A group of Ukrainian refugees got to see Henley from a different perspective last Wednesday on an exclusive boat trip. The cruise was sponsored by the Henley Lions, and organised by the Rivertime Boat Trust and MotherSisterDaughter. Another boat trip will be taking place today (August 24th), giving more people the chance to see Henley from its very best angle.
Lucy Herbert, Head Skipper for the Rivertime Boat Trust, first came up with the idea of hosting our local Ukrainian friends on board the trust’s vessel, ‘Rivertime’. “The idea came up because we’ve got these new visitors to the town, and they can’t live in Henley without going on a boat,” she explained. “It was really lovely. It was nice to show everyone our lovely town from the river perspective, because it’s the best perspective in my opinion. People have made new friends today, and everyone’s in the same boat together.”
George, one of the guests on the trip, said, “It was very good. We had very good people, very friendly. I listened to some stories about Henley and rowing, and it was very good. I am very happy.”
The boat trips were made possible by the Henley Lions, who generously sponsored the two cruises. Ian Tritton, Community Service Chair, said, “I think it’s fantastic. We are doing our bit, I suppose, by sponsoring the trip. Anything we can do to help welcome them to our lovely town, we are more than happy to do. It’s fantastic to see them enjoying themselves coming off the boat.”
Lucy organised the trip with the MotherSisterDaughter initiative, which helps to link Ukrainian refugees with local hosts, and provides continued support for both guests and hosts. The cruises were scheduled to take place after the group’s weekly coffee morning.
Gemma Birch, who founded MotherSisterDaughter, said after the first trip, “It is so wonderful that they have had the chance to get on the water and create some wonderful memories and share new experiences with their children and friends. Next week’s boat trip will be on Ukrainian Independence Day and so it will be a somewhat bittersweet day for some of our guests, and I’m sure one of very mixed emotions. We made the offer of supporting whatever they wanted to do and the general consensus was that a more quiet reflection was desired, hence the boat trip will be perfect for that. We will be having our open house coffee morning as usual with a few extra touches, but I’m thrilled that some of our friends will have the opportunity to spend some of the day on the water.”
Gemma continued, “The Rivertime Boat Trust is amazing and we are so grateful to them and the Henley Lions for such a kind donation and such wonderful support. Thank you so much! If anyone would like to come to our coffee morning and just come and stay hello then please get in touch via our Facebook page @mothersisterdaughter – the more people our friends network with locally the greater their rehabilitation and personal network becomes.”