Voting Opens for 2020 Community Champion Awards

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.

Charity Champion

Sponsored by Henley Self Storage

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.

Community Champion

Sponsored by THP Solicitors

David Eggleton
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 Coffeehouse
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.

Heart of Gold Neighbour/Covid-19 Volunteer

Sponsored by Meadows Farm Studios

Pamela Cook
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!

Customer Service Champion

Sponsored by Henley Manor Care Home

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 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.

Made Us Smile Superstar

Sponsored by IBS Office Solutions

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. 

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!

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!

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!

Charlotte Sutton
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. 

Maria Whyte – Morris Monkey
Morris Monkey (PG Tips Monkey) dressed up and sang to Gainsborough residents via their Facebook page during lockdown.

Top Teacher/TASouthern Plant banner logo

Sponsored by Southern Plant and Tool Hire

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.

Charity Champion

Charity Champion

Sponsored by Phyllis Court Club

Annie Arscott – Royal British Legion

Simply because of the time and effort she puts into the Poppy Appeal.

Hilary Arthur – Riverside Counselling

Riverside Counselling Service has had a long history in Henley. Originally set up as the Henley Counselling Centre in 1989, changing its name to Riverside Counselling Service in 1992. In 2010 Hilary Arthur joined as Director and Clinical Lead and at this point the service was starting to dwindle with only a handful of clients and a couple of counsellors remaining. From the beginning Hilary could see the potential the service had and was committed to establishing a strategy to increase growth to meet increasing local need. The service today is very different from the one Hilary joined in 2010. It now has 52 counsellors seeing over 125 clients per week. It has also expanded from its Henley base to Wallingford, Didcot and Berinsfield. The Space set up in 2014 provides a provision to see young people from the age of 12. For almost a decade Hilary has worked tirelessly to establish Riverside and through Hilary’s vision it has flourished. Hilary has been able to forge strong links with local GP practices and other voluntary agencies as well as building a team of committed professionals so that Riverside can continue to provide affordable counselling to those that need it most.

David Rodger Sharp – Helen & Douglas House & Cancer Research UK

I am lucky enough to be the manager of Helen and Douglas House charity shop in Henley. I would like to nominate David for his kindness, support and help he gives our shop, completely without charge. He always has time for us and our many questions regarding the authenticity and value of our donated items of jewellery. He is an exceptional human being for whom nothing is too much trouble.

David Rodger Sharp, has helped the Henley Cancer Research shop for a while now, donating his time, money and expertise to look at all the watches we get donated, fixing them and checking they are all OK and advising us on prices when needed, all at no cost to us, helping us to maximise the amount of money we can raise to support the research into cancer, which is something that affects us all. Thank you for all your support. 

Norman & Sally Daniells - RNLI

Norman and Sally Daniells have been involved with the Henley branch of the RNLI for 48 years. In that time they and the small team that they led have raised a significant amount of money for the RNLI and have, in 2009, bought a new lifeboat for the Withernsea lifeboat station. They work tirelessly for this cause constantly turning out at events in the market square in all weathers and organising the annual RNLI Boot Fair. Without their continued involvement the local Henley RNLI would have never been able to achieve all that it has done over these many years. They are a credit to the RNLI and to the town of Henley-on-Thames.

They have done 39 years of car boots sales in Henley, countless bank holidays and weekends along the river bank selling things, every May day, selling Christmas cards every week leading up to Christmas, late night shopping and many more events and social occasions. Come rain or shine they are there even now they are in their mid 70's. Their commitment has been unwavering for their chosen charity ever since they got married 52 years ago and it is their way of doing good and being involved with their local community.

David Haddock – The Chiltern Centre

David has consistently raised money for the Chiltern Centre and supported us by becoming a trustee. He thinks of the centre in every aspect of his life to help raise funds.  Through his golfing community he has raised over £15k for the centre.

Tom Potter – The Chiltern Centre

Tom has consistently raised money for the Chiltern Centre over the last few years and thinks of how he can benefit the centre at every opportunity, starting with the joint Henley to Paris bike ride and has continued with many other events. Tom attends our events and encourages others to raise money for us too. 

Richard Rodway

Richard Rodway organises and plans the Living Advent Calendar skilfully. This means him liaising with amateur and professional performers in the months running up to December. He also organises volunteers to take money for raffle tickets, and steward an often large local crowd of adults and children. The event takes place at 24 separate buildings in Henley, this also needs the co-operation of property owners as well. A seasonal snack and drink is also provided by a sponsor at each location as well. The event raises money for a different charity each evening, and is always successful in pulling the crowds and raising cash for worthwhile causes.

Richard does this work with enthusiasm, and in spite of him being a family man with children also chairs Woodley Wanderers football club. He also coaches his eldest son’s U15s team at Bracknell Town FC. 

Richard is modest about his achievements, over the past 5 years, and is planning this year’s event. Each year brings different challenges for him, and sometimes weather or technical problems are more than adequately tackled by him and his helpers. I feel that his work is more than worthy of being recognised by an award as a Charity Champion.

Community Champion

Community Champion

Sponsored by Philip Booth Esq

Jo Dickson

Jo provides so much to the town, as co chair of Henley Youth Festival she is instrumental in enriching life for young people in Henley. Similarly her role running Henley Youth Choir opens up musical opportunities to all young people locally. More recently she has become pivotal in Henley’s bid to gain accreditation as a plastic free town. And she is supportive of all sorts of other charities, events and activities in town (notably, the Chiltern Centre who she always provides wonderful support to at events). Henley is lucky to have someone who works with such dedication and commitment to improve the town in so many different ways.

Neil Gunnell

I would like to nominate Neil Gunnell for the Henley Community Champion award. Neil spends a huge amount of time and energy as our local Neighbourhood Watch coordinator. He basically covers the whole of Wooton Manor, has personally been to see all the residents and make sure as many of them as possible are signed up to the scheme. He liaises directly with the police and keeps the neighbours as informed as possible of the issues which concern all of us. He has also been incredibly involved with the Henley rail users group working with GWR to promote the interests of the thousands of people who commute via train to and from Henley. He has personally gone to Twyford and ridden the trains to help people during the times when the new timetable caused significant confusion. While i don't know all the details of his involvement there will be many Henley commuters who do and who will have benefitted from the work that he has done on their behalf. Neil is a real credit to Henley and totally deserving of this award.

Nick Hunt

Nick has been coaching football in Henley for a few years. He is a truly fantastic coach, always engaging the children in their football, inspiring them to become great footballers and always ensuring the children are having fun. I’ve seen Nick transform children who were lacking in confidence in their ability converted to academy players. He is a gifted coach who is dedicated to developing boys and girls who are as passionate about the sport as he is. Nick is a humble guy who wants to make a difference to children and we are extremely lucky to have him supporting the children of Henley. An award is long overdue for his dedication and commitment to the Henley community.  His dedication to Sacred Heart school organising sports day tournaments and extra school activities has be fantastic and he does it with passion and enthusiasm. A massive credit to the community.

David Rodger Sharp

David Rodger Sharp epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit of Henley while contributing to the town as an extraordinary place to live.  Opening his Jewellers in the last year he has been assisting all charity shops that have approached him for advice.  For our shop at Sue Ryder he (and his members of staff) have taken the time to value various donations of mixed jewellery on numerous occasions, as well as testing unmarked gold. In this way he has directly contributed to improved sales, while saving us valuable time on this process.  He offers half price watch battery replacement to customers with a receipt and continues to donate free merchandise to aid sales – a lockable cabinet being a recent addition.  When we were struggling for extra volunteer help he assisted with an introduction to the local business community to raise awareness at a time of need. Always willing to assist and spend time helping our cause - we consider David to be a friend of Sue Ryder and a true community champion helping local charities.  He would make a worthy winner of this award.

Norman Topsom

Norman's dedication to the Henley and surrounding areas community is amazing, from climbing the St Mary's church steps on a daily basis to wind and correct the clock to his retirement pastime of researching local history and informing everyone of his findings, every now and then he posts wads of information about my family’s past, he knows what it means to me, but to him, it's just a pleasure to help people and put a smile on their faces. Lovely gentleman, and good friend and neighbour.

Keith Whiting

Keith is a pillar of the community and on Xmas day he offers his services to cook a meal for the needy at the Christ Church Centre, even after he has had an incredibly busy run up to the festive season and has probably worked ridiculous hours and Xmas day is probably his first day off in at least 6 weeks, but he is always there with a smile and a helping hand. And all his food is given free of charge. Definitely an asset to the community. 

Heart of Gold Neighbour/Covid-19 Volunteer
Customer Service Champion

Heart of Gold Neighbour

Sponsored by Meadow Farm Studio

Sally & Norman Daniells

I would like to nominate my parents for this award because they are very caring of their community. They had a hair Salon in Henley for 35 years and they still visit some of their old clients at Christmas and birthdays even some that are in old people's homes. Every Christmas they spend a couple of days visiting people, taking them flowers etc. and sitting with them for a chat to cheer them up, particularly if they are on their own. If anyone is sick they go and see them, if a friend needs a hand in the garden they go and do it for them, bearing in mind they are in there mid 70's it doesn't seem to slow them down. If a friend or neighbour needs to go to the hospital they take them. My parents do so much for everyone else but never expect anything in return.

Brian Dix

Brian goes out every morning come rain or shine to the One Stop shop to buy the newspaper for several elderly people on the Gainsborough estate. He then delivers said newspaper to these people. I think sometimes he may be the only person they see each day and I think it is just wonderful what he does. He used to walk there but now as he is getting older and the days are getting colder he drives there. Truly an inspiration to us all.

Helen Gaynor

Helen is truly the neighbour of all neighbours, a champion that brings the whole community together. She is the force behind the recent improvements at Northfield End, working with the town council and residents to revitalise the area. Helen is also a key member of Friends of Freemans, a group of over 70 residents committed to maintaining and improving Freemans Meadow in partnership with the town council. Helen keeps everyone connected and consulted. She is a wonderful member of the community and deserves recognition for her commitment and time. 

Made Us Smile Superstar
Top Teacher/TA

Customer Service Champion

Sponsored by Brakspear

Riaan Badenhorst - Lemongrove Gallery

My (just) 5 year old likes to look at the window of Lemongrove Gallery most days as it changes so regularly. The wonderful chap who works there pops out to say hello and ask him what he thinks of the art. Invites him in to look around. Explains the art, the process and the artists to him. He lets him touch the bronzes, and helps him understand how things are made. Despite me clearly telling him I can not buy anything right now he always takes the time to make us feel welcome and I genuinely believe to help my son to begin a genuine passion for art. A credit to the gallery and to Henley.

Liz Felix - Liz Felix Millinery

Liz has so much knowledge and expertise that she is so willing to share. When I have been working on projects she has even offered to be interviewed for nothing in return. Just to share her knowledge.  She offers a range of services and welcomes all customers and definitely going above and beyond for her customers.

Cath Frisby - Whistles

Cath is the store manager of the new Whistles retail store on Bell Street and, as an ex-Retail Operations Manager myself, is someone who epitomises all the qualities of a superbly efficient and successful retail manager. She leads and develops her young team with both experience and enthusiasm. Customer Service is clearly a priority which she delivers in an engaging relaxed efficient and fun style. Every customer is welcome and nothing is too much trouble, the joy of her exceptional customer service lifts everyone’s spirits. She is a natural manager and everything is executed to the highest of standards, which certainly sets the store apart, and is a most welcome addition to the rejuvenation of our retail mix in Henley. Cath has already won a ‘top performing store in the area’ award at Whistles for the performance of the Henley store since opening, a well deserved accolade in these difficult retail times and great recognition of her considerable efforts. Cath, bless her, will also sweep the pavement and wash her own shop front, an aspect I think we wish more of our retail managers tackled with the same regular commitment and enthusiasm! Cath is a true retail pro and if you’ve never visited the store, pop along and see for yourself. 

Peter Hill – Courtneys

I’ve been going to Courtneys for years and have always been very happy with how they managed to keep my old jalopy on the road all these years. More than that though, Peter showed me so much compassion and kindness in the immediate aftermath of Rob’s death and has continued to do so. He’s a kind soul and an excellent mechanic.

Jason Kempston – Sole Man

I need bespoke shoes to to my disability. Jason repaired mine (on a Saturday) in the time it took me to get my haircut. I think he realised I needed them quickly, but just got on with it without a song and a dance.

Vicky Lehaj – Top To Toe
Vicky has given outstanding service at the salon for over 20 years. She is always such a cheerful person and always ready to help. Nothing is too much trouble for her. Vicky has worked at Top to Toe since leaving Henley College approx 20 years ago. She always gives exceptional customer service as nothing is too much trouble for her. No matter how she may feel on any day, she is always in the same mood - positive, happy and encouraging. I am nominating her for this award for her contribution to the positivity of the town in making her clients feel good about themselves after having her treatments!

Lin (Woanru) - Sainsburys

Lin is so lovely. She always has a genuine smile and a kind word to say. Rob and I were always in and out of Sainsbury’s and would enjoy our quick conversations with the lovely Lin, a truly lovely face of Henley.

Laurence Morris – Laurence Menswear

As a regular customer I cannot speak too highly of not only the quality if the clothes Laurence sells, but his personal service and passion for customer satisfaction. I've been able to visit the shop quite often and his range of styles has always been exceptional, and in my size too. Nothing is too much trouble for him or his staff, and he always has a warm welcome for me and my wife. The last time I saw Laurence he picked out an amazing outfit for a local party I had to go to and he managed to get the tailoring done within 24 hrs. If anyone deserves a “customer service award “ then it’s Laurence.

Ant Reineke – Studio 35

Ant is a very knowledgeable and friendly local jeweller. A specialist gemologist, and maker of fine, jewellery. He always strives to make the very best pieces for his customers, going above and beyond to create just what they want. He has worked in Henley for over 20 years, and owned and run Studio 35 for 13 years. He lives in Henley with his wife and 3 children, and can often be seen chatting in his shop.

David Rodger Sharp - David Rodger Sharp Jewellers

What a gem of a jewellers. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the team in the shop to help me with my purchases. They were all so involved and attentive and totally listened to what I wanted. David was very professional and offered great advice on what would suit me and was on trend. A great customer service experience from people to really showed they cared.

David has given advice when I needed a ring to be cleaned, a watch to be serviced & watch batteries changed. When I lost a sentimental pendant off my necklace, David was there offering a free replacement, when the pendant was found. David was able to advise & had it mended with no stress/hassle. David is very honest person who listens to what you have to say.

He epitomises good old fashioned customer service and you feel he is advising you as a friend rather than customer. My wife was so pleased when he took her old gold up to London himself, waited for best price ever and didn’t even charge commission. He has helped many of my friends with service issues from watch manufacturers from which he earns nothing and has cleaned and repaired many old people’s pieces for nothing. Top man!

Janice Stow – Frost Borneo Opticians

Janice has worked at Frost Borneo Opticians for 11 years and is a very popular face at the practice and in Henley-on-Thames. Her customer service skills go above and beyond for Frost Borneo’s patients and her “can-do” attitude makes a positive difference to our patients’ customer experience, helping Frost Borneo win the Opticians award for ‘Independent Practice of the Year’. She is very kind to the elderly, helping them cross the road and walking them to their taxis.

Janice has a bubbly personality, always smiling and helping make patients feel comfortable, keeping the conversation flowing with wonderful experiences of her round the world cruise!

She gives patients wonderful advice when choosing their frames, giving her honest opinion and making the patient’s whole experience more enjoyable. Janice truly is an ambassador for excellence in customer service.

A recent Shoppers Annonymous report gave the following comments about Janice:- “As soon as I entered the shop I felt an instant rapport with Janice as she had such an open demeanour and greeted me in such a warm manner. I felt she wanted to help me and would go out of her way to do so to ensure I was a happy customer.”

Charlotte Sutton – Time for Tea

Fantastic customer service and great attention to detail. Charlotte and her team are a great asset to Henley. They did our flowers, china hire and decorated the Henley Town Hall and the Bull on Bell Street. Charlotte was amazing.  She did an amazing job and nothing was too much trouble.

Had a fabulous day trip on the New Orleans boat with Time for Tea. Staff were all fabulous and had great service all afternoon - would definitely do again.

Charlie always goes that extra mile she prides herself on getting everything just perfect for her clients. She epitomises Henley - quintessentially British high class and quality.

Young Sporting Superstar

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Olivia Belcher - Gymnastics

Olivia started gymnastics aged 2.5, she has shown passion and commitment to the sport ever since, attending regular lessons. In recent years Olivia has attended many competitions and gained various medals due to her hard work and perseverance. She has also been a vital part of displays performed by the club. Olivia is now helping other children enjoy the sport, giving up her time to be a junior coach at Springbox gymnastics club and inspiring the gymnasts to compete and challenge themselves. She is a fantastic role model for the younger children she is supporting, encouraging them and demonstrating moves to help them. She continues to push herself in her own gymnastics journey mastering new skills, including handspring and free cartwheel. Olivia has recently started rowing in Henley and there is no doubt that she will put the same commitment into this sport to succeed also.

Amelia Cooke & James Burgess - Dragon Boating

These two youngsters are an inspiration! They have drive, they have passion and they are fantastic role models to others. They recently achieved bronze for Great Britain at the World championship tournament in Thailand. They are good mentors for not only the paddlers similar in age but also to the older, more experienced crew. They have formed fantastic relationships and promoted well being, fun and fitness through the sport, they are both so eager to encourage other youngsters in to the sport they have offered themselves up as a prize, a visit from them to the winning school, in a competition Henley Dragons are running as part of the Henley Winter Series event.

Francesca Clarke - Cricket

Francesca has always had an eye for a ball - from football skills with Little Kickers aged 2 through to school sports at Trinity School.

Francesca joined Henley Cricket Club U12's girls team and was soon encouraged to trial for Berkshire County U13's, with tutelage and encouragement of Damaris Hayward. In that year Francesca captained the Development team.

Supported by the Berkshire County Cricket Coaches, in the following two seasons she worked hard on her bowling pace and accuracy.

Last season Francesca opened the bowling on several occasions for Berkshire County U15’s whilst still enjoying the Henley Club games where she has scored a number of half-centuries.

During the closed season, cricket training continues with Francesca working towards Berkshire U17 trials in November. During the winter she also plays football with Wargrave Girls Football Club.

Francesca plays Hockey, Netball, Rugby, Football and Tennis for Cranford House School where she is Deputy Sports Captain.

In her free time, she is often seen at the Henley Cricket Club nets practising her bowling.

Francesca always plays sport with passion, dignity and great generosity of spirit and is happy to receive advice and tips on how to improve her technique and game.

Ed Roy

Ed, 17 is a member of Henley Rowing Club’s junior boys squad, has had an outstanding year on the national and international rowing stages.
Domestically, Ed was part of Henley Rowing Club’s boys quad, which won gold in Championship quads at the premier event of National Schools Regatta in May. It went on to reach the final of the Fawley Challenge Cup for boys quads at Henley Royal Regatta, losing narrowly in the final.
Internationally, Ed was determined to gain selection for Great Britain at the World Junior Rowing Championships, being held in 2019 on the new Olympic course in Tokyo. Ed entered the trials process in October 2018, and despite setbacks through injury and illness, he fought through to win GB selection in the junior boys quad.
That crew performed at a high level, narrowly failing to reach the A final, but winning the B final to gain a ranking as 7th fastest boys quad in the world.
In October, Ed was back on the international stage, entering the prestigious Head of The Charles in Boston, Massachusetts. In a quad from Henley Rowing Club, Ed won the youth quad event in a new record time.

Top Teacher

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Cath Davidson – Gillotts School

Again, I would like to nominate Frau Davidson for this award. She is one of those dedicated teachers that goes above and beyond for her students. Not only does she prepare the students for GCSEs, she takes them to Germany so they can experience German culture and history. Prior to exams she works one on one with her students in her own time. She teaches with respect and humour and her students thrive in that as a result.

Rachel Gavin – Sacred Heart

Mrs Gavin goes over and above to ensure every child is made to feel important and special. Nothing is too much trouble. She is an excellent teacher and inspires any child that she teaches. The children adore her and respect her. I feel very lucky to have her teach my daughter.

Has been amazing support for all 3 of my children the oldest now 16. Rachel goes above and beyond to help families and children that are going through a hard time.

Sharon Greenwood - Badgemore

Mrs Greenwood has made such a difference to my sons enjoyment of school. She has worked tirelessly to support him and differentiate work to meet his needs. Her honesty, integrity and gregarious attitude has also helped me to remain positive about the difficulties he has. She is a great and inspiring teacher!

Mrs Greenwood is an exceptional Reception teacher. From the very start of term, she has made families feel welcome by taking the time to visit each family individually in their home before the children started school. As someone with a background in education, I was worried no teacher would live up to the ideals I had hoped for, however I have been so relieved to observe her relaxed yet deliberate and meaningful, child-led approach and the effect that has had on my daughter. I have also been particularly impressed with her (and the whole school’s) openness to progressive ideas, a far cry from the dogma of many teachers and institutions. Thank you, Mrs Greenwood for making our transition to school an easy and enjoyable one.

Luke Harding – Gillotts School

Mr Harding has always gone above and beyond to help people in any way he can. Whether that’s staying late for support meetings, letting us have a rant in his office or giving us some chocolate!

He has helped me grow as a person and learn to enjoy school! School was a struggle so having an anchor and knowing if I needed a chat his office door was always open helped me to feel reassured at school. Mr Harding is a big part of why I stayed in school and helped me to get the most out of my school journey! As well as being a massive support in the transition stage after year 11.
He always sees the best in everyone and works his hardest to help every individual as much as he can! He works really hard as a PE Teacher and as a Head of House!

I really think that he is worthy of this award as it doesn’t matter what’s going on with him he always puts it aside to make time for people or drops what he is doing! He really is the most supportive and caring teacher that I have known!

Caroline Lock – Valley Road School

The most amazing, engaged and incredible teacher at Valley Road School. Mrs Lock is an inspiration, she teaches with passion and from the heart. She makes learning fun and takes every child’s learning needs into account. Strict, fair, dedicated and earns the respect from all of her pupils.

They way she took last year’s children through their SATS was incredible my son went in actually excited to be doing them and fully prepared. She is now helping my Year 6 son admirably with his learning difficulties and dyslexia.

Alison Wilkins – Henley Music School

Alison teaches over 14 autistic children the piano. She is employed by Henley Music School, and currently goes into Bishopswood Special school & Badgemore school. Many autistic children are non-verbal, don't sleep at night and some can lash out at carers and teachers when frustrated. These music lessons with Alison teaching them has proven to improve their attitude to learning, calm them, and help them feel connected. She goes above and beyond for these children, loves her job, as the children love her.

  1. Paul says:

    Mel runs the only real pub in Henley it’s the establishment you walk into and feel the friendly atmosphere that homely feeling she also does a lot for charity. It’s a credit to her and Breakspear to have this on the outskirts of Henley

    As for David the man never stops there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to help the committee

  2. Cyril Felix says:

    Gary Boys has shown an example of community spirit that many can learn from and I salute he’s efforts into making lockdown less traumatic for the older community and people at home. Dj One Deck put a smile on our faces


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