Review of the year part two: underwater clean-up mission, clock winder retires,

SERVICEMEN and women from eight countries came together to launch a new trophy that they will compete for at the Henley Royal Regatta. The 120 athletes from Britain, America, Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands assembled on the lawn in the Stewards’ Enclosure and were photographed from the air by a drone as they formed the number 100. This was to mark the centenary of the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta, a four-day competition which was staged to mark the previous year’s Armistice and featured several events for armed forces crews only.

ABOUT 30 people returned plastic packaging to a Henley supermarket as part of a campaign to highlight the threat that single-use plastics pose to the environment. Campaigner Lynne Lambourne organised the group, which included several children, to turn up at the Waitrose store off King’s Road. They went up to the information desk at the front of the store where they handed over various items of plastic, including bottles of cleaning fluid and packaging for fruit and vegetables.

Notes had been written on the items with suggestions and points of action. A message on one bottle said: “We need refill options in all stores please #ourplasticfeedback.” A WOMAN was left stranded at a busy road junction for more than five hours after she called the RAC following a breakdown.

Jeannie Page was pulling on to the Fair Mile from the B480 at Lower Assendon when the suspension on the rear driver’s side wheel of her Honda CRV snapped. She couldn’t move forwards or backwards so she called the breakdown service. She told the operator that the Y-registered vehicle couldn’t be fixed at the scene so a recovery truck was needed.

Miss Page, who lives at Swiss Farm, off Marlow Road, was told she would be rescued about 90 minutes after her breakdown at 1pm. However, a towing lorry did not arrive until 6.30pm after a series of mishaps. A FATHER fighting a rare form of cancer has seen it almost disappear from his body just two months after starting treatment.

Nick Dipper, 51, was diagnosed with the disease in his pharynx, which connects the back of the nose to the back of the mouth a year ago. He then learned it had spread to his bones, lung and liver and was given just a year to live. However, he was denied treatment on the NHS because his tumour was in the “wrong” place, so his wife Lisa launched a GBP140,000 fund-raising appeal.

Since the couple’s story was first published in the Henley Standard in April money has poured in, enabling Mr Dipper to undergo pioneering treatment called immunotherapy, which helps the body’s immune system recognise and attack cancer cells. And now he has been told that this has almost eradicated the disease. A HUSBAND has paid tribute to his “beautiful” wife who lost her fight against an incurable form of breast cancer just weeks after raising more than GBP40,000 for charity.

Emily Burkitt died at the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed surrounded by her family. She was 37. Mrs Burkitt, who lived in Greys Road, Henley, with her husband James and children Poppy, six, and Charlie, four, was diagnosed in 2015, just four weeks after her son’s first birthday.

She underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment as well as having a mastectomy. But in August she felt a lump on her collar bone and discovered she had stage four triple negative breast cancer. She organised a “black and white” dinner at Phyllis Court Club on June 15 to raise money for charities Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!, but lost her battle against the disease less than four weeks later.

THE outgoing chief executive of the Henley Festival hailed this year’s event a success after two of the five nights sold out. Charlotte Geeves said capacity crowds of 6,400 attended shows by Tom Odell on Friday night and Abba tribute band Bjorn Again on the Saturday. A total of 25,138 people attended the five nights of the 38th annual extravaganza, compared to about 25,400 last year.

Boy George’s opening night performance drew a crowd of 5,326, while Jessie J, who performed four years ago, saw a crowd of 4,235. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which closed the festival on Sunday night, was watched by 2,777. On top of this, between 3,500 and 4,000 people attended the festival’s family Sunday.

A MAN who wound the clock at St Mary’s church in Henley for more than four decades stepped down from the role this week. Norman Topsom had been carrying out the task every four days since the early Seventies but found it was getting more demanding with age. The 72-year-old, of Gainsborough Hill, would first climb a steep 60-foot spiral staircase to reach the belfry, then attach a large iron handle to the Victorian winding mechanism and turn it more than 100 times.

He can still do this in about half an hour but told the church he couldn’t keep going forever so it has installed an automatic winding mechanism which Mr Topsom will help keep an eye on. A SCUBA instructor from Henley is to sweep the bed of the River Thames for rubbish. Tony Rudelhoff will tackle a stretch of water between the southern half of the royal regatta course and Mill and Marsh Meadows over the course of five Saturdays.

He will trawl along both banks of the river picking up litter discarded by visitors during the regatta and events such the Henley Festival and Rewind. Mr Rudelhoff, 59, says he often sees walkers on the towpath and the occupants of passing boats throwing items into the water. A PENSIONER was slapped with a GBP170 parking fine after visiting his wife at a Henley care home shortly after she moved in.

John Beck parked at the Chilterns Court Care Centre, off York Road, but failed to enter his registration into the touchpad at reception as required by the centre’s enforcement contractor Smart Parking. He accepts this went against the company’s procedures but says he was distracted because he and Margaret have been married for more than 60 years and he was still getting used to her not living at home. She had moved out as she suffers with dementia and had deteriorated to the point where Mr Beck and the couple’s three grown-up sons were no longer able to look after her.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a father who died after falling from an electric skateboard. Bradley Visser, 38, suffered severe brain injuries in the accident, which happened near his home on the main road through Stoke Row. He was treated at the scene before being taken by air ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he died 10 days later.

Police are investigating but it is believed that no other vehicle was involved. Mr Visser’s wife Annie and their young children, Ozzie and Chloe, are being supported by family and specially trained police officers. A DISABLED boy was offered a job by a company after just three weeks of work experience.

Ben Morgan, 18, from Shiplake, has a form of cerebral palsy which had knocked his confidence. He had already done work experience as part of his school and college courses and was nervous about doing another when he tried out as a receptionist at Thames Water’s headquarters in Reading. The company devised a programme to suit his needs together with EMCOR, which looks after its buildings.

Ben worked on reception at Clearwater Court, answering calls, welcoming visitors and giving them their bags. He also worked in the company’s human resources department, where he prepared meeting rooms and checked room temperatures. He also collected, sorted and delivered mail from the post room and visited a number of other Thames Water buildings, including its science laboratories.

A MAN was thanked by police after he helped rescue a woman being threatened with a knife. George Greenaway, 21, from Henley, and a friend wrestled the female teenage attacker to the ground and restrained her until police arrived. The incident happened while he and his girlfriend Becky Stevens were visiting friends Jack Cottrell and his girlfriend Isabel Case in Devizes last month.

They were sitting in a pub beer garden on a Saturday afternoon when they heard a commotion and he and Mr Cottrell went to investigate. AT least 20 drivers have had their car wheels or tyres damaged in a series of suspected acts of sabotage. Most of the attacks involved four-inch nails which were wedged pointing upwards beneath the wheels of vehicles so that owners suffered punctures or worse when they pulled away.

In other cases, the nails were hammered into tyres while the victims’ cars were unattended. The culprit has usually used masonry nails, which have a distinctive twist in the thread. The attacks have happened in Shiplake and Binfield Heath and involved vehicles parked in streets and on private driveways.

They began early in July but it only became clear they must be linked when victims shared their experiences on online community forums. AN elderly woman was threatened with debt collectors after refusing to pay a GBP220 charge to transport her disabled husband 1.3 miles twice. Maureen Turner says she is willing to pay Oxfordshire County Council but is disputing the size of the bill, which she claims was originally GBP70.

The council says the charge was higher as it related to a bank holiday weekend, but it failed to communicate this properly. Mrs Turner, 80, lives in Vicarage Road, Henley, with her husband Edward, 83, who has suffered three major strokes and receives four visits a day from carers. The charge dates back to late April and early May when she had a two-week holiday in Australia to celebrate her birthday with her brother Robert while her husband was cared for at the Chiltern Court Care Centre, off York Road.

STAFF at Henley’s GP surgeries are giving up parking spaces in order to make more available to patients. About 12 doctors and staff at the Hart and Bell Surgeries are parking elsewhere in the town, including the King’s Road car park, to enable more availability at their car park. In April 2017 the surgeries employed Smart Parking to enforce parking at their car park to stop it being abused by shoppers.

But within a few months the contract was cancelled following scores of complaints from patients and their relatives about unfair fines. A WOMAN from Henley is celebrating after undertaking an open water swim every day for a year. Kate Goodman, who embarked on the challenge to overcome a fear of water, completed the final stage with 30 fellow members of the Henley Open Water Swimming Club.

The group camped overnight on a private field off Willow Lane, Wargrave, before getting up early for their weekly Saturday swim on a stretch of the Thames near Henley Sailing Club. They hit the water at 7.30am and swam about 1.5km in a circle before enjoying a barbecue breakfast to mark Mrs Goodman’s achievement. The 42-year-old, who lives in Farm Road with her two teenage children, joined the club two years ago but soon started having panic attacks when getting into the river.

She had hardly ever swum in open water before so did not realise it had this effect on her but wanted to prove she could conquer it. A YOUNG woman with cerebral palsy hopes to help others by sharing her experiences of growing up with the condition. Yasmin Denehy was born eight weeks premature and was in an incubator for six weeks.

She was so small that her father could hold her in one hand. Growing up in New Road, Shiplake, she faced many challenges, including wearing braces on her legs during her time at Rupert House School in Henley and people being rude to her as they didn’t understand what was wrong with her. Now 24, Yasmin has just started writing a blog and has received heartwarming messages from friends and family as well as people as far away as Pakistan.

BURGLARS stole about GBP7,000 worth of goods and cash from a newsagent’s shop in Henley. They hurled a large chunk of masonry through a glass panel in the front door of Station News in Station Road and made off with cigarettes, several bottles of whisky and some money from the till. It was the third such incident at the shop in a little over 18 months.

HUNDREDS of people marched through the streets of Henley to demand fairer funding for schools. Parents, teachers and children all took part in the Saturday morning demonstration, which started outside the town hall in Market Place. The protesters sounded whistles and chanted “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts” as they marched.

Many people carried placards with slogans such as “Don’t be fools, fund our schools” and “Don’t cut our future”. BUSINESSES in Henley town centre could be restricted to one advertising board each in a crackdown by the town council. Councillors are concerned about the growing number of boards in the streets and the obstruction they cause for pedestrians, particularly people with poor vision or in a wheelchair or pushing a child’s buggy.

It comes after an unofficial count by Frank Browne, from Rotherfield Greys, found a total 76 A-boards in the four main streets. THE vacant top floor at Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley is to be used to increase the number of outpatient clinics. The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, which currently runs clinics on the ground floor, wants to expand its range of services.

The trust already provides about 16,000 appointments a year but wants to double this as part of a strategy to develop care over the next few years. A COUPLE who won their wedding in a competition say the occasion was the best day of their lives. Kate and Glenn Dixon, of Greys Hill, Henley, celebrated the big day at Badgemore Park surrounded by friends and family, including their two young children.

The bride, who had celebrated her 37th birthday the previous day, said: “It was so emotional and everything was just so beautiful. “Everybody was saying how magical the day was and how they had never been to a wedding that was just so full of love.” Mr Dixon, 38, said: “It was incredible.

It was the perfect day.” HENLEY’S economy has been dealt a blow with the closure of six town centre businesses. Five shops and a restaurant have already shut or will do so shortly.

However, a number of new businesses, including a Harrods cafe, are opening and the town centre manager says we are doing well compared with many other places. The number of empty shops is currently 15 out of a total of 160, giving a vacancy rate of above nine per cent, with another nine under offer or being fitted. The national vacancy rate hit a four-year high of 10.3 per cent in July.

The most recent businesses to close are Mediterranean restaurant Mezo in Market Place, furniture shop Sharps in Bell Street, Galaxy Nails in Duke Street and women’s fashion outlet Phase Eight in Hart Street. They will be followed in the next few months by the record store In the Groove in Reading Road and the Daisy Boutique in Friday Street. A FIREFIGHTER from Henley completed three endurance challenges for charity — and plans to carry on fund-raising.

Jack Staines, 21, of Deanfield Avenue, completed the Cape Wrath Trail, the Three Peaks Challenge and the Dartmoor Ultra-Marathon. He hopes to raise GBP1,500 to be shared equally by the Royal Berks Charity, the Fire Fighters Charity and TalkingSpace Plus, a therapy service for people with anxiety and depression. Mr Staines, who has worked at the fire station in West Street, Henley, for more than two years, used the therapy service to help him with depression.

He also received support from the Fire Fighters Charity when he needed temporary accommodation. He is supporting the hospital charity because his mother has been undergoing treatment for cancer at the Royal Berks in Reading and he says the staff have made an awful experience much more bearable. A POPULAR children’s Christmas pantomime could be facing the axe.

Henley Children’s Theatre has had an annual booking at the Kenton Theatre over the festive period for almost half a century. Now the New Street venue says it wants to extend the run of its own professional show and move the children’s panto to February. But Muffin Hurst, who runs the children’s theatre, called this a “slap in the face” for one of the theatre’s oldest customers.

She says moving her group’s panto is not feasible as the festive season is over in February and there are not as many visiting family members in town to see the show. This year’s booking is unaffected but Ms Hurst says she has been offered a shortened four-day slot next year with no Christmas booking thereafter. A WALKING group criticised a private estate after a shooting party refused to cease fire to let them pass.

Twelve members of the Henley and Goring Ramblers were walking along the public footpath from Fingest to Ibstone when they heard the sound of gunfire. They pressed ahead and came across a party who were shooting pheasants. The walkers say the party, who were taking part in an event on the Harecramp estate, were standing near the footpath and firing into the air above it so they were afraid to proceed in case they were hit.

They waved their arms and shouted but were ignored so two of their number stepped forward while continuing to shout until one of the shooters approached them. They asked the man if he could call off the shooting until they had passed but he said he wouldn’t as they were on a public footpath so were already free to proceed. The walkers waited and looked on, during which time they say a pheasant fell from the sky and narrowly missed them, until the shooting apparently stopped for lunch.

ELEVEN blocks of flats for the elderly are set to be built on the outskirts of Shiplake after the developer won a planning appeal. Retirement Villages Group applied for permission for 65 “extra care” properties in a field to the east of the A4155 but was turned down by South Oxfordshire District Council. Now a planning inspector has overturned the decision, saying that the benefits of the development outweigh any harm to the landscape.

The decision will upset many residents of the village, who have already lost fights against two other developments less than a mile north along the Henley-Reading road. A HENLEY man who was arrested during the climate protests in London says he has no regrets. Ed Atkinson, of Queen Street, was one of a number of residents who joined the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in the capital.

Thousands of people have taken part in the protests, calling on the Government to take action on climate change. Hundreds have been arrested for actions such as gluing themselves to government buildings. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Extinction Rebellion protesters
“unco-operative crusties”.

LANDLORDS are causing more Henley shops to close by increasing their rents, says the town manager. Helen Barnett spoke out after the decision by the town’s oldest independent jewellers to close. D J King in Bell Street was established in 1982 but owner Samuel Buckett says he will not be renewing the lease when it expires after his landlord proposed to increase his rent of almost GBP10,000 a year by 50 per cent.

Mr Buckett, 26, who bought the business four-and-a-half years ago and runs the shop with his fiancee Sophie Morgan, says lack of footfall and the prospect of the higher rent meant it was impossible to continue. FINE dining in Henley is a thing of the past, says a Henley chef who decided to rebrand his restaurant. Shaun Dickens, who has run Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse in Station Road for seven years, opted to change its name to Bistro at The Boathouse and lower his prices.

The restaurant will have a new interior, layout and bar but will no longer offer tasting menus. Mr Dickens said: “I think fine dining has very much run its course in Henley.” A SQUASH player has thanked staff at Henley leisure centre who saved his life after he suffered a heart attack during a match.

David Wright, 65, collapsed on court and his heart stopped for 10 minutes. He was given CPR by duty manager Josh Fahey and recreation assistant Liam Peachey, who then got his heart started again using a defibrillator. He was taken by ambulance to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where he had emergency surgery.

The retired vascular surgeon is now recovering at home in St Mark’s Road, Henley, where he lives with his wife Jan. FIVE friends who are members of the Henley Open Water Swimming Club will attempt to cross the English Channel next summer. The Henley Mermaids, comprising Laura Reineke, Jo Robb, Fiona Print, Joan Fennelly and Susan Barry, will be raising money for Henley Music School.

They hope to make GBP6,000 for the school, which was founded in 2010 by Mrs Reineke and became a charity last year. It provides music tuition to anyone, especially children, regardless of their background or ability and costs around GBP60,000 a year to run. The women will take on the 21-mile journey from Dover to Calais in June, swimming in relay.

They will be guided by pilot Eddie Spelling, who has more than 10 years’ experience of the event. A HOMEOWNER who is replacing his country bungalow with a high-tech house is to be featured on TV’s Grand Designs. Tony Searby, 60, says he will protect the environment while offering the healthiest possible living standards.

He has demolished his childhood home at Tanglewood, off Busgrove Lane in Stoke Row, and started building a two-storey dwelling of the same name after being granted planning permission. The new timber-clad property will be in a horseshoe shape with a flat roof and solar panels. It could take another 18 months to finish as Mr Searby is doing much of the work himself.

He and his wife Ara will live there when it is finished and are living in a mobile home until then. Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has regularly visited the woodland plot since construction began in July as the project will eventually be featured on the Channel 4 show. ABOUT 2,000 people attended the Remembrance Sunday service in Henley town centre.

The crowd assembled outside the town hall in Market Place for the annual parade and ceremony on a clear morning. Some of the spectators arrived 45 minutes early in order to get a good view. The parade, which was marshalled by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Smyth of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, began with five members of the town’s sea cadets marching from Greys Road car park into the square and forming a guard of honour in front of the town hall.

They were followed by air, army and Royal Marine cadets, veterans, members of the Henley and Peppard branch of the Royal British Legion and civic dignitaries. There were also representatives of St John Ambulance, Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, guides, brownies, scouts and cubs. They formed a semi-circle around the town hall, with the crowd behind them.

At 10.45am two helicopters, a Chinook and Puma from RAF Benson, performed a fly-past. People looked up as the aircraft roared overhead. A TEENAGE girl from Henley won a singing and acting role in a Hollywood film after passing her first ever audition.

Madison Ingoldsby stars in the opening scene of Last Christmas, a festive romantic comedy in which she plays a younger version of the lead character, a former singer called Kate played by actress Emilia Clarke. The 14-year-old appears in a childhood flashback filmed at St Sophia Cathedral in West London, in which Kate performs a version of Heal the Pain by George Michael and Paul McCartney while backed by a children’s choir. MORE than 200 people attended the first Greener Henley Festival.

Businesses and community groups set up stalls at the Christ Church Centre in Reading Road to show people how to lead more environmentally friendly lifestyles. These included exhibits by Henley Plastic Reduction, Clean Air for Henley and the proposed Henley car club, which will offer electric vehicles for hire. Members of the town’s branch of Extinction Rebellion also attended while Henley Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council showcased their green strategies.

The festival was organised by Greener Henley, formerly known as Henley in Transition. A HENLEY charity has received a surprise GBP20,000 donation thanks to Chris Evans and Phillip Schofield. The Chiltern Centre, which offers support to young adults with learning or physical disabilities, only learned about the money when the donation was made on live television.

Schofield, who lives in Fawley, was interviewing Evans on ITV’s This Morning show about Carfest, an annual family music and motoring festival that was founded by the radio presenter in 2011 and raises funds for children’s charities. Evans revealed he had two cheques for GBP20,000 each from the funds raised at the event, which he was giving to Schofield and his co-presenter Holly Willoughby to donate to the charities of their choice. Schofield chose the Chiltern Centre, of which he has been patron since 2009.

A NEW contractor appointed to enforce parking restrictions at Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley will not make money from fines. Saba Park Services took over on December 19 from Smart Parking, which was ordered off the site in April after numerous complaints that it was fining people unfairly. Since then there have been problems with shoppers parking at the site off York Road and forcing patients, including some with mobility problems, to park further away and walk.

Saba has been awarded an initial three-year contract by NHS Property Services, which owns the site, and is proposing using automatic number plate recognition cameras. Tony Griffiths, continuous improvement manager at NHS Property Services, revealed details of the deal at a meeting of the Townlands Steering Group. He said: “Previously, contractors on a number of our sites have had an incentive to raise penalty charge notices because they kept the income.

That is no longer the case. “They [Saba] gave us a fixed price to deliver the service on the site and we will pay them if they deliver. “They can only issue penalty charge notices if there’s a clear breach of rules and they keep none of the income.”

AN appeal to provide life-saving defibrillators across the Henley area has installed its 70th device. The Crown Inn in Pishill now has a defibrillator on its outside wall thanks to Millie’s Dream. The charity was launched in 2013 by Sarah Roberts, of King’s Road, Henley, after her daughter Millie, now 12, was diagnosed with a heart and lung condition.

It is supported by the Henley Standard. Her aim was to raise enough money to supply defibrillators to 10 schools in and around the town but the appeal has been so successful that there are now devices at many other buildings, including halls, businesses and sports clubs. WALKERS have welcomed the re-opening of a public footpath near Henley thanks to the owner of Fawley Court.

The estate has built and installed a new bridge on the closed section of the path which crosses its land on the western bank of the River Thames. It criticised Buckinghamshire County Council for failing to replace the old bridge, which collapsed in October last year. But the council responded by saying it had built its own replacement structure.

Following repeated delays and a demonstration by scores of walkers last month, the estate gave the council permission to access the site and offered to pay for a like-for-like replacement, saying the new bridge could be installed before Christmas. But the council said it would install its own bridge in January. JOHN HOWELL says he will work to ensure schools are properly funded after being re-elected as the MP for Henley.

It is the fifth time running that the Conservative has been chosen to represent the constituency. He secured almost 55 per cent of the vote but his majority was reduced. Mr Howell retained his seat by 14,053 votes ahead of Liberal Democrat candidate Laura Coyle, whose support more than doubled compared with the last election in 2017.

He secured 32,189 votes — ahead of Mrs Coyle with 18,136, Labour Party candidate Zaid Marham with 5,698, and Jo Robb of the Green Party with 2,736.

The turnout was 77.03 per cent, slightly up on the 2017 general election.