The Henley Herald surprised the Henley Mermaids who swam the English channel in June in relay last night at Red Lion Lawn with the unveiling of a plaque to recognise their great achievement and for raising over £27,000 for Henley Music School.
The group of open water swimmers; Laura Reineke, Susan Barry, Jo Robb, Joan Fennelly and Fiona Print completed the amazing challenge in 17 hours 43 minutes.
Editor Michaela Clarke said, “The Herald is not just about the news. I love to come up with ideas for the community. I thought that the Mermaids deserved to have something in the town that recognised their tremendous achievement and approached the Mayor to see if this was possible. He very kindly then offered to pay for it. I thought that a plaque near the Henley Ama mermaid statue would be the perfect location for the plaque.”
Joan Fennelly said, “I never envisaged that when I relocated from Dublin and first drove over the bridge 18 years ago, that my name would be on a plaque below the bridge and opposite the legendary Leander Club, for swimming to France with four of my very best friends. I am hugely honoured and very humbled. Thank you for championing the cause to commemorate our achievement, and for providing the fizz to christen it!”
Laura exclaimed, “It was complete surprise, it’s lovely a really love thing to do. Thank you very much.” Fiona added, “It was lovely surprise and it’s lovely to be immortalised. Ferries are for wimps!” Jo who is originally from Australia added, “My family is going to be amazed. I don’t think anyone in my family has got a plaque in a public place. Just so proud, it’s unbelievable and I’m very grateful.”
Henley Mayor, Councillor Ken Arlett said, “I thought that Michaela’s idea was a good and very well deserved one. It recognises the Mermaids’ fantastic achievement and the plaque will be there for years to come for the Mermaids, their families, residents and visitors to see.”