Monday, 26 July 2021

Don’t lose goodwill

Don’t lose goodwill

Editor, — I was employed as a staff nurse at the Sue Ryder Nettlebed hospice for 12 years until 2007.

With that background, I know why South Oxfordshire does need hospice inpatient capacity as well as nursing services provided in patients’ homes.

I admire the good work my former colleagues are doing now providing home- based nursing to terminally ill patients locally from Sue Ryder’s hub in Crowmarsh.

Sue Ryder closed the hospice and tried to justify its decision on the half-truth that “most people prefer to die at home”.

Most people would naturally say they would prefer to die at home, if asked when they are well. But when they become ill they will need hospice care.

It is very different for people who are ill and worrying about how they and their family are going to cope with care in what may be a long period of uncertainty before end of life.

The hospice movement started by Dame Cicely Saunders 50 years ago, later spreading to other providers like Sue Ryder, was to provide for just that situation.

Inpatient care is needed for the following reasons, among others:

• It allows patients to come and stay for a few nights and have their medication adjusted under nursing observation. This time also allows patients to receive complimentary therapies, such as reflexology, and to talk through their future wellbeing with experienced nursing staff, whom they get to know and trust.

These stays allow patients to understand what to expect and to discuss with their families more openly than if they were alone at home.

• Some patients will stay at home longer term but others need to be cared for away from home if their home is unsuitable for nursing, if they are widowed, or have no children capable of helping.

Some of my patients had small children, who needed looking after 24 hours, quite apart from it being difficult to look after their very ill parent.

• One of the best services the Nettlebed hospice used to provide was the day centre. Patients visited twice a week for palliative care, to see the doctor and have medical treatment and to take part in hobbies such as art and hand crafts.

This meant they had an opportunity to meet and discuss their condition with other patients in a similar position and have a closer relationship with the hospice and medical team, to know what to expect.

This also allows patients to start assessing for themselves how their family could cope.

One aspect not often discussed openly is the very heavy demands of laundering bedding and clothing several times a day as patients become incontinent. This can be burdensome if not impossible at home.

•Inpatient care provides vital relief to family carers, our unsung and unpaid heroes.

All these arguments apply across the whole of the UK, not just South Oxfordshire.

Nettlebed provided these wonderful and essential services through its system of day care clinics, short-term stays and final path inpatient care.

The local community, and our local newspapers, have given huge support to its local hospice over the 42 years since it started in 1979, raising very large sums of money, supporting hospice events and, indirectly, no doubt legacies for what we all regarded as a very good cause.

Most people locally know of someone who was looked after at Nettlebed or someone who volunteered at the famous sales or who worked there.

Let us hope that the head office staff at Sue Ryder will value the immense goodwill it still has locally and not throw it all aside. It would be so difficult to replace. — Yours faithtfully,

Anne Sandars

Church Street, Henley

Problem with skate park

I know that many Henley people worked hard to raise money to build the Henley skate park off Greys Road but who could have foreseen the problems it has brought to those that live nearby?

For the last two years the noise and antisocial behaviour coming from the park is making my life a misery to the point I have to leave my home and stay elsewhere regularly.

I have reported this noise and antisocial behaviour to the police and to the town council but to no avail.

As I write, it’s 3.30pm on Monday and the loud music coming from the park means I can’t work outside or sit and enjoy my garden and I’m forced indoors.

On many occasions, the music, shouting and swearing gets louder as the evening turns to night and often goes on until 11pm and later. Men and women using the skate park frequently go to the side of the park to urinate in full view of my garden.

A councillor I spoke to told me there’s nothing that can be done as there’s no enforcement for playing loud music unless it’s in breach of environmental health and safety guidelines.

An official at the council told me I should report every incident to the police. I have reported it many times and could do so most nights. I have been warned not to approach people at the skate park about their antisocial behaviour to protect my own safety.

I wonder if other Henley residents are suffering the same infringements? — Yours faithfully,

Name and address supplied

We can’t do fireworks

Sir, — Hopefully, the covid-19 regulations will have expired in time for the rescheduled Henley Royal Regatta.

For many years it has been traditional that a 20-minute fireworks display takes place on the Saturday of the event and, with a couple of exceptions, this has happened every year.

We have arranged the display for the last three years but feel that we cannot go back to the same organisations and individuals that have so kindly sponsored the event over this time and so, unfortunately, we have decided to step down.

It is clear that there are mixed feelings about the fireworks, with some citing the risk to pets and livestock.

But this is not a random event and people will know well in advance of the display and can make any arrangements they feel necessary.

However, judging by the crowds that flock to the bridge on the Saturday night to watch the fireworks, and the comments we have received, we believe the majority of townspeople support the event.

The reality is that unless someone takes over the fund-raising and operational challenge, there will be no display this year.

We would be more than happy to guide and advise anyone who would be prepared to take on this task.

We would very much like to thank all those who have so generously supported the display in the past. — Yours faithfully,

Will Hamilton and Richard Reed

French connection

Sir, — The sun is shining, Boris is married and Henley is coming back to life again. Excellent news.

But what’s this cloud on the horizon? Two whole columns of the letters page devoted to complaints about the proposed minor name change of the Red Lion Hotel (Standard, June 4).

Grace Leo has purchased the hotel and is refurbishing it at a cost of £3 million.

Henley may be conservative but surely some things have to eventually change, even if only in a small way.

How many times, I wonder, did the change resisters visit the Red Lion?

On the few occasions I went there it was almost empty and had the atmosphere of a failing business. John Whiting has come up with what seems a reasonable compromise, the Red Lion Relais.

Alternatively, how about banning all French names on businesses? There is Café Rouge, JoJo Maman Bébé, Côte Brasserie (still to open) and, of course, Hotel du Vin. — Yours faithfully,

William Fitzhugh


Tin? I don’t think so

Sir, — A few months ago, I purchased a small gammon joint from a supermarket in Henley.

The instructions for cooking the meat included covering it with “tinfoil”. When I asked where I could find tin foil in the supermarket, I was told it was not stocked, as I had suspected.

The person I spoke to was well aware of the comparative price of tin and aluminium. And, of course, the cooking requirement was actually for aluminium foil.

I have looked up a recent commodity price for these two metals. They are in US dollars per ton. Aluminium costs about $2,400 and tin $33,000. No wonder we can’t buy tin foil.

Last week, you featured the Tintanic II “tin” boat. I understand that it is made of corrugated iron. This is iron coated with zinc to prevent rusting. (Zinc costs about £3,000 per ton).

Most ocean-going iron or steel boats have a sacrificial anode made of either aluminium or zinc to prevent corrosion. So where is the tin in this boat?

Food and drink is also available in cans. These are made of aluminium or iron, thinly coated with tin. Yet we refer to them all as “tins”.

Sadly, our language is often incorrect and reflects a poor education in scientific matters. — Yours faithfully,

Tony Taylor

Knappe Close, Henley

History of Greys tower

Sir, — I would like to clarify some points in your Hidden Henley item about the tower at Greys Court (Standard, June 4).

The name “Grey” is in the Domesday Book in 1086, where it is spelt Grai, and probably refers to the family origins at Greye-sur-Mer in Normandy.

The first Lord Grey of Rotherfield inherited the estate from his father and the blood line had not then run out, as your article suggested. He probably built the tower, incorporating part of an 11th/12th century wall, after returning from the Battle of Crecy in 1347 with permission to crenellate his mansion at Rotherfield. A new tower with an indented parapet was better for defence.

Greys Court did not pass straight to the Knollys family. It was confiscated when the last of the Grey line supported the losing side in the Wars of the Roses.

While the tower looks well preserved, the top part has been modified since the de Greys first built it. The Knollys family replaced the original roof with a gabled one and later the Stapletons reverted to the older style to romanticise the ruins.

This is just a small part of Greys Court’s 900-plus years of rich history. — Yours faithfully,

Belinda Fairthorne

Greys Court History Group, Shiplake

Dad’s alive and well

Sir, — I write concerning the photo caption in Nature Notes (Standard, June 4), which wrongly stated “The land is owned by John-Joe Cottam, who inherited it from his late father Dave.” My father, David Cottam, is very much still alive!

A few years ago my wife and I extended the mortgage on our house to buy the land at Chambers Copse when my parents needed to sell it.

This error must have come about during over-zealous editing process since the author of the article Vincent Ruane also knew my uncle John Gardiner who, very sadly, passed away last year. — Yours faithfully,

John-Joe Cottam

So many thank-yous

Sir, — I would like to say a huge thank-you to the person responsible for handing in my red purse, which I had carelessly left at the self-service till in Tesco in Henley recently.

A zillion thank-yous. — Yours faithfully,

Audrey Richardson

Wootton Road, Henley

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