December Parish News


Services & events for December
Holy Communion each Thursday at 10.30


Sun 1 10.00am

Family Service

Thanksgiving and Blessing for gift of a Child


Informal Communion

Mon 2    8-00pm

Mothers Union

Advent Meditation at Vicarage

Wed 4 10.30am

Pram Service

Sun 8 10.30am

Morning Praise


Youth Communion @ Holy Trinity

Sat 14 10.00 –3.00

Christmas Crackered

Music, drama & fun for everyone at Market Hill

Sun 15 10.30am     


Mon 16

St Andrews & New Life Fellowship – Carol Singing around Slip End

Tue 17                as above
Wed 18 10.30am              Pram Service
Sun 22 10.30am

Children’s Nativity Service


Carols by Candlelight Service

Mon 23 6.30pm

Woodside Nursing Home Carol Service

Tue 24 11.15pm

First Communion of Christmas

Wed25 10.30am

Family Service

Sun 29 10.30am

Morning Praise


Look out for St Andrew's Church and the New Life Christian Fellowship who are planning to sing Carols around the streets of Slip End on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th December. They are hoping to deliver cards to each home, advertising the Christmas services at both churches so make sure you keep them somewhere safe to remind you of the dates and times. The New Life Fellowship will be joining St Andrews for their family service on Christmas Day.

A time of drama, music and fun to keep everyone smiling this Christmas! There will be a Christmas Prayer tree, free gift wrapping and more on December 14th at Market Hill, Luton between 12noon and 4.00pm with a Carol Concert at 3.30pm.

Courses being held at 'Wellsprings' Hockliffe include a Quiet Day for Advent, on December 7th. It is being led by Angela Walker, who has several years experience in advanced clinical aromatherapy, and Sister Joanna, a prison chaplain who is trained in guided Ignatian spiritual direction. More information from Ann Bowes on 01525 210711

On Thursday 7th November 2002 the new School Library was officially opened. A ceremonial ribbon was cut by the Treasurer of the PTA, Mrs Caroline Hay and Mrs Janet Buttery, a Governor at the school. The new library is a superb addition to the facilities that the school offers to the pupils. Funding for the Library, which was built during the Summer holidays, was provided by the PTA and matched by Central Government. Since the start of term the Librarians, Mrs Linda Allnutt and Mrs Mary Barker have spent a considerable amount of time preparing the Library for use by the children. Apart from the new shelves, lighting and carpet, colourful new furniture has been installed to make the library welcoming to the pupils who enjoy their regular visits to carry out research or select a book to enjoy.
Before the ceremony, there was an Information Evening at which the Headteacher, Ms C Fisher, spoke to the Parents about what has happened over the past year and what is to happen in the future. Ms Fisher also thanked the PTA for all the support that is given to the school. It was reported that the PTA may be re-named 'Friends of Slip End Lower School'' to incorporate Governors and other Community members who support the school.
Our pictures show the Opening Ceremony and the two Librarians.

On Saturday 7th December, we are reliably informed that Father Christmas will be visiting the Christmas Fair. Please see separate advert elsewhere in the magazine.

Cutting the Ribbon: Mrs Hay and Mrs Buttery

The School Librarians: Mrs Barker and Mrs Allnutt


Why do we pull crackers?

The Christmas table seems incomplete without the traditional crackers on it. We have the French to thank, as their tradition of giving sugared almonds wrapped in a twist of paper was brought over to Britain by English sweet maker Tom Smith in the 1840's. He introduced them at Christmas time to boost flagging sales, and they were hugely popular. Each year he added a different element to them; the funny motto and trinket. The bang was added when the crackle of a log on the fire gave him a flash of inspiration

Why do we call it Boxing Day?

Boxing Day comes from a custom that started in the Middle Ages, when churches would open the alms box (collection boxes) on St Stephen's Day (26th December) and distribute the money to the poor of the neighbourhood.

Why do we sing carols?

Carols have been around for centuries and were introduced to church services by St Francis of Assisi. In 1649 Oliver Cromwell banned them as he thought them frivolous. Most of the carols we know today such as Silent Night were created in the 1800's. The word 'carol' comes from the French 'caroler' meaning to dance in a ring, as they were originally sung to accompany dances.

Why are bells rung at Christmas?

This tradition goes back to the Middle Ages when bells were used to gather crowds. During a church ceremony the bell would ring to signify a point in the service, such as prayer. The joyful peals of bells rung at midnight on Christmas Eve were first rung in medieval England to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Why are there twelve days of Christmas?

The 12 days of Christmas which run from Christmas Day until Epiphany on January 6th when the Wise Men visited Jesus. The decision to place Christmas during those 12 days dates back to pre-Christian times. A mid-winter festival celebrating the pagan sun god lasted 12 days and was called Yule. Early Christians adopted this festival to encourage pagans to convert to Christianity.

Why do we eat turkey for Christmas dinner?

Before turkey was brought to Britain from America, Christmas dinners featured bustard, goose, boar, cockerel and for the wealthy, swan and peacock. Hunting the Christmas Boar became an annual sport ending with the boar's head being carried to the dining hall with an apple in its mouth and guests would then sing The Boars Head Carol which is the oldest printed Christmas carol. Turkey became the most popular Christmas dinner because it was cheap and quick to fatten up.

Why hang up stockings on Christmas Eve?

There are two possible explanations for this ritual. One is that during the 16th century, Dutch children would leave their clogs by the hearth and fill them with straw for Santa's reindeer and a treat for Father Christmas. In return he would leave the children some gifts. Over the years the clogs changed to stockings. The second version is that St Nicholas, patron saint of children would walk between houses throwing gifts and coins in through the windows on Christmas Eve. One of the coins landed in a stocking hanging up to dry over the fireplace and so the tradition continued.

Why aren't mince pies made from mince?

Nowadays, mince pies contain dried fruit and candied peel but when they were created in the Middle Ages, they were made from minced poultry, pheasant and rabbit. Later apples, raisins and candied peel were added and gradually the meat was omitted, leaving just the fruit. The pies were originally shaped like a manger and included three spices, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, to represent the three gifts to the baby Jesus.

It was supposed to be lucky to eat a pie on every one of the 12 days of Christmas.

Why do we have advent calendars?

Advent comes from the Latin 'adventus' meaning 'coming towards', which is why the calendar involves counting down the days until Christmas Day. Advent calendars started in 19th century Germany, when families marked a line in chalk for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Entrepreneurs replaced the chalk version with printed calendars.

Did you know?
The Christmas pudding evolved from the medieval dish of Frumenty - a spicy, wheat-based dessert.

Did you know?

The red-nosed reindeer was created in 1939 as a promotional story for Montgomery Ward, an American department store, but nearly wasn't used as the owners were worried that customers might think he was drunk!

Finally, did you know there are two towns in the United States named after Santa Claus? - Santa in Idaho and Santa Claus in Indiana.


Our Turkey & Tinsel Weekend went off very well, in spite of the rough weather. Forty members and friends had an early Christmas at the Mansion Hotel in Eastbourne early in November. With friendly staff and a very good lady coach driver, we all had a very good time with Bingo, Dancing and entertainment each evening. (Hopefully, we may arrange a group holiday next summer.)
Although winter is well upon us, we have a busy time coming up. We are looking forward to our club Christmas Dinner and entertainment on 12th December. On Thursday December 19th Gillian and Shirley are organising a Tea Dance for us with Refreshments and Raffle. Over the Christmas & New Year period the club is taking some time off, with our first meeting in 2003 on January 9th; followed by meetings on January 23rd, February 6th and 20th, March 6th then our weekly meetings resume.
Many thanks to Gillian for the donation to our funds and to May and Dot for running the Tombola at the Brownies Tabletop Sale, where 43 was raised which will go towards our Christmas Dinner.
With thanks to all those who support us, we wish you all a happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year!
Viv Porter
Many of our club members journeyed to the Mansion Hotel in Eastbourne to sample what has recently become an attraction throughout the year, called Turkey & Tinsel. For those who have not sampled such a break, I can recommend them, having been on several at Holiday camps.
All activities are truly festive, with garlands and balloons, decorations and meals of true Christmas fayre, together with games; competitions and entertainment provided, yes indeed, a worthy attendance. Do try it out!
Gerald Dyer


Here's some information relating to the picture on the front page of last month's Parish News. The Front Street flood occurred 70 or 75 years ago, caused by the lack of adequate drainage, as surface water collected at the lowest points in Front Street and Summer Street. Water was fed from rooftops, across the non-existent pavements to the roadways, added to by water from New Street and Church Road, down the sloping roadways. With just one drain each in Front Street and Summer Street, these were connected by an underground pipe which went under the gardens from Owen Burgess' well to Summer Street then on to the plantation and field beyond the houses in Summer Street. There a sump collected the deluge after a quagmire in the plantation. The sump was covered by soil and did not become evident until a farm implement, owned by Tom Dickson of Newlands farm, slipped into it! The sump, of some 20 feet in diameter was offered as a rubbish dump to the villagers, which was filled by all sorts of household artifacts, tins and bottles. Eventually the sump was filled then covered up again.
I do not know if the area is still visible, being not too good on my feet these days, I cannot get out there to look it over.
Gerald Dyer
Thanks, Gerald, for some interesting information of times gone by. Maybe we could get Tony Robinson and his Time Team to come and root through Slip End's heritage; there must be many fascinating things buried down there. Editor

Vegetable Garden
With all the rain we've had, the ground is pretty cloggy! Prepare your site for next year, if conditions permit by digging and turning. It may be better to keep off the ground and look over the catalogues. Stake tall Brussels plants and earth up spring cabbages and leeks.
If you can, complete your flowerbed digging and plan out where next year's annuals and half annuals are to be grown. Apply a fresh layer of grit between plants in the rock garden.
Shrubs and Trees
Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted out during mild weather, making sure that soil is firm around the roots. Finish off pruning.
Inspect stored fruit regularly; cut back newly planted blackcurrants and raspberries to encourage strong root development. Finish off pruning.
Lawns & General Work
Avoid walking on lawns in frosty weather or when it is very wet. Clean, repair and service tools and burn all rubbish.

Please consider …
Reading what Gillian has written, about looking after the grass in the garden, reminds me that maybe, as motorists, we need some similar advice:
grass verge destruction continues.
Ask yourself, "Is it necessary?" before putting those wheels up on the verges - car wheels, made for the roads, have a destructive effect on grass verges! Maybe I have my priorities a bit wrong or perhaps I am being over-radical, but it seems to me that by keeping our cars on the road, this would instill some much needed "traffic calming" by limiting the road space in our streets?
Should there be any doubt in the minds of the grass verge parking fraternity about how the verges have been damaged, they are asked to just take a look around parts of the village which, in some areas (to use Cllr Benson's words), are reminiscent of the Somme in WW1 rather than our residential area! Some residents do try to keep the neighbourhood a little tidier by looking after "their" verges and it is a bit frustrating to see their work wasted.
Please be considerate.


Once again, we thank Slip End Garage for "sponsoring" our colour front cover for the Christmas edition of Parish News. The use of colour comes at a significant increase in printing costs, so we are very appreciative for their support again.

There was not a lot of support from local people for our recent Table Top sale, but for those who did turn out and support, thank you.
On September 17th we took part in the Luton Lantern Festival, dressed as old-fashioned Carol Singers.
Sunday December 1st
10am to 3pm
Admission: 20p
18 Stalls

During the business, which started our November meeting, members who did not attend the Autumn Federation Meeting at Dunstable Methodist Church, were informed about a new publication, Bedfordshire Villages, now on sale for just 8.95. They also missed an hilarious speaker with the title, the "Knicker Lady". How the quiet village she comes from copes with such a character is a marvel. Her subject was "Underwear through the Ages" and the gentlemen sitting in the front row were falling about with laughter all evening. I think the "WI Jam" image was squashed well and truly! Jerusalem sounded marvellous, with 200 voices raised, accompanied by beautiful organ music.
As circumstances prevented our speaker from attending, Jackie Rice stepped in at the last minute to talk on "Staying Stylish". We were told what colour group we are in, cool or warm and the colours to suit us in these groups. The advice was that we reviewed over a six-month period, the clothes not worn followed by strong resolve to get rid! Charity shops have both arms open and also good bargains. We were told that frosty days are ideal to hang suits out (ladies and gents) on the line; just ten minutes freshens them up. Handbags must be right for your height: short ladies - small size, tall people - big. It doesn't look right to swap those guidelines. She finished with a saying from Mrs E. Rosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Date to Remember, January 25th 2003: 11.30am to 1.30pm we are holding a Soup Kitchen in the Baptist Hall in Caddington.
We meet monthly, each 3rd Tuesday at 7.30pm at the Baptist Church, Caddington. December 17th, "Crazy Bag Whist" See you.
Patricia Crick

Here we are again, at the end of the year. Firstly, I must thank all of you who wrote, or telephoned, or e-mailed, or stopped me in the street recently to give me personally, and the Parish Council, support after the recent article that appeared in the Dunstable on Sunday. It's not the spin that is put on by such people as these, that hurts - even though they make me out to be an un-feeling elitist, and by dint of association, the Parish Council as well. Frankly we don't care what people in Dunstable or Luton feel about us. They don't live here in Slip End - they did not place the care of our community into the PC's hands as you did when you voted. It's the fact that after such scurrilous articles appear, we the PC have to waste time and efforts making sure that people in the Parish are not mis-informed. One final thought that fills me with horror. Andy Warhol once said that everyone at some point in their lives enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame. If my fifteen minutes of fame is to be supplied by the D.O.S then I feel cheated. They just take what they want off the website and send it twirling on its way to the general public. As for the photo - it looks as if it was taken by someone from the Politburo - if I had been asked for a picture I would have gladly supplied some from about twelve years ago when I was at target weight, younger, topless, with a mean tan and not so grey.
In Slip End during November the following crimes were reported:
Burglary (non dwelling) 4. Theft of pedal cycle 1. Theft (other) 3. Theft of motor vehicle 2. Theft from motor vehicle 5. I don't need to remind you that you should always report every crime committed no matter how trivial.
The final bill for the repair of the play equipment in the Crawley playground totals 1814.00. Hopefully we will not have to spend any more for a little while.
Is it me or does Guy Fawkes night start mid October and go on for weeks? The reason why I am somewhat confused is because, living in Slip End these days and at the weekends especially, it seems as if we are re-living the blitz and the sound of incoming hostiles fills the air. Or am I getting past it?
One of the duties of Chairman of Parish Council is to lay the Remembrance Day wreath. This year especially with the threat of further conflict in the world uppermost in our minds, it was particularly poignant. We must not forget the lives that were lost, for in forgetting those lives and the past, any future decisions would be made in ignorance.
It only leaves me the pleasure of wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year. May your God go with you.
Christine Benson.
Chairman, Slip End Parish Council.

I was somewhat surprised to see a page in the latest Parish News dedicated to LANAG (Luton Against Noise Action Group). I would have not expected the Parish News to support any Group's whose aims are detrimental to the Village, and the aims of LANAG clearly do not benefit Slip End. It is clear from the Government's own Consultative Document that the best interests of the Village would be served by an Expansion to the Airport, but with the re-aligned runway. The existing runway would then just be used for Aircraft Movements. Take-off and Landings would then be primarily over unpopulated areas, rather than our Village. It is true that a small number of Luton Residents would see an increase in noise, but it would be a significantly smaller number than those whose noise levels would decrease. And as Luton Residents they are the primary recipients of Luton Airport income, as it is ultimately owned by Luton Borough Council.
Trefor J Hooker

"A lot of people have asked about this proposed expansion of Luton Airport and how it would affect us. There are two proposals on the table, at the moment and the Consultative Committee, which meets end of September, will be discussing all the aspects of this. This is all very much a future thing that has to be considered. Once again I can only say don't believe all you read in the local press." Christine Benson, Parish News October 2002

After reading all the articles in the local newspapers and the details on the LADACAN website for the proposed expansion of Luton Airport, the above reply from Christine Benson did not do justice to the impact this proposal will have on Slip End and surrounding areas. Ms Benson, I believe, has not encouraged villagers to express their concerns and to participate in any form of protest against the proposal. Personally, I have not had one conversation with any villager who has an opinion on the airport and the impact on our daily lives. The LADACAN website is extensive and extremely informative and, if you haven't already done so, I urge everyone with a PC to get on line and have a look. It will open your eyes and encourage you all to do something to try and overturn this proposal. It explains Luton Borough Council's and the commercial company TBI Group Plc's involvement in the airport and the revenue LBC receives from it, and how this revenue will quadruple should the planned expansion go ahead. LBC has a vested interest as it profits from every passenger carried. It is obvious LBC will press hard to continue with the proposal to substantially increase its revenue. It makes reference to statements from the Government, LBC and TBI that aircraft noise will be quieter in the future and refutes this statement, as it believes Luton Airport will be a second division airport and will attract older, noisier aircraft. The noise dB figure for Slip End is estimated at 63-66+. The World Health Organisation have stated since 1980 that 55dBA is the level above which "serious annoyance" occurs. EasyJet have some of the quietest aircraft in the world but sometimes the noise from their aircraft is a little over the top. It has included noise maps in order that every resident is aware of the noise levels it can expect. The amount of aircraft movement has been addressed and it estimates approximately one flight per minute during peak times.
LADACAN has also gone to great lengths to explain the impact on transport to and from the airport. The building of a Luton by-pass, the M1 junctions 9 to 13 improvements and widening, the widening of the A1081 from the end of the M1 J10 link road to Airport Way. They have covered the loss of property, the financial implications on house prices, agricultural land and Green Belt, together with a designated archaeologically sensitive site. There is also the concern on air quality, pollution caused by the dumping of aviation kerosene prior to landing - who wants that in their back garden?
I believe Christine Benson should be keeping us far more informed than she already has. We voted her in to represent us but I am a little dismayed at what appears to be her lack of interest in this matter. I am also of the opinion that should this planned expansion go ahead, Luton and the surrounding villages will die. Nobody will be able to tolerate the noise levels of Jumbos and such large aircraft and I didn't move to Slip End purely for the convenience of the airport and M1. I enjoy living in Slip End but I feel this small village can only take so much before it becomes a ghost town inhabited by airport staff.
The airport expansion is a major issue to be addressed. However, there is also the football stadium, which hangs over us, the selling off of Green Belt by LBC to build new housing as underlined by Margaret Moran in the Herald & Post. I feel Slip End is having too much thrust upon it and will struggle with all the developments that are planned around it. It is, after all, only a small village, which will be swallowed up by big business. I don't want to have to move, which, at the moment, seems the only viable solution for me. Is there an Action Group in Slip End or Caddington anyone can refer me to?

Colleen Reed

In answer to Mr Hooker the Parish News is not here to judge any news, information, or facts that it prints. I hope it brings a cross-section of views from different parties. It would be a strange world if everyone felt the same. Ms Reed obviously does not agree with Mr Hooker and has put her point across very fairly and has gone to great lengths to explain her reasons.
If anyone else wishes to join in this very important debate please e-mail or write to the Parish News and we will do our best to print details.

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