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June 2009


Birthdays in June

Happy birthday to:

Mia Vyvyan who will be 8 on the 2nd

Eleanor Robinson whose birthday is on the 17th and Elliot Swift  who will be 13 on the 19th

…and ‘Happy Birthday’ to everyone with a birthday in June! 


People willing to supply lifts to and from surgeries


Below is a list of the people currently willing to give lifts, to and from surgeries, to people who can’t otherwise get there:

Kim Beardow 721246

Jill Cheadle 720261

Jonathan Harrison 721115

Steve Robinson 720113

Marion Senn 721176

Linda Tringham 720120

If anyone else is willing to be a volunteer please contact Jill on 720261.

 Village/Church Open Weekend

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July

An event not to be missed - book the date in your diary now.  Village Scarecrow Competition, Tower Trips, refreshments served in the Village Hall and Church, Exhibitions and Demonstrations, Music Groups, etc.

More details to follow in the July magazine.

Round and About


A Cuckoo in the Nest 

Like most people I find myself, each year, listening for the first cuckoo of the year.  Although the media tell us repeatedly that these birds are getting scarce, each year, in early April, that distinctive call rings out across our countryside.  I heard my first cuckoo quite early in April this year and his calling greets me each morning as I enter the country park. 

Although we look forward to hearing the call of this popular summer visitor the bird itself is, sadly, not very nice to know - especially not if you happen to be one of the birds in whose nest the female cuckoo chooses to lay her egg.  The cuckoo is - a parasite and causes the death of many innocent and useful birds. 

Thus signalling the arrival of spring the familiar call of the male cuckoo makes this one of the best known, though least seen, birds in Britain.  The birds themselves are about 13" long and the female bird chooses to lay her eggs in the nests of other birds, far smaller than herself.  The cuckoo does not build a nest of her own.  She carefully selects a nest where the prospective foster parents are in the middle of laying their own brood.  When the parents are absent the female cuckoo will settle on the nest and lay just one of her own eggs.  If the nest already has what she considers too many eggs she will probably tip one or two over the side to make room for her own egg.  This, however, is as far as her maternal care goes.  She takes no interest whatsoever in the raising of her young.  Her sole interest is to select a suitable nest to foster her young and then she passes on to find another suitable nest in which to lay a further egg.  So it goes on until she has laid twelve or more eggs and then, her duties done, she flits about the countryside until mid-August when she and all adult cuckoos depart for Africa. 

Meanwhile, back on the nest, the unsuspecting foster parents continue to brood their clutch of eggs never apparently realising that they have an intruder in the nest.  When the young cuckoo hatches the first instinct is to oust the young of the foster family.  Any previous hatchlings will be pushed out of the nest and any remaining eggs will soon be sent crashing to the ground.  For the young cuckoo survival is paramount and that means being the only chick, receiving all the attention and all the food the foster parents can provide.  Eggs of the cuckoo have been found in the nest of over 50 different species of bird but the favourite nests seem to be that of the meadow pipit, dunnock, reed warbler and sedge warbler, robin and wagtail.  The female cuckoo tends to favour the nest of one species of host and her eggs, surprisingly small for such a large bird, tend to match those in the host nest in size and colour. 

The young cuckoo is constantly demanding food because it has a rapacious appetite and grows at an alarming rate and the poor deluded parents tend to its every need.  For three weeks the chick remains in the nest by which time it has completely outgrown its foster home and moves out on to a nearby branch.  By this time the chick is so large it is often several times the size of the foster parents ...  and still they feed that gaping beak. 

As soon as the young cuckoo learns to fly it is independent.  It has just one aim in life, to build up strength in the few remaining weeks of summer for its migration and then in about mid-September the young cuckoo will take flight, using inborn navigational skills, for its solitary journey to Africa. 

At no time does the cuckoo receive help or guidance from its parents.  Everything has to be achieved by inherited instinct.  That lonely flight to Africa must surely sort out the weaklings.  The following year instinct will urge the cuckoos to take flight once more in search of that same patch of countryside from which they sprang.  The female cuckoo following her instinct will seek out the nests of the same species to which she owes her own upbringing.


Barbara Corley


Senior Citizens’ Summer Garden Party

Odell Luncheon Club invites you to a strawberry tea in Jim and Doreen Wheeler’s garden:

Linden House, 93 High Street, Odell,

On Wednesday 22nd July at 3.00pm

All senior citizens are invited.

Please let Jill Cheadle (720261) know by Sunday 12th July if you wish to come. 


Wode-Hill Jazz Band in The Bell

The Wode-Hill Jazz Band will make its regular appearance in The Bell on Wednesday June 3rd, from 7.30pm.   Come and enjoy a drink and even a meal to the foot-tapping melodies of traditional jazz.


Last month was our AGM, a chance to look back at the fun and enjoyment of the last twelve months and to thank everyone who had contributed to another enjoyable year.  Doreen Wheeler, our secretary, summarised the events of the year and pointed out how much support and friendship we all gained from belonging to Odell W.I.  She then announced our competition winners.  This year Carol Ormond and Christine Clark were joint winners so they will each hold the competition cup for 6 months.  Both were presented with a small prize, as was Barbara Corley who took 3rd place. 

Mandy Sharpe our treasurer gave a summary of our financial position which is healthy but could do with a fund raising boost so a jumble sale will be held in October. 

Rachel Halton our president thanked everyone who helps in what ever way with the meetings and contributes to the smooth running of Odell W.I.

Next year’s programme was then presented to the membership; it is hoped that it will be equally successful. After the business part of the evening was over it was time to turn our attention to the resolution to be put before the W.I. National Federation Meeting in June.  The motion was ‘SOS for Honeybees’.  Our thanks to Margaret for presenting and organising a well researched debate on the topic.  It was decided to support the resolution. 

NEXT MEETING There will be no meeting in June as so many members are involved with the Fete. Our July meeting will be in the Rectory Garden on Tuesday 14th July at 7.30. or, if wet, in the church. 


Best dressed sports lady


Members are asked to bring a few nibbles along to the July meeting

Rachel Halton 720572


Odell Parish Council News


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Odell Parish Council held on Tuesday, 19th May 2009 at 7.30 p.m. in Odell Village Hall.


Present: Cllrs. B Cheadle, P Crotty, R Halton, J Harrison, A Sharpe, S Robinson, Borough Cllr. N Charsley


In attendance: Mr R Lee, Ms T Storey, Mr R Hall, Mr G Staughton, Mr M Goodman [Members of the Public]


Election of Chairman
The Clerk asked for nominations for Chairman for the coming year.  Cllr. P Crotty proposed the re-election of Cllr. Halton, seconded by Cllr. A Sharpe.  Cllr. Halton was unanimously elected and signed the Declaration of Acceptance.

  Election of Vice Chairman
The Chairman proposed Cllr. B. Cheadle, seconded by Cllr. Sharpe and the appointment unanimously agreed.

Co-option of new Councillor
Mr Tim Freeman was formally co-opted onto the Parish Council and signed the Declaration of Acceptance.

Apologies for absence -  none.

Matters arising from last meeting:
SID:   Cllr. Robinson is co-ordinating the Speed Indicator Device project.  He has been in touch with PC Rob Smith at Riseley who will arrange training as soon as possible, but has been waiting for responses from other parishes.  The device we used before, owned by the County Council, will be used and Cllr Robinson is hoping to have more detail shortly.  Cllr. Crotty said the device was very simple to use and a very small amount of training was required.

Siting of Road Signs:   Borough Cllr. Charsley said he is still awaiting a response regarding this.  In response to a question from a member of the public it was explained that the possibility of moving the speed restriction signs to incorporate dangerous elements of the road between Little Odell and Odell was being investigated, as speeding near and round the bends was causing much public concern.

Bridges update:  A quick verbal update from the Bridge Engineer had been received by the Clerk shortly before the meeting, so is not comprehensive.  The Engineer stated that the manufacture of the bridge is well under way in the factory and piling is planned for June. There has been some delay in order to accommodate the wishes of the Mill House owners who did not want too much disturbance on the arrival of their baby.  The Engineer appreciated the inconvenience caused by the closure of the bridges but stated that as there are so many people/organisations involved, inevitable delays are caused when there is a perceived problem by any one of these.  In the event of any likely long delay he said the sluice bridge will be 'tidied up' to allow its use but he will be formulating a letter detailing the situation which will be sent to all interested parties very shortly.

Mr R Hall expressed his concern that an over-emphasis has been placed on the Council's risk assessment procedure as he does not feel there is any more risk to pedestrians now than there was in the past. 
In any event all that was required was some kind of protection on each side of the sluice bridge which should remove any element of risk to pedestrians.  Mr Hall was further concerned that his attempts to contact Adrian Fett, the Council Officer overseeing this project, were meeting with little success.  The Clerk will pass on these concerns to Adrian Fett and see if any action can be taken to aid pedestrian access.  The Chairman pointed out that the safety of the public was paramount and the Engineer had to do all possible to ensure this.

The Clerk said that a point of concern was that the Engineer had said he believed one route people were using was via The Bell car park.  Greene King does not accept liability for this use and hence only allowed the gate to be installed with the specific instruction that it was to be for the personal use of the licensee only, and was to be kept locked at all other times.

 Village Hall Update
Disabled access:  The Chairman gave an update on the current position regarding this.  The Clerk's contact with WREN had determined that all required paperwork had now been received – including the 11% funding cheques from The Bedford Charity and Bedford Borough Rural Grants, and commencement of the work is planned for the beginning of June, to allow no inconvenience to a wedding party in the hall at the end of May.  WREN has to issue a formal contract which our contact there has assured us can be issued in due time to allow this timescale.

Windows – planning:  The planner dealing with this has provisionally stated he is recommending approval, without any conditions, but his formal approval cannot be made until tomorrow [20th May] when the consultation period officially ends.  The planner had met with the Chairman and viewed the site and expressed his support for our proposal for uPVC windows, as he agreed these were not in general public view.  Cllr. Charsley said he has asked the planner that if any last minute impediment arose to prevent this condition-free approval, the application should be put to Committee.
With regard to the SITA grant application, the Clerk had had the required telephone conversation with their representative to answer any questions and fulfil their procedural requirements.  The Clerk was told that our application was a very good, straightforward one and would be put to the Panel for their consideration on 15th June.  The result of this will be notified as soon as possible after that date – in writing – as no information is given over the ‘phone.
With regard to the overall funding of this project, the Clerk said the Rural Grants Committee have agreed that the £1000 approved towards the WREN 11% third party contribution – but which was not required due to the Bedford Charity grant – can be reallocated to this project, if our SITA funding is successful.  This means that the funding for all three elements of the project – new windows, internal insulation and replacement porch canopy – will cover the full costs provided no unforeseen extra costs arise.

Car park purchase:  The Clerk tabled a paper detailing projected spend over budget for this financial year, to demonstrate the financial position before and after the sum of £4000 for the car park completion is paid. 

Although the resulting balance would be much lower than the Parish Council has had in the past, it was sustainable and if required, the Charity Bond provided a fall back situation as this could lawfully be redeemed.  Councillors accepted the information in this proposal and agreed the payment which has to be made before the Parish Council meets again in July. 

Cllr. Crotty has met with the replacement Highways liaison person, Alex Cattonach.  The latter will meet with Cllr Crotty on the 5th June to walk the village and see the problem areas.  Cllr.  Crotty said he would particularly like to revisit the flooding and drainage issues to see if a permanent solution can be found, and also the crumbling of the tarmac in Horsefair Lane.  The Highways Partnership money should be available again this year but it will only be able to be used for paths.  This is no problem to us as we still have a lot of pathway that needs to be improved. 
Cllr. Halton said she was delighted to see that the offending pathway weeds have now been sprayed.

Bedford Borough matters
Cllr. Charlsey said there was little to report, other than the proposed school two-tier system. The consultation papers for this should be out on the 20th May.  The overall cost of this transition is put in the region of £30 million, and although the Government is supposed to be covering elements of this change, it is unclear just how much will fall on the taxpayer.  The first phase of this proposed change is the Sharnbrook triangle with a projected date of September 2013.  The papers should now be available for viewing on the Borough Council's website.

Harrold/Odell Country Park
The Chairman said little has happened since the last report.  Nothing has yet been done about a memorial to the late Cllr. Phyllis Gershon; the community orchard project is proceeding at a fast pace but some issues have to be resolved with local residents but it is hoped planting will start in the autumn.  The proposed joint ventures with Bedford Museum have begun and the first event is a Local History Picnic on the 17th June, from 11 – 3 pm where people are invited to a free picnic and to bring along any old photos or memorabilia from past times.  It is geared to the older generation and is an opportunity for people to meet and reminisce.  A poster will be put on the Parish Council notice board.

The accounts have been through the internal auditor and are now ready to go to the external auditor.  A copy of the final accounts was circulated and these were approved and signed by the Chairman and Clerk.
The Clerk pointed out that we were in the second year of insuring with Came & Co who are giving a small discount for signing up to a three year period.  This course of action was agreed.

Correspondence and requests
A request for a donation to Vitalise was refused as funds this year will be strictly limited.
Cardington are running a New Councillor Induction Training Course on Wednesday, 22nd July and Thursday, 30th July from 7.30 – 9.30 pm at  Cardington Village Hall.  Although aimed at new councillors, other councillors often find the course beneficial.

Specifically for the business of the meeting
Cllr. Robinson asked permission to disconnect and remove the street light attached to his home as an extension is shortly to be constructed.  He said this needed to be done by 1st June, and said he did not think it needed to be replaced.  The Chairman said that the notice period for the Parish Council was very short and although the disconnection could be permitted, the light must be replaced, unless it was proven that there was no requirement for it by other residents. 

Our Highways contact had suggested the light could be reinstated on a lamp standard, at the householder's cost, as the Parish Council was not the party seeking its removal.  Cllr. Robinson will investigate the possibility of the light being replaced in its present position or similar, and will report back if this is not possible.  If not, consultation with the owners of neighbouring properties may be required.  Cllr. Freeman said that the old lamp standard outside his home had been replaced with a new one but the light had never been reconnected, and he asked if this could be requested.  Part of the old lamp post is still in situ also.

Cllr. Halton reported on the recent Bedford Borough meeting that she and Cllr. Cheadle had attended.  The meeting itself was felt to be a waste of time and totally unrepresentative, and they left after the morning session.  However, on departing they did meet with the new Chief Planning Officer who asked the reason for their leaving early and listened to the planning issues etc. that Odell, as a rural area, faces.  He appeared sympathetic and it is hoped there may be some flexibility in the planning department in respect of their entrenched policies vis-a-vis the perceived needs of the local community.  Also introducing himself was the Assistant Chief Executive [Policy, Performance & Partnerships] – Mr Mark Barnett – who expressed an interest in visiting rural communities and learning about their problems.  He is looking to visit Odell once the local elections are over.

The Chairman requested that all councillors study in depth any circulated planning application as the comments, once made, cannot be retracted.  If there is any uncertainty then it would be appropriate to view the proposed property; it is not acceptable to change planning comments after further information becomes available – if in doubt additional information should be sought before the comments are made.

Date of next meeting:  20th July 2009.  There being no other business, the meeting closed at 9.15 p.m.

  Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS 

Friends of Harrold-Odell Country Park

Conservation Tasks

Come and join in with the practical work to enhance the Park for wildlife and visitors on the following dates, from 10.00am – 3.00pm:

Monday 29th June, 27th July

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear.  Drinks provided.  Come for an hour or two or stay as long as you like.

Health Walks

We are running health walks from 10.30am on every second Thursday, from the Visitor Centre Café.  Dates are as follows:

June 11th, 25th.

Each walk lasts just over half an hour and is guided by a trained leader.  The aim is to improve your physical health and mental wellbeing. 

Walking regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and depression.

 You can book beforehand or simply meet at the visitor centre in the park on the day.  Please contact us at the park on 01234 720016 or e-mail walk leader Ed at  To reach the park follow road signs to Harrold and we are on the Carlton Road, postcode MK43 7DS.


Local History Picnic, Wednesday 17th June,


Come and relax in the Park for the afternoon and share your memories of the local area in the past.  Please bring your old artefacts and photographs to show everyone.  Members of the Bedford Museum Oral History Project will be on hand to record your memories.

There will be a free picnic and drinks to help the memory process along! 

Email:  Website:

Tel: 01234 720016

Village Hall 


Irish Night (featuring Hair of the Dog), Saturday May 9th

As the pictures below show, a great evening was had by everyone who went along to the Irish Night in  the Village Hall.

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook


Reg. Charity No 242164  


A Special Concert to Celebrate 30 years of The Mill Theatre

Thurs. 18th, Fri. 19th, Sat. 20th June, nightly at 7.45 pm

Featuring selections from 3 Decades of our Shows, such as the inaugural

production: Salad Days; Man of La Mancha – Pippin – Cabaret – Jack the Ripper – The Sound of Music – Follies – Guys and Dolls – Jesus Christ Superstar! – Chase Dark - Fiddler on the Roof - Oklahoma! - My Fair Lady - and many more…

Do join us!   –   Ticket £10 available now from:  Sharnbrook Post Office (in


…and to look forward to ….Patrons and Performers!


Entertaining Mr Sloane

Black Drama • 22nd – 26th September


Mack and Mabel

Musical Classic • 20th – 28th November

Mon. 1st June – Read through 7.45pm

Wed. 3rd June – Read through 7.45 pm

Sunday 7th June – Auditions 2pm 


Enquiries: Please contact Enid Cooper 708432


Springwatch Activity Day


Castle Close Wildlife & Heritage Site, Lodge Road, Sharnbrook

Sunday 7 June 2009, 11.00am to 3.00pm. Free admission


Castle Close has been transformed from a neglected private woodland into a public Wildlife and Heritage Site. 

Pathways have been created, ponds enlarged, the medieval moated earthworks cleared, and interpretation boards and seating installed. 

Adults and children are invited to drop in and join in a variety of activities including: building an insect hotel, making charcoal, a treasure hunt, bug-hunting, pond-dipping and bark-rubbing. 

You will also be able to see presentations on wildflower plant surveying and wood carving, and you can bring along a picnic to enjoy while listening to musical performances.




3rd 10.30am Meeting Point at Catherine’s, Manor Cottage, Harrold.

3rd 7.30pm Wode-Hill Jazz Band at The Bell.

4th 4pm-9pm All Saints’ Church open for prayer.

7th 11am-3pm Springwatch Activity Day

7th 2pm-6pm Gift Day for Tea-Point and Toilet Project (Church also open during morning service, 10-11am).

11th 10.30am HOCP health walk.

13th 2pm Odell Fete, Horsefair Lane.

14th 11am Open air service fete ground.

12.30pm Community BBQ.

17th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jill’s, Rectory Farm.

17th 11am-3pm Local History Picnic HOCP

20th 9.45am All Saints’ Amblers meet at The Bell.

25th 10.30am HOCP Health Walk.

29th 10am HOCP conservation tasks.


1st 10.30am Meeting Point at Sarah’s.

11th Village and Church open weekend.

12th “ “ “ “ “ “

14th 7.30pm W.I. in Rectory garden.

20th 7.30pm Odell Parish Council meeting, Village Hall. 

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the joint July/August 2009 magazine to Tricia Hudson (mag1 at or Catherine Corkery by June 12th 2009 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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07976 260572

01234 240954

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



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Last revised: June 01, 2009.