The nominations are in and it’s time to vote on our six Community Champion awards for 2020. We’re delighted that we’ve had over 40 nominations in the categories; Charity Champion, Community Champion, Customer Service Champion, Heart of Gold Neighbour/Covid-19 Volunteer, Top Teacher/TA and specially for this year Made Us Smile Superstar. Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate. Please vote for ONE person in EACH award. If you really can’t decide – click this box. Then hit the VOTE button at the bottom. You can only vote ONCE. Voting closes on 30 November at 5pm. The winners will be announced in the New Year or at the Awards Party on Friday 5 February 2021 if we are able to hold this. The party will be sponsored by Manning UK and will be raising money for Lowland Rescue Oxfordshire.
Gary Boys – NHS
Gary has entertained hundreds of local and non local residents during the lockdown he raised thousands of pounds for the NHS. I am sure that there are so many residents that would like to see Gary get this award. He also did shopping and collected prescriptions for people and had his bicycle nicked whilst doing all this community work.
Tom Fielder – Royal British Legion
Tom is 16 and has just become a a Junior Soldier in the British Army. As a loyal member of Henley’s army cadets detachment, he knew they wouldn’t be able to do their normal fundraising for the royal British legion this year. Instead he walked a marathon around the Henley area visiting war graves of our local servicemen, planting a remembrance poppy at each site (51 sites in total). This took him 11 hours to complete and he raised in excess of £1100 for the RBL. As a result of this achievement he has been awarded the Butlers Coin for excellence in Oxfordshire army cadet force. The first time this has been awarded.
Henley Mermaids – Henley Music School
This award is usually given to an individual but I think that the Henley Mermaids are a special case. Together they raised over £27,000 for the Henley Music School with their incredible swim across the English Channel, but it is not the amount that inspired me to nominate them, it is the sheer scale of the challenge they took on and the effort they put in training for several months prior, meeting to swim in the Thames on cold mornings while most of us were tucked up warm in bed.
Richard Rodway – Living Advent Calendar (Various)
Richard has lead and organised the HLAC for 9 years and done a sterling job. Last year (2019) the initiative raised more money for the charities than ever he has to Organise charities, performers, organisations and much more which he does With his smile and diplomatically. Well done.
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He would do anything for anyone, he has helped my family no end, he does so much for our Community. He’s out in rain, sun or snow being selfless jus to make sure others are safe and since COVID has helped more families then I can say, he really is the Henley hero.
Drifters have continued to provide helpful packages through lockdown and have invested in the local ladies football team by sponsoring them even in a time of hardship for the business. They deserve recognition for all they do to promote environmental issues in our area.
Tom Fern – Henley Army Cadets
Captain Tom Fearn was in charge of the Army Cadets for 5 years, he has put so much into the Cadets; growing the unit to around 45 Cadets. The Cadets are provided with many opportunities to go away at weekends and on Summer Camps. Tom is a very good role model for all of the teenagers under his care.
Patrick Fleming – Greener Henley
I would nominate Patrick Fleming as my choice for the Community Champion award. If there is anyone else that gives up so much of their time, other than Councillors, to make Henley a better place to live, then I have yet to meet them. If Patrick is not out organising the planting hundreds of trees for Greener Henley, organising competitions for primary schools on saving energy, talking about solar panels, looking for spaces for EV points, stopping HGV’s coming through Henley, these are just some of the things he is involved with. His knowledge being involved with the JHHNP Review has also been immense.
John Green – Royal British Legion
John has always gone far and beyond in carrying out his duties as Chairman. His innate capacity to share his love of what the RBL is about, his kindness and engaging personality is appreciated by all. He is well known for dancing in his WW1 army uniform at the Poppy Appeal launch to encourage passersby to buy a poppy and to enjoy the music of the Ukulele Band of Sam Brown. John has also gone to extreme measures to raise significant funds for the Poppy Appeal. He has walked the Nijmegen march in the Netherlands and most recently, John undertook a 10 day trek in the Simien Highlands in Ethiopia.
Neil Gunnell – Henley Neighbourhood Watch
Neil Gunnell forward for outstanding continuous communication right through our very long “lockdown”. He went over & beyond to help everybody he possibly could to encourage people to send news photos etc. Was a mind of information for all of us every single day. Made you really feel you could ask for a volunteer ….collected medication for people at all times…thought of so many things that would cheer people up…quizzes….fascinating news letters from pilot friends far & wide….you name it he thought of it and rose to the situation tirelessly.
Neil Hudson – AFC Henley
I would like to nominate Neil Hudson who has been coaching football at AFC Henley for the past 10 years. This year will be his last year with the u18’s and I think he deserves some recognition for all the time and effort he’s given. On top of this he has also taken it upon himself to try and make the Harpsden pitch a better playing surface for his team by watering, raking, rollering and reseeding on a daily basis.
Angelina Jones – Henley Toad Patrol
Her tireless dedication in all weathers, and usually very wet and cold, to saving the lives of all amphibians in need of assistance in crossing the road come their mating time.
Geoff Luckett – The Henley Society
Geoff Luckett came upon the idea of having all the names of different terraces repainted on the brickwork of the buildings, as the majority had faded away, this to preserve some of Henley’s history. Geoff started on the project in early 2019 on what he thought was just to get a sign writer, then he found out he needed to get Listed Building consent, and also raise over £8.000 to carry out the works. Geoff also had to research some of the names as they could not be read. Some 18 months later Caxton Terrace in Station Road was the last one of 19 to be completed. Where most people would have thrown in the towel, Geoff’s determination carried the project to fruition, and the history of these terrace houses has now been preserved.
Linda Nugent – The Henley Circle
At the beginning of lockdown, the people of Henley were turning to local suppliers for their groceries and other essentials. Many of these small suppliers either did not have a web presence or platform online to sell from which is what the public needed not being able to get out. Linda stepped in an created the Henley Circle to support local traders to keep supplying during COVID-19 completely free to use for traders to take online orders for local delivery and continues to do so. A true Community Champion supporting local business and the local community with a great free service.
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Pamela has been a Henley Mutual Aid coordinator since the beginning of the pandemic. She not only coordinated the volunteering effort in her area, but is a volunteer herself also. Nothing has been too much trouble for Pamela and some weeks she was shopping and prescription collecting for 6+ different households at any one time. She’s an absolute star and deserves recognition.
Carol Crowdy (Gainsborough)
Carol is a silent angel who has always gone above and beyond to help neighbours. She has been a lifeline to many over the covid lockdown, that is not unuasal for Carol who cares deeply about everyone! She always has a positive solution for every problem, encourages positive thinking and has great advice to give about everything!
We need more Carols in this world
David Eggleton (Gainsborough)
David Eggleton is a pillar of the community and is one of the most selfless men I know. When everyone had been given the news from Boris to lock down, Dave immediately stepped in to see what he could do to help the vulnerable and people in need. It’s people like this that give you faith in humanity and I know he genuinely wants to give back to the town that he has lived in all his life. Not only being a councillor and giving up his spare time whilst trying to run a business, but when there is also a life threatening illness, Dave still felt the need to help where he could. This Award for me was such an important reason why this man should be recognised for all he does. He very much deserves to be recognised for his hard work and dedication to the town he loves.
Everyday he was out helping his local neighbours and local charities. He was ensuring that local nursing homes has PPE if required, He even had to supply some local shops who worked Throughout with extra PPE as they couldn’t get any. Dave helped to keep the streets clean picking up rubbish that had been dumped and would generally help anyone who needed it. He was a real inspiration throughout and he definitely deserves to be recognised for all of his dedicated to the town.
Neil Gunnell (Blandy Road)
Neil is the glue of our community. On a normal year he keeps us all informed of latest from Neighbour Watch, helps welcome and introduce new neighbours, liaises with other community groups and always has a friendly smile on his face. In a COVID-19 year, he has done all of that but much, much more. Neil has organised volunteers to look after oirr more vulnerable neighbours and produced a daily newsletter to fit our spirits during lockdown. Essentially, Neil is a jolly good egg and we don’t know what we’d do without him
Jean Hedges (St Annes Close)
Jean deserves so much more but I hope that this nomination goes some way to recognising her for her tremendous neighbourly efforts during Lockdown 2020. Jane selflessy and without charging made over 200 face coverings for us all in the neighbourhood, from big to small, young to old. She worked at incredible speed to ensure everyone had one – advising us on how to keep these clean etc, delivering these within a matter of days with a friendly smile to our doors – contactless. Incredible of someone to give of their time so selfless……she really did lead by example in what it means to be a supportive Gold of Heart Neighbour and we are all tremendously proud of her and grateful for her efforts – without which many of us would have felt less confident venturing out in the early stages of lockdown to get essentials whilst staying safe. Our very own Hero!
Kate Holden (Berkshire Road)
Kate bought milk and my daughters favourite cereal etc for us when we were shielding and brought it to our door. She also put in a bag an Easter chic and eggs over Easter. She has a heart of gold and went above and beyond to help us and we didn’t know her before the Covid mutual aid group was set up. A real gem of a local person, smiley and helpful and so kind!
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Tamsin Borlase – Bosley Patch
Tamsin has gone above and beyond, tirelessly working insane hours, to provide the community with fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, beautiful flowers and other essentials all in safe environment. Her honesty shop is such an incredible resource for the local community. We are so privileged to have her here.
David Rodger-Sharp – David Rodger Sharp Jewellers
Since the day David arrived in Henley and literally threw himself into the business community, his first thought has always been “what can I do to help people” the business follows behind this principle. There have been numerous examples of this generosity recorded, including a recent one where he replaced a lady’s lost ring and another where a customer was expecting to sell a watch for £3k and David managed to secure him £30k as David had recognised it as a “special” model. Added to which, David has amazing knowledge of watches and jewellery that he shares readily. David is a community player, he clearly loves the Town and will go above and beyond to support his fellow retailers. In such a short time in Henley David is well known, well liked and respected in the town. He offers a first class service to all those who enter his shop. His professional, discrete, caring customer service is second to none.
Millie and Talia – Drifters Coffeehouse
Millie and Talia have been wonderful over the last 2 years that we have been going to Drifters Coffee House. Very early on the got to know my daughter’s name and have always make us feel welcome and my daughter feel so special. Last Christmas they gave her some Christmas socks as she didn’t want to leave the cafe as she was having so much fun playing with the board games they used to have pre-Covid which helped me leave without a toddler tantrum. My husband and I have also had a lovely date night there on ‘Cheese Fondue’ night as well as fun family time carving pumpkins last year. They are simply great at creating a great atmosphere as well as yummy drinks and food. Well done girls! The staff go the extra mile & their customer service ethic is so refreshing! They always take the time to make sure their customers not only feel welcome but also make them feel special … nothing is too much trouble for Talia & Millie which is why they get customers returning time after time. Through lockdown they were delivering essentials to locals in need and they continue to help those in the community all while continuing to run their growing little business!
Melanie Roberson – Saracens Head Pub
There is no landlord or landlady more welcoming, warm and genuine as Mel at the Saracens Head. Every customer is greeted with a smile. Mel is so committed to providing friendly service and the atmosphere she has developed over 20+ years there is a testament to her hard work. Mel is continuously looking for ways to improve the environment for her customers and nothing ever seems to be too much trouble. I once witnessed her iron a chaps shirt whilst he had a pint! Mel has faced the challenge of Covid restrictions head on and enhanced the outdoor space by installing a Boules Court and a huge TV Screen. Being a regular there is like being part of a big family and everybody through the door is treated as so. Mel is so welcoming to everyone that comes through her door and always gives her guests a chat and a kind word. She has treats for kids and dogs..in no particular order! She really is the quintessential neighborhood landlady and always a pleasure to pop in for a beverage or two….and of course a catch-up on what is going on in Henley. Cheers to Mel!
Amelia Legge – Waitrose
Amelia works in Waitrose and is a breath of fresh air. A real people person. You are always met with a big smile and asked how you are. Nothing is too much trouble for Amelia. She is very sincere and always interested in what you have to say. Earlier in the year when I was really unwell, Amelia would see me, ask how I was and scoot off to find my items so I didn’t get too tired. She made shopping so much more bearable. Amelia always goes out of her way to help you. An absolute treasure. Waitrose is very lucky to have her. Amelia is the whirlwind who is usually running up and down along by the tills. She is always happy – even when unwell. Amelia helps everyone – customers and team members alike. We all get the same 100% focus and help when needed – support for her colleagues and assistance for the customers. All met with a beaming smile. Amelia knows where everything is and quite often gets it for you to make your shopping experience easier.
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Caroline Barefield – Spoonville on Thames
Caroline and her grandson Alfie invited residents to make and add Spooneys (wooden spoon people/creatures) to Spoonville on Thames. https://www.henleyherald.com/2020/05/14/new-spoonville-on-thames-dishing-up-fun-new-residents/
Graham Bell – Inside Downhill Skiing
Graham Bell was stuck at home like the rest of the UK and is rather missing the challenging ski slopes of the Alps and the World Cup tour so he decided to do a mad ski challenge inside his home! Filming the run, Graham starting his ski run in the attic of his home, down the loft ladder, then down two further staircases including one that spirals at the end! https://www.henleyherald.com/2020/03/30/no-snow-for-graham-bell-no-worries-hes-skiing-downstairs-at-home/
Piers Burnell – Olympic Rowing
Piers recreated and filmed an Olympic rowing final in his back garden in a paddling pool using a pizza paddle as an oar! https://www.henleyherald.com/2020/05/20/going-to-miss-olympic-rowing-piers-strokes-in-to-fill-the-gap-with-oarsome-video/
Jo Haley – The Boglet Family
Jo created, Mrs Boglet, Baby, Dad, Grandma, Grandad, Skater, Teenage Brother, Captain Pilot and Bog the Dog and lots more. Made with toilet rolls on her toilet.
Nicola Nott – Big Ted
The kids loved to visit Berkshire Road to see what Big Ted was up to in lockdown – as well as painting, he helped with household chores including gardening, ironing and window cleaning and he went viral in Colombia! https://www.henleyherald.com/2020/05/06/berkshire-road-big-ted-goes-viral-in-colombia/
From the day of lock down, Charlotte at Time for Tea Vintage quickly turned her tea business into a door to door delivery service for the vulnerable in and around Henley. She supplied fruit, veg and all essentials that the supermarket had run out of, all socially distanced. The made me smile moment was on VE DAY, where her and her staff dressed in wartime dresses, delivering vintage afternoon teas complete with ration books and waved her union jack flags upon delivery playing wartime classics, a great pick me up moment for many isolated in their homes, she delivered over 200 afternoon tea boxes that day. She has been a true inspiration in these testing times and proves that hard work and diversifying your work can help those most in need.
Art Theman – Saxophonist
Art played jazz music on his saxophone in Wharfe Lane each evening during lockdown. https://www.henleyherald.com/2020/03/26/jazz-musician-art-themen-entertains-neighbours-with-daily-performances/
Maria Whyte – Morris Monkey
Morris Monkey (PG Tips Monkey) dressed up and sang to Gainsborough residents via their Facebook page during lockdown. https://www.henleyherald.com/2020/05/22/cheeky-chimp-morris-monkeys-around-to-bring-smiles-in-lockdown/
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Mrs Greenwood – Badgemore
Mrs Greenwood is a truly extraordinary teacher. Warm, nurturing, kind, enthusiastic and inspiring. She knows her pupils inside out and helps each one to thrive as an individual and as part of the school community. She was SO committed during lockdown with constant communications with parents, fun and interesting activities tailored to each child and a supportive ear when it was needed.
Miss Elspeth Denchfield & Mrs Sophie Marriot – Bix Montessorri
Without these women’s spirit and heart the lock down would have been a lonely place for our children but they brought their little school together parents and students alike and wrapped them up in love and care, providing a weekly zoom meeting for parents, bi weekly circle time and a Facebook page with videos of story time, a weekly box with activities and books and games from the nursery, caterpillars to grow as well as seeds. In short we felt the love and needed it forever extremely grateful!
Kelly Chapman – Gillotts
Kelly goes above and beyond in her role at Gillotts, she is devoted to helping the children at Gillotts and the school would not be the same without her
Leonie Brown – Rupert House
Her support on home schooling was just fantastic. She made herself available 24/7 and really wanted the best for the children and their welfare during school closure. She worked relentlessly with new technology and we were so grateful for all her efforts.
Mrs Macartney – Rupert House
Mrs Macartney has inspired my daughter so much since she started at Rupert House. She lined all the nursery children up in a socially distanced way and walked them in on their first day back with no tears and the children looking happy. My daughter is so happy, loves her time and is learning so much already. After just 2 full days of sessions in her first week she read her first word. Mrs Macartney is really is organised, knows how to keep children happy and engaged in learning and in my opinion is a miracle teacher.
Ruth Hamilton-Smith – Rupert House
Ruth is an absolute ray of sunshine and was determined to keep teaching throughout the fears and worries of lockdown. She greeted her class everyday with a happy cheerful smile and invoked a strong sense of business as usual whilst keeping the children learning. As a result the children had a fabulous time and it was down to Rupert House’s use of technology and determination to keep the school education ‘as normal’ and Ruth providing the personal touch and drive to keep everyone focused. She’s the best teacher!
Nicola Edwards – Sacred Heart
Mrs Edwards is an amazing teacher whose passion for teaching is evident in the way she makes learning a fun and positive experience. My daughter was apprehensive about returning to school after lockdown but both parents and children were reassured and supported. My daughter is now excited every morning to attend school again and I am grateful for everything that she does, always going the extra mile. Every child is made to feel special and parents are regulz provided with photos and updates on activities and achievements whilst they are in her care. She is definitely an incredible teacher and person.
Miss Nottage – Valley Road School
Excellent teacher when in school and during lockdown. Then when schools went back she took over year 1 teaching taking the place of a pregnant member of staff. Kind, caring, and inspiring.