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December 2010

Welcome to Katie and Will who have taken over at The Bell.  We send them all good wishes for the running of the pub.  (How can they go wrong with such auspicious names?!). 

Katie and Will have sent this letter to greet everyone in Odell: 

Hello to Odell from Katie and Will.  As you will know we have just taken over The Bell from Peter and Rachel.  We are lucky to have taken over a pub that is already such a strong part of the community and we look forward to carrying that on. 

Firstly I would like to thank everyone for being so welcoming in our first week.  We have received a lovely welcome and are feeling at home already.  Odell and the surrounding villages are a lovely area, a real hidden gem.   

We have been really looking forward to moving up here and taking over the pub.  We have had a busy first week settling in and finding our feet but are starting to settle into more of a routine now and finding our way around.  We look forward to being here for many years to come. 

We must thank Peter and Rachel for the hard work they have put into the pub over the years and leaving us such a good legacy. 

We look forward to meeting more of the locals and becoming part of your community. We hope to see you soon.       Katie and Will Healy



Round and About

The Man Who Rescued Christmas 

When you conjure up in your mind’s eye that figure which most represents Christmas to you - who do you think of?  Joseph and Mary, the baby in the manger, or is it the Three Wise Men?  Perhaps you think of Father Christmas or even Scrooge?  How about William Winstanley!  William .... who?  I can hear you cry.  Never heard of him come the cries of derision.   Well, I think that is a shame - let me tell you about William Winstanley - the man who rescued Christmas. 

If it had not been for this remarkable gentleman we would not be celebrating Christmas at all.  The 25th December would be just another date on the calendar with nothing special about it.  Winstanley deserves something better than anonymity and should have a place in history as the man who rescued Christmas from Puritanical Britain. 

William lived 400 years ago at the time of the Civil War, when our values were weighing in the balance.  With the King, Charles I, safely disposed of the new Parliament under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell, driven on by their fundamental beliefs, began to reorganise the country’s way of life.  They brought in law after law to guide the people into their own way of thinking.  Pleasure was anathema to this puritanical regime.  They banned music, singing and dancing.  They even disapproved of Christmas.  First, they did not like the name.  Christmas, or Christ’s Mass, smacked too much of the catholic faith,  and the name was changed to Christ Tide.  They then banned the singing of carols, soon to be followed by laws that banned the celebration of Christmas.  Any form of festivity was out.  Christmas, or Christ Tide, would last but one day.  There would be no feasting, no singing and no family get togethers.  It would be a time for fasting! 

Any festivity was out.  Decorating your home with holly was now banned.  Celebrating Christmas at a Church service or, indeed in your own home, was now declared illegal.  This was no idle threat.  The law stated that it was a "sin" to celebrate Christmas and anyone found so doing could find themselves fined or even placed in the stocks for a whole day. There would be no holiday and government officers forced shops and markets to open and everyone had to attend to their work as on a normal day.  Anyone attending a Christmas church service faced severe penalties and as a result the churches began to close their doors to the public for fear of misinterpretation.  Soldiers patrolled the streets seizing any food they deemed would, or could, be used for festive purposes.  Thus it continued for the 18 years of Oliver Cromwell's regime.  

Christmas was, of course, celebrated in a few quiet corners by those brave enough to risk denunciation by their neighbours....spies and snoopers were everywhere.  One person who continued to celebrate Christmas was William Winstanley.  William was an Essex farmer and diarist and it was the discovery of these diaries that led to him taking his place in history as the man who rescued Christmas from Puritan Britain.          

He lived in the village of Quendon and when the parish church closed over Christmas he held family services in the hall of his home.  It was not long before other families joined him in the clandestine celebration of these services.  This was an extremely dangerous practice as they could be informed on at any time.  Winstanley was an educated man, something of an historian and a great lover of literature.  He was also very pious.  He believed it was his Christian duty to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus with joyous festivity and open handed generosity to family, friends and especially the poor and needy and he refused to cease his belief just because of a Government edict. 

When Cromwell died in 1658 most of the nation heaved a great sigh of relief and within a couple of years the new King, Charles II,  made his triumphal return to England.  The Restoration led to the removal of the most oppressive restrictions.  The anti-Christmas legislation was promptly repealed .... but strangely there was no general return to celebrating the Festive Season.  It appeared that during the oppressive puritan regime most people had forgotten all about celebrating Christmas.  For most people Christmas, as a time for rejoicing, had been completely forgotten. 

Now was the time for William Winstanley to step forward.  He was now a respected figure as a writer of books, pamphlets and poetry.  Under the name of Poor Robin Goodfellow he began to extol the joys of Christmas.  He had friends in high places and he began to lobby the nobility and, indeed, the King himself, to help promote the celebration of Christmas.  Begging them to set an example by opening up their homes to family, friends and especially their tenants for "much mirth and mickle glee".  Christmas, he maintained, was for helping the poor and destitute and he believed that by celebrating it properly it gave people something to look forward to at this bleak time of year and provided warm memories to sustain them until the arrival of spring. 

For 38 years, until his death, he maintained a stream of propaganda, extolling the virtues of how to celebrate Christmas with prayer, carols and generosity to those in need; on the importance of keeping an open house at this festive time of year.  So persistent and enthusiastic was his message that by the time of the late 1780's Christmas had begun to take root again.  People had, indeed, been listening to William Winstanley and had begun to follow his directions on how to proceed over the festive season.  So, what did 'Winstanley's Ideal Christmas' call upon the people to do as this time of year?  Holly and ivy were, once again to be brought into the house for decoration.  Roaring log fires should be lit in every room with an especial jolly blaze in the hall to welcome any callers.  Good nappy (nut brown ale) was to be on tap and the sideboards should groan under the weight of chines of beef, turkeys and geese, ducks and capon.  Then to follow minc'd pies, plumb puddings and frumenty (a sweet, milky porridge seasoned with cinnamon).  

He wrote down what games should be played.  Hoodman’s blind, shoe the wild mare, hunt the slipper, hide and seek and stool ball.  Most of all, however, there should be lots of carol singing ...and he named God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and I Saw Three Ships as his own favourites. 

William said there should be much gossiping around the table and story telling round the fireside with Bible stories, of course, but also ghost stories.  He also called for dancing with "the whole company, both young and old, footing it lustily to the merry sound of the pipe and fiddle".  All such activities had, of course, been banned in Puritanical Britain.  

All this fun, William wrote, should continue for the traditional 12 days of Christmas, beginning on Christmas Eve with the collection of holly.  On Christmas morning everyone should attend church for the Nativity - "the most blithesome day of the year" - and then home to the first of many feasts when everyone would fall to.  Between now and Twelfth Night there should be "foot ball play against other villages, skating on frozen ponds, country walks and visits to other houses for hospitality".  William believed that the best day for giving presents was on New Year’s Day.  He gave the women home-made perfume and the men received quill pens.  His wife handed out sweets, jars of jam and slabs of dark, spicy ginger bread.  The children received drums, trumpets and books.  On Twelfth Night wassail songs would be sung around the tallest apple tree and the tree roots would be doused in cider, all to ensure a good harvest and to bring good fortune in the following year.  This was to be followed by the final supper - of roast swan followed by caudle sack (sherry) posset, (a thick, extremely potent alcoholic custard).  After a fortnight of festivities Winstanley's Ideal Christmas was over and would be firmly put aside until the following year.

Do you recognise any of the above?  It does not vary much from what we do today.  It seems we have much to thank William Winstanley for when we settle down to celebrate our Christmas. 

Barbara Corley 

May I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunch

Odell Senior Citizens’ Lunch Club invites you to the

Christmas Lunch


Friday December 17th

From 12.30

In Odell Village Hall

Please RSVP Jill Cheadle 720261 by Sunday 5th December 


Birthdays in December and January   Happy birthday to Charlotte Lloyd whose birthday is on the 24th January and to everyone else with a birthday in December or January.



Ladies at W.I. having a go at  making door decorations

November Meeting

We met in the Village Hall on Tuesday November 9th at 7.30p.m.  We had asked a  member Kathy Dunn to come and show us how to make a door decoration for any time of the year.  She used what she could find in the hedgerows to give them a seasonal feeling.  After demonstrating how easy it was she supplied us with a variety of dried and fresh material and it was over to us to ‘have a go’.  Over cups of tea and with a great deal of talking that is what we did.  We all produced something and had a very enjoyable time doing it.  Thank you Kathy, I know you intend to donate your speaker’s fee to a Cancer charity as it has affected so many in the village recently. 

December Meeting

We meet at Rectory Farm the home of Brian and Jill Cheadle on Tuesday 14th December at 7.30.  It is a members’ meeting and we are meeting to celebrate Christmas together.  Our theme for the night is angels. 


This is a bring and share evening. 

January Meeting

We meet in the Village Hall on Tuesday 11th January at 7.30.  Everyone enjoyed the Curling evening last year so we have decided to repeat it.  If you missed it come and have a go; if you didn’t, come and see if your skills have improved, 


January’s hostesses are Carol Ormond and Margaret Jones. 

If you need any more information please ring Rachel Halton 720572

People willing to supply lifts to and from surgeries.

Below is a list of the people currently willing to give lifts, to and from surgeries, to people who can’t otherwise get there:

Kim Beardow 721246

Jill Cheadle 720261

Steve Robinson 720113

Marion Senn 721176

Linda Tringham 720120

Madeline Jeeves 720803

If anyone else is willing to be a volunteer please contact Jill on 720261.


Roma Garon

We are very sad to report the death of Roma, on 1st November, following a short illness.  Roma was a central figure in the village of Odell: having lived here for so many years she played a key role in village life and will be warmly remembered as judge of the dog show in the yearly fete, for her line dancing classes and of course as Odell’s resident hairdresser for so long, to name just a few of her activities.  She will be much missed in the village.  A Service of Celebration of Roma’s life took place at Bedford Crematorium on 17th November.   

This tribute to Roma was given by her daughter Debra, which Debra has kindly allowed us to reproduce here.


‘My Mother’ – Debra Garon’s tribute to Roma

Mother would have been amazed to hear such lovely tributes about herself, but of course all very true.  Well done Mother, I am really proud of you.  Mother would have also said “WOW I can’t believe how many people have turned up for me to celebrate my life”.  It is lovely to see you all here today. Thank you”. 

Mother was always a very proud lady: hair done and make up on.  She was loved by so many people, most of all “ Me Her Daughter”.

I love my mum and I am so happy for her to have gone the way she did.  In the end it was like turning a light on, very quick.   She is now with my sister Terese who was waiting for her.  What a perfect end to a fabulous life.  Of course Mother had to go out doing what she loved best and that was Line Dancing in front of an audience. Typical of Mother in the lime light.  I bet she is up there now smiling down on us saying “I did it my way”.

My Mother was my world.  I confided in her about everything and spoke to her at least 3 times a day.  Some of you may have heard her say “B…… h… it’s Debra again” but deep down she loved me being in touch constantly. 

When I met Michael who is now my fiancé I took him to meet Mother within a few days of us being together and she said “hold onto him.”  I said, “I will.”  Michael said “I really like your mum”.  They bonded and had a mutual love and understanding of each other.  As time went on I realised why they both said what they did, Mother wanted a new grandson, which she got, called Thomas, who was 7 at the time.  And Michael knew he would get fed and watered every time he went round either with or without me.  Guess that says a lot about me and my cooking - something she always joked about.

Mother was so very proud of her great grand-daughter Sourie Jane who is 2 ½.  There was nothing better than seeing them line dancing in the kitchen together.  This was very special for both of them.

I am sure many of you have heard so many lovely stories about how proud she was of her grandsons Leigh, Luke and Thomas.   She used to say at birthdays and Christmas “I must spend the same on all of them so it is fair.”  She called Thomas her new grandson and was just as proud of him as Leigh and Luke who are my boys. 

Mother taught so many people so many things throughout her life, including the ways of the countryside.  For those of you that had the pleasure of going up the river in the boat for your Nature Talk, the stories about the kingfishers sitting on the end of the fishing rods and the otters playing in the river at the bottom of the garden were amazing and very true.  I guess most of you had to build ships out of river reeds – that was definitely one of her fortes. and guess what?  Mother’s ships always used to win. 

That was my mum – always fair, considerate, raising money for many different charities, loving, kind and teaching many people many different things, and extremely bouncy in everything she did in her life. 

Keeley a very dear friend to Michael and me sent me this poem and it made me think of how I believe so many of you saw my mum.

My lovely friend

She can deal with stress and carry heavy burdens

She smiles when she feels like screaming

She sings when she feels like crying

She cries when she’s happy and laugh’s when she’s afraid

Her love is unconditional

There’s only one thing wrong with her

She forgets what’s she’s worth. 


A tribute from Kathy Dunn, a friend and “Odell villager”:

Roma Garon. A friend and neighbour.

When the weather is fine then you know it’s a sign

For messing about on the river.

If you take my advice there’s nothing so nice

As messing about on the river. 

These are the first lines of one of Roma’s favourite songs. 

As many other ‘newcomers’ to Odell  7 years ago, I was first introduced to Roma in her kitchen very soon after moving into the village.  Just two weeks before Christmas in 1993, Lord and Lady Luke, then living in the Castle, ‘sent’ me to see ‘Roma down the lane’ who they said would tell me anything I needed to know to help me and my family settle in to Odell and was pretty good for a hair do!! Consequently I sat in the kitchen warmth watching people popping in and out after having their hair transformed whilst being introduced to them one by one.  By the time they had gone I would know who they were, what they were, where they lived, and of what help they could be to me if needed.

And that was the beginning of a very long friendship.

Roma would take me shopping to places I would never have found myself, you know, speciality shops like ’Lidl’ Netto and Aldi  and if we were feeling really flush Wilkinsons!!!! She was always telling me some sort of story or fact about the places we past through on our trips out.  She taught me about the history of the villages, the country park, and many old village characters.

Over the years she showed me the wonders of the river Ouse. The trees, the flora and fauna, and the sound of the first cuckoo every spring.  She always had to be the first to hear it! (usually on or around 21st April).  She encouraged me to at least watch country pursuits, hunting, shooting, plucking game, stripping pigeons and fishing, even if I couldn’t go so far as to actually do them myself.

 I have to say I did once, many years ago, attempt to help Roma land a pike.  We were just chatting about clearing the reeds when a pike bit.  She leapt up shouting “get the landing net, quick run”!  Terrified I ran to her aid with the net, as the rod bent and the pike was reeled in.  It was HUGE.  “Grab a piece of wood to hit it” she yelled (a little harshly I thought).  Being extremely ignorant in fishing techniques I arrived with a 3 foot fence post to ensure the job was done properly.  (Well it was a very big fish!).  “What on earth are you doing Kath?  A big stick would have done”.  Roma was unable to control her laughter, calling me ‘Margot’ as in ‘The Good Life’.  I’m afraid I was never allowed to forget it.

Roma had something in common with everyone she met, old and young, and could always find something interesting to talk with them about.  She was generous, kind, charitable, fun, and always willing to help others.  She could of course be outspoken and enjoyed a good debate, and if she got a ‘bee in her bonnet’ well didn’t we all know about it?  But then nobody can be perfect.

Just before Roma became ill she had a new motor for her boat and even though the river was very low she insisted we tried to get upstream to see Harrold bridge as it was a glorious warm day.  The reeds kept tangling in the motor, but she was determined to make it as near to the bridge as possible and ended up ‘punting’ the last few yards - (a very determined lady).  Money cannot buy the peace and tranquillity we experienced on the river on that summer’s day.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience Odell from the Ouse in Roma’s company.  On Wednesday 17th November over 500 friends, relatives, neighbours, and acquaintances joined together to celebrate Roma’s life.

That says it all.

What was a sad, bleak, cold, afternoon was transformed into a colourful, poignant, and nostalgic tribute to a dear friend and neighbour who will be missed by us all not only in Odell but worldwide.

In the spring when the cuckoo sings remember Roma!

Kathy Dunn.

There are backwater places all hidden from view,

And quaint little islands just waiting for you.

So I’ll leave you right now to cast off your bow,

Go messing about on the river.


(by Tony Hatch 1961. Sung by Josh McRae)

 Big thanks to everyone who helped and/or contributed.


Odell Parish Council News

Notes of a meeting of Odell Parish Council held on Monday, 15th November 2010 at 7.30 p.m. in Odell Village Hall. 

Present: Cllr. Rachel Halton [Chairman]; Cllrs. B Cheadle, T. Freeman, N. Goodman, A. Sharpe, S. Robinson.
In attendance:   Nina Bransgrove-Knight 

Apologies for absence received from Cllr. P. Crotty

Minutes of last meeting
The Minutes of the meeting held on 7th September were approved and duly signed as a true record of the proceedings. 

Matters arising:
Playbuilding project:
- Fencing:
  The Country Park now has all the quotes to hand. 

Originally they intended to use volunteer labour but have decided against this now, and will use their own contractor.  As they have funds in hand, they will pay for the work to be carried out.  It is hoped the work will start next week.

- Responsibility roles:  Following the request for the Parish Council to produce a draft document, the Chairman contacted Ed Burnett and said she felt it was the responsibility of the Borough's Legal Department to draw up a suitable document; hopefully they will do this. With regard to mowing of the play area,  although the Country Park has been undertaking this, there is doubt that their equipment will be able to access the area once the fence and gate are in place.  The Chairman will keep liaising with the Country Park management regarding this issue.

- Signage:  Following our last meeting, the Playbuilder team sent details of the sign they will produce for the play area.  The Friends of the Park have agreed to put up another notice board so if insufficient

information is on the Playbuilder sign, additional information can be put on the new notice board.


Village Hall

The new disabled doors are now in place and nearly complete – just final painting work to be finished.  The Access Officer can now be approached for the promised grant towards this work.

The weather is precluding any work on the outer area of the new facility, but Cllr. Freeman said he hoped this would be undertaken and completed in the Spring ready for the summer events planned by the

Village Hall Committee.  Finance was discussed in depth; the overall cost of the exterior work is £5,800 excluding VAT and as Parish Councils are expected to freeze their Precepts during the current economic climate, it would hardly be possible to fund all this amount from the Parish Council's funds.  Cllrs. Freeman and Cheadle are to look at ways of

reducing overall P.C. costs but there is little room for manoeuvre in them.  It was agreed that a Public Works Buildings Loan in the region of £3000 should be applied for; interest rates on these at present are very low and there is scope for either long term repayment or early repayment, if and when finances permit.  Any such loan has to be accessed via Beds RCC, so this may not need to be done before the new year. 

No meeting update in the absence of Cllr. Crotty; still outstanding is feedback from the Highways regarding the request for a continuous 30mph sign throughout the village, and the possible vehicular sign at the top of Horsefair Lane.  The Clerk will contact the relevant officers regarding these.

Various issues were raised where ground work was required, including bad patches of road yet to be rectified and two drains still needing to be cleared.  Cllr. Cheadle asked if the “Church Lane” sign that was moved when investigative work was being undertaken could be put back in its original position, as the current position is far from ideal.  Outstanding issues will be passed to Cllr. Crotty on his return.

Bedford Borough Council
Litter pick days for next year have been received from the Borough Council, but it was not felt these served any useful purpose.

A reminder letter from the Borough Council has been received regarding the elections next May.  Parish Councils have to contribute towards the Borough elections and their own elections, even if a local parish election is not required.

The Chairman reported on her visit to the Borough's exhibition relating to proposed redevelopment of the town centre; the actual display was very good, but the individuals on hand appeared to be ill-informed.  A huge form was given to all to complete and this can still be found at the Borough's website for completion by any interested parties.  All in all, the Chairman felt the whole exercise was a complete waste of time.

The Borough's transport policy bus will be in Odell this month – details on the Parish Council notice board.

Borough Cllr. Charsley is attending a Planning Committee meeting but sent an email with the following information:
 1) Boundary Review: As predicted Carlton Parish joins Harrold Ward, is really a done deal, but as it requires an act of parliament it will not actually come into effect till Jan 2011.
2) Special Area Charges: The review of SAC's has recommended a couple of minor changes to the charges. The predicted effect is that rural parishes will end up paying £2 less on a band D property. This is mainly due to the removal of Rural Skips from the calculation (NOT the removal of the Rural Skips program).
3) Ward Fund: There is still £260 in the Ward Fund earmarked for Odell, any projects will need to be initiated before the end of January, so I would welcome any suggestions.
The latter was raised at the meeting but no decision made on where the money could be used.

Harrold/Odell Country Park
Over the winter months there will be considerable activity round the lake including coppicing and hedge laying.  The Park has put in for the CPRE's Landscaping Improvement Award Scheme, and the Friends have funded the purchase of some new equipment for the park.  A bench in memory of County Councillor Phyllis Gershon has been made by the chain saw carver – in the shape of a pike – but has yet to be sited.
Richard and Janet are now Dog Enforcement Officers so once all the paperwork is in place, they will be able to issue on the spot fixed fine penalties for dog fouling.
The Park held a very successful Museum and Landscape Day and are having another Open Day on Easter Bank Holiday Monday next year.

The accumulated account document was circulated; the proposed budget had been discussed earlier in the meeting.
Cllr. Cheadle had received the second stage payment of £150 for the grazing field, but the tenant had provided a new gate and hung it for the sum of £100 so the balance of £50 was handed to the Clerk.  Payment for hedgecutting and mowing is being made this month so the remaining half year's rent should be available to be split in the usual manner between the Parish Council and the Church. 

Correspondence and Requests
None this meeting. 

Specifically for the Business of the meeting
Cllr. Freeman commented on the new river bridge having lockable gates, and asked when these would be closed and locked and who held the key.  The Clerk will make enquiries.
Cllr. Robinson asked that formal acknowledgement be made of the recent sad death of Roma Garon, who had been very well known in the village and would be sadly missed.
Cllr. Robinson commented that councils throughout the country are trying to save money by switching off street lights during the night, and wondered if any [small] saving could be made by Odell doing likewise.  Concern was expressed that turning off these would also make some parts of the village roads more dangerous. It was generally felt that the cost of implementing this would be more than any savings made, but residents would be asked for their opinions.  Cllr. Halton will raise it at the WI and the Luncheon Club.

This was the last meeting of the present Clerk, and the Chairman presented her with a bouquet and a gift from the Parish Council on behalf of Odell.  Councillors expressed their thanks for the Clerk's work over the years and her help and support when required.  The Clerk thanked the Council and said she had enjoyed her time with them, that they had achieved much over the years and she hoped they would go on to build on their success in the future.  The Clerk is willing to be available to the new Clerk should any assistance on any Odell matter be required.
The Chairman stated that two candidates had made application for the post, a third seemingly now withdrawn.  These will be discussed after the official close of the meeting.


Dates of next year's meetings were circulated and are as follows:
17 January, 21 March, 16 May, 18 July, 19 September,  21 November.

 Election of New Chairman
Cllr. Halton stepped down as Chairman at this point and the Clerk thanked her for her invaluable and tireless work and support over the years.
Cllr. Cheadle nominated Cllr. Nick Goodman, seconded by Cllr. Sharpe.  All were in favour and Cllr. Goodman duly signed the Acceptance form as the new Chairman of Odell Parish Council.
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.00 p.m.

Friends of Harrold Medical Practice

Annual Report 

The meetings of the Friends continue to be well supported by our existing Members.  However due to the recent resignation of some of our long term supporters we definitely need more representatives from the villages who have patients that use Harrold Medical Practice.  

Membership of the Friends is an excellent way to keep up to date with the services provided by Harrold Medical Practice and the local Primary Care Trust, as well as finding out how these will be affected by new Government initiatives.  

We have again had some very generous “In Memoriam” donations this year and almost £700 from book sales.  Many thank to those who donate and read these books. This income continues to enable us to help the Practice.  This year we have continued to finance the servicing of equipment which we have already purchased and in the coming year will be helping to finance the refurbishment of the waiting room. 

The Harrold Volunteer Car Service continues to grow slowly but needs both more drivers and users for it to remain viable.  This service has been set up by the Wellingborough Volunteer Bureau in conjunction with Harrold Medical Practice to take people, mainly elderly or disabled, to essential medical appointments.  This is for people without their own transport and where there is no public transport available.  The service will pick users up at home, take them to their medical appointment, wait with them and return them safely home.  Users’ own escorts can be taken at no extra charge.  All drivers are volunteers, use their own cars, are recruited and CRB checked by the Volunteer Bureau.  Petrol expenses are covered by the passenger.  If you are interested in using the scheme or becoming a volunteer driver please call 01933 2272735 or contact Harrold Surgery 01234 720225 for more details.  

The next meeting of the Friends is to be held at the Surgery, Peach’s Close, Harrold on Tuesday 1 February 2011 at 7.30pm

If you would like to find out more about the Friends and the work that we do please contact: Frances Hirst tel 01234 825212

Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS

Email:  Website:

Tel: 01234 720016


News From Harrold Odell Country Park 

We can’t believe another year is almost over.  Working outside in the park makes us very aware of the seasons.  There has been a glut of winter berries and these are now being harvested by a wide variety of birds and animals.  We are beginning to see Fieldfares from Scandinavia and 3 Goosanders have arrived on the large lake.  Our serious birdwatchers are excited about a large influx of Waxwings working their way down the country from Scotland.  These beautiful birds are another winter visitor from Europe.  Let’s hope they stop off at the park. 

This is the busiest time of the year for staff and volunteers.  We have been frantically coppicing in the nature reserve, trying to get done before floods inundate the woodland ponds where we are working.  Once flooded, we will be unable to work there for another six months.  They don’t call this habitat wet woodland for nothing.  The work will encourage new willow growth and allow wild flowers to re-colonise.  We will also be providing good habitat for nesting tits, warblers and nightingales. 

Weather permitting, we will be making a start on this year’s programme of hedge laying.  This traditional way of managing boundaries will allow us to open up lake views, cause the hedges to thicken up and provide good cover for wildlife.  There is also going to be some professional tree surgery going on in the shelter belt parallel to Carlton Road, Harrold.  This is due to start on December 8th.  The Borough tree surveyor has identified several trees of differing species that are not in good condition.  In the interests of safety, due to their proximity to the café building and footpaths, they are to come down before the winter gales set in.

 The girls who run the café have asked me to point out that their opening hours have changed from now until the clocks go forward in March.  They are only open until 4pm every day including weekends.  They were open until 5pm at weekends until now.  For Christmas opening times and other enquiries please call them direct on 01234 721525. 

We’re pleased to be able to say that the fence around the new playground near Odell has now been completed.  That horrible temporary fence that was being repeatedly broken down is no more.  PMG Landscapes have been working all this week digging in the posts, putting on rails and gates and attaching stock netting to deter dogs.  Sadly, some owners think it’s appropriate to let their animals run around this area and we’ve had several instances of fouling.  Odell Parish Council is providing some of the funding for this fence and there will be a community notice board going up adjacent to the playground at some point soon. 

The Borough Council has announced that it is going to get tough with littering of all kinds and they are bringing in a system of fixed penalty notices for these offences across the whole Borough including here and at Priory Country Park, Bedford.

We have bought another dog bin to erect next to the existing one at the footpath junction by the large lake.  This is to alleviate the problem of overfilling at this location.  It will be erected as soon as possible.  To me this overfilling proves that the majority of owners are trying to do the right thing and using the free poop bags we provide. 

We have had an unprecedented demand for fire wood in recent weeks and stocks of the seasoned willow from last year’s forestry work are unlikely to last much beyond Christmas.  We are able to get sacks of logs and kindling from an outside source that retail at £3.25 per sack which hopefully will be beneficial to those in need.  Please enquire via Richard or Trevor in the shed. 

The next Friends Conservation task will go ahead on Jan. 31st from 10am.  Dec. 20th is their Xmas “do.”  The Health Walks will happen on Thursday Dec. 9th & 23rd (weather permitting).  In January they will be on Thursday 6th & 20th.  We meet at the café at 10.30am and walk for about an hour to improve your health and vitality and meet new people.  Thereafter you can choose to have a coffee at the café and chat.  Leader: Janet Munro. 

Finally, we would like to express our sorrow at the recent passing of Roma Garon.  What a loss to the whole community and our thoughts are with her friends and family at this time.

Janet Munro

  Assistant Ranger


Walking 4 Health :10.30am, December 9th and 23rd, January 6th and 20th 

Friends’ Conservation  tasks - 10am

December 20th – Christmas celebration; January 31st 2011

Volunteer helper Trevor with his tremendous firewood mountain


Village Hall 

The Village Hall will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary on 10th September 2011.  To mark the occasion a lot of BIG events are being planned throughout the year, including, hopefully, a ball and a beer festival, and of course the ever-popular village quizzes. 

However, the village hall committee really need a lot more help with the organisation of these events, and also welcome any more ideas. for functions.  If you have any ideas or can offer help in any way, please contact Rob on 720730. 

Coming up in January:

Burns Night Supper

Saturday 22nd January, 7.30pm

Tickets £9.50

2 course meal, a “wee dram” and traditional dancing, Licensed bar.

Ring Leslie 721860



The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

Reg. Charity No 242164  

The 2011 Season


An exciting year of great shows and plays lies ahead at The Mill Theatre.  Coming up in 2011: 

Ladies Day – 22nd-26th March

Join the Hull fish filliters’ frolic - - to Royal Ascot!

Amanda Whittingtons exuberant comedy. 

The Threepenny Opera -13th-21st May1

Don’t miss the most powerful theatrical experience of your lifetime - enter the world of Mack the Knife   

Wait Until Dark – 20th – 24th September (Subject to availability)

Tense, dramatic thriller by Frederick Knott

Edge-of-your-seat, white-knuckle suspense... 

Half A Sixpence – 11th – 19th November

Flash, Bang, Wallop – What a show!

A sparkling new version for the whole family 

Workshops and Auditions for The Threepenny Opera: January 2011, dates to be announced.  Enquiries: Enid Cooper 708432: 

A Gift idea? – or save up to £44 for yourself!  To receive 12 Mill Theatre New Chair Holder Vouchers, valid for 3 years, for £100; exchangeable for 12 tickets, singly / in multiples, total face value up to £144! (top ticket price £12) phone Keith Lazenby  Bedford.359733 



3rd 10.30am Christmas Hamper Coffee Morning, Hobbs Green Farm.

5th 10.00am Advent service at All Saints’ and hand bells.

8th 10.30am Meeting Point at Eileen Shakespeare’s, Rushden.

9th 10.30am Walking for health, HOCP.

11th 10.00am Church decorating, All Saints’.

14th 7.30pm WI meet at Rectory Farm.

14th 8.00pm Meditation for Advent, URC.

17th 12.30 Senior Citizens’ Christmas lunch, Village Hall.

19th 6.00pm Carols by Candlelight, All Saints’.

20th 10.00am HOCP Conservation Friends Christmas celebration.

23rd 10.30am Walking for health, HOCP.

25th 10.00am Christmas Day Worship Together and Holy Communion.


1st 9.45am All Saints’ Amblers meet at The Bell.

6th 10.30am Walking for health.

11th 7.30pm W.I. meet at Village Hall.

12th 10.30am Meeting Point at Sarah’s, Odell.

17th 7.30pm Odell Parish Council, Village Hall.

20th 10.30am Walking for health.

22nd 7.30pm Burns Night, Village Hall.

26th 10.30am Meeting Point at Christine’s, The Rectory, Odell.

31st 10.00am Conservation tasks day HOCP. 

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the February 2011 magazine to Tricia Hudson ( or Catherine Corkery by January12th 2011 at the latest.  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.


Alex Stubbs Flooring 

Carpets, Vinyls, Laminates, Safety Flooring, Adaptions, Refits, Repairs 

Supplied and Fitted 

07976 260572

01234 240954


Great local pubs

The Bell in Odell

As Featured in the 2010 Good Beer Guide 

With the relaxed charm of a village local and a varied menu of

quality, home-cooked food you won’t find any gimmicks here

 just a Great British Pub! 

Abbot Ale, IPA & Changing Seasonal & Guest Ales 

Telephone 01234 720254



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Last revised: December 01, 2010.