Henley Self Storage has added a few new members to the team after adopting a herd of Leander hippos. The 32 papier-mâché animals were part of the Leander bicentennial Hippo Community Project, which tasked local people, groups and businesses with decorating them. Each hippo was displayed in a special River & Rowing Museum exhibition before being auctioned off for charity. Thanks to Henley Self Storage owner, Darren West, every single hippo has been given a permanent home.
Revealing how he became the proud guardian of 32 hippos, Darren explained that he had heard about the auction from an old Self Storage tenant, Alice Cole. A good friend of Leander’s Deputy Manager, Caroline Mulcahy, Alice sent an email asking for people to get involved and help with the sale of the hippos.
Darren recalled, “I went on the website and we found out that there were many – I think 53 – that didn’t have any bids. So I thought, okay, what we’ll do is we’ll just put the minimum bid on each one that hasn’t got a bid so at least they’ll all sell and we’ll see how many we get.” Darren’s starting bids got the ball rolling for some of the hippos, but when the auction ended in September, he came away with a large addition to the Self Storage family.
Henley Self Storage’s contribution to the Hippo Community Project was a generous £320, helping to bring the final total to £8,900. The largest single bid made was on a bronze hippo, which went for a whopping £2,500. All of the monies raised from the auction will go to Kafue River and Rowing Centre, on the African Zambezi River. The charitable project, created by World Rowing and WWF, has rowing, water and wildlife at its heart, addressing the global issue of clean water and related threats to wildlife.
Speaking about the kind contribution from Henley Self Storage, Caroline Mulcahy said to Darren, “We’re incredibly grateful; it’s incredibly generous of you. Thank you very much for taking an interest. They all got a home so every single one was bid on, so no child was left upset.” Darren added, “It was nice to give them a home. We weren’t too sure on the size but we’ll spread them around the units and use them on social media.” Reflecting on the #Hippo200 Project, he said, “It’s a brilliant idea. I think, especially in somewhere like Henley, it reaches out so easily. It’s such a small town, you can really get to people with something like this and get them involved.”
The 32 Henley Self Storage Hippos will be on display around the Newtown House building, in Newtown Road. Henley locals are invited to pop down and see how many they can spot! The hippos on display at Henley Self Storage are:
111 – Trinity CE Primary School, Year 1/ 2 Class
112 – Trinity CE Primary School, Year 3/4 Class
113 – Trinity CE Primary School, Year 3/4 Class
116 – Trinity CE Primary School, 6SM (Year 6)
118 – Sacred Heart Primary, Year 5 – Florence French, Angelika Gwiazda, Amber O’Connor
122 – Sacred Heart Primary, Year 5 – Charlotte Tong, Matthew O’Connor, Max Miller
123 – Sacred Heart Primary, Year 5 – Maggie Meredith, Zuzanna Sztuba, Sophie Miller
124 – Sacred Heart Primary, Year 5 – Joseph Cawthorne, Edward Tong, Tommy Ross-Lee
125 – Sacred Heart Primary, Year 5 – Ben Stimpson, Mariah Livadaru, Lily Knapp
127 – Sacred Heart Primary, Year 5 – Jessica Robinson, Lydia Singer, Daisy Eggleton
139 – Valley Road Reception Class
14 – St Mary’s School – Jane Norbury – Year 6
140 – Valley Road Year 1
141 – Valley Road Year 1
143 – Valley Road Year 2
146 – Valley Road Year 6
166 – Crazies Hill Primary School – Isobel Wilson
17 – St Mary’s School – Bella Van Stone, Year 6
190 – 1st Henley Guides, Polar Bear Patrol, Emma, Bathann, Emily, Amelia, Eloise.
192 – 1st Henley 1st Guides, Emily, Martha, Isobel, Georgina, Sophie, Milly
26 – Gillotts School – Year 8
31 – Gillotts School Art Club (mixed years)
32 – 3rd Henley Brownies – Badgers Six – Selene, Emily, Eliana, Sophie
34 – 3rd Henley Brownies – Rabbits Six – Flo, Isla, Amelia, Kitty
35 – 3rd Henley Brownies – Hedgehogs Six – Holly, Poppy, Alysia
36 – Badgemore Primary School – Poppy F Year 4
42 – Badgemore Primary School – Nicky (Year 5)
75 – Shiplake College – Oliver Dee
84 – The Henley College – Student Leadership Team
93 – Purdy Nugget – The Warriors on Waste Upcycling Holiday Bootcamp
13 – St Mary’s School – Manouka Vogel – Year 6