My family are well and truly immersed in Letchworth’s story. We go as far back as 1860 when my great grandfather Mr G N Bennett was headmaster at the British School (now Knights Templar ) in Baldock. Prior to the Garden City Movement, he was well acquainted with Ebenezer Howard. My grandpa Leslie Woodbridge Bennett became very well known as a Board Member of First Garden City Limited.
I grew up in Letchworth and spent most of my school years in town, experiencing both the comprehensive education system and private schooling.
I left St Christopher at 16 and advanced to vocational college at Ware where I studied display, design, marketing and related art skills for commercial and exhibition use.
I ran Tuscany Fine Art for 30 years, selling art, in all its forms, as well as offering a professional design and productive framing service. Besides my own businesses, I became a director of Spinks’ arcade and ran the letting for 50 Leys Avenue for 30 years, following my Mother’s retirement. I have benefited from the experience of being a tenant, a landlord, an employee, employer and self-employed person!
I have served on the Board of the Letchworth Chamber of Trade, the Town Centre Partnership and now the BID. I spent a short time on the Board of the Arts Centre, which I am delighted came under the wing of the LGCHF, who have injected more funds and a high level of commitment to the arts.
I was elected three times from 1995 as a Foundation Governor, serving as a Trustee for five years up to 2015. During my time as a Trustee I served on the Values and Behaviours Committee, Garden City Collections Board, Active Letchworth and the Broadway Cinema & Theatre Committee.
I participated in the Governors Advisory Group for Environment and Sustainability, reviewing the Scheme of Management, looking at reactivating the Heritage Awards and contributed to creating the Sustainability Forum, of which I am now a member.
I am pleased to see the fruition of many of these projects. I hope to use my property and commercial experience to contribute to the Business and Economic Development Group.
I bring an open mind, creativity and a desire to improve the lives of all within the Garden City. I hope we go beyond reaching a good standard by propelling Letchworth to become an exemplar for the best living conditions; relief of poverty; improved education; encouraging affordable family support; ensuring reception age children upwards develop to their full potential - flowers should not be the only things to flourish in the Garden City.
I am forever mindful of the need to manage the property portfolio, as it provides the income to support all the charitable aims of the Foundation. Now more than ever we should be taking an in-depth look at our future viability. The challenges ahead will need to be met with a steadfast resolve, but we must be supple to the winds of change, lest we break under the strain.
Ebenezer was a man of vision even before 1903 - he knew the value lay in the land -and like him we must plan for our future. One hundred years from now we will be looked upon as the bearers of the ‘visionary flames’, so let us work together to ensure they burn brightly.
- Elected Governor