Former Bedford Modern School pupil who survived IRA Brighton bombing, dies aged 91

He was knighted on the recommendation of the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 12:28 pm
Sir Stanley Odell

Sir Stanley Odell - who escaped the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton - has died at the age of 91.

Born in Campton, near Chicksands, in 1929, he attended Bedford Modern School before joining the family farming business.

Interested in politics, as a young man he was chairman of the Mid Beds Young Conservative Association.

And it was when he stayed at the Grand Hotel Brighton for the Conservative Party Conference in 1984 that he and his wife Grace miraculously escaped injury.

The IRA planted a bomb in the hotel - hoping to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet - and Stanley and his wife were blown out of their bed by its impact and thrown up against the wall on to a small ledge.

They eventually managed to find the fire escape where firemen escorted them to the sea front. They were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital in Brighton and were released later that day.

Stanley was knighted for political and public service on the recommendation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

After he retired as chairman of the National Union of the Conservative Party in 1990, he continued his involvement with the Tories by becoming president of the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association. He subsequently became president of Bedford and Kempston Conservative Association and Vice President in North East Bedfordshire.

In addition to politics, Sir Stanley was very involved in many organisations in Bedfordshire - including Biggleswade Young Farmers Club and Biggleswade Rugby Club.

He died on March 21.