After a three-year hiatus that could have marked the end of the historic event, a new group of volunteers has come forward to save Latrobe's iconic Henley-on-the-Mersey festival at the beautiful Bells Parade. Henley, a beloved tradition at Latrobe for more than 108 years, is set to take place again on January 26, with a fresh and reinvigorated approach. However, there is also a push to move it to a new date in 2025 as it continues to evolve while maintaining the traditions that people have always loved about Henley. First-time committee president, Mark Laycock, explained that this may be the last time Henley is held on the Australia Day long weekend as they are keen to get the Tasmanian Thousands Woodchop in 2025, which is held the weekend before. The ferret races and an expanded chopping carnival, which are among Henley's signature attractions, will remain as program highlights and the addition of new attractions. Collaborating with the Latrobe Axeman's Club and Kody Steers, a champion axeman, the plan is to host a competition featuring two Tasmanian titles. The committee under Mr Laycock has raised almost $40,000 to resurrect the event and promised that it would still offer the same "fun, food, and ferrets" of previous years, plus for the first time, smaller carnival rides, sideshow attractions, and a stage with bands and live music. Mr Laycock said the chopping has been a core feature of Henley since 1913. He said it takes place in "the best wood-chopping arena in Tasmania," near the Australian Axeman's Hall of Fame, showcasing the history of chopping. The first world woodchopping championship was held there in 1891. Before the pandemic, Latrobe Lions and Rotary ran Henley in partnership with the council. However, with ageing committee members and fewer volunteers, it became apparent someone else had to step up to take charge. An incorporated committee was formed, with two past members who stayed on to guide the new group through its first 12 months. "It's been quite a learning curve, having never run an event before," Mr Laycock said. "We had to pick up where the previous committee left off, educate ourselves, and move forward. "We want to retain the best of Henley, which people love, and add something new, but it will always be Henley-on-the-Mersey." He said the committee aims to modernise the event and keep its strengths. "Latrobe is growing and diversifying, and Henley will reflect that by becoming more multicultural." Mr Laycock thanked the Latrobe Men's Shed for its help reviving Henley and acknowledged the support from BridgePro, the naming right sponsor for 2024, along with about a dozen others. He said the Latrobe Council provided some funding for three years to breathe life back into Henley. Mayor Peter Freshney praised the committee for its hard work. "We are pleased to see that it's reinvigorated and hopefully still has the key elements that people always loved about Henley," Councillor Freshney said. Mr Laycock said the committee set a three-year timeframe to achieve its objectives and take Henley into the future.