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May 2010  

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The Summer season of  ‘Café-in-the-Tower’ All Saints Church, Odell begins over the Bank Holiday weekend, 29th, 30th &  31st May.  Drop in between 2.30-5.30pm to sample a delicious range of cakes and cookies to go with your favourite cuppa. The church tower will also be open; the panoramic views from the top are well worth the climb.  Step up to the challenge! 


Ouse Valley Singers and Muse and Music Concert

  Saturday 15th May 2010, 7.30pm

St Mary’s Church, Felmersham

 Tickets £7.50 (includes interval drinks) 

Available in advance from 1 Trinity Close, Felmersham (tel: 781381) or on the door 

The Concert will consist of a varied programme of light music, some spirituals and a few comedy songs performed by Muse and Music. 

Odell Village Fete And Dog Show

Saturday 12th June 2.00pm

Theme: ‘Time for Tea’ 

(In the Scout field, Horsefair Lane, Odell)

Entry: Adults £1.50, Children Free 

Programme of events

2.00 pm Grand Opening

2.00-4.00pm Dog Show

4.00pm Raffle Draw



  Wode-Hill One-Steppers Jazz Band

Boys Brigade

Teas Ice Creams

Tombola Cakes Books Refreshments Bottle Stall Coconut Shy Children’s Sports

White Elephant Raffle

Produce Gifts Many Side Shows

Dog Show 


(entry fee - £1 per dog per class)


1. Children’s Handling (14 years and under)

2. Puppies under 1 year

3. Country Sporting Dog or Bitch

4. Best Rescue or Re-homed Dog or Bitch

5. Best Condition Dog or Bitch

6. Dog or Bitch with Most Appealing Eyes

7. Best Cross-bred Dog or Bitch

8. Most Handsome Dog

9.    Prettiest Bitch

HELP will be needed to set up fete stalls on the afternoon of Friday 11th June, and then dismantle everything after the fete has ended on Saturday 12th.  Please come and join in!  

Fete Committee Painting Day

Painting of signs etc. for the fete will take place at Jim and Doreen Wheeler’s, Linden House, High Street, Odell, on Monday 3rd May from 10.00am. 

There will be a lunch time bar-b-q for helpers – please let Doreen know (720358) or Jane (01933 410959) if you wish to stay for this.  Bring your own meat.  Salad and puddings will be provided.  

Tea Point and Toilet  Fund-Raising:

Coffee Morning 

There will be a Coffee Morning at Rectory Farm on Saturday May 15th from 10.30am in aid of the Tea Point Appeal.  Bedding plants and tomato plants will be on sale; there will be a Bring and Buy and a Raffle.  Everybody welcome.If anyone has 3” or 4” pots to spare I would appreciate some.

Jill Cheadle



 Round and About

Black Tom - Not Just a District 

I have often wondered about the stories I have heard concerning Black Tom.  Yes, I know, I can hear you saying it - who, or what, was Black Tom?   Thereby hangs a tale   ... 

There are many legends about Black Tom and much confusion as to when he lived but everyone agrees he was a highwayman who lurked and prowled the outskirts of Bedford in an area today known as the Black Tom district and is situated around Tavistock Street and Union Street. 

Let me tell you what I know of this knavish rogue, or, as a suspect, two knavish rogues who have somehow become known as one.  One Black Tom lived in the 13th century and his name is believed to have been Thomas Dun, the leader of a band of robbers who terrorised  an area around Bedford.

He is said to have gained the appellation "Black" because of the atrocities carried out by him and his band.  This included robbing a merchant of his horses and cart and, having first stabbed their victim, promptly made off with his property and sold it all in Bedford immediately after. 

Another time he is said to have duped 12 wealthy citizens out of their money as they dined at a local inn - taking all their clothes as well, for good measure.    Not satisfied with this they relieved the inn of all its silverware to boot. 

This reign of terror is reputed to have lasted for 20 years or more before the Sheriff of Bedford raised a small army to deal with the matter. 

However, when he confronted Black Tom the sheriff found himself completely outnumbered by Black Tom and his supporters and the sheriff's men were completely routed.   Having dealt mercilessly with their prisoners the outlaw band are said to have dressed themselves in the clothes of the sheriff's men and tricked their way into a nearby castle where they were welcomed by an unsuspecting owner, whereupon this ruthless mob promptly ransacked the castle of all its valuables. 

By this time the King (unnamed!) had become seriously concerned and took steps to bring the scoundrel before the law.  Black Tom was finally located when he fled across the town and finally leapt into the river to escape capture.  He was hung and quartered, as was the custom of the day, and buried with a stake through his heart. 

A more up-to-date legend has it that Black Tom lived in the 18th century - so named because of his swarthy appearance and coal-black hair.  He was a highwayman who plied his trade in and around the area of what is today called Tavistock Street although, at that time, the houses ended in the vicinity of the Flower Pot Pub.  He appears to have been quite popular among some of the local residents who offered him refuge when the law got too close but he was finally tracked down and while trying to escape...fled across the town and finally jumped into the river to elude capture.  He was dragged from the river and thrown in Bedford Jail to await trial where he was sentenced to hang.  Nobody expected this to happen, however, as it was anticipated that he would appeal and be let off with a lighter sentence due to many people being prepared to speak on his behalf. However the Head Jailer failed to pass his appeal on to the authorities and Black Tom was hung on the gallows that used to stand at the junction of Tavistock Street, Union Street and Clapham Road.  He is reputed to have been buried at this site with a stake through his heart.  The round-a-bout is still known locally as Black Tom’s Grave. 

With the similarities in the stories you can see why I am suggesting that there were two men who somehow became merged into one Black Tom.   The stake through the heart was supposed to prevent the dead man returning to haunt the area but in this, it appears the authorities have failed. 

In the 1840s there were a number of sightings reported, describing the ghastly apparition as staggering along the road with its head rolling about as though the neck had been broken in the hangman's noose.   As they watched the phantom would fade from sight.  Other sightings report a figure standing, with head bowed, at the road-side close to the round-a-bout where the gallows used to stand.  This ghostly figure was last sighted in the 1960s. 

                                            Barbara Corley 


Derek Scott

We are sad to report the death of Derek Scott on Friday 16th April.  Derek will be fondly remembered by many in Odell as the landlord of The Bell for eighteen years.  In August 2003 Derek and his wife Doreen moved to Foster’s Booth (near Towcester), to become landlords of The Red Lion in Watling Street. 

There is a collection box in The Bell for those wishing to make a donation in Derek’s memory.  The collection will be given to a cancer charity of Doreen’s choice. 







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

Jonathan Harrison 721115

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. 



Harrold Odell Country Park

For our April meeting we welcomed Janet Munro from the country park who gave a fascinating talk, without notes, about so many aspects of our very valuable local amenity.  She described the park as a honey pot.  Her recurring theme was accessibility for both the many visitors and the wildlife which it attracts. 

The park has a wide range of habitats all of which have to be carefully managed.  Only two paid staff are employed so most of the tasks are undertaken by groups of volunteers including community payback.  Close links have also been forged with other local amenities such as the Chellington Centre, scout groups, Bedford Museum and Carlton Lower School.

 Janet reminded us that this former gravel pit is very young in terms of wildlife habitat but is actually on an Iron Age site.  In order to attract and maintain a wide range of flora and fauna constant conservation work has to be undertaken which generally takes place between October and March.  We were reassured that the recent major clearing out is coppicing so it will quickly regenerate to give the right habitat for small birds, animals and plants.  Left unmanaged the willows become too big and only really support pigeons, magpies and crows at the expense of the more diverse smaller and more vulnerable species.  The dry autumn allowed the drainage dykes to be opened up which will help to alleviate some of the flooding by enabling water to drain more quickly.  There is also a rolling programme to replant with native species such as alder, ash and oak.  The new willow growth, along with recently planted hazel, is harvested for rural crafts such as willow weaving and wattle and daub.  Wood is sold for burning. 

Janet stressed that it is everybody’s park and in the summer months the emphasis is on providing for the many visitors with facilities for a wide range of interests and needs: bird walks, bat walks, guided walks, fitness walks, history days, cancer charity days, demonstrations by the Harrold Fire and Rescue Service, education resource sheets, den building, pond dipping, memorial benches, the scattering of ashes, play facilities including the skateboard area and goal post, picnic benches and of course the best coffee and cake in the area!  About one in 20 visitors pay the voluntary car park charge which is valuable because of the volume of visitors; all money is ploughed back into the continued management of the facilities. 

Regular visitors may have seen red kites and buzzards flying over head, a rare bittern was sited in the reed beds earlier in the year and to quiet early morning/evening visitors otters were sited in the autumn.  35lbs+ pike, 20lbs carp and 15lbs barbell are resident in the main lake. 

Inevitable there can be a clash of needs and Janet cited irresponsible dog owners who fail to control their animals, allowing them into the protected bird ground-nesting areas, letting them harass people and other dogs and in spite of free dog waste bags failing to clear up after them.  Cyclists who use the narrow footpaths (they are actually only permitted on the wide bridle way) cause major problems for walkers, especially the elderly and young children.  Litter is a constant problem which is managed by a band of volunteer litter pickers. 

Janet also talked about the £35k Playbuilder grant for the play facility for Odell children which is currently under construction, and the new community orchard planted with 45 native heritage fruit and nut trees which has already received a CPRE award.  Further development of this area includes a bridge over the dyke.  They have recently been awarded £18k from the Aggregates Levy Fund for the chainsaw carving project.

No wonder the park has received the Green Flag award for the last 2 years and a CPRE commendation.  This is a resource which we should not take for granted and in spite of most of our members being regular visitors we all learnt a lot. 

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is on 11th May; the AGM combined with a quiz


Jane and Carol

Lynette Hall

Nun Wood Wind Farm                                                                                                   

In the April issue of the Odell magazine an article was featured which advised people as to how they could register their objections to the proposed wind farms in our area.  As this article clearly expressed only one point of view on the subject we invited readers to respond.  We received the following response, but any further comments would be welcomed. 

Blot, Nun Wood Wind Farm Action Group -Response

You might be forgiven for thinking that everyone in the parish objects to the construction of onshore wind turbines.  I for one, am willing to raise my head above the parapet and say that I am fed up with being (by association), included in the anti wind turbine brigade’s conspiracy to pretend that we all feel the same way as they do. 

April’s Parish Magazine article states (in bold letters) ‘You still need to object’.  I would just like to reply ‘I don’t need to object’ and neither does anyone else who wants to encourage ways of cleaning up this beautiful planet of ours.  I’m not saying that every wind farm should go ahead regardless of merit, but neither should every planning application be turned down because a few vocal individuals think that no wind turbines should be built onshore (particularly near where they live).

Whilst offshore wind farms do generally have a higher yield, they are more expensive to build and maintain and are usually further from where the electricity is required.  People should act from an informed position and I for one, will be finding out a bit more about this latest proposal before even thinking about objecting to it!

Elisabeth Evershed, Odell


Harrold-Odell Country Park 

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS

Email:  Website:   Tel: 01234 720016 

Health Walks

Dates:  13th May, 27th May 

Health walks are being run fortnightly on Thursdays in each month.  Meet at 10.30am at the Visitor Centre.
Each walk lasts just over half an hour and is guided by a trained leader. The aim is to improve your physical health and mental wellbeing. Walking regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and depression.You can book beforehand or simply meet on the day.  No dogs please. 

Friends Groups Conservation Day:

Come and join in with practical work to enhance the park for wildlife and visitors on the following date:

Monday 24 May from 10.00a.m 

Dawn Chorus Bird Walk, Saturday 1st May

On Saturday May 1st between 6.30am - 8.30am Richard Dowsett is leading a Dawn Chorus Bird Walk. Meet in the car park.  Charge £2.00 per head. Max. 20 places so booking essential.  Either tel. 01234 720016 or e-mail  

Janet Munro, Assistant Ranger 

Repairs to the Bridge over the river behind The Bell are well under way, at last.  Pictured below is Steve Hewitt, Project Manager, ready to pour the concrete.




Village Hall 

The Quiz on Saturday 24th April was well attended.  Question master Rob Lee was aided by Katherine

Freeman on the scoreboard, while Les Knowles manned the bar.

The winning teams were:

1st Eastenders,

2nd Brains Aren’t Everything


3rd Old Socks




Above: Eastenders (1st place)

Below: Brains aren't everything (2nd)

 and in 3rd place, below, Old Socks


The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

Reg. Charity No 242164    

Man of La Mancha

Friday 14th – Saturday 22nd   May  7.4 5  p m 

by Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh. A musical within a play…. Cervantes’ remarkable tale of Don Quixote … and his ‘Impossible Dream’. Powerful, moving captivating theatre  - A ‘not to be missed’ production.


TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW! - from Sharnbrook Post Office – in person or Bedford Central Box Office 269519*.

10% Discount on parties of 10 or more (excluding Charity Performances)


NB: The action takes place during one Act; (7.45 – about 10.00 pm). As there will be no interval, advance tickets for Alan Aykbourn’s comedy, Round and Round the Garden*, 21 – 25 September, will be available, (only at the theatre), before and after the performance.  

*Wish to take part? Round and Round the Garden read throughs: Tues. 25th  & Fri. 28th May, 7.30 pm. Auditions: Sun. 30th May 2.30 pm; all at The Mill Theatre. Details: Susan Moore 01933 318318 .  



1st 6.30am Dawn Chorus Bird Walk HOCP

3rd 10.00am Fete Signs Painting Day Linden House, Odell

9th 12noon Meadows Children’s Centre Launch Party Sharnbrook Upper School

11th 7.30pm WI Village Hall

12th 10.30am Meeting Point at Sarah’s, 9 Horsefair Lane

13th 10.30am Health Walk HOCP

15th 10.30am Coffee Morning Rectory Farm

15th 7.30pm Ouse Valley Singers & Muse & Music Concert, St. Mary’s, Felmersham

16th 11-00am Service of Thanksgiving at All Saints’, Odell

22nd 7.30pm The Alan Johnson Singers, All Saints’ Odell

24th 10.00am HOCP Conservation Tasks Day

26th 10.30am Meeting Point at Catherine’s, Manor Cottage, Harrold

27th 10.30am Health Walk HOCP

29th 2.30pm Café in the Tower, All Saints’

30th “    “ “ “ “ “

31st “   “ “ “ “ “ 

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the June 2010 magazine to Tricia Hudson (mag1 at or Catherine Corkery by May 12th 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

Do you look after someone who is frail, ill or disabled?...

 ...that makes you a carer. 

For information, support and advice you can now ring the Bedfordshire Carers Helpline: 0300 0123435


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 

Live Trad Jazz first Wednesday  night of the month 

Telephone 01234 720254



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Last revised: May 02, 2010.