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Help Needed

From time to time the elderly and infirm in the village need help with transport to Harrold or Sharnbrook surgery for appointments or to collect medication.

So far, the following people have volunteered to help:

Kim Beardow 721246

Jill Cheadle 720261

Jonathan Harrison 721115

Linda and George Tringham 720120

Marion Ingrey-Senn 721176

If you think you can also help with this occasionally, please let Jill Cheadle know (720261) as it would be useful to draw up a list of names and numbers which could be called upon when necessary. All help would be very much appreciated.

Round and About

Wenceslas of Bohemia

The Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas" has always been a good family favourite, especially with the children. It evokes a scene of a frail, saintly old king, accompanied by a faithful page, battling through snowstorms to bring food and warmth to the needy.

I have known for many years that Wenceslas was a real person who lived centuries ago in Eastern Europe. Other than this, however, I knew nothing about him. I had planned to make his life story the basis of my Christmas article but the more I researched his all too short a life the more convinced I became that this was not a tale for Christmas. I, therefore, held the article back for a more suitable time and I now offer you the story of "Good King Wenceslas", King - or rather Duke - of Bohemia.

This is a strange, odd, tale, set in the eighth or ninth century and surrounded by myths and legends. These were dark and dangerous times, with pagan warlords constantly fighting one with the other. Drop into this scene the unlikely story of a humble ploughman who fell in love with, and married, a Bohemian princess called Libuse. Her family, at that time, was struggling to bring the warring tribes together to form all into one country. Needless to say it was their intention to head such a state. It came to pass, as good stories do, that it was a descendant of this

romantic pair, a man called Borivoy, who became the first Duke of Bohemia (now a part of the Czech Republic) and he was to build Prague Castle to dominate his new realm and the castle also became the family seat. He married a Slav princess named Ludmila and they both, later, converted to the Christian faith. Borivoy and Ludmila spent the rest of their lives trying to make Bohemia a Christian country and although they held the new country together, they failed to create a Christian state. When Borivoy died he was succeeded by his sons Rataslav and Spythineo. Ratislav was the father of Wenceslas.

Wenceslas was born around the year 907 in the castle of Stochov, near to Prague, which was the home of the now widowed Ludmila. The castle is now long gone but there still remains an ancient oak tree which is said to have been planted by Ludmila and around which the young Wenceslas was said to play. A nearby church, where they both prayed, also exists to this day.

In his younger days Wenceslas remained at Stochov and was raised by his grandmother Ludmila until, when he was about 13 years old, his father died and Wenceslas succeeded him as Duke of Bohemia. Due to his young age, however, his mother Drahomira, became regent.

Drahomira was opposed to Christianity and used all her powers to persecute followers of the religion. She brought Wenceslas to Prague and refused to let him see Ludmila for fear they would set up a plot to overthrow her new regime. It was not long after the death of Ratislav that Ludmila was found strangled - it is said at the command of Drahomira. Following her murder Ludmila was revered by the people as a saint.

The death of his grandmother did not stop Wenceslas from seizing power. As soon as he reached his 18th birthday he overthrew his mother's regency, just as she had feared he would, and began to rule for himself. Many of the Bohemian nobles resented the attempts of Wenceslas to spread Christianity and later became even more displeased when he swore allegiance to Henry, King of Germany.

Wenceslas now found that his most deadly enemy was his own brother, Boleslav, who had joined with his mother in plotting the assassination of Wenceslas. Boleslav invited Wenceslas to celebrate a religious festival at his home and then attacked him on their way to Mass. As the two

brothers struggled together Boleslav's supporters joined in and they murdered Wenceslas.

Wenceslas died on the 20th September 929. He was in his early twenties and had ruled Bohemia for just five years. Today he is remembered not only as the Patron Saint of Bohemia, but also as the Patron Saint of the Czech Republic.

The carol was written by John Mason and first published in 1853. The music was taken from a 13th century song which translated into "Spring has Unwrapped her Flowers". Just why John Mason based his carol upon Wenceslas does not seem immediately clear to me as his life was so short and brutal. However, both Wenceslas and his grandmother, Ludmila, were, upon their deaths, revered in Bohemia as saints.

The Feast of Stephen is celebrated on the 26th. December.

Barbara Corley


Senior Citizens Fish and Chip Lunch.

The annual Senior Citizens Fish and Chip lunch will take place on Wednesday 7th March at 12.00 for 12.30pm, in the Village Hall.

Please let Jill Cheadle know by the Sunday 25th February if you wish to join us. (01234 720261).

Garage Wanted

Odell resident seeks lock up garage to rent. If you have a garage you no longer use and would be prepared to rent out or transfer the lease if BPHA owned (Horsefair Lane block) I would love to hear from you. Any rubbish clearance can be arranged free of charge.

Please contact James on 07905 303224.


Our Christmas meal at Linden House was an excellent way to start the festive season. The bring and share meal demonstrated the cooking talents of the members and Doreen had devised a quiz to tax our brains at the end of the meal. She had, as usual, gone to a lot of trouble to create a festive atmosphere for us and we must thank Doreen and Jim for making us so welcome into their home.

January saw us return to the Village Hall and to give us all a chance to gossip, between throws of the dice, we had a beetle drive. The competitive instinct seemed very strong in some members but the most successful member was Joyce Knight who amassed the most number of points and was declared the winner. As light relief we then attempted the Bedfordshire Federation Quiz managing to get all but one of the answers among us.

Carol Ormond then surprised us all by offering us wine and cake as an alternative to tea and biscuits and inviting us to share in her birthday celebrations. We accepted with pleasure and to show our appreciation sang Happy Birthday. Thanks again Carol.

February meeting

We meet on Tuesday 13th February at 7.30p.m. at the Village Hall for a talk by Anne Doody entitled ‘God’s Acre - churchyard wildlife.’ All welcome - just turn up or ring the number below.

Competition and Hostesses

The competition for February is ‘A photo of wild flowers’. Our hostesses are Jane Eshelby and Lynette Hall.

Rachel Halton 720572

Odell Parish Council

Odell Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 15th January 2007 at 8.00 p.m.

Zoe Ashby – Parish Plan

Zoe Ashby from Beds RCC was welcomed and gave an overview of Parish Plans – from the reasoning behind them through to completion of a Plan. There were many questions from Councillors, many of whom did not feel it was a worthwhile exercise. However, Mrs. Ashby stressed the usefulness of a Plan and said these are now being consulted more widely by local government departments. Mrs. Ashby left a paper detailing her talk and sample copies of two village Plans for information.
Some considerable discussion followed on the merits of attempting this in Odell. However, it was eventually agreed that initially the water could be tested by Councillors in their own locality to see if there was any enthusiasm as there has to be community involvement.

Grass cutting

Requests to tender had been sent to both Chris Horne and Andrew Warboys. The latter has declined to tender stating that he is fully contractually committed for the 2007 season, but suggesting we might like to approach him again the following year.
Chris Horne has increased the fortnightly cut figure by £2 [from £70 to £72] and the monthly cut by £5 [£170 to £175]. The latter quotation will therefore be accepted.

Skateboard facility – email from Chairman of Harrold P.C.

This was discussed in some detail and the financial situation surrounding it explained by Borough Cllr. Nick Charsley. It seems clear that the facility will go ahead and that the finance can probably be found, even without any financial donations from adjacent parishes.
Although there was some concern due to the incident experienced last summer, it was generally accepted that this facility would be useful. However, it was proposed the Clerk should write giving our support but stating that a financial contribution is not possible at present as we have to concentrate our financial efforts on finalising the purchase of the Village Hall.

Purchase of Village Hall

The Chairman informed the council that matters were proceeding but rather slowly. Our solicitor was still awaiting a response from both the vendor and the Charity Commission to her letters sent before Christmas. Cllrs. Halton and Cheadle have been asked to participate in a photo shoot on Thursday organised by the Borough Council to highlight and publicise the unprecedented high grant allocated to Odell.

Borough Council matters

Cllr. Charsley said he only had two points to raise; the first concerns some monies available from ‘The House of Industry’ which has about half a million pounds to disburse in lots of £500. These grants will be made to individuals, not groups, and full details of the scheme and how to apply will be in the next issue of the Bedford News. The second point is the unitary application made by the Borough in response to the recent White Paper; these applications close on the 27th January so it is hoped some resolution will be known not too long after that. Councillors expressed their dismay at the ridiculously short notification time given for both the Borough and County public meetings held to discuss these applications but this was apparently due to the government’s timetable.

The Pride in Bedford Community Clean Ups is coming up and if volunteers can be found, the Borough will supply the equipment. There was little interest in this exercise.

Planning approval given for Westwood Farm & Nursery for boiler house to heat greenhouses.

Comments on the new proposed wind farm have been submitted to the Planners.

6. County Council matters
Cllr. Gershon said with regard to unitary status, the County Council would have preferred the situation to remain as it is but that is not an option. There was nothing else to report.
Cllr Crotty raised the matter of village entry signs; he had spoken to the Chairman of Turvey Parish Council who said their signs had cost £650 each from ‘Woodscape’ in Manchester; the latter has a website. Cllr. Halton said she was fully in favour of these but priority has to remain at present with the purchase of the Village Hall.

Country Park

The Chairman attended a meeting on the 29th November and gave an update. Some progress has been made on the enhancement actions; a grant received to surface the disabled/elderly car parking area and park leaflet and interpretation boards to be improved. Work is currently under way to improve paths across the rabbit warren, beside the lakeside and through the woodland shelter belt. Children’s facilities have been improved with molehills and a kickwall in the shelter belt. The latter was funded by Harrold Parish Council. All outstanding proposes would be taken forward in the Enhancement Plan. Most of these relate to the suitability of the building, interpretation and the park becoming a ‘Heritage Hub’ for the surrounding area, but significant funding would be required for this. Shefford and District Angling Association will be terminating their lease in March and an advert will be placed for another club/syndicate.

The Friends Group is up and running with an enthusiastic core of volunteers; last year there were over 290 volunteer days. Community Service teams work in the park every Saturday, achieving vast amounts of work.

Complaints about dogs and irresponsibility owners were discussed and measures will be put into place to try to alleviate some of the problems.

The Development Team is now responsible for Bromham Mill, Moot Hall and Stevington Windmill. Ed Burnett is now day to day manager of all the ‘visitor’ sites and Lyndsey Bignell will be responsible for taking the Enhancement Plan forward.

8. Finance

The bank balance is currently very healthy due to the £6,000 in grants towards the Village Hall purchase. This is helping to temporarily increase the monthly interest figure. Invoices to be paid listed on the cumulative accounts sheet.

Correspondence and requests

Letter from Alistair Burt asking Parish Councils’ opinions on the White Paper suggestions regarding devolution of power, and any strong views regarding the unitary status within Bedfordshire. It was agreed the White Paper would be put on the next meeting agenda so the issue of further responsibilities for parishes could be discussed. With regard to unitary status, there was some feeling that retaining the ‘status quo’ would be better suited but as this is not an option, the lack of information from both applying councils made it impossible to give an informed opinion and judgement.

Specifically for the Business of the meeting

Cllr. Crotty gave an update on the activites of CLOWD; the Podington Wind Farm still is not reaching the Planning agenda and it is suspected that the May elections may have something to do with this.

It was agreed that the old seat at Hartles Hill needed to be replaced urgently; it was generally agreed that replacements should fall in line with the Horsefair Lane seat to give a uniform consistency within the village. The Clerk will therefore find out the current price of an identical or similar seat.

Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday, 19th March.

Rachel Halton

Friends of Harrold Medical Practice

This has been another very successful year and I would like to thank the Friends for their continued support.

The quarterly meetings have been well attended and have allowed the Friends to keep in touch with the changes that have been taking place in the services provided by Harrold Medical Practice and the local PCT , for example the introduction of a new monthly hearing aid clinic for patients who wear NHS hearing aids and the new arrangements for practice based commissioning.

Our income this year, mainly from very generous ‘In Memoriam’ donations and over £500 from book sales, has enabled us to continue helping Harrold Medical Practice in a number of ways, in particular by purchasing the new automatic check-in system and renewing the liquid nitrogen contract. This is an annual commitment from the Friends.

The Friends have also asked me to highlight the other items that donations and book sales have enabled us to purchase for the surgery over the past few years and which have benefited patients. These have included a number of Tens machines, a bone density measuring

machine, software to upgrade the spirometer, a set of baby scales, a 24 hour blood pressure monitor, paying for blood tests that were taken as part of the Health Road Show held in 2004, servicing and repairing the carbon monoxide monitor, a digital camera, new furniture for the waiting room and the self-service blood pressure monitor.

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

Newspaper Deliveries in Odell

Newspaper deliveries in Odell have been fraught with problems connected with uncertainty over the future of the Carlton Shop, and Trevor has kindly given up responsibility for the Odell round. This has been taken up by Mr Gill of Sharnbrook News who promises a much more reliable service. To have papers delivered call Mr Gill on 01234 781238 of pop into the shop in Sharnbrook High Street. Our thanks to Trevor for his service in the past.

Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS

There are otters about!

Saturday 24 February 10am – 2pm

Otter surveyors are wanted to monitor their activity. Come to the training session. For this Ivel and Ouse Countryside Project Event contact Amanda Proud on 01767 626326 or email

Making garden obelisks

Thursday 15 March 10am – 2pm

Using materials from the trees and shrubs in the Park make an obelisk to support your garden plants as they twist and turn through the structure. Show them off to their best advantage. Take your finished obelisk away with you. All materials provided. Contact the Park to book a place on this session.

Events at the Park are free but donations are always welcome.

Friends of Harrold-Odell Country Park Conservation tasks

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

Monday 26 February

Monday 26 March

All tasks start at 10am and finish mid afternoon, but you only need stay as long as you want.

Tel: 01234 720016


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.

Village Quiz, Saturday 2nd December 2006.

December seems a long time ago now, but we cannot let the Village Quiz pass into distant memory without announcing the results! The evening was well attended and, as always, great fun. Many thanks to Rob for compiling the questions (which we all felt were pretty tough this time!) and to all the Committee who helped to make it such an enjoyable evening. The three teams that came through victorious were: 1st, The Mad Dogs; 2nd, The Misfits; 3rd, The Defenders.

Burns Night Supper, Saturday 20th January

Once again the ‘Burns Night ‘celebration was a great success, with much feasting and dancing. Martin Cameron, below, piped in the haggis, while Keith Rose , right, was caller for the dancing. Many thanks to both Martin and Keith for making the evening so special, to the cooks who prepared the meal and to Leslie Knowles who organised the event.

Finally, thanks to everyone who attended or helped with the children’s Christmas party, which was a great success.

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.

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

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

Reg. Charity 242164

Breezeblock Park: 6th – 10th March 2007

By the writer of Blood Brothers and Shirley Valentine

Please visit our new website for full details:

Advance Booking:

A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim 27 April – 5 May.

Tickets will be available during Breezeblock Park, only at The Mill

Theatre. Early Booking Advised!!

Youth Summer School 2007

Are you aged 9-18 years?

Would you enjoy a week of drama, song, dance, and the chance to appear on stage at the Mill Theatre?

Then this could be a wonderful start to the summer holidays….

Monday 23rd July to Friday 27th July, 9 am – 4 pm,

with a performance in the Theatre at 7.30 pm on Saturday 28th July.

The course is run by fully trained teachers employed by Bedfordshire

C. C. Course fee is £100, to include 2 tickets to the performance … and a tee shirt! ---- Places are limited ----

Further details are available from Erica Lester, 7 Colworth Rd,


tel 01234 781210 or

(This was heavily oversubscribed last year, so a £20 deposit will secure your place).

Act Now!


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)

Disabled parking. Lift and access: 2 wheelchair positions, subject to availability. Please book at least 2 days in advance of required date. Easy access seating (Rows ABC – NB 3 steps).

Don’t forget Advance Booking for ‘the next show’ whilst at The Mill Theatre!



7th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jill’s, Rectory Farm, Odell.

13th 7.30pm W.I., Village Hall.

17th 9.45am All Saints Amblers Walk, starting at The Bell.

21st 10.30am Meeting Point, venue TBA.

24th 10 – 2pm Otter Surveyors training session.

From 26th Shared Lent Groups, held in Harrold and Carlton.

26th 10am HOCP Conservation Tasks.

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the March 2007 magazine to Tricia Hudson (mag1 at or Catherine Corkery by February 12th 2007 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.

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Last revised: January 28, 2007.