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May  2000


The Annual General Meeting was held on 10th April in the village hall. The committee was re-appointed for a further one year. We do however say thank you to Meg Clark who is standing down as WI representative after many years of support. We will be contacting the local organisations to seek new representatives as required by the lease arrangements

The Family Easter Egg Hunt was held on 22nd April and thanks go to everyone who made it a great success. It was a typical April day of sunshine and showers which meant some nifty timing was needed to take advantage of a lucky sunny spell for the hunt itself which was in the play area next to the village hall.

Inside the hall, there was egg painting, clay modelling and a quiz. The climax of the afternoon was when the now famous parachute appeared into which unsuspecting youngsters were tumbled and bounced while everyone held it out like a giant trampoline.

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Family Egg Hunt on April 22nd – the triumphant hunters


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We have provisionally booked Dennis Love for the "Old Tyme" Dance on November 4th 2000. Dennis played a great array of different music, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended the dance last year. Details in future editions.

The Village Hall Annual Report is included below. We would welcome some more members so if you have some spare time and would like to join us please contact Rob Lee 720730.

Odell Village Hall Management Committee

1999/2000 – Annual Report of the Odell Village Hall Committee.

As we enter the new millennium, we can again look back on the last year with a great deal of pleasure. The village hall has been well supported, its finances are again sound and the committee has appreciated the support given by villagers.

There have been a number of opportunities for the village to come together at a variety of events and many have taken the opportunity to make private bookings. These are very important to us as such bookings not only make good use of the village hall, but provide much needed income to help maintain its condition.

There have been the usual array of "organised" events, including a post-eclipse Bar-b-q, High and Wide, Burns Night, Quiz and yet another spectacular presentation this year of "Children of Eden". We still welcome ideas for activities, of the regular kind and the untried.

There are only 21 years left on the lease and the hall has provided us with a much used village facility which has had various bits of work carried out over the years, notably the kitchen and toilet refurbishment’s. We will need to carry out some more (expensive) improvements as required by new legislation.

During the year the committee has been considering ways of making the hall more accessible to comply with "The Disability Discrimination Act" in particular. We have sought advice from the BRCC’s Village Halls Adviser and Honorary Architect and met with a representative of the estate who will consider with the landlords what assistance may be available to us. We anticipate the options to range from adding an access facility and toilet to a "new building"! Whatever the outcome, we will need to seek substantial grant aid and fundraising assistance and discuss a way forward with villagers not only to comply with the legislation but also to ensure a community facility for the 21st century.

A great deal of support is given to the village hall and an annual report is at least an opportunity to give thanks to the many people who have helped to make the year a success. There are so many to name that it would be easy to miss out and offend people. However, thanks are offered to all who have organised, and supported through their attendance at events: regular hirers such as Odell Women’s Institute, Odell Scouts and Odell Parish Council, Doreen Wheeler for making sure the bookings are faithfully kept and Nigel Perry who recently stood down from the committee after 7 years great support. Thank you one and all.

On behalf of the Village Hall Committee.

Odell Parish Council

Odell PC Meeting 21st March 2000

This was the annual meeting and there was a good attendance. In addition to the Parish Councillors, there were: --

Mr Richard Hall, Mr Alan Beresford, Mrs Caroline Merret, Mrs Anne Turner, Mrs Myrna Horne, Mrs Avril Saunders, Mrs Florence Shellard, Mrs Kathy and Mr George Dunn.

The Chairman presented his report, covering the activities of the PC for the past year, all of which has been reported in the Parish Magazine, this being a very helpful innovation suggested by the editors of this admirable publication. He also took the opportunity to thank again Mrs Caroline Husher for the artwork and Mr Richard Andrews for the production of the Odell Millennium Mugs. We still have some available for sale, so if you want one or more please see Mr Robert Lee or me.

This report invited questions and the following were raised:

Could a seat be provided at the end of Horsefair Lane? This will be progressed.

Cars parked in the High street near Village Farm cause obstruction. This is not a matter for the Odell PC.

Could the Pavement on the south side of Horsefair Lane be replaced? No, the one on the North side was created instead.

Could the foot way on Hartles Hill be restored, and cleared of weeds? This is in Progress with Beds CC.

Can Sleeping policemen be put in Horsefair Lane? We have asked for this before, but Beds CC have always refused. It will be raised again.

The wall by the foot way on the Castle hill is bulging, and looks dangerous. The Owner will be advised of your concern.

Puddles in Horsefair Lane. Beds. CC will be advised.

Remaining Overhead cables in the Village. EME PLC will be asked about their intentions.

What is the future of the Leslie Wallen Playground? The lease is being renewed for 2 years only, as the owner wishes "to keep his options open".

Could the road signing be improved to slow the traffic in the village? The Beds CC will be consulted. They will be invited to attend an Open meeting of the Odell PC to which all Parishioners will be invited.

Mr Richard Hall then gave a brief report on the installation of new marker posts, and stiles on the footpaths and bridleways in the Parish. For this work he was thanked by the Chairman.

The normal Parish council meeting then resumed at 9 pm.

The Council will renew the request to improve the road markings with a view to slowing the traffic through the village.

It was decided to object to the opening of a new Pharmacy in Sharnbrook, on the grounds that exisiting facilities were adequate.

It was decided to oppose the alteration of the Bridle way nearGrange Farm. It was felt that the Landowner's claim regarding the route should be supported.

It was decided to support the appeal of parents concerning the poor service of the buses from Odell to Harrold for the school children in the mornings.

It was decided to grant permission for the erection of a pony shelter on the allotment field.

The next meeting will be held on the 15th May 2000.

Jonathan Harrison , Chairman


Happy birthday to… Michael Hall, 12 on the 24th and Ann Freeman whose birthday is on 31st!

Round and About

There it sits upon your dinner plate – either roasted, chipped boiled or mashed, possibly still wearing a jacket… How well we think we know the humble potato.

If asked about the history of the potato we probably conjure up visions of the Americas as their place of origin and the failure of the Irish potato harvest as a modern tragedy. I doubt whether many people could readily add to this information, which is a shame, because that commonplace "spud" has quite a tale to tell.

The earliest potatoes grew wild 12,000 feet up in the Andes of South America. Despite the poor soil conditions and the desperate cold, they thrived and the early South Americans ate them raw! In the 12th century the Incas discovered that if they left the potato harvest outside to freeze overnight and then squeezed out the moisture - (most of the potato is water) - they could produce a dried food product which could be stored in a sealed cellar for anything up to ten years - a wonderful safeguard against crop failure and famine.

The Spanish, on their arrival in South America in the 16th century, were the first Europeans to come upon this remarkable vegetable. However, so uninspiring did they find it that it took them 30 years to stir up enough interest in the potato to take it home to Spain as a curio – but not as food! The sweet potato, however, they found much more interesting and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella planted out sweet potatoes in their garden. Meanwhile, in England, Henry VIII of lusty fame considered them to be an aphrodisiac and ate them heavily spiced, in sugared pies!

The people of England took a long while to take to the potato. In their experience the wretched things turned green and were considered to be poisonous – they associated it, because of its flower, with the deadly nightshade. In 1869 John Ruskin described it as a "scarcely innocent underground stem of one of a tribe set aside for evil." Not a promising start!

Meanwhile, the Irish were the first Europeans to realise the wonderful possibilities of this crop. They began to plant them in great numbers and soon the potato became their staple food. While the English peasants continued to exist on bread, cheese and beer their Irish counterparts thrived on their new vitamin-filled wondercrop. The Irish population doubled in the 18th century and the average Irish male ate 5.5lb of potatoes every day. This all came to a terrifying halt, however, in 1845 when potato blight struck their crop and famine stalked across the land.

It was not until the 18th century that England and Wales slowly took to the potato. The Irish migrants to America carried with them their love for this root crop and soon the population of the U.S. was eating potatoes at every meal. Charles Dickens in 1842 was shocked to see potatoes served for breakfast and interpreted it as sign of extreme poverty rather than a simple liking for the homely tuber. Needless to say it was the Americans who made popular that splendid thing the chip, or French Fries. The future American President, Thomas Jefferson, came across the chip on a visit to Paris and carried it back to the U.S. in 1780. The popularity of the chip took off, greatly assisted by the arrival of cottonseed oil for deep-frying! To the Americans, the association of the chip with France was to last in the name of the "French Fry". Chips first appeared in Britain in the 1870s. The north of England had a traditional love for baked potatoes and when some adventurous cooks tried frying them in huge iron cauldrons it was not long before the people took them to their hearts.

In the 1850s, back in the U.S.A., a chef in a hotel threw a tantrum when a diner complained that his chips were too thick. In a rage the chef sliced the potatoes wafer thin, fried them in deep fat and salted them heavily before sending them out to the disgruntled customer. Imagine the chef’s surprise when the diner loved them and sent for more! The potato crisp had arrived and was soon being sold by the barrel load. The arrival of individual bags with a little twist of blue paper containing salt had to wait until the 1930s.

Fish and chips – "the good companions" – first came together in the 1880s. With the arrival of the steam-driven fishing trawler fish became readily available to everybody at a reasonable price. By 1888 there were 10,000 fish and chip shops in Britain providing a meal filled with vital protein and vitamins to a poorly nourished population of working class people who would otherwise get by on a diet of bread and dripping together with tea made with condensed milk.

At last this long-despised vegetable – the potato – has finally come into its own…loved by all – and flourishing in 230 different varieties.

Barbara Corley

W.I. News

Many thanks to everyone who supported our 'Y' fashion evening in April. It was a most enjoyable evening and we had an excellent turnout. Thanks to the wide range of styles and sizes of clothes supplied I think many people went home with a bargain.

Our special thanks must go to our models Barbara, Audrey, Jane and Jackie and to co-opted daughters Sian, Georgina and Vicki. We saw them all in a new guise!

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be our A.G.M. It will take place in the Village Hall on May 9th at 7.30. We will also discuss the resolutions chosen by the W.I.s in order that we can decide how to vote at the forthcoming tri-annual meeting at the Wembley Arena.

Hostesses: Margaret Jones and Kathy Dunn

Rachel Halton 720572

What’s Going On at Harrold-Odell Country Park

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As I write this article Sand martins and Swallows have just arrived at the Country Park, Willow Warbler, Chiff Chaffs and Blackcaps are singing in the nature reserve and paradoxically Widgeon and Golden Eye are still on the lake. Oh yes – it snowed yesterday! 

This winter 500 metres of hedge were laid by volunteers and 200 metres by contractors. In the nature reserve work continued on the willow coppice. Volunteers helped me do some spiralling (spiralling? What’s that?) on the main lake bank. Spiralling is pushing willow stakes of about 1.5 metres in length into the lake bed at 0.5 metre spaces; willow wands about 3 metres long are then woven between these stakes until the desired height is achieved. The idea is that the spiralling will stop the erosion of the banks.

Cattle are coming into river meadows late April. All dog owners are requested to keep their dogs on leads when near the cattle and to pick up and faeces from their animals.

The thistle problem: over the last few years we have treated the thistles with herbicide to control them; this seems to have been successful. The only management of the thistles this year is to cut them when we top the meadows.

Summer Fun Week this year is 7th –11th August. No details yet but please look out for the leaflet in July.

One final request from the nesting birds around the country park: please keep dogs under close control in the park – that is, within 1 metre of the person in charge of the dog.

Bill Thwaites, Northern Area Ranger

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook


Wednesday 17th to Saturday 27th May nightly at 7.45pm.

Matinees Saturday 20th and 27th May at 3.00pm.

The hit musical for all ages: a combined production with Sharnbrook Mill Youth Theatre. Prepare to book early!

Tickets: Tuesday 23rd May and both Saturday Matinees 6.

18th – 20th and 24th to 27th May 8.

Please note that Wednesday 17th and Monday 22nd May are Charity Performances in aid of Rushden Chicheley Rotary Club and Bedfordshire Women’s Institutes respectively, through whom tickets should be booked for those evenings.

Bookings may be made from Monday 17th April at:

Bedford - Central Box Office, Harpur Suite - tel: 01234 269519

Wellingborough - The Castle Box Office - tel: 01933 270007

(Both of the above accept credit card bookings).

Sharnbrook -by returning your booking forms in person to The Village Trader, 28 High Street.

Group Sales - Alison Bean - tel: 01234 781372 – 10% reduction for parties of 10 or more.

Enquiries/Mailing list 01234 782377

All performances start at 7.45pm. Seats can be reserved.

Provision of Disabled Access lift at The Mill.

Planning permission has been granted and we now need to raise 47,500 in order to achieve our goal of providing dedicated disabled access facilities.

Now is your chance to turn a dream into reality by taking part in our Grand Prize Draw, which is being held thanks to the generosity of many kind local businesses and other donors who have provided a wide selection of prizes:

500 cash first prize

220 of ‘wining and dining’

200 of ‘sport and leisure’

200 of ‘homes and gardens’

125 of ‘pamper yourself’

100 of ‘nights out’

100 of ‘let’s celebrate’

and many more prizes!

The draw will take place at the theatre on Saturday 27th May, after the final performance of ‘Oliver!’

Prize Draw Tickets: 5 per book or 1 per ticket, are available from Joi Werndley, Village Trader, 28 High St., Sharnbrook or via

01234 782 474, kindly leaving your details for tickets to be sent to you.

Promoter: Theo Gibbs, Stony Cottage, Park Lane, Sharnbrook.

Friends of St. Mary’s Stevington Theatre Group

Trips to the Royal Theatre, Northampton

These popular outings have been running for many years and are open to anybody. Please contact Helen or Richard Miller on (01234) 822475 or write to us at Church View, Church Rd., Stevington Beds MK43 7BQ for more details.

Don’t Dress for Dinner – book by 22nd May

The perfect escape from the wear and tear of everyday life. Bernhard is hoping for a country weekend with his Chic Parisian Mistress. He has arranged a cordon bleu cook, is in the process of sending his wife off to her mother and has invited a friend to supply his alibi. Everything that can go wrong, does. This farce "hurtles along at the speed of light" and "is a near faultless piece of theatrical invention".

Play by Marc Camoletti, adapted by Robin Hawdon.

We are going on 12th June.


A warm welcome to Mark, Karen, Liane and Tania Fulford who moved into Tannery Lane in April.

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Home Watch

Break-ins continue in the area – recently in Mill Lane. On April 12th a suspicious white van was prowling up and down the North end of the High Street. The number plates were fake and they were clearly looking for an unguarded house to burgle. Please report any such incidents to your local home watch coordinator.

May Diary

2nd 10.30am Meeting Point, venue to be arranged.

9th 7.30pm WI AGM Odell Village Hall.

15th 8.00pm Parish Council Meeting Village Hall.

17th 10.30am Meeting Point at Doris Bannard-Smith’s, 10 The  Bury, Pavenham.

                    June Diary

                                                            1st 7.30pm Ascension Day Evening Service, Stevington

11th Outdoor Pentecost Service with Harrold and Carlton Churches.

27th 8.00pm Deanery Service of Prayers for the Sick, St. Lawrence’s Church, Wymington.

wpe9.jpg (16298 bytes)Accomodation at the Oakley Arms in Harrold starts July 1st, call +44-1234-720478 for more details.

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the June magazine to Tricia Hudson (, Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by May 12th at the latest. We are always interested in short articles or items which may be of a general interest to the church and village community. May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted. Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.

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Last revised: April 24, 2000.