Council needs to work magic in the gardens

AS A VERY interested party, I urge North Herts District Council to do a first class job in the proposed conservation and regeneration of Howard Park and Howard Gardens in Letchworth GC. Both these lovely green spots in the heart of the garden city are dea

AS A VERY interested party, I urge North Herts District Council to do a first class job in the proposed conservation and regeneration of Howard Park and Howard Gardens in Letchworth GC.

Both these lovely green spots in the heart of the garden city are dear to my heart.

The connection between me and they goes back many years - perhaps more than I care to remember.

The park and its paddling pool with the little fountain is a haven for children and their parents in the summer and on hot days it throbs with life, full of laughing youngsters splashing in the cool, shallow water.


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I used to be such a child many moons ago. Among family members, still occasionally recalled with merriment is an incident involving my sister and I. I won't go into details but suffice to say I survived without injury.

There are many happy memories, from gingerly tip-toeing over the concrete stepping stones linking the two sides of the pool at its narrowest point - sadly, they were removed some years ago for safety reasons although I can never remember anyone being hurt on them - to attending fetes where there were lots of sideshows and live attractions.

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It was a good vantage point to watch the Local Yokels' Letchworth and Hitchin Carnival pass by.

That was a highlight of the year which attracted thousands of spectators. What a pity that rules and regulations - and in particular paying for them - put paid to the annual spectacular.

The arrival of a playground in the park caught the interest of my kids who made good use of it.

Over in Howard Gardens, the bowls players in their whites seem to have been playing on the immaculately kept green almost since time began.

It is a real pity that the old golf pitch and putt course alongside it is not faring as well. It is a shadow of its past splendour and I give a little tut of disappointment whenever I pass by and see the space where the first three holes used to be which is now a neglected, muddy patch used for parking.

Towards the other side of the gardens is the spot where the town's first swimming pool was dug. It was small but served its purpose at the time. Now in the space is a sunken garden.

Overlooking it is an empty pedestal which, for some of us older ones, is a sad sight.

It used to be occupied by a small, kneeling figure of Sappho, the Greek female poet from the ancient world.

I think it was cast in bronze and it was the first statue I ever took note of.

Sappho was part of Letchworth's cultural heritage but one dark night a few years ago some nasty men crept into the gardens and spirited her away.

Nothing has been seen of her since. I presume she was taken for scrap and melted down, which is a shame for all who admired the artistry it embodied.

Let's hope the council come up with its own magic touch for the hopefully gentle transformations to be made to the park and gardens.

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