Review of the year 2018: June

PUBLISHED: 12:03 29 December 2018

Representatives from the clubs,  the FA and the police at Watford Football Club. Picture: Herts Police.

Representatives from the clubs, the FA and the police at Watford Football Club. Picture: Herts Police.

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In June, Herts police and the Hertfordshire Football Association came together in a pledge to stamp out homophobia in football, following shocking survey results.

Laura Burlingham from Knebworth was the first person to finish Steps for Jo’s, a 5km walk for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. Picture: Jo’s Cervical Cancer TrustLaura Burlingham from Knebworth was the first person to finish Steps for Jo’s, a 5km walk for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. Picture: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

The police and FA created third party reporting centres at each football club in the county after 20 per cent of fans said they would not feel comfortable to report an offence if they became a victim at a match.

The survey revealed that homophobic abuse had been heard by 45 per cent of people taking part in the survey while at matches in the last three years, 61 per cent believed that more should be done by clubs to educate fans about homophobia and a massive 94 per cent felt that football clubs and police should take more action to tackle homophobic abuse.

Also in June, Knebworth’s Laura Burlingham took on a ‘5km for Jo walk’ and finished in first place – just two weeks after being given the all-clear from cervical cancer.

However, Laura’s main focus was to raise money for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a charity which offered her support following her diagnosis in October 2017.

The start of the Hitchin Hard Half Marathon. Picture: Alan MillardThe start of the Hitchin Hard Half Marathon. Picture: Alan Millard

Laura raised more than £700 for the charity.

She said at the time: “It’s a fantastic event which I have loved taking part in. It’s been such a great atmosphere walking with so many women who have had similar experiences to me.”

Keeping with the sporting theme, runners braved the blasting heat this summer with the Hitchin Hard Half.

The Hard Half, organised by the Rotary Club of Hitchin Tilehouse and backed by the Comet, saw hundreds of runners head out of the Priory grounds and into the rolling hills around Preston.

Paul Watson in his kangaroo-rider costume, with his family. Picture: Alan MillardPaul Watson in his kangaroo-rider costume, with his family. Picture: Alan Millard

Many taking part raised money for their chosen charities, including JDRF, Sparkles and Bowel Cancer UK.

“What a fabulous day we had,” said Rotary Tilehouse president Andrew Phillips at the time.

“My thanks go to all of you who contributed so much to ensure my charity for this year, North Herts Centre for Voluntary Service, will receive a donation of over £5,000.”

The community of Baldock came together for the annual Baldock Big Lunch in June, which saw more than 300 people turn out to enjoy a choice of barbecue, fish and chips, curries, salads and more.

Hitchin Hard Half Marathon winner Mark Vaughan, centre, with second-placed Nick Malpeli, left, and third-placed Alan Dobre. Picture: Alan MillardHitchin Hard Half Marathon winner Mark Vaughan, centre, with second-placed Nick Malpeli, left, and third-placed Alan Dobre. Picture: Alan Millard

Event co-ordinator David Whiffen said: “There were around 350 Baldockians enjoying the beautiful weather, with several red faces in evidence by the end of the afternoon.”

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