Your letters to the Herts Advertiser...

A kingfisher in Verulamium Park.

A kingfisher in Verulamium Park. - Credit: Archant

If you would like to comment on any of the stories or features which have appeared in the Herts Ad, please email

I was delighted and excited that I came across, and pictured, my first encounter with a kingfisher on Monday at the entrance to Verulamium Park, by the Fighting Cocks pub in St Albans.

According to onlookers the bird has been seen for around three weeks now fishing along the riverbank just inside the park.

At around midday on January 2, the young bird had quite an audience who were thrilled to see this very rare visitor. In the time I was there the kingfisher dived and caught at least 20 small fish in an hour.

It was encouraging that so many people were interested and enthused by this fantastic and colourful spectacle.

IAN CORMACK Tyttenhanger Green, St Albans

I read with interest Helen Campbell’s letter in the Herts Ad “Don’t blame the Arena beggars” (December 22), I congratulate her on her work volunteering with the homeless and the vulnerable and agree that those in need should be helped as much as possible especially as the temperature drops. The good works of Open Door and Herts Young Homeless are prime examples of this.

Most Read

Unfortunately I completely disagree with her assumption that this article has come about as a direct result of government mismanagement of the NHS and services.

The drunkenness and anti-social behaviour in St Albans is not a new phenomenon, it has outlived both governments and councils.

While a few people are in genuine need and invariably aided by the groups mention above, a number are taking advantage of the goodwill and generosity of people like Helen, habitual abusers of a highly liberal attitude and the kindness of strangers.

These are characters well known to the area, the judicial services and police, entirely unrepentant of their anti-social behaviour, happy to relieve the privileged, do-gooder, liberal elite of their change fuelling and enabling their addictions. tying up the police and ambulance services with their actions and eventually returning to their publicly-funded council houses to make their neighbours’ lives a living hell.

What happens when somebody complains? When the beleaguered local council try to change this pattern of public defecation, begging, verbal abuse and fighting?

The Brexit-hating, NIMBY, vociferous well-to-do of St Albans scream foul! Taking time out from Bake Off to tap away from their ivory towers to claim it’s not the fault of St Albans’ own real-life cast of Shameless but the government /council/Russia* (*delete as applicable for this week) forcing the booze down their throats, the profanity from their lips and to abuse people up and down the high street for not handing over their spare change.


British Railways knew all about congestion on platforms 2 and 3 when I commuted in the late 1950s.

The 5.18pm St Pancras-Harpenden train (Stanier 2-6-4 tank engine and nine coaches – 864 seats) ran along the main line first stop St Albans (Platform 1 – now 4). We usually ran a few minutes late usually due to indifferent driving; and then the crew had to replenish the tanks with 2,000 gallons of softened water from the platform-end water column. Inevitably we held up the following 5.30pm Leicester train and we often wondered why they didn’t put us slow road at Napsbury to give a clear run to the 5.30.

We soon found out. In the summer timetable of 1958 they put us slow road at Napsbury and we came in to Platform 3 (now 2) and our 700-odd departing passengers congested the footbridge.

It is interesting to note that our usual Platform 1 (now 4) had four exits: the footbridge to Victoria Street; the ‘rush-hour’ exit to the station approach near the bottom of the footbridge; the booking office; and the wooden gate past the smelly fish dock.


Jennings Road, St Albans

I was interested to read the letter about the number of bus stops and the strengthening of the kerbs near them and wondered why.

The bus timetables are being reviewed - from January 9, 2017 there will only be three buses a day from Redbourn to Harpenden and vice versa.

There used to be a bus at 7.10am from Redbourn which I could catch to go to work in Harpenden; that was taken off and I now have to trek to St Albans to get the 321.

The 321 used to depart at 7.10am – the 34 would, if on time, arrive in St Albans at 7am, therefore I could get the 321.

However, those who don’t think, rescheduled the 321 so it leaves St Albans before the 34 arrives.

One improvementisi that there will be one bus to and from Hemel Hempstead (depart Hemel Hempstead 9.16am; depart Harpenden 2pm) but people who work in Harpenden still need a bus to get them there and to get home.

The 5.20pm 307 from Harpenden is being taken off from January 9, 2017, which will mean that after a 6.20am start, trekking to St Albans, working eight hours per day, I will have to get a 321 to St Albans and a 34 (at 6.15pm from there to Flamstead.).

Frequently the 321 is late or does not run at all – just like the 34.

The bus companies and the councils who oversee and subsidise them should put the needs of people going to work first, surely?


Old Watling Street, Flamstead

Rennie Grove Hospice Care would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported its work during 2016.

Here are a few highlights from the charity’s festive fundraising:

Carol singing at St Albans station raised £730, with a further £220 courtesy of Christmas choirs at Harpenden station. Two singing sessions at London stations – Paddington and Marylebone – brought in a further £3,000. Thanks so much to everyone who sang, collected or donated!

Rennie Grove teamed up with Rotary on Sunday December 18 to man the annual Santa Float around St Albans, which raised a fantastic £1,242.

The charity’s Jingle Bell Jog on Sunday December 4 has reached its £10,000 fundraising target, thanks to everyone who took part and sought sponsorship.

Thank you once again and a Happy New Year to all!


Communications Officer

Rennie Grove Hospice Care

We should like to thank everyone who responded to our Oxfam “Disasters Emergency Committee” street collection for the crisis in Yemen just before Christmas (December 23). A famine warning has been issued for Yemen and seven million people are desperately short of food, with a further seven million in need of help too.

We’re pleased to tell you that a total of £1,470.05 was raised between 9am and 4pm that day!

Taking a day as a whole, a total of 35 collectors were involved. The Oxfam St Albans campaigns group were helped by others including members of Amnesty International, HAWA (Herts Asian Women Association), Trinity URC, Global Justice and Friends of the Earth.

Thank you to all the market-goers and people of St Albans who stopped and donated.

It was excellent to get so much support and we can all feel pleased with these results.

This collection will enable Oxfam to get food, clean drinking water and washing/sanitation facilities to some of the people who need help.

If anyone else would like to donate to the appeal, this can be done at one of the Oxfam shops in St Albans.


Oxfam St Albans Campaigns Group

Can anyone help us find a venue for a charity gig? We are a band of three brothers called Purple Day Band (named after the epilepsy awareness day held each year, as our eldest brother Luke has severe complex epilepsy).

Last year we held a gig in the yurt at The Blacksmiths Arms to raise funds for St.Elizabeth’s Epilepsy Centre where our brother lives. We were overwhelmed with the number of people who came and we raised over £1,000. We would like this year’s gig to be even bigger and raise even more but we need a venue. Do you run a pub, social club or venue where we could hold our gig? We are looking at anytime over the weekend March 25-26.

Please contact us via our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram under ‘Purple Day Band’ or email via our website

JOSH, FINN & ZAC PILE Purple Day Band