Buntingford: 'It's a love thing'

PUBLISHED: 16:54 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 February 2013



When it comes to loving their town and getting involved, it seems the residents of Buntingford could be top of the league table, as Marie Hardingham finds out

Helen Baker
Buntingford carnival committee member
Helen has lived in Buntingford for 25 years and has been secretary of the carnival committee for nearly 10. But it's not just Helen who's involved - it's her whole family. Along with other committee members her husband of nine years Darren marshalls at the event and assists with fundraising, brother Roger and sister-in-law Gio also marshall, and sons Matthew and Oliver take part in the procession; even her mum and dad are in on the act!
Qualified veterinary nurse Helen, 35, says, 'My family and I have always been very involved with community life; I'm Treasurer and Vice Chairman at my children's school and when they were younger I helped run two of the local toddler groups.
'My mum is a piano teacher and has been on the carnival committee for 20 years; she was the founder member and trustee of the community centre and is treasurer of the Buntingford Heritage Group. Dad is the Chairman of the Heritage Group and has been Chairman of the Carnival Committee for almost 20 years.'

James Oliver Radley
Local businessman
James Radley is the Practice Manager and owner of J Oliver Radley Opticians. After gaining experience working in multiple organisations, smaller practices and manufacturing James, 32, decided to open his own practice in the high street. After years of planning and an extensive re-fit Radley Opticians opened on August 1 2004.
James also heads the Buntingford Chamber of Commerce in his role as Chairman. He says, 'The organisation is responsible for helping out local businesses, getting them aware of each other and helping to promote the town's events.
'We aim to encourage local residents and villagers to visit and support local shops and promote quality personal services that the larger cities lack in general. We help organise the annual classic car event which is a huge attraction for us and pulls in more than 2,000 visitors. Classic cars, bikes, trucks and tractors of all ages adorn the historic high street along with live music, BBQ and hog roast - truly an event not to be missed.'

John Warren
Town Centre Management
Local businessman and former Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce John Warren is definitely a man who likes to keep his finger on the pulse. The current Deputy Mayor founded the Town Centre Management in 1998 in a bid to make the charming town of Buntingford the place it is today.
John says, 'In the ten years the management team has been going we have raised over 150,000 to support our event organising and administration costs. Working closely with the Chamber of Commerce we help organise events in the town such as French markets, late night Christmas shopping and our spectacular Christmas lights display; more notably is our annual classic car event which is now in its ninth year.
'Our main role however is to encourage the retail sector in the town to work as a collective and make Buntingford a pleasant place in which to both live and work.'

Gillian Strzelecki
Buntingford Dramatic Society
This local and very active drama group have been entertaining folk in Buntingford and surrounding villages for an incredible 80 years - performing plays, pantomimes, variety shows and offering the occasional stagecraft workshop, even supporting local chosen charities.
Their current production in rehearsal is the play After the Dance by Terrance Rattigan, with performances on September 25 and 26, and October 2 and 3.
Secretary Gillian Strzelecki says, 'I've been involved with the drama group for 12 years and have many great memories. The emphasis in our group is definitely on having fun. We're always looking for new members even if you don't fancy getting up on stage there are a variety of backstage and front of house roles to be filled for each show'.
Looking ahead to panto season the troupe will be performing The Pied Piper on February 5, 6, 12 and 13.

Tea anyone?
Enjoy some good old-fashioned home-baking at the beautiful Old Swan Tea Shop. The 15th-century Hall House is set in two acres of garden and orchard.

Architectural delight
St Peter's Church is said to be the first brick-built church in England. Pay a visit and see the rare 16th-century turret clock built in the shape of a Greek cross.

Did you know?
In 1662 during Buntingford's heyday as a principal stagecoach stopping point the famous writer Samuel Pepys and his wife stayed at the former George Inn en route to York.

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