Issue 3 – April 2016
Our Hitchin Town News
Stop Press….Europe Debate….
Hitchin Initiative will host a Question Time format debate on the European Referendum
to take place on Friday 22nd April at Hitchin Town Hall at 7.30pm witha panel of guest speakers including Peter Lilley MP and Richard Howitt MEP. Send your questions please marked ‘Europe Debate’to us at 27 Churchyard, SG5 1HP or email: with your contact details.Free admission by ticket obtainable from the Initiative shop at 27 Churchyard. In? Out? or just Shake It All About? Informed debate may change your mind or help you decide.

More news...
Hitchin Initiative has a new Chairman – Morag Norgan. Morag has been a Director of the Initiative for a number of years and has been closely involved with many town projects and appeals.

Pop Ups at Hitchin Markets

There have been a few changes on Hitchin Markets with a new open space created at the Queen Street end which will be used for entertainment and pop up markets. From April to September there will be a Pop Up Vintage Market on the first Tuesday of each month from 9.30am to 2.30pm with traders selling an array of vintage and collectable goods such as clothing, jewellery and household items and on the second Saturday of each month a Pop Up Lifestyle & Craft Market of handmade bespoke items from local craftspeople will be there from 9.30am to 4pm. In addition, every Friday from 10am until 2.30pm Food Court Friday takes place along the riverside during the summer months where there is plenty of room for customers to sit, relax and eat and drink in a beautiful setting choosing from a variety of stalls selling a selection of world cuisine such as fresh homemade dumplings, sweet potato fries, Brazilian meals, snacks, Indian curries and Street Food, coffees and homemade desserts. An opportunity to take a fresh look at Hitchin Markets and see how much there is on offer. Contact for stall availability and prices or call 01462 456202
Members News
Maison Blanc at 21a Bancroft has just celebrated 9 years in business sourcing original pieces of home furniture and accessories directly from France, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and even reclaimed timber products from India to restore. Visit

Vernon Dental Practice at 35 Hermitage Road has been in Hitchin for over
45 years firstly with Tim Vernon at the helm and then passed on to son Mark. It remains a family based, family friendly business offering the full range of dental services. Specialist periodontist Anna Krajewaski works at the London Dental Institute at Barts as well as providing advice and care at Vernons and dental hygienist Erin Crockford has recently returned from Tanzania where she was helping train local dental officers with the charity ‘Bridge to Aid’. For more information call 01462 434512 or visit:

Congratulations to The Art Nest in West Alley which has been accepted as a gallery member in to the Own Art Scheme after a fairly long application process. This is a financial incentive funded by Arts Council England and Hitachi Finance to help customers buy artwork by spreading the cost interest free. Any original artwork, hand-crafted jewellery or crafts bought at
The Art Nest with a value between £100 and £2500 will be able to apply through the gallery for interest free payments over 10 months. Well done to Emmeline for being recognized as ‘a good quality and well-managed gallery’ by the assessors.

DG Maintenance Services Ltd (DGMS) is pleased to announce the relocation of its main offices and service centre from Letchworth to 64 Wilbury Way, Hitchin from May 1st 2016. Many Hitchin businesses have a maintenance contract with DGMS covering heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. For contracted clients they also provide significant back up services such as plumbing and water services, emergency lighting, tank chlorination, legionella treatment, refurbishment and building work, and hard wire testing. Feel free to contact Mike Kershaw on 01438 840534 or by email
All the initial consultations are free and carry no obligation.

Times are a changing at one of Hitchin’s major fitness providers! After over 25 years owning Fitness Connection in Ickleford Road and in the last five years at
Xchange Fitness opposite St Mary’s Square, Mike Kershaw is retiring from the business on April 30th. Such has been the experience that Mike feels he might write a book about his years surrounded by some truly amazing and wonderful individuals. Mike wishes to thank all the businesses and public of Hitchin for supporting the fitness club over the years and warmly welcomes you to his leaving party on Saturday 30th April at Xchange Fitness between 6pm and 9pm (and thereafter in town). Mike wishes every success to Martin Penny who has taken over the reins at Xchange Fitness.
Business Breakfast
Thursday 14th April
A chance to view the recently opened Needham House Hotel at Little Wymondley and catch up on the latest town news and opportunities. Start time is 7.30am and the cost remains £10 payable on the morning. Ample parking – SG4 7JJ for the Sat Navs. To book , email: or call 01462 453335
Ascot Ladies Day
Thursday 16th June, Ickleford

Arrival at 12 noon for a super 4-course lunch, large TV screens to televise the opening, carriage procession and the races plus on-site bookmaker, wine and champagne bar all in  a beautiful Marquee waterside setting. Tickets are £60. To book, email:
May Day Gala

This year’s May Day Gala on 2nd May on the Market Place will have dancing around the May Pole at 12 noon, 1.30pm and 3pm , Street Food from Toastielicious, La Crepe Francais and Chef Martin Burke and music courtesy of Lily Norman

If you have any vacancies we are happy to promote these on our Facebook page every Tuesday and Friday. If you haven’t already, go to: and ‘Like’ our page, then send your vacancy across to Tracy:
Get Knitting!

Calling out to anyone who can knit:
Cancer Hair Care have an urgent need for charity knitters as they have a number of young cancer patients aged 7 and under who would really like a hat with hair in their own hair colour. If you know anyone who knits who would volunteer to knit for Cancer Hair Care please  call 01438 311322 or email:  for further details..

As well as running a free supportive information website, the charity runs Hair Care support units and clinics in hospitals; offers support and education to other charities such as Breast Cancer Care providing advance training skills for their hair loss service; runs special workshops for the Teenage Cancer Trust called Gigs & Wigs including a huge number of free head scarves, wig services, new hair growth advice, cuts & colours and so on. There is even a recycling project for wigs and scarves called Twice As Nice.

Fundraising and providing education to hairdressers and health workers are also important activities. To find out more about this extremely worthwhile, locally set up charity that has grown in to a national concern, go to:


And while we’re on the subject of wool and knitting,Festiwool  has announced another exhibition to take place during Hitchin Festival in the grounds of St Mary’s Church entitled ‘Carry On Up The Tree Trunk’. Guaranteed to raise a smile and be as much of a talking point as the previous installation, the exhibits will be on show from the 22nd June to the 23rd July. For more details go to
Town Security
Scam Alert

Herts County Council is once again warning businesses about a telephone cold caller claiming to be from Hertfordshire Fire Brigade’. This follows fresh reports from businesses which have been cold called by a man attempting to sell advertising space, claiming to be acting on behalf of the county council’s fire and rescue service. This man was calling himself ‘Peter Griffiths’ when telephoning businesses last year and is now also using the name ‘Peter Foster’. This approach is typical of a publication scam where the scammer claims to be from a public body or supporting ‘good causes’ in order to sell advertising space. A demand for payment often follows, sometimes even if no agreement has been made. Herts County Council's fire and rescue service does not cold call businesses or authorise third party companies to do so on their behalf looking to sell advertising or sponsorship. If you or anyone within your business receives one of these calls do not give or confirm any information about your business, hang up and report it to us via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06. Visit for more information on scams and how to protect yourself.

Hitchin Shop Link Radio reported a theft from a shop in The Arcade. A description of the thief was given, and after a while Marks and Spencer staff reported that he had made a failed attempt to steal from their store. Hearing the report over Shoplink, controllers were quick to locate the thief,and a Town Ranger and police officers were soon bearing down on him. His shop lifting spree then ended with his arrest in the store by the police.

A Hitchin Town Ranger reported over Shop Link radio that a man wanted on warrant for an offence had been seen in the High Street. Controllers soon located the man and guided police officers to his location where he was arrested. Later that day the same Ranger called over Shop Link again and told controllers that three male shoplifters had stolen alcohol from Waitrose. Controllers commenced an area search and located two of the men in Hermitage Road and patched photos through to the police where they
continued to be monitored. One of the men dumped a bag outside Superdrug, and the second man went into Morrisons . Police officers attended and both men were arrested. The stolen alcohol was also recovered from the bag dumped earlier. A successful afternoon for all parties involved, with three arrests resulting from the Rangers calls.

Many thanks to new members Paul and Jenny Smith, and membership renewals from: RSB Partnership, Hitchin Forum,Benslow Music Trust, Rushbrook and Rathbone, Mark Bowen of Bowens Solicitors, Alan Doggett at The Town Fryer, Lofthouse Enterprises, John Keene, and CMC & Co Accountancy Services, who are celebrating their first anniversary specializing in providing accountancy services for small businesses at 3A Market Place, 01462 432711 or email:
Town Twinning

Hitchin is twinned with Bingen in Germany and on Saturday 16th April, the Town Twinning Association will host a Bingen Wine Evening at St Ippolyts Village Hall from 7.30pm. Four fine Bingen wines will accompany a German style meal.Cost is £20 email: Both the Twinning Association and the Royal British Legion are keen to find some cheap, accessible and central storage space. Any assistance in the form of a spare room or garage would be very gratefully received by these voluntary organisations. I would be happy to pass on any offers.

On Tuesday 5th April, a group of French students will be visiting Hitchin to hear a talk on Fairtrade and then explore the town searching out Fairtrade goods. Harvest Moon in Bucklersbury is registered with the British Association of Fairtrade Shops and there is a brochure listing products available in other shops and cafes around town. Helen Richardson chairs the Fairtrade group and is keen to see an expansion of both outlets and products in Hitchin as there are now thousands of Fairtrade products to choose from, no longer just tea, coffee and bananas! Hawkins in Bucklersbury have a range of Nomads clothing now which is a well-known brand. We will include the Fairtrade listing on the website in the next few days so you will be able to check out Fairtrade stockists at Do let us know if you stock Fairtrade goods.

Thursday 14th April 
10.30am, The Sun Hotel.

All town licensees are welcome and indeed encouraged to come to Pubwatch to find out the latest local licensing news with both Police and NHDC in attendance and to swap information or share ideas with fellow licence holders. 

Tuesday 31st May
5.45pm Waitrose for 1 hour max
Town Dates

Sat 02      Councillors Surgery, Market
                Place 10.30am-noon
Sat 09      Leonard Cheshire Spring Fair
Sat 23      Whitwell Steam
                Fair promotion
Sat 30      Rotary Bric-a-Brac
                Local Produce & Crafts,
                Riverside 8.30am

Mon 02   May Day Celebrations at
               British Schools & Market Place
Sat 07     Councillors Surgery
               Joint Primary Schools Fair
Thur 12   Street Food Monthly
Sat 14     Rotary Bric-a-Brac
Sun 22    Walsworth Festival
Sat 28     Local Produce & Crafts
               Festival Programmes

Sat 04     Councillors Surgery, Market
                Place, 10.30am-noon
Sat 11      Rotary Health &
                Wellbeing Day
Sun 12     Queen's 90th Birthday Party
                and Festival Launch, 
                Hitchin Priory

Thur 16    Ascot Ladies Day, Ickleford
Fri 17       Festival Box Office Opens
Sat 25      Armed Forces Day
                Local Produce &
                Craft Marke
Thur 30   Street Food Monthly,
                Market Place 4pm-8pm

Sat 02     Independents Day
Thur 07   Street Food Festival
               4pm - 9pm
Sat 09     St Mark's Summer Fair 
Derek Wheeler’s
Ghost Walks

All being at 7pm
April       Wednesday 6th,
              Thursday 21st
May       Wednesday 11th,
              Tuesday 24th
June      Wednesday 8th,
              Tuesday 14th

and during Hitchin Festival
July       Tuesday 5th
             Wednesday 13th
             Thursday 21st

Terry Knight’s Historic 
Town Tours

April      Sunday 24th - 11am
May      Sunday 22nd - 11am
June     Sunday 26th - 2pm

and during Hitchin Festival
July      Sunday 10th - 11am
            Monday 18th - 7pm
            Sunday 24th - 2pm

Tickets for all of the above are available from us at Hitchin Initiative priced £5.

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