Back to the Odell Home Page


December 2005/ January 2006

Odell Luncheon Club

Invites you to join us

on Wednesday 14 December 2005

at 12.30 for 1.00pm

For Christmas lunch

In the Village Hall

Please let Roma know (on 01234 720431) by

Tuesday 6 December if you are able to join us.


Sian Fox from Sainsbury’s was a welcome return visitor to Odell W.I. this month. She last spoke to us 4 years ago. She spoke on various topics ranging from new products in store for Christmas to the new suggestion cards that some of us had noticed when shopping. However the main part of the talk was to explain her new role within Sainsbury’s as one of only 51 people in the whole of the U.K. who go into schools and continue the campaign to change the eating habits of the younger generation by educating them in healthy food. This builds on the campaign to change the poor state of school meals launched by Jamie Oliver who has links with Sainsbury’s. She is based in Biggleswade and finds that every day is different with new challenges, but obviously is delighted to be given this opportunity.

She then felt we deserved a treat and had brought two Christmas Puddings along for us to try from their extensive range with some mulled wine to wash them down. A thoroughly enjoyable evening enjoyed by us all.

December meeting

Our December meeting will be held at Rachel Halton’s house on the 6th as it is time to celebrate Christmas with a bring and share meal.

Rachel Halton 720572

Live Music at The Swan Inn Felmersham

Live Folk Music December 11th and every second Sunday evening. guest beers, e.g. unicorn, badger etc.

Contact landlord Stewart McGregor, The Swan Inn, Felmersham Road, Radwell, Beds MK43 7HS
Tel: 01234 781351.

Wind Farm Proposal

Thanks to everyone who returned a form to the Parish Council. Of the forms returned 84% were opposed to the development, 11.5% supported it and 4.5% had no view either way. Accordingly your Parish Council has sent a letter to the planning department opposing the development.

Rachel Halton, Chairman Odell Parish Council

Harrold-Odell Country Park


Please join in with any of these events at the Park. There isn’t a charge but any donation you make will help us to put on further activities.

Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS

Tel: 01234 720016 or email:

Winter Birds of HOCP

Sunday 18 December 10am – 2pm

Discover our winter wildfowl on the lakes and river. Listen for winter songbirds and look out for winter visitors. You don’t need to be an

experienced bird watcher to attend.

Bring some binoculars if you have them.

Christmas Quiz

Every day during the school holidays you can follow the trail around the Park. Pick up a quiz sheet, pencil and clipboard from the Visitor Centre. See if you can work out the Christmas clues. Don’t forget to post your entry in the box back at the Visitor Centre. There are lots of prizes!

Harrold Odell Circular Walk

Sunday 1 January 2006 10am – 4pm

Start the New Year with this healthy event! A winter walk through the wonderful countryside of North Bedfordshire, taking in the River Great Ouse and Odell Great Wood, as well as the Country Park. The walk will be muddy so walking boots and warm clothing are essential.

Village Hall News


If you have an idea or can help with these let us know, and if you would like a venue for a private function, the very reasonable hire fee helps us maintain the hall.

The Quiz, 19th November

As usual this challenging and hugely enjoyable evening was a very popular event, with a wide age range in participants. Rob Lee compiled the questions – which really got us picking our brains – and guided us through the rounds, aided by Bethan and Nikki Freeman keeping score.

In first place came ‘The Mad Dogs’ with an impressive score of 100,

followed by ‘The Gimboids’ and ‘Brains Aren’t Everything’ in joint

second place and ‘Eastenders’ in third.


6.45 Club.

You may have noticed a bit more action around on Monday evenings in the Village Hall. We have been pleased to welcome the 6:45 club to our hall. The club has for many years been held at Hobbs Green and this term moved to a new home. Many children, some now grown up, will have enjoyed many activities with the club and we wish them well in their first Christmas here in the Village Hall.

Christmas Party - 20th December. We will be holding a Christmas party for the youngsters on the evening of 20th December. Do come along, and, mums and dads, we would be pleased if you could stay as well. Do let us know who can attend so we can arrange for goodies!

Burns Night Saturday 21stJanuary.

Burns Night celebrations will take place in the Village Hall on Saturday 21st January 2006, 7.30 for 8.00pm. Come and join in with the feasting and dancing!

Tickets at £8 and £6 (concessions) to include haggis, neeps and tatties and a wee dram. Phone 721860 for tickets.

Waste Paper Collection - Thank you for bringing your waste paper to the bins. Though the return is small, every little bit helps financially and of course the waste is recycled.

Do please support our events, and do suggest to us your ideas for alternative activities.

Rob Lee (720730) on behalf of the Village Hall Committee.

Round and About

From St Nicholas to…

With the Festive Season fast approaching I decided to have a look into the background of the legend of Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) and it has been a long and tortuous path - all the way from the year 270 AD.

The foundations of this seasonal legend are grounded in the real life, flesh and blood, story of a man who became known to the world as St. Nicholas.   He was born in the then Greek town of Patra now situated in present day Turkey and although in life he never travelled far from where he was born, in death he was destined to travel far.

Born in the year 270 he was the son of wealthy parents who secretly followed the Christian faith in a pagan world ruled by Rome.   People at this time were constantly watched over by an ever vigilant Roman army and any people discovered following the Christian faith were severely persecuted.

Nicholas was orphaned at an early age as a result of plague and he found himself in possession of a small fortune.   A lesser man would have used his wealth on high living and travel, but not Nicholas.  He was more inclined to give it away.

The first and, perhaps, best known act of generosity came when he was still a young man.   A local citizen had fallen upon hard times and found himself unable to provide for his three daughters.  No young girl at this time could hope to make a respectable marriage without a dowry and this wretched man could not provide a dowry even for his eldest daughter, let alone all three.  Things looked bleak and the man was in despair.  Hearing of his plight Nicholas, under the cover of darkness, secretly left, on three separate occasions, a bag of gold coins as a dowry for these three daughters.  On the third occasion the father was able to identify his benefactor and talked widely of the generosity of Nicholas and how he had made it possible for his three daughters to make good marriages.

Nicholas moved to the town of Myra, where most of his charitable works were to take place.   Because of his deeply held Christian beliefs he was appointed Bishop of Myra.   The Roman Empire by now was beginning to disintegrate and Christianity was daring to show its face.  Rome had other things to think about.

In the year 313 Nicholas heard of three Christians who had been sentenced to be beheaded.  He rushed to the scene and dashed the sword from the executioner’s hand, thus stopping the executions until he was able to secure the release of the three men.  He is also reputed to have saved the town of Myra from starvation.  Other stories relate to Nicholas reviving a number of children and raising them from the dead.  He was, however, also known to be hot-tempered.  In 325 he attended a meeting of Bishops when he is reputed to have had a disagreement with one of the Bishops and the affair only ended when he struck the man down.

Nicholas died in the year 340 when he was about 70 years old.  His supporters built a special church to hold his remains where it is claimed annual miracles took place on the anniversary of his death, when perfume exuded from his grave.  He was declared to be a saint and priests tended to his tomb.  The perfume was mixed with Holy Water and called "manna" and had healing properties.  The priests took to selling small bottles of this "manna" to travellers and soon a healthy sale of this holy water sprang up attracting pilgrims from a great distance and his tomb became renowned.

 At this point his story takes quite a different direction.  The town of Bari, in Italy, had fallen upon hard times.  In 1087 the town elders were looking about for a form of income and they noted that towns with holy relics could make a fortune as a site of pilgrimage.  They decided to steal the bones of St. Nicholas and bring them to Bari.  The Basilica di Nicola was built to receive his relics and a band of pirates employed to ransack his grave.  The pirates crept into Myra during the night and smashed open the tomb, barely escaping with an incomplete skeleton.  Myra still preserves the remaining bones whilst the rest of him was taken to Bari.

At Bari a completely new legend to St. Nicholas developed around the new shrine.  Once again perfumed "manna" arose from his remains and the monks would sell small phials of the perfumed water to travellers and pilgrims ensuring that Bari became a popular tourist destination.

St. Nicholas was declared the Patron Saint of Russia, of youth (no doubt because of his association with children), to travellers, merchants and sailors.  Strangest of all he became Patron Saint of thieves.  Was this because his body was pirated away by thieves? supersonic Santa.

The modern day custom of the generous benefactor bestowing gifts on children at Christmas began in the 12th century when French nuns, inspired by the legend of St. Nicholas and the three bags of gold, took to leaving stockings filled with nuts and oranges at the door of poor families upon the anniversary of his death.  Nuts and oranges are still a major part of the Christmas scene today and until quite recently children’s Christmas stockings contained an orange in the toe, an apple in the heel and nuts were placed in the leg.  News of the donations by the nuns soon began to spread and the custom was picked up across Europe.  By the 16th century the custom of gifts for children had become firmly anchored into the Christmas scene.  From this time the European Christmas of giving to children began to evolve and with a little help from Charles Dickens the familiar scene of Christmas as we know it today began to take shape.

Dutch settlers carried the idea to America where the whole idea took off on that continent as well.  In America the legend of the 4th.century benefactor evolved into a small elfin character dressed in green who arrived at Christmas bearing gifts.  ‘Coca Cola’ is famous for making an advertising presentation of an elderly, white haired gentleman, with flowing beard and dressed completely in red.  By the 20th century the entire phenomena had developed into a merry character sporting a long white beard zooming about the world on a supersonic sledge drawn by reindeer.  The European and American traditions at some time became totally entwined.  Time has embellished the legend with additional attributes and as all good legends go, the story will, no doubt, continue to grow.  It is a beautiful concept and should surely be cherished.

Hush .....ssshhh ... can you hear it ..... the sleigh bells gently ringing in the frosty air of Christmas Eve.  Who could fail to believe that Santa will visit the bedside of every little boy and girl as his supercharged sleigh speeds around the world. How does he do such a short amount of time...? It is all a part of the magic that is Christmas.

Barbara Corley

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



The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook


7 – 11 March: Humble Boy

Poignant, clever comedy (Details in Jan.)

12 – 20 May: Return to the Forbidden Planet

Science Fiction Cult Rock Musical

Wish to take part? Auditions: Sun. 4 Dec.

26 – 30 Sept: The Diary of Anne Frank

A Poignant Wartime Drama

17 – 25 Nov: Oklahoma!

The Musical Classic! Not to be missed


· Sharnbrook Post Office – in person – Your local booking point.

· Bedford Central Box Office # 01234 269519 (Credit/Debit Cards accepted)

· Party bookings (01234) 781372 (10+? 10% discount, excl. Charity/Gala performances)

Access for the disabled: new Foyer-to-Clubroom Lift & covered riverview balcony from the Gallery Bar providing easy access to 2 wheelchair positions, also to neighbouring seating in the Auditorium (N.B. 3 steps). Patrons wishing to take advantage of easier access, please book in rows A-C. # To book wheelchair positions, please contact Bedford Central Box Office & mention your need when booking.

Thank you, one and all, for your patronage throughout 2005, another landmark year in the theatre’s history, notably for record attendances and the installation of two major investments: Access for the Disabled (see above) and a vibrant new sound system. With the latter and the new lighting installed last year, we are now comparable with most regional civic establishments. The refurbishment of the Auditorium seating was also completed earlier in the season. !

And for the future? The improvement of our facilities is kept constantly under review. A 5-year plan is at present being formulated to maintain the momentum. Meanwhile, 2006 will herald an exciting programme for all, encompassing Comedy, Drama, Cult and Classic Musicals – right on your doorstep – with innovative plans already in prospect for 2007. Don’t forget Advance Booking for ‘The Next Show’ whilst at The Mill Theatre!

Local pub news

Please do support the Bell - Rachel and Peter have made it particularly cosy this winter and are always please to welcome locals and visitors alike. Call 01234 720254 for bookings


At the time of going to press the nearby Mill House Hotel and restaurant had suddenly ceased trading.  The Falcon at Bletsoe also suffered a fire but we're happy to report it is open again and highly recommended for pre and post theatre dining.  Tel 01234 781222

Finally, The Bedford Arms at Souldrop has been refurbished and is under new management - they have some great beers and have a very tempting menu.

Odell Parish Council

A meeting of Odell Parish Council held on Monday, 21st November 2005 at 8.00 p.m. in the Village Hall, Odell.

Matters arising

Old School Bell: Contact has been made with the foundry and we await their reply
Grass cutting: we await quotes for the alternative options being considered.

Reclassification of Yelnow Lane: Mr Richard Hall gave us a short presentation on the state of the lane and the options available to us.

After a short discussion it was decided to ask for remedial work to be done with a view to having it reclassified if an opportunity presented itself.

Borough Council matters
Leaflets from the Borough were tabled for distribution/display.
County Council matters
The Mobile Library reorganisation was discussed. Unfortunately the original information regarding the new timetable proved false and we return to a fortnightly service on a Thursday 13.50-14.05.

A review of School structures is to be undertaken, public consultation will take place from January to March 2006. Further information can be found at
Planning matters
The application for 14 Horsefair Lane was approved.

The results of the parish poll on the wind farm was tabled which resulted in a letter opposing the wind farm being sent to the head of planning.

Country Park: Cllr. Halton reported that work is to be carried out to the Odell entrance. Work has already been undertaken at the Harrold end.

Fireworks: Several residents in Horsefair Lane had been disturbed by the number of firework parties this year and asked if the Parish Council could repeat its campaign of last year asking for people to be more considerate. This was agreed and a notice will be sent to the Parish Magazine for the October 2006 issue.

Finance: Reconciliation of accounts distributed and noted.
The next meeting will be held on Monday, January 16th 2006 at

Website news

This is a nice email we received from Canada last month.....

--Original Message-----
From: Elissa Pinkney
Sent: 25 October 2005 18:40
Subject: Canadian Reader

Dear Jon:

I came upon the Odell site while working on my family genealogy and loved your site.  One of my mother's family names is Woodhull and I have been totally intrigued with how they arrived in North America.  With the help of your site I have finally have a continuous line back to Walter Flandrensis.   

But..... the best part is that I was going to be taking a trip from my home in the Toronto Ontario area, to Vancouver, where I have a brother.  While there I was going to board a train for a tour of the Rocky Mountains.  I was madly working on your site as well as others, trying to get as much family tree information, prior to my departure, as I could so that I could take it out to my brother.  After a day or two on the train, while in the dining room having lunch, I was lucky enough to be seated with a lovely British couple.  During the conversation I had mentioned that I had been working on my family tree in Britain and told them about Odell and my family connection.  I was amazed to learn that they (John and Janet) were from the next village to Odell and regularly walked to the pub there!!!  I told them the family name and they have promised to send me pictures of Odell as well as any information they may come upon.  It was truely an amazing coincidence.  Canada is a big country and to be seated across from someone that is from the area I had been researching so heavily for the last week was such a pleasant surprise.  I had a number of records of  relatives from Brookhaven, New York but was unsure of when they arrived there.  I have since filled in the blanks.  They came to Canada in the 1700's.  Anyway I just wanted to thank you for your site and tell you of my enjoyable coincidence. 

Regards, Elissa Pinkney. 

P.S.  Another coincidence was going back so far that I found that a Woodhull predecessor had also married a Pinkney (Agnes Pinckney)....the world is truely a small place.

As a followup to my original letter I have received emails from John and Janet with information and a picture of the church.  Canada is such a new country, with virtually no history so it is very difficult to imagine a church so old but so beautifully kept.  It looks incredible.  I really must get there some day in the not too distant future.  My maternal grandfather (Walter Woolvett) was from London, and from within the sound of the Bow Bells, at 73 Fellow St.  I plan on visiting there sometime as well.  I am really looking forward to doing some travelling and finding more about my roots.

 Maybe the above triggers others with common connections?  (ed)



9th 10.30am Christian Family Care Hamper Coffee Morning, Hobbs Green Farm.

13th 7.30pm W.I. Christmas supper at Rachel Halton’s.

14th 11.30am Meeting Point at Doris’s, Goodly Heritage, The Bury, Pavenham. Christmas lunch at 1.30pm.

14th 12.30 for Senior Citizens Christmas lunch, Village Hall. 1.00pm

16th 11.00am Friends of HOCP Christmas Social Event.

17th 10.00am Church Decorating.

17th 6.00pm Carol singing, starting at The Bell.

18th 10.00am Winter bird watching, HOCP

18th 6.00pm Carols by Candlelight, All Saints’.

20th Children’s party in Village Hall.

25th 10.00am Morning Prayer and short Holy Communion, All Saints’.


1st 10.00am Circular Walk from the Country Park.

11th 10.30am Meeting Point, Catherine’s, Manor Cottage, Harrold.

21st 7.30 Burns Night celebrations, Village Hall.

25th 10.30am Meeting Point, Jane’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Rushden.

30th 10.00am HOCP first conservation task of the New Year.

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the February magazine to Tricia Hudson (patriciahudson at, Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by January 12th 2006 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.

The editorial team would like to wish all the readers a very Happy Christmas and New Year!

Electronic mail address

email is

FAX number

Back to the Odell Home Page

Last revised: December 07, 2005.