Sunday, 19 January 2020

Review of the year part one: dog breeder’s delight, snow closes schools,

Review of the year part one: dog breeder’s delight, snow closes schools,

THE Henley Festival is to stop using single-use plastic glasses this year.

Organisers of the annual music and arts event, which takes place in July, are to replace the tens of thousands of containers with fully recyclable alternatives.

The move is one of a number of changes being made in response to national campaigns to cut down on the use of plastic.

There will be new recyclable food containers and schemes to recycle water and energy used at the site.

VILLAGERS have told how they tried to save a man’s life after a van crashed outside their homes.

Billy Seymour died in hospital two days after suffering serious head injuries in the smash in Wood Lane, Sonning Common.

The former professional footballer was a passenger in the silver Ford Transit van which left the road and collided with parked cars, a bus stop sign and the boundary walls of several houses before coming to a stop in a front garden.

A WOMAN has spoken of her delight after breeding a litter of one of the rarest types of dog in Britain.

Lavinia Bolton, who lives near Wyfold, was thrilled when her two-and-a-half-year-old dandie dinmont terrier Jemma gave birth to five male puppies.

She named them Roger, Mikey, Pepper, Salty and Billy with help from her daughter Charlotte Snowden and granddaughter Audrey, 12.

The breed, which is named after a Sir Walter Scott character, is so rare that only 79 puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in 2015 and just 80 the next year.

Originating in the Scottish Borders, the dogs were first bred to kill badgers and otters.

TWENTY-SIX pubs, restaurants and shops in the Henley area failed their most recent food safety inspection.

Six businesses in Henley, 14 in surrounding towns and villages and six in Caversham and Emmer Green scored either one or two points out of five under the national Scores on the Doors scheme, which has just marked its 10th anniversary.

The scores mean “major” or “some” improvement is needed in the way food is handled, stored and prepared, the cleanliness of the premises or general food safety management.

A failure to keep full cleaning, delivery and staff training records or to label all produce with its preparation date, for example, can result in a low score even when there are no problems with the premises or the food itself.

By contrast, 292 businesses received five stars, which means hygiene standards were “very good”, 76 received four stars for “good” standards and 62 attained three stars, which means “generally satisfactory”.

TWO late-night trains to Henley were cancelled when the driver refused to continue working as she had been verbally abused.

The 10.26pm and 11.03pm shuttle services from Twyford were abandoned on Monday because the female driver was distressed after being shouted at by a woman while waiting to depart from Shiplake station on the previous journey.

The driver told her colleagues that the other woman, who claimed to live in Shiplake, had stormed up to her cabin and vented her anger at being regularly disturbed at home by the sound of train horns.

Witnesses told the Henley Standard that after the train returned to Twyford but didn’t set off again at 10.26pm, dozens of passengers were escorted back to the waiting room. The driver remained in her cabin and was not seen for the rest of the night.

In an alert on its website and timetable app, GWR said the cancellations were due to “passenger disturbance”.

A DOG is to be put down after biting the hands of a man who tried to stop it attacking his dog.

Christopher Hawkins, 46, of Abrahams Road, Henley, was walking his Parson Russell terrier Toby when the Staffordshire bull terrier-bulldog cross charged at them.

The dog’s jaws latched on to Toby, who is eight and deaf, and then it bit Mr Hawkins on both hands as he tried to get it off.

Police are investigating the incident, which happened in Hop Gardens, Henley, at about 10.30am on Thursday last week.

Several passers-by and a builder working nearby heard the commotion and ran over to help. The dog’s owner was nowhere to be seen.

A MUSIC festival held near Henley every year is set to expand.

The organisers of Rewind, which is held on Temple Island Meadows over a weekend in August, want to gradually increase the audience capacity from 20,000 to 30,000 a day by the year 2022.

Broadwick Live also wants to begin the festival early on the Friday afternoon this year rather than in the evening, as has happened in previous years.

The company says it wants to cause “as little negative impact to neighbours as possible”.

But residents of the neighbouring village of Remenham are concerned about the extra traffic and disruption only weeks after that caused by Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Festival, which both last five days.

They also fear that Rewind could become a fully three-day event with entertainment for guests arriving on the Friday to camp.

CARINA EVANS says she feels honoured to be the first woman in 90 years to descend the full Cresta Run course in Switzerland.

The mother-of-two, from Hurley, reached speeds of more than 70mph during her historic toboggan run after a ban on females was lifted by the St Moritz Tobogganing Club.

She reached the end of the 1,212m long run in 75 seconds but got her time down to 69 seconds in subsequent attempts.

Mrs Evans, 41, an army reservist, said: “I felt very proud because this was a big thing for the club, the first woman, and I didn’t want to screw it up.”

Competitors have no brakes on their toboggans and have to use their feet to “rake” the ice in order to slow down. Women were banned in 1929 amid safety fears and claims that the Cresta Run could lead to breast cancer.

In the years that followed women were only permitted to tackle a shorter run that began at a point called Junction, which starts from about a third of the way down the course.

HUNDREDS of children got a day off school thanks to snow.

Residents of Henley and South Oxfordshire woke on Friday morning to find three or four centimetres had fallen during the night.

While some people slipped and slithered to work on foot and in cars, many others took the day off.

Every school in Henley closed for the day, as did Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, The Henley College and many primary schools in the surrounding villages.

Dozens of children and families went sledging on Drawback Hill in Harpsden and enjoyed snowball fights. One family built an igloo.

Rail services between Twyford and Henley were running as normal but there were some problems on the roads.

The A4130 was partially blocked after a lorry overturned at the B481 roundabout and bus company Arriva was forced to cancel all its 800 and 850 routes because the vehicles were stuck at its High Wycombe depot.

Some homes in Goring reportedly lost power. Rowers at Leander Club in Henley were unable to go out on the river so confined their training to the club gym.

Almost every sports fixture at the weekend was postponed due to pitches being covered in snow and ice.

A COUPLE have spoken of their shock after a projectile was fired through the living room window at their listed home.

John and Kirsten Hesketh were enjoying a lie-in at their home in Greys Hill, Henley, at about 8am on Sunday when they heard a bang.

But it wasn’t until they went downstairs later that they found a trail of glass leading from a small hole in a pane of glass in a set of French doors.

The couple, who live with their daughter Charlotte, 17, called the police, who said the damage had probably been caused by a ball bearing fired from an air gun or a powerful catapult.

A MAN who launched a campaign to honour “forgotten” servicemen and a former mayor who supported it have both been awarded the Henley Town Medal.

Mike Willoughby and Elizabeth Hodgkin were honoured at a ceremony at Henley town hall attended by about 50 people.

Mr Willoughby was recognised for the Lest We Forget project, which honours the fallen of the First World War, and Mrs Hodgkin for her involvement in countless charities and community groups in Henley.

She helped bring the project to the attention of the wider public during her speech as mayor on Remembrance Sunday in 2012.

Mr Willoughby, from Woodcote, discovered the names of 312 soldiers from Henley and the surrounding villages who died in the conflict and whose names were not featured on existing memorials.

He arranged for three new memorials to be installed at the town hall and Holy Trinity Church and St Mary’s Church.

He also successfully campaigned to have the name of the new Townlands Hospital changed to Townlands Memorial Hospital and a fourth memorial was unveiled within the grounds in November.

TWO mothers from Henley have launched a frozen ready meals company which uses fully compostable packaging.

Rachael Hodgkinson and Sasha Nash call themselves the “Foodie Angels” and both make and deliver the food.

The friends say they care passionately about the environment and wanted to do something that combined this with their love of cooking.

Their meals are aimed at people with busy lifestyles or families and they say are balanced, nutritious and easy to cook.

Mrs Hodgkinson, 50, of St Andrew’s Road, attended catering college before becoming a technical illustrator and says she always “dabbled” with food.

She is married to Duncan, 51, who owns Hofmann’s of Henley, and they have two children, Jack, 21, who is studying pharmacology at Bristol University, and Charlotte, 11, who is at Gillotts School in Henley.

Mrs Nash, 40, lives in St Mark’s Road with her husband Grant, 42, who works for a pharmaceutical company, and their children, Alexa, 11, and Gracie, nine, who attend Rupert House School in Henley. She went to art school and the London College of Fashion but has always loved cooking.

A COUPLE who lost their life savings and their home in a botched deal with a currency dealer have warned others not to make the same mistake.

Darrel and Suri Poulos, from Remenham, have spent 18 months living in a boat on the River Thames after losing £160,000.

They were trying to get back on their feet after a failed plan to build an eco-house in their village by buying a Dutch barge to run as a floating bed and breakfast business.

But after agreeing a fee for the boat, the money they gave to currency dealer Frank Deal and his company did not reach the sellers.

The couple only found out when they travelled to Belgium to pick up the barge and were unable to cross the border. They couldn’t contact Mr Deal and eventually had to return to the UK in ruin.

Mr and Mrs Poulos were left homeless by the ordeal but managed to buy a  riverboat on which they have been living ever since.

Their attempts to recoup the money have been fruitless after Mr Deal’s company filed for bankruptcy and went into administration.

A WOMAN was caught misusing a blue badge to park in a disabled bay in Henley.

The permit was seized during a crackdown on abuse of the scheme by Oxfordshire County Council on Tuesday.

Another woman was caught parked in a disabled bay without a blue badge.

The numbered permits are issued by the council to disabled drivers to allow them and their passengers to park near where they are going.

In the first operation of its kind in Henley, council enforcement officers were checking if people were using the badges correctly and ensuring disabled bays were not being abused.

Counter fraud manager Scott Warner and intelligence officer Aleksi Sorsa checked drivers’ badges in the Greys Road, King’s Road and Southfields car parks as well as on town centre streets. They also visited the Mill Meadows car park.

THE equivalent of 13 full-time teaching posts and up to eight subjects could be axed at The Henley College in a bid to “streamline and improve” its service.

The college announced the proposed redundancies, which also affect two management positions and 10 administrative roles, as part of a staff consultation which began on Monday.

It says the threatened courses aren’t financially viable because they no longer attract enough students to justify the running costs.

THE number of heavy goods vehicles in Henley during both rush hours has soared in less than four years.

A traffic study conducted late last year shows that lorry movements more than doubled in the morning peak period and increased by 50 per cent in the evenings.

At the same time, the overall volume of traffic has decreased, meaning that HGVs make up a large proportion.

The study by consultants Peter Brett Associates, of Reading, was commissioned by Henley Town Council to assess the impact that new homes will have on the roads.

It compared HGV and traffic flows between a study carried out by the company in May 2015 with volumes at 22 locations around the town in December.

The study showed a 111.5 per cent increase in two-way HGV movements from 8am to 9am and a 50.1 per cent increase between 5pm and 6pm.

There was an increase in HGV movements in both directions at 19 of the 22 locations with the worst area being Reading Road. Other hot spots included White Hill, by Henley Bridge, Bell Street, Fair Mile and Marlow Road. In the evening period, an increase was recorded at 16 of the locations.

A BOY from Henley served as the England rugby team’s lead mascot just two months after undergoing lifesaving brain surgery.

Samuel Marriott, of Harpsden Road, stepped out on to the pitch at Twickenham alongside captain and fly-half Owen Farrell at the start of the Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

The seven-year-old and four other youngsters — all in England shirts — stood beside the team to sing the National Anthem in front of more than 80,000 spectators and millions more watching on television.

They then took front-row seats to watch the final Six Nations match with their families – Samuel’s mother Charlotte Fairweather is lead doctor for the England women’s rugby team.

Samuel, a pupil at Sacred Heart Primary School in Greys Hill, had never attended a game before but regularly watches England on television and enjoys playing rugby at school.

FOUR women from the Henley area were honoured at this year’s Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards held at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre at the Madejski Stadium in Reading which was hosted by BBC journalists Chris Hollins and Sophie van Brugen.

The community award was won by Vanessa Bird, who has managed the Christ Church Centre in Henley for the last seven years.

The mentor of the year award, which was a new category this year, was won by Caroline Sweetman, who founded Springbox Gymnastics in Henley almost 30 years ago and has helped hundreds of children get into the sport.

The innovation category was won by interior designer Lynne Lambourne, from Peppard, who champions upcycling.

The business award was won by Carli Jordan, director of the award-winning self-build home company Kiss House.

A PUB landlord helped deliver his baby daughter while on the phone to the ambulance service. Simon Duffy, who runs the Perch and Pike in South Stoke with his partner Sofie Hjelte, was surprised when she began having contractions at about 12.45am on Sunday.

He packed an overnight bag and was preparing to drive 33-year-old Ms Hjelte to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading when her contractions intensified.

Mr Duffy called 999 and paramedics were dispatched to oversee a home birth.

However, the baby arrived at about 1.10am while he was still on the phone to the operator, who guided him through the process.

THE number of beds at the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed has been reduced by half.

The charity closed six of its 12 beds at Joyce Grove on Monday, saying they were no longer needed because of a drop in demand for inpatient care.

At the same time, the number of patients being cared for at home has soared.

Sue Ryder says the move doesn’t represent a cut in services because the beds have been out of use for some time and have only now been removed because it wanted to ensure the trend was not temporary.

Over the past six months the bed occupancy rate has been between 50 and 60 per cent at most and on several weeks it dropped to 40 per cent or less and there were occasions when as few as four people were on the ward.

The charity made the decision to reduce the number following talks with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for health services across the county.

AN ambulance was delayed getting to a rugby player who had suffered a broken leg after it went along a restricted road by mistake.

The driver got stuck when using Chalkhouse Green Lane en route to Abbey Rugby Club in Emmer Green.

The road narrows and becomes a byway, meaning it is not suitable for motor vehicles.

This is the second incident of its kind in as many months after another ambulance tried to use the lane as a short cut to the club in February.

In the latest incident on Sunday, March 24, the ambulance followed the route plotted by its on-board sat-nav system.

It arrived at the club at 11.55am, about 30 minutes after the 999 call was made, but the patient — a junior rugby player — was already being treated by paramedics from the Thames Valley Air Ambulance, which had landed 20 minutes earlier.

THE family of man with a rare form of cancer is trying to raise £140,000 after he was denied treatment on the NHS because his tumour is in the “wrong” place by an inch.

Nick Dipper, 51, was diagnosed with the disease in his pharynx, which connects the back of the nose to the back of the mouth, last summer. Later, he was told that it had spread to his bones, lung and liver.

The father of two was given just a year to live before his wife Lisa heard about a pioneering treatment called immunotherapy, which helps the body’s immune system recognise and attack cancer cells.

However, after being initially told that the health service would offer the treatment, they discovered that in fact the NHS was only licensed to offer it up as far as the mouth and that they would have to go private instead. Now the couple have started an online appeal for the £40,000 needed to begin treatment and another £100,000 for the rest of the course.

A MAN has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for causing a crash which killed a former professional footballer.

Alexander Clarke pleaded guilty to causing the death of Billy Seymour by dangerous driving and to driving while disqualified.

He was also banned from driving for eight years and will have to take an extended test after his release from prison.

Reading Crown Court heard he had consumed about 10 pints of cider when he crashed Mr Seymour’s van in Sonning Common at about 10.30pm on January 3.

Mr Seymour, 47, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital two days later.

IMPRESSIONIST Alistair McGowan showed off another talent when he performed classical music on the piano for an audience in Henley.

He interspersed each piece he played with witticisms and impressions of various famous people and poked fun at the town’s former MP Boris Johnson.

In the voice of the ex-foreign secretary, he said he did “impressions of the world’s most leading and respected politicians… and Boris Johnson”.

About 300 people attended the event, called Introductions to Classical Piano, at Phyllis Court Club, which was organised by the Henley Festival.

McGowan, 54, star of the BBC’s The Big Impression, reignited his passion for the piano in his late forties, having not touched the instrument since he was in primary school.

A VETERAN rower has thanked his colleagues for saving his life after he suffered a near-fatal heart attack on the water.

Bill Evans only survived thanks to the swift intervention of his crewmates and the club’s automatic defibrillator.

The 71-year-old, of Western Road, Henley, was in the bow seat of an Upper Thames Rowing Club men’s eight when he suddenly collapsed near the end of an hour-long training session on the Thames.

The rest of the crew noticed immediately that the boat had slowed down so they raced the final 500m back to the clubhouse off Remenham Lane as quickly as possible.

When they arrived club captain Justin Sutherland was waiting on the bank.

Mr Evans was not breathing and had turned pale so Mr Sutherland leapt into the boat and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation to keep oxygen flowing to his brain.

After calling 999, the rest of the crew, led by Mike Dudley, hauled Mr Evans on to the bank and took turns at giving CPR until he started to breathe intermittently.

He suffered eight cracked ribs in the process.

SWIMMER Sharron Davies officially opened the new fitness centre at Phyllis Court Club in Henley.

More than 1,000 people attended on Saturday as the 56-year-old Olympian, who won silver in the women’s 400m medley at the 1980 Moscow Games, cut a ribbon in front of the £4 million building then took a tour and tried some of the equipment.

She spent about 15 minutes on a treadmill and other cardio machines as part of the club’s Thames Challenge, in which members are encouraged to undertake short sponsored workouts in aid of the Thames Hospice, its charity for the year.

Afterwards she had lunch with club chairman Barry Jackson and member Sue Sharland, who won her seat alongside them in a prize draw, before helping to bury a time capsule which is to be opened when the club marks its 150th anniversary in 2056. This contains photos and other artefacts supplied by the club’s interest groups plus a letter from Mr Jackson to his future counterpart.

A TEENAGER from Henley who suffered life changing injuries in a car crash has raised thousands of pounds for the hospital and rehabilitation centre that saved his life.

Harvey Greenaway, 17, was left in a coma following the accident last May and needed emergency surgery. He was given only a five per cent chance of survival by the medical team.

He was then on a life-support machine for several weeks before gradually starting to recover.

Harvey, a promising footballer, remained in hospital for seven months re-learning how to walk, talk, run, swallow and feed himself.

After making a remarkable recovery he presented a cheque for £16,000, which will be split between the John Radcliffe Hospital’s neurosciences ward and the Oxford Centre for Enablement, a neuro-rehabilitation centre.

HENLEY Residents Group has strengthened its grip on the town council after achieving a record-equalling result at last week’s elections.

All 12 of its candidates were elected, while the opposition Conservatives won just three seats and lost four.

The remaining seat went to the former Conservative mayor Lorraine Hillier, who was not standing for a party.

HRG also won all three Henley seats on South Oxfordshire District Council, having previously held only one, in the elections on Thursday last week.

The group put its success down to voters’ feelings about Brexit and other national issues but mostly its own record locally.

THOUSANDS of people packed the streets of Henley for the town’s May fayre on bank holiday Monday.

The event was held in Market Place for the third year running and was opened at noon by Mayor Glen Lambert and town councillor Stefan Gawrysiak.

The attractions included fairground rides, dozens of games, live music and performances, a display of Morris dancing on a stage outside the town hall and a fancy dress competition.

Businesses and community groups and charities had stalls selling food and drink, clothes and jewellery. These included the Henley Lions Club, the RNLI and Royal British Legion.

There was also a small Ferris wheel for children and fairground games including hook-a-duck and a coconut shy as well as face-painting.

The fayre culminated with a tug-of-war competition.

A BOY battling cancer was given a standing ovation at the second annual Henley Heroes awards.

Charlie Ilsley, 12, was named child of courage at the ceremony at Henley town hall on Friday night.

It was one of 13 awards presented at the event, which was hosted by BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Andrew Peach and attended by more than 100 people.

The awards were launched last year to celebrate those who make a positive difference to life in the town but aren’t always recognised. They also raise money for the Nomad youth and community project. They were organised by town and community manager Helen Barnett with a committee of business people, councillors and community workers with the support of the Henley Standard.

THE owner of a rhea with a history of escaping is delighted to have the bird back after he was recaptured during yet another attempt to flee.

The 4ft tall bird nicknamed Chris was grabbed by a farmer on Henley golf course with the help of a dog walker.

Now he has been returned to owner Tony Herring in Neal’s Lane, Stoke Row.

The bird, which is native to South America, had been secured in the field off the B481 in Peppard after escaping in December and evading capture for weeks despite numerous sightings.

Mr Herring, 69, used fencing to ensure he could not get out of the field and gave him food and water every day.

He had planned to coax Chris into a horsebox to take him home but had still not executed the plan when the RSPCA contacted him earlier this month and threatened to rehome the bird unless he took action.

Mr Herring told them he worried about his plan backfiring and the bird escaping again.

Despite this, he heeded the warning and attempted to capture Chris on a Sunday morning only for the bird to flee, just as he had feared. It was only thanks to farmer Samuel Austin that he was recaptured on Henley golf course.

A MAN has lost five stone by walking footpaths in and around his Henley home every day for two years.

Jose Griffin weighed about 18 stone when a doctor warned him that his health was at risk during a consultation in March 2017.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Gainsborough Hill with his daughter Annabel, 12, and partner Martine Greenhalgh, was recovering from flu and his blood pressure was getting dangerously high.

His GP Dr Matt Norman, of the Bell Surgery in York Road, said he would have to start taking medication if he didn’t lose enough weight to bring it down naturally.

Mr Griffin, a booking agent in the music industry, had piled on the pounds in his twenties as he often ate junk food between gigs while playing guitar for a touring rock band.

He had lost up to two stone in the past by dieting but always put the weight back on and couldn’t follow Dr Norman’s initial suggestion of a Mediterranean-style diet as he dislikes most vegetables.

HUNDREDS of spectators lined the streets of Henley when an international women’s cycling event set off from the town centre.

Sixteen teams of six elite athletes competed in the third stage of this year’s sixth annual OVO Energy Women’s Tour, which started in Market Place and followed a 91-mile route through the Oxfordshire countryside before finishing at Blenheim Palace.

The competitors included Drops, the only British team, and squads from other countries which featured British cyclists. Among them were 2016’s Women’s Tour winner and GB Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Deignan, née Armitstead, riding for the American TrekSegafredo team. They started with a parade through Market Place, Hart Street, Thames Side, New Street, Bell Street and Northfield End which was started by Henley Mayor Ken Arlett and 10-year-old Alexa Lee, who led a countdown before raising a flag she had designed specially.

Streets were closed to traffic and steel barriers were erected to keep pedestrians off the course as they waved at the competitors, cheered them on and took photographs on their phones.

The cyclists were escorted by a team of 30 police officers and another 30 marshals on motorbikes and followed by a convoy of support vehicles carrying bicycles on their roof racks.

A HENLEY postman has spoken of being aboard a cruise liner which crashed into Venice docks and then struck another boat.

John Clark and his wife Christina and their children Barney, 12, and Libby, eight, were among about 2,500 passengers on the MSC Opera when it apparently lost control while returning to a wharf at the mouth of the city’s Giudecca Canal.

It scraped along the dockside with its warning sirens blaring, sending bystanders fleeing, then ploughed into a smaller vessel that was taking tourists on day trips.

Some passengers on the smaller boat, called River Countess, jumped overboard as they feared they would be struck by the 900ft long cruise ship. About half a dozen suffered minor injuries after being hit by debris.

The Clarks, who moved from Henley to Bonners Mead, Benson, last year, were on a seven-day cruise on the liner during the half-term holiday. The trip began in Venice and took them to Montenegro, the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini, Corfu and southern Italy before returning.

Mr Clark said the family were packing their bags to disembark when the crash happened at about 8.30am on June 2.

A WOMAN’S Land Rover was stripped of parts in the third incident of its type in as many weeks.

Rachael Parkinson’s black Defender was parked on her driveway in Harpsden Way, Henley, when it was targeted during Monday night last week.

The thieves stole its four doors, bonnet and two front seats.

Her husband Mark made the discovery when he went outside at about 6.45am on the Tuesday.

A FORMER box office worker at the Kenton Theatre in Henley has been fined for harassing the general manager.

Richard Rule, 67, sent unsolicited emails to Paula Price-Davies so she complained to police.

Despite being warned by officers, he sent her more messages, including one in which he accused her of breaking his heart.

Rule, of Church Avenue, Henley, admitted the offence at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday and was fined £253 and ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

The court heard the offences happened earlier this year when Ms Price-Davies, 51, was in charge of the New Street theatre.

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