‘I don’t know where the time went’ – Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins reflects on his 20 years

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins shares his views in his weekly Comet column.

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins shares his views in his weekly Comet column. - Credit: Archant

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.

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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.

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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 info@hitchinherts.com.

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