Welcome to Community Life’s very own Who’s Who. How many of the names and faces below do you recognise? Is your name on the list?
The Bishop of Bedford
Richard William Bryant Atkinson OBE (born 17 December 1958) is Bishop of Bedford in the Diocese of St Albans. He serves the Anglican churches of the Bedford Archdeaconry.Appointed in 2012, Bishop Atkinson previously held the post of Archdeacon of Leicester for 10 years. He follows The Right Revd Richard Inwoo, who retired in 2012 to the Diocese of Derby.
Image © The BBC
Father Kevin Goss, Vicar of St Paul’s, Bedford
Father Kevin was inaugurated as Vicar St Paul’s on 10th July 2014. He grew up in Sussex and studied at Royal Academy of Music in London, where he gained a music degree and also professional diplomas in clarinet, organ and piano. He also found faith here, and Father Kevin was ordained in 1992. He quickly rose through the ranks of the Anglican Church, starting out as Assistant Chaplain T one of the Woodard Schools, Ardingly College. He was also curate of the local parish. He then became Precentor of Canterbury Cathedral, where he was responsible for organising services at the cathedral and overseeing special events and occasions. In 2004, Father Kevin became parish priest in Hockerill, Bishops Stortford and also Chaplain of the Herts and Essex Community Hospital. His duties also included a rural deansip.
St Pauls Square, Bedford MK40 1SQ
Julia Jarman (b.1946)
Julia Jarman is an author of childrens’ books and teen literature. She was born in Peterborough and now lives in Riseley in Bedfordshire.
Her works include Squonk, Crow Haunting, Haunting of Nadia, Ghost Writer, the Jessame stories and the series of books, Time-Travelling Cat.
Born in 1939, Waite – humanitarian, hostage negotiator, and writer – is connected to the town via another famous Bedfordian – John Bunyan. While negotiating the release of western captives held in the Lebanon in 1987, Waite himself was taken hostage and held for 1,763 days, the majority of which he spent in total solitary confinement.
Etienne attended Biddenham Upper School. He learned to paddle on the River Great Ouse with St. Andrews Scouts, and developed his slalom skills with Viking Kayak Club. In 2012 Summer Olympics, London he won a Gold Medal in the Mens C2 . Etienne was named Bedford Sports Personality of the Year in 2008. Twitter@EtienneStott
Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE is an English long-distance runner. She is the current women’s world record holder in the marathon with her time of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds. When Radcliffe was aged 12, the family moved to Oakley, Bedfordshire and she became a member of Bedford & County Athletics Club. Her joining the club coincided with a talented and dedicated coach, Alex Stanton, building the women’s and girls’ sections into one of the strongest in the country, in spite of Bedford’s relatively small size. Radcliffe attended Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College.
Martin Bayfield (1966)
Bayfield – born in Bedford- is famous for being a notable rugby union player for such teams as Northamptonshire Saints, Bedford Blues and England (gaining 31 caps).
Bayfield’s height of 6ft 10in has made him a formidable sportsman; he made his debut in 1991 and played in numerous tours and Five Nations competitions until injury forced his retirement in 1998.
Since retirement Bayfield has worked as a journalist and an after dinner speaker, as well as appearing in the Harry Potter films as a body double for the giant Hagrid.
Matt Skelton (1967)
Bedford born Skelton is the 2006 British and World Boxing Union (WBU) Heavyweight champion with an impressive professional record of 18 wins and 18 fights, 17 of which were by knockout.
Skelton was late in becoming a boxer – he turned professional at the age of 35 – yet he honed his skills in the ring as a kick boxer, winning the International Kickboxing Federation World Title in 2000, such achievements have stood him in good stead for the transition to the world of boxing.
In 2006 Skelton won the Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship.
Gail Emms (1977)
Emms began playing badminton at the age of four and has achieved international success in doubles tournaments. She first played for England in 1995 and has represented the country in the sport ever since.
Her successes have been in the doubles and mixed doubles, winning gold at the 2004 European Championships and silver in the 2004 Olympic Games. The 2006 Commonwealth Games saw Emms win three medals – Bronze in the woman’s doubles, Silver in the team event and Gold in the mixed doubles.
Emms, born in Bedford and educated at Dame Alice Harpur School, is ranked number one in mixed doubles (2006).
Alastair Cook (1984)
Born in Gloucester, it was while a pupil at Bedford School – under the tutelage of former England International Derek Randall – that Cook began his cricketing career.
Cook was captain of England’s Under-19 Team during the 2004 Under-19 World Cup.
He is the only England player to score three test centuries before turning 22, and his England debut in India during 2006 saw him becoming the 16th player in test cricket history to hit a century on his debut.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable, Colette Paul
Colette Paul started her career with the Metropolitan Police Service after graduating from Keele University and first walked the beat in Edmonton, North London and progressed to CID, where she spent a large part of her career as a detective.
In 2000, she was appointed as Detective Superintendent of the Anti-Terrorist Branch and set up its War Crimes Unit and the Counter Terrorist Intelligence Cell.
Ms Paul joined South Wales Police and spent the past five years as Assistant Chief Constable, then Deputy Chief Constable.
The diverse nature of Bedfordshire – the mix of multi-cultural Bedford and Luton, small market towns and rural Central Beds was among what attracted Colette Paul to the county and she joined Bedfordshire Police on 1 July 2013, bringing with her a wealth of policing experience.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller QFSM MSc BSc MIFireE MInstLM – Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire in 1960, Paul Fuller joined Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service as Chief Fire Officer in 2002. Paul currently serves on a number of national bodies including Chair of CFOA Services Limited, deputy Chair of Fire Sector Federation, CFOA Vice President and Trustee of the national charity the Children’s Burns Trust. He is a member of Bedfordshire St John Council, the Police Partnership Board and the Strategic Steering Group for the Regional and World Children’s Burns Camp. He is also Chair of the Bedfordshire and Luton Chief Executive Forum, Shared Services Board and of the CFOA Eastern Region. Chief Officer Fuller was awarded The Queen’s Fire Service Medal for exemplary service in the Birthday Honours 2008.
Our service vision is to provide an excellent fire and rescue service for the communities of Bedfordshire and Luton. We aspire to achieve this vision, not only now but into the future.
Southfields Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK42 7NR
Dr Anthony Marsh Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.
Anthony is currently Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) and is combining his new role at East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust whilst continuing to be in charge of WMAS. You can write to the Chair or Chief Executive at the head office.
East of England Ambulance Headquarters, Whiting Way, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire SG8 6EN
Stephen Conroy Chief Executive Bedford Hospital NHS Trust
Stephen was appointed as substantive chief executive in January 2014, having been acting chief executive from March 2013. He joined the Trust in 2011 as director of strategy and service development.
Before coming to Bedford, he spent ten years in North Central London, including a period as CEO of a primary care trust and programme director for the NCL acute services review. He has 15 years of board level experience in the NHS (acute, community and PCT), and has worked at senior level in local government.
Stephen has spent five years working as a consultant to the NHS on strategic change and process re-engineering.
Famous Names From History
Charles Wells was born in Bedford in 1842. After leaving school at 14, he away to sea on board the India-bound frigate, The Devonshire. Wells rose up the naval ranks and in the late 1860s, he was promoted to Chief Officer. But his naval career came to an end when he asked his sweethert, Josephine Grimbley to marry him. Josephine’s father refused the proposal on the grounds that he would not allow his daughter’s husband to be away at see for long periods of time. Forced to choose, love won out and Charles Wells left the navy. In 1876 he established the Charles Wells Family Brewery providing beer for the people of Bedfordshire. His family continue to do so to this day; Bedfordians owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Grimbley!
Image © Charles Wells Brewery
Synonymous with the town of Bedford, John Bunyan is probably the most famous Bedfordian. His statue stands at the corner of St. Peter’s Street and there is a museum in Mill Street which tells his life story. John Bunyan was born in Elstow in 1628, and despite having almost no education, he wrote Pilgrims Progress in 1660. When Bunyan was sixteen, the English Civil war was in full flow and he joined the Parliamentary army. He returned to the family’s tinker business when he was 19.
Around that time, Bunyan became a preacher for a nonconformist group in Bedford. However the non-conformist movement was deemed illegal and Bunyan was arrested because he refused to give up preaching. He was sent to prison and spent the next 12 years in Bedford Gaol. It was here, in a tiny cell that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the most prolifically published English language books. By 1938 there had been 1,300 editions printed.
John Bunyan was released from prison in 1661, but was soon re-encarcerated. However, he had made significant money from both his book and his preaching and was able to live quite comfortably in prison and latterly in Elstow. He died in 1688, after becoming ill whilst traveling to London. He is buried in Bunhill Fields.
9 May 1939 – 14 August 2009
Frank Branston is was the first directly elected mayor of Bedford, serving from 2002 until his death in 2009. But he is probably best remembers as the owner and editor of the Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper. Frank Branston was an investigative journalist long before the phrase was coined. He also wrote two books: Sergeant Ritchie’s Conscience and An Up and Coming Man. In December 2009, a section of the Bedford bypass running along the A428 from the A421 past Bedford was named The Branston Way in his memory.
Image © Bedford Borough Council
Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509)
Born at Bletsoe Castle, Lady Margaret – her mother being the widow of Oliver St John 3rd Beauchamp of Bletsoe – was a rich heiress and important landowner due to her family ties.
Lady Margaret’s marriage to Edmund Tudor resulted in the birth of a son, Henry Tudor, in 1457 when she was just 13. Henry would go on to become King Henry VII after defeating Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field. Margaret Beaufort Middle School in Riseley carries her name. Following her death in 1509, Lady Margaret was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Samuel Whitbread (1st) (1720-1796)
Born in Cardington, Whitbread left for London at the age of 14 and became an apprentice at the brewers John Whitman. In 1742 he continued to work in the brewing industry by going into partnership with Thomas Shewell. By 1760 their business had become the second largest brewery in London, and in 1765 – after Whitbread had brought Shewell’s share in the business, it became the biggest in London. Whitbread is noted as being one of the first men to raise the issue of slavery in the House of Commons.
Southill, in Bedfordshire, is a charming estate village dominated by Southill Park, and has been home to the Whitbread family since 1795
William Hale White (Mark Rutherford) (1831-1891)
Born in Bedford, White wrote under the name of Mark Rutherford. Educated at Bedford Modern School, he entered the Civil Service in 1854, remaining there until his retirement in 1891.
The Mark Rutherford Collection is housed in the Heritage Room at Bedford Central Library.
John Howard was the leading prison and hospital reformer of his age. He ran an estate in Cardington which he managed and was a thoughtful and inciteful landlord. He became High Sheriff of Bedford and after a visit to Bedford Gaol he was so disgusted by the conditions that it became his life’s mission to record and report conditions across the countries gaols. He went on major expeditions all over the world clocking up 500,000 miles, notebook in hand, visiting prisons, hospitals, lazarettos, schools and workhouses, speaking with authorities, measuring rooms and even tasting the provisions. He published the State of the Prisons in England and Wales (1777) and An Account of the Principal Lazarettos in Europe (1789). A statue of John Howard stands in the Market Place in Bedford next to St Paul’s Church.
Bishop Trevor Huddleston
He was born in Bedford in1913. His statue in Silver Street was unveiled by Nelson Mandela himself in 2000.
He was an English Anglican bishop who went out to South Africa and over the course of 13 years in Sophiatown, Huddleston developed into a much-loved priest and respected anti-apartheid activist, earning him the nickname Makhalipile (“dauntless one”).
He fought fiercely and tirelessly against the apartheid laws. Among other work, he established the African Children’s Feeding Scheme (which still exists today) and raised money for the Orlando Swimming Pools – the only place black children could swim in Johannesburg (until after 1994).
There are many South Africans whose lives were changed by Huddleston such as Hugh Masekela for whom Huddleston provided his first trumpet as a 14 year old pupil in South Africa. Soon after the ‘Huddleston Jazz Band’ was formed, sparking a career of untold proportions across the globe for Masekela and his fellow South African, Jonas Gwangwa.
Other notable persons who credit Huddleston with influencing their lives include Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Huddleston was close to O R Tambo, ANC President during the years of exile from 1962-1990. They hosted many conferences, protests and actions together, in the face of fierce opposition from both Margaret Thatcher and the South African government and their allies. The quote by Nelson Mandela on the statue reads: ‘No white person has done more for South Africa than Trevor Huddleston – Nelson Mandela’.
Huddleston died at Mirfield, West Yorkshire, England, in 1998.
Sir William Harpur
Sir William Harpur (c. 1496 – 27 February 1574) was a merchant from Bedford who moved to London, amassed a large fortune, and became Lord Mayor of London. In 1566 he and his wife Dame Alice gave an endowment to support certain charities including education in Bedford. The endowment became the Harpur Trust, which governs five schools in Bedford today , Bedford Academy, Bedford Girls’ School, Bedford School, Bedford Modern School and Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School.The schools have been attended by many famous celebrities and politicians such as Al Murray, Alastair Cook, Christopher Fry, Paddy Ashdown, Monty Panesar and Jean Muir. He died in 1574, aged 77. He was buried, according to his wishes, in the churchyard of St Paul’s Church, Bedford.
Glenn Miller 1904 – 1944
During WWII, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra were based in Bedford as a safer alternative to London, and they regularly used RAF Twinwood Airfield . On August 27th 1944, Glenn Miller performed a special concert at RAF Twinwood which was the only outdoor concert he performed at a British base. Later that year, on December 15th 1944, Major Glenn Miller was due to leave England for France. He boarded an aircraft outside Twinwood Control Tower, and he was never seen again. This sparked a mystery that has fascinated the world ever since. A bronze bust of Glenn Miller can be seen in an alcove on the façade of Bedford Corn Exchange.
Joe Clough (1887-1977)
Clough came to Britain as an immigrant from the West Indies. He settled in London where he became Britain’s first black bus driver. Clough later moved to Bedford where he continued to drive buses and also became a taxi driver.
Clough was a much-loved figure in the town and is also the subject of a poem by Abraham Gibson.
John Fowles (1926-2005)
A critically acclaimed author, Fowles was a boarder at Bedford School from the ages of 13-18. He became a full time writer in 1963 after a period as a teacher. Some of his novels include The Collector, The Magus, and – perhaps his most famous – The French Lieutenants Woman – all of which were made into films.
James Hanratty (1936-1962)
Hanratty’s connection with Bedford is due to the notorious 1961 “A6 Murder”. The killing of Michael Gregsten and the rape of Valerie Stone took place at Deadman’s Hill near Clophill. Hanratty’s case was controversial in that – after he was found guilty and hanged – new evidence came to light that cast some doubt on the original findings. The case came to the attention of the appeal court, and in 2002, thanks to advances in forensic science and DNA testing, the guilty verdict was upheld.
Ronald William George “Ronnie” Barker
Ronald William George “Ronnie” Barker OBE (25 September 1929 – 3 October 2005) He was an English actor, comedian and writer. He was born in Garfield Street, Bedford and was known for roles in British comedy television series such as Porridge, The Two Ronnies and Open All Hours. He won a BAFTA for best light entertainment performance four times, among other awards, and received an OBE in 1978.
John Le Mesurier
John Le Mesurier was born in Chaucer Road Bedford in 1912 and is most famously noted for his role in Dad’s Army as Sergeant Arthur Wilson and had a prolific acting career starring in over 100 movies. He died in 1983.
Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis
The office of the Lord-Lieutenant of a county is appointed by the Crown by “Letters Patent” under the Great Seal and the encumbant is the Queen’s permanent representative of the Crown in that county. The post was originally created to manage a county’s armed forces, but nowadays the Lord-Lieutenant’s duties are mainly ceremonial.
The Lord-Lieutenant does however still retain the traditional right of recommending the Commission of the Peace for the County. Lord-Lieutenants undertake a wide range of voluntary activity, championing and connecting local voluntary organisations and activities. Bedfordshire’s Lord-Lieutenant is Helen Nellis and her formal title is: “Her Majesty’s Lieutenant of and in the County of Bedfordshire”. When addressing the Lord-Lieutenant, one should use the address “Her Majesty’s Lieutenant” or “Lord-Lieutenant”.
Although the county is split into three separate and independent councils, The Lord-Lieutenant represents the whole of Bedfordshire.
She also represents each of the 6 MPS that cover Bedfordshire. In the royal charter, the Lord-Lieutenant of the county ranks higher than the Mayor, who is first citizen of the Borough. However, the customary protocol is to defer seniority to the Mayor when in Bedford.
The post of Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire was created by royal charter by Henry VIII in 1549 when William Parr, the 1st Marquess of Northampton was appointed. Helen Nellis is the 30th Lord-Lieutenant and the first female to hold the post in 463 years. Helen has lived in the county for 30 years and her career has covered the health, education and commercial sectors. She has also worked as a barrister. Helen Nellis has held multiple chairmanships including chairman of Bedfordshire Health Authority, vice-chairman of the University of Luton, vice chairman of the University of Bedfordshire, and chairman of Bedford Hospital Trust. Her charity and community work include a stint in Ghana, where she helped support health, education and farming programmes vital to the future of the local community..
Helen is married to Professor Joe Nellis, a former vice-chancellor at the University of Cranfield, and who now works as director of community at Cranfield Business School.
Contact the Lord-Lieutenant
By letter :
Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, c/o The Lieutenancy Office, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ
Begin your letter ‘Dear Lord-Lieutenant’
Holders of the Bedfordshire Lieutenancy
2012: Helen Nellis
1991: Sir Samuel Whitbread KCVO JP
1978: Lieutenant Colonel Hanmer Cecil Hanbury
1957: Major Simon Whitbread
1943: Lieutenant Colonel Dealtry C Part
1936: George, 1st Baron Luke
1912: Samuel Howard Whitbread
1905: Beauchamp, 16th Baron St John
1861: Francis, 7th Earl Cowper
1859: Francis, 7th Duke of Bedford
1818: Thomas, 3rd Baron Grantham, afterwards 2nd Earl de Grey and 5th Baron Lucas
1771: John, 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory
1747: John, 4th Duke of Bedford
1711: Henry, 1st Duke of Kent
1701: Wriothesley, 2nd Duke of Bedford
1700: Lord Edward Russell during minority of Wriothesley, 2nd Duke of Bedford
1689: William, 5th Earl and 1st Duke of Bedford
1685: Thomas, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury
1667: Robert, 1st Earl of Ailesbury
1651: Post Not Held
1646: Henry, 10th Earl of Kent
1643: Oliver, 4th Baron St John of Bletso, 1st Earl Bolingbroke
1639: Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland
1629: Henry Grey, 8th Earl of Kent
1615: Charles Grey, 7th Earl of Kent
1586: Henry Grey, 6th Earl of Kent
1560: Oliver St John, 1st Baron St John of Bletso
1549: William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton
The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire
The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Colin Osborne
Colin Osborne Esq MBE
2 Leeds Smith Drive, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 1LU
Under Sheriff – Brian Hall LLB
Brian Hall LLB
Office of the Sheriff of Bedfordshire
6 Bedford Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 1EN