Thursday, 20 January 2022

Your letters...

We do need hospice beds

Sir, — I write with reference to the letter from Henley councillors Stefan Gawrysiak and Ian Reissmann concerning Sue Ryder and palliative care (Standard, November 26).

I certainly agree with their comments and feel that as a significant town in this part of the Chilterns, Henley really does need a purpose-built hospice to respond to our needs, probably with up to 10 or 12 beds.

Sue Ryder has demonstrated that it can respond very effectively to individual patient needs when there is hands-on family support.

A friend of mine benefited in this way with strong family involvement during his last few weeks.

But there are many elderly patients who live on their own and seriously need the essential support of a hospice bed with expert nursing care.

So why don’t we support the idea of raising the funds for such a hospice?

We could be sure of tremendous local support. Just look at how much time and help our residents have volunteered at Sue Ryder over many years.

We would also need additional help from some of our wealthy residents to reach the sort of money required.

Maybe Sue Ryder would welcome this sort of approach and could in turn contribute to such an appeal when it has sold the old hospice in Nettlebed.

I have no doubt that the friends of Joyce Grove would be delighted to resume their support of such a venture. — Yours faithfully,

Bruce Brown

War Memorial Place, Henley

Banks forget customers

Sir, — I agree with those who have written to deplore the bank closures in Henley.

A few years ago, my card details were somehow cloned and several rogue transactions appeared on my account.

I was able to get this sorted out and the money refunded at Lloyds Bank in Henley immediately.

Now, if something similar were to happen, I would probably spend an hour on the phone listening to Mantovani waiting to speak to a member of staff while the thief was spending my money.

Local traders must suffer a lot of inconvenience if they have to go to Reading to pay in cash and cheques, which is a security risk as well.

Despite what we are told, most small purchases are still made with cash, which is more convenient.

Internet banking is not secure as the soaring rates of fraud prove year on year.

A lot of the profits the banks make by closing branches, causing us inconvenience and the loss of staff jobs, must be lost in increasingly large numbers to the scammers. — Yours faithfully,

Adrian Vanheems

Baskerville Road, Sonning Common

Power trains by battery

Sir, — May I suggest that your correspondents who have been debating the issue of late night frequency and diesel pollution of Henley branch line trains should combine forces to lobby for battery-powered trains.

A train was demonstrated at COP26 that would be capable of seven return trips between Henley and Twyford after a 10-minute fast charge.

With faster acceleration, low noise and pollution, the decisions on off-peak services could be based solely on demand. — Yours faithfully,

Angus McKibbin

Paradise Road, Henley

When things were better

Sir, — I wish it were possible to drink fresh water in the Greys Road car park; it was so.

I wish pollution levels were lower in Henley; it was so.

I wish it were possible to walk from Newtown Road to Mill Lane directly; it was so.

I wish there were fewer cars; it was so.

I wish life was safer for pedestrians and cyclists in Henley; it was so.

I wish there were fewer potholes; it was so.

Many of us enjoyed the lights on the bridge — perhaps the perpetrator felt that unauthorised action was needed. — Yours faithfully,

John Thornley

Makins Road, Henley

Keep up the good work

Sir, — Goring parish councillor Bryan Urbick’s comments about the Henley Standard (Standard, December 3) obviously do not represent the views of those many residents of Goring who buy your excellent local paper.

Councillor Urbick, whose own life story covered two pages of the Henley Standard in April, questions why the council should spend £57.20 of taxpayers’ money on a subscription to the paper, claiming it is a waste of money to find out “what other people say about us”.

He asks “why do we care what people say?” and claims it is not really a local paper.

With Goring Parish Council having a balance in excess of £300,000 in the bank, the small cost involved is surely not going to precipitate a financial crisis.

As someone who is a proud resident of Goring-on-Thames, I do not understand the point of Cllr Urbick’s insular claim that “we’re not Henley wannabes”.

Of course we are not, but we do benefit in many ways from living not far from an interesting and dynamic town which many of us know well and we like being informed about all that is going on there and in the surrounding villages, including our own.

Your excellent reports of the many and various activities in Goring, including council meetings, are timely and relevant to your readers.

If some Goring councillors find reading the reports on their meetings unnecessary or inconvenient that is unfortunate, but on behalf of those who enjoy your newspaper every week, please keep up the good work. — Yours faithfully,

Stephanie Bridle


Message to crash driver

Sir, — I was in the King’s Road car park in Henley at about 12.30pm on Saturday, November 27. I was waiting to turn right into King’s Road when a white Audi ran into the side of my car.

The driver, whose wife was beside him, said his name was Harry. He apologised and said that they had had a baby just a few days previously.

He took my email address and said he would contact me but as yet he has not.

If he reads this letter, I would be grateful if he would contact me via the Henley Standard.

I would also be grateful if anyone who witnessed this accident could also contact me via the Henley Standard. — Yours faithfully,

Name and address supplied

Painful fall in dark toilet

On Saturday at 5pm we stopped off at the Greys Road car park in Henley to use the toilet — it was a need, not a want.

The toilets were in complete darkness, not even emergency lights. My wife Daphne took a tumble in the closet and landed very hard on the stainless steel toilet pan.

This caused her a nasty injury, causing her to bleed internally, and has given her much discomfort and distress.

We intend to consult our solicitor and would like to know what steps South Oxfordshire District Council intends to take. — Yours faithfully,

Gerald Handcocks

Bitterne Avenue, Tilehurst, Reading

South Oxfordshire District Council responds: “We have been contacted by Mr and Mrs Handcocks about the incident at the Greys Road toilets in Henley and we are investigating.”

I prefer old pub names

Sir, — I was pleased to read that the Plowden Arms in Shiplake, a lovely and once treasured pub, will be re-opening in the new year.

Well done to Liam and Ryan Simpson-Trotman for saving this historic old inn.

I note that the pub will be renamed The Plough, its original name, so I wonder why they found it necessary to rename their current pub-cum-restaurant in Binfield Heath Orwells. I found this most peculiar and disturbing. To me, it is the White Hart and always will be.

Eric Arthur Blair (aka George Orwell) spent a few years of his childhood living in Station Road, Shiplake.

He was too young to quaff in one of the local inns but when he was older he did write an essay on an imaginary, idyllic bolthole, the Moon-under-Water.

I hate it when “landmark” pubs are renamed.

My old local, the White Horse in Emmer Green, briefly became the Pickled Newt.

No one entered out of anger and the original name was restored.

Another favourite was the Prince of Wales in Prospect Street, Caversham.

With a grey-painted depressing exterior, it is now named the Last Crumb. Sums it up really. — Yours faithfully,

Vincent Ruane

Henley Road, Caversham

Thank you to volunteers

As the core team responsible for setting up and running Henley Mutual Aid, we wanted to write one last time to express our huge thanks for everything that the volunteers who worked with the group did.

It was truly a joy for us to work with such an amazing group of people who went so far above and beyond to ensure that no person was left behind during the coronavirus pandemic.

While current news makes it clear that the pandemic rumbles on, we have decided as a core team that the time has come for us to step away from Henley Mutual Aid.

One of the wonderful things about this group is that it has helped to develop amazing new links, communication channels and friendships among neighbours.

The huge power of that means that there is no longer a need for a central team and help requests have now dwindled to almost zero.

Coupled with much more robust systems of support from existing organisations, it feels right to step back at this point.

Therefore our website is no longer online and we have deleted all volunteer data. We will keep our Facebook group and email ( active in case it is needed again in future.

Do join the Facebook group if you haven’t already so that we have a way of staying in touch if necessary.

At the start of the pandemic a number of local organisations and individuals donated to Henley Mutual Aid.

We are delighted to say that today we transferred all the remaining funds to Nomad and Riverside Counselling.

These two charities have played a huge part in supporting the local community mentally and physically throughout the pandemic and we are so pleased that the funds will be used to support local people.

All that remains to be said is a huge thank-you to each and every one of you.

Whether you delivered one bag of shopping or 100 bags, reassured a neighbour, dropped off a prescription or forged long-term friendships, you made a difference.

We are so proud to have been part of setting up this group and so grateful for each of you for making it work. Very many thanks. — Yours faithfully,

Cheryl Purver, Emma Taylor, Nikki Norris, Jo Mcdonagh-Hughes, Kellie Hinton and Harriet Barcella

Thanks for generosity

The Shiplake and Dunsden branch of the Royal British Legion wishes to thank everyone who gave so generously to the Poppy Appeal this year.

The total collected from Shiplake, Binfield Heath and Dunsden was £6,195.

A big thank-you to the street collectors who did a wonderful job. — Yours faithfully,

Rosemary Jones

Poppy Appeal organiser, Shiplake

Thanks for caring too

The Oxfordshire Volunteer Befriending Service (giving carers a break) would like to thank Localgiving Magic Little Grants for the grant of £500.

This donation will fund advertising to attract more volunteers to give many more family carers a regular break from their 24-hour caring role and travel expenses for volunteers.

One carer, whose husband has dementia, said: “I feel so much happier and able to cope with my husband now I have a regular weekly break.

“My volunteer sits with my husband and has also become a great support to me.”

If you would like to offer two hours a week or fortnight to give a carer a break, please call me on 07801 482408 or email — Yours faithfully,

Elaine Gilbert

Oxfordshire Volunteer Befriending Service

Eligibility for grants

Sir, — In your article about the Goring GAP Festival and the possibility of a grant from the parish council (Standard, December 3), you quoted Councillor Peter Dragonetti as saying that South Oxfordshire District Council would not give grants to parish councils that award grants themselves.

I would like to clarify the information regarding the eligibility of applicants for our councillor community grants.

These grants can be awarded to constituted voluntary sector organisations and town and parish councils and parish meetings that meet the eligibility criteria as published on the council’s website.

The eligibility restrictions for the grant scheme were changed in November 2020 before launching a new round of grants last year, allowing all town and parish councils and parish meetings to apply for funds to support community initiatives, even if they have their own grant- giving budget.

The second round of the councillor community grant scheme is now open and the deadline for applications is noon on February 4.

There is more information about the criteria as well as the application form on our website, — Yours faithfully,

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers

Cabinet member for community wellbeing, South Oxfordshire District Council

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