Two businesses in Henley-in-Arden are collaborating on a timely new community venture.

Henley House and Henley Printing have joined forces to produce branded face masks and will support local charity Molly Olly’s Wishes by donating a percentage of the profits.

Both businesses, which have been forced to close during lockdown, are already seeing a huge demand for the masks from other local firms.

Ste Barrett (pictured below), owner of one of the businesses, Henley Printing, which designs and prints clothing and uniforms, said: “Early demand has been crazy. We received 150 orders in the first 24 hours alone, and it’s not stopped since! Most local businesses have now ordered the customised masks, including restaurants, pubs, butchers, builders and hairdressers. Not just logos - we’ve also had orders for rainbows, smiley faces and even football club emblems.

“We feel that as we're nearing the end of lockdown, facemasks are vital to keep ourselves healthy and therefore hopefully take the strain off the NHS."

Tom Cross (pictured below) recently took over the running of the second business, Henley House, from his father, a few years after moving from Birmingham. The specialist high street menswear & grooming business has been flooded with orders from local firms, all attracted to the customised concept. 

“It’s been really tough," said Tom. "I needed to come up with an idea to keep the business afloat because our main source of revenue is weddings, which have all been postponed. I also have a barbers in the shop as part of the business, and we have no idea how long it’s going to be before that's allowed to carry on either.

“I woke up one Sunday morning and thought, it would be a great idea to add logos, so reached out to Ste to see if he wanted to get involved, and it went from there.”

He added: “I think the time is exactly right for this sort of thing, as I believe it will soon be mandatory for everyone to wear masks outside.”

Both men have pledged a donation to Warwick-based charity Molly Olly’s Wishes, which supports children with terminal or life-limiting illness and which recently worked with a family in the Henley community.

The charity gifted Henley teenager Ella Richards, who was last year diagnosed with cancer, with a £500 Bullring shopping voucher.

Sixteen-year-old Ella (pictured), who is shielding due to the pandemic, says the shopping sprees helped her stay positive throughout her gruelling treatment journey, as she was able to purchase false eyelashes and eyebrow products to help her overcome her hair loss - not to mention indulge in her favourite jewellery at Pandora!

“Molly Olly’s were there for me at the most difficult time in my life," said Ella. "Their gift gave me something to look forward to on the most difficult days of my treatment and helped keep me positive."

“I am so happy that local businesses are supporting a charity that is so close to my heart, and the face masks they're making could help make a real difference to vulnerable and shielding people and families like ourselves.”

The charity was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter, Molly, from a rare kidney cancer.

The charity's mascot is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave, who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Molly Olly’s Wishes are very grateful to the teams at Henley House and Henley Printing for their support at what is a time of particular need for the charity, which has been severely impacted by Covid-19.

“We are so grateful to people for still thinking about us during what are such challenging times for their own businesses - and look forward to receiving our branded Molly Olly masks.”

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

Masks can be ordered by visiting Henley Printing at: www.facebook.com/HenleyPrintingCompany