Henley Herald Community Champion Awards Voting Opens

The nominations are in and it’s time to vote on our first six Community Champion awards.  We’re delighted that we’ve had over 30 nominations in the categories, Charity Champion, Community Champion, Customer Service Champion, Heart of Gold Neighbour, Top Teacher and Young Sporting Superstar. Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate.  Please vote for ONE person in EACH award and then hit the VOTE button at the bottom.  Voting closes on 30 November at 5pm. The winners will be announced at the Awards Party on Friday 25 January which is sponsored by Simmons & Sons and will be raising money for the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children.

Community Champion Awards logo

Charity Champion  

Sponsored by Bonds Estate Agents

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett has volunteered as Chair for Chiltern Centre for disabled children and Mencap for many years. I have had the pleasure of working with Paul as community fundraiser for Chilterns and I cannot fault his wise advice, devotion and support to all the team and staff and children of both Chilterns and Mencap.

Connie Butt

Connie has not only been a community champion at the Over 60s club, for the last 11 years, she has been a charity champion for the Royal British Legion organising many charity dinners and endless amounts of fundraising. She always puts herself out to help others, and her boundless enthusiasm motivates others.

Sue Prior

Sue is a founding member of the Nomad Youth and Community Project in Henley. She has been a tireless worker for over 15 years and has overseen the development of the charity from a small local project with one part-time youth worker into an organisation that works with hundreds of children, young people and families in Henley and area. She had the incredible vision to imagine what an impact Nomad could have in this community. Over the years she has been involved in all the big events and projects run by Nomad including mentoring young people, community fun days, the Food Bank, parenting courses, life skills workshops and many others. But perhaps her greatest strength has been her personal and one-to-one support of many people in our community in challenging circumstances. One of her co-workers commented, "Sue never gives up on anyone". She has faced her own challenges recently with the death of her husband Dave. They were friends and co-workers for 45 years and have been an inspiration to many people. Despite this blow, Sue is continuing her hard work, dedication and commitment to the people of Henley and I feel deserves to be nominated as Community Champion.

Richard Rodway

Richard Rodway has organised the Henley Living Advent Calendar for the last 4 years. Richard has been a pillar in the community and has worked hard to make the event so successful. He gives his time and energy wholeheartedly into the charity project that is the Living Advent Calendar. We have 24 nights of fundraising for 24 different charities and it would not be possible for any of this to happen without Richards determination and his passion for Christmas. 

Charity Champion

Community Champion

Sponsored by Philip Booth Esq

Tuc Ahmed

Tuc voluntarily and inspirationally takes the lead in improving, managing and maintaining the stunning grounds of Badgemore Primary School. The school itself has gone through an enormous transformation under Tuc's vision and guidance which simply has to be seen to be believed! He has created a forest school where the children actively participate in outdoor learning and forest school activities, he has created an orchard, updated the fire pit and has led the "Buzz in the Meadows" project which sees the school now containing bee hives. His next project is a living lab and a reflection garden. Tuc works tirelessly on his ideas, creating a vision as well as executing on these through lobbying and working with generous organisations to ensure these visions can come to fruition for the betterment of the school - submitting grant proposals, showcasing the grounds to potential supporters, rallying the Badgemore parents and friends to contribute through the Gardening Club, and constantly be available for works to occur by others or himself. What he has created is simply amazing! ...all this - and given Tuc's the incredible grounds he has created, the school doesn't actually have a gardener! It is all down to his time, commitment and passion, and the efforts of the people around him. He is our Community Champion!

Julia Carey

Julia has dived head first into highlighting the plastic problem we have and it was Julia’s help and commitment that launched the Henley Refill Campaign with me. Julia is passionate about the planet, about Henley. Not only has she launched Refill Henley she has also bought the filming rights to Bag It, at cost to her, and showed the film free to anybody wishing to see it. Julia organised a plastics exhibition at the River & Rowing Museum which was very well received. And lastly for the second year Julia is organising the Henley Christmas Artisans fair at the town hall - proceeds to Sue Ryder.

David Eggleton

David regularly sacrifices his own time and sometimes work commitments to help members of the community. He helps out neighbours and regularly gives up his evenings to give out food to people in the area who need a little extra help and support (food share). David is passionate and cares about the community and the town. He has a desire to get things done and help people however he can, whether that be improving the area or providing support where needed.

John Halsall

John Halsall has worked tirelessly for Remenham Parish Council for years. He has helped us as a parish , fighting planning applications, supporting traffic systems so that Remenham can cope with the local increased traffic from the many festivals, and communicating with parishoners.

Sarah Miller

Sarah, in partnership with her friend Julia, has really been instrumental in rolling out the Refill campaign. Sarah was also responsible, with help, for bringing back and reviving the Henley May Fayre for the past 2 years. Sarah has also, for years, organised and run the Henley Design Day annually. She also gives up hours a week voluntarily as a town councillor. She is a real community person who is quite understated and deserves to be celebrated for all of the wonderful things she does to contribute to the town

Paula Price-Davies

After great work at Henley Town Council - most notably making the annual Christmas Festival the town’s busiest night of the year and a real treat for the often under-served young people of Henley - Paula has done brilliantly at the Kenton Theatre over the last 18 months. With a mix of the best local talent and performers with national and international reputations, her first year has seen record ticket sales and attendances, peaking in December 2017 when over 8,000 people visited in one month for the first time. She bought Santa’s Grotto to the theatre, giving around 300 families a fun and free night, and with the support of the Mayor clearer the Kenton’s garden area after years of decay. In just over a year she has seen the Kenton return to its rightful place at the heart of Henley, catering for the whole community.

Laura Reineke

Laura, a professional violinist recognised the need for music to be available to all children and so founded Henley Music School 10 years ago (none profit making organisation) giving as many children as possible, the chance to nurture an interest in music by playing an instrument and singing. The school is now a charity and offers individual tuition, mainly in Henley school, in a large range of instruments including singing. Via the charity, bursaries and instrument loans are available, as a result of Laura's hard work fund raising and seeking sponsorship. Her ideas for fundraising are legendary and her boundless energy and enthusiasm has seen the school expand from a handful of pupils to over 400. Not content with children's education, she turned to those over 40s who wanted to regain lost musical skills and formed the Henley Youthful Orchestra. In addition, Laura is a Governor of Bishopswood Special School, a Henley Good Neighbour and, in her own street, organises a monthly gathering for all residents, so that they can get to know each other and help each other. Laura's main aim in life is to help others and in doing so, have fun, and she certainly achieves this through her musical activities.

Emma-Jane Taylor

Emma-Jane puts her whole soul into bettering people’s lives through the whole circle of life from young children to the elderly. Emma-Jane runs a Stage school in Henley enjoyed by Children from 4-14. The children learn performing arts in a safe environment which rounds them for their future. Emma-Jane owns and runs NutritiousWorks a sanctuary for people to believe in themselves and have the confidence to succeed usually just by a change of diet and lifestyle. Besides the challenges Emma-Jane sets for herself in addition to bringing up her small daughter - Emma-Jane has time for those less fortunate and has helped a gentleman off the streets of Henley to rehabilitation in Maidenhead.

Jo Taylor

Jo does a tremendous amount for Harpsden church, she started the fellowship lunches, which is a chance for lonely people to get together once a month and socialise over a pub lunch. She has been on the PCC and helped with all that entails. She also single-handedly started a crowd funding site to raise money for a congregation member to have pioneering medical treatment in Germany, which resulted in saving the girl's life. Jo also does an awful lot we don't know about. She never complains or boasts, gets on with helping anyone who needs it without a word. Even her work in assisting the Mosawi Foundation with all aspects of their charity. 

Community Champion

Heart of Gold Neighbour

Sponsored by Meadow Farm Studio

David Eggleton

Dave has gone above and beyond to build the community in Gainsborough. Despite having a full time job, and being a member of the council, he gives up his remaining time to contribute to the estate. Chairing the Gainsborough Residents Association, Dave has had a huge impact on his neighbourhood, having helped it to achieve an outstanding rating in the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards this year. Hardworking and generous, he is a testament to the town of Henley, and a perfect example of what it means to be a good neighbour.

Louise Hastings

Louise is amazing. Every day she cares for a whole host of elderly neighbours. She cooks for them and makes sure they are well ans healthy. She spends most of her time outside of work caring for these various neighbours as most of them have dementia as well as struggles because of their old age. If the world had more people like Louise, elderly people wouldn't be as alone or as vulnerable as they are.

Paul McSweeney

Paul has been organising an annual street party for Marmion Road and Grove Road for as long as I have lived here. The street party itself is a fantastic event that brings together the whole community. Not only that, it means that we all know one another and look out for one another the rest of the year. He puts in a lot of hard work and effort, brings the community together and raises hundreds of pounds for charity each year on top of that! A super star!

Pat Sly

Pat Sly has lived in Remenham for over 30 years. She is the perfect neighbour and community champion. Pat has been actively involved with Remeham parish , both with the thespians , the church and looking after the parish hall. there is nothing Pat couldn't do, as she also serves teas to regatta crews and visitors from her garden at Old Blades along the tow path at Remenham . Pat is always smiling and welcomed me and my family to the parish many years ago. 

Heart of Gold Neighbour

Customer Service Champion

Sponsored by Brakspear

Andy Andreou - Lily Dry Cleaning

Nothing isn’t ever a problem for Andy. He is always friendly, always asks how you are doing, and always gives you sweets with your dry cleaning. Even passing dogs get treats from him. Everyone likes Andy because he’s such a nice guy - your friendly neighbourhood dry cleaner.

Sebnem (Sheb) Bamsey - Scene 1 Take 1

Good old-fashioned service with a smile. The attention to detail in Scene 1 Take 1 extends beyond the classy music and theatre theme, to the coffee and food. Tasty homemade soup, cute chocolate gravel treats for children, dog biscuits & water, free refills for plastic reduction and gorgeous little crocheted coasters given as gifts to Mums on Mothers Day. Sheb is always smiling, cheerful and the charming atmosphere of her cafe is hard to top.

Hilary Evans - Caffe Nero

Affectionately known to many as H, Hils has been wowing the town with her customer service for decades. Working at Nero as one of Henley's top baristas (though she is still recognised for her time at the Regal Picturehouse), Hilary has built a name for herself by going above and beyond for her customers.  I distinctly remember the time she allowed my mum to bring my baby sister, only 3 weeks old, into 'Pirates of the Caribbean' so that my family could all see it together. Though allowing a newborn into a cinema might not have been approved, I think this is a prime example of how she's willing to turn a blind eye to the little things to make her customers smile.

Her friendly demeanour extends beyond just the coffee shop - no one walks past her on the towpath without getting a hello! H and her ever-changing hair colours are a delight for the town, and she never fails to put a grin on your face as she hands you your cappuccino!

Trudi Groom - Top to Toe

I’ve been visiting her since I moved to Henley and didn’t know her beforehand, but her friendly and cheerful nature now means it’s like visiting a friend when I go visit Top to Toe. She makes everyone feel welcome and I know others love going there for the same reason.

Bruce Jones - Tomalin & Son

I recently had to arrange a funeral for my mother-in-law and Bruce Jones came to our rescue. Calm advice, respectful and guided our way through to a successful day. Bruce deals with many families at a time of loss and he is so professional and caring.

Laurence Morris - Laurence Menswear

Laurence has an exceptional manner about him and his service is first-class

Josette Ofiera - WH Smith

Josette was born in Henley and has been nothing but loyal to the W H Smiths store in Henley. After 40 years of service she is well known for always having a smile on her face, a caring and just outstanding representation of how a person should be when working in retail at a customer services position. She goes above and beyond for all her customers. Not to mention in her days off she can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone she knows for a quick chat to see how they are. They always seem to just say “no chocolate for me today”. She is kind and well deserving of this award.

Nick Totman - Whitehill Service Station

Nick is always reliable, supportive and calm even when he has to deliver the news that your car bill is huge or even worse the car is a write off!. He has served us for over 20 years and I can't fault his service.

Turkish Barbers

The Turkish brings a slice of Istanbul to Henley on Thames. You are always greeted with a handshake and a cup of tea. Unlike a traditional barber where you sit there and pray for silence, the men at the Turkish always have great conversations with you. It doesn’t matter who you are, they will give you a great haircut.

Jane Tutill - Willow Basket

Jane welcomes every customer with a smile and always goes the extra mile to make her customers’ day. She brings products to the door if the steps are too hard to manage or give you a taste of her delicious ice cream if you can’t quite decide. She has a particular knack with children - always happy to wipe a sticky face after an icecream, explain what she’s doing and listen to their stories with (what appears to be!) genuine interest. She makes life as a parent easy and life as a child special. A true asset to the community.

Bethany Wigmore - Hot Gossip

Bethany has worked at Hot Gossip Coffeehouse for several years. She is a very kind and caring person as well as making super coffee. Bethany always greets customers with a warm and welcoming smile. It is like going round to a friends house for coffee.  Nothing is too much trouble and it is lovely to have a conversation rather than just being served. The Coffeehouse has always welcomed dogs and she looks after them too with treats and fresh drinking water. Bethany has artistic flair which can be seen in the lovely sign writing around the shop.

It is a pleasure to receive such customer service, she truly deserves recognition. 

Customer Service Champion

Young Sporting Superstar

Sponsored by IBS Office Solutions

Callum Aitkin - Rugby, Football and Athletics

Callum is Henley Hawks U14 Captain and has been player of the year for 2 years running.  He is a member of the Wasps Academy, Oxford County Academy and Irish Exiles Academy.  He has represented England South Central Schools at this year's Gothia Youth Football World Cup in Sweden.  In athletics, Callum has won the U13 200m at the England Schools County and England Schools Regional as well as in the winning team of 4 x 100m relay at the England Schools Regional.

Angus Harris-White - Golf

Angus Harris-White first came to Henley Golf Club (HGC) in 2010 when he was 9. He was awarded a golfing scholarship and Head Professional Mark Howell commented that Angus had the best natural golf swing he had seen in a boy of that age. As a keen student, Angus’s handicap rapidly improved reaching single figures by the age of 14 and he has represented HGC in all levels of junior competitions. This year Angus came 2nd in the English Schools South of England Championship thereby qualifying for the National Schools Championship. He won the HGC Junior Championship in 2016/17/18 and was Junior Captain in 2017 reaching a handicap of just 2. He had also been achieving similar success at Badgemore Park where he won the Junior Open Championship 2 years running.

He was soon snapped up by the HGC Men’s 1st Team and has played for HGC in senior matches and in the Reading and District League, helping Henley win the Knock-out in 2018 when he and his partner had to play extra holes to decide the result.

In 2017 Angus won the most prestigious event in the HGC Men’s calendar securing the Club Championship finally winning after 5 extra holes. In 2018 he achieved a unique double by winning the Badgemore Park Men’s Club Championship so having won the Championships at both Henley clubs while still a Junior.

Angus is currently studying for A levels at The Henley College and is hoping to improve his golf further at college level while studying for a science based degree.

Ethan Pearce - Football

I think this boy should be sports person because he excelled in his GCSEs getting A* in PE as well as quite a few high scores in other subjects. He plays football for AFC Henley which he has done since he was 5 years old he and takes football to a whole new level as he is now doing football for the Henley College as well as still playing for AFC.

Georgina Robinson-Ranger - Rowing

Georgie is an accomplished rower, a member of the Henley Rowing Club eight that won this years Championship Girls Eights at National Schools Regatta ( only the second club crew to ever win this event) and Championship Girls Quads and followed this by winning Henley Women’s Regatta.

In August Georgie was selected to represent Great Britain at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Racice (Czech Republic) finishing fifth in the world in the A final of quad sculls.

In October she was then selected as Great Britain’s sole female rowing representative at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires where she won the C final finishing in 5th fastest time of the day.

In addition to being a world class athlete Georgie also helps coach the Clubs newcomers on the “Learn to Row Courses” 

Young Sporting Superstar

Top Teacher

Sponsored by Southern Plant & Tool Hire

Laura Burton - Valley Road

Mrs Burton is an exceptional teacher. She is kind, thoughtful, fair and an inspiration to the lucky children who are taught by her. She always listens, and never forgets! She's great fun but also commands respect, creating a balanced, exciting and carefully challenging learning environment. Top class!

Cath Davidson - Gillotts

Endless encouragement and drive. One of the few teachers willing to enrich the pupils experience by taking them abroad, organising exchanges and going above and beyond the call of duty - often in her in time. Mrs D - you totally rock!

Tim Hoskins - Badgemore

Tim is thoughtful, kind and has considerate relationships with his students and fellow peers. Not only does he give his time during the school day to his pupils he also gives time out of school to enrich children’s learning by running clubs; the latest one being Bee keeping club, taking pupils on residentials and organising children to help at Henley’s food bank to name a few. Tim is a funny, outgoing and upbeat teacher who always has time for the children. He makes his lessons interesting by using all of the school including lots of outdoor learning. This makes his teaching exciting and upbeat for all those involved. 

Mr Hoskins is the best teacher ever! We are sisters and have both been really lucky to have him as our teacher. He is really super funny, caring, happy and kind, and he makes learning interesting. He gives us the confidence to do anything! He even includes us in his own life. When he broke his collarbone, he couldn’t stay away and showed us his X-ray and taught us all about it, as well as what was happening to fix it. Even though it was painful for him, he still wanted to share his experience with our class.

Peter Moody - Trinity

Peter Moody is the kind of teacher all children want to be taught by. Peter hasn't actually taught my daughter yet as he teaches older years but his energy reaches out across the whole school. He is somebody who gets things done and yet at the same time makes everything more fun. If all teachers had the enthusiasm, patience and positive mental attitude that Peter has all schools would be outstanding rated! His ability to problem solve, enthuse and educate is second to none and you would be hard pushed to find a parent or pupil who disagrees.

Avery Penna - Sacred Heart

Avery (Miss Penna) works so hard to research different teaching methods, and to plan her lessons to make her classes fun, effective, and as inclusive as possible. Her class last year could well have been found a challenge, as the children have a range of cultural backgrounds, first languages, abilities and additional needs. Not a problem, she came up with lovely innovative fun solutions. She is sooooo enthusiastic, and seems to be loved by the children and parents alike.

Jackie Stoffels - Gillotts

Miss Stoffels is a fantastic teacher. Always happy to help. She runs a lunch time maths club we can go to ask questions. When I wanted to try and increase my grade she helped me come up with a plan and supported me so I was successful. 

Top Teacher