ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Bike Ride - Sunday 6th September 2015


ABF Bike Ride 2015 - Start

Standing on the start line of this year’s ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Bike Ride at the 5 Bells Pub in Stanbridge, Bedfordshire, five minutes before the first batch of riders were due to start, it was really clear how big the event has become, and what a key fixture in the local sporting calendar it now is, just three years after the inaugural ride. 

500 massed riders made an impressive sight lined up to ride out under the start / finish arch in all their glorious technicolour, and the babble and chat from the excited and enthusiastic riders was a joy to hear. Once again this year the event was blessed with glorious weather, and as the sun streamed down from the morning sky, everyone seemed determined to do their bit for the ABF.

First time eventers on dusty mountain bikes pulled from the depths of the garage lined up alongside experienced and confident club riders, with the Army Cycling Team raring to go on carbon framed racing bikes. At the same time 40 volunteer marshals had already taken their positions along the route, or manned food stations and were eagerly scanning the roads awaiting the arrival of the first riders, ready to cheer them on. The ever-helpful volunteer registration girls had survived the waves of riders collecting their route maps and bike numbers and were just drawing breath before moving on to their next task. The motorbike riders were back, reporting the routes were clear and that 400 route signs, erected the previous day, were all still in place. The two mechanics’ vans and the support vehicles were in position and ready to go. 

ABF Bike Ride 2015 - village lads

Behind the scenes at the pub, the complimentary pig roast had been cooking for hours, waiting to welcome back the weary riders on their return. The medals were ready for every rider taking part to collect, and the photographer was poised and waiting. All that was needed was for the riders to head out on the road and complete either the 26, 35 or 64 mile ride.

 And complete the rides they did. 

The riders puffed and heaved and sweated their way around the routes, and by the time the last rider crept wearily under the finish line late in the afternoon, cheered home by the tireless Army Cadets, over 26,000 miles had been ridden, and an amazing £9,800 had been raised. How fantastic it is that all these people had come together to support the ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity, and had enjoyed a wonderful day into the bargain. Fundraising, profile-raising, participation, enjoyment. Surely this is the face of modern charity work. 

To date the ride has attracted over 1200 cyclists and raised over £27,000 for the charity

 Peter Sage-Passant


ABF Bike Ride 2015 - army




Bedfordshire Day - 28th November 2015

Bedfordshire day is a date of celebration of all that is great about our fine county. The History, the Culture... the clangers! It is held every year on 28th November. This is the anniversary of the birth of John Bunyan, a name synonymous with the county.  On behalf of the Friends of Bedfordshire Society we will be flying the Bedfordshire Flag from the Church on 28th November.

Bedfordshire County Council had its coat of arms created in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. The coat of arms became the symbol of the county being placed on many public buildings and signs. The council used the banner of arms as a flag until it was abolished in 2009.  In 2014 The Friends of Bedfordshire Society began a successful campaign to have a slightly updated version of the council's flag registered with the Flag InstituteWhen flying, the top corner, nearest the flagpole, should be gold.  

John Bunyan


John Bunyan was born in 1628 in Harrowden, Bedfordshire. He was the son of Thomas (a tinker) and Margret Bunyan. During his early years he received some schooling where he learned to read and write. At the age of 16 he left home and joined the Parlimentarian army where he stayed for three years. When he left the army he became a tinker and leaned from his father.




Flag design

Bedfordshire FlagThe flag is made up of three main elements which contribute to the overall design of the flag:

The red  and yellow quadrants which come from the coat of arms of the Beauchamp family, who were a family in the county after the Norman conquest. They also constructed Bedford Castle and were granted a barony at Bedford.

The  vertical black stripe which takes the center of the flag containing three shells, or escallops. This comes from the coat of arms of the Duke of Bedford.

The  horizontal blue and white wavy lines. These represent the river Great Ouse which passes through the county.

 The county councils original design was at odds with the apparent Rule of Tincture, showing a white and yellow section next to one another. When the flag was officially recognised for the county it was decided that the blue and white on the left side of the flag should be reversed to make the colours more visible, without changing the character of the flag. Also to add to the contrast, a slightly lighter shade of blue was chosen.

  Coat of ArmsCoat of arms of the Beauchamps, Barons of Bedford


 Coat of Arms Duke of BedfordCoat of arms of the Duke of Bedford



New Village Sign - December 2015