December 2014 (as published in ‘Spotlight’)

The Old Church

Following our success in winning ‘highest award in category’ at the October Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) awards, on Monday 17th November we were further rewarded with a visit from HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Mrs. Helen Nellis who had presented the award and the High Sheriff Mr Colin Osborne. Dec14_BedsLLandHSThey both see the project as an important Bedfordshire landmark now that the church is completed and also want to assist with the last bit of funding. They were provided with a ‘Tower Tour’ and update on eco lodge progress.

Our thanks also to the Parish Council for kindly helping to install additional hedging and gate at the church site in vulnerable areas.

The Eco Lodges

Thanks to a most generous donation from the Frank Branston Charitable Trust received in mid- November we are now able to proceed with connection to the National Grid and the provision of a full mains electricity supply which will provide the site with power for light, heat and an enhanced security system. This will be to the benefit of the Lodges and Old Church alike.

Frank Branston was a journalist, novelist and newspaper proprietor and the first directly elected mayor of the Borough of Bedford. Following his passing in 2009, his wife and family created the Trust in order to benefit other charities or voluntary bodies involved with arts, culture, heritage, science, recreation and the environment. They were amongst recent funders of the Higgins Museum and Art Gallery refurbishment in Bedford.

We cannot emphasise how grateful we are to Mrs. Marlies Branston and her daughters for their involvement as this represents a major funding breakthrough which will enable the project to move towards completion.

Our thanks also go to all other contributors for their charitable donations.