THE regatta fireworks display, which came close to being cancelled, has been hailed the best ever. Tens of thousands of people watched the Saturday night spectacular, which could be seen for miles around. Henley Bridge was lined with spectators and the royal regatta enclosure and grandstand were packed with people watching the 20-minute display.
Elderly invalids and their relatives have been wrongly charged millions of pounds for nursing care, it was revealed this week. Many were forced to sell their homes to pay the Thames Valley Health Authority for their care. But after complaints that the charges were unfair, the Health Service Ombudsman has ruled that the nursing costs should have been met by the NHS. Former teacher Lyn McAlpine, of Memorial Avenue, Shiplake, is among those seeking compensation.
Shoppers in Henley are the meanest in Great Britain, according to a supermarket report. Tesco commissioned a survey to discover which shoppers buy the most of their cut-price value range of goods and Henley came out on top. The survey revealed that the average customer at its Reading Road store buys, on average, 22 items from the value range each week, seven more than in its Newcastle store, which was in second place.
25 YEARS AGO: July 8, 1988
A VAST army of wellie-clad troopers worked around the clock this week to lift the Henley Festival out of the mud which had threatened to turn it into a disaster. Days of torrential rain followed Sunday’s downpour which marred finals day at the royal regatta and created a morass for the famous music and arts event.
Mud-spattered regatta-goers wallowed in sludge on Sunday as the rain poured down and the stewards’ enclosure became a quagmire. But in the true spirit of Henley, the vistors hitched up skirts and rolled up their trousers, determined not to let it spoil their fun. At the final of the Britannia Cup, spectators were tip-toeing carefully through the slush but by the Grand they had discarded shoes, socks and stockings and oozed towards a place on the riverbank.
A Henley businesswoman decided to treat the locals to a taste of her town when she was in Hong Kong recently. Sara Langton organised a “Henley party” for the Hong Kong dragon boat races. A typical Chinese junk was decorated with a Leander pink stripe for the party and 42 guests enjoyed glasses of Pimm’s.
50 YEARS AGO: July 12, 1963
RAIN which fell continuously for nearly nine hours on Saturday continued on Sunday at the prize distribution by Sir John Wolfenden, vice-chancellor of Reading University. The hundreds who remained to the end of the finals day had much to reward them for their fortitude. Ladies in the enclosures, the green grass of which had disappeared to give way to an oozing expanse of slimy mud, dispensed with shoes and stockings and walked about in bare feet.
Although Saturday last was the wettest finals day at Henley Royal Regatta that most people can remember, the traditional fireworks display went ahead as normal. The display contractors, Joseph Wells & Sons, had to overcome the worst conditions they had experienced at Henley in order to provide any display at all.
An Egyptian princess was one of five people injured when a Hillman and a Volkswagen collided on the main Reading to Henley road near the Plowden Arms, Shiplake, on Saturday at about 9pm. Princess Fazil, 46, was among those taken to Battle Hospital in Reading having received facial injuries.
100 YEARS AGO: July 11, 1913
THE final day of Henley Royal Regatta opened with promising weather conditions and though a little more brilliant sunshine would have been welcome, there was a genial warmth in the morning air which seemed to put everybody in a good humour. People arrived by road and rail literally in their thousands and before noon the river presented a magnificent spectacle of life and colour. Boats, punts and canoes were at a premium and practically every point of vantage was occupied when at 12.30pm the first final of the programme was entered upon.
For the enjoyment of the general public, an admirable programme of river entertainments was arranged by the Royal Regatta Entertainment Committee. On each regatta day, with the exception of Wednesday, when the river did not permit of anything of the nature of alfresco amusement, the band of the 2nd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifles rendered an attractive programme of music from a barge moored off Phyllis Court.
The committee and members of the Henley fire brigade, relying on the generosity of the inhabitants of the town and district, have recently become possessed of a first-class motor vehicle to ensure a more speedy response to fire calls within the borough and also to act as a tractor for the steam fire engine when called to districts beyond the borough.