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PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS

OCTOBER 2003

HERE ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING 0CTOBER 2003 AND WHICH HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER FOR THE VILLAGE.

A new bylaw came into effect, which stipulated that all horse riders in Epping Forest had to be licensed with the Epping Forest Conservators. The fees for adults were £5-weekly, and £40-yearly, under sixteens-half fee; annual fees for riding schools were £50 a horse. Licensed riders/horses would carry a numbered disc on the bridle to signify registration; the riders of horse not doing so would be reported to the Forest Superintendent and face possible prosecution. Christine Cohen, Chairman of the Epping Forest and Open Spaces Committee said ” The Corporation of London had invested £1m to create specialised routes and spends about £100,000 annually to maintain them; we are committed to preserve these facilities for the use of considerate horse riders”.

A Beauty Room was opened by Emma Ellis, 26, from Epping, in the Harry George hair stylists in Forest Drive. Emma was trained in beauty therapy at Harlow College before working at The Sanctuary in Covent Garden, one of London’s top day spas. Customers at the Beauty Room on Monday evenings were offered a glass of wine, and a 15% discount on all treatments costing more than £10.

The problem of rubbish dumping or “fly tipping” which was now plaguing the area, took a more serious turn for the village when some 60 bags of clinical waste were found in a field off the Abridge Road near the Village Cemetery. Off duty police officer Sergeant Ian Carter from Loughton spotted the bags, and the special bins which contained surgical blades and clinical syringes. The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) environmental health department praised him for contacting them immediately on the "out of hours" phone line, which enabled the authority to deal promptly with the problem; the dumping of such waste was dangerous and it was essential for the police or the authority to be contacted immediately and the area secured. The incident revealed that farmers and land owners were now required to deal with any rubbish dumped on their land; this appeared to be grossly unfair and personally expensive considering the amount of dumping which was now taking place which included car tyres and building rubble.

The lack of use of the youth centre building in Loughton Lane was criticised by person or persons unknown through a letter to the local press. It was claimed that some of the problems due to youth misbehaviour in the village stemmed from the lack of suitable social amenities, such as the now closed youth club, which had used the building. It was also pointed out that the adjacent scout building was used frequently for classes, parties and functions and that the centre could be put to similar use, if not used as a youth amenity. The writers could therefore only assume that the current neglected state of the building and lack of use meant that the Essex County Council (ECC), the owners of the property, intended to demolish the building for profit (housing development?).

The current national concern regarding the reducing value of retirement pensions and the small levels of pension increases was commented on by Rob Jones of the Epping Forest Green Party. He advised that the recent Green Party conference in Lancaster voted overwhelmingly to extend the state pension to ensure that every pensioner received sufficient income. A decent state pension should be available as a right and not linked to a person’s ability to make high contributions (to a pension scheme) during their working lives. Crucially, the policy adopted by the Green Party offered an extended and universal state pension funded by the proceeds generated by abolishing tax relief on private pensions. This progressive pension policy hinged on the idea that primary responsibility for pension provision rested with the State.

Four young and attractive young ladies who comprised the Quattro group of string instrumentalists were the performers at the October meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. Their programme included Mozart's Divertimento in F, Bach’s Air on a G String, Borodin’s Nocturne, Hayden’s Quartet “The Lark” and a selection of musical hits by George Gershwin. The two violins, viola and cellist were all highly professional musicians and graduates of London’s top musical colleges, who played regularly with major English orchestras, and also with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway. This evening's recital helped to maintain the high standard of musical recitals as presented by the Society, membership of which was not confined to the village.

Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row warned of another threat to the village involving the movements of large quantities of soil similar to that on land once part of Blunts Farm in Coopersale Lane. An application was now being considered for the construction of a soil bund, or small hill, at Theydon Hall to minimise the noise from the adjacent M11 motorway. Some 60,000 cubic metres of soil would be delivered by lorries at a rate of 50 loads per day (100 lorry movements) along a route not specified. The Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society had already objected to the proposal and estimated that the frequency of lorry movements would be one every six minutes for a period of six months. The Society had also expressed concern regarding lorry access to the site and/or through the village

An illustrated talk on Swan Upping was given in the village hall by David Reed, Barge Master to the Worshipful Company of Dyers. This event was arranged by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society and was supported by a large audience. The Society was founded on 26 February 1944 and so would be celebrating its diamond jubilee in 2004. It is affiliated to the Essex Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (formerly CPREssex) Campaign which was launching a major campaign “communities not concrete” against a number of proposals for substantial housing, industrial and road developments in rural Essex.

The Stansted/M11 Corridor Option Study had just been published and was of particular concern to the village because, as with other plans, it referred to the construction of houses in "Loughton", 500 dwellings in this instance. The clear implication was to build on the only undeveloped land adequate to accommodate such development ie. the Green Belt between Theydon Bois and Debden. The residents of this new “concrete jungle” might appreciate the idea of being “Theydon Bois South”; but would villagers appreciate becoming “Debden North” with through road traffic hurtling along the quiet village residential areas of Poplar Road and Theydon Park Road?

Eleanor Laing, MP for Epping Forest, attended the TB Baptist Church Men’s Forum to talk about the life of an MP (and a mother!). She took that very day as a typical example and explained how she had first spent the breakfast period with her young son Matthew in London and then drove through heavy and delaying traffic to speak at the meeting. As Shadow Minister for Children, she was then travelling on to Brighton to address a national conference on childcare and then would have parliamentary and constituency matters to deal with on her return.

At the October meeting of the Theydon Bois WI, its President Peggy Cooke presented a donation of £616.60 to the Playground At Theydon (PAT) Charity. This was the amount raised annually by the WI for charitable purposes and was gratefully received by PAT committee members Elizabeth Emmett and Clare Tunks, together with her son Dominic. The Playground had been used by children up to 11 years since its foundation the early 1990s and was popular both in the village and surrounding area. PAT is organised by a band of volunteers who had worked hard to provide and administer the Playground and maintain its play equipment. It depended entirely on voluntary financial support and had recently installed a new centre activity frame, which included access for disabled children.,

The tenth anniversary of the Local Churches Representatives Scheme was held recently in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church. This scheme was set up to ensure that all residents were welcomed to the village in the name of its churches. The anniversary was celebrated with a service of thanksgiving led by Angela Walling, with the sermon being given by David Walling. John Eaton, the TBPC Chairman, and Father James, the Pastor for the village catholic community, read the lessons. A recommissioning of the members of the management committee and church representatives, was led by the Rev. Canon Colin Travers of St Mary’s TB. David Penegar, the Baptist Minister, thanked all who had established the scheme and were currently working as representatives of the churches.

Theydon Bois remains a compact village with two churches, a fine village hall, a railway service, limited bus links and a good range of shops, which catered for most household needs. It also has a substantial retired and ageing population, and a cemetery. This must have been readily apparent to a particular business whose sign now appeared over the premises recently vacated by the Fairytale Flowers florists and next door to an Indian Restaurant; it read “Chris Poulton, Fourth Generation Funeral Directors”. Many villagers, particularly the elderly, blinked more than once at this portent of impending doom and wondered if they should rush home and put their affairs in order. However, the Poulton Funeral Directors based in Epping, with which the new business was connected, were no strangers to the village and already dealt with local bereavements

John Peck, 58, of Dukes Avenue TB, who with his rowing partner Fraser Dodds, 43, intend to row 2,000 miles in a rowing race across the Atlantic, announced that the bulk of the £28,000 required to fund the their entry had been raised. They therefore now planned to set off from Tenerife in January 2004 for the finishing line in Barbados. Sponsored support had been received from a number of businesses including Trailfinders, Tropical Shipping of North Weald and Epping based Whyziwig who had produced logos and other signs for their entry. John and Fraser have already competed in the 22 mile Great River Race along the Thames and finished 34th out of 225 entrants in their heavy sea going boat which was matched against professional racing craft; this has more than proved their fitness for their almost non-stop Atlantic row.

The Saturday night performance of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society was the usual complete sell out. One of their best productions to date, the Ken Ludwig comedy Over The Moon was presented at a rate which had the audience almost gasping for breath as well as convulsed with laughter. The plot (?) revolved around an ageing couple George Benson, played by Martin Oliver, and his wife Charlotte, played by Tee Greener, who had one last chance of achieving starring roles in their acting careers. The “backstage” antics of the players were fast, exuberant and yet well timed. The principals were well supported by Janet Doe as a hard of hearing mother in law, Frazer Freeman as the weather man, Rebecca Heather playing a confused Roz, Karen Burns as a young lady with ambitions, Frank Holzman as the wife stealer and, last but not least, Simon Gilbert. Once again, the set was well designed and made a good background for the colourful costumes worn by the cast.

Passengers on a Central Line train arriving at the station from London were surprised to be quickly ushered out of the station by rail staff who had been supplemented by a number of police officers. Outside, other police officers arrived and the police helicopter appeared overhead and hovered in the vicinity of the fields behind Dukes Avenue. Apparently, a car had been stopped on the M11 motorway and the occupant had taken to the fields and then fled across the railway line down which a number of officers were running, the train remaining in the station. The criminal (?) had a good head start but the arrival of the helicopter with its sensing equipment soon ensured a quick capture. The police officers, helicopter and train then moved off and rural peace returned to the village.

During the month, the following were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Funerals: Vera Trueman Burial of Ashes: Sydney Arthur Glozier


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THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS

SEPTEMBER 2003

HERE ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING SEPTEMBER 2003 AND WHICH HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER FOR THE VILLAGE.

The Victorians Petanque Club (the Vics), based at the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row, moved to the top of the Division Two of the British Petanque Association after wining the match against their closet rivals from the Plough and Chequers in Gillingham Kent. This 5 –3 games win qualified the Club to represent the Association in the European Clubs competition to be held in March 2004. The team members were Patrick Dennis, Dean Little, Phil McCrostie, Dinesh Seetahul, Dave Tarring, Leckrat Tupsy, Andy Wilmot and Bob Wilmot. During 2003 the Club, which was founded in 1990, had also won the Herts and Essex League and the McMullen Leaque.

A reminder that winter was coming, despite the continuing hot and summery weather, was indicated by the presence of Essex County Council trading standard officers at the village hall who provided a “while you wait” testing service for electric blankets.

Sarah Hannibal, 18, of the Weind in the village returned home after spending the summer in Uganda helping to establish an African Branch of the Guide Association as part of Project Gold. She had travelled with a group of five other guide leaders from across Britain and had to raise £2,000 by sponsorship to cover her costs. The group visited four districts of Uganda where they endeavoured to set up training programmes dealing with first aid, guiding law, brownie aims and the terrible problems of AIDs and HIV. Sarah said that her participation in the project had changed her and that she had gained much in experience. She was now preparing to go to Oxford to study for a maths degree.

The concern of residents in the Epping Forest District continued regarding proposals (now five!) for new housing and other development in the area, and the resulting controversy continued unabated. Each would affect Theydon Bois in some way, if only indirectly (at this time!), and Epping Forest appeared particularly vulnerable. In an article in the Epping Guardian, Richard Morris, a well known and outspoken Verderer of the Forest, asked if today’s elected representatives on the Epping Forest District Council and the Essex County Council would have the same resolve as our forbears to save the interests of the Forest, as in 1878 when the Epping Forest Act was passed.

Captain Grubwatch, a correspondent reporting on restaurants in a local newspaper, appeared to have developed a liking for Indian Restaurants in the village. Having only recently visited the Theydon Bois Balti House in Station Approach, he now decided to eat at the Indian Ocean establishment in Coppice Row. He found the restaurant to be both comfortable, private and yet sited in an attractive area opposite the village green; and his meal was excellent.

Bob Jones, the Epping Forest Green Party Co ordinator and a village resident claimed that the recent record high temperatures, atmospheric smog, overheated railway lines and brown lawns demonstrated the current impact of global warming. He also claimed that the Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs, and the Meteorological Office, confirmed that the current extreme temperatures were due to human activity. He pointed out that 1998, 2001 and 2002 were the previous warmest years on record but the authorities had done little to curb green house gas emissions, a major cause of which was transport. Planning permissions were still being granted for new developments, which included car parking. Little was being done to restrict town centre parking to encourage the greater use of public transport.

Following the decision of the Epping Forest Conservators to licence horse riding in Epping Forest, Ginny White of Fyfield complained about the number of mountain bicycles using the horse riding tracks in the Forest. She also pointed out that bridle ways and by ways in the area were also being rendered impassable to walkers and horse riders because of damage caused by motor cycles and four wheel drive vehicles. She therefore contended that these categories of users should also be charged to help maintain the Forest Rides, and even repair the bridle ways.

The Epping Forest Council for Voluntary Services held its tenth AGM in the village hall. The speaker was Bill Rammel, MP for Nazeing, Roydon and Sheering, and he talked about the value of voluntary services in the Epping Forest District. Local voluntary organisations displayed information about their work and a celebratory lunch was held after the meeting.

Following recent criticism of the dumping of spoil and rubble at Blunt’s Farm, Coopersale Lane, and the action taken by the local authorities to stop the practice, Joan Axon wrote to the Guardian Newspaper to clarify a particular aspect. She pointed out that the site in question was no longer Blunt’s Farm but Parsonage Golf Ltd, to which it had been sold some considerable time ago.

The Karrilon Trio gave an evening performance at the September meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. Susan FitzGerald, - flute, Clare Welfare – oboe and Marcus Andrews – piano played a variety of classical music by composers including Sergei Rachmaninov, Benjamin Britten, Madeline Dring and Ethyl Smyth. The recital was of the high standard with which the Society is associated, and was well received.

This year’s annual show of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society was held in the late summer so that a different range of fruit and vegetables could be displayed. Pot plants and cacti were popular entries and compensated for the adverse affect on the flower entries due to the exceptionally hot weather. Handicraft entries were of a high standard as was the children’s section which included sunflower heads which been grown from seeds donated by the Society. The nine winners of the

various competitive sections of the show were as follows:

A. Hollingbery – Banksian Medal, Ted Lock Memorial Cup and the Gazette Challenge Bowl: B. Turner – Rose Medal, Frank and Josie Way Memorial Cup, Gerald Buxton Cup, John Monkhouse Cup, Jubilee Trophy and the Committee Cup: G. Haslehurst – William Way Cup and the Secretary’s Cup : S. Barnes – Elcee Cup : P Haslehurst - Keswick Cup : A. Witts – Buxton Cup : Emma Hollis – Garden News Shield : James Hollis – Mini Shield.

Fire crews from Loughton, Epping and Harlow were called in the early hours to the junction of Loughton Lane and the Green in Theydon Bois where a Toyota Celica car had left the road and struck a tree. The occupants were two men, one of whom had to be freed by the fire crews, and both were taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow for medical attention. A particular "accident black spot”, this junction has been the scene of several accidents especially at night.

Syd Glozier, a prominent member of the village community was cremated at Parndon Wood crematorium in Harlow. He had died on 9th September after stoically and cheerfully enduring 12 years of illness. He and his wife Mary lived in Orchard Drive. They first met at the “Dreamland “dance hall in Margate, were married within three months and Syd then departed to help fight the war in Europe where he was severely wounded; a bullet remained lodged near his heart throughout his subsequent life and caused much interest whenever he had a medical examination. They spent all their married life in their Orchard Drive bungalow where they brought up their children Susan and Trevor. Both Syd and Mary were leading members of the Theydon Bois and the Epping Bowling Clubs, the Theydon Bois Branch of the Royal British Legion and the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society. Their gardens were always a source of bright colour, whatever the time of year and their horticultural efforts often appeared in many other local gardens. Syd was a leader in many respects and was an outspoken speaker on local matters, particularly during the public sessions at Parish Council meetings. Syd was 79 when he died; he lived respected and died regretted.

Jim and Kate Conway of Thrifts Mead in the village criticised the state of the pavements and the road surface in the Mead. They held “the council” responsible and suggested that an element of neglect was apparent. Moreover, they contended that the failure of the village to win this year's Best Kept Village Competition was not surprising because of this. They did consider the village to be a nice place in which to live; however, it would only remain so if the council was prepared to invest in the way it looked.

John Eaton, Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council, responded by saying that, if they were referring to the Parish Council, then ample documentary evidence existed to show that the Council was pro-actively pursuing an environmental agenda in the village with Epping Forest District Council administration. However, a lack of Government funding meant that basic highway and maintenance functions were seriously underfunded. Nevertheless, the District Council employed a street cleaning company and the Parish Council was committed to ensuring that the village remained a desirable place to live. He

Concluded by suggesting that Mr and Mrs Conway joined in the next village ”litter pick” where parish councillors and villagers alike regularly demonstrated their care for the villager by helping maintain its open spaces.

Mother’s Union members Margaret Pattison and Carole Risdon from the village were among a group of eleven members from the Epping Forest Deanery who received certificates acknowledging their work in connection with child contact centres. These were places where divorced or separated parents, usually fathers, could meet their children in safe and pleasant surroundings. The members are all involved with the Loughton Centre, which was established some eleven years ago and opened on Saturday mornings.

The continuing heatwave and drought came to sudden end with the arrival of heavy showers and strong winds from the northwest. The temperature plummeted from 23 degrees to 13 degrees C. and a ground frost was forecast. Autumn had arrived.

The mobile police safety cameras, also known as a "speed traps", were operating in the village to discourage motorists from exceeding the 30 mph speed limit and apprehend those who did.

During September, the following were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptisms

14 09 03: Anita May Shannon Hyde

21 09 03: Aimee Louise Best

Marriages

06 09 03: David Baker and Mandy Woods

Funerals

28 08 03: Maud Stone

01 09 03 : Ronald Whiffen

02 09 03: Edie King

17 09 03: Kathleen Hendley

17 09 03: Sydney Glozier

Burial of Ashes

29 08 03: Ken Nicholson

23 09 03: Elsie Brewer


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THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS

AUGUST 2003

HERE ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING AUGUST 2003 AND WHICH HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER FOR THE VILLAGE.

During the mid summer, a new business was established in Loughton Lane in a premises which was formerly The Gallery soft furnishings. The earlier businesses there had been a newsagents and general store and, before that, Manning’s Taxi and Car Repair Service. Vincent Nafi and Deborah Hayes opened The Flower Yard garden centre with an impressive variety of stock intended to meet the requirements of most people. Vincent came from a family which had also traded as florists some years ago in Walthamstow and so was well experienced in this business. This garden centre would fill the gap caused by the closure earlier this year of Fairytale Flowers in Coppice Row and, as a garden centre, would help maintain a good balance of retail businesses in the village

The Touring Arts Club, a section of Epping Forest Arts, held a two day arts activity at the Theydon Bois Youth Club for children aged from 6 to 11 years. The youngsters were in two groups and spent their time creating figures from clay and then painting them. Most of the boys produced gargoyles and the girls made angels !!!

The remarkably fine weather experienced during the last seven days was declared a heatwave by the meteorological authorities, and then a drought for the South East of England. The heat became “torrid” and, on the 10th August, the temperature climbed to 38.1 degrees C. (100.6 degrees F.) at Gravesend in Kent. This level was the highest recorded in this country since records began, exceeding the previous national record of 37 degrees C. recorded at Cheltenham in 1990. Although temperatures subsequently fell, the hot weather continued for at least another seven days during which living conditions were unpleasant and resulted in health problems for some villagers.

Although a comprehensive review of vehicle parking in Theydon Bois was planned for the future, it was revealed that an earlier measure would possibly be introduced this autumn. Yellow “limited parking” lines would control parking in Forest Drive, Buxton Road, Elizabeth Drive, Orchard Drive, Barn Mead, Poplar Road and Thrift’s Mead. This measure was intended to discourage commuter parking in these thoroughfares, particularly by those using Theydon Bois station. The Parish Council Chairman, John Eaton, said “There’s no debate that commuter parking has a retrograde effect on the infrastructure of the village. It would be difficult to get a fire appliance down Elizabeth Drive when it is full. I acknowledge that there may be some benefit to the village through the commuter use of shops, but it’s probably a limited contribution”.

A complaint was made in the local press last month, regarding the general deterioration of standards (to the writer) in the village and particularly the bad behaviour of youths outside the Bull public house where benches were now placed on the pavement. David Norman, the landlord of the Bull responded with his own letter in which he said that, having been landlord there for some three years, he was surprised to hear of the complaints. The benches outside have been very popular with everyone, especially walkers and the older generation who like to sit outside when it’s sunny. The Bull has always been a very popular family pub and I will ensure that it stays that way." The Bull is a listed building and one of the oldest in the village. In the past it had been noted for the excellence of its restaurant, particularly the French cuisine, such that it was once a popular venue for wedding breakfasts.

Pharmacists in the Epping Forest District warned that proper funding was needed for government proposals that they provide services usually found at doctors surgeries. These would include advice on smoking, healthy eating and sexual health. Longer opening hours were also proposed. Theydon Bois Pharmacist Silesh Dowda said, “The majority of pharmacies already provide these services without remuneration. It’s haphazard, it happens but it’s not organised. Funding would have to be realistic and the current figure being bandied about for repeat prescriptions was £100 a month, which was not compatible with extra staffing costs”.

Handyman Peter Russ, 55, was attacked at 1 pm. on 14th August as he was proceeding to the Frank Foster Residential Care Home in Loughton Lane with medication for the residents. Two youths aged about 20, one black and one white distracted him with a mobile phone and knocked the parcel of medication from his hand; they then demanded money. However, staff from the home came to the rescue and the youths then drove off toward Loughton in a white E registration Ford Fiesta car.

Thieves awoke the landlady of the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row during the early hours when they raided the fruit machines in the bars. The incident took place at 4.40 am. when the intruders forced a front window. It was not known how much money was stolen.

The drought finally broke on the 18th August when a weak cold front moved across the district to give an hour of heavy rain. But due to the high temperature of the ground, by nightfall, most of the moisture had returned to whence it came. However the dry conditions returned and gardeners once again have to reach for their watering cans.

Theydon Bois Balti House Tandoori Restaurant in Station Approach was assessed by “Grubwatch”, the gastronomic reporter for a local newspaper. This restaurant has served the village for some years and stands on the site once occupied by a branch of Barclays Bank The reporter took along his wife and three-year-old son and found that families were particularly catered for. The young man enjoyed munching his way through the “big crisps” (poppodums) before consuming chicken and rice; mum opted for chicken tikka while dad enjoyed a king prawn bhuna. The family was much impressed with the food and service and also the complimentary drinks which concluded the meal. The total cost of this came to just under £30, which was considered as excellent value.

The concern and debate over several proposals for housing development in the Epping Forest area continued unabated. Major issues being raised were the safeguarding of the district's green belt areas and the protection of North Weald Airfield from development. Eleanor Laing MP had written to Paul White, the planning and landscapes director with the Atkins consultancy responsible for the Harlow Options Study (a major proposal) complaining about the haste with which the project had been pursued. She was not opposed to housing development as new homes were needed, especially for key workers, but this did not necessitate the massive development proposed. She was also not satisfied that there had been adequate co-ordination between the various bodies responsible for these development plans for the local area. The resulting population explosion would require new medical facilities, (possibly a new hospital), more school places (a new school?) and better transport facilities. Although not directly affected by these proposals, Theydon Bois would suffer indirectly through loss of the green belt and the overloading of the local infrastructure.

During the last week of the month the orbit of the planet Mars brought it in close proximity to that of Earth. Known to the ancients as the red planet and the symbol of war, it could be seen low on the southern horizon and had led some observers into thinking that it was a UFO (unidentified flying object). However, astronomers, both professional and amateur, took the opportunity to study this heavenly body towards which at least two remote controlled space exploration expeditions were heading at this time. Even the casual observer could study Mars with a low power telescope or binoculars; the Loughton Astronomical Society invited the general public to the Scout Hut in Loughton Lane to be given a briefing on this event and make their own observations using the Society’s optical equipment.

John Travers, 21, of Piercing Hill and his friend Charlie Blair were spending the summer in a unique charity fund raising activity, which supported the World Wildlife Fund. Both are experienced rowers and were attempting to row the entire length of the River Danube to raise £20,000 for the charity. Their journey had begun in Ulm in Germany and then on into Austria, Croatia, mainland Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and the Ukraine, a distance of some 2,582 miles. The Danube is a fast flowing and often wide river being a major economic route with large ships, and therefore hazardous to small craft; both John and Charlie had thoroughly practised their capsize drills. The river was also heavily polluted in places through 80 million people dumping their waste in it and 20 million using it for drinking water; hence the reason for their support for the charity which is working to deal with this problem. Both men are experienced rowers and had decided on the project during a rafting trip to the source of the Nile in Northern Uganda.

The disposal of waste material from homes is well organised in the village. Paper, card, tins and garden rubbish are collected private residences on a regular basis. Collection points for glass and plastics are located prominently and many homes possessed a garden compost bin, for producing fertiliser from kitchen waste. Larger items could be taken by car to local authority collection point at Luxborough Lane in nearby Chigwell. The disposal of waste generally had now become a problem on a national scale with land fill sites (eg. gravel pits), which also handled industrial waste, becoming fewer so a Government landfill tax had been imposed to limit the unjustified use of these sites. Therefore, pressure increased on the local authority amenities where a tax or charge was not always incurred and so the Epping Forest District Council instituted measures to ensure that only residents of the Epping Forest District had free use of the Luxborough Lane site. Villagers were therefore surprised to be asked for proof of residency in the form of a Community Tax Bill, Driving licence Utilities, otherwise a charge of £3 was imposed; but this was more than justified if only to help offset the cost of rubbish disposal generally.

Caroline Law, the Theydon Bois Neighbourhood Watch Co ordinator spoke about villagers who were worried about unsolicited telephone calls from businesses dealing with fire/crime prevention. They had told the villagers concerned that their representatives would shortly be in the village and had offered to call and give “advice” accordingly. Caroline advised that neither the police nor the fire service “touted" for business and said that the police at Epping (Crime Prevention Officer Tony Ellis) should be contacted for advice if necessary. She also advised villagers that, generally:

1. Avoid telling unknown telephone callers anything about yourself.

2. If the person claimed to have misdialled and requested your phone number, do not give it.

3. If you had any reason to be worried about a phone call, contact the police.

4. NEVER, NEVER, tell a caller about your daily movements, (it had been done!).

It was also possible to stop unsolicited phone calls especially from firms selling commodities or services from windows to insurance. The Telephone Preference Service could block these calls, and details could be obtained by dialling 0845 070 0707. There was no charge for this service.

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Copyright 2003. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.

 

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Last Up Dated: 28th November 2003