Review of the year 2013: October

James Creighton outside his Halloween house in Grove Road, Stevenage

James Creighton outside his Halloween house in Grove Road, Stevenage - Credit: Archant

In October hundreds paid their respects to a filmmaker, a halloween display caused controversy and a business initiative was given the green light.

Letchworth town centre

Letchworth town centre - Credit: Archant

• Hundreds paid their respects at the funeral of award-winning filmmaker Mark Straker.

Michelle Szpak, owner of Szpak Photography

Michelle Szpak, owner of Szpak Photography - Credit: Archant

The 50-year-old from Bragbury End, Stevenage, died of a suspected heart attack. He won many awards for his films, including Best Acting at the London Black Film Makers International Film Festival in 2009 for Second Chance.

Mark Straker, pictured after winning an award at the London Black Film Makers International Film Fes

Mark Straker, pictured after winning an award at the London Black Film Makers International Film Festival in 2009 for Second Chance, died suddenly on October 17 - Credit: Archant

• A man who decorated his house for Halloween to raise money for Cancer Research UK was told by police to ‘tone down’ the display as it was upsetting children.

Police visited James Creighton’s home in Grove Road, Stevenage, asking him to cover up the Halloween display outside the front of his house. The 25-year-old had put up the decorations every year since the death of his grandmother from the disease in 2009.


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The story made the headlines across the UK prompting a flurry of donations, and ended up raising £2,500 for the charity.

• A business initiative was given the green light in what was described as a “pivotal moment” for a town centre’s future.

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Companies based in Letchworth GC town centre voted in favour of creating the Letchworth Garden City BID – business improvement district – following a ballot.

The plan will see businesses work together to attract more people into the town centre. It starts in March 2014 and will run for five years.

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