Harpenden History on Leyton Green

Display board in memory of Neville Osmond of Harpenden Lions

November 2019 the Local History Society was approached by David Shall of Harpenden Lions about working together to design a display board featuring Harpenden’s history, in memory of Neville Osmond who had proposed such a project before his death in 2016.  With many meetings, exchanges of ideas and designs in 2019-20, the project inched forwards, slowed by Covid, until being finalised in the spring of 2022 with the support of Clare Ahmed at Harpenden Town Council.

Finally the board, commissioned by the Lions Club of Harpenden, was set up on Leyton Green, facing the High Street crossing, where it has already been attracting attention.  At the formal dedication ceremony  on 12 August 2022, Guy Kenyon, President of the Lions Club welcomed many members of Neville Osmond’s family, Cllr John Drake, Deputy Mayor of Harpenden, and Club members.

Guy described Neville Osmond’s sense of altruism, directed at improving the lives of those around him. He was an active member of St Nicholas church, a JP in St Albans and an organiser of Victim Support in Hertfordshire.

Describing Neville’s work in Harpenden, Guy said: “As an active member of Harpenden Lions Club he organised our annual Easter Egg Raffle and raised money and sought sponsorship – with extraordinary tenacity – for the Highland Gathering that we hold each year.

“But perhaps most notably he developed a Life Skills programme in Lions, which continues to this day, now under the watchful eye of Brian Edwards, which has, since its inception, provided over £280,000 to primary and secondary schools in Harpenden and its local villages to provide programmes that facilitate the acquisition of the skills needed by children to manage their lives and become responsible members of society. The need for such programmes, I would suggest, has never been more pressing than at the present.”

Guy continued: “but we would not be here today without considerable help from others. The Harpenden Local History Society, particularly David Keen and Rosemary and Gavin Ross, who are here today, were particularly helpful and able to supply text and photographs to augment the initial layout and ideas which were sketched out by another Lion, David Price. We thank them. We also need to thank the Town Council’s publicity department in the person of Claire Ahmed who managed the final layout and build with the Council’s design company. I would like to acknowledge the Town Council’s help in bringing all these ideas to their ultimate fruition and to thank the Deputy Mayor, Councillor John Drake, for being here today.”

The ceremony closed with glasses raised in memory of Neville Osmond, and then by lunch at the Harpenden Arms Hotel.

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