The Henley Society Plants New Trees to Mark Platinum Jubilee

The southern entrance to Henley has had a spruce up thanks to eight trees donated by the Henley Society. The trees, located at the junction of Sheephouse Lane and Reading Road, have been planted in recognition of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, along with the Henley Society’s 60th anniversary.

The Henley Society have a long held tradition of planting trees to mark Royal occasions, having organised the trees on the Fair Mile in the 1970s to celebrate the Queen’s 25th year on the throne. The group hope that the newly planted trees will give Henley visitors a similarly warm welcome via the southern entrance to the town.

Geoff Luckett, Chairman of the Henley Society, said, “Historically, we’ve always had a reputation for planting trees on Royal anniversary years. We were instrumental in getting the trees planted along the Fairmile with Henley Town Council. That’s the most iconic entrance into Henley, isn’t it? We’ve been wanting to brighten up this end of the town, the southern entrance, for a long time, and we hope this will do it.”

The eight trees — three Rowan, two Wild Cherry, two Whitebeam and a Field Maple — were donated in memory of loved ones by Henley Society members: Denis McCoy, Barbara Williams, Rosie Hardie, Valerie Alasia, Sandra Moon, and Barbara Towner and her daughter. Each tree has an accompanying wooden plaque noting the donor and the person commemorated.

The generous donors were all invited to see their trees in situ at a ceremony on Monday afternoon, accompanied by Henley Society Committee members and Oxfordshire County Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who was the liaison with OCC (the land owners).

Henley Society Executive Committee Member, Catherine Notaras (pictured right), was instrumental in bringing the tree planting project into fruition. At the ceremony on Monday, she said, “I think they’re great. This is early days now; can you imagine in four years’ time this is going to fill up. All of them have lovely blossom for wildlife and pollinators. You can see it on this hornbeam here, and they’re on there now — I rest my case! Also it balances with the nature and wildlife on the opposite side of the road.”

She continued, “It was a green space, a very wildlife space, so to us it might have looked empty but to the wildlife it was brilliant. We are going to manage it as such, and have the trees and the memorial. It all fits in, which is a new concept for us to work with the ecology and the wildlife together. It’s a thrilling thing to do, and we hope we can do more!”

Catherine also noted the thanks due to Andy Lederer, an employee of Oxfordshire County Council who helped to find a suitable space for the trees, and gave the society permission to plant. Regarding the Society’s hope to do more planting, she added, “We would love for the public to join in and think where they would like some trees in a town environment, in this urban environment.”