying to persuade local residents and visitors to support the town and its traders.

“We would encourage people to stay in Henley and don’t go further a field to do their Christmas shopping.

“It has been a challenging time for them with covid and I would encourage people to support them.

“We want to ensure we’re helping and delivering revenue to the traders without increasing massively the footfall. We have really tried to think about creating a festive environment for shoppers.

“And we have done everything in our power to make sure the town is as safe as possible.”

The council’s “town ranger” Trish Rae will be on hand to help with queues and organisation.

There will be a small, unofficial switch-on of the Christmas lights on November 25 by Mayor Ken Arlett.

The town’s small Christmas trees will be installed around the same time.

The advent calendar will run from December 3 to 24.

Each day will have an offer from a different retailer and some of the businesses will be raising money for charities.

Late night shopping will be held on Thursdays, December 3, 10 and 17 until 7.30pm.

Ms Barnett said: “Quite a lot of retailers will be staying open and, having been closed for an additional month, are keen to extend their trading hours.”

On each of these days and over the first three weekends of December live music will be provided by the Salvation Army band as well as Chasing Deer and The Incredible Ants.

The musicians will be outside Cook on the corner of Duke Street and Friday Street, by Coppa Club in Bell Street and in Falaise Square.

Charter markets will be held on first three Thursdays of December and there will a farmers’ market on December 12 when there will be a competition for the best-dressed trader and stall.

There will also be a chestnut stall in town throughout December.

The Henley window display competition will have a theme of the “Christmas in Henley” and the results will be revealed on December 7.

Santa’s Grotto, organised by Paula Price-Davies and Tom Ryan, of Tipi Events, will take place at the Spice Merchant restaurant in Thames Side on Monday, December 21 from 10am to 6pm.

The grotto is sponsored by Invesco and Henley Self Storage, meaning that entry is free and every child will receive a goody bag.

Support has also been provided by Zzoomm, Interface, Kench & Co, Hobbs of Henley and Vintage Look.

Volunteers from charity partner the Chiltern Centre will be running a raffle and taking donations.

The Spice Merchant will be serving nibbles and mulled wine and there will be live entertainment.

There are also plans to have a special guest pre-record a bedtime story for children as part of the digital advent calendar.

Henley Children’s Theatre will stage its Christmas production, Babes in the Wood, at Fawley Hill from December 21 to 23 with two performances a day.

A Christmas market will take place at Leander Club from December 16 to 20.

The 30th annual Christmas festival was due to be held in the town centre on the evening of Friday, November 27.

Traditionally, it features the switching on of the town’s Christmas tree lights and there are also fairground rides, food stalls, carol singing and stalls run by businesses, charities and community groups.

Details of the advent calendar will be available at www.visit-henley.com

Ms Barnett encouraged people to support the Henley Basket, a website allowing shoppers to buy goods directly from Henley retailers.

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