A few months ago, the JPC voted unanimously to retain Mr. Colin Harrison, as the Town’s Lengthsman. An odd sort of title but so apt for what Colin and his team of volunteers from the Community Payback scheme are all about.

The term Lengthsman was coined in the 1700s in a concept rooted in the Tudor Era as far back as the War of the Roses. Originally, it referred to someone who kept a “length” of road neat, tidy and passable in the Middle Ages, with particular emphasis on boundary marking. Lengthsmen were used on canals and railways from the beginnings of both. On land, lengthsmen might be responsible for a few miles between adjacent villages and especially on commonage. Employed originally by the ‘Lords of the Manor’ and latterly by parish councils, they would keep grass and weeds down in verges, keep drainage ditches clear and repair fences. Litter, such as it was in those times, was cleared and instances are recorded of wild flowers being planted and tended.

Community Payback (CP), previously known as Community Service, is an alternative to a prison sentence for people who have committed a crime. They are supervised and encouraged by the CP –

  • To make positive changes to local communities
  • To access training and development to learn new skills
  • To improve their chances of employment as they make positive changes in their own lives.

Colin worked full time for the service and has been instrumental in bringing a positive and worthwhile contribution to the upkeep of Beaudesert and Henley over the past couple of years.

He is a well known character in town and from the small beginnings at St Nicholas churchyard, he and his team, can now be seen working on improvements to the High Street and walkways so loved by residents and visitors that lead out on to our magnificent surroundings.

In these photographs, he is showing th CP Leader, Sharon Storrie, progress on their latest project.

I am sure you will all join with the JPC in thanking Colin and his magnificent team for their hard work in keeping Henley so well kept and beautiful.

Colin and the CP Leader, Sharon Storrie overlooking the construction of fencing at one of the entrances into surrounding countryside.