The Great Big Green Week continued last week with Poetry readings, allotment tours, a Green Tactics business seminar, sustainable fashion events and film at the Regal, a paddleboard river clean up and finishing with Choral Evensong at St Mary’s Church celebrating the glories of God’s creations.
Residents were invited to explore Greencroft Allotments in Remenham to hear from allotment holders on what they grow on Tuesday and could see the Gardening Buddies in action upkeeping the community flower and herb bed next to the Fire Station in West Street on Wednesday. Later on Wednesday, Henley library played host to the Poetry Readings from the competition entries and the winners were announced. Sue Turner who organised with David Williams said, “I had the idea of getting people to write about what they loved in nature or what they would miss if it disappeared because of climate change. David and I had been in a poetry workshop together when I owned Henley Books, so we thought it would be fun to get people writing for Great Big Green Week. The response was really good and we had some marvellous entries. It was a very successful evening and I think all participants enjoyed it and the librarians did too. It gave us all a sense of community and life getting back to how it used to be.”
There were 2 joint winners of the adult competition, Laura Healy’s The Soupy Sea and David Grubb’s Seasons of Light. Sue explained, “Laura is a lecturer in creative writing and runs a writing workshop at the library. We did not know that about her when we were judging the poems. The other winner was David Grubb, who we knew was a published highly regarded poet. David will be remembered by some, as Headmaster of Gillotts for a short term, but he was mainly involved in church related charities helping children in need in war torn areas. The winners were awarded a £25 book token each and the runners-up were Constance Butt and Gill Learner £15. All the prizes and the room hire were sponsored by Southern Plant and Tool Hire and Henley Larder donated chocolate ladybirds for the highly-commended prizes. There were six highly commended poems. The winner of the U12 category was Phoebe Friend with her poem A Bee in A Tree and Katie Priestley was the winner in the teenage section with her poem I Sing To You Each Morning.
Laura said, “I am always reading stories like The Little Mermaid to my young girls and the sea is beautiful and they love all the books with lots of lovely colours in like purple whales and pink seahorses and thought it is sad that the real sea is becoming grey. They have this vision of this beautiful world and I though I would play with it. I don’t normally write poetry that I would share. I’ll put it in and I was really surprised to win as I normally write short stories and fiction.”
Film lovers got the chance to watch Fashion Reimagined on Thursday at the Regal Cinema and take part in a panel discussion with live Q&A after the film looking at ethical and sustainable fashion. On Friday, The Green Room hosted Swaparama Razzamatazz fashion event. Gemma Birch, one of the main organisers said, “It’s amazing. Everyone is having an awesome time, the vibe is lovely, and everyone is shopping sustainably. We are in this amazing venue, and they have been so accommodating. We wanted people to take little things away that they can do themselves, little switches. A lot of people here have never been to a swap and never experienced, essentially free shopping. This whole process will have meant that people have gone to their wardrobes and thought, I don’t need that or wear that anymore, and I can pass that on.”We’ll do more of these. This is the third or fourth swap that I have done in Henley now. It’s always a lovely event, and it is always lovely to see people’s faces.”
Year 12 students from Henley College were showing the clothes they had created from old fabric and had customised. Student, Alistair Burr said, “This is a collection of things we have done sustainably. This is a jacket made from 8 different pairs of jeans for a project that I did at school, and it’s based on recycling things, so jeans from the charity shop that I work at, and also old ones from family friends. They have all been compiled. I like the idea of patchwork and making something new out of something old. There’s so much waste material that can be used to make things like this.”
The week ended with a river clean-up by paddleboard organised by Lynne Lambourne (Warrior on Waste) from the Flower Pot in Aston pontoon on Sunday morning and then in the afternoon a Choral Evensong at St Mary’s Church,
Diana Barnett from Greener Henley summed up the week of activities, “We are delighted with Henley’s 3rd Great Big Green Week – it gets bigger and better each year. For me the highlights were that 100 different local clubs/organisations/ groups were involved in putting on the week – it felt like a real community effort. More than 80 volunteers helped with staging the 20 plus different events – and they were truly different catering for all interests and ages.
There’s been a buzz in the town and it’s not just from all the bees the WI made for the Spot the Bees shop window treasure hunt or the postbox toppers. I have a sneaky feeling they were responsible for the lovely bees in the Town Hall Information Office too.
All the events staged this week were all well attended and supported. The Green Fair, a shared effort of Henley Town Council and Greener Henley, had 24 varied and interesting stalls giving positive messages about what we can do for nature and climate change.
From gardeners, to poetry lovers, local business people, to film buff fashionistas, to nature lovers, to body boarders, recyclers, upcyclers and a whole lot more, there was something for all ages, interests and appetites – even a plant-based burger comparison. Apart from the film screening, all events were free and open to everyone.
The Great Big Green Week is a national week of celebrating what communities are doing for the climate and nature. Henley’s Great Big Green Week was a remarkable week which all came about because we had a fantastic team of volunteers who are passionate about our town, its climate and its natural environment.”