‘I don’t know where the time went’ – Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins reflects on his 20 years
PUBLISHED: 17:52 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:56 07 April 2017
Twenty years – I don’t know where the time went. I know it’s a cliché but oh so true, at least that’s what my aching joints tell me.
I arrived in April ’97 on that famous one-year contract and never left.
I’ve kept all my desk diaries since that time and so there’s a complete history of every meeting/event that has happened in that time.
There’s also a record of every newsletter written – think the word count on articles is approaching a million! It will make an interesting document one day maybe – ‘Hitchin – The Movie’! Someone suggested that Timothy Spall would play me!
Anyway, to the highlights. There are so very many, but in no particular order: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee visit; an MBE; fundraising Thames Trek in 2004, 210 miles in 20 days (couldn’t do it now!); 2005 UK Town Centre Manager of the year; the growth of Hitchin Festival; establishment of Hitchin BID; the huge changes in retailing and our constant adaption to changing circumstances; the support of the community; a multitude of fundraising events.
Disappointments – probably the lack of progress with Churchgate, which was an issue when I came here in 1997 and remains so!
There’s loads more but it’s in the detail – Christmas lights each year, summer flowers, help to small businesses, past projects with the council, Market Place events – etc etc.
It’s also lovely to be in our more prominent premises at 1A Churchyard – moving from the familiar surrounds of 27 Churchyard – where we hope to serve the community for many years to come.
We get no subsidy/grant from local government so survive purely on our own wits and the generosity from businesses, community groups and individual residents. All donations gratefully received!
• To find out more about the work of Hitchin Initiative and Hitchin BID you can give Keith a call on 01462 453335 or email him via email@example.com.