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 February/March 2016 - Final Edition

Please note that the dedicated monthly All Saints' Odell parish magazine has now stopped

The Harrold Bridge magazine will include some notices and information for Odell, from April 2016 onwards.

For this web version, instead of monthly updates, we will update the links on the home page which will cover most of the information previously collated here.

For example:

Odell Parish Council minutes on  

Upcoming Village Hall events will be posted on and 

Link to the FaceBook page for the Village Hall on  and News from the Bell is on  

For the latest news about Harrold Odell Country Park

For news about Sharnbrook Mill Theatre

Let me know if there are other links you would like .  

Jon Hudson email: letters at

Happy Birthday to Jack Holden Postles on the10th  February and to anyone else with a birthday in February or March.

Thanks and Farewell

 On behalf of myself as editor and Jon, advertising editor, I would like to say farewell to all our readers, and many thanks to our contributors and distributors and also a very big thank you to Catherine Corkery for her invaluable help as a super-efficient proof reader. Having been editor of the magazine for eighteen years, I am going to miss working with everyone involved and will very much miss the pleasure of producing what I feel was a popular means of communication for Odell villagers.  I hope that, over the years, the magazine has kept villagers better informed about what was going on and has also provided a sense of community.  However, various new demands on my time mean that I can no longer provide the time for the magazine and meet its deadlines, and as no-one has offered to take over this will sadly be the last edition.

However, Debbie Earl, editor of The Bridge magazine, email:  , has kindly agreed to include items of Odell news.  As from April, Odell households will receive a copy of The Bridge, a bi-monthly magazine.  Sheila Weaver has very kindly offered to co-ordinate the distribution of The Bridge in Odell.         Tricia Hudson

Odell Magazine, The Final Copy 

On behalf of the residents of the village of Odell, may I offer our sincere thanks to Tricia and Jon Hudson for producing this magazine for the past 18 years.  It has been an important contribution to the life of the village, keeping us informed about activities, developments and, most importantly, people.  It is not an easy task to edit a Parish Magazine, but Tricia and Jon have done a wonderful job over the years.  Unfortunately,

pressure of time, and an expanding family, has made it more difficult and they decided that they had to retire from the task.  We shall miss the magazine being delivered to us monthly, but it will be replaced by a bi-monthly copy of The Bridge, the magazine produced by Harrold and Carlton, and this will contain the essential Odell news and diary.  This is quite apt, as we shall be linking more closely with Harrold and Carlton when the new team ministers are appointed shortly.   Martin Eshelby.

 W.I. News 

Just before Christmas members enjoyed a Bring and Share Supper at the home of Jim and Doreen Wheeler.  Candles glowed and the table was decorated with holly and ivy and everybody enjoyed a lovely evening putting us in the Christmas spirit! 

At our January meeting we were Kurling in teams of two and enjoyed tea, cakes and Lynette’s delicious meringues.

The meeting on 9th February will be held in the Village Hall at 2.30 pm.  Our speaker will be Margaret Burgon whose talk is entitled “Could Only Happen at a Wedding”.  Hostesses will be Margaret Jones and Sheila Weaver.

At our March meeting on Tuesday 8th, we will welcome Frank Butt who will be reciting Bedfordshire Verse and hostesses will be Jane Eshelby and Karen Boyes. 

New members are always welcome and if you need any more information please ring Rachel Halton (01234 720572).  Ladies, just come along to the Village Hall on the second Tuesday of each month at 2.30 pm and see what we do and how we enjoy ourselves.  To find out more about the WI go to or the local Bedfordshire Federation website,uk/bedfordshire    Jane Eshelby 

Village Hall News 


The village hall was well used last year and happily, some of those activities are set to continue (and even increase!) in 2016 which will ensure that the village hall continues to earn its keep.

Other things happening this year included ‘Burn’s Night’ on the 30th January (this was kindly organised by Lesley Knowles and was sold out), and coming up - a number of theatrical events including the story of Charlotte Brontë presented by Alison Neil (previous Odell show - ‘The Fossil Lady of Lyme’). The committee have also been asked to look into the possibility of a village celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday (including a BBQ on the terrace behind the village hall) to be held on the day following the village fete.

Comments and suggestions for events are always welcome. Just email one of the committee members: Mel Fisher (, Elisabeth Evershed ), Lesley Thomas ( ) or Mike and Karen Oates (  / ).

 Above: the ‘cast’ and puppeteers from ‘The Little Match Girl’, a family Christmas show by Moon on a Stick Productions in the Village Hall on December 20th. The show was well-attended and was rated ‘magical’ by audience members. 

Remedial Works

Painting of the lobby and the gents’ toilets is now complete and the electrics are in the process of being re-connected. This will mean that for Burn’s Night the gents’ toilets should be back in action… hurrah!

There will also soon be new flooring in the lobby, toilets and kitchen. The new external fire door has been fitted, meaning there are now 3 official fire exits: the main double door exit, the exit to the far left of the main hall and the door leading out of the new lobby where the disabled toilet is located. In order to open the new fire door, turn the gold disc below the handle anti-clockwise. To lock the door, lift the handle until it is in a vertical position and turn the disc clockwise.

Car Park

The committee has received a complaint from a local hirer of the hall.

When the village hall is in use, it is important that the hirer is able to park

their car close to the main entrance in order to carry equipment in. The committee request that local residents be considerate when parking their

cars in and around the village hall car park and refrain from parking

there when events are taking place. 

Parish Council Meeting: 18 January  

Bedford Borough Council Budget

The Borough Council Executive will set out its proposed 2016/2017 budget at its meeting on 20 January 2016. The plans will then be debated and voted on at a meeting of all Councillors on 3 February 2016. The budget will include consideration of an array of savings proposals totalling just under £1.3 million which have been the subject of two public consultations.  It will also include plans to vary Council Tax with a proposed increase of 3.99% from 1 April 2016. 

Borough Council Library Strategy

The Borough Council Executive agreed, at its meeting on the 16 December 2015, that the Council will undertake a review of how its library service will be provided in the future. At the beginning of 2016, work will be carried out to understand how the library service is used in terms of service usage, demographics and geography. This part of the review will also consider the needs of key stakeholders such as staff, Parish Councils and any groups affiliated to the libraries and it will identify potential partners for the delivery of the service going forwards.

An initial consultation will begin in the spring which will focus on identifying users’ views and opportunities to change the service.  The results will be considered in April 2016 and service options will be developed and subject to a further consultation between May and September 2016. A strategy is scheduled to be drafted between September and October 2016. 

Parish Councillor Vacancy

An advertisement for the vacancy on the Parish Council had been placed with a closing date of 18 December 2015 and, in response, one application had been received from Mr. Brian Cheadle. Mr. Cheadle had previously served on the Parish Council for a number of years and had the necessary experience and knowledge of the Parish. Mr. Cheadle was co-opted on to the Parish Council. 

Drainage Improvement Works – Little Odell Junction

Repairs to the drains at the Little Odell junction are scheduled to commence on site on 1 February 2016. This had prompted resident concerns at the impact of planned road closures and, in particular, the timing of the works. Parish Councillors have also raised serious concerns given the level of traffic passing through this location. Representations had been made to Borough Highways and the following arrangements had now been agreed: 

Access will be maintained in the mornings until 9.00am.

Works would be suspended and the High Street reopened to traffic if the bridge diversion route is rendered impassable during rain events.

Gritting of the diversion route between Carlton and Felmersham would be undertaken during the closure period. 

Village Play Area

The supply and installation of the new playground equipment and resurfacing works to the Play Area commenced on site on 7 December 2015 and it was envisaged that the new facility would be open to the public before the end of January 2016. A post installation inspection will be undertaken by an independent organisation prior to opening.

Odell Village Hall

The Village Hall Committee continues to meet to plan for the future of this important amenity, including the establishment of a varied events programme. Functions continue with a Burns’ Night fully booked for 30 January 2016 and plans are underway for an event to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday over the Village Fete weekend (11/12 June 2016). The Village Hall continues to function albeit with limited facilities while the kitchen and toilet repair work is carried out. Refurbishment works to improve the facility are progressing well. 

Date of Next Meeting

The Annual Parish Meeting and next meeting of the Parish Council will take place on Monday 21 March 2016 at 7.30pm. The schedule of meeting dates for the remainder of 2016 is as follows:

Monday 16 May 2016, Monday 18 July 2016

Monday 19 September 2016, Monday 21 November 2016

All meetings are scheduled to commence at 7.30pm.

Borough Councillor’s Update for Odell,

January 2016 

Contact Borough Councillor Alison Foster by telephone on 07773371190  or email at 

Council Budget 2016/17 

The Mayor’s Executive will set out its proposed 2016/17 budget for the Borough Council at its meeting on the 20th January.  The plans will then be debated and voted on at a meeting of all councillors on the 3rd February.  The budget will include consideration of an array of savings proposals totalling just under £1.3m which have been the subject of 2 public consultations.  It may also include plans to vary Council Tax. 

An initial consultation ended on the 14th December on efficiencies totalling £0.689m.  The full details of the plans can still be seen at under the ‘Council and Democracy’ and then ‘Consultations’ sections.    

The Chancellor’s Spending Review at the end of November confirmed a ‘real terms’ (i.e. including inflation) reduction in resources for local government over the course of this Parliament.  Specific resource reductions for the Borough Council were confirmed via the Government’s Local Government Finance Settlement in December and will come at a time of higher demand for services, particularly in relation to adult social care.  As a result, the Council has set out additional savings proposals totalling £0.6m for 2016/17.  These were put to consultation on the 7th December and residents had until the 8th January to comment under the ‘Consultations’ section of the Council’s website as outlined above. 

The fresh round of proposals include plans to reduce the budgets for street cleansing (i.e. litter collections, sweeping etc.) and grounds maintenance (i.e. maintenance of parks, amenity areas and sports pitches).  In addition to these proposals there will be reductions in the Council’s workforce which do not require public consultation.

Councils will also, from next year, have the choice to levy an extra 2% Council Tax payment which will be used for social care costs only.  This can be in addition to the existing power to increase Council Tax by 1.99% (a rise of 2% or over is subject to a referendum), meaning that local authorities can now increase their precepts by up to 3.99%.

 Bedfordshire Police 

The Chancellor has decided to protect police budgets as part of the Spending Review.  This means that forces in England Wales will receive an extra £900m in funding by 2019/20, thus alleviating fears of a reduction of resources for Bedfordshire Police in the coming years. 

Parish and Community Special Constables 

In early 2015, Northamptonshire Police introduced ‘Parish Special Constables’.  These officers are volunteers recruited from within their local communities, with all the powers of warranted police officers, for example the power of arrest; to issue fines and stop speeding cars etc. This scheme is a success in Northamptonshire and I would like to see it rolled out in Bedford Borough.  Parish Special Constables will be particularly useful in our rural areas which rarely see police officers who are often too busy in the urban areas of the county to deal with issues such as illegally parked cars, speeding and low level anti-social behaviour in our villages. 

At the Borough Council’s meeting in December, I asked the Council to support a Motion seeking to introduce a similar scheme in the Borough.  The introduction of Parish or Community Specials would provide a sustainable and relatively low cost solution to the lack of visible policing our residents complain of, they would be able to provide reassurance by their presence in the community and knowledge of local issues.   

I am pleased to say the Motion received cross party support and the Council’s Chief Executive has now written to Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to request the implementation of Parish or Community Special Constables serving their specific parishes or local communities.   

Council Library Strategy 

The Mayor’s Executive agreed at its meeting on the 16th December that the Council will undertake a review of how its library service will be provided in the future.

At the beginning of 2016, work will be carried out to understand how the library service is used in terms of service usage, demographics and geography.  This part of the review will also consider the needs of key stakeholders such as staff, parish councils and any groups affiliated to the libraries and it will identify potential partners for the delivery of the service going forwards.  

An initial consultation will begin in the spring which will focus on identifying users’ views and opportunities to change the service.  The results will be considered in April and service options will be developed and subject to a further consultation between May and September.  A strategy is scheduled to be drafted between September and October. 

NHS Review 

A joint committee of Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire councillors received an update at the end of November in relation to the ongoing review of NHS services in Bedfordshire. 

The review began in early 2014 at the behest of NHS England and hospital regulators.  The intention was stated at the outset to amalgamate services between Bedford Hospital and Milton Keynes Hospital whilst better integrating GP and social care services as a means of securing efficiencies and improving service quality.

Nearly two years later, the review has been narrowed down to 2 options which could see the transfer of services from Bedford to Milton Keynes or vice-versa.  The Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the body responsible for organising local NHS services, has, however, been working with local service providers to put forward an alternative option for a ‘Modern District Hospital’ which could see Bedford Hospital expand links with other hospitals and strengthen the integration of community services.

At the meeting the NHS representatives set out a timetable for the remainder of the review.  Further ‘testing’ of the options will continue to take place until January 2016, which in essence means the clinical and financial implications of each option will be assessed.  A full public consultation is scheduled to begin in summer 2016.

 Car Parking Charges 

The Borough Council has revised a number of its town centre car parks charges from January 2016 with the standard 2 hour charge set to increase from £1.60 to £1.80.  Despite this, there will be reductions to season ticket charges and it will also be free to park from 6pm onwards every day. 

In addition, ongoing charges at Queen Street multi-storey car park will be reduced. 

Energy Advice 

Energy bills and keeping warm can be difficult for some people as the temperature starts to drop.  If you would like any advice on bills and keeping warm you can call the Home Heat Helpline.  The line is open 9am-6pm Monday to Fridays on 0800 336699.  Calls are free of charge from landlines.   

Finally I would like to wish all residents of the Ward a very Happy New Year. 

Please do get in touch with me if you have any issues or concerns I may be able to help with. 

Contact Borough Councillor Alison Foster by telephone on 07773371190 or email at                

News from Harrold Odell Country Park 

I’d like to start by wishing everyone reading this a very Happy New Year and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.  I’m still getting used to writing 2016 on the date.

We’ve had a very busy winter so far.  We’re laying hedges in various areas around the lake path.  It’s going to be a humungous job as it is

over-mature and needing a lot of thinning just to get to the best stems to lay.  We then have to peg them in with willow stakes and top it off with long willow binders to hold it all in place.  As I’ve said in previous articles, the stakes and binders have come from our coppice plots which are harvested on rotation. 

The weather to date has been bonkers!  I can’t remember such a prolonged warm period as we saw in November/December.  The continuous SW winds picked up huge amounts of moisture as they passed over the ocean which was then dumped as rain.

Everywhere you look there are plants out extremely early.  I found the earliest hazel catkins in the beginning of December.  They should arrive in the beginning of February!  Ditto our little yellow aconites that flower in the beds next to the café verandah.  Our daffodils arrived during the second week of January and some birds like our blue tits were showing signs of wanting to nest.  It’s going to come as a horrible shock to all these things when we start to get proper winter weather. 

You may have noticed that there have been a lot of tree works this year.  Some of it is the result of storm damage where we’ve had to make safe trees that have either come down completely or have been partially uprooted and become hazardous.

The poplars adjacent to the playgrounds next to the café had to go because they were leaning precariously towards these facilities.  They have Hornet Clearwing Moth infestation which causes them to rot from the inside whilst the tree looks sound from the outside.

The good timber will be cut up and split for firewood which we sell to the community for log burning stoves.  The new boardwalk overlooking the Dragonfly Pond is nearing completion.  There were several mature willows overshadowing it.  Anyone who knows about willow will know that branches have a tendency to snap off unexpectedly.  We got professional tree surgeons in to pollard them.  New growth will sprout from the remaining trunks in the spring.

To do this they had to climb to the canopy and cut sections off a bit at a time.  Since they were cut back, volunteers from the Friends Group together with Community Payback groups have helped us deal with the spoil and stack the good timber to season for next winter’s logs.

Finally on the subject of trees we have finally got over to the island to coppice and pollard the willows opposite the bird hide that are falling into the lake.  It’s a logistical nightmare as we need to ferry people and equipment across using the park’s boat.  Also, nearly every one falls into the lake when felled requiring us to use our hand winch to get them out.  We’re going to have muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Former Governor of California, by spring!  The winter ducks like goldeneye and goosanders are here now along with other migrants like fieldfares and redwings (Scandinavian thrushes).  While we were on the island on Jan. 6th we noticed two unusual cormorants (see photograph).  We’re not 100% sure what species they are but they were very distinctive.  Last December we had a Great Egret which got twitchers from miles around very excited. 

Dates for your Diary 

Health Walks

These free walks happen every other Thursday.  We meet outside the café entrance at 10.30am and walk for an hour to improve health and wellbeing, provide an opportunity to socialise and if you want, have a coffee and a natter at the end.  Leaders: Janet Munro and Lindsey Alton.  For more information please call 01234 720016 or e-mail

Thursday February 11th & 25th

Thursday March 10th & 24th 

Friends Group Task Days

There are opportunities to get involved with conservation tasks like hedge laying and coppicing on the last Monday of every month (a week earlier if a Bank Holiday).  We meet at the staff office inside the café at 10am.  You will need a packed lunch, sturdy footwear and warm clothes.  We provide refreshments, gloves and tools.  For more information call 01234 720016 or e-mail   


On Saturday Feb. 13th at 6pm we will be holding a traditional Wassailing event.  We will be meeting in the overflow car park.

Traditionally apple trees, particularly those being harvested for cider making were blessed by driving away evil spirits thereby ensuring a bumper harvest.

The idea is to form a procession to the chosen tree where we make as much noise as possible by shouting and hollering, banging drums, (an old saucepan and wooden spoon will do) and sing a traditional Wassail song.  We will sprinkle cider around the tree roots and drink mulled cider (apple juice for anyone driving or too young) and eat apple cake.  Booking is absolutely essential – we need to know how many to cater for.  Please call 01234 720016 or e-mail  There is a poster on the website with others displayed around the park.      Janet Munro Country Park Guardian 

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook 

Facebook:   Twitter: @SMTTheatre

Beloved Clara: Sunday 28th February

At  The Quarry Theatre At St Lukes, St Peters Street, Bedford. 7.00 pm.  Champagne & Canapés 6.15 pm.

Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann – a true story of passion, music and tragedy…The distinguished award-winning pianist LUCY PARHAM with JOANNA DAVID and MARTIN JARVIS, two of our finest English actors, bring to life, in words and music, the story of the intense relationship between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara and the young Johannes Brahms.

This performance is in aid of the Sharnbrook Mill Theatre’s £300,000 appeal to enable a green-energy based heating and natural ventilation system to be installed at the theatre. We are very privileged to be able to present a special performance of this fascinating show and are hugely grateful to the distinguished artists who are donating their time to perform it.

Tickets  £20 From The Quarry Theatre Box Office:  10 – 12 pm Mon. – Sat. 

01234 362337;   Early Booking Advised   

Romeo & Juliet:  Monday 14th – Saturday 19th  March. 2016 at 7.30 pm

Shakespeare’s tragic renaissance tale of the “star-crossed lovers,” played amidst a vicious feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, is here, brought squarely up to date by Director Barry Thompson.

Set in ‘Verona-on-Sea’ with an essentially twentieth century Mods versus Rockers theme and infused with the music of that era, this modern spin on the Bard’s enduring story loses none of the sorrow and suffering or the poetry and perfection of the Elizabethan original. 

Think ‘Quadrophenia’ meets ‘West Side Story’ and do not miss a moving and memorable theatrical experience.

TICKETS:  [Monday 14th Charity sponsored night; Tuesday 15th Schools night] Wed/Thurs. £10. – Fri. /Sat. £11. BOOKING ON-LINE  from 1st February and from 5 weeks before first night at  Sharnbrook : Twinkle, Twinkle Boutique, 67a High Street, (in person only)  or  Bedford Corn Exchange Box Office,  St Pauls Square  (01234) 718044.  Groups: 10+ 10% discount (01234) 781372.  



3rd 10.30am Meeting Point at Madeline’s, 15 Horsefair Lane

9th 2.30pm WI at Odell Village Hall

11th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk

13th 6pm Wassailing in HOCP

17th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane Eshelby’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Rushden

25th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk

28th 7pm ‘Beloved Clara’, Quarry Theatre at St. Luke’s, St. Peter’s St., Bedford


2nd 10.30am Meeting Point at Jill’s, Rectory Farm

4th 10.30am Women’s World Day of Prayer,St. Peter’s, Pavenham

8th 2.30pm W.I. Odell Village Hall

9th 12.30pm Senior Citizens’ Fish and Chip Lunch

10th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk

16th 10.30am Meeting Point at Eileen Nottage’s, Heydown, High St. 

21st 7.30pm Annual Parish Meeting and Parish Council Meeting, Village Hall

21st 8pm Compline at St. Peter’s, Harrold

22nd 8pm “ “ URC, Harrold

23rd 8pm “ “ All Saints’, Odell

24th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk

24th 8pm Compline at St. Mary’s, Carlton

25th 2pm An Hour at the Cross, URC, Harrold

27th 10.30am Easter Sunday Holy Communion at All Saints’, Odell

30th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane Smith’s, Horsefair Lane 

Thank you Advertisers 

Many thanks to all our advertisers who have supported the printed edition of the Odell Magazine over the years.  I started organising the advertising when Liz Dodwell was editor-in-chief back in 1991 – I notice that three advertisers from back then have been continuous supporters.  They are Chimney Sweep Alan Sanderson, Plumber RP Testa and Photograph restorer Black and White revival.  An extra big thank you to them!  Jon Hudson


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Wodehill Cheese — hand-made in Carlton 

Wodehill Blue is a semi-soft creamy blue cheese

made with milk from Jersey cows in Carlton 

Nearest stockists:  Hurleys in Sharnbrook and Carlton Village Shop



Alex Stubbs Flooring 

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

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07976 260572

01234 240954


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Last revised: February 03, 2016.