Sunday, 31 May 2020

Your letters...

Festival for community

Sir, — As a Henley resident and a keen supporter of a number of local events, I was concerned to learn of the criticism of the Around the Boundary festival hosted by Kidmore End Cricket Club (Standard, February 28).

I attended the event for the first time last year after some friends, local cricketers who play for Henley, recommended it to me.

It seems to have developed significant interest from people in the surrounding areas and the impression I got when I went last year was that it was a thriving event which brings people together.

Whether they are from the immediate community or not is immaterial given the atmosphere and the enjoyment of everyone attending.

The criticism appears to be unfounded. The provision of health and safety at the event was clear, the family focus was evident (particularly throughout the morning and early afternoon) and the parking was obvious and well-organised in the field adjacent to the event itself.

The implication that the money raised was not donated to the designated charity, which (according to several of the playing members there on the day) is one that is close to the heart of a local resident, seems petty and insulting.

Kidmore End Cricket Club is a charity itself and both charities are very clearly set out and explained on the website for the event.

There are many community events in surrounding villages such as Pangbourne, Mortimer and Burghfield, which may not necessarily be backed by every resident but are a success.

It appears some Kidmore End residents have quite a narrow and insular definition of “community”. — Yours faithfully,

Oliver Brett

Makins Road, Henley

Great event for families

Around the Boundary is a fantastic, family event taking place this year for the third time at Gallowstree Common on May 24 for charity.

It is an extremely well-organised and safe event run by local people for the people.

There is something for everyone — the very best of entertainment for the children, the best of local food, drink and refreshments and a full day of amazing main stage music.

Make sure you are here on the bank holiday weekend to attend this wonderful family community event, at the same time raising money for local charities.

You can find more details at — Yours faithfully,

Mothers of children at Kidmore End Primary School

Let’s be like Las Vegas...

So John Howell MP has come out in support of the vulgar vanity project to drape our historic bridge in fairy lights, not even solar powered lights, tut tut — very non-woke! How about extending the illuminations into the town centre and festooning the façades of all the empty shops with flashing lights and floodlighting the empty site of the demolished youth centre too?

Hey, and how about opening a gambling arcade in one of the empty shops, then we could rename the town Las Vegas-on-Thames? — Yours faithfully,

Kaye McArthur

Ancastle Green, Henley

Cleaning is good idea

Sir, — Henley town and community manager Helen Barnett’s idea that businesses should clean the pavements outside their shops (Standard, February 21) is an excellent one. — Yours faithfully,

Eileen Ball

Baronsmead, Henley

In praise of workmen

I have no idea what the company is like but the people working for Zzoomm are a whizzz.

Okay, so there is disruption when they dig up the ground but these guys work so fast and hard that it doesn’t last for too long, certainly not with comparison to other roadworks we suffer.

They appear to work every day, this last Sunday included, and there are not three people watching and one digging, nor spending a third of the day in their van drinking tea and smoking. (Really, I was witness to this recently.”

They are also polite and friendly when spoken to.

I had a pile of dirt outside my house for a number of days but it was well contained and signposted, then efficiently disposed of.

I am not a customer (yet) and have no connection with this company but credit where credit is due.

Well done, guys. — Yours faithfully,

John Moore


No reason to complain

With reference to your report headlined “Pub car park flooded... again” (Standard, February 21), why did the landlord Nick Willson buy it then?

The whole world knows that this pub is built on a flood plain very close to the River Thames and, as your report stated, “has a long history of flooding”.

The clue is in the name the Flowing Spring as it is also next door to a natural spring that rises close by and flows into the Thames.

I am sorry for Mr Willson’s difficulties but you cannot buy a business in an area that floods and then complain that it floods.

It is much like those people who buy a house next to a pub that has been there for centuries and then complain it is noisy, or the townies who move out of the city to the South Oxfordshire countryside and complain about the farm smells, the mud on the roads and the slow tractors. — Yours faithfully,

Mark Evans

Sonning Common

Fighting for our villages

Editor, — Following your article about the Walnut Tree pub in Fawley (Standard, February 28), I should point out that though both myself and Rennie Valentine are on the committee of Fawley Parish Meeting but are not councillors, as stated, as we are not a full parish council.

I do hope to become a councillor, however, and I am standing in the Buckinghamshire unitary elections as a Conservative candidate for the Chiltern Villages ward.

This includes many of the local villages on the Marlow side of Henley, including Fawley, Hambleden, Frieth, Medmenham, Turville and Skirmett, who no doubt are all Henley Standard readers.

If elected, I will continue to fight for local issues important to residents in our Chiltern Villages. — Yours faithfully,

Mark Turner

Conservative candidate, Buckinghamshire County Council, Fawley

Premature celebration

Sir, — Though I do not live in Fawley now, I was a regular at the Walnut Tree for nearly 20 years, when it was the hub of the village community, and I was present at the meeting called by Bassam Shlewet.

He promised to rebuild the pub when he bought it to great fanfare.

The residents of Fawley assembled at the village hall for a presentation of what was to be built and he discussed his plans in detail while revelling in the celebratory status of the moment.

He also bought the Red Lyon at Hurley, what is now the Hurley House Hotel.

So why does Mr Shlewet not see the error of his ways and sell the pub back to the village at a fair price through an independent valuation?

To sell the pub back to the village at a reasonable price would be a relatively small, one-time financial loss to a man who has vast wealth.

The Yew Tree in Frieth is currently on the market for offers around £800,000 and that is a fully functioning newly refurbished pub.

So how much is the derelict Walnut Tree site really worth? £350,000 perhaps and certainly not the £950,000 minimum that Shlewet demands from the village.

Where other multi-millionaires in our area have a philanthropical outlook, this seems mean-spirited. — Yours faithfully,

Mayfield Rockwell


Please stop the hysteria

Sir, — It would appear that the coronavirus is only the latest in a series of flu-like illnesses, with similar symptoms and mortality rates to the others.

The effects are often so slight that people don’t know they have the virus and inadvertently pass it on.

Only for a few of the elderly and susceptible does it pose a threat but in this it is no different to similar infections, which regularly kill off the infirm at this time of year. We must all die some time.

So why are we treating corona as though it were ebola, a truly deadly disease? Economies are being devastated, businesses ruined, all because everyone is pressing the panic button.

Hysteria rules and the cure is becoming more damaging than the disease itself.

Time, surely, for a return to common sense. — Yours faithfully,

Rolf Richardson

Wootton Road, Henley

Ineffective declaration

Sir, — Oh dear, oh dear. Egged on by the BBC’s shroud-wavers-in-chief, Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, Henley Town Council has now joined the horde of local authorities across the country that have rushed, lemming-like, to declare a “climate emergency”.

They have all then piously set out how they will achieve “zero carbon” over the next few decades by eliminating their emissions of carbon dioxide.

Sadly for them, any council is unlikely to be in control of even 0.01 per cent of the CO2 produced within its boundaries so the remaining 99.99 per cent will continue to be produced until the climate change police set to work on us at home and at work.

CO2 makes up just 0.0004 per cent of our atmosphere and only 3 per cent of it was “man made”.

Of the total new CO2 produced annually, a mere 1 per cent is from the UK while 28 per cent is from China and as much again is from other developing nations whose output is planned to keep growing while the USA, thanks to fracking, has already shown a massive reduction in its emissions.

If all those UK councils (and the Government) succeed by 2050 they might just reduce world CO2 output by as much as one per cent and thereby defer part of one degree of global warming by several minutes.

Note that if CO2 “pollution” was to drop below 0.00015 per cent all plant life would die, as would we.

Meanwhile, we have what looks like a genuine emergency hurtling towards us in the form of the Coronavirus COVID19 that might, within weeks, achieve the sort of economic and social collapse so beloved of Extinction Rebellion because there is nobody on earth who has any immunity to it.

Perhaps all the ill-informed climate zealots will volunteer to help and care for the many elderly and sick people who will need more care than the NHS can provide if even the lower predictions are to be believed.

They might also realise from talking to real people that they are in a deluded minority while they could also make an immediate contribution by ceasing to use the internet and social media, which now has a “carbon footprint” greater than that of the reviled airline industry.

Sadly, I doubt that facts and common sense will prevail but I still live in hope. — Yours faithfully,

Philip Collings

Peppard Common

Children can’t ‘strike’

Sir, — The definition of a strike is the withdrawal of labour. It is therefore impossible for schoolchildren to go on strike. — Yours faithfully,

Toby Greenwood


Toad patrol is such fun

Sir, — We recently joined the Henley Toad Patrol, helping the toads, frogs and newts to cross the busy A4155.

We are thoroughly enjoying it and would recommend it to anyone. It is incredible fun and you get such satisfaction knowing that you are giving valuable help to our threatened wildlife.

The people are friendly, the toads are grateful and it is very easy to fit in as there are no set hours.

No experience is needed as training is given on the job. Come and join us — you won’t regret it.

Please drive carefully along the road as the toads need to cross and so do the volunteers. — Yours faithfully,

Jane and Conway Shaw


Deer don’t have horns

Sir, — Further to your article about a deer being rescued (Standard, February 28), may I respectfully point out that deer have antlers, not horns.

Antlers are shed naturally every year, whereas horns form part of the animal’s body and can only be removed by “surgery” — with the one exception of the pronghorn.

Regarding the handling and capture of trapped/injured wildlife of whatever variety, Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital at Haddenham offers a 24/7, 365-day emergency cover service. — Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Marriott

Pyrton, Watlington

You missed your ‘t’

Please can I correct your mistake in Hidden Henley (Standard, February 28)?

The stone structures are staddle stones, not saddle.

It is a common mistake but should not be encouraged. — Yours faithfully,

Carole Trethewey

Queen Street, Henley

Happy days of years ago

The granary at Catslip is supported on staddle stones, not saddle stones.

And isn’t that area properly called Crocker End?

I used to live at Malthouse Cottage, Nettlebed, on the road from Nettlebed to Crocker End, and often used to walk my dog round there, sometimes nipping into the Carpenters Arms, just across from that granary for a quick pint. Happy days.

Sadly, the pub closed many years ago. — Yours faithfully,

Nick Blandy

Lower Shiplake

Where was show review?

Sir, — I was extremely disappointed not to read a review of the excellent production of Are You Being Served performed by the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society at the Kenton Theatre Studio from February 19 to 22.

Surely as a local newspaper covering any manner of entertainment and leisure, it would be appropriate to report on HAODS’ productions into which both local actors and production teams put so much time and effort to entertain ticket holders.

I realise that there may be pressure on space but surely homegrown productions should get editorial priority. — Yours faithfully,

Anthony West


The editor responds: “You are quite right, we should have published a review of the show.

“We have done so this week — see page 29.”

Concert, not wind, band

Sir, — I am very excited by the news that Binfield Heath Flower Show is to have a guest celebrity this year in the form of Mary Berry (Standard, February 28).

I am also grateful to you for mentioning that musical entertainment will be provided by the band of which I am a member.

However, unfortunately we were incorrectly named as Woodley Brass Band.

We are, in fact, Woodley Concert Band. A minor point maybe, but an extremely important one if, like me, you happen to belong to one of the woodwind sections of the band.

We are hardly strangers to Henley, having played at Binfield Heath Flower Show and the Henley Service of Remembrance every year for more than 20 years.

We have also accompanied the switching on of the Christmas lights in Henley and the carol singing in Binfield Heath for many years.

All these events are covered by the Henley Standard and yet all too often our name is reported wrongly.

We are not the Woodley Brass Band any more than we are the Woodley Town Band. We are, and have always been, Woodley Concert Band.

Incidentally, anyone who is unsure what a concert band sounds like, as opposed to a brass band, may like to come along to Redham House Theatre, Sindlesham, tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.30pm for our concert Lights, Camera, Action, an evening of music from films such as Harry Potter, Chariots of Fire, Saturday Night Fever and many more.

For more information and tickets, please call 0870 321 2186 or visit our website, — Yours faithfully,

Elizabeth Chandler

Principal oboe, Woodley Concert Band, Kidmore End

Could you save fete?

Sir, — As was reported in the Henley Standard last year, the current organisers of Harpsden fete stepped down and so far no replacements have been found.

All the usual attractions and stalls are standing by but it needs someone, or a group of friends, to pull it all together.

The usual date is the third Sunday in June, which this year is June 21.

What a shame if this ever-popular event, which motivates the young to abandon their screens and take part in the ancient traditions, is lost to the community, not forgetting the generous sums raised for village and charitable causes.

Over the years the major players were always the magnificent Myatt family and the Royal British Legion who relinquished the reins some 15 years ago.

Let us hope we can pass on the baton for the next generation. — Yours faithfully (and living in hope),

Jane Burtt


Everyone’s loved by God

Sir, — No, Sophie Roper, I do not blame the LGBT community for the recent storms or anything else (Standard, February 28).

They are loved unconditionally by the Holy Trinity, as are we all.

If human weaknesses caused disasters, the world would have ended when Eve was a lass. — Yours faithfully,

Paul Farmer

Wensley Road, Reading

Lunchtime Lent services

Sir, — The annual Lent lunchtime services will take place again at the Christ Church Centre in Henley on Thursdays during Lent, up to and including April 2.

The 30-minute services start at noon and each one will be led by one of the church ministers and followed by a simple lunch, for which a small charge is made.

The services this year will follow Matthew’s account of the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus.

If you are not able to come to the daytime services there is a Lent course running at Sacred Heart Church on Thursday or Friday evenings (see the Sacred Heart website for details) and a Sunday course at All Saints’ Church, Dunsden, starting at 4pm (see the Shiplake benefice website).

The Lent lunchtime services are one example of the churches in Henley working together.

Another example, as you reported last week, was Trinity at Four moving from Holy Trinity Church to the Christ Church Centre, where the facilities are more appropriate for the growing membership of this family service.

Another example is the joint Baptist, Trinity and United Reformed Church youth club which meets at the d:two centre on Friday evenings. — Yours faithfully,

Mike Hails

Secretary, Churches Together in Henley

Farewell ‘lucky’ Ted

Sir, — I was sad to read about the death of Ted Dorey (Standard, February 28).

He was a lucky blighter living in Henley all his life as my days in the town were all too short as my family moved us away before even my schooldays were over.

I was lucky enough to have dinner with Ted last year and to talk of past years, including my time in Albert Road, and recall a few funny moments. — Yours

Peter M Adams

Petersfield, Hants

Thanks for dog rescue

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who helped catch our stray dog on Saturday.

We have only had our rescue dog, Peg, for a few days and she bolted through our back gate when it was open for only a minute.

Half an hour of chasing her round Henley ensued, which included her running along Reading Road.

Several people joined in the chase to try to catch her but she was too fast.

The pursuit only came to an end when she ran straight into the river. I followed her in and managed to carry her out.

We have now got her back home where she is dry and warm.

This is, in no small part, due to all the people of Henley who helped out.

Thank you to the lady in the van who drove me around, the young boy with much faster legs than me and the lovely family who drove Peg and me home soaking wet.

This was a distressing event for our dog who has had a very troubled life so far but she is now back in a safe home with all gates firmly locked. — Yours faithfully,

Ed Bradley

St Mark’s Road, Henley

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