Wilstead Newsletter

updated  7th February 2021



Wilshamstead Parish Council

Online Parish Council Meetings

As the Parish Council continue to meet online, given the current restrictions, it really would be good to see more members of the public joining in to view the Parish Council in action.  

A broad range of items are discussed and, as Wilstead is such a busy village, it is a great way to get an insight into all the different facilities and ways the Parish Council are trying to make improvements for the benefit of residents.

The next meetings are set for Monday 8th February and Monday 15th March , if you would like to join the meeting and raise something under the Open Forum section, or just observe the Parish Council in action, then please do contact Lizzie.  It really is straight forward and the Council are happy to help in any way they can to encourage residents to take part.

Take Some Time To Look At The Parish Council Website…..

It has been great to see so many people have been visiting the Parish Council website, which has a number of useful items for residents.  Latest updates on the play area at Whitworth Way, detailed information on the plans for highways improvements and maintenance in the village, plus lots more.

The website can be found at:


Are You Involved With A Local Organisation?

The Parish Council are often approached by local groups looking for financial support or guidance with a project, and the Council understand that in recent time it has been particularly hard for a number of local clubs, groups and organisations.

Wilstead Parish Council spent some time collating a list of funding resources that are accessible to help those who are involved in a group to explore funding and help with the sustainability of a group whether it is activity or interest based.  Please contact Lizzie on h clerk@wilsteadparishcouncil.org for a copy of the information which includes a guide on what is available, who can apply and sets out how to apply.

Whitworth Way Play Area

As previously reported this play area has had to remain officially closed after the national lockdown ended due to the need for Councils to get the equipment safety tested prior to use.  This has been a long and tedious process with the relatively few specialist agencies who can carry out this work extremely busy, every council in England wanted/ needed to get their play equipment tested at a time when all aspects were under severe 'COVID Stress'!  However some progress has now been made.  Part of the area can now be formally opened.

Metal Multi Climber: remains off limits

The metal framed multi-climber needs to remain shut and off limits please. This still has some identified issues and needs further work before it is deemed safe to use. These are not structural and we hope to have the work completed in the course of the next 12 weeks. However this work is weather dependent.

Timber Climber: open

Councillors have now put a significant amount of new Playbark onto the area where the timber climber stands. This climber has been deemed to be structurally sound after testing. There are a couple of small maintenance issues remaining but it can be used.  

The other play equipment has been checked and minor repairs carried out and can also be used now.

We would like to apologise for the length of delay with the process, it was unfortunately out of our hands being reliant on specialist outside contractors for the testing.  Some cancelled, some just never arrived.

Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to report any issues that you find with the equipment.

Parish Council Vacancies

James Carroll recently resigned from the Parish Council, and the Council would like to thank him for his support over the years, in particular with the Whitworth Way play area.  Mark Brooks has taken over as the Spokesperson for the Play Area Working Group.  

The Council currently have three vacancies, so if you are interested in making a difference then do get in contact with Lizzie, or one of the Parish Councillors to express an interest or just to informally find out more.

How Do I Contact The Parish Council?

The best way to do is this via email. Please note that the email address may be different from the one you have used previously.  To confirm it is:


As previously advised, the Parish Council office is not open at present, so the best way to contact the Clerk is via email as indicated above.

Bowls Club News

Our green is being maintained by our winter contractor with the assistance of our Green Keeper and his helpers.

Hopefully we will be able to bowl again this summer.

Ladies and Gents fixtures are all in place, as well as the County fixtures, plus all the County competitions, which can be viewed on line.    We normally start playing them by the end of April or beginning of May.

Take care and keep safe everyone, hoping to see you on the green or in the Club House.

Jean Ward - Secretary

Village P3 Footpath Group


The planned January meeting didn't take place because of the pandemic but members of the Group did undertake surveys during January of all the footpath and bridleways in and around the village.

Unsurprisingly the finding of these surveys was 'Muddy, Very Muddy or Impassable without Wading!'

No path has escaped the mud.

The surveys also identified other work the Group could undertake. These mainly involved the re-instatement of way mark posts and the replacement of faded way mark discs. In addition the bridge on the path to Cotton End from Littleworth needs some attention to the handrail and its supports.

There also continues to be the addition of yellow plastic caps to all the way mark posts which should help prolong their life.

The next meeting of the Group is scheduled for Saturday 13th March but that may be optimistic for a face to face meeting so a virtual one could be held.

Footpath Work

If you spot any problems with the path surface or overgrowth or stiles / way mark posts etc then please contact the number below and the Group will try and address it. We can't do much about the rain and ensuing mud but we will look into how some of the standing water / lakes! might be helped to flow into nearby ditches.


I still have a large quantity of maps showing all the footpaths and bridleways plus leaflets of Wilstead Circular Walk No 1 which goes up and along the escarpment to the south of the village.

If you would like a map or leaflet please contact the number below.


There are no plans to resume the Group's monthly walks in the next couple of months. Perhaps April or May could see the resumption of these 4-5 mile wanders through the Bedfordshire countryside. February 2020 saw the Group have their 197th walk so hopefully this summer should see us complete our 200th, COVID and weather permitting.

Keep an eye out for posters on the village notice boards at the Village Hall and at the Crossroads for information.

If you would like to be put on the Group's emailing list regarding these walks then please contact the number below.

Below are provisional dates for rest of the walks in 2021:

Sunday 11th April afternoon

Saturday 8th May evening

Friday 18th June evening

Friday 16th July evening

Friday 6th August evening

Sunday 5th September afternoon

Sunday 10th October morning

Sunday 21st November morning.

Nigel Jacobs

P3 contact, 01234400733

Update from Wilstead Village Agent

Village Agents provide a free, confidential service and are here to help people over 60 with a variety of issues – large or small. We are funded by Bedford Borough Council. We are all DBS checked and operate in the strictest confidence. Andrea is the Village Agent for Wilstead.

Although we are currently not able to visit people in their homes, we are able to provide advice and information over the phone. We can also drop off items and collect paperwork in a COVID safe and contactless manner, so if you have an urgent form that you need help with, please contact Andrea.

St John's Hospital Trust – a small quarterly payment of £75 can be given to people on a low income who have little or no savings. That's £300 per year. To qualify, you must be over 60, not working and have lived in Bedford Borough for at least 15 years. Contact Andrea for more details.

Free items for the over 65s – do you need a carbon monoxide alarm (an essential for properties with gas, LPG, wood, coal or oil heating) a half-step to ease getting out the front door, a disabled toilet key or a personal safety alarm. Andrea has a few useful items to give away free, first come first served.

Foodbank vouchers – if you are struggling to keep yourself fed properly due to a temporary change in income such as a benefits issue, furlough or unemployment then Andrea can issue a Foodbank voucher to tide you over.

Help with form filling – many older people aren't claiming the benefits they are entitled to. Andrea can help identify which benefits you can claim by doing a confidential benefits check. She can also help you fill in those complicated forms such as Blue Badge, Housing Benefit and Attendance Allowance forms.

Please call Andrea, your Village Agent on

Freephone    0800 039 1234

This is an answerphone service, so please leave your name address & telephone number, & we aim to call you back within 48 hours.

Caretaker required

Wilstead Village Hall require a Caretaker to work for 15 flexible hours over 6 days per week (National Living Wage). This is to include opening and closing the hall for hirers, cleaning the hall after each hiring and maintaining the hall inside and outside in a good condition.

For further information if you are interested in this position please contact :-

Secretary, Angela Fosbrook, 01234 294692 angela.fosbrook@ntlworld.com

Closing date is Saturday 13th February.

Cleaner required

Wilstead Village Hall require a cleaner for a 3 hour block of time to work with the Caretaker each week (National Living Wage). This is to include a thorough clean of the kitchen and toilets.

For further information if you are interested in this position please contact :-

Secretary, Angela Fosbrook, 01234 294692


Closing date is Saturday 13th February.

Wilstead Village Hall

At the time of writing this article, the Village Hall is still closed but as soon as government COVID-19 restrictions allow, it will be opened again. Therefore…..watch this space!

Unfortunately for the Hall and its users, Andy the present caretaker has decided to resign at the end of February 2021 and he will be missed by many people who use the Hall. Very many thanks Andy for your input with the hall and its hirers for the last 4 years.

The Caretaker job, along with a Cleaner job, has been advertised around the Village and online in various formats and in this Newsletter. Please see the adverts if you are interested.

Looking forward to May, when we hope to hold the AGM, at least 3 people will be retiring from the Committee and so please consider joining the band of volunteers who help to keep the Hall running.

If there are not enough people to put forward suggestions and make decisions about the Hall or even to have a quorum at the meetings, the Hall could close and this would be a great waste of a Village asset, much used by all ages. If you have any queries about this, please contact me (name and contact details below).

Wilstead Village Hall Needs You

Angela Fosbrook - Wilstead Village Hall Secretary.

angela.fosbrook@ntlworld.com - 01234 294692

Wilstead WI

Just like all other organisations and clubs, the WI is currently unable to hold in-person meetings. But now we have something to look forward to as our members gradually receive their long-awaited vaccinations. This year sees our 90th birthday, which we are still hoping we can celebrate in October. If all goes to plan, we should be able to get together again. Something tells me it will be a rather emotional evening.

A few months ago I wrote about the history of the WI in general. This time I'd like to tell you a little about the Institute in this village.

Wilstead WI was started in 1931. One of the founder members was Mrs Pollard, the Reverend Pollard's wife, and meetings were held in the Vicarage. Once officially established, Mrs Crawley became president, both Mrs Hughes and Miss Hilda Cox were vice presidents, the secretary was Miss Toll and the treasurer was Mrs Brewster.

Another founding member was Mrs Crouch, who seems to have been keen on amateur dramatics. Her daughter Enid (now Wisson) remembers that the vicarage had a courtyard with an open-fronted covered area where the WI ladies and others would put on performances and Enid was often roped in to play a part as well.

During World War II, children from London were evacuated to our area and WI members would meet regularly to help out and mend their clothes.

After Reverend Pollard and his wife left the vicarage, the WI moved its meetings to the old infant school, which was on Cotton End Road opposite Northwood Lane. In those days there was no running water in the building, so they had to go to the standpipe on the lane to fetch water for their tea.

In the 1950s, meetings had moved to the Village Hall, but not the one we have now as that wasn't built until much later.  

In 1965, to celebrate 50 years of the Women's Institute nationally, the Queen held a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace – the first that was dedicated to the WI. Bedfordshire sent several representatives (chosen by pulling names out of a 'hat') and Enid Wisson from Wilstead was lucky enough to be one of them.

Wilstead WI can sometimes feel like a family affair. It has had several sets of sisters over the years (at least two of them at the moment) and many daughters have followed their mothers into the WI. Current president Lola Stone (doing a job-share with Karen Cook) remembers that her mother, Dorothy Houghton, joined Wilstead WI in 1968. Dorothy used to organise an annual 'Mystery Trip' where the whole WI would be whisked off to an unknown destination 'which usually involved food' and an interesting visit. Now there's an idea…

I'm sure there are many more stories to tell of Wilstead WI's adventures over the years, and we hope there will be many more to come.

(With thanks to Enid Wisson, Lola Stone and 'Wilshamstead Homestead of Friends' by Christine Papworth and Gessie Della Ripa)

News From Wilstead Garden Club

We are naturally disappointed not to be able to hold our normal meetings at the moment but with the vaccinations and hopefully lessening of the infection levels, perhaps we will be able to meet again later in the year.

We can all look forward to lighter and warmer days and once again start working on our gardens. Currently rain and water logging is an issue. It is a good idea to take time and explore where the worse places are and explore whether better drainage, such as gravel or soak away is an idea. Sadly if you are on clay, soak aways are not very useful as the water won't drain away. It is also worth looking at the levels and whether the water puddles. This is an unusually wet year but definitely worth planning for the future and global warming.

We can think about planting, planning your garden and early crops such as broad beans can be planted very soon. If you feed the birds, don't forget to wash feed and water containers to prevent disease. Food doesn't need to be just in feeders, you can encourage different species when you put seeds in say an old log in a place where you can watch them.

Don't forget your houseplants. Central heating and low light can make them unhappy, so think about relocating them if they are suffering. Check whether Christmas plants can be kept rather than thrown away, amaryllis will flower next year if you feed it now, poinsettia and Christmas cactus can last for years and most container plants can be planted in the garden.

Watch your garden, things are on the move. I have seen daffodils in flower as well as snowdrops, so we have things to look forward to.

Until we can meet again, keep safe and keep gardening.

Best wishes from

Viv, Mary, Lynda and Maralyn

The Flitvale WLT Local Group

Zoom Series of Lectures

'Future Wildlife'

A talk by Brian Eversham, CEO of the

Wildlife Trust, BCN.

Wednesday 24th February (7.30pm).

Delivered via Zoom to your home!

What might our wildlife be like in 50 years' time, if the Trust succeeds in its aims (or not)? A thought-provoking discussion of future habitats and the species which may live in them, especially in response to the warming climate.

Don't miss out on these fascinating talks! - Please contact Ann on flitvale.info@gmail.com if you wish to participate in these talks. She will then send instructions on how to log on nearer the time.

Also please let Ann know if you wish to receive monthly copies of our newsletter by email.

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and NorthamptonshireRegistered charity number: 1000412www.wildlifebcn.orgFlit Vale Local Groupwww.flitvale.org.uk

Readers Letter

A Thank You

I am writing to thank all the staff and customers of Wilstead Post Office Stores for the contributions they make to the Leukaemia/Blood Cancer collecting box. In the last year, contributions have totalled £115.69.

This will go directly to support research into beating blood cancers.

Researchers have been improving the outlook for people with this type of disease. This includes better diagnosing and kinder treatments, so that 60% of the people diagnosed now survive over 10 years.

Thank you, once again for your continued, valued contributions.

Peter Tanswell

All Saints Church News

It has been decided that due to the current regulations we have cancelled Sunday services for the Sundays in February.

These are on 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th February. This decision has been taken following advice from the Diocese.

This is purely a common sense decision to keep everybody as safe as possible.

It is likely in view of future decisions on the lockdown by the Government that we may not have services in March either.

Please watch for news in next months newsletter.

It is a very frustrating situation but one which we have to live with at present.

With all good wishes

Keep Safe.

Robert Heley

Fraud Alert Coronavirus Vaccine Scams

Please be aware of the recent increase in COVID-19 vaccine scams.

Here's our advice on how to stay safe from these scams.

The COVID-19 vaccine:

will always be offered free of charge

You will be contacted by the NHS, your employer, GP surgery or a pharmacy local to you.

You will never be asked for personal documents or passwords.

You will never be asked for your bank account or card details.

Do not let anyone offering the COVID-19 vaccination into your home unless arranged by your GP.

Look out for your loved ones and pass on the advice so they can spot the signs of a scam.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.

If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling  0300 123 2040.

or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.