Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Your letters...

Do I hear alarm bells?

Do I hear alarm bells?

Sir, — Could Townlands Hospital be privatised by the back door in the future?

I wonder how many Henley townsfolk viewed the BBC’s South Today programme a couple of weeks ago with a news item about the new Chipping Norton combined community hospital and nursing home.

It is very modern and up-to-date, like the new Townlands Hospital.

The programme interviewed local residents who are far from happy about proposed changes as regards the staffing there.

It would appear that the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is proposing to replace the NHS-trained nursing staff at the hospital with those from the Orders of St John Care Trust, which operates the home.

When a spokesperson from the trust was questioned about this they implied that there were not have enough clinically trained staff to effect such a move so could this be Townlands’ future fate to save money?

Firstly, it has already been made clear that the compromise beds in the new care home will not be the quantity first talked of and that the beds required on a when needed basis could be anywhere in the county.

Secondly, will the nursing care in the new home be up to NHS standard, particularly as the trust is in doubt about its ability to staff Chipping Norton?

The trust also had a less than complimentary report by the Quality Care Commission on its home in Greys Road, which the new one replaces.

What checks will be made and by whom as and when our hospital finally starts to perform as a hospital should — that is for the safety and benefit of patients?

Perhaps our illustrious MP could carry out this duty along with all the others that he is so fond of telling us about, even though it would seem he now also has another job to do with African trade.

I for one feel he has completely let us down over Townlands, although no doubt he will be on the defensive with his facts and figures to convince us otherwise, as always happens when criticised.

Both John Howell and the commissioning group should be ashamed of themselves in the way they have misled us and been frugal with the facts, which they continue to do.

I am sure that all concerned, excepting the Townlands Steering Group, knew from day one that no beds were to be provided.

These people are paid by us and would seem to be unaccountable and when the proverbial hits the fan with the care provided they will be long gone and out of post or elevated to the House of Lords for jobs well done. Then no doubt some bright spark will come up with the well-used phrase that “lessons have been learned”.

Come on, Henley, wake up and realise what’s going on as it will be you and yours that will be affected in the years to come.

Personally, I would sack the lot of them and bring back Boris Johnson who at least fought for Townlands far more than his successor has done.

Unfortunately, that can never happen so it appears we are saddled with what we have got. Let’s hope I will be proved wrong as I may well need the hospital’s services myself one day, if it has not been privatised! — Yours faithfully,

David Palmer

Swiss Farm, Henley

Sleepwalking to disaster

Sir, — I notice that the EU election has arrived in Henley with leaflets appearing through letterboxes and representatives of the “out” campaign in Falaise Square.

As someone whose natural inclination is to stay in, I find the arguments from the “out” campaign less than compelling in terms of what is best for UK plc.

The future welfare of the UK is dependent on our ability to sell and trade. Today we are part of the biggest single trading area in the world and the EU is our biggest single market (53.6 per cent of UK exports by value). Why would we want to give that up?

The “out” side argue that the EU costs too much — well, yes, the UK is the third biggest contributor but there again we have the second biggest economy and population to match, so maybe that’s not that bizarre.

It’s a huge number the “out” side cry and indeed it is a big number but in a world of big numbers. It equates to less than one penny in every pound that the UK actually spends, so it’s actually not that big.

Moreover, European countries like Norway and Switzerland, which are often held up as countries that have prospered outside the EU but which have negotiated trade deals with the EU, are still obliged to contribute substantially to the EU budget. So there’s no free ride available.

The “outers” shout we must take back control of our laws and be able to vote out the people who make them.

Well. whether we like it or not, if we want to trade with Europe, we are going to have to follow European rules. The problem is that outside the EU we will have absolutely no influence on setting them for the 500 million people still in the EU. This is exactly the situation both Norway and Switzerland face.

European law is actually set by the European Parliament. We all have the chance to vote for our representatives there. The fact that we chose not to vote and our representatives both in Brussels and Westminster fail to build alliances with the other parties in Europe or scrutinise legislation properly is not the fault of the EU.

One of the biggest irritations for the “outers” is the free movement of people within the EU, the claim being that outside the EU we would have better control of our borders.

Well, it’s interesting again that the EU has insisted that both Norway and Switzerland’s trade deals include free access for European citizens.

The “outers” also believe that the EU is holding us back from doing free trade deals with other countries. Well, I have yet to hear of any world leader who wants the UK to leave the EU. The exception is probably Mr Putin but that’s for far more sinister reasons.

As someone who has worked in business for more than 30 years, latterly selling in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, I have found that it’s significantly easier to maintain current business and win new business. Why would we want to jeopardise the majority of overseas business which is today with the EU?

Besides, the EU starts on the other side of the Channel, not half way around the world, and doing business there is significantly easier than markets elsewhere.

While I for one can see for sure that the EU has its shortcomings, the very fact that British Governments have wisely kept us out of both the Euro and Schengen has mitigated arguably two of the biggest blunders. This gives me the confidence that we can truly have the best of both worlds.

Let’s be clear, if we leave the EU in two years’ time, as the rules dictate, they are not going to give us some sweetheart deal.

The “out” campaign cannot describe what negotiating strategy will be employed with the EU, so we can only assume it will resemble what Norway or Switzerland have, i.e. they pay for access but have no say and are subjected to free movement of people.

Furthermore, it’s totally unclear who will lead such negotiations. With the exception of UKIP, which has one MP at Westminster, all the other parties are “officially” in favour of continued membership.

The ruling Conservative Party is totally split and will be calling for David Cameron to go. The Labour Party is in equal turmoil because it believes that Jeremy Corbyn is a closet outer and the referendum could be partly lost because of his lack of enthusiasm.

In Scotland, which will vote overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon states that she will use this to call for a second referendum on independence, which she will expect to win.

If the “outers” win we will be into the biggest constitutional and financial mess ever.

Business hates uncertainty and the UK voters could potentially deliver it in spades. What company is going to financially commit to the UK in this political and economic vacuum?

There will be a run on the pound, share prices will tumble, the UK will be back in recession and our deficit will start to grow again. This isn’t “Project Fear”, it’s a glimpse of the future and the British public are in danger of sleep walking into it. Please don’t do it. — Yours faithfully,

J Cassidy

Thames Side, Henley

Disrespectful treatment

Sir, — I write to express my utter disgust at the way the Mayor of Wokingham Parry Batth acted when presented with the Hare Hatch Sheeplands petition at the council meeting on March 24 (Standard, April 1).

Councillor Batth claims, in his own words, to be “a charming, highly motivated and target-driven individual with strong interpersonal and communication skills”.

He says: “I am an adaptable, ambitious and natural leader with immense ability to engage with people and encourage and deliver working as a team.”

Clearly, on this occasion, he did not live up to his own claims, which makes one wonder if the council does not want to accept the views of 8,000-plus supporters of Hare Hatch.

Patrick Heather, who presented the petition on behalf of these supporters, was not allowed to complete his presentation by five to 10 seconds.

This I consider wholly inappropriate when on many other occasions the Mayor has allowed people to go over their allotted one-minute time slot.

Mr Heather is a highly respected member of the community in Twyford, having been for several years chairman of Twyford Village Partnership, and he is currently chairman of trustees at the Twyford Age Concern day centre.

The way he was treated by the Mayor can only be described as totally unacceptable. To treat Mr Heather and the 8,000-plus signatories in this manner is an insult to democracy.

I trust that the council will heed the wishes of 8,000-plus members of the public and have a full debate to find an amicable answer to the ongoing planning saga with Hare Hatch Sheeplands. This company is an asset to the area, employs many people and is clearly wanted by the public. — Yours faithfully,

Frank Moore

Thornbers Way, Charvil

Remember who you serve

Sir, — The Mayor of Wokingham Parry Batth acted inconsistently at the council meeting on March 24 in what can only be called the farce of democracy in action.

While many other people were allowed to overrun their allotted time, Patrick Heather, who was presenting an 8,000-plus petition on behalf of supporters of Hare Hatch Sheeplands, was stopped from finishing his presentation by five to 10 seconds.

“We told you beforehand you only had this amount of time,” they cried. Surely that rule should be for everyone then, not the chosen few.

For Mr Heather to be treated so poorly by Councillor Batth, who claims to have “strong interpersonal and communication skills”, fills me with dismay.

Rob Scott and his team at the garden centre have turned what was a derelict set of greenhouses and a rubbish tip site into a decent business, employing local people and supporting many local charities.

How can more than 8,000 local people be ignored in this fashion? Do Wokingham borough councillors forget who they are serving? — Yours faithfully,

Patricia Miller

Springfield, Twyford

Time for an ale rebellion

Sir, — The only surprise regarding the squatters at Brakspear’s former Dog and Duck pub in Highmoor (Standard, March 25) is that they decided to move in there in the first place.

I went to visit the Crown in Nuffield with the estate agent appointed by Brakspear and what I saw was a damning example of a beautiful pub left to rot. There was no electricity, the kitchen was filthy and the ceiling was falling in. There were pigeons in the fireplace, broken windows — a total disaster and uninhabitable in my opinion.

What would be the attraction for any potential landlord? Do you think that Brakspear just wants to run it into the ground, or convert the property into a private house and then sell it?

This is what they have have done with the Dog and Duck, the Rose and Crown in New Street, Henley, (and the Crown — a planning application for change of use was rejected by South Oxfordshire District Council) and the Four Horseshoes in Checkendon.

I wonder what the plans are for the Station House, which is now closed and was recently given an environmental health warning based on food preparation.

I suggest Brakspear looks to the Bird in Hand in Greys Road, which is — unbelievably — the only pub in Henley listed in the CAMRA Good Pub Guide 2016 (no Brakspear pub has made it for years) as a model for how to run a successful community pub.

At least Henley ale drinkers have the Bird and the Queen Victoria, not forgetting the Catherine Wheel, available for a decent range of ales in the town.

Marlow has the Rebellion brewery, which produces a great range of very popular beers and also has pubs. Please, for the sake of Henley drinkers, can Rebellion (or Loddon in Dunsden, XT in Thame, or Binghams in Twyford) step in and run a couple of pubs in Henley and save us from the fiasco that is Brakspear?

It’s time for a Rebellion! — Yours faithfully,

James Lambert


I enjoyed food at closed pub

Sir, — In your article about the recent closure of the Station House pub (Standard, March 25), you reported on two separate matters but by combining both into one gave the impression that in some way the two were related, which is not the case.

As you state, the visit by the health inspector was one whole month prior to the decision by Christian that it was no longer viable for him to operate the Station House and his findings appear to have been advisory in nature as he did not feel the need to notify Brakspear separately.

As your article stated, the council confirmed that it had revisited the Station House to ensure that the right actions were being taken to bring standards back up to scratch.

As a regular customer of the Station House, I always found the food to be of a high standard, as was the service that went with it.

I felt the atmosphere that Christian and his team managed to create was an asset to the town and one that I know I am not alone in missing.

I know that I am joined by many of the Station House regulars in wishing Christian and his family all the very best for the future. — Yours  faithfully,

Guy Easterbrook

King’s Road, Henley

Attracting more tourists

Sir, — With reference to your story about the closure of Henley jewellers Precious Love (Standard, April 1), many years ago, when I was president of the then chamber of trade and commerce, I invited two major tour operators, American Express and Evans & Evans, to visit Henley.

These companies were responsible for bringing in overseas visitors to all parts of the UK.

My idea was to work with these two and other tour operators to bring in overseas visitors to spend their dollars, euros etc in Henley.

The town council at that time was not interested.

If anyone is serious about increasing business in Henley then the tourist office, hoteliers, boat hire companies etc. need to work together with a workable plan to put to incoming tour operators to bring coachloads of tourists into Henley, dropping them off and picking them up by the bus stop in Hart Street while parking their coaches in the station car park.

Other towns have businesses that work well together, welcoming tourist groups into their towns.

I have always wondered why Henley appeared to have an aversion to foreign tourists bringing their spending money into Henley shops. — Yours faithfully,

Gloria Wright


Unbalanced vote on gym

>Sir, — You described exciting plans for a proposed new fitness centre at Phyllis Court Club and a forthcoming vote for members (Standard, April 1).

However, a group of members concerned for the best interests of the club have apparently compiled a leaflet detailing problems with the plan.

This leaflet does not seem to have been circulated to members as one would expect to be the case before any democratic vote.

It would surely be helpful if both views on the project were made available, so members could then come to a reasoned decision before voting on such an important issue. — Yours faithfully,

P Stradling

St Andrew’s Road, Henley

Car parking ticket fiasco

Sir, — I have just used the Greys Road car park in Henley.

When I went to pay there were several disgruntled people at the machines saying their payment had been rejected and they couldn’t get tickets.

I tried another machine and noticed the small display in the corner said “insufficient money”.

I put in 60p and it worked, but the council notices still say “50p”. One irate man told me he would “fight it out” if he got a ticket.

Another, a young mother, had put in 80p for the two hours but only got an hour.

I’m glad I was able to get a ticket as when I returned to the car I saw a warden patrolling, who will doubtless be very busy ticketing offenders. What a cock-up! — Yours faithfully,

Adrian Vanheems

Baskerville Road, Sonning Common

Corrupt or incompetent?

Sir, — I write with reference to the South Oxfordshire District Council’s announcement about the variation in car parking charges. The public notice in the Henley Standard (March 18) stated that, for Henley’s King’s Road and Greys Road car parks, new charges would apply from April 1. Apparently, the old charge was 0.50p (sic) for up to one hour.

In my experience the ticket machines in these car parks are set to charge 50p for up to one hour.

I would therefore like to know what happens to the other 49.5p that is charged?

An increase of 20 per cent is announced, to 0.60p. Will the machines continue to be set at 50p? This would reduce the surplus to 49.4p.

Since the ticket machines are currently overcharging by almost 1000 per cent, I would further like to know whether the district council will refund 49.5p on every one hour ticket in my possession? — Yours faithfully,

Tony Taylor

Knappe Close, Henley

Bus company doesn’t care

Sir, — I read with great interest Thames Travel’s truly innovative business strategy for its 139 bus service (Standard, April 1).

Having lost its public subsidy from Oxfordshire County Council, its business strategy appears to turn instead to another source of public money through schools.

Apparently the company appears to be entirely oblivious to the fact that the education sector is currently suffering from the same cuts in funding that other parts of the public sector are subject to.

This aside, many schools will have already carefully planned what to spend their already stretched budgets on by this time of the year.

So what does that mean? Thames Travel can say it tried... and what if it fails? Yet more cars on the road in towns which already have air pollution problems, more problems with traffic around schools, a generation of kids who have never used bus services and as a consequence never will.

A truly inspiring business strategy by Thames Travel — losing its future customers before they have even begun, a built-in redundancy of its business.

Nowhere in this equation does Thames Travel appear to consider its existing, paying customers. Apparently they are superfluous. — Yours faithfully,

Sarah Martin


We must stop air pollution

Sir, — I am in agreement with John Howell that the report by South Oxfordshire District Council and consultants Riccardo Energy on air quality in Henley is totally inadequate as it implies the problem is too difficult to solve (Standard, April 1).

However, the council has only been searching for actions since 2007 so it should not be unexpected.

The heavy goods vehicles study that Mr Howell himself initiated for South Oxfordshire also ended with a political fear that, although HGVs can be offset to Henley, we cannot push them back.

The Government is itself fighting legal action from Client Earth about its air quality plans being too weak after the UK Supreme Court found against Defra.

David Cameron said recently that he could not recall the number of deaths the NHS attributes to air pollution each year. It’s so difficult to remember 50,000. Where is the leadership?

It is now two years since Henley Town Council requested from Oxfordshire County Council a ban on HGV through-traffic on environmental concerns. This has never been answered and no alternative is proposed.

Why? Because no one wants to tackle the real problem, which is the detrimental effect of all diesel vehicles and the particulates they emit. Children suffer the most in terms of lung capacity through to final education attainment.

Some time ago the Government thought it would introduce more diesel vehicles in the UK as it helps with the CO2 story.

Now it needs to turn the focus on getting us to buy much fewer. Taxation in the last budget could have helped.

The London low emission zone strategy states that diesel cars bought before September 2015 will not be allowed in the capital from 2020. This strategy is clear. Many cities are saying the same thing.

So we need to make the Henley long-term plan as clear and start the behaviour change journey. We need to appoint a town councillor to lead the air quality drive, to begin measuring particulates, to make sure the transport strategy delivers the right actions and to ensure the developers fund the necessary programme. — Yours faithfully,

David Dickie

St Katherine’s Road, Henley

You should do more, John

Sir, — I refer to John Howell’s comment on the report by environmental consultants Ricardo Energy which states that the main problem in Henley is down to local car use.

Why then is he allowing the Government to force us to have hundreds of new houses in the Henley area, introducing hundreds more cars in our town, which is already gridlocked?

If the pollution levels in Henley are allowed to continue, then the Government is knowingly poisoning the local residents. Surely there must be a law against this?

Please, John, use your influence to persuade the Government that Henley is full and cannot sustain any more housing.

With regards to the heavy good vehicles, it is absolutely nonsense to say that they contribute very little to the problem.

We live in Station Road and see the volume of oversized HGVs idling outside our windows, belching out black diesel fumes, causing black film on our sills and windows and filling our lungs with the same.

Something must be done about this before someone is moved to take legal action against the Government.

How wonderful it would be if during John’s term of office he was remembered as having made our beautiful town the cleanest and greenest in Europe instead of the worst. If we could help him in any way, we would be delighted to do so. — Yours faithfully,

Jim and Val Stoner

Wyndale Close, Henley

Important to make us think

Sir, — I am writing in response to the letters that you have received regarding the Thought for the Week written by Lt Col Peter Blaker.

I am among those who were neither horrified nor disgusted by the views that he expressed.

At no point did he condone child abuse and, unless we choose to assume that the sexual abuse of children does not frequently occur within the home, his comment on this also was justified.

As I understand it, his plea was simply that in dealing with such cases we should try to keep a sense of proportion and not rush summarily to judgement: first, we must be sure of the facts; secondly, we must put the act itself in context.

This would be a simpler world to live in if things were always black or white but unfortunately this is rarely so.

If there is to be any hope of our dealing effectively with child abuse we must be prepared to face unpleasant facts and not shut our eyes to them because of our sensitivity.

I am not a practising Christian but try to live my life according to Christian precepts.

It seems strange to me that at Easter, of all times, the God of the Old Testament should be appealed to rather than that of the New Testament. If indeed “He died to save us all” should this not at least give those who believe cause to pause before judgement?

I agree with Lt Col Blaker too in his view on how we treat geriatric Nazi war criminals. It is easy to exact vengeance but we do it at the cost of our humanity.

On this occasion Thought for the Week was used in the hope of making us reconsider some of our set attitudes. Perhaps he was too provocative for some of your readership but of one thing I am sure — he did not set out to offend but only to make us think. What better use could there be of Thought for the Week? — Yours faithfully,

Ann Law

Heathfield Avenue, Binfield Heath

Dedicated volunteers

Sir, —I write with regard to the letter from Anne Habasinski of Mowforth Close, Woodcote, headlined “Don’t forget unsung heroes” (Standard, January 29).

I fully understand her disappointment and frustration about no recognition for the loyal band of volunteers at the Sue Ryder hospice who turn out throughout the year, not only on Saturday sales day, but at other times to sort out all the huge amount of saleable goods.

It is well known that this dedicated team of unsung heroes raises approximately £25,000, if not more, per sale, which over the year amounts to about £425,000.

This tremendous effort by the volunteers, like Anne Habasinski, needs to be recognised by Sue Ryder trustees and paid staff of this high profile charitable organisation.

Lady Ryder would turn in her grave if she knew about this lack of recognition for these dedicated workers.

The readers of this letter might like to know that I have set up and run eight charitable educational enterprises from our base at the Institute of Education, University of Reading.

Without our volunteers, these enterprises would not function properly. Our respective trustees and directors really value and sing their praises continuously.

The Sue Ryder volunteers are, in my book, like the Cockleshell Heroes (I am a former Royal Marine), who deserve the highest recognition for their unpaid services to the Sue Ryder hospice and the communities around Henley and South Oxfordshire.

A letter to the Queen is being written, asking her whether an “unsung volunteer heroes” reception could be arranged at Windsor Castle, especially as it is her 90th birthday. Watch this space! — Yours faithfully,

Ken Carter

Greys Road, Henley

Thanks for helping me

Sir, — My car broke down in Peppard Road, Emmer Green, opposite Reading Abbey Rugby Club, just before midday on Saturday.

I would like to send my appreciation to the gent who stopped behind me and let me use his phone.

I called the AA and this became quite a lengthy call and I should have offered to pay for it, so I’m so sorry I didn’t — my head was in a whirl after the week I had had!

I would also like to thank the three gents who pushed my car off the main road into the rugby club driveway as they felt it would be safer for me there than the main road.

It’s a shame I can’t offer the same gratitude to the AA man, who was not happy.

You could tell by the aggressive way he drove in, complaining that he couldn’t find it, he didn’t know the area and he was due to finish work at 1 o’clock and lived in Basingstoke.

I really needed that attitude having broken down on my way to an important appointment.

The second AA man who came with a tow truck was a real gem, very helpful and polite, so thank you.

My phone had given up on me on Friday and my car on Saturday. Both for the scrap heap, I’m afraid! Talk about bad luck. — Yours faithfully,

Chrissie Harvey

Buckingham Drive, Emmer Green

Mystery ‘angels’

Sir, — On Thursday, March 24 my father was involved in a car accident on the B4009 at the Lewknor turn.

We are trying to trace two nurses who gave first aid at the scene. We would love to find out who these two angels were.

If anyone knows of them please make contact with us at kmarsh1@btinternet.com — Yours faithfully,

K Marsh

Knights Road, Oxford

Place to make new friends

Sir, — With birdsong and brighter mornings bringing a certain joie de vivre, we’d like to invite any readers, who may be looking for others to get out and about with, to get in touch.

We have a variety of local events and activities planned for the season, such as chat-filled coffee mornings, local history talks and trips out and about. Many are free or charged to simply cover costs.

As a local friendship group, we’ve helped many people take the small steps they are looking for to get some spring back into their social life by trying something new in good company.

We know how many events in life can result in us putting our social lives on hold or (even unconsciously) letting it take a back seat, such as having friends or family move away, a divorce or losing someone close.

Our events are perfect for anyone who’s looking to pop some more activities in their diary. If you’re coming along on your own, or nervous about meeting new people, you can be sure of a warm welcome.

If you’d like to receive a list of our events, call us on 0118 957 3354 or email me at debbie.jex@oddfellows.co.uk

We have many new events planned starting in April and look forward to meeting you. — Yours faithfully,

Debbie Jex

District secretary, Reading District Oddfellows (Reading, Henley, Maidenhead and Thatcham)

Thanks for the thanks

Sir, — I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Mrs P K Colin for her very kind letter about the FISH tea parties which we hold monthly in Sonning Common village hall (Standard, April 1).

It is clear from the excellent attendance that the tea parties are very much enjoyed by so many local folk in the “upper” age group.

As chairman of FISH, it is a joy for me to know that what we offer in this respect is something which gives so much pleasure to so many.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to our volunteers who put so much effort into the tea parties, making cakes and sandwiches in preparation as well as organising events on the day.

Thanks also go to the many talented entertainers who give their time to provide something special for our lovely guests.

We do know we are appreciated but it’s even better to see it in writing!

Just to boast about what else FISH does in the community there are also the regular shopping trips, mystery tea tours etc, in our super comfortable minibus as well as transport by private car to hospitals, doctors and clinics for folk who need this sort of help and live in Sonning Common or one of the surrounding villages.

Give us a call on 0118 972 3986 between 9.30am and 11.30am every weekday or drop into the FISH office at Springhill, Kennylands Road, Sonning Common, and we will help if we possibly can. — Yours faithfully,

Fred Nickson

Chairman, FISH Volunteer Centre, Sonning Common

Huge support for festival

Sir, — On behalf of Henley Youth Festival, we would like to thank Henley for a truly carnival-inspired HYF 2016.

We had more than 74 school workshops led by 12 different providers, seven performing arts events, including five inspiring performances at the Kenton Theatre, an inter-school cross country run and writing and art competitions and exhibitions.

There was also the young reporter competition run by the Henley Standard.For the first time this year, we were delighted to include the Chiltern Centre for disabled children in our workshop programme and we provided several for Bishopswood schools.

There is a large team of volunteers who work throughout the year to plan the festival and without them it would not be possible. Many thanks to everyone for all your hard work and dedication to HYF.

We are very grateful to the local companies and organisations who are our sponsors. They include Invesco Perpetual, Henley Educational Trust, Henley Town Council, Henley Royal Regatta, Henley Lions, Hedfas, GoKids, Thamesfield Youth Association, Harpsden Wealth Management, Henwood & Dean, the Mosawi Foundation, Penningtons Manches, Higgs Group and many more. In addition, local companies including Thought By Design, Lovibonds, Henwood Studios and the River & Rowing Museum gave their time, facilities and support.

We feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful team who enable the young people of Henley to demonstrate their skills, build their confidence and show what a wonderful group of young people we have in Henley.

Thank you also to the Henley Standard for your support throughout the year and in particular for your coverage of the festival in recent editions.

We look forward to celebrating all that the young people have to offer again in 2017! — Yours faithfully,

Kate Swinburne-Johnson and Jo Dickson

Co-chairs, Henley Youth Festival 2016, Greys Hill, Henley

Dummies dropping in for a coffee...

Sir, — I spotted this at Caffè Nero in Bell Street, Henley. It is, of course, a reflection of the mannequins in the shop opposite but it made me smile. — Yours faithfully,

Victoria Trainer


Beautiful reward for hard work

Sir, — A team of volunteers called the Remenham Amateur Gardening has produced this wonderful display of spring bulbs in flower on Remenham Hill.

As a result of this work, they have been invited to visit the private estate of Lord and Lady Heseltine at Thenford, which is not open to the public, on Saturday, April 16.

Since there is an opportunity to upgrade the size of the coach on a pro-rata fare basis, anyone who is interested in gardening and wants to put their walking shoes on to enjoy the estate’s splendour with us should visit www.remenhamparish.org.uk or send an email to hello@remenhamparish.org.uk — Yours faithfully,

Linda Ashwell


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