RAW features the true-life stories of the ordinary people of Dacorum. Some are heartbreaking, some are inspiring, some are surreal and some are surprising. By understanding others stories we can create a more tolerant, caring and connected society. 

Amongst the stories featured in RAW you will read about: a man who came to Berkhamsted specifically to jump in front of a train, but instead found the happiness he was looking for; a man who came to terms with the mixed feelings he had for his dad, who was a convicted armed robber, through a poem he wrote on his dad’s death bed; and a professional basketball player who couldn’t find happiness in the riches and glamour the lifestyle bought her, so now lives at the Buddhist monastery in Great Gaddesden. Everyone has a story the tell.

The stories are set in Dacorum, which is a district in Hertfordshire, centred around Hemel Hempstead. Hemel is notorious for two reasons. It was voted the Ugliest Town of 2013 by Crap Towns, but this vote forgot to look at the remarkable people that live here. And Hemel is home to the Magic Roundabout, a roundabout that encompasses six smaller roundabouts, where drivers can go either way around. A confusing situation for anyone not familiar with the concept and definitely a nightmare for those from the USA who don’t really come across roundabouts on their road networks. But both of these unique things endear Hemel to its residents and make us love and embrace it that little bit more.

My name is Fiona and I am the curator of RAW. I have been a resident of Hemel Hempstead for three years and I couldn’t think of a better place to live. This is a big call as I lived in Australia for 11 years, a stone’s throw from the beach.

I believe everyone has a story to tell and in the words of Mary Lou Kownacki, “frankly there isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story”.