Nativity crib moved away from shopping centre

The Marlowes Shopping Centre in Hemel Hempstead, as it looks today
The Marlowes Shopping Centre in Hemel Hempstead, as it looks today

The Knights of St Columba are moving the nativity crib, which they put up annually, from its usual location outside the Marlowes Shopping Centre.

The crib, which has been put up in Hemel Hempstead for 50 years, is to be moved from the town centre to St Mary and St Joseph’s Church in St John’s Road, Boxmoor.

Correspondence between Dacorum Borough Council and the Knights of St Columba seen by The Gazette says the nativity crib could have been put up in the town centre.

An e-mail from the council to the knights says: “We are happy that you will be able to place the crib on the planter from Sunday December 14 to Sunday January 4.

“This is under the condition that any vehicle coming into the town centre is off site by 10am.”

Grand knight John Gavin said: “Although we were offered a planter in the Marlowes to put up the crib, by the time we found out it was too late for us in the day to make arrangements to be able to transport the crib on the Sunday morning and get it dropped off by 10am.

“The crib is stored at St John’s Church so we decided to put it up in the garden.”

Work to the pedestrianised shopping area and Bank Court, is currently pausing over Christmas but will resume in the New Year and is due to be completed in autumn 2015.

A spokesman for Dacorum Borough Council said: “We have spoken to the Knights of St Columba to try and find a site for the nativity this year and offered them a number of locations but for their own reasons they have decided to use a different location.

“We hope to welcome them back into the refurbished town centre next Christmas.”

The Knights of St Columba have been established in Hemel Hempstead for more than 55 years and undertake various fundraising activities as well as helping out at events including fetes and bingo sessions.