Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group marks 30 years with Garden City Brewery bash – and anniversary brew named after founder William Armitage

Geoff Chapman, David Wilkins, Tony Maynard-Smith, Nigel Carrick, Kate Thompson and Sheila George toa

Geoff Chapman, David Wilkins, Tony Maynard-Smith, Nigel Carrick, Kate Thompson and Sheila George toast the LALG's 30th anniversary at the Garden City Brewery. Photo: JP Asher - Credit: Archant

The Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group chalked 30 years up last night with an evening of drinking, quizzing and all-round fun – with a competition held to name a special 30th anniversary beer.

Barry Meaden, Scubi Forgie and Richard Allen celebrate 30 years of the LALG at the Garden City Brewe

Barry Meaden, Scubi Forgie and Richard Allen celebrate 30 years of the LALG at the Garden City Brewery. Photo: JP Asher - Credit: Archant

The LALG anniversary brew – a golden bitter created at the Garden City Brewery in The Wynd, the venue for last night’s celebrations – was christened Armitage Ale after community pillar William Armitage, who started the group back in 1987.

Mr Armitage, the then-owner of David’s Bookshop in Eastcheap, developed a book fair into the LALG – which has grown consistently year on year and now has about 3,000 members across 80 autonomous volunteer-run groups.

And chairman George Barnes told the Comet that LALG represented a continuation of the garden city pioneers’ spirit of self-sufficiency.

“It reflects those people who set up the Letchworth Settlement and all of that,” he said. “LALG really is exactly that – the community organises itself and supports itself.

LALG chairman George Barnes raises a glass to the organisation's 30th anniversary at the Garden City

LALG chairman George Barnes raises a glass to the organisation's 30th anniversary at the Garden City Brewery. Photo: JP Asher - Credit: Archant


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“It’s a fantastic achievement for our unique organisation to reach 30 years. There may be something else like it, but I’ve not heard of it.”

LALG member David Tappin stressed that many of the members today have been there since the beginning.

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“I was quite astonished when they told me it was 30 years,” he said.

“We’ve still got quite a large number of the original founder members – William is not the exception, it’s quite common.

Nick Rolfe, Holly-Anne Rolfe and Scubi Forgie of the Garden City Brewery. Photo: JP Asher

Nick Rolfe, Holly-Anne Rolfe and Scubi Forgie of the Garden City Brewery. Photo: JP Asher - Credit: Archant

“He comes up with brilliant ideas for groups and he’s still so enthusiastic about it all, after so much time.”

LALG anniversary calendars are available from David’s Bookshop. Groups cover all sorts of topics, from transport and industrial heritage to sport and German singing.

For more see lalg.org.uk.

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