Friends and neighbours got together for a right royal shindig over the long Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee out on the streets of Henley. It was a chance for everyone to dress up, let their hair down, make new friends and drink a toast or two to her Royal Highness.
Belle Vue Road, Berkshire Road and Western Avenue
No one had a better time at the Berkshire Road street party than the dogs. The canine residents of the road were dressed to the nines in red white and blue, all competing for rosettes at the dog parade. Many awards were given, including ‘Best Tail’, ‘Best Dressed’, and ‘Dog You’d Most Like to Kiss’! The Queen herself (or at least, a very convincing mask and headscarf) was on hand to dole out the rosettes. The parade was followed by a closely contested sausage catching competition, with dogs eliminated each round if they failed to catch the bites of sausage. Ruby won both the sausage catching contest and Best Dressed dog. Her owner, Terry, said, “A lot of effort went into it, wiring those kings and queens onto the harness. Nutmeg [his other dog] had one as well, and is rather timid and didn’t want to take part. They’re just stuffed toys wired onto the harness, but my wife, Jenny, made the crowns.”
Henley Mayor officially opened the Belle Vue Road party. Bakers were challenged to enter the cake competition. The bakers whipped up their best sweet treats for the occasion, many of them decorated in red, white, and blue, or featuring suitably royal touches. After indulging in cake, the partiers could also have a go at cornhole, the game that asks players to throw bean bags through a hole in a wooden board.
Western Avenue’s street party was a small but mighty affair, pulling together the community for cake and bubbles. The whole group sat in a large circle on the road, which they had decorated with bunting and balloons. It wasn’t just the street that got dress up; one lady wore an on-theme Union Jack print dress. Children played games whilst the adults chatted, and many enjoyed a slice of Victoria sponge (or three).
Gainsborough and Valley Road
Up at Makins Recreation Ground, there was fun to be had for all the family right through Thursday afternoon. With ball pits and bouncy castles, children were positively giddy with glee at the festivities. Even the grown ups got to have a go on one of the inflatable obstacle courses and slide! Perhaps the best part was Maurice’s Ice Cream van serving free ice cream to all — much needed refreshment after all the bouncy castle antics! Paula Isaac said, “Myself, David Eggleton, Kerry McDowell, Neelam Rutti, Angela Face, and my husband Rob organised it. It’s taken a few months. It doesn’t seem like much organisation but it’s been a few months in the working. But it’s all come together nicely today, the sun is shining, so we can’t complain. We’ve had a good turnout.”
Residents enjoyed a lovely afternoon with a barbecue and afternoon tea plus a darts competition, tombola, various games, a raffle and were entertained by singer, Lydia Hunt.
Niagara Road, Marmion Road and Queen Street
Niagara Road’s street party featured a plethora of games: giant jenga, badminton, foosball, and more. The group also had a live band for ambiance as they feasted on strawberries and scones. Simon French, who lives on the street, said, “We’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been lovely to meet all the neighbours who we don’t see often enough. It’s a good opportunity to make new friends, and it hasn’t rained! That’s the most important thing!”
Amanda Hearne was also in attendance, and said, “What’s been interesting is that someone found a picture of this street in the year of the coronation, so you can look and compare. It’s amazing.”
Marmion Road are known for their fantastic street parties, and their Platinum Jubilee celebrations certainly did not disappoint. With bunting, balloons, and live music, the residents on Marmion Road put on an event to remember. There was even a quiz to take part in, with questions taped to different houses in order to make people wander around (rather than sit and drink all afternoon!) Tim Hearne said, “I can’t believe it was sunny! Henley has been fantastic. We have really done the Queen proud, haven’t we!?”
The community at Queen St had a few special guests at their Jubilee street party, welcoming a group of Ukrainian refugees to the celebrations. Gails Bakery donated a number of pastries and cakes to the party, specifically for the guests of honour! There was plenty of cake to go around, and even a bandstand built just for the festivities with performances from John Mitchell and Georgia Michel well into the evening. Sarah and Mike Pell won the green plate for the best dressed house competition and Lana Taylor from 29 Queens Street won the best cocktail competition with her Commonwealth competition. Pippin and Picolo from 19 and 20 Queen Street were crowned best fancy dressed dogs.
St Andrews, St Katherine’s Close and St Marks
Down the bottom end of St Marks Road different houses hosted a champagne bar watched over by Her Majesty, a barbecue and music entertainment. There was a table down the centre of the road with activities for the children at each end including a table of gold crowns for the children to decorate along with face gems and face paints.
The party in St Andrews also started with a pet parade organised by Julie Roden with really fun categories which included the pet that most looks like you and the smiliest dog. Karole from Naughty Mutt Nice came to judge and provided the pet prizes. There was a cake competition organised by Lucy Wilson and a tug of war by Justin Fielder which pitted the upper road residents against the lower road with the lower road just winning with the heave tactic. Joy Robinson organised a lovely craft area for the children to make crowns and tiaras.
David Dickie kindly hosted the St Katherine’s Close party in his front garden. David said, “We were delighted to welcome the Herald to take some pictures. We had a nice friendly day supporting the Queen and complaining about Boris!”
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