Thursday, 15 November 2018

Review of the year part 1: High achievers, community champions, controversial

Review of the year part 1: High achievers, community champions, controversial

A HENLEY GP is quitting medicine because of the pressure of work.

The female doctor works at the Hart Surgery, which last year wrote to patients to apologise for delays in making appointments, blaming the GPs’ workload, staff shortages and cuts in government funding.

Her departure was revealed by Dr Philip Unwin, senior partner at the surgery, just days after the country’s top GP said she was “profoundly concerned” by the pressures facing surgeries, especially in the winter.

But Dr Unwin said Henley was lucky in that both the Hart Surgery and the Bell Surgery were training practices so doctors were coming through.

TWO army veterans from Henley and a number of international rowers were among those to be recognised in the New Year honours.

Brig Malcolm Page, 90, of Ancastle Green, and Brian Hughes, 84, of Harpsden Road, were both honoured for voluntary service to former armed services personnel.

Mr Page was made an MBE and Mr Hughes was awarded the British Empire Medal. Every member of the gold-winning men’s eight at the Rio Olympics, including six members of Leander Club in Henley, was honoured.

Mr Page was honoured for his work with the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, which helps former servicemen and women who served the Crown and are now in need. Mr Hughes is a fund-raiser and standard bearer for the branch.

A PRIME greenfield site on the edge of Henley could be used to build affordable housing.

Henley Town Council says the 16 acres of land off the A4155, next to Waterman’s allotments, could be used to replace some of the land for affordable housing that was lost due to the number of applications for care housing.

The landowner is said to be interested in selling the two fields, which are in Harpsden parish, to the council or even gifting it the land. This would be done on the assumption that it would only be developed for quality, affordable housing.

The landowner, a woman who doesn’t live locally, is said to want to leave a “lasting legacy for local people”.

A HEADTEACHER who banned pupils from using mobile phones during the school day says the benefits are already showing through.

Gregg Davies, headmaster of Shiplake College, says students now talk to each other a lot more rather than spending their time on social media.

Pupils caught using their phones between 8.15am and 5.45pm are given a detention. Staff can use their phones only in their offices.

Mr Davies said: “Preferring to communicate from behind a 5in screen, there is increasingly a genuine danger that children are missing out on vital social interaction.”

A BUS was left unattended with its engine running in Henley town centre for almost half an hour.

The Whites Coaches vehicle was spewing diesel fumes as it was parked at a bus stop in Upper Market Place.

The incident comes as Henley struggles to find a solution to its air pollution problem. The driver of the bus parked outside the Bodywise Health Foods shop before getting out and walking away, leaving the bus doors shut and the left-hand indicator flashing. He returned to the empty bus 25 minutes later.

A HENLEY pub landlord has died suddenly just months after getting married.

Rob Myles-Hooton, who ran the Old Bell in Bell Street with his wife Pamela, collapsed while on his boat Lola Belle at the Hobbs of Henley boatyard, off Wargrave Road, on Monday.

The 41-year-old had suffered a brain haemorrhage. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Myles-Hooton and his wife married in July and took over the Brakspear pub in 2014.

IN some parts of the world, they’d be on the menu.

But the guinea pigs at the Golden Ball pub in Lower Assendon have the run of the place... well, at least of their shed in the garden, dubbed “the pig palace” by regulars.

The 17 furry rodents are cared for by manager Sharon Harper when she’s not looking after customers at the Brakspear pub and restaurant.

Ms Harper, 49, from Woodcote, has accepted guinea pigs from both Blue Cross and the Oxfordshire Animal Society so that her total stock now includes seven females and 10 males.

A BUSINESSMAN has thanked firefighters for saving his livelihood and home by putting out a massive blaze.

Richard Hazell, owner of tarmac firm Hazell & Jefferies, lost most of his business records in the fire at Mount Pleasant Farm in Whitchurch. It began when a diesel-fuelled generator caught fire and the flames quickly spread, destroying several office cabins, vehicles and thousands of pounds worth of computers.

Mr Hazell, who has run the Coombe End Lane farm for more than 35 years, also lost the documentation for his 600-strong herd of cows, which will cost him £12,000 to re-order.

However, fire crews were able to save 13 of the company’s road maintenance lorries and steamrollers worth at least £700,000 and Mr Hazell’s house and several neighbouring chalets and a workshop.

A WOMAN has told of her fear after crashing her car on an icy road that hadn’t been gritted.

Joanna Atkinson skidded down a hill for about 200 metres and then slewed across the road before colliding with a fence. She and her teenage daughter, whom she was taking to school, were both injured in the accident, which was one of five on the same stretch of road within about 90 minutes of each other.

It happened on Devil’s Hill, a rural road between Henley and Sonning Common, which is busy on weekday mornings with people driving to work and parents on the school run.

Mrs Atkinson, 48, of Pages Orchard, Sonning Common, was taking her 13-year-old daughter Angel to Gillotts School in Henley when she lost control of the borrowed Nissan Almera.

A CAT has been reunited with his owners more than three years after going missing.

But Basil, a seven-year-old Egyptian mau, has already had to be rehomed with other members of the family because they had bought two new cats.

He was fit and healthy, if a little fatter, after being discovered about 12 miles away from Sally and Alistair Todd’s home in Ferry Lane, Mill End. The couple, who have three children, had given up hope of ever seeing their pet again when he vanished in September 2013.

Then Mrs Todd got a call from Chiltern Cat Protection to tell her Basil had been found and traced back to them thanks to his microchip.

THE Millie’s Dream appeal has now installed 50 defibrillators in less than four years.

The landmark was reached with the unveiling of the latest lifesaving device at the new Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by 10-year-old Millie Roberts, who inspired the appeal, and Olympic rowing champion Dame Katherine Grainger, who is a patron.

They were joined by Millie’s mother Sarah Roberts, who founded the charity, and her godmother Geraldine Watkins as well as electrician Dan Scott, who helped connect all 50 defibrillators to a power source.

THE operators of Henley leisure centre have pledged to clean up their act after being exposed for having dirty changing rooms and showers.

GLL, which runs the complex in Gillotts Lane on behalf of South Oxfordshire District Council, blamed its cleaning contractors for the problem, which included a dirty and broken shower, a blocked drain, stained tiles and rubbish including used plasters and chewing gum left on the floor.

The centre, which charges up to £56.95 for membership, has a gym and the only swimming pool in Henley following the closure of LA Fitness. It was refurbished in 2008.

THE chairman of South Oxfordshire District Council has been thrown out of the ruling Conservative group for criticising planning officers.

Paul Harrison accused the staff of “looking out for their own jobs”. He was asked to apologise and when he refused, members of the group voted to expel him indefinitely for an “unacceptable” breach of the councillors’ code of conduct.

FORMER Sonning Common schoolgirl Sally Dexter has made her mother proud after landing a role in Emmerdale.

The 56-year-old actress, who attended the village primary and Chiltern Edge School, has joined the cast of the long-running ITV soap as the chaotic and wayward Faith Dingle.

She takes over from Gillian Jephcott, who appeared between 2000 and 2004. Her character left the village but was reintroduced this month as a mystery woman sleeping rough in a barn at her brother-in-law’s house.

Ms Dexter, who grew up in Bramley Crescent, Sonning Common, has previously appeared in Poldark and won an Olivier Award for her stage work in the Eighties.

A WOMAN is in hospital with serious burns after a fire in which a man died.

The victim of the blaze in a wooden garden shed in Gravel Hill, Henley, has been named locally as Mark Sayer, 43. He ran a landscape gardening business and is understood to have been married with young children.

Mr Sayer was trapped inside the blazing outbuilding. He was later declared dead at the scene.

Friends posted online tributes to Mr Sayer, a former Gillotts School pupil, who competed in the Henley Pool League, representing the Salisbury Conservative Club in Queen Street.

CAMERAS with automatic number plate recognition software are set to be introduced at the car park at Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley.

The move is designed to stop drivers abusing the parking spaces at the new £10 million hospital. It follows complaints that staff and patients with appointments at the hospital are sometimes unable to find a parking space because shoppers are using the car park.

The scheme will also cover the neighbouring Chilterns Court Care Centre and the car park for the Bell and Hart Surgeries but will work slightly differently for the latter.

A GIRL with a space obsession is in the running for a national award after making her own film about astronaut training.

Aurelia Wesbroom, five, from Binfield Heath, created the three-minute film using her mother Katharine’s mobile phone after being inspired by real astronaut Tim Peake’s adventures.

The youngster, who wants to follow in her idol’s footsteps when she’s older, will walk the red carpet with her family when she attends a star-studded gala at the Odeon in Leicester Square for the Into Film Awards.

The budding film-maker was nominated for her film, Aurelia’s Astronaut School, in the into space and home 12 and under category, for which young film-makers were encouraged to make short films inspired by Peake’s mission.

A FORMER winner of The Apprentice will run for election to Henley Town Council.

Yasmina Siadatan was officially selected as the Conservative candidate to contest the Henley South ward seat vacated by former mayor Martin Akehurst, who stood down due to health concerns.

Ms Siadatan, 35, shot to fame in 2009 after beating 14 other candidates in the BBC reality show, landing a £100,000-a-year job with Lord Sugar.

She now lives in Harpsden Road, Henley, with her two sons Rupert and Roman, six and four, who go to Trinity Primary School in Vicarage Road.

A WOMAN who took up golf after beating breast cancer has won seven trophies in less than a year and says the sport has changed her life.

Gay Bentley-Coleman joined Henley Golf Club’s academy programme in early 2014, about six months after completing a course of radiotherapy.

She had already undergone a mastectomy and four months of chemotherapy.

Mrs Bentley-Coleman, 58, from Hambleden, found she had an aptitude for the game after taking lessons with Mark Howell, the club’s head professional, and coach James Prince.

She took a break from the sport to undergo reconstructive surgery before joining as a full member of the club in July 2015.

Since then she has reduced her handicap from 36 to 25, which earned her the trophy for most improved player at the club’s annual meeting.

TWO metal detectorists are set to cash in after their finds were declared to be treasure.

They each discovered hoards dating back more than 2,000 years — one in Bix and the other in Checkendon.

These will now be valued by the Government’s treasure committee.

Jon Long was in a field at Bix in October when he unearthed a collection of more than 50 items, including a decorative razor, a decorated bracelet and a dagger from the Bronze Age, meaning they date back to 1400 to 1200BC.

A MAN who crashed his car into another driver before fleeing has been branded “despicable” by police.

Graham Granaski, 66, from Satwell, left Matthew Webb badly injured in the collision on the B481 at Peppard on April 8 last year.

He was convicted of careless driving following a four-day trial at Oxford Crown Court but cleared of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Granaski, who had two previous convictions for driving offences, was banned from driving for 15 months, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £775 within six months.

Granaski claimed he left the scene because he had “panicked” but the court heard he waited 22 hours before calling the police.

THE new Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley has been officially opened by the Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.

Tim Stevenson OBE unveiled a plaque at the rear foyer of the £10 million hospital in York Road on Tuesday following a tour of the facilities.

He was joined by representatives from Henley Town Council, the Townlands Steering Group and the League of Friends of Townlands Hospital as well as various NHS bodies including the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxford Health.

The hospital opened to patients in March last year and the rapid access care unit, which is designed to replace 14 “lost” beds, opened in January.

A NEW “dragon patcher” machine designed to fix potholes left residents’ cars in a Henley street covered in a sticky tar residue.

The road repair vehicle, which is owned by Oxfordshire County Council and operated by contractor Skanska, sprayed cars in St Andrew’s Road, leaving them needing hundreds of pounds worth of professional cleaning.

John Sheffield says his Honda Jazz was covered in a rough and sticky substance after the vehicle carried out repairs in St Andrew’s Road, even though the car was parked on his driveway.

He was told by a garage it would require a machine polish for £300.

DOZENS of villagers attended the official
re-opening of the pub in Binfield Heath after more than three years.

The Bottle and Glass Inn is now run by landlords David Holliday and Alex Sergeant, who have signed a 20-year lease on the building, which has been refurbished and extended by the Phillimore Estate.

The pub closed in November 2013 following a quick turnover of landlords and was then bought by the estate from Brakspear.

AN “unsung hero” and the most successful rowing club in the world have been awarded this year’s Henley town medal.

Ian Forster, 85, of Elizabeth Road, was honoured for almost half a century of volunteering for community organisations while Leander Club received the corporate award.

Mr Forster is the longest-serving member of the Henley Lions, with 43 years, and Leander Club is the most successful sports club of its kind in the world, having won a total of 123 Olympic medals.

A ROAD closure which led to traffic chaos in Henley last week was caused by a “fatberg” formed by grease and oil from a nearby restaurant. Hart Street was closed for four days after “defects” were found in a sewage pipe during routine work by Thames Water.

The blockage is understood to have been created by a build-up of grease coming from steak restaurant CAU in Hart Street and ramrods which were inserted to try to clear the blockage but became stuck.

COUNCILLORS in Henley are preparing to fight after discovering the town could have to find room for more than 1,200 new homes.

They say there is simply not enough room and that the infrastructure could not cope with a population rise of more than a fifth. The leader of the Conservative group urged councillors of all parties to “man the barricades” while the Mayor asked if blocks of flats were expected to be built on the Thames.

The figure was revealed at a public consultation event organised by South Oxfordshire District Council, which is writing a new local plan setting out housing targets until 2033.

THE Mill at Sonning is to undergo a £1million refurbishment.

The news was revealed at the theatre’s new season launch party by managing director and artistic director Sally Hughes.

She said the riverside venue’s restaurant would be revamped, the entrance canopy modernised and a new sound and lighting system installed.

The work will be made possible with the conversion of part of the building into five flats for which it has applied for planning permission.

RUSSELL BRAND gave a secret reading to a group of children at the Henley May fayre. The comedian, who became a father last year, agreed to be the “celebrity Jackanory” reader for the winners of a competition.

Brand, 41, who lives near Hambleden, had the 30 children and their parents in fits of laughter as he told them funny stories about himself and his baby daughter Mabel and read from his 2014 book, Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper of Hamelin, his modern take on the classic children’s fairytale.

HENLEY Residents’ Group snatched control of the town council in a dramatic twist at mayor-making.

Kellie Hinton (HRG) became Mayor instead of Conservative mayor-elect Will Hamilton after his party colleague Lorraine Hillier abstained. In a further twist, Councillor Hillier was elected Deputy Mayor, serving as an Independent Conservative, just two years after she was mayor.

After the town hall ceremony, Cllr Hillier was branded a “disgrace” by one of Councillor Hamilton’s supporters and was reduced to tears. But she denied any wrongdoing or making a deal with HRG.

HENLEY Town Council has admitted a series of blunders over burials at Fairmile Cemetery. It has issued an apology to two families involved and agreed to pay their legal costs after a court case where the errors were revealed.

The council has admitted permitting the burial of at least one man in the wrong plot, preventing the burial of another man in that plot, which he had paid for, suggesting the “sliding” of the first body to try to correct the error, which is unlawful. and poor administration of the cemetery, off Fair Mile.

A WOMAN is angry after being given a £60 fine for parking illegally while helping a sick man back to his home in Henley.

Janey Maple came to the rescue of John Robinson when she saw him outside the d:two centre in Upper Market Place looking unsteady on his feet and confused.

The car is thought to have been photographed while parked near the Old Fire Station Gallery when Mrs Maple was helping the
69-year-old.

A few days later, her son Harry, 20, received a penalty notice saying the car had been parked in a permit holder’s parking space without a permit.

A COUPLE who were left devastated when their classic car which was used at their wedding was stolen have thanked the public after it was found days later. James and Melinda Dalzell were asleep at their home in New Road, Shiplake, when the BMW e30 Touring was taken from the driveway in the early hours, days before their first anniversary.

Mr Dalzell, 29, said he was expecting never to see the car again but an anonymous tip led police to recover the vehicle at a garage in Sonning Common.

He thanked the kindness of people on social media after hundreds shared a Facebook message appealing for information on the car.

A NEWLY-hatched cygnet was killed in a suspected dog attack by the Thames near Henley.

A member of the public found the severely injured bird by the towpath on the Berkshire side of the river opposite Fawley Meadows while out walking.

The walker phoned the Swan Support rescue centre at Datchet and Wendy Hermon, the charity’s treatment co-ordinator, raced to the scene. She tried to keep the baby bird alive but it died in her arms.

A post-mortem revealed it has been bitten twice in the chest and the culprit was most likely a dog as a fox would have probably taken it away and eaten it.

BOATS decorated with flowers and an amphibious car took part in a parade on the River Thames in Henley to mark the end of an alternative gardening festival.

About 20 vessels joined the floral flotilla for the third Chelsea Fringe Henley on Sunday. They included cruisers, traditional wooden boats, rowing boats and a four being rowed by members of the rowing club at Phyllis Court Club.

They were decorated with an array of flowers and plants and some of the passengers added to the colourful spectacle by wearing Hawaiian-style shirts and garlands.

A WOMAN has returned to tap dancing — at the age of 90. Margaret Smallbone, of Mountfield, Goring, is one of 14 women who attend a weekly class led by 86-year-old dance teacher Barbara George, of Croft Way, Woodcote.

Mrs Smallbone was concerned about falling and hurting herself if she took part as she has had both hips replaced.

However, recently she tried just a few steps with success and now dances for about 30 minutes of each hour-long class at Whitchurch village hall.

Mrs Smallbone, who still wears a pair of tap shoes bought more than 25 years ago, is the oldest member of the group, whose average age is about 75.

A CAR dealer who sold luxury cars belonging to his customers for more than £70,000 and used the money to pay his own business debts has been jailed for 18 months.

Shane Ashley-Carter, who ran Performance and Prestige Cars in Ewelme, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud at Oxford Crown Court.

The court heard how Ashley-Carter, 50, agreed to sell prestige cars including an Aston Martin, Bentley and Ferrari, on behalf of clients in exchange for a small commission on the sales.

But instead he kept all the money to save his failing business. The offences took place between 2010 and 2014 and totalled more than £165,000.

THE Mayor of Henley’s chaplain has called for an end to political “infighting” and “schoolyard arguments” at local and national level.

Addressing the congregation at Mayor Kellie Hinton’s civic service, which took place at the bandstand on Mill Meadows last Sunday, Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths called on politicians of all colours to put aside their differences and unite for the good of the people they serve.

Fr Griffiths told the crowd: “After the hoo-hah surrounding the Mayor’s election and the uncertainties aroused after the general election, there’s a great temptation for the political classes to knock the living daylights out of each other. But we, the people, are no longer prepared to put up with the level of in-fighting and schoolyard arguments.”

FOURTEEN fathers completed a 56-mile sponsored walk in 24 hours on the hottest weekend of the year. They were raising money for a building with changing rooms and toilets at the new playing fields for Peppard Primary School, where their children are pupils.

The men were Adam Cotton, Chris Wall, Christian Woodhouse, James Waite, Nic Whitfeld, Richard Bowcott, Simon Taylor, Steve Owens, Tim Cima, Todd Ferguson, Tom Kent, Paul Green, Olympic rowing champion Alex Gregory and headteacher Nick Steele.

They walked through Bix to Maidensgrove then across to Ewelme, round Benson to Warborough then down the Thames Path past Wallingford, Goring, Caversham, Sonning and Shiplake. From there they went cross country through Harpsden and back to Peppard Common.

A VETERAN Henley rower died after suffering a suspected heart attack while on an ergo.

David Church, 74, collapsed while warming up at Upper Thames Rowing Club in Remenham, where he was facilities manager and had been a member for more than 50 years.

The tragedy happened while he was preparing for a regular outing with the Silvertops, a group of about 30 veterans who row every Friday.

Fellow members and paramedics tried to save his life and Mr Church was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading but could not be resuscitated.

Members of the Upper Thames eight wore black ribbons above the club’s crest on their vests while competing in the Thames Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.

Mr Church, who lived in Earley with his wife Judith, was one of the club’s longest-serving oarsmen and represented Upper Thames in the Thames Cup at the 1966 royal regatta.

MARY BERRY was the star attraction at Nettlebed village fete. The food writer and television presenter judged a cake-baking contest and a children’s art competition.

Berry, 82, who recently bought a house in Henley with her husband Paul Hunnings, arrived with actor Simon Williams, who lives in Bix and had invited her.

Dressed in a white floral jacket and pink skirt, she was swarmed by fans who asked for photographs. She also signed copies of her books.

Villager Emily Simmons presented her with a bunch of flowers to thank her for coming. Berry made her way around the fete, speaking to all the stallholders.

The fete raised £3,800 for the Nettlebed Sports Association, which helps pay for the upkeep of the pavilion and recreation ground and gives money to the village cricket and netball teams.

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