Hats off to Henshaws’ 175th anniversary

4 July 2012

Henshaws Society for Blind People hosted a day of jubilation on Thursday 21 June in celebration of 175 years of good work across the North of the country. In Harrogate and Knaresborough art-makers, students and supporters alike came to enjoy the celebrations: a hat making competition at Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre judged by the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Knaresborough, and a symbolic tree planting at Henshaws College.

Henshaws works with people who are affected by visual impairments and other disabilities across the North of England; including local community housing services, a specialist further-education college in Harrogate and the Knaresborough-based Arts & Crafts Centre.

Winners of the hat parade with the Deputy Mayor
Winners of the hat parade with the Deputy Mayor

Great fun was had by all during the hat-making competition which was won by a beautifully crafted flower hat from art maker Kirsty Holmes. The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress also marked the occasion by cutting a hat-shaped cake donated by Leeds and Harrogate based Mama Doreen’s Cupcake Company.

Art-maker and community housing resident Andrew Morrison commented:

I’ve been with Henshaws 21 years and it has given me my independence. I just don’t know where I would be without them.


Cllr Peter McNamara, Deputy Mayor of Knaresborough said:

We are delighted to be here to celebrate this special anniversary. I first heard about Henshaws back in the 1960s and it is great to know that the society is still doing a fantastic job.


Deputy Mayor & Mayoress of Knaresborough cut the cake with art maker Debra
Deputy Mayor & Mayoress of Knaresborough cut the cake with art maker Debra

Later in the afternoon at Henshaws College in Harrogate, students planted fruit trees around a specially designed area, incorporating some of the stonework from the original Henshaws building in Manchester. The day, organised by Big E Enterprise Group, was a great success.

Nicki Eyre, Managing Director for Education and Training at Henshaws College explained that the students have been working hard to research the story of Thomas Henshaw:

Our students have really enjoyed finding out about the history of the charity since it was founded in 1837. They wanted to mark the occasion with something which would continue to grow for another 175 years and planting trees seemed like the perfect way to do this.


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