Letchworth leisure group still going strong after 25 years

A GROUP set up to capture a town’s enthusiasm for arts and leisure activities 25 years ago is more popular than ever as it celebrates its silver anniversary.

Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group (LALG) was formed by the then owner of David’s Bookshop William Armitage and fellow staff members in 1987.

Mr Armitage came up with the idea after arts fairs held at Plinston had attracted lots of interest, and has not looked back since the packed first brain-storming meeting at the bookshop in Eastcheap two and a half decades ago.

Currently around 1,500 households in Letchworth GC and the surrounding area are members of the group, with more than 60 different hobbies and activities catered for with the help of about 150 volunteers.

“It was started through the bookshop as people were buying books and records related to different interests and it was about bringing those with similar interests together,” said LALG chairman Mr Armitage.

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“It’s all about matching interests and passions and this is what LALG can do when it’s difficult to do on your own.”

Asked about its longevity, he added: “When you start something you never know what’s going to happen and it often goes in directions which you don’t foresee.

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“A lot of the enjoyment is in between meetings through making friendships and meeting up so it’s brilliant if you’ve moved to the area and want to meet people. It’s also a bargain at �10 for a household and in this day and age that is important.”

Groups range from book clubs to chicken keeping, Photoshop to wine appreciation.

Membership secretary John Gregory is involved with French and German language groups.

He said: “I joined about 11 years ago when I moved here. Because I used languages during my working life I wanted to keep my practice up.

“Membership of LALG as a whole has been steadily growing and practically anything you can think of has a group. You only need four or five people to form a group, William provides a venue for your first meeting and it can take off from there.”

The Malt Whiskey Appreciation Group is one of the latest to be set up, with an inaugural meeting held last month.

“I noticed that within LALG there are a number of wine groups – which I’m not a member of – but at the Firkin beer club I asked why wasn’t there a whiskey club,” said group leader Grant Cameron.

“Everyone said it was a great idea, why don’t you organise it and that’s what I’ve done. It’s very easy to set up.”

For more information about LALG pick up a copy of the monthly newsletter at David’s Bookshop, call 01462 684631 or visit www.lalg.org.uk

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