Wilstead Newsletter

updated  2 June 2021



Wilshamstead Parish Council

Attending Parish Council Meetings Update

The Parish Council had its first face to face meeting on Monday 17th May after over twelve months of online remote meetings.  As the government legislation no longer allows online meetings, it is expected that the next meeting, the Annual Parish Electors Meeting will go ahead at the Village Hall on Monday 21st June at 7pm, everyone as always is welcome.

New Parish Council Appointments

At the May meeting, Eric Benton was elected as Chair to the Parish Council, and Mark Brooks as Vice Chair, along with Marc Frost as Responsible Financial Officer.  The Parish Council wish to thank Nigel Jacobs enormously for his hard work and meticulous attention to detail during the twelve years he was Chair.  Thankfully, Nigel remains as a Councillor so his extensive knowledge and skills will be retained within his role of Spokesperson for the Planning Working Group.

Parish Council Noticeboards

The Parish Council agreed to fund some new noticeboards for the village, to enable better communication to residents.  The new boards will be crafted locally, and are significantly more fit-for-purpose than the previous style.  They will be located outside the Village Hall, and at The Crossroads in the first instance and will also be more user friendly.

Parish Council Vacancies Reminder

Do not forget the Council have vacancies for two councillors at present. If you wish to find out more, please contact Lizzie, the Parish Clerk, as shown below.

East West Rail Consultation….Do Not Forget To Respond

This consultation closes on Wednesday 9th June and whilst the proposed route alignment is not local to the village, there are a number of items which East West Rail are consulting on in the Bedford area that may impact and effect you or your households travel journeys.   Further information is available at


including how to respond.

Look Out For The Bedford Borough Council Local Plan Next Steps

Do remember that towards the end of June the Borough Council are going to be launching the next stage of the new Local Plan, so it is really important residents engage and have their say in shaping where you would like to see development to go.

Proposed Changes To The Borough Council Ward Areas

You may recall that over recent months there have been several consultations on this.  There is now one final consultation with some significant changes proposed for the Ward that Wilshamstead currently is in.  It is planned that Wilshamstead and Wixams will join with Stewartby and a large part of Elstow to form a Ward with three elected Borough Council members representing electors.  The closing date for comments is Monday 5th July and it is important residents make their views known on this proposal.  More information can be found at:


Neighbourhood Plan Responses Thank You

It has been great to see so many residents taking the time to respond to this important consultation.  The data will now be reviewed and watch up for further updates on the next steps with the Plan.

Contacting The Parish Council

The best way to contact the Parish Council is to email Lizzie, the Parish Clerk at:


Alternatively you can call 01234 743152 or write to PO Box 1548, Bedford, MK44 5AX

Village P3 Footpath Group


Whilst the virtual meeting of the Group didn't take place in May, the bi-monthly survey by Group members of all the 11 miles of Rights of Way (Footpaths and Bridleways) in the Parish did take place. As usual a summary of their reports was sent to the Borough Rights of Way highlighting any problems and identifying whether the Group would like assistance from RoW in tackling these.

The next meeting is on Saturday 10th July and it is planned to have a face to face meeting in the Village Hall at 10.00am.

Come along if you are interested in joining the Group and helping to look after the paths in the parish. All are welcome.

Footpath Work

The work highlighted by the surveys undertaken in late April/early May included the re-instatement of way-mark posts (that were loose or had fallen down), addition of yellow caps on way-mark posts, replacement of faded way-mark discs and yellow plates, vegetation cut back – overgrowth and undergrowth and the replacement of stakes on the steps on Footpath 10 at Elms Lane.

If you do 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 should be able to resume our monthly walks soon. Our next walk is currently planned for Friday 25th June around Broom, leaving Wilstead at 6.30pm.

Keep an eye out for posters on the noticeboards.

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

Friday 16th July and  Friday 6th August are the provisional dates for the subsequent two walks.

Borough Paths

It is still hoped that some of the Group will again be able to assist the Borough in undertaking surveys of Rights of Way in other parishes. Of the nearly 1000 miles of Rights of Way in the Borough around 160 miles are surveyed each year. So, any help the Group can give will be useful and will allow officers to concentrate on sorting out any problems on the Rights of Way network in the Borough.

Nigel Jacobs

P3 contact, 01234400733

Looking forward to Summer Garden Visits

The Wilstead Garden Club met for the first face to face meeting of 2021 in May. We are very grateful for the Village Hall committee and Caretaker for making this possible. We must also thank everyone for helping with chairs and bringing so many plants to swap.

We were overwhelmed with the number of members and new members as less than an hour before there had been a thunderstorm. We had visions of the plants floating away down the road. Mary gave a comprehensive talk about keeping your plants flowing all summer, the knack is cut them down before they flower for a later show of single flowering plants, and to keep dead heading multiple flowering ones. Sounds a good ways to get rid of any stress with a bonus of joy to come!

The main event was the plant swap. The committee were worried that this would only have a few plants as so many people had said they had had difficulty this year. On the day we definitely had at least as many as usual, if not the same selection. All plants were very healthy and there was a good selection of perennials, annuals and vegetables as well as a lovely selection of cacti and succulents. We were perhaps down on tomatoes. It seemed everyone took home something. The few remaining flowering plants went to a community garden, others are being looked after for the future.

Now we are going out and about. First visit is to Whitwell, the childhood home of the late Queen Mother in June. In July we are going to a garden the other side of Bedford and in August we have open gardens in a road in Wilstead. These visits are self driven so if you feel like joining us, contact a committee member or on the email for more details.

We wish everyone happy planting and abundant flowers. The next meeting in the Village Hall is in September.

Maralyn, Viv, Mary and Lynda


Wilstead Bowls Club News

We have started to play bowls on our green under the government restrictions, even though the weather has been very wet.

Men's Monday League, Ladies Tuesday League and the Men's Wednesday County League, are all played in the evenings.     Then there is the Over 60's on a Wednesday afternoon, plus friendly games of Ladies and Gents, also some mixed games.

On Sunday 6th June the County Men are using our venue for one of their Two Wood's competition.

All County competitions have started, unfortunately at present we do not have any of  our men or women through to the semi-finals.

Our ladies have entered the Top Club competition and we are playing at home against Bedford Priory on Saturday 12th June  During the morning. While the men have entered the men's Two Fours and will be playing away against Shefford Bowls Club at an agreed  date by the 4th July

On Monday 21st June Barbara Carter our Lady County President is holding a County Charity Day at Wilstead, because unfortunately her County Tour had to be cancelled.

There are going to be many events, also you can play a game of bowls in the morning  and the afternoon.    An advert about what is happening will be on the County and  Wilstead Websites.

Jean Ward - Club Secretary

Elstow Cricket Club Newsletter

(Local cricket club for Wilstead, Wixams, Elstow & other surrounding areas)

The cricket season is now in full swing and in line with the current Government guidance, matches are going ahead for Elstow CC at The Warren.  The Saturday 1st and 2nd XI have both kicked off their campaigns in the Four Counties League with the 1st XI led by Rani Thiarra, defending their title from 2019.

On Sundays, the 1st XI are looking for their third promotion in three seasons and the newly formed 2nd XI, made up predominantly of Elstow's s up and coming young stars, is a great platform for them to transition from age group cricket to the longer adult game.

We also play in the Bedford Mid-week League. The Elstow Rabbits usually play on a Wednesday and the team is made up of some senior and junior players of varying abilities. Unfortunately our planned friendly with the Bedfordshire Farmers was rained off however we hope to re-arrange some time in June/July. Keep an eye out on social media for this cracking annual fixture.

Age group cricket continues to thrive at Elstow under the watchful eye of our Youth Development Manager Geoff Couling. We have an U9's and two U11 teams, both of which train on a Friday evening and play their matches on a Sunday morning. The U13's & U15's train on a Monday and play on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively.

The Elstow Belles (ladies/girls) team have also started their season. Whilst they don't have competitive matches, they train with just as much enthusiasm as the boys on a Tuesday evening.

The All Stars Cricket Programme has started for boys and girls aged 5 to 8 years. Adam Ross and Fiona Tanswell lead the coaching with help from some of Elstow's finest young cricketers. All Stars Cricket is also on a Friday evening from 6pm.

Spectators are now allowed at The Warren and the refreshment bar (The Pigeon Toe Inn) is open on match days and Friday evenings. Serving beer, wine, cider, tea, coffee, sweets, crisps and soft drinks, it's a great place to come and have a drink whilst taking in the cricket (all within Government guidelines and using NHS track and trace). All are welcome to pop along for a beer or a cuppa. The weather in May hasn't been great so please bring a brolly and a coat as all refreshments are currently being served outside.  We are keeping a close eye on the Government and ECB guidance as to any changes when we may be able to allow people indoors. We are also looking for volunteers to help with running the bar particularly on a Sunday afternoon.  If you can help at all please get in touch. Thanks.

Finally our Vice Presidents' Day is planned for Saturday 31st July when our 1st XI play Great Horwood at The Warren. We hope to get a good crowd down to watch the game and there will be all sorts of refreshments available and the BBQ will be fired up.

Please visit our new website


for all our news, fixtures and results or see us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Fixture cards are now available from the cricket club and can also be downloaded from the website.

Fiona Tanswell

Elstow CC - Treasurer

07855 758696

An Update from Greensand Surgery

You may have seen on the news that from Monday 17th May, doors at GP Practices were 're-opening'.  As you will know, our GP practice has been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone and online appointments, with face to face consultations available to those who need them.   This was in line with national requirements to keep patients safe, whilst COVID infection rates were high and before the vaccination was widespread.

GP practices are being encouraged to offer patients a choice of whether they would like a remote or face to face consultation.  However, before we have more people coming into the surgery to see us in person, we need a bit of time to put in place measures to keep everyone safe.  As we wait for further national guidance on doing that, we ask that patients continue to contact us by phone or online as you have been doing.  We are facing unprecedented demands to our services and will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians' time to best support our patients – particularly those who need us the most.

We will keep you updated as soon as we are clear about how we can re-open our reception areas safely.  Thank you for your support.

Dawn Moore

Practice Manager - Greensand Surgery

Houghton Wilstead Golf Cup 2021

After the disappointment of missing our 15th anniversary due to the unprecedented times we found ourselves to be in, we are delighted to announce the Houghton Wilstead Golf Cup on Friday 30th July.

It's all to play for this year, as it's tied at 7 apiece.

2021, the competition has a new home at Cainhoe Wood Golf Club, but still carries the same spirit and local friendly rivalry.

Raising funds for Sue Ryder St John's Hospice is at the centre of our day, to support the amazing work they do to aid the local community, so if you want to get involved, let us know. All are welcome, of any golfing ability.

There are also lots of other ways to get involved. We need help with raffle prizes and auction donations that can be handed in or discussed at Wilstead or Houghton Conquest Post Office. We also have opportunities for hole sponsors and always welcome volunteers to get involved with the running of the event so please get in touch.

All enquiries to Rani



All Saints Church

We are now up and running with a regular service on  Sundays  at 11.00 am. We have  had a few new worshippers join us, having just moved into the village.

Stephen Toze as you know is retiring and his last service will be on Sunday 20th June. It would be nice to have a larger than normal congregation to wish him well in the future. Thanks to all who have made a contribution to his retirement.

It is hoped that we will be able to continue with a regular service on a Sunday morning helped by retired clergy and offers from the deanery to do this.

With lock down regulations hopefully being relaxed on June 21st we hope to have fund raising events once again. To this end we have planned to have a coffee morning in the Chapter House and Church on Wednesday 30th June at 10.30   until 12.00. We are planning to have a raffle, cake stall, produce stall as well as teas and coffee. If the weather is decent then people can  socialise outdoors.

Look out for posters  advertising this event.

With thanks and every blessing

Robert Heley

Wilstead Village Hall

As the Hall has moved into the next step of the 'Road Map Out Of Lockdown', it is so lovely that it is being used again by many of the regular hirers and others. All are however still having to follow the Covid-19 procedures that the Committee have put in place, under the Government guidelines. We all hope that the present situation does not become more serious and that the Government does not have to make any changes to the present plan.

From Monday 21st June, there should be a lifting of the restrictions on social contact and type of events. However, we must follow any guidance given nearer the time before all parties, big meetings and everything may be able to take place as they used to!

If you wish to enquire about making a booking, please see the hall advert in this newsletter or look at the Wilstead Community website and click on Village Hall for any information on rates of hire, conditions of hire, covid-19 procedures etc.

Wilstead Village Hall AGM

June 23rd 2021 at 7.30pm

A date for your diaries is the Hall's AGM on Wednesday 23rd June in the main hall. Please come along for 7.30pm, even if you only want to find out a bit more information about the hall and how it is run by a merry band of volunteers. Even better would be that you wish to put your name forward to come on the Committee, especially as people with new ideas and IT skills are needed.

Unfortunately, at least 3 people will be retiring from the Committee and we thank them for their dedication to supporting the Hall over the years. It would be such a tragedy 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 (about 6 a year).

I'm sure nobody wants to see the Hall closed!

Wilstead Village Hall Needs You

If you have any queries about this, or anything to do with the hall, please contact me.

Angela Fosbrook - Wilstead Village Hall Secretary.

angela.fosbrook@ntlworld.com - 01234 294692

Update from Wilstead Village Agent

Village Agents provide a free, confidential service and are here to help people over 65 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.

Door to Door Transport in Bedford Borough

·     Do you struggle to get on a bus? Did you know that the Door2Door minibus service will collect you from home, and has facilities to take wheelchairs and mobility scooters using a tail lift?

·     A subscription costs £30 for the first year and £20 annually thereafter (Minimum charge per journey £3.00)

·     The minibuses operate between 9:15am to 4:15pm, weekdays only. You need to book your journey two days ahead – or earlier for health-related appointments.

·     Did you know that you can sign up for Door2Door without giving up your bus pass?

·     Call the Door2Door admin number on 01234 834933 for more details.

Would a helpful gadget make your life easier?

Do you need a carbon monoxide alarm, a disabled toilet key, personal safety alarm, a handy grabber for picking up items or a 'good grip' potato peeler suitable for arthritic hands?  Andrea has a few useful items to give away free, but be quick before they all go! Contactless Covid safe delivery.

Jigsaw Loan Scheme

We have a large number of jigsaws to lend, most with 500 or 1000 pieces. We also have wordsearch and puzzle books to give away. If you are interested, call Andrea for more details.

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. We can also help you fill in those complicated forms such as Blue Badge and Attendance Allowance forms. We are now able to carry out face to face outdoor visits, or we can provide telephone support and advice.

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