My Neighbourhood | Joan Follett on St Albans

Joan Follett, Clinical Lead for Day Services at Rennie Grove Hospice Care, on the best of her neighbourhood in and around St Albans…

Home is…
I live on the outskirts of St Albans with my husband, in the family home where our children were brought up. We have lived here for nearly 40 years, so naturally feel very much at home in St Albans!

Work is…
I am a nurse and I work at Rennie Grove Hospice Care. I’ve worked for the charity since 1994, and my current role is Clinical Lead for Day Services. This involves developing and managing the different support services we offer to patients and their families, right from the point of diagnosis. I feel it’s a great privilege to be in this field, giving patients affected by cancer and other life-limiting illnesses the choice to lead a good quality life at home.

Favourite place to spend a relaxing Sunday…
I love driving through the Hertfordshire countryside – even after all these years, there are always new villages to discover. I particularly enjoy visiting Hatfield House, as there are so many activities and events running there throughout the year.

Favourite place for a special meal…
I like to try out new restaurants, and there are always plenty to choose from in St Albans. A particular favourite is the Lake Restaurant at St Michaels Manor Hotel. One of my sons had his wedding reception there, and since then we have enjoyed many other family celebrations in its beautiful surroundings.

Favourite place for brunch with friends…
There are so many relaxing restaurants and gastro-pubs in the area. On a summer day, it is hard to beat sitting in the garden of the historic Wicked Lady pub, in the nearby village of Wheathampstead.

Favourite place for some retail therapy…
I enjoy wandering around Battlers Green Farm on Common Lane in Radlett, where there is an excellent farm shop and a variety of unique shops selling interesting gifts. I’ll also always head to one of Rennie Grove’s 24 local charity shops, where I can get my retail fix and know I’ve made a  difference.

Favourite spot when I’m feeling energetic…
Over the years, I have tried out various gyms, but it’s fair to say that they’re not my thing. However, I can honestly say that places like Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, run by Everyone Active, do a great job inspiring local people to support us at events such as the charity Moonlight Walk.

Favourite local discovery…
There is a disused railway line that runs from Hatfield to St Albans called The Alban Way. I enjoy the pretty walk, especially as at the end there is a friendly pub and a garden centre to explore.

Favourite place to soak up some culture…
I am keen on anything to do with royalty, and from St Albans it is easy to visit royal palaces and homes in London, Windsor, Sandringham and, of course, Hatfield House.

Favourite spot for a family day out…
A favourite venue is Willows Activity Farm. We love taking our little granddaughter there, and with two more grandchildren on the way, I think this will be a popular day out for the family for many years to come.

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