Back to the Odell Home Page


October 2010

Saturday 25th September was the day of the village scarecrow competition......


(if your scarecrow isn't shown, and you'd like a picture of it on here, then email a picture of it to mag1 at


and the Bozeat Windmill Singers entertained us at the Village Hall Harvest Supper that same evening:



Dick Robinson  27/05/24 – 04/09/10 

Reginald Leonard Robinson, who everyone knew as Dick, was born at Hinwick, the youngest of 13 children.  Like his father, he worked on the land, continuing to work for Sanders at Snelson, Lavendon, well into his 80’s. 

His sister May, a land-army girl worked for Lord Luke as dairy maid, and when she later became unable to work because of arthritis, Dick cared for her – a commitment which was to last for many years.  Without complaining, he became sole cook, cleaner and carer as well as continuing his full-time job on the farm. 

Content to live a simple life, in the countryside he loved, Dick was a familiar sight, cycling between local villages in all weathers, never without his cap.  Dick loved his garden, and every year would send to Holland for the best new bulbs.  Saving most of the money he earned, he was able to buy the bungalow in Horsefair Lane, outright.  He cycled to Olney with the money in a carrier bag, much to the amazement of the estate agent. 

Dick knew everyone in the village, and everyone knew him.  He loved to talk with the children - always finding a few sweets for them.  On Valentine’s day, all the young ladies of his acquaintance received a card, sent in affectionate and innocent fun. 

Looking at Dick’s long life (86 years), his many acts of kindness and selfless generosity to others, we know these sprang from a good and true heart, from someone who gave much, asking for little in return.

 Thank you

To all the friends and neighbours of Dick Robinson, 'Ruth and family' and 'Irene and family' would like to thank everybody who helped him.  We know he thought a lot of all of you, and Odell has lost a real character.

Birthdays in October

Happy birthday to Lottie Robinson on the 18th and to anyone else with a birthday in October.

Round and About 

Tragedy that Shook Bedfordshire 

This month marks the anniversary of a pioneering adventure that, quite literally, crashed in flames.  This is the 80th anniversary of an event that placed Bedfordshire at the centre of national - if not international - news ...... and was tragically to end in disaster.  I am, of course, referring to the crash of the R 101 airship on 5th October 1930.  Created and built at Cardington by a team of expert craftsmen, most of whom had come together to live in Bedfordshire for the sole purpose of furthering the design and development of airships. 

Perhaps a less well known fact is the connection these events had with the village of Odell.  Lt. Col. V.C. Richmond became the head of the R 101 design committee and while he was working at Cardington he made his home in Odell.  He, and his wife, lived at The Old Rectory (now known as The Manor).  He joined the R 101 team in 1926 at the Royal Airship Works at Cardington (on the outskirts of Bedford) and although he had no flying experience joined the crew in October 1929. 

Lt. Col. Richmond was educated at the Royal College of Science in London.  In 1915 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service and worked on the construction of non-rigid airships.  In 1920 he was sent to Germany where he took charge of the surrender of airships and seaplanes.  In 1921 he joined the Airship Research Department where he was engaged in research into the problems connected with rigid airship construction, he also lectured in airship design.  In 1924 he was Officer in Charge of Design and Research during which time the R 101 was being designed and constructed. 

The R 101 took 8 years to build and was the pride and joy of much of Bedfordshire and those involved in its construction were feted as local heroes.  The loss of the R 101 shocked the entire nation and in Bedford, where the people involved were household names, the population was cast into deep mourning.

For 8 years the dedicated team worked on the construction of this incredible creation and, when it finally took to the sky in1929 the local paper reported that a million people turned out to watch the event.  In recognition of this popularity among the local people on each successive test flight, the pilots never failed to fly a triumphal lap above the town of Bedford and as a result the townsfolk could observe her progress and she was a familiar sight to local residents.

One year later the R 101 was to take off on that fateful flight.  The airship became airborne and, after the familiar lap of honour over Bedford, headed towards London at 7.30 pm.  As she passed over Hitchin observers claimed she was tipping at the nose.  At 10.00 pm the airship crossed the Kent coastline and by mid-night was over France and heading towards Paris.  She never arrived.

The R 101 crashed to earth near the little French village of Allone, close to Beauvais, and promptly burst into flames.  48 crew and passengers perished, while just 6 survived.  Amongst the dead were the Air Minister and 2 directors.  The crew and passengers were returned to England where a national memorial service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, attended by the then Prince of Wales. 

The 48 coffins were brought to Bedford Railway Station and mourners lined the route of the funeral procession which wound a course all the way from the station to the village of Cardington.  It seemed as though the entire town had turned out to pay tribute. 

The bodies were finally laid to rest on the 11th October 1930 in St. Mary's churchyard, Cardington.  A huge 30ft. grave had been prepared, with sloping sides, so that the coffins, each draped with the Union Jack, could be marched into place, rather than lowered into the ground.

Lt. Col. Richmond, of course, was not buried at Odell, he lies with his companions at Cardington.  A memorial plaque, however, has been placed in All Saints Church, just beside the door as you go in.  His widow continued to live at The Old Rectory for a number of years before moving to Felmersham.                                                        Barbara Corley

Above: The massive hangers in Cardington which housed the R101 and its sister ship R100.

Below: Photograph of the grave of the R101 victims, courtesy of ‘Roll of Honour’

Plaque to the memory of Lt. Colonel Richmond, in All Saints’ Church, Odell next to the left of the main (South) door


Village Farmhouse

Gift Sale

Monday 11th October 6-9pm

Wine and nibbles

Tuesday 12th October 9.30am-1pm

Coffee and biscuits


94 High Street


Beds MK43 7AS

Donations for refreshments in aid of Independent Age

Gifts include: Scandinavian Christmas gifts, Schon Design mugs and cushions, stocking fillers, Miglio Jewellery, Phoenix Trading Christmas cards and wrapping paper.


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.


September’s meeting had a wedding photos theme and the nine members who were able to attend enjoyed a very pleasant evening.  The photos shared went back as far as the 1920s but most were member’s own or of their parents or children.  One member makes wedding cakes and dresses and she brought photos of these which added interest. 

Our next meeting is Call My Bluff with Dot Wigg, a presenter not to be missed.  All are welcome to this in the Village Hall on Tuesday 12th October at 7.30pm.


Barbara and Audrey

Lynette Hall


WI Grand Jumble Sale

In aid of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Air Ambulance


The Teapoint Fund 

Saturday October 23rd

Odell Village Hall


Admission 50p

Including Bric-à-Brac, Nearly New


Please bring any donations to the hall from 10.00am on October 23rd or arrange with Doreen Wheeler on 720358 to leave things at 93 High Street or to have them collected 


Odell Parish Council

Notes of a meeting of Odell Parish Council held on Tuesday, 7th September 2010 at 7.30 pm in Odell Village Hall 

Present: Cllr. R. Halton [Chair]; Cllrs. B. Cheadle, P. Crotty, T. Freeman, N Goodman, A. Sharpe, S. Robinson. 

Apologies for absence
There were no apologies for absence.

Minutes of last meeting
Cllr. Robinson asked for clarification of the tendering process, which was provided by the Chairman.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 17th May were approved and duly signed as a true record of the proceedings.

Matters arising
Bridges Update:  Frequent updates have been emailed as and when received from the Contractor.  Final rectification work is being undertaken and it is hoped this will be completed shortly to the satisfaction of all residents.

Playbuilder Project:
Fencing –
The Chairman said all that was being awaited was for the fencing to be ordered by the Country Park, as the financing had been agreed.

Responsibility roles:  Cllr. Robinson reported on his meeting with the Country Park representatives to try to determine responsibility for certain areas of the project.  Items discussed included the provision of an Accident Book and an extension of the grasscutting around the play area.  We will ask our grasscutter for costings and the Country Park will also investigate to see if this can be undertaken without any additional cost to the Parish Council. Cllr. Robinson, in conjunction with Cllr. Freeman, has started to implement monthly inspections but we have to ensure the statutory annual inspection is put in place on the back of the Borough's inspection circuit, to keep the costs to a minimum.
The agreement between Harrold and the Country Park for the skate park was tabled as a model for the agreement we need to have with the Park; the Country Park manager has asked the Parish Council to produce a similar document but as this is a legal issue, it should first be investigated with the Borough Council's legal department to see if they will produce the necessarydocument.  The Chairman will ask the Park Manager to check this out.

Signage:  in the absence of Cllr. Charsley, it was not possible to determine if the Playbuilder Committee was still in situ but it is presumed it is not.  Cllr. Robinson stated that the introduction of signs was discussed at the meeting with the Country Park representatives and certain wording mooted.  It was agreed that any signs should be reasonably substantial but not too costly and pricing will be investigated once appropriate wording has been agreed and approved.

Horsefair Lane parking:  Cllr. Halton has again met with Mr. Prigmore [Highways] to see if there is anything that can be done to restrict public parking in Horsefair Lane.  The answer from Mr. Prigmore was that as it is a public highway and therefore people can park where they wish. 
Unless the Parish Council wishes to ask for double yellow lines to be put in place which would preclude any parking at all, then there is nothing that can lawfully be done to prevent parking.  Mr. Prigmore did state that perhaps a temporary sign could be placed at the top of the Lane stating that there was no vehicular access to the Country Park; councillors felt this could only be helpful but as it was only to be a temporary measure, thought it would be more useful to leave it until the Spring as visitor numbers should start to fall over the coming months.
Cllr. Halton said that it would appear the major problem on a Sunday was caused by overspill visitors to The Bell, who were parking further down Horsefair Lane.  Councillors continue to be acutely aware of the frustration felt by some residents due to the double parking that sometimes takes place and hence have done everything they can within their power to find a suitable solution but, as stated, nobody is breaking any law. 

Village Hall Update
Quotations – new door:  Cllr. Freeman produced the required three quotes for the provision of a suitable disabled door.  The funding for this was discussed and it was agreed that application will be made to the Borough for the appropriate grant which could provide half of the required sum, and the Borough Councillor would be approached to see if the remainder could be funded from his Ward fund.
Exterior groundwork:  Cllr. Freeman has prepared the specification for this and to date only has his own quotation to hand; further quotes are expected within the next week or two. Cllr. Freeman said he has managed to acquire sufficient slabs to carry out the work, which will reduce the somewhat substantial cost.  Due to the extensive nature of the groundwork required to make the area safe and usable, costs will be over £5000.  After some discussion on how this was to be achieved and whether the project should be delayed, it was agreed that the two projects should both be proceeded with even if a small loan is required from the Public Works Loan Board to achieve this.  Figures will be researched from the PWLB to give an indication of repayment costs and timescales.

Cllr. Crotty said there was nothing new to report on highways issues; the work carried out to date had been satisfactory.  There is a problem with drains in the High Street extending from Rill Cottage to The Bell, and the Clerk will investigate the possibility of these being cleared.

Bedford Borough matters
The Chairman tabled a re-submitted planning application in respect of Granary Farm; although the land is not being used for agriculture purposes, the necessity for the family to be housed was appreciated and sympathetic consideration given to the application.

Cllrs. Robinson and Goodman will be attending the Borough's Planning Workshop on the 20th September.

Cllr. Halton had a copy of the Green Lane consultation document; nobody had any particular issues with this so she will respond accordingly.

Councillors were reminded that the Mayor will be visiting The Bell on Tuesday, 26th October under his 'Pints in the Parishes' initiative and anyone interested is welcome to see him there from 7.15 onwards.

The Borough Council's “Special Area Charges” document previously circulated was discussed; the Clerk will complete this and return to the Borough Council.

Harrold/Odell Country Park
A further open 'Park Day' is planned for October – details will be published shortly.  Efforts are being made to keep the Orchard trees alive; the Orchard has again been entered into the CPRE's scheme.  There are ongoing concerns about funding to maintain current staffing levels, in the present financial climate.

The cumulative accounts circulated – nothing specific to report.  The Chairman inserted an extra Agenda item, being the resignation of the Clerk as from the November meeting. 

Discussion was held on the process of finding a suitable replacement and the Clerk suggested Louise Ashmore should be contacted at the Beds RCC for information on appropriate documentation as well as circulation of the vacancy.

The Chairman announced that she would also be standing down as Chair at the next meeting; she felt that as she had had such an excellent working relationship with the Clerk, it would be more appropriate for a new Clerk and new Chairman to start at the same time.

Correspondence and Requests

Specifically for the Business of the meeting
Cllr. Goodman asked what was involved in the siting of a convex mirror; the Chairman explained the position regarding the placing of these and the restrictions regarding siting.
Cllr. Cheadle reported that the grazing field has been topped but he has not yet received an invoice for the work.  He has engaged a contractor to undertake some hedgecutting but this will not be done until October.

Date of next meeting:    Monday, 15th November at 7.30 p.m.
Cllrs. Crotty and Sharpe gave their apologies in advance for the November meeting.

There being no other business, the meeting closed at 9.00 p.m. 

Mayor to Visit The Bell

The Mayor of Bedford will visit The Bell on Tuesday 26th October as part of his ‘Pints in the Parishes’ initiative—a drive to save the village pubs.  If you would like to speak to him he will be there from 7.15pm onwards. 


Harrold-Odell Country Park

Landscape photograph of the Country Park, taken by Terry Youngman, a Friend of HOCP


Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS

Email:  Website:

Tel: 01234 720016 

The Park is now gracefully sliding into autumn and the hedgerows are bursting with all kinds of lovely fruits.  We’ve had a bumper crop of blackberries and crab apples this year – great news for this Park Ranger who has a weakness for fruit crumble and custard and crab apple jelly.  I’ve been very busy stocking up my freezer. 

We still haven’t had anywhere near the usual amount of rain this year.  Localised downpours yes, but not many sustained wet days.  Water levels in the ground, lakes and rivers remain much lower than normal.  This has caused us problems with toxic blue-green algae in the large lake and this has only just begun to dissipate. 

Grebe Lake is always affected during drought conditions unlike the small lake.  This is because there are two streams flowing into it from the surrounding farmland containing dissolved fertiliser residues.  They change the fertility of the water, allowing the algae to bloom in prolonged hot sunny weather.  The small lake however, only has water flowing into it if the river floods.  There are no streams entering it thus the water has a different quality. 

While the algae signs are up do not allow your dogs into the lake as the algae can make them ill. 

The Community Orchard at Odell has been re-entered for an award from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) in their Landscape Improvement category.  We won a highly commended last year after we removed scrub, rubbish and nettles from the planting site at the back of the houses at Horsefair Lane. 

This year, we wanted them to come back and see the progress we’ve made and we eagerly await the judge’s decision.  We would like to thank the volunteers, particularly David Bedborough and Trevor Smith who steadfastly watered the new trees during the drought.  Also, Harrold Fire Brigade who, as a training exercise, put several hundred gallons of water on the orchard.  If it wasn’t for them, the trees would have died. 

October will see us resume coppicing and hedgelaying activities around the park.  Recent strong winds have brought down a poplar and three willows which have had to be cleared up.  Some of you will also have noted the damage to Harrold Bridge when riverside trees were blown down.  There will be a programme of assessment of all the larger trees within the park, looking primarily at safety.  Anything dodgy will be cut down.  These trees will then re-grow from the stumps. 

The car park donations you so generously give are administered by our Friends Group and ploughed back into the Park.  Recently they have purchased a small trailer for us to ferry tools, wood, cuttings etc to where they need to go.  It has helped our workload enormously and will be put to very good use during the winter work programme. 

On October 24th, we are putting on a Living from the Landscape Day between with Bedford Museum between 11am – 4pm.  This is a free family event where you can come and watch various crafts people using natural materials to create useful utensils and decorative pieces.  There will be an opportunity to buy some of the produce and take part in

various activities during the day.  You will also be entertained by the Hemlock Morris Dancers between 1pm – 3pm.  We hope to see you there.  For more info please call 01234 20016 or e-mail or

Walking 4 Health – Meets every other Thursday in the car park at 10.30am. Leader Janet Munro.  We walk for approx 1hour to improve your health and vitality and an opportunity to discover what’s on your doorstep.  Dates are as follows:

Oct. 14th

Oct. 28th 

Friends’ Conservation  tasks - 10am

Monday 25th October

                                    Janet Munro, Assistant Warden

Village Hall

Events in October

Quiz Night 16th October. 

Usual teams of 6.  Contact Rob Lee 720730 to book your table. 

Coming up in November:

Hair of the Dog 27th November.  More details nearer the time.

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook 

Les Miserables, School Edition. , 12th – 20th November , 7.45pm 

By Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer

Matinées: Sat. 13th and 20th at 2 pm 

 “One of the greatest musicals ever written”.

This edition of the show is performed entirely by students of 19 years and under. 

NB Fri.12th Charity night; no performance Mon 15th  

Tickets available at Box Offices from 4th October

Saturday Matinees £9, Tues. – Thurs. evenings £10, Fri.& Sat. evenings £12

Bedford Central Box Office 269519

Sharnbrook Post Office – in person

Early booking advised 

Due to popular demand - the return of The Mill Theatre’s Christmas Revue : The perfect introduction to the Festive Season!e

Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th December

Now Booking: Tickets £16 including Fish and chip supper.  Limited availability. 


3rd 10.00am Service of Blessing of Belarus boxes.

6th 10.30am Meeting Point at Christine’s.

11th 6.00pm Gift Sale, Village Farmhouse.

12th 9.30am “ “ “ “

12th 7.30pm WI Village Hall.

14th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk.

16th 9.45am All Saints’ Amblers meet at The Bell.

16th 7.30pm Quiz Night, Village Hall.

20th 12.30 Senior Citizens’ Autumn Lunch, Village Hall.

23rd 2.00pm W.I. Jumble Sale, Village Hall.

24rd 11.00am Living in The Landscape, HOCP.

25th 10.00am HOCP Conservation Tasks Day.

26th 7.15pm Mayor to visit The Bell.

27th 10.30am Meeting Point at Catherine’s, Manor Cottage, Harrold.

28th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk.

30th 10.00am Fairtrade Café, Village Hall. 

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the November 2010 magazine to Tricia Hudson (mag1 at or Catherine Corkery by October 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


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



Back to the Odell Home Page

Last revised: September 27, 2010.