Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Your letters

Senseless destruction

Senseless destruction

Sir, — As it was a nice day on Sunday, I took my youngest daughter to The Henley College sports fields for a walk and for her to play.As we began our walk we came across a burnt-out wooden bench on a makeshift fire.

This lovely, quality bench had recently been bought by Henley Tennis Club as one of a pair. On numerous occasions I had mentioned to my wife how lovely these benches were.

The tennis club and its facilities have been transformed in recent years and it is now a popular and modern club used by all age groups.

On closer inspection of the site of the fire, I found empty beer bottles, cans, rubbish and empty drug packets strewn around the area.

This is not the first time there have been fires here and it seems to have become a regular occurrence.

On numerous occasions these fires have been built on the sports pitches themselves.

This bench was removed from inside the locked tennis courts and thrown into the middle of the fire to burn.

What was the point? There was plenty of wood and twigs around the site of the fire. It just makes no sense at all.

As a regular visitor to this area, I continuously pick up all types of rubbish that has been deliberately discarded.

There is no excuse for this as there are at least three rubbish bins in the Tilebarn car park, which is only a stone’s throw away from these playing fields.

On some college days I have seen drivers deliberately wind down their windows and drop rubbish where they’re parked even though they are right next to a rubbish bin.

These people have no respect for the countryside or the wonderful town of Henley-on-Thames.

When growing up there was a slogan of “Keep Britain Tidy”, which my wife and I have taught our children as our parents taught us.

This seems to have been forgotten and the litter problem in this country is now becoming a big problem.I am pointing a finger at not only the younger generation as on several occasions I’ve seen adults do exactly the same.

There is a very small amount of people letting the law-abiding residents of Henley down.

This needs to be stamped out now before it becomes a much bigger problem.I am very disappointed that I have to highlight this problem but this unnecessary act of pointless vandalism has made my blood boil.

I hope everyone will remind their children and grandchildren of proper values and manners. Keep Britain tidy. — Yours faithfully,

Danny Jones

Elizabeth Close,


Now repent, you vandal

Sir, — To whoever this may concern.

On the Friday night of the last bank holiday weekend you came home after 3am and you walked along Church Street.

At the corner with Greys Hill Road there was a WV Beetle parked which you vandalised. You broke both side mirrors. One was cut off with a sharp knife.

The girl with you was giggling. You ran away. You are not of an age to be served drinks in pubs.

You know you did it. Police know you did it.

Now your parents know you did it. Everyone who reads this paper knows it.

We do not want you to live with it and do another wrong., so repent. — Yours faithfully,

Natalie Street


Stop stealing our sale signs

Sir, — Ern’s Car Boot in Blounts Court Road, Sonning Common, is run by a local family every Sunday morning (March to October) with the vast majority of any profit going to charity. Previous charities to have benefited include the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, Macmillan Cancer Relief, the Duchess of Kent Hospice and Help For Heroes but some weeks there is no profit, so not only do we make a loss but the charities also miss out.

We regularly get some great feedback from people about the site, facilities and catering but all too often people tell us they simply didn’t realise we were open. The reason for this has become very clear — someone is stealing our signs! Organising such an event takes a lot of time that the family does voluntarily. This includes manning the gate, car park marshalling, on-site catering, toilet facilities, running the charity stall, clearing the site and, of course, putting up and taking down signs at the beginning and end of the day.

We are not aware of anyone who personally disapproves of the car boot sale, so cannot understand why someone would take it upon themselves to remove our signs, some of which were on private property. If the person(s) responsible would like to contact us to air their grievances, we would be more than willing to listen — you should have our contact number as it appears on most of our signs or alternatively pop along one Sunday morning — you know where we are! Finally, can we take this opportunity to thank our regular supporters, buyers and sellers alike. New booters who wish to support our good cause are of course always welcome. — Yours faithfully,

The Jones family

Ern’s Car Boot,

Blounts Court Road,

Sonning  Common

Irresponsible ‘journalism’

Sir, — The Henley to which Lucy Cavendish refers (Standard, September 18) isn’t the one I know — perhaps hers inhabits a parallel universe? We moved to this part of the world from the West Country two years ago and have met nothing but friendliness and helpfulness wherever we’ve gone.

Henley and its surrounding villages, very much including our own, contain a vibrant and and active community, with more going on than can be fitted into any one week.

Cavendish’s criticisms were therefore unkind, unfair and wholly unwarranted; cheap-shot, easy-money “journalism” of the worst sort, not deserving of that name and a classic example of power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot throughout the centuries! — Yours faithfully,

Alex Manning

Reades Lane,

Sonning Common

Our real celebrities

Sir, — To answer the broad dressed as a bloke at the back, what have the locals ever done for us? Well, there’s the bridge, of course, and sanitation, the roads, medicine — great doctors’ surgeries and a new hospital, education — the best schools, colleges and students in and around the town, the beer, don’t forget the beer, and it’s safe to walk in the streets at night.

Then there’s George Orwell, George Harrison, Lord Hunt, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene at Stonor, Christopher Wren at Fawley Court, Mr Toad, Caracticus Potts, the Vicar of Dibley, Dusty Springfield, Lord Nuffield, Richard Hamilton, Donald Hamilton-Fraser, John Piper, John Mortimer, Richard Todd, Lily Langtree, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Wilfred Owen MC, Algernon Swinburne, Raymond Baxter, W H Smith, Lord Cardigan and Sir Francis Dashwood.

Apart from all that, grant me the splendour and occasion of the Henley Royal Regatta, Swan Upping, Three Men In A Boat, the Rewind Festival, the literary festival and the Henley Festival’s barely floating stage.I could discuss this over dinner at the Crooked Billet with Paul Clerehugh or tea with Mike Read in the Chocolate Café and a locally brewed pint at the Black Horse before climbing the church tower and visiting Speakers House en route to an evening with Michael McIntyre at the Kenton Theatre. Will Jeremy Paxman, Melvyn Bragg and Phillip Schofield join me? There’s Tony Hicks, Joe Brown, Ian Paice and Barrie Barlow to form a band and play at Birdstock and on the minstrels’ gallery at Danesfield House.Our erstwhile parliamentarians, Boris and Heseltine, might entertain us too. Leander could arrange for Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent to row by Temple Island.

Then it’s off to brush up on my French in the Market Place, enjoy the light streaming through Pugin’s stained glass window in the Catholic church and lastly review the names on the town hall wall that tell about the real Henley heroes who took their locally bred sense of adventure off to make and claim a corner in a foreign field that will be forever England.

I am sure that Russell Brand knows exactly what he’s getting into. He’s no intellectual slouch, yet evidently not a Telegraph reader.

So I ask you, apart from all this, what have the locals ever done for us? Did I mention George Orwell? — Yours faithfully, Peter Burness-Smith St Mark’s Road, Henley Move to our village, Lucy Sir, — I urge Lucy Cavendish, who branded Henley as being dull with little happening and with an ageing population already dead, to consider moving to Sonning Common.Many of our residents are certainly elderly but the village is alive with activity, ranging from health walks, the Green Gym and the Village Gardeners to the theatre club, Nottakwire and the WI, to mention only some of the societies and groups. In addition we have a non-party political, proactive parish council, which is well supported by our residents. Even more attractively, there is hardly a Porsche to be seen. — Yours faithfully,

Douglas Kedge

Chairman, Sonning Common Parish Council

Don’t believe what you read

Sir, — I did not know it was possible to be a Telegraph columnist and a Labour Party supporter.The article by Lucy Cavendish, who claims to be both, should be a warning to your readers not to believe everything they read in the Telegraph, especially if it concerns the Labour Party.

In contrast to Lucy Cavendish’s attempt at ridicule, the Labour Party is doing well in the Henley constituency, having come second in the recent general election for the first time in 45 years.

In the local elections for South Oxfordshire District Council, more than 21,000 people voted for Labour, giving us the highest opposition vote, but only one seat, thanks to the new ward boundaries.Indeed, she might like to volunteer for some leafleting in the Sonning Common by-election on October 22, where we will be trying to improve on our achievement of coming second to the Tories in May. — Yours faithfully,

David Winchester

Labour party candidate,

Kennylands Road,

Sonning Common

No need to be so sensitive

Sir, — What a silly fuss! Why the page 1 lead and most of page 4? Henley has always been a target for cheap, easy caricature calculated to raise a smirk. We have grown up with it, we are used to it and usually we either laugh at it or ignore it.

So what has happened to make you all so sensitive to Lucy Cavendish’s woefully out-moded jibes? (When did anyone last have a blue rinse anywhere in the UK?) I suggest you shrug your shoulders, raise your eyes to heaven, be grateful that you can afford to live here and, if you still can’t sleep at night, cancel your subscription to The Telegraph. That’ll show ’em. — Yours faithfully,

Elisabeth Ransom

Binfield Heath

Perhaps we’ll see benefit

Sir, — Perhaps we should be thanking Lucy Cavendish for “lambasting” Henley.Her words might help drive down the exaggerated house prices. And they might discourage Mr Brand from taking up residence. — Yours faithfully, Lottie Rundall Henley She loves Henley reallySir, — I was disappointed to read that Lucy Cavendish’s Telegraph article had upset some within Henley. Anyone who knows her knows this was absolutely not her intention.

I think Gillian Nahum got it spot on in your article last week — and there is no danger of the piece putting any Telegraph readers off our lovely town. I would see it more as the gentle ribbing that goes on between family; Lucy loves Henley, from its independent cafés to its pub quizzes, and is a great supporter of local businesses and young people.I encourage you all to come along and meet the real Lucy Cavendish at next week’s Henley Literary Festival, where she will be doing her bit to show it is not a sleepy town, chairing events on feminism, fiction, food and more. — Yours faithfully,

Tom Ryan

Programming director,

Henley Literary Festival,

River Terrace,


Better things to care about

Sir, — Why such an angry response to the article by Lucy Cavendish? I read it and thought much of it was tongue-in-cheek. Surely she did all of us a favour by discouraging Russell Brand from moving here. Most of us know what we enjoy about living in and around Henley. If there is to be outrage, a backlash etc, please let it be in aid of a better cause. — Yours faithfully,Ann LawHeathfield Avenue, Binfield Heath Lighten up, Henleyites Sir, — What a fuss about Lucy Cavendish’s article. I thought it was very tongue-in-cheek and very funny and there was also a lot of truth in it. It wasn’t insulting at all.I think Henleyites ought to lighten up a bit and get a sense of humour. — Yours faithfully,

J Hadley

Leaver Road,


Good to cut speed limit

Sir, — I write with reference to your article about Shiplake Parish Council agreeing to fund a new 20mph speed limit in the village (Standard, September 18).

As a regular walker from the crossroads in Mill Road formed by the road leading to the Lashbrook care home and Crowsley Road, I welcome a 20mph limit when walking to Shiplake lock, a lovely spot.

There are no pavements along this stretch of Mill Road and now that we have no “hedgers and ditchers” to maintain the banks on either side of the road, we cannot step up on them to make way for cars to pass each other safely, particularly if we are aged.

A lot of people walking the Thames Path use Mill Road too.By the way, I hope the new speed limit applies to those cyclists who treat Mill Road as a race track. — Yours  faithfully,

Miss M A Burge

Crowsley Road,


Our future in China’s hand

Sir, — I was alarmed to learn that Chancellor George Osborne was in China, among other things, arranging for the Chinese to finance and build our next and vital generation of nuclear power stations.This will, of course, be intended to replace much of what that great Conservative prime minister Harold Macmillan dubbed “the family silver”. He thus described our national utilities, as vital and strategic national assets, which very foolishly were later sold off to countries like France and Germany. Is this Chinese move really wise, if only in the first instance, bearing in mind that China is already suspected of having engaged in cyber attacks against our nation in the recent past? Although Mr Osborne, an avowed atheist, has either not read, or if he has has dismissed out of hand, like many of his colleagues apparently, the advice in the Bible, it is my duty as a Christian of 70 years standing to warn him that this great book contains a prophetic warning.

Namely, it warns that towards the end of history, there will be a military invasion from the East across to the West, of a 200 million- strong military force. Now I do not know what nation Mr Osborne would expect to be able to mount such an attack but in case he is in any doubt let me tell him for there is only one nation on the earth who would do so and it is the same People’s Republic of China, to whom he proposes to grant effective long-term control of our strategically vital, future nuclear-generated power supplies.

Mr Osborne, in the interest of the security of our nation, and the safety of our children and grandchildren, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Almighty God that you don’t believe in, please think again. — Yours faithfully,

David Silvester B.Sc (Econ)

Leader of the Oxfordshire Independent Party,

Luker Avenue,


Money wasted on bus stops

Sir, — In the parlance of Terry Wogan, “Is it me or have the lunatics taken over the asylum?” It appears that Wokingham Borough Council has recently spent, at a rough estimate, a minimum of £350,000 modifying the road and installing two new bus stops at the top of Remenham Hill.There is a huge community of approximately 20 houses in the area which must be desperately in need of bus services now that cars are in such short supply! The bus stops give no indication of the scheduled service and when I spoke to the contractor who installed them he declared that he had worked on the site for a week and had not seen a bus at all.

We have had lots of warnings in recent months about further reductions in bus services, so I just wonder how the council can justify this incredible expenditure of taxpayers’ hard-earned money on facilities that will never be used.A by-product of this installation is there is now an accident waiting to happen.

They have built a kink in the road and a traffic island opposite the Whitehill Service Station which, when dark or foggy, is going to be difficult to miss.One might have thought that the idiotic traffic island that was installed in Hurley some years ago and then removed within a month or two might have educated the council road planners — some hope! I beg the council, please use our money more wisely in future. — Yours faithfully,

K C Bushnell

Lambridge Wood Road,


No beds isn’t sensible idea

Sir, — I read the article headlined “Bedless hospital is cheaper and will treat more patients” with total amazement (Standard, September 18).

We are told that between 2013 and 2015 Townlands Hospital treated an average of 151 patients per year at a cost of £11,456 each.Presumably these patients were in Townlands because they were ill, undergoing treatment or recuperating from treatment.

For a variety of reasons it was not possible for them to go home.So where do similar patients go with our bedless hospital? I imagine that they will have to stay in the Royal Berkshire or the John Radcliffe hospitals, where I am sure the costs of looking after them will be far more than at Townlands, always assuming that there are beds available.I can’t see how the scheme proposed by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is sensible, either financially or medically. — Yours faithfully,

Andrew Hawkins

Berkshire Road,


Fighting for our freedom

Sir, — Firstly, thank you for publishing my poem Ode To The Sleeping Lion. Predictably, this provoked many a response, many of praise and agreement, but not so from your correspondent Elena Cotton with her Ode to Countless Hordes, a rather laboured retort. With respect, I think Elena had not thought it through.

The men in my ancestry have fought all the major battles for England from Crecy, Agincourt etc.

The Page men were freemen in 1120 and on through the 14th and 15th centuries men at arms, i.e. on horseback, and later in the Crimean War, Boer War and First World War.

My father could speak five languages fluently and also Latin and Greek, wrote several books and went into the Education Corps in the Second World War (he said he didn’t want to be shot at again) and ended up in the Special Operations Executive. My brother and three uncles were active in both world wars, one losing his life in France.

One was a submariner and his submarine was submerged for three weeks under attack and because of the foul air he ended up with meningitis which almost killed him.

Other campaigns we were in were in North Africa, Palestine, Korea, Malaya etc. I was also active in Malaya, so you see, Elena, all this has given you and me the freedom we and all the people of the UK enjoy — freedom of speech and our standards which are respected throughout the world. It is in my opinion that standards have fallen. Don’t get me wrong, I am not racist, many of my friends are Polish and I truly treasure their friendship.

I think my friends would not consider me to be ignorant but a warm, gentle man who is loving and Christian.

However, I do respect the right for you to pass your opinion. — Yours faithfully,

David M Page

Bridle Path,


My spooky ‘encounter’

Sir, — I was thinking back to when Friar Park was home to nuns and I had permission to walk the grounds with my shotgun for pigeons etc

I couldn’t do it now that I am wiser about living bodies.One cold and snow day, I was near the lakes and water caves when I went down the concrete steps into the dry walk.

I could only turn left to walk through but on the left was the old control room that still had dead electric meters and switches in and I went in there in half-light to warm up.

While there I heard heavy footsteps come down the steps and stop at the bottom just round the corner from me. (The noise sounded like it was made by army boots.) I waited a couple of minutes but there was no sound so I went round the corner to see who was there.

To my surprise, there was nobody yet the only way I wouldn’t have seen anybody was if they went back up the concrete steps.

Was Sir Frank Crisp checking me out? Spooky! — Yours faithfully,

Roger Crisp


Sir, — Although the sculptures were removed from Cowleaze Wood, Christmas Common, some years ago, the spirit of the sculpture trail is clearly still very much alive as evidenced by this thoughtful creation by a kind dog owner who selflessly chose to enhance our enjoyment of the footpath rather than walk 80 yards to a designated dog waste bin. — Yours faithfully,

Paul Sargeantson

Lower Farm,

Britwell Salome

Sir, — Here is a photograph of the Henley Grammar School rugby 1st XV at the eve of war in 1939.

Most no doubt would have joined the forces and some may not have returned.

The two youngest were the “wingers”, back left, Ron Corbishley (1923-2011) and, back right, Dan “Spenny” Seymour, also born in 1923 and who may be the last survivor from the team.

Ron (my father) joined the army and was posted to Burma for four years.

Dan worked on airborne radar in the RAF and now lives in Peppard. Both were the sons of blacksmiths in Checkendon and Stoke Row respectively.

Dan indentified those he could as follows: back row from left, Ron Corbishley, Wagner, Unknown, Unknown, Fred Amos, Josh Potter (teacher), Unknown, Unknown, Pat Jones, Unknown, Dan Seymour.

Front row from left, Sid Lewington, Ray Wells, Unknown, George Dunn (with ball), Unknown, Unknown, Geoff Dolphin.

Can any readers identify their fathers or grandfathers? — Yours faithfully,

Tim Corbishley


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