Review of the year 2018: December
PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 January 2019
December saw Stevenage-born five-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton cause outrage by referring to the town as a 'slum' during his speech at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Hamilton finished as runner up behind Tour de France winning cyclist Geraint Thomas, and made the comment as he was announced as one of the six finalists.
“It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums,” he said.
He quickly corrected himself, by saying: “Well, not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something,” but it angered the people of Stevenage, with community group People for People penning an open letter to Hamilton, while Stevenage FC boss Dino Maamria personally invited the 33-year-old to come and watch a Boro game to say sorry for his comments.
The F1 driver did issue a now-deleted video on Instagram apologising for the comment.
In Hitchin, author Zoë Folbigg was celebrating success as her book The Note picked up the award for Amazon Prime’s Most Read Book of the Year.
The critically-acclaimed book – released in March 2017 – is based on the true story of how Zoë met her husband Mark on the 8.21am train from Hitchin to London King’s Cross.
“It was just a dream to get a book deal,” she said.
“That was my goal, I didn’t think beyond that and consider that it might be an Amazon bestseller.
“I was already over the moon to have achieved my dream, but its success has been the cherry on the cake.”
Hitchin suffered a tragic loss in December as Father Michael Lambert, former priest of the Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew, was killed in a traffic collision, aged 79.
Around 700 people attended his funeral to pay their tributes and remember the much-loved priest.
There was some exciting news for Stevenage residents as redevelopment and regeneration projects were announced in the town.
The first phase of Stevenage town centre’s £1 billion regeneration will start early this year to the tune of £50 million, while 236 new homes will be built as part of the £40m development in Kenilworth Close. December also saw redevelopment work begin in Letchworth town centre, too.