Henley Municipal Charities Bring Festive Cheer to Almshouse Residents

Almshouse residents enjoyed a Henley Municipal Charities Christmas lunch this week in the Chantry House at St. Mary’s Church. It was particularly exciting because it is the first year since 2019 that they have been able to hold the event. It offered residents and trustees the chance to get together and included a few new residents as well.

As one resident said there was a great turn out and the atmosphere was very cheery as the residents and trustees enjoyed each others’ company. The food was provided by Pavilion Foods and included a choice of chicken and tarragon pie, or mushroom and lentil cottage pie, with a delicious dessert of date, raisin and walnut bread and butter pudding with ice cream. After dinner, residents enjoyed coffee from Berries. There was also an abundance of red and white wine, with one resident joking it was a sign of a good party that all the red wine had gone. The tables were beautifully presented with table decorations donated by Toad Hall.

As the residents enjoyed biscuits and coffee, Valley Road School Choir came to perform. The children were full of energy and brought a lot of festive cheer to the room singing lots of Christmas songs, including, Away in a Manger, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and the Twelve Days of Christmas. They added their own twist on some songs shouting “like a lightbulb” at certain points in Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer which got a real laugh. As well as singing as a group there were solos, duets and quite a few dance moves. They also encouraged the residents to join them for O Little Town of Bethlehem and as a finale they sang, We Wish You a Merry Christmas which really did get everyone singing along.

Wendy Bowsher, Clerk to the Trustees, said, “This is part of the Henley Municipal Charities. There are five charities. This is the Almshouse charity and there is also an educational charity. All the charities have been really busy this year. There is also a relief and need charity helping a lot of people who can’t quite afford the bills. Education helped a lot during the pandemic for people who needed to buy devices or books. Any money goes immediately to the heart, to the person who needs it.  After Christmas they will be inviting individuals who are a little bit stuck to come forward.”

One resident, Mrs Wakefield, said she wanted to thank the charity and added, “they are good to us all year round.”