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The show must go on!

When an escape of water put Christmas events in jeopardy at a village hall in Bedfordshire Cipher UK pulled out all the stops to make sure the shows would go on!

Insurance restoration in the heart of the community

Deep in the North Bedfordshire countryside lies Odell, a small, pretty  village with only about 200 households.

In the 11th century it was known as Wadelle, or Wadehelle, meaning “the hill where woad grows” and the area thrived as a source of indigo blue textile dye derived from the leaves of the woad plants.

Today the hill is still there but the woad has long gone. And the community is still small and thriving with an historic church, local pub and Odell Village Hall – the heart of the local community.

The Village Hall is well used by the village community for weekly dance lessons and baby yoga, theatrical events, celebrations such as Burn’s Night and the senior citizens’ Christmas lunch, and monthly meetings by the local WI.

So when mould started spreading through the kitchen, entrance hallway and gentlemen’s toilets the Village Hall committee decided to investigate.

A local contractor stripped out the three rooms to find a leak from the dishwasher had created serious damp problems and an insurance restoration job.

The damp in the walls was almost a dark indigo colour, like the textile dye that used to be derived from the woad that grew in the area.


In October 2015 Cipher UK was appointed to reinstate the property following the strip out.

Odell 1 Odell 2


Following the initial visit it became clear that an extensive drying regime would be needed in three rooms.

As the property was a large and old Village Hall (which was originally a cow shed), a standard drying regime would not be appropriate.

Cipher UK developed a bespoke drying regime involving multiple areas of tenting in the property.

Drying was expected to take 28 days with the reinstatement work to follow. All of this was going to have a serious impact on village life and the planned events for the Village Hall.

The shows go on!

So Cipher UK obtained a schedule of upcoming events and planned the drying and repair works around this. Where necessary staff from Cipher UK went to the hall to move equipment to enable events to take place safely, and repositioned the equipment afterwards.

Odell 3  Odell 4


Some significant events had to be planned around including a Christmas production of The Little Match Girl and Burn’s Night at the end of January.

It wasn’t possible to have the gentlemen’s toilets operational in time for the Christmas play, but the Village Hall committee were delighted that they were in operation for Burn’s Night.


Once the drying was complete, the reinstatement works began.

All three rooms needed to be re-plastered and re-painted and some blockwork had to be replaced. A cubicle to the toilet had to be removed and replaced and electrics needed to be tested and replaced where unsafe.

In addition Cipher UK had to co-ordinate the replacement of the flooring in all three rooms, including latexing.

The Village Hall committee were delighted with the works and the way that Cipher UK managed them around the events and classes that continued to run in the hall.

In the Odell Village newsletter the editor wrote:

“…for Burn’s Night the gents’ toilets should be back in action..hurrah!”

At the end of the job the Odell Village Hall Treasurer said:

The plastering and painting was very professional and everything was left neat and tidy.”

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