I have to admit, that I was an “Ideas Man” even four decades ago ! In mid-1969 I suggested that since 1970 was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the town, we should “push the boat out” and have a year’s celebrations. Even then I was writing letters to the Welwyn Times !
The idea caught on and I found myself as the Chairman of the Golden Jubilee Committee, which consisted of representatives from every section of the town’s public and private life. At that time, of course, we had a Development Corporation whose job was to work with the then Welwyn Garden City District Council in planning and building homes for local people – and also for what were termed the “London overspill”. The DC had pots of money – they were funded direct from the Treasury – and so we were able to appoint a part-time Jubilee Director, Cllr John McKnight – a senior Labour Councillor who I worked with on devising a year’s programme – we had a rather troubled working relationship, but more of that anon……………..
The programme of events was titled “GoJo 50” and we also had an Events Manager, Mr David Eccles, who was the senior officer of the WGC Chamber of Commerce……….who did a marvellous job.
This will have to suffice for the moment, but I have at least one filing box stuffed full of documents, together with many press cuttings and photographs of that heady year.
Of course, the highlight of the celebrations was the visit of the Queen Mother on May 30th. She was so very gracious and was fulsome in her praise of what she saw of the Garden City, but particularly the people and even more particularly the children, who she described as “so beautiful”. She warmed all our hearts and my wife Gill and I had the privilege of taking tea with Her Majesty in the Welwyn Stores Restaurant – at a reserved table of course !