Archives of Eaton Bray News for July 2006.
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July 2006

Parish Council Minutes - July 2006

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A summary of this month's meeting, along with a downloadable copy of the full minutes is now available from the Parish Council website.

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting: Monday 3rd July 2006

There is no meeting during August, so the next parish council meeting will take place on Monday 4th September.

'Thank You' CD plays on

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Liz Farr may have lost her brave battle with cancer but the Eaton Bray mum's music lives on.

Liz FarrHer Thank You Song, recorded as a tribute to all the friends and family who'd supported her during her long illness, is still available.

All you have to do is log on to for an order form. The CD costs £6.95 (plus p&p) and all proceeds go to Gentle Touch Healing.

Source: Herald & Post, 27 July 2006

Opera star's last tribute to brave Liz

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The glorious voice of international opera singer Gwen Jeffers filled St Giles Church in Totternhoe at the funeral of Liz Farr (pictured).

Liz FarrThe celebration and thanksgiving of last week followed her death on July 8 after a brave battle against cancer that lasted 17 years.

Her husband Clive Bevins, whom she married at an emotional bedside ceremony only three days before she died, wanted it to be a happy occasion.

He said afterwards: "We gave her a good send-off.

"I was so proud of her son, Rob, who decorated the church and the churchyard with blue and yellow banners that echoed the colours in the stained glass windows."

Clive had the packed congregation laughing at his anecdotes about life with Liz.

He also read a poem she'd written for Rob, entitled My Son. She'd intended to set it to music - like her Thank You Song which was played during the service, conducted by the Rev Janet Spicer - but had run out of time.

Liz, who lost two husbands to cancer before being diagnosed herself, attended the premiers last month of Making a Song and Dance About Cancer, a moving tribute to her inspirational life made by her son Rob.

She and Clive had been together for four years.

Clive said later: "I always knew this was where our train would terminate. I just hoped we'd have a few more stops."

Source: Bev Creagh, Dunstable Gazette, 26 July 2006

Knockout results for school grounds project

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Eaton Bray Lower School's summer fair was a real knockout with visitors.

Knockout results for school grounds project

Parent Brenden Walsh had organised an "It's a Knockout" competition to raise cash for Sports Relief. And Rachel McVeigh, chairman of the Home School Association, had arranged stalls to raise funds for the development of the school's grounds. Between them they raised more than £1,000.

The money set aside for the school grounds will be used to raised soil beds so that all the children can grow fruit and vegetables. The idea is that eventually the school cook can use the produce to create healthy lunches for the 105 children.

Headteacher Sue Hounslow said: "It really was fun in the sun, thanks to everyone for all their hard work and support."

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 26 July 2006

How many more of the dogs must die?

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Nina ColeDog lover Nina Cole has called for a public outcry over the merciless killing of greyhounds when they can no longer compete with younger animals on racing tracks.

She says pet owners must protest to their MPs at the horrors revealed in a national newspaper report about a Durham man alleged to have killed thousands of retired greyhounds with a boltgun and buried them in his yard.

"People I talk to in greyhound rescue charities tell me this is going on all over the country," said Mrs Cole, 50, who runs a pet-sitting service from her home in Cantilupe Close, Eaton Bray. "Nothing will change unless people pick up their pens and lodge a complaint."

Mrs Cole, who has been nominated with her husband Doug for a business award, said: "What is going on is appalling. I have protested to Parliament on numerous occasions about this cruelty but I am just one person. It needs many voices to make a difference."

The RSPCA says about 12,000 greyhounds a year disappear, unaccounted for, in the UK - victims of the £2.5 billion-a-year dog track betting industry.

Unscrupulous breeders often pass their dogs on to contacts who promise to find them homes - but do not want to know what happens to the animals.

Many dogs end their days in the hands of people like the Durham man exposed by the Sunday Times, who admitted to dispatching them with a bolt gun at £10 a time.

An animal welfare bill, expected to become law in the next 12 months, is likely to state that unwanted greyhounds should be "euthanised humanely by the intravenous injection of a suitable drug administrered under the direct supervision of a veterinary surgeon".

To spare them such a fate, Mrs Cole and her husband Doug have featured a greyhound appeal section on their website for the past year.

They aim to persuade visitors that greyhounds make very good pets and can be successfully re-homed when they are discarded because they no longer make money for race breeders.

They direct interested people to the RSPCA animal re-homing centre at Blackberry Farm, Aylesbury.

The dogs function quite happily with good walks twice a day, she said, and in a loving home turn into affectionate "couch potatoes".

The Coles entered Nina's Nannies for Pets for the Barclays Trading Places business awards which recognise men and women who have battled against adversity to change their lives.

They have reached the semi-finals and hope to go on and scoop the top prize worth £14,000 in September.

The couple started in the business after peronal setbacks in 1998. Mr Cole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and, three months later Mrs Cole, an office worker, suffered a brain haemorrhage and, although she returned to work, she was made redundant.

She used a modest redundancy payment to buy a computer and started to advertise her services as a dog walker.

The Coles and a team of sitters now offer a seven-day, 24-hour service that covers dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, mice and reptiles, and extends to house maintenance and security.

The business operates across several counties, and can be contacted on 01525 220732. For more information on the greyhounds appeal, visit the website

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 19 July 2006

Yellow sets the fashion

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteEaton Bray WI held a themed yellow colour evening, and demonstrated some very original decorative ideas on hats and dresses. The evening raised money for the Pasque Hospice, which the group has supported for a number of years.

Business was kept to a minimum, and details were finalised for a members and friends' day trip to Stratford on Avon in August. Dates were noted of various other outings and activities during the summer.

The guest speaker was Mr Parry, who gave a very insteredting talk on "Paxton and the Great Exhibition".

Paxton designed the Crystal Palace building, which stodd in Hyde Park and housed the great exhibition of 1851.

He was a "local lad", born in Milton Bryan of humble origins, who rose to great heights in the Victorian age.

The Duke of Devonshire invited him to manage and develop the gardens at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, which included designing a model village for the estate workers.

It is said that a greenhouse was the inspiration for the Crystal Palace with the original drawing doodled on a piece of blotting paper!

All that remains in Hyde Park of the Crystal Palace are the entrance gates. A fire destroyed the building in 1936.

Eaton Bray WI's next meeting is on Monday September 4 at 7.30pm in the village hall. New members and friends are always welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 18 July 2006

Funeral set for bride who died 3 days after wedding

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The funeral of Liz Farr, who died on Saturday, will take place at St Giles Parish Church, Church Road, Totternhoe, on Tuesday July 18 at 2.30pm. This will be followed by a family burial at the Church of St Mary, Edlesborough, at 3.30pm.

Liz FarrThe Eaton Bray mum, who lost her brave battle with cancer only three days after marrying her partner Clive Bevins, asked for her Thank You Song to be played at the service. She wrote and recorded it just before Christmas as a tribute to the family and friends who'd supported her during her long ordeal and sang it to a congregation of more than 1,000 at a St Albans church in December. Liz, 55, lost two husbands to the disease before being diagnosed with breast cancer 17 years ago.

Her film maker son Rob made a documentary about her inspirational and uplifting journey. Called Making a Song and Dance About Cancer, it premiered at Berkamsted last month.

After the performance, former insurance company manager Clive got down on one knee and proposed. Liz, looking frail but radiant, said: "Clive is my guardian angel. I've never met such a kind and loving person."

He was equally devoted to her. He tells our sister paper, the Dunstabl Gazette, this week: "She was such a bonus in my life, in spite of the cancer.

"It really was the happiest time. I remember lying in bed not wanting to go to sleep, not wanting to waste a precious minute with her."

The family would like as many friends as possible to come to the funeral. But they've asked those attending to put aside mourning black and dress in bright colours to celebrate Liz's life.

They have also requested family flowers only - donations to Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, 52a Western Road, Tring, Herts HP23 4BB.

Source: Herald & Post, 13 July 2006

Len Rawle Organ Concert

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

St Albans Organ Theatre

Following the most enjoyable concert by Len Rawle at the Methodist Church on 28th May, the St Albans Organ Theatre have made available some tickets for sale locally for Len's concert on 12th August.

Len will be appearing at St Albans for what will be another friendly and entertaining evening and if you would like tickets please contact 01525 221358.

Tickets are £5.50 each and the concert starts at 7.45pm. Doors open at 7.15pm.

Make Miss Beds Miss England!

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire's top beauty is set to be among 70 stunners competing for the title of Miss England today and tomorrow.

Beauty: Karlene VardyKarlene Vardy, 21, of Grange Way, Houghton Regis, was crowned Miss Bedfordshire after beating 17 other contestants at a ceremony in Eaton Bray.

Now the budding R&B singer is donning her riara once more to take part in the national beauty contest in Leicester, whose winner will go on to represent England at Miss World in September.

Miss England will win £5,000 worth of jewellery, with six regional runners-up receiving a £300 bracelet each. To support Karlene, text Miss Bedfordshire to 84205.

Each vote will cost £1 and the two contestants who receive the most text votes will be fast-tracked to the Miss England grand finale tomorrow.

Source: Herald & Post, 13 July 2006

Two tier switch gets thumbs down

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A meeting at County Hall has voted NOT to make a huge change to the county's school's set-up - despite being urged to do so by their own experts.

The Beds County Council vote means that the three-tier school system of lower, middle and upper schools - which has already been replaced by the more usual two tier system of primary and secondary schools virtually everywhere else in the country - will continue.

The vote also called for an action plan designed to improve standards at schools across the country and raise standards to the average achieved by pupils in comparable areas by the time they are able to leave school at 16.

Progress will be monitored through a performance management structure. The County Council will formally review progress in late 2009.

Councillor Rita Drinkwater, cabinet member for education, said: "We have accepted the view of the County Council on school structures and will now be getting on with implementing the amended recommendations."

Parents and teachers across the county were outraged by the suggestion that the county should switch systems, fearing years of disruption and huge bills.

But fans of the idea said that Bedfordshire schools were under-achieving, that the move could protect the future of smaller schools and that the county was increasingly out of step with the schools set-up in the rest of the country.

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 12 July 2006

Farewell, my lovely Liz

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Liz FarrEaton Bray mum Liz Farr has lost her brave battle with cancer - only three days after marrying fiance Clive Bevins at an emotionally charged ceremony.

Clive, a former insurance company manager, proposed last month after the premiere of Making A Song And Dance About Cancer, documenting her positive attitude to the disease that had already robbed her of two husbands before she herself was diagnosed 17 years ago.

Liz, 55, became ill two days after embarking on a pre-honeymoon Mediterranean cruise.

Her film-maker son Rob flew out to Lisbon to join them when her health deteriorated.

Clive, 64, said: 'Our cabin was like a luxury prison. I knew she didn't have long and we came home from Southampton by private ambulance.'

With Liz failing fast, Clive arranged a special marriage licence.

He said: 'There was the most amazing atmosphere, joy and happiness mingled with sadness.

'The registrar sat on the bed at our home and there were about 25 family members and friends gathered round.

'Liz became my wife at 11.10am last Wednesday. But she was too weak to say 'I do,' so she just squeezed my hand.'

The pair, of Woodside, Eaton Bray, met four years ago when they went on a skiing trip.

Clive recalled: 'We decided we'd better get to know each other because we were the two novices.

'I was 60, separated from my wife, and perfectly happy with my single life playing bowls, playing snooker.

'But that first day sealed the rest of our relationship - we met to buy skiing equipment, went shopping, had lunch, went to the cinema and ended up spending 11 hours together.

'By the end of the week we were in love.

'I'd been 'Lizzed.'

'She was such a bonus in my life, in spite of the cancer.

'It really was the happiest time.

'I remember lying in bed not wanting to go to sleep, not wanting to waste a precious minute with her.

'She was very sociable and loved having people around her. She had crowds of friends.

'Even this New Year with just eight of us, we played silly games and the evening was such fun.

'And I remember coming home after one hospital appointment, when the news hadn't been very good.

'I went into the kitchen to make tea and there were gales of laughter coming from the lounge.

'I said: 'We must have these cancer parties more often.'

'She loved being the centre of attention, and she was, right to the end.

'I was holding her hand and she was surrounded by her family.

'Her breathing became very laboured and we were all there with her, to her last breath.'

Liz was equally devoted to Clive.

She told the Gazette: 'He's my guardian angel.

'I've never met such a kind and loving person and there's nothing he wouldn't do for me.'

Now Clive intends burying his bride in the dress she wore to the premiere in June.

He said she loved posh frocks and nice jewellery and he's determined she's going to look stunning one last time, just as she would have wished.

Liz's story was inspirational and uplifting.

At Christmas she recorded a CD of a song she wrote and set to music as a tribute to the family and friends who supported her through her long ordeal.

She sang her Thank You Song to a congregation of more than 1,000 at a St Albans church in December and stipulated she wanted it played at her funeral, with all proceeds going to Dunstable-based charity Gentle Touch Healing.

Gentle Touch founder Ray Wilson described Liz as a brave and courageous person who brought joy to many with her buoyant and infectious personality.

Clive said he's shed many tears since she's died, although it was a relief to see her suffering end.

'I told her every day I loved her and adored her and that she was my best friend. And that will never change,' he added.

Liz's son Rob has appealed to everyone attending to wear bright colours to celebrate his mother's life - no black, please.

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 12 July 2006

Till snatch thief to be sentenced

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A man responsible for two till snatches at an Eaton Bray off-licence has appeared in court.

Karl Walsh, 30, of Hillborough Road, Luton, appeared at Luton Magistrates' Court on Wednesday when he admitted three offences of theft and asked for a further seven to be taken into consideration. Two of the thefts occurred at Threshers, Eaton Bray High Street, with the others taking place in South Beds, Luton and Hertfodshire.

Sentencing was adjourned until August 10.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 11 July 2006

Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur president welcomed the members to the June meeting. Among the items discussed before welcoming our speaker, were the summer walk and our outing to Stratford on Avon in August.

An invitation has been received to join with our Dunstable WI friends for a back stage tour of Covent Garden Theatre, and the Eaton Bray Methodist Church has invited us to a service and afternoon tea on 15th June.

A national WI membership promotion is to take place later this year and discussion took place on how we can participate.

Our guest speaker was from the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, the largest animal charity in Europe. Their aim is to provide free care for animals of people who live in deprived areas and cannot afford veterinary fees. They also aim to promote responsible pet ownership.

The founder Marion Dickin opened a clinic in Whitechapel in 1900, the first hospital opened in Ilford Essex.

The PDSA Dicken Award is given to dogs of "outstanding deeds". The most recent recipient was Buster, an explosives dog in the Gulf war.

The PDSA annual budget is £37 million with 47 Pet Aid Hospitals and 329 practices who provide one and a half million free treatments a year. All the veterinary staff are professionals and the charity is the biggest employer of veterinary nurses. The charity receives no government or lottery money and relies entirely on fundraising and donations with income from PDSA charity shops.

Our speaker concluded in revealing that the most common pet ailment is obesity!

The next WI meeting is at 7.30pm on Monday 3rd July in Eaton Bray Village Hall, new members and friends are always very welcome.

Source: Eaton Bray WI

Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

As I write this in early June, the weather is turning from several weeks of solid tennis-spoiling rain to some good old court-inducing sunshine. Out of interest, after the third week of non-stop rain and hail and the inevitably consequential hosepipe ban, I reluctantly took the advice of Three Valleys Water and invested in a water butt. It took four weeks to arrive due to 'excessive demand' for the Slimline version (a bit like me). By the time DHL turned up with it, we’d had another four weeks of downpours, and I was looking forward to enjoying seeing it fill to capacity within hours. As co-incidentally it had stopped raining the day it arrived, I ventured outside with instructions and a hammer, installed the thing using a rather nifty device to my downflow drainpipe, and returned indoors to await the next storm. What’s happened? Not a drop since. Eighty degrees and blue skies for over a week now. My butt’s as dry as a bone. A dormouse is using it as a sauna. I’ll have to hose it down to stop it cracking up. Oh I can’t, there’s a hosepipe ban. I’ll use the water from the water butt. Oh there’s none in it. Catch 22. I’ve been done.

Sorry back to tennis things. The sun was there shining brightly on the evening of 31st May for our ‘Play Tennis’ event. Over 60 people, half of them youngsters, came along to the courts to enjoy some shots and a spot of coaching from Nick Boys and other press-ganged willing volunteers like John Jones and Mike Abercrombie. Some sat and watched over a cup of tea (or at least that’s what we told Ross was in the cups), some brought their own picnics and chairs and made an evening of it, but everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted one of my deliciously tasty sausages or burgers made from the finest ingredients by Hines butchers, cooked to perfection over searing hot coals, served in a fresh bun or roll with a choice of fried onions and several accompanying sauces, presented in an England flag type napkin with a friendly smile from my lovely assistants Jane Hosey and Lorraine Stonelake. And all for only a pound you know. You couldn’t get a daytrip to Bangor for that these days. For the first time ever, we sold out! Fruitless cries of ‘more sausages Mr Chairman’ went unheeded. Overall it was an excellent evening which was a lot of fun, and has encouraged half a dozen new members to join our merry throng!

Last month we held an Indoor games night in the Village Hall which proved very popular by becoming more confusing as the evening wore on. One hundred people were divided into teams named after pubs and competed against one another in games such as shove ha’penny, skittles and bar skittles, Quoits, Bung Hole, and Roll a Penny to name a few. The committee, one of whom was stationed at each game as adjudicator, were trained and drilled on the rules of each game by Judy Venn, and the rules of the scoring system by Chairman Ross, which proved far more complicated than the games themselves. The affect of a pint or two on the adjudicators didn’t help the matter and by half time during the excellent fish and chip supper, there was much frantic running around by those committee members still able to run (or even walk) to try to determine which team was in which position. So we had a raffle to give us some more time to try and work it out. By the end of the evening it was only down to the Eurovision Song Contest type scoring system invented, installed and implemented by Mike Abercrombie (which took up more space than any of the games themselves) that enabled us to declare a winner. I’m afraid I can’t remember who it was (or any details of the scoring system) but we’ve had so much feedback on what a good evening it was, games, convivial atmosphere, confused committee, raffle prizes, food and all, that we must have got it right! Judy, Jan and Ross, all is forgiven, and let’s have another one soon (but with a slightly smaller scoreboard). Also can you ask if Carol Vorderman is free to pop along to help?

For any further information about the club, including when we get together for our social tennis sessions up at the School Lane courts, or our various activities, please call either Chairman Ross Bagni, Coach Nick Boys, or if they’re all out and I’m not hosing down my butt, me, Andy Cross.

Source: Focus, July 2006

A Very Clever Cow Indeed!

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Clarabelle, famous for her special performances at our village carnival has got to be the smartest cow in the area for she must be the only bovine for miles around to clock up visits to 3 schools in as many days.

ClarabelleClarabelle would like to say thank you very much to the headteachers of Ashton Middle School in Dunstable, Eaton Bray Lower School and Edlesborough School for allowing her to come and visit the children. At Ashton school, to the delight of the children, she even helped our vicar with an "a-moosing" assembly!

Here is Clarabelle pictured in Eaton Bray High Street making sure we all "herd" about the carnival.

Thank you very much to everyone who supported Clarabelle - both inside and out! We look forward to an "udder" successful visit from Clarabelle again next summer.

Source: Focus, July 2006

Ice maiden melts hearts of judges!

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A bevy of beauties from Luton, Dunstable and beyond have gathered at a hotel near Luton to find out who would be crowned Miss Bedfordshire 2006.

Miss Bedfordshire 2006: Karlene VardyThe top tiara was awarded to Karlene Vardy, of Grange Way, Houghton Regis, who beat 17 other contestants to win the chance to compete in the Miss England finals next week.

Karlene, who was sponsored by Earth Productions and Promotions, was presented on Monday with a bouquet and the winner's sash and will also enjoy a test photo shoot, a chauffeur-driver car ride, exclusive couture dress hire and a fashion shoot with Herald & Post sister paper the Biggleswade Chronicle.

Second place was claimed by Hayley Sams, from Swansholme Gardens, Sandy, sponsored by Urban Kutz, while third went to Jenna Harrington, of London Road, Luton, who was sponsored by the Holiday Inn at Luton Airport. They were presented with sashes, bouqets and champagne, and the chance to enjoy a test shoot with the official Miss Bedfordshire photographer and fashion shoot with the Biggleswade Chronicle.

The Miss Beds finals, held at Eaton Bray's Bellows Mill Hotel, saw entertainment provided by solo artist James Rooney, a cousin of football hero Wayne.

Singer James recently got through to the second round of popular TV show The X Factor.

After Monday's excitement, Miss Bedfordshire Karlene will go on to compete against more than 60 other regional finalists at Miss England 2006 in Leicester on Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14.

Miss Bedfordshire contestants

Source: Herald & Post, 6 July 2006

Annual Carnival a Record-Breaking Success

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Carnival 2006

The crowds turned out for the St Mary's Village Carnival, on Edlesborough Green, on Saturday - despite competition from England's World Cup game and Wimbledon.

This year, the theme was "films", and the colourful carnival procession certainly won rave reviews from the crowds cheering the floats on their way.

Carnival chairman Peter Bennett said: "This has probably been our best year ever, when even important national sporting events couldn't keep people away from St Mary's Village Carnival.

Carnival 2006 Carnival 2006

"To raise over £10,000 in one day for local charities and good causes is not an easy achievement. It is a magnificent sum and I would like to thank everybody who helped with organising, fundraising, and all those who came along on the day to enjoy themselves, for their efforts and for contributing.

"It is a wonderful event, involving people from the villages of Eaton Bray, Edlesborough, Northall and Dagnall, and the generosity of community spirit is the key to our carnival's success."

There were lots of stalls and sideshows, and plenty of entertainment for all the family, including belly dancing, Jazzercise, a classic cars parade, a dog show, Dagnall School country dancing, worm charming, and, a grand draw.

Birds of prey were on display, and other attractions included a chainsaw carver, other craft demonstrations, bouncy castles, giant inflatables and Clarabelle the pantomime cow.

Carnival 2006 Carnival 2006

Procession Winners:

Pre-School and Lower School: 1 Eaton Bray Lower School; 2 Eaton Bray Pre-School Playgroup; 3 Edlesborough under-fives.

School-Age Organisations: 1 Friends of Edlesborough School; 2 1st Eaton Bray and Edlesborough Cubs; 3 St Mary's GIFT.

Family and Business: I The Bell pub; 2 The Hawkes family; 3 Cheryl Spratt's Minis, and Brilliant Publications.

Prizes were once again presented to the best-dressed buildings, decked out on the carnival theme, along the procession route.

The winners were Rachel McVeigh, of 100 High Street, Eaton Bray, for Star Wars decorations, and the Janes store, in Edlesborough, for a display on The Chronicles Of Namia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

Carnival 2006 Carnival 2006

First prize in the grand draw, a weekend for two in Rome, was won by Trevor Rix. Second prize, tea with South West Beds MP Andrew Selous at the Houses of Parliament, went to Maggie Kerr.

This year, the carnival has raised cash for the fabric fund for St Mary's Church, Eaton Bray; lain Rennie Hospice at Home; and other local charities and good causes.

For more pictures and results, see the Carnival website.

Source: Anne O'Donaghue, Dunstable Gazette, 5 July 2006
Pictures by Gareth Owen

Eaton Bray Methodist Church

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

During the summer months our cooks and helpers are to take a well earned break. Our next Lunches will be served on Saturday October 14th from 12.00noon until 1.30pm. We look forward to seeing old friends again and hope new ones will join us.

Many will know that from September there will be changes to our local Methodist Circuits. We at Eaton Bray along with Edlesborough and Leighton Buzzard Churches are to join with the Dunstable and Area Churches to become the Chiltern Downs Circuit. On Saturday August 12th from 10.00am we are invited to go on a Pilgrimage and see the Churches in the new circuit. Eaton Bray Chapel will be open from 3.00pm until 5.00pm and we invite you to pop in and take a look around. The day will end with a picnic tea and a service at 6.00pm at Edlesborough Chapel. For further information please contact Jane McFarland or other Chapel members.

Source: Focus, July 2006

Decision day on schools' future

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Parents and youngsters at Pulford School supporting the middle school system

Beds County Council's executive committee gave its backing to the idea of ditching the county's three-tier schools structure of lower, middle and upper schools in favour of a two-tier schools system of primary and secondary schools instead.

Now the controversial matter has to go before the full county council for the final decision about whether to make that move. The full council will discuss it on July 13 at County Hall in Bedford, and parents are urged to attend.

County council leader Madeline Russell, who described the schools shake-up as one of the biggest decisions Bedfordshire will make for the next 30 years, said: "Standards of education in Bedfordshire are not as high as they should be, particularly for older children. We have some excellent teachers in our schools and we owe it to them to bring in a system that helps them do the best possible job.

"Our children's exam results are not good enough when compared with the results of children in areas that operate a two-tier system. We believe even our best schools would get better results in that system.

"If the county council agrees to change, then our top priority will be the children currently in the system. We will work with the school communities, parents and the public to ensure change is handled carefully and gradually and their progress is not disrupted.

"There will be further public consultation with the individual school groups, and we will want to be sensitive to the needs of the children."

A working group of county councillors, parent governors, and representatives from the church diocese and the Learning and Skills Council recommended the move as they believed it would help to improve pupils' results.

They concluded that pupils' performance is linked to the system of schools, and that pupils in the two-tier system get better results overall than those in the three-tier system.

If the county does move to a two-tier schools system, any change can only happen after further consultation with individual schools and local communities.

Education bosses have a five-year plan to pull off the huge task and no changes would occur in schools before September 2008.

Under arrangements which have yet to be finalised, it is likely Bedfordshire, will be divided into two or three parts to manage the transformation.

If two parts get the nod, it would take three years to then complete the change, beginning with consultation with individual schools and ending with the winding up of middle schools.

If Beds is instead split into three, with one part of the county starting first and the others following in successive years, the switch would take five years to complete.

The council's own figures suggest the transformation will cost up to £473 million over the next 16 years, including redundancy payments, new school buildings, and temporary accommodation.

Nearly half of that is expected to come from the government, but a handy chunk - about £104 million - is hoped for from the sale of middle school sites to developers. The county council has already begun sizing up what school land would be attractive to builders.

But Councillor Rita Drinkwater, cabinet member for education, said: "I have been contacted by a number of people who have heard that we are planning to close lower schools. That is completely wrong.

"The proposals state very clearly that we plan to upgrade all of our lower schools to become primary schools, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

"We recognise the importance to parents of their local schools and their staff. Becoming primary schools will allow them to provide an even better education and continue to meet the needs of their local community. A primary school system also means the children will spend another two years in their local school, with teaching staff that they already know."

However, parent Trudi Barnes from - Leighton disagrees with the county council's plans. She says it is not true that standards will rise if the school structure is changed.

"There is no evidence" she said. "The council know this and say so in their documentation. The fact is that standards are rising faster in Leighton than in most of the country.

"The council has said that it expects and accepts the risk that standards will actually fall for your child because of the changes.

"Our children are not failing in Middle Schools - this is misinformation. It is being suggested that Bedfordshire is at the bottom of the education league nationally. This is not the case. Bedfordshire is in the middle and improving.

"Our children's education will be seriously and irrevocably compromised by the uncertainty and confusion of change and expansion.

"I ask the people of Leighton Buzzard - do you want your 11-year-old child transferring to a secondary school that could have over 1,500 pupils, has year groups of 300, acid will be a major building site for at least three to five years?"

She continued: "The anticipated cost includes £104 million from the sale of middle schools, plus £217 million BSF government funding that will be available for education regardless of the change. Surely this could be better spent improving our already good schools. The consultation results said that 65% wanted to retain the three-tier system. The consultation cost £141,000 yet the results are being ignored!"

She went on: "The report talks about a perceived recruitment and retention issue from not having the same structure as most of the country but people move here for it. There has been no research into the loss of experienced teaching staff who will leave or take redundancy rather than face the reorganisation - these are the people that have made Leighton-Linslade schools as successful as they are."

Mrs Barnes urges parents to contact their local councillors over the issue or even Andrew Selous MP at the House of Commons. "Apathy will cost our children dear" she added.

Fours, the council's independent researchers, published its report this week. A presentation was given at County Hall on Tuesday morning.

A full copy of the report can be found on the Bedfordshire website, Out of the 9,500 written responses received, only 5,000 were from parents - which amounted to a response rate of a mere 10 per cent.

Fours summarised its findings: "A significant majority of those who responded favoured retention of the current three-tier system overall. This however masks variation between stakeholder groups and geographic areas.

"There is no consensus throughout the county or service about the appropriate school system, in Bedfordshire."

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 4 July 2006

Fantastic carnival raises over £10,000

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Stiff competition from the World Cup and Wimbledon didn't deter thousands of people from flocking to Edlesborough Green on Saturday for the area's biggest carnival.

St Marys Village Carnival 2006 - FilmsThe blistering sun gave the St Mary's Carnival a Hollywood feel as the village played host to a spectacular event themed around the movies that resulted in last year's record £10,000 profit being well and truly trounced.

Marching bands, majorettes, vintage cars and a dazzling display of floats formed a pageant through Eaton Bray and Edlesborough at the start of the carnival.

Carnival 2006

Then it was on to the Green, which saw an increasing number of stalls and attractions to make families part with their cash.

One of the most popular events was the football shoot out - but luckily nobody on Edlesborough Green was sent off or injured! There was also worm charming, belly dancing, a dog show and wood carving.

The Leighton Buzzard Observer again sponsored two crystal trophies for the winners of the best dressed house along the procession route. The winner for Eaton Bray was Rachel McVeigh, at 100 High Street, for her Star Wars theme, and the Edlesborough prize went to Janes' shop for their display featuring The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Carnival 2006

The Grand Draw's first prize of a weekend for two in Rome was won by Trevor Rix, of The Orchards, Eaton Bray. The second prize of tea at the Houses of Parliament with local MP Andrew Selous was won by Maggie Kerr.

Carnival Chairman, Peter Bennett, said: "This has probably been our best year ever when even important national sporting events couldn't keep people away from St Mary's Village Carnival.

Carnival 2006"To raise over £10,000 in one day for local charities and good causes is not an easy achievement. It is a magnificent sum and I would like to thank everybody who helped with organising, fund-raising, and all those who came along on the day to enjoy themselves, for their efforts and for contributing.

"It is a wonderful event involving people from the villages of Eaton Bray, Edlesborough, Northall and Dagnall and the generosity of community spirit is the key to our carnival's success."

Photos and more results from the day are available from

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 4 July 2006

Carnival 2006

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

St Marys Village Carnival 2006 - FilmsOur thanks to all who contributed to this year's Carnival - we appreciate everyone's involvement in and support for this remarkable church and community effort.

An enormous vote of thanks goes to Peter Bennett and his stalwart team for the organisation of the whole event, and to all the helpers who set everying up, manned (and womanned) the stalls and attractions and cleared up afterwards. Well done, everyone!

Photos and Results are now available.

Don't forget that this year's Duck Race is on Saturday 8th July at 1.00pm along the River Ouzel from Summerleys to the bridge at the end ot The Meads. Tickets available around the villages on the day, or from Gordon Gray during the week.

Source: St Mary's Village Carnival website

Beer Festival June 2nd/3rd 2006

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Yes the sun shone through Friday evening and all day Saturday, the beer flowed right up to 11pm on Saturday. JUST!

What more could we all ask for? The 3rd Eaton Bray Beer festival was held in glorious weather over the weekend.

Friday was by far the busiest night, we think, because of people were worried that we might run out of beer again, as we did last year. Yes, it was a close call with only 3 barrels holding the (real) amber liquor at the end. We even started off with 2 extra barrels and had to go out for emergency rations on Saturday morning! Next year we will get even more beer. A big thanks to Roy Chatto and his (very) merry band of helpers who unstintingly tried all the beers to make sure you all got the perfect pint!

The food was organised by GI’s (Gallant Idiots) and it has to be said that the BBQ burgers (from Hines, thanks for your contribution) went down a storm. The baked tatties weren’t quite so popular as last year but then look at the difference in weather (about 10 degrees). I could argue, as head chef of "Bagni's Burgers" that it was down to my superb cooking but that would be stretching it!

Music was supplied by Bob Thompson on Friday and Paul Green (Greenie) on Saturday, who both did great sets, along with our very own magician David Andrew who entertained the young and young at heart on Saturday afternoon.

We would also like to say a BIG thank you to all the volunteers who gave their valuable time to help run the event and to all the local and not so local folk who came and supported the event. We hope you all had a wonderful time and not too many headaches the next day!

We made nearly £3,000! This is all going to help with stage two of the Village Hall refurbishment. Hopefully this may be able to start next year!

Our next event is a Quiz Night on October 6th in the Village Hall, This will be held in conjunction with Eaton Bray Tennis Club. Look out for further info in Focus.

Thanks again.

Source: Focus, July 2006