Readers have come to the defence of Lewis Hamilton in the letters published on June 5.

Lewis is entitled to air his views on town

SIR – I read with some frustration the front page of the Comet on May 29.

For me the paper’s stance and that of the Stevenage councillors shows a complete lack of understanding towards Lewis Hamilton’s use of language. Looking at his sentence he says “I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad’s apartment”.

If he meant Stevenage was not a great place he would have said “I come from not a great place, Stevenage”. The ‘in’ is the key, meaning he was not in a good time at that point in his life.

This is only confirmed by him saying he was living “on my dad’s couch”. Many of us come from broken homes and sometimes the only place on offer is a couch.

Often young people talk or write about a ‘bad place’ when they refer to their own ‘emotional state’ at a particular time in their lives. I am sure that Lewis meant this use of the term when he said this. Meaning he was in a sad place emotionally when he lived in Stevenage.

For young people all over the world their home town can hold regret, sadness, sometimes angry memories. For myself, I moved back to Stevenage to raise my own family, as for me, it was a great place full of very happy times and it remains so.

I knew Lewis as a very young boy and remember that he was not from the most advantaged background, his mum would bring him to our house, when she would do some ironing for my family to help make ends meet. In our garden, I’m proud to say, he took my pedal car around corners at breakneck speed, showing at an early age the incredible skill that would lift him to world champion class.

Like many kids from my area in Shephall, he was from a modest background and it was that modesty that stuck with me, when many years later me and some friends bumped into him at the snooker hall, just before his first F1 season. He was friendly, had time for our questions and almost embarrassed by his emerging fame and success.

Perhaps second thoughts are needed, perhaps papers and politicians need a little of what makes great sporting achievements – humility.

Apologise and let’s have a new town centre please!

Jamie Speller

Vardon Road



SIR – I read with interest your front page article on May 29 of the Stevenage edition which criticised Mr Lewis Hamilton.

As a fan of Formula 1 I was aware of the interview Lewis gave regarding his home town and he has been taken out of context. He was asked to comment on his upbringing and to compare his home town of Stevenage to Nico Rosberg’s home town of Monaco. Do you seriously expect him to say that Stevenage is the better place?

Cllr Philip Bibby is particularly critical of Lewis stating that he “...needs to remember his roots...” Well obviously Lewis does remember his roots and gave an accurate description of the town.

I admire Lewis’ tactfulness. Stevenage is a dump, we all know it, as do the top brand retailers who refuse to open stores in the town.

In the article Cllr Sharon Taylor suggests that Lewis should help promote the town, but what could he say? Visit Stevenage, pay extortionate parking charges and look at discount stores?

Lewis Hamilton is the best thing to come out of Stevenage. He put the town on the map. Instead of printing this non-story on your front page why don’t you report it when the local boy wins four Grand Prix in a row?

Name and address supplied


SIR – I have just seen your article on Lewis Hamilton’s comments on living in Stevenage. I just wanted to say that Anthony Hamilton didn’t feel that way when I spoke to him last June.

Few people know that Anthony also lived in Shearwater Close when Lewis was young. I had the privilege of a visit from Anthony one evening in his yellow Lambourgini. We chatted for about 20 minutes about how he fondly remembers living here and Lewis playing up and down in his go kart.

I don’t have a plaque outside my door, just memories of a very nice man and a couple of pictures.


Address supplied


Vote of thanks

SIR – We are writing to thank all those people in Stevenage who voted for us on Thursday and placed their trust in us to serve as your local Labour councillors and representatives.

We have spoken to thousands of Stevenage people during the course of our campaign and it is from those conversations that we have drawn our pledges to you to help our young people into jobs and apprenticeships, regenerate our town centre, improve the availability of housing and keep Stevenage safe, clean and green.

It is an honour and a privilege to serve in the wards we represent, we never forget that and will work with all those in our community to ensure we deliver our pledges to you.

Rob Broom, Shephall

John Mead, Shephall

Sharon Taylor, Symonds Green

Joan Lloyd, Bandley Hill

Pam Stuart, Chells

Lin Martin-Haugh, Pin Green

Carol Latif, St Nicholas

Doug Bainbridge, Longmeadow

Lloyd Briscoe, Martins Wood

Chris Saunders, Old Stevenage

Elaine Connolly, Bedwell

Sherma Batson, Roebuck

Keelan Henry, Manor

Jim Callaghan, Woodfield


SIR – May I thank everyone in Hitchin who turned out to vote for UKIP and who gave us such support throughout the campaign, including helping us to replace our posters which were defaced or stolen.

Supporters may rest assured that we are here to stay. We will continue to fight the huge new developments which threaten the beautiful rural character of Hertfordshire and which would not be required if a properly managed and controlled immigration policy were in place.

Adrianne Smyth


Hitchin and Harpenden UKIP


SIR – Standing for election as a councillor for Baldock Town (or anywhere) was a new experience for me, but I was bowled over by the reception I got from so many people, when canvassing from doorstep to doorstep.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed in any way to my election on May 22. To get 46% of the total votes cast was a humbling experience and demonstrates the depth of support I currently enjoy.

I will do my best to represent the people of Baldock Town within North Hertfordshire District Council, whatever their political persuasion, and will work hard to earn your respect (if not your vote).

Jim McNally

Councillor for Baldock Town ward

North Herts District Council


SIR – I would like to thank the people of Martins Wood in Stevenage for the last four years that I stood as a councillor.

It was an amazing experience and I hope that during my time elected I attained some good things for the families and the community in general and I look forward to standing again next year.

Michael Hearn

Former councillor for Martins Wood



Development detail needed

SIR – There has already been comment on the consultation for redevelopment of the George W King site in Letchworth GC.

I can’t find much in the way of solid technical proposals – it’s largely illustrative. We would like to see details of how the developer has adapted to the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation’s non-standard guidance on sustainability – which is a little more demanding.

It would also be good to see strategies for transport, water and energy.

Considering climate change, how are the dwellings designed to minimise overheating – especially the three storey dwellings?

I’m sure many of us in Letchworth wish the developer to engage and interact with the community and would offer considered comment if we had the information.

Chris Jones

via email


Let’s take pride in town

SIR – As a long-term resident of Hitchin, I am disgusted at the condition of the flowerbeds in the area outside of Next and WH Smith at Bancroft.

To my knowledge these have been abandoned and unloved for some years now, they have heen left to acumilat rubbish and other detritus.


The area has seating for shoppers to rest and for passengers waiting for buses etc.

I must wonder why it has been so neglected where in contrast when I visit Letchworth town centre, where coincidently North Hertfordshire District Council has its headquarters, I see vast areas of well-kept flower beds.

Come on Hitchin, let’s take pride in our town.

W E Nayler.



Well done for smoking ban

SIR – I write about JD Wetherspoon banning smoking at the front of their premises The Standing Order in Stevenage.

Well done to them I say – they should ban the smokers to the rear of the premises as well. Not only do they make the air and themselves smell they litter the area with their dog ends.

Wetherspoon has this ban at its pub named Cornfield Garage in Eastbourne and it works very well indeed – the front of the pub there is extremely smart as a consequence.

Colin Jarvis



Bin policy a health threat

SIR – I was astonished to find out that the use of brown bags to recycle ones food waste in an environmental friendly way has been discontinued.

One now has to place food straight in the brown bins creating a feast for the flies, which in turn creates a health hazard bringing more flies into the house.

Oh yes, one can purchase brown recycle bags, but as I am on benefits, I can’t afford this.

But this does not mean I am any less considerate about recycling and keeping the flies at bay, and thus not introducing a health hazard.

So please summon the powers to bring back brown bags as the majority do want to recycle.

Name supplied

via email


Search for friend’s sister

SIR – I am looking to urgently contact the sister of a man I have known for a long time.

My friend’s name is Jim Marston, and he has lived in Milton Keynes, I believe for more than 30 years. He had only just met his son, who is 30.

I believe the sister lives in the Letchworth area, where the family lived before he moved to Milton Keynes. He may not have spoken to her for a long time and no-one knows how to contact her.

She can phone me on 07960 380539 or email

Ray Weston

Cool for cats


SIR – On Saturday, the people of Letchworth GC made a real difference to the lives of cats that need help – cats that are less fortunate than our own ones – by donating the magnificent sum of £287.55.

The figure is almost exactly half as much again as we had been given in Letchworth GC in August last year.

Virtually all the money we raise ends up with local vets, particularly for help with neutering operations. Our other expense is food for our fostered cats until they find their forever homes. All the work is voluntary and costs nothing but the love of those who do it.

If you know of a cat that has not yet been neutered and whose family is concerned about the cost, please encourage the family to ring 01438 228877 to be put in touch with a volunteer with whom they can discuss the contribution we might make towards the cost.

Many thanks to the generous and people in Letchworth town centre on May 31.

Irene Auerbach

Fundraising Volunteer Officer

Cats Protection North Herts Branch