Sums up all that is wrong with Hertford now.
When we organised the first new look Fun Day in 2001 it was due to be held on the third Sunday of June but when we realised that the bus rally was to be run on the first Sunday we quickly re-organised things and brought Fun Day forward. A moment of brilliance. Buses running to all parts of the county bringing people in for free and taking them home again, enthusiasts on every corner of the bus station and South Street, all the way to Tesco. Small Hertbeat fm stage in Salisbury square, big one in Castle grounds, stalls everywhere and 10,000 people rammed in Hertford. It became the template.
In 2007 Action For Market Towns were willing to work with Hidden Hertford to make a grant of £85,000 from the Asset Management Fund for our own narrow boat rather than the hired one and on Fun Days Colin Rivers who organised the buses was happy to adjust timetables in Ware so that it met up with the boat trips. Of course Government cut backs did for that.
Fast forward and the bus rally is now staged between Hertford and Stevenage whereas it was Hertford's alone. Attendance at the Hertford end have dwindled over the years. Remember these are all volunteers and rides are free. What a loss. This weekend there was a Community Sports Day at the Castle and boat trips are being made. Is it not beyond anyone's comprehension to link up these three events?
Yes it is about marketing or the lack of it but also the lack of something else in town. I cannot underestimate the value and contribution made by private and commercial organisations in town towards those Fun Days. The financial value of the advertising and articles and free four page pull out from the Mercury was immense; now they seem to see everyone else as competition. Hertbeat gave free advertising and radio spots, supplied the music on a shoestring and the Stonehouse, Waitrose, McMullens and more than I can remember all made massive contributions.
It's all gone now. We can't get a carnival together; its just another fete at the Castle. I was discussing a few days ago the round Hertford cycle race. Gone. County Day; gone. Is there really no one out there willing to pull everything together? I've done it, been there and have the scars to prove it. Still willing to give a few hours free consultation but that is all. Its about time some younger blood took the reins.