Sunday, March 15, 2009


Spring is here! Daffodils are everywhere and today on a beautiful Spring Sunday Wilstead held its annual Lambing Day at Manor Farm, owned by sheep farmers David and Barbara Seamark. Bedfordshire has some very large sheep farms and there are now 20 million breeding sheep in the UK, producing the delicious lamb many of us enjoy for our Sunday lunches, especially at Easter.

Many local families came to watch lambs being born to some of the 470 sheep at Manor Farm, sometimes as many as 3 or 4 lambs to one sheep. Wilstead Lower School Parent Teachers' Association provided burgers, hot dogs and cakes, raising funds for the school and a good time was had by all. The only slight hitch was a power cut which stopped the important supply of tea and coffee for a short while.

I took my daugher Helen and 2 of my grandchildren Jessica, aged 6 and Oliver, 4, who were fascinated by the lambing process and the chance to hold an orphaned lamb. We also met two of Helen's former school friends, Sarah and Debbie who used to live in Wilstead, with their 5 children, aged from 10 years down to 9 months, so our young children had a great time and we all enjoyed the spring sunshine.

During the visit I bumped into Cathy Whittle, Project Manager of Wilstead Children's Centre which opened in April 2009. Cathy told me that Wilstead Pre School was inspected by Ofsted in October 2008 and rated Outstanding, the top rating. I was delighted at their good news, after the hard work put in by Cathy and many other Wilstead volunteers on a building project, which was completed in a very tight timescale to qualify for its Government grant.

Helen, Debbie and Sarah all attended John Bunyan Upper School, starting in 1988 and Helen went on to graduate from University in 1996. In those days John Bunyan Upper was an excellent school but in recent years it has been in the doldrums. Since the appointment of a dynamic new Head Teacher, Ursula Byrne last year John Bunyan School has started to improve rapidly and achieved good GCSE results in July 2008. In September 2010 it will become Bedford Academy with the support of Bedford College and the Harpur Trust. With the new buildings due in 2012, the school should continue to improve its academic results and provide a good rounded education.

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