Howard Garden in Letchworth GC marks 60th anniversary

Lyn Stoker, centre organiser, cllr Lorna Kercher, chair of trustees, cllr Jane Gray, cllr Lynda Need

Lyn Stoker, centre organiser, cllr Lorna Kercher, chair of trustees, cllr Jane Gray, cllr Lynda Needham, David Brightwell president of centre, Julie Goodwyn, centre organiser, Marion Hargraves, Isobel Laing and Pauline Kingsmill, long term volunteer - Credit: Archant

A CHARITY that serves the older residents of a town and surrounding area has celebrated 60 years since opening.

The Howard Garden Social and Day Care Centre, in Letchworth GC, held a week of celebratory activities to mark the milestone.

The centre first opened on September 3 1953 by Sir Eric Macfadyen.

The building on Norton Way South, was built before the days of sheltered housing complexes and weekly lunch clubs and provided a meeting place for older people where they could take part in numerous activities.

It was also one of the first places in the country to provide a meal service.


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The week kicked off with a talk by Josh Tidy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum and continued with visits from a magician, local entertainer Joe Vaughan, the Stotfold choir and music from karaoke volunteer Bill Ackerman.

A 60th anniversary tea party took place on Tuesday afternoon where guests were welcomed by councillor Lorna Kercher, chair of the trustees, and David Brightwell, president of the club.

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A cake was cut by Marion Hargraves, whose father, Frank, was one of the founder members of the centre and Isobel Laing, the centre’s first paid organiser, whose father was also involved in early fundraising to get the centre built.

Guests included councillors, representatives of local organisations, former staff, volunteers and members of the centre.

On Saturday from 1pm to 4pm the celebrations will conclude with a fundraising fair and cream tea including stalls, raffle, tombola, glitter tattoos along with a disco and at 3pm the Raqs Shaki dancing group will be performing.

During the week the centre provides hot meals for members Mondays to Fridays at the price of £4 and a variety of activities.

The centre also provides day care facilities for older clients, who benefit from meeting with others for activities and enjoying a hot meal together.

It is also used as a meeting place by eight different community groups in the evenings and weekends.

To find out more about the centre and what is on offer for members of the public visit www.howardgardensocialcentre.org or ring 01462 682524 for a leaflet.

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