The new Henley Playing cards were launched at the weekend at The Old Fire Station Gallery with an exhibition of all the cards displayed in super-sized frames.
The playing cards were the idea of Emma Sweet who works for Brakspear in Henley. Each card features one of Henley’s iconic buildings, attractions, community groups, events or independent businesses.
On Saturday, Big Duck Lilly was a special guest outside the gallery who has her own card (2 of Diamonds) and local resident John Ryeland performed some magic card tricks. Henley Youth Choir (9 of Diamonds) gave a special performance that included ‘Green Songs’ by Bob Chilcott, ‘4 Chord Song’ and ‘Happiness Hotel’ from a Muppets Medley in the afternoon.
Emma said, “So many folk came to see the cards at the weekend, it was far busier than I anticipated and it’s amazing to hear how much the town loves them already. It’s been a great few days launching the cards and meeting so many people. I was thanked several times for coming up with the idea and creating them and it really feels like it’s galvanised the town and helping to spread positive vibes. There’s been a lot of hours spent on the cards but it doesn’t even feel like work as I’ve loved every minute of it! Nicola and I are already discussing plans for a Marlow set so we’re hoping we get the same warm reception as we have from Henley.”
The cards have been illustrated by Nicola Metcalfe (left on photo below). She said, “We felt at the very beginning, if these were going to be something that people wanted to own it had to be pictures to represent businesses, landmarks, events etc. rather than just logos. Emma really liked the style of image I created for the Henley Tourism Alliance a few years ago so I kept that style throughout. All of the illustrations I’ve hand drawn with my computer. It is the first time I’ve done playing cards. I think my favourite are the Wild Cards. It’s really nice to see them altogether. I think Emma and I’ll be working together on a Marlow set next. I love playing cards. I’m a regular card playing, I love playing Newmarket with my Dad.”
Tim Dodd-Wilson who owns Big Yellow Duck Lilly said, “I didn’t have a lot of choice. I would have had an ace if there was one left. Between the communications, I missed an email and by the time I replied, they had all gone. I looked at what was left and a 2 is a low card but it represents a duck in bingo and she’s a diamond. I definitely wouldn’t have chosen a club. She’s going to be wearing her new diamond necklace on Saturday made out of Perspex with a metal chain.”
The Herald is part of the pack, taking the 10 of hearts to mark our 10th anniversary and our love of all things Henley.
The cards are now available to buy online via the website for £8 or at Henley Town Hall, Angel on the Bridge, Hof’s Bar & Restaurant, Henley Royal Regatta HQ, Wild & Rust, Henley Larder, Four Oaks Campsite and River & Rowing Museum when it reopens. The website also has the details of all the cards including a description about each landmark, attraction, event or business.