Archives of Eaton Bray News for August 2006.
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Archived News

August 2006

Johnnie's in hunt to detect treasure

Johnnie Condon with a bronze Victorian incense burnerHe's been passionate about digging up treasure using metal detectors for more than 40 years, and said there are masses of interesting things waiting to be found.

Johnnie, of Bower Close, Eaton Bray, now also offers a free recovery service for people who have lost metal objects out in the open, and has an impressive recovery record.

"It's in my blood after 40 years," he said.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the country enjoy going out in search of valuables, and Johnnie believes he played a major part in making it such a popular pastime.

"I was the original acorn that's grown into an oak tree," he said.

In 1967 he started importing metal detectors from America, and in 1969 set up the country's first specialist shop for treasure hunters.

But Johnnie is unhappy at being labelled a treasure hunter. "We like to be known as history seekers, not treasure hunters," he said.

Among the people to call in his services was former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Johnnie met the Wilsons on holiday in the Isles of Scilly.

"Apparently his next door neighbour had lost a ring in his garden, so I said I'd help," he said.

Johnnie moved to Eaton Bray 16 years ago with his wife Joan, who sadly passed away in 2002.

After living within a stone's throw of Wembley Stadium, life in the Bedfordshire countryside is a breath of fresh air.

"It's like going from hell to heaven," he said.

Johnnie has build up an impressive collection of historical artefacts around Eaton Bray, including musket balls dating back to the English Civil War, and tunic buttons that are up to 500 years old.

It's not just historical items that he uncovers though.

Recently he was using his metal detector in Eaton Bray when he discovered a wallet and a mobile hpone that someone had lost. He took them to Dunstable police station, where officers contacted their owner.

"Apparently he was over the moon, it was like a Christmas present," Johnnie said.

He now plans to display his contact details on the police notice board to encourage people to get in touch if they lose something imporant.

Johnnie has built up a collection of around 25 metal detectors.

"Some of them are from the early days when metal detectors were in their infancy," he said.

And he feels that using metal detectors can be a very rewarding hobby.

Johnnie said: "The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the adventure you're going to get involved in. It's the excitement of not knowing what you're going to find that gets the adrenaline going."

He's now passing his passion on to granddaughters Chloe, 13, and Clare, 14, after he bough them metal detectors two years ago.

Source: Dave Burke, Dunstable Gazette, 2 August 2006


Hooligans damage cars in four roads

Cars parked in the High Street, School Lane, Wallace Drive and Knights Close had windows smashed and tyres slashed, leaving some owners with a bill for thousands of pounds.

Among the cars attacked were a Mercedes, Peugeot, Rover, Ford Focus and Mondeo.

Beds Police spokesman, Dave Cook, said: "This was mindless, wanton, criminal damage and we would like to speak to anyone who saw or heard anything that could help us catch the offenders."

Anyone with information is asked to telephone the divisional intelligence unit in confidence on 01234 841212, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 22 August 2006


Eaton Bray Methodist Church

A special thank you to everyone who helped to run and those who came along and supported our Garden Party and lunches in June. A cheque for £500 has been sent to the Bible Society - Four Homes of Mercy and the balance given to our Chapel maintenance fund. We are especially grateful to Jane, James and Nikki Mcfarland for organising and running the event in their beautiful home and gardens.

During June the Ladies of the Bright Hour held a week of celebrations to acknowledge the closure of their group. The Thursday meeting was led by our minister the Rev. Peter Dudeney and the ladies and their special guests then reminisced over a scrumptious afternoon tea. The following Sunday a special service was led by Mrs Joan Gregory with the help of the Bright Hour members. Thank you Kitty and all the ladies for the special times they have shared with us all.

A reminder that there will be a Pilgrimage around the Churches in the new Chiltern Downs Circuit on Saturday August 12th from 10.00am culminating with a picnic tea and a service at Edlesborough Chapel, contact either chapel for details.

Our Harvest Supper will be held on Saturday September 23rd . Please contact Chapel members for tickets and information.

Harvest Festival service will be on Sunday September 24th at 10.30 am. This will be a Family Service lead by Mr Bob Harris with the help of members of the Sunday School.

Monthly lunches will resume on Saturday October 14th at 12.00 noon until 1.30 pm, everyone will receive a warm and friendly welcome and a tasty meal.


We were very sad to hear of the passing of our dear friend Mrs Alice Patrick. She was a loyal member of our congregation and attended chapel as often as her health allowed. As with anyone in their late nineties, her health began to fail, but her mind continued to be as active as ever. Alice always had a ready smile of greeting and loved to know your news, taking a genuine interest in hearing about what you had been up to. Although small in stature she will leave a large gap at chapel and will be remembered with great affection by us all.

We extend our condolences to her family in their loss.

Source: Focus, August 2006


Special task to combat rogue trader problems

Special constables Becky White and Angela Williamson, will be targeting the activities of rogue tradesmen and opportunist cold callers as part of Beds County Council's award-winning bogus callers taskforce.

The team has worked with local communities to introduce no cold calling zones in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Eaton Bray, as well as intercepting known rogue traders before they cause a nuisance to residents and responding to calls.

Councillor Bob King, responsible for community services, said: "Residents have been telling us that feeling safe at home is one of their highest priorities, so I'm pleased to extend the Bogus? Phone Us! rapid response team. With two more enforcement officers out on the streets, we are sending a clear message to rogue traders - they are not welcome in Beds."

Brian Mitchell, reactive team manager, said: "The number of serious incidents in our no cold calling zones has dropped dramatically. We used to deal with householders that had lost thousands of pounds to rogue traders, but our task force is making this history. We are steadily working towards the point where Beds becomes a no cold calling zone and I'm hopeful that the rapid response team will keep it that way."

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 16 August 2006


Act now for winter fuel payments

With the recent sizzling temperatures it may be the last thing on their mind but older people in Leighton, Eaton Bray and the nearby villages are advised to get their applications for Winter Fuel Payments in now to ensure they receive help heating their home before Christmas.

As the summer months fly by, the Government wants to make sure those who have not previously received a Winter Fuel Payment apply as soon as possible and claim the money they are entitled to.

New applications received by September 22 will get their £200 payment in time for Christmas.

The minister for pensions reform, James Purnell MP said: "Over eight million households will benefit from the £200 Winter Fuel Payment this winter, with those containing someone aged over 80 receiving £300.

"We want to make sure everyone who is eligible applies for the help they deserve.

"If you have not received a payment in the past, you need to apply in order to claim your first payment.

"The sooner you claim, the sooner we can get you the money to heat your home."

This year, automatic payments will be paud to over 11 million people aged 60 and over.

People should not need to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment if they have received it previously, or are already claiming State Pension or another social security benefit (other than Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit).

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 15 August 2006


It's a Blockbuster

Thank you very much to everybody who turned out to support St Mary's Village Carnival and make it our best ever. The costumes and procession and Best Dressed Houses were fantastic and despite the lure of national sporting events on our big day, you helped us raise the magnificent sum of over £10,500 for local charities and good causes.

St Marys Village Carnival 2006 - FilmsIt was a superb event with more stalls and attractions than we have ever had before and a range of entertainment to suit all ages for a fun day out.

Special thanks must go to all members of the carnival committee who have worked so hard during the year to plan the event, and to everybody who rallied round to help with collecting goods, setting up the green, tidying up, running stalls, collecting money, selling tickets. Every helper is very important and is greatly appreciated. Thank you also to those who generously sponsored prizes, bought raffle tickets, or supported Clarabel or helped in any other way. We couldn't do it without you.

This year, as well as the fabric fund of our beautiful parish church, the main beneficiary will be Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, and the remainder of funds will be distributed to other local charities.

If you wish to nominate a charity to benefit from the proceeds of our carnival, please speak to Carnival Chairman, Peter Bennett. Later in the year, details will be published explaining how the funds will be distributed.

For lots more information about our carnival and for a superb photo gallery of the event, log on to our website, www.stmarysvillagecarnival.com

Source: Focus, August 2006


Church trail chance

Churches on the South Beds Church Trail will be holding a special open afternoon on Sunday.

The churches taking part in the scheme have been holding open afternoons from 2pm to 5pm on the first Sunday of every month over the spring and summer.

As part of this Sunday's event, St Mary's Church, in Eaton Bray will be open and the parish record book will be on display.

Also on show at the village church will be photographs and details of the history of the church and the area.

People will be on hand to answer questions from visitors.

The church is sited in the village centre, is wheelchair accessible and there is ample space for parking.

Refreshments will be available.

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 2 August 2006


Cricket: Villagers lose to city team

Eaton Bray lost to Milton Keynes in Division One of the Morrants Four Counties League at the weekend.

Eaton Bray ended on 163 and were beaten by six wickets with Milton Keynes finishing on 165-4.

Other results were:

Division One: Mentmore (189) beat Old Bradwell (70) by 119 runs. Eggington (150-8) drew with Simpson & Walton (240-7). Newport Pagnell (214-6) beat Aspley Guise (210-9).

Division Four: Eaton Bray (138-4) beat Cranfield University (135) by six wickets.

Division Five: Wing (242-6) beat MK City (240-4) by four wickets.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 1 August 2006