The Month in Theydon Bois


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On the last day of July, the 95th Theydon Bois Horticultural Show was held in the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall). There was no lack of support with 138 entrants in the various classes which included home brew, photography, handicrafts, cookery, floral and vegetable. The winners were John Parsons – Banksian Medal, Gazette Challenge Bowl, Secretary’s Cup and Jubilee Trophy, Jane Harvey – Frank and Josie Way Cup (best fuchsia), Alan Hollingbery – Ted Lock Cup (best cacti), Committee Cup (photography) and the William Way Cup (best exhibitor), Barry Turner – Buxton Cup, Geoffrey Haslehurst – Monkhouse Cup, Adrienne Pollard – Elcee Cup (handicrafts), D. Seaborne – Buxton Cup (wine), Jane Turner – Keswick Cup (cookery), James Hollis – Garden Shield (junior section), Emma Hollis – Mini Shield (runner up junior section).

Local resident Stephanie Pflanx, 19, won a competition to be the “Grid Girl” for the Hawk Kawasaki motorcycle team at the British Superbikes Championship at Mallory Park in Leicestershire. Her assignment included assisting Scott Smart who was currently third in the British Superbikes ratings. The competition was organised by the Bennets organisation the Managing Director of which, Matthew Gledhill, said” We were delighted that Stephanie had an enjoyable day and she was certainly a hit with the bikers”.

During July the Theydon Bois Wine Circle, originally the Loughton Hall Wine Circle celebrated its 35th anniversary at a party held in the TBVH for its members, friends and members of other wine circles. The celebrations included a buffet meal and “sing along” entertainment provided by the Stud Muffins. A competition with the Chingford Wine Circle for sweet blackberry wine was won by Theydon Bois.

In 2001 the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) introduced a recycling scheme for the disposal of domestic garden rubbish and each householder was issued with a roll of black bio-degradable sacks for this purpose. The scheme proved highly successful and additional rolls were obtainable free of charge. However, the sacks proved not to be readily bio degradable and so, early this year, the EFDC issued the more efficient white sacks, with replacement rolls obtainable for a charge of £3.50. This charge caused a furore and it was feared that the cost would deter participation in the scheme. It was agreed that this was undesirable and the EFDC would reconsider the charge. On one day this spring, 117 tonnes of green waste was collected as opposed to 37 tonnes on the same day last year.

Subsequent to the rejection by the EFDC Area Planning Committee of an application to build houses on the site of the Theydon Bois Youth Centre, it emerged that the land could be registered as a village green. Former EFDC Councillor Roy Newlands had formally applied to the ECC (Essex County Council) for such registration to be implemented as he contended that the site satisfied the relevant criteria for registration ie. it had been used by a significant number of people for lawful recreational activities for 20 years since January 1970. In fact the site had been so used for the last 30 to 40 years, currently, by the scouts and recently by other young people through the now closed youth centre. Registration had now become possible following a recent House of Lords decision on a similar case in the North of England.

Contrary to the popular belief that August is a hot and dry month the village experienced torrential rainfalls amounting to some 3 inches, during a consecutive three days. Although serious flooding did not occur in the village, many local areas were saturated and water tables rose sharply. This unusual weather was experienced nation-wide with dire results in Cornwall where the village of Boscastle was inundated in a flood similar to that of the Lynmouth disaster of 1952. Many people were evacuated to safety by helicopter and this scenario was repeated two days later when extensive mudslides on a Scottish Highland road trapped many motor vehicles and their occupants. In London and elsewhere, flooding resulted in sewage being discharged into rivers (eg. the Thames where many fish died) or the sea so that some beaches became polluted during the height of the holiday season.

Linda Bacon, 40, of Piercing Hill and a mother of two was preparing for a trek between 13 – 22 of next November through the canyons and hills of Cuba in support of the National Autistic Society. This resulted from meeting a parent with an autistic child and seeing at first hand the pressures and strains imposed on a family struggling to cope with this problem. Linda hoped to raise over £2,000 for the charity and had paid £850 herself to participate in the trek which will involve walking nine hours each day through the Cuban countryside and its coffee plantations and mango orchards.

The Robert Daniels Court in Thrifts Mead was formally handed over by the EFDC to Warden Housing of the Home Group Ltd. This action had the support of 94% of the members of the residents association, which with support from the EFDC had been set up to consider options for the improvement of the home. Home Group will convert the existing 33 bedsits into 33 one bedroom flats, provide an emergency flat for homeless elderly people and a guest suite for visitors.

Theydon Bois WI recently celebrated eighty-five years of companionship and community spirit with a special meeting at the TBVH. Their reigning President Doreen Snell and the longest standing members, Ivy Lock and Ruby Gill, cut a celebration cake together to commemorate the occasion. There was a large attendance for the occasion, which included representatives from neighbouring WI branches.

For two days during the summer holidays, 75 children attended the TBVH to take part in a creative activity outside the school environment. The EFDC had arranged for a touring art club and local artist Sarah Wilson to provide an artistic activity which included painting pictures and producing moulded figures relative to particular themes ie. Under the Sea, and Dinosaurs. The event proved so popular that a repeat is planned for the next October half term holidays.

A charity golf tournament was held at the Theydon Bois Golf Club in memory of Thomas Eaton who died, when only three months old, in the neo-natal unit at University College Hospital in London. John Eaton, the grandfather of Thomas and Chairman of the TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council), helped organise the day and the Eaton family donated a Thomas Eaton Memorial Rose Bowl to the winning team ie. Matthew Davis, Tony Lee, P. Ryan and S. Johnson. The event’s sponsors included NY Printing, McMullens Brewery, Packford’s Hotel, Bywaters and the Woodland and Wildlife Conservation Company. The £3,000 raised, which could be matched by Barclays Bank, was donated to the neo-natal unit, which fought to save Thomas.

The St Mary’s Flower Festival, a major event in the village, was held over the August Bank Holiday weekend and attracted much support. The Festival theme was “Journey of a Lifetime” as depicted by the wonderful floral displays in the Church, which retained their brilliance throughout the weekend and were admired by all. The event commenced on the Friday evening with an informal Pre festival Reception. The Church was formally opened for viewing on the Saturday with refreshments available in the Church Hall with many items for sale at stalls in the car park. On Sunday the event was enlivened by Graham and his Jazz Men who played during the afternoon in the Church grounds. This was followed by an evening service during which the Festival Theme was explored in words and music. Monday was a “fun day” with more stalls outside the Hall together with sideshows and games. The event was highly successful in raising more than £6,700 for Church Funds and the Church ladies received special praise for their hard work in providing the much appreciated and excellent refreshments, throughout the entire event.

As the year’s cricket season came to an end, the Theydon Bois Cricket Club announced that, regretfully, the First Eleven had slipped to third place after leading throughout the summer in Division One of the Herts and Essex Observer Cricket League. In July, the team lost a match against Rickling by one run and the downward trend continued in August when it then lost three games out of four. The Second Eleven also had a difficult season being relegated to Division Four due to inexperienced sides being fielded because of the non availability of senior members; however this meant that the younger players gained experience in senior cricket which would be an advantage in the future. The Colts Section, which provides professional training for boys and girls from 8 years upwards, continued to go from strength to strength and won more matches than it lost.

The Theydon Bois Lawn Tennis Club continued to be equally active holding their Veteran’s Tournament in mid July. The Ladies Doubles Final was closely fought by Mandy Price and Pat Walker, against Kay Henderson and Lesley List who won 7-5, 6-2. In the Men’s Doubles Final Gordon Morris and Mike Wheeler took the first set from Paul Brake and Philip Walter. Paul and Philip came back in the second set to force a tiebreak, but the first pair won, 6-1, 6-7, 6-0. The Mixed Doubles Final was again closely fought and won by Pat Wilson and Mike Wheeler who beat Mandy Price and Brian Barrett 6-4, 6-4.

Anti social behaviour in the village continued to be a problem, mainly from the activities of a small group of young people who used foul language and were responsible for damage to the bus shelter, the roof of the toilet building and the youth club building. The consumption of alcohol and the use of drugs appeared to be related to this problem. There was now a new development with the “ game of chicken (last one across)” where the youngsters rushed across the road in front of oncoming vehicles and it was feared that a serious accident could occur. The identity of most of the culprits, who lived in the village, was known and anti social behaviour orders were being considered under new powers where the police could take action against the parents. However, the TBPC were first appealing to children to cease such behaviour and to the parents to establish what their children were doing when out in the village. Although the absence of youth facilities was no excuse for such behaviour, the TBPC was continuing to investigate the possible provision of recreational facilities.

During August, the following were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


14 08 04 Katy Simmance and Ben Stockill

14 08 04 Michelle King and Darren Noyce


10 08 04 Elizabeth Ryder

12 08 04 Richard Silley

19 08 04 Carlo Terry


JULY 2004


During June, Matthew Dooer, 14, of Greylands was involved in a motorcycle accident while crossing the road outside the Tesco Superstore in Coppice Row. He suffered a shattered thighbone and was hospitalised for 15 days. His grandfather, Walter Noble of Coppice Row, claimed that the accident happened because vehicles were parked illegally on the double yellow lines outside the store so that Matthew and the motorcyclist could not see each other.

At the end of June, three World War 2 incendiary devices of German origin (probably incendiary bombs) were discovered on private land half a mile from the Abridge Road near Theydon Bois. The area, fortunately away from homes, was cordoned off and bomb squad officers destroyed the devices by a controlled explosion. It was possible that the bombs were dropped by the German aircraft which was responsible for bombing the Riggs Retreat in the village on 18 November 1940 resulting in the deaths of 30 members of the Kings Own Southern Borderers who were billeted there.

Three months before his early retirement because of ill health, villager Allen Cornwell, 62, of Buxton Road was awarded the Essex Agricultural Society's Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 46 years in local farming. Originally from a farming family, Allen had worked at Little Gregories Farm in Theydon Bois and Brownings Farm, Chigwell, for local landowner John Padfield. Allen said ” When I started work for John and his father, we had some 250 acres with some pigs and cows. We built it up to 1,000 acres and got into farming chickens so there was always quite lot to do”.

Three local scouts, brothers Jonathan Smith 18 and Edward Smith 20, and Mark Simmance 17, were presented with their Queen Scout Awards at a recent ceremony. The awards were obtained out of a total of only thirty for Essex.

The Theydon Singers gave their annual recital in the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) to a capacity audience. The programme comprised a series of songs and readings appropriate to mid summer. A buffet, prepared by the ladies, was served during the interval.

Theydon Bois triumphed once again when the TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council) Chairman John Eaton, accompanied by the Parish Clerk Madeline Murphy, attended the 2004 AGM of the Rural Community of Essex held at Little Waltham, Chelmsford. This was also the occasion for the presentation of the Best Kept Village awards at village, region (Essex) and national level, as sponsored by

the Calor organisation. Theydon Bois was the outright winner in the Village Class 2 category for which John Eaton received the Whitmore Trophy, a handsome oak plaque. The village was also runners up at region level narrowly missing the opportunity to represent the county at national level, but received the runner's up prize of £150

Despite the unseasonable weather, there was good attendance at the AGM for the Theydon Bois Music Society. All the officers and committee were re elected as follows: Chairman – Barbara O’Connor, Secretary – Doreen Snell, Treasurer – Jan Stubbs, Membership Secretary – Harry Memory, Committee Members – Marjorie Roberts, Audrey Sullivan, Pamela Dibble and Sally Pecover. After coffee, Harry Memory presented a short recital of popular recorded music commencing with the Festive Overture by Shostakovitch and finishing with the last movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The audience then showed its appreciation with a sustained round of applause.

A talk entitled “Six Species of Deer in Britain” was given by Colin Mackie prior to the AGM of the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society held in TBVH. He discussed deer and their behaviour patterns, generally, and especially warned that any fawn found apparently by itself should not touched otherwise the doe, which could be nearby, would reject it on her return. The following officers were then elected; Chairman - Peter Newton, Vice Chairman - Martin Boyle, Secretary - Eric Thurston, Treasurer - Geoff Haslehust and Meetings Secretary - Jim Watts. The Committee was re elected en bloc.

Once again the Plain in Epping Forest by Coppice Row was transformed into a hive of activity and entertainment when the Theydon Bois Scout Group held their annual Donkey Derby. Being a great family occasion, facilities for children were predominant ranging from roundabouts to sideshows and sweet stalls. However, the donkeys were the centres of attraction with seven races being run each named its sponsor eg. “Keeping Well" by Goods out of Pharmacy, sponsored by Raksha and Sailesh Dawda, and " Great Expectations" by Grand Design out of Birch Hall, sponsored by David Sullivan, being two examples. The donkeys and riders were an entertainment in themselves; some youthful riders walked away with sore bottoms after being thrown by their mounts, while others refused to give up and tugged their protesting steeds around the course. This year's event was sponsored by the publisher David Sullivan of nearby Birch Hall, and organised once again (for the seventeenth time) by Peter Simmance.

The successful Atlantic crossing by oarsmen John Peck, 58, of Dukes Avenue and Fraser Dodds from Hertfordshire, officially ended when their boat New Horizons arrived back in the UK. They had spent 67 arduous, and sometimes perilous, days at sea competing in the Cross-Atlantic Rowing Regatta and had earned a well-deserved seventh place on arriving in Barbados. John was still suffering from a short-term grip problem after weeks of rowing but is already planning to take part in a five day running event, the Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara Desert.

The Theydon Bois Friends of Cancer Research received £1,000 which was raised during the Hobbs Cross Charity Dressage Competition held at the nearby Hobbs Cross Equestrian Centre. One event was named in memory of local rider Wendy Golebiowski, who died recently from cancer, and Teresa Langley presented this special trophy to the event winner Jodie Smith.

For the second year running, the highly successful Theydon Bois Drama Society received an award from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association. Their recent production of “Deathtrap” earned the Society a nomination for the Ron Kench Shield for the best dramatic performance for which it received a “highly commended” certificate. Angie Becket Franks, the director of that production, collected the award from the Association President Celia Walker; the stars of the production, Mike Rankin, Rob Nicholas, Linda Hayball, Jo Shepherd and Harry Sternschuss were all congratulated on their performances.

A recent celebratory lunch attended by the TBPC Chairman, John Eaton, was held in the TBHV by the Theydon Bois Senior Club to mark the sixty years since its formation. The group was first known as the Darby and Joan Club and met in a small hut in Loughton Lane. It became the Over 60s Club in the 1950s when Dereka Jackson became its leader and acquired its present name in 1971 when Rose Keen became chairman. Sylvia Keen took over in 1986 and lowered the joining age to 55. Her daughter Irene Walker then became its leader when her mother died; Irene encouraged a new membership but kept the old entertainment format.

The annual summer garden party of the Theydon Bois Branch of the Epping Forest Conservative Association was held at Thrifts Hall Farm by kind permission of Jean and Robin Llewellyn Jones. Despite early rain the weather cleared to give a fine afternoon and Eleanor Laing MP joined the function to enjoy the sumptuous outdoors lunch with wine, while viewing the attractive scene across the Roding Valley. The event was organised by the local conservative committee and nearly £1,500 was raised for party funds.

The decision by the ECC (Essex County Council) to close the Village Youth Centre in Loughton Lane was strongly criticised when a proposal for development of the site came before the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) Area Planning Committee. The Civic Offices were crowded with local residents and other parties who heard John Eaton, Chairman of the TBPC and Jim Watts of the TB Rural Preservation Society, make strong representations against the proposal. The Committee heard that the land involved had been given in trust in 1948 to Theydon Bois by the Buxton family on condition that the land was used for the community, and only sold for housing when no longer needed. Outraged councillors rejected the proposal on the grounds that the assessment for the need of youth provision in the village had not been properly carried out and the case had not been proved that the building was surplus to requirements. While the EFDC cannot force the ECC to reverse its decision, the EFDC Planning Officer,

Barry Land, said “They (the EFDC) were entitled to refuse the application if there had been an inadequate assessment of the need for youth provision”. EFDC and ECC Councillor Janet Whitehouse commented, “The premises are being used five days a week by children out if school; it’s one of the best centres we have going”.

Once again a local youth football team had emerged in association with the village. The Theydon Predators, comprising players under 15, has been formed by Andrew Carroll, Dominic Conway, Sam Johnson and Adam Redpath who are all pupils at the Davenant Foundation School at Loughton. Fathers Steve Jenkinson, Brian Pascoe and Alan Cornwell will coach and manage the side; assistance has also come from other parents, and the Royal Bank of Scotland with a grant of £250. The team will play in the Cheshunt Youth League with home matches at the ground of the Theydon Bois Cricket Club.

Nearly 300 ex students, staff and Friends of Wansfell College attended the last garden party to be held at the College prior to its closure this coming August. In a large marquee on the main lawn, conversation and wine flowed freely as old friendships were renewed and past experiences recalled against a background of communal sadness. Thelma Wilson and Olive Baldwin, the Chairman and Treasurer, of the Wansfell Friends opened the official proceedings. Thelma then spoke about the final days of the College and made presentations to the College staff on behalf of the Friends. The College Principal, Marylin Taylor, said that all should look back on the success of the College over some fifty-four years and the many happy events, which had taken place. and expressed her grateful thanks to the College staff, the Friends and all the students for their loyal support over the many years. She disclosed that the authorities, including the Prime Minister and even the Queen, had received letters against the College closure. Marylin ended on a high note by announcing that a Wansfell College 2 had now been registered and she was preparing a syllabus for courses in 2005, which would be held at locations in the local area.

The gardening team of the Friends of Wansfell College, finally ceased operations. Led by Brian and Shirley Staples of Shenfield, Brentwood. The team had tended the much admired gardens for many years; many major projects had been undertaken including rebuilding the greenhouse which houses the ancient Black Hamburg vine related to the great vine at Hampton Court. Much of the flora had been planted by past and present members of the team and funded by the Friends organisation, or others wishing to commemorate relatives and friends. The team had considered moving such flora to other sites but, alas, their good work had ensured that most was too well established to be “salvaged”. Some of the local residents currently involved were Kay Rush, Joyce and Arthur Thorne, Brenda and Vic Dowsett and Trevor Roberts. Another resident and extremely active Friend during his lifetime was Charles Rush, and steps were being taken to remove to another location the sundial, which commemorated his memory and support for the College.



JUNE 2004


Residents were being warned of a new form of financial deceit through phone calls. An apparently pseudo postal service would ring to advise the household that the service was holding a package for them and to call an 09 prefix number on a premium rate line (charge £1.5 per minute) to arrange delivery. This number would have been set up with the phone company so that the service would benefit financially from the use of this premium rate line, and the phone user incur a high charge. Genuine postal companies did not ask customers to use premium rate lines so residents were warned to ignore such requests.

Vandalism in the village took a dangerous turn when windows in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) and the Baptist Church were damaged by pellets discharged from air guns. Lethal gas cartridge air weapons were now becoming popular and could be purchased by those over 17; but a licence for these was required under the Anti Social Behaviour act of 2003. Such weapons were often produced as copies of real firearms and the police were concerned that a user could be shot if using them to confront armed police.

The last night of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society was the usual sell out. After several different and sometimes modern productions, the Society had returned to the classics with a performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. This delightful and favourite comedy was played by a high calibre cast who ensured that the poetry of the Great Bard remained as timeless as ever and unchanged by the relatively modern setting of the 1900s. Simon Goodman, 15, making his stage debut, played a lively and mercurial Puck. The couples were well matched in their particular roles; Simon Oliver and Simon Gilbert (Demetrious and Lysander), Carol Warne and Angie Becket – Franks (Hermia and Helena) and Derek Hirst and Sarah Moors (Oberon and Titania). The antics of Bottom raised the usual laughs thanks to Jonathan Meter’s acting which, in conjunction with that of the other players, added lustre to a production enhanced further by the excellent musical, lighting and sound effects

The sixtieth anniversary of the World War 2 “D Day Landings” in Normandy were commemorated with ceremonies at the landing beaches in France. Many residents in village spent much of the weekend viewing the extensive television coverage of the events but some attended church parades and wreath laying ceremonies in the local area, as at Loughton where wreaths were laid by two D Day veterans.

During the month the planet Venus passed between the sun and the earth, an event which occurs every 132 years. Clear skies enabled many residents to see the planet passing across the face of the sun, when using suitable viewing equipment.

The TBVH was a centre of activity when it became the “Polling Booth” for the EFDC and European Parliament (EU) elections. Elections for the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) were not held because the four candidates, (all Conservative Alliance), for vacant seats were all unopposed: these were Peter Hammond, Matthew Hayday, Susan Jones and Antony Purkiss. However an election was held for the Theydon Bois seat on the EFDC where Matthew Hayday and Kay Rush (Liberal Democrat) were standing in opposition. There were 12 candidates for the EU seat for the Eastern Region of Britain and this led to some confusion with the ballot papers ie. one small paper for the EFDC candidates and a very long sheet for the EU.

The activity in the TBVH did not affect the monthly meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society in the main hall where Lower Porter, violin, and Helen Collier, piano, gave a recital of music by Albinos/Chrysler, Lutosawski, Mozart, Debussy, Massenet and Gershwin/Heifitz. A fitting tribute to their performance was given by a song thrush by an open door who, possibly stimulated by the high notes of the violin and a beautiful summer’s evening, joined in with the playing of the work by Massenet. Both players received a resounding ovation for their performance.

The TBVH continued as the centre of local political activity when it was used to count the previous day's election votes for the District. The Hall also took centre stage in national politics, briefly, when the three BNP (British National Party) candidates for the Debden area were all elected. Because the BNP is an extreme right wing political party, the result generated considerable interest with TV and press coverage of the activity at the Hall which led to the mistaken impression that it was Theydon Bois that had elected these three candidates. However, as many expected, Kay Rush, Liberal Democrat, secured the previously held TB Conservative Alliance seat with a 98 vote majority over the Conservative candidate Matthew Hayday. Kay, a long established and popular figure in the village, expressed quiet satisfaction at the result while Matthew, a younger person embarking on his political year and who was now serving on the TBPC, looked forward to standing again in the future. The EFDC experienced its most dramatic political transformation for more than a decade; the Labour representation was halved to four seats, the Liberal Democrats reduced to 14 and the Conservatives increased 26, four short of obtaining an overall majority in the Council for the first time in 12 years.

Many years of outdoor productions by the Greek Theatre Players staged in the lovely grounds of Wansfell College in Theydon Bois concluded when the “curtain” fell" on an impressive open air performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The appreciation of the audience was tinged with anger and sadness following the decision of the Essex County Council (ECC) to close the College at the end of August 2004, despite a massive outcry of objection from the general community, college users and the Friends of Wansfell College. This situation probably stimulated the players to give of their best with Mike May portraying a sinister and scheming Cassius, Bruce Kitchener a robust and practical Marcus Brutus and Peter Wilson as a superior and arrogant Julius Caesar. The performance generated a

Roman atmosphere, which transported the audience from an English garden to Rome itself for the assassination of Caesar, the only distraction being the noise generated by a low flying aircraft. At the conclusion, College Governor and retired actor, John Rapley, said that much anger remained regarding the closure, which, he contended, was purely a commercial decision made by the ECC to sell the site. Moreover, this had possibly resulted in Theydon Bois losing a Conservative seat on the EFDC to College Governor Kay Rush who stood for election as a Liberal Democrat. The ECC was concerned about the adverse reaction the closure had generated eg. in the Press, on Television and even in Parliament. John therefore asked all those present to continue pressing their objections whenever and wherever possible. The College was now busier than ever with new and regular students and the record attendance today was an example of the College's reputation and viability.

International Sport in the form of Pentanque came to the village when the Local team, the Victorians played JBC Uden, their Dutch national opponents at the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row. The event was the final in the Pentanque Euro Cup 2004 and the local team was defeated by 2 games to 5. The Victorians Manager, Brenda Wilmot, said “We’re naturally disappointed with the result but we’ve come a long way in one year from a Division Two to a top Division One Club in the National League. We have already entered for the 2004 qualifiers and have great hopes for the future”. McMullens, the brewers, sponsored the event.

An appalling situation, which showed that no longer was an Englishman’s Home his Castle" and that "squatting" had become a legal cover for burglary, ended when the Ahmad family of nearby Theydon Garnon gained access to their home following the granting of a court order to do so. They resided in the old vicarage, once known as the Bishop’s Palace, adjacent to the ancient Tudor Church of All Saints in Coopersale Lane. They had previously spent several months away from the house which was left fully furnished, fully alarmed with electric entrance gates and checked daily by an employee. Earlier, around June 12, a £575,000 loss from damage and theft was caused by squatters who demolished a garden wall and removed a window to gain access. The squatters claimed they had been on the property for more than three weeks and therefore claimed “squatters rights”; apparently the police could only take action if breaking and entering was proved or a theft committed. Mrs Ahmad said they (the squatters) had seven days in which to smash and vandalise at leisure. On June 15, the family was granted a court injunction to remove their possessions from the house but this required the squatter’s consent, which they would not give and who then padlocked the gates. She also claimed that some 15 squatters moved lorries loaded with furniture, light fittings and chandeliers worth £25,000 from the house.

Past and present members of the Theydon Bois Cricket Club gathered at the Clubhouse in Loughton Lane to see a new score board unveiled in memory of Dave Thomas, a life member of the Club. Jerry Smith, the Club President, said, “For many years Dave Thomas was the Theydon Bois Cricket Club. He was an excellent player, a committed committee member and the Club’s groundsman. It is only fitting that the new scoreboard should be dedicated to his memory.

Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row highlighted the poor state of the handsome wrought and cast iron gates in Englands Lane, Loughton. The gates are listed and stood at what was the entrance of Debden Hall, which was apparently demolished many years ago and houses built on the site. Leslie had made extensive enquires with the EFDC, Wimpey Homes and English Heritage regarding their ownership and possible restoration. However he was eventually referred back to the EFDC without success. He therefore queried why the gates were listed in the first place and appealed in the local press for any information about Debden Hall generally.

A bright and warm day set the scene for the 24th Theydon Bois Annual Open Gardens Day. This year, nineteen gardens (including four open for the first time), St Mary’s Churchyard, Wansfell College Gardens and the Garden of Remembrance in the Village Cemetery. These gardens varied from grand estates with sweeping views, to small plots, which had been skilfully turned into miniature and beautiful havens for flora, fauna and humans alike. Many had unique features ranging from a Mediterranean patio to a pond containing a “friendly Terrapin”. The many visitors were catered for with car parking facilities on the Village Green (by kind permission of the Epping Forest Conservators), lunches provided by the TBWI and teas by courtesy of Kay Rush and her ladies. A particular visitor was the local police community officer, in uniform, who brought a ticket and took the opportunity to visit many gardens and get to know more about the village and its residents. And the weather behaved until late afternoon when a "sting in the tail" produced a sharp thunderstorm which sent the last of the visitors scurrying for shelter, and dousing the brave souls (and the Salvation Army Band) taking part in the annual Songs of Praise service on the Green. The event was organised, for the tenth successive year, by Joy Wainwright who had spent much time since before the last Christmas in preparing for the Day. The proceeds from the event amounted to some £2,345 to date, which was divided equally to help fund the Village Hall CCTV Cameras project and support the Pat (Playground At Theydon) charity.

During May and June, the following were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

Marriages: 22 05 04 Terence Steele and Saffron Williams

29 05 04 Darren Brockway and Olivia Tuson

Funerals: 15 06 04 Vera Keene

Burial of Ashes: 03 06 04 Kathleen Hendley



MAY 2004


At the beginning of the month, the rain clouds over the village cleared in time for residents to view an eclipse of the moon as it rose in the east around 10.00. The eclipse was caused by the earth’s shadow passing across the face of the moon, which first appeared as a pink ball. A crescent of light was then seen at the bottom, which then moved upwards until the full moon was revealed. This natural phenomenon was quite unusual and the observers in the village were fortunate to have seen it.

A survey by the RAC road users organisation revealed that road users in the London/Essex border region were particularly likely to be involved in road rage incidents. More than half of all drivers interviewed had been sworn at, two thirds had been the target of offensive hand signals, 600,000 had been kicked or punched and over a million drivers had been rammed by another car. Although these figure related to the country as a whole, incidents of this nature had been experienced by village drivers

Two sisters Sarah and Tracey Thurlow, both clarinettists, accompanied by the well know pianist Nigel Clayton, gave a recital at the May meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. They played a variety of music by composers ranging from Gerald Finzi to Claude Debussy. Of particular interest was a selection of song transcriptions for solo piano by George Gershwin, derived from many of his well known and ever green melodies. Only Sarah Thurlow had been booked to play but she was also due to perform at Glyndebourne; so sister Tracey played in her stead until Sarah could arrive to play the second half of the programme. As a finale item, all three artists gave an excellent performance of Felix Mendelsson’s Konzertstuck for which they received a resounding ovation from an appreciative audience.

At its May meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), Theydon Bois Astra Kydds, the junior branch of the Loughton Astronomical Society discussed the hot planets Mercury and Venus. Children between 6 and 14, accompanied by their parents, were especially welcomed.

At a packed annual general meeting of the Friends of Wansfell College, it was agreed that the Friends organisation should continue for at least another year. The committee was re elected en bloc and would work with a new organisation, “Wansfell College 2”, to continue to provide adult education in the area, albeit at another location when the College closed.

Parish Councillors, the System installers, local police officers, and representatives of the village community were present at the Hall for the official launch of the Village CCTV System, which had now been operating for several weeks after its installation by Scott Francis of Advanced Video Surveillance. Cameras are located, and in full operation, at the Village Hall, in the Coppice Row shopping precinct, by the Bull public house and adjacent to the Playground and village pond. At the launch it was stressed that sensitive areas (eg. resident's properties) had been excluded from monitoring where this had been requested. It was also stated that the information recorded remained confidential and would only be used for crime prevention purposes The project cost nearly £24,000, but only £12,000 came from Parish Council funding the rest being derived from grants eg. from the Epping Forest District Council, and particular donations. The project had been so successful that consideration was already being given to monitoring other sensitive areas eg. the Tennis Club site.

The Theydon Bois Tennis Club raised £400 to support the Breast Cancer Research Unit at St Margaret’s Hospital by holding a recent American Tournament. More than 80 spectator and players saw David Tomlinson win the men’s section, with Ian Smith as runner up, and the ladies section being won, conjointly, by Sue Williams and Lorraine Beer with Lyn Howard as runner up. The event was organised by Club Captain and Coach Nigel Hanley.

More than 80 people attended a recent lunch and auction of plants at Great Gregories to raise £2,800 for the Abbeyfield (Epping) Society. This money will help finance the building of a new Wing at the Society's North Weald location, which provides specialist care for people suffering from Alzeihmer’s Disease and dementia.

Theydon Bois marked the end of a recent and most unusual cycle ride involving 25 riders, all on one “bicycle” which was actually a pedal driven four-wheel vehicle. The riders had set out from Barkingside on a fund raising charity event with stopping points at pubs in Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Loughton and Epping. Many supporter s turned out for the occasion which raised £5,000 for Diabetes UK in memory of Rebecca Walus from Epping Green who died last year aged 25 years from complications associated with this disease. The event was organised by Edward Simpson of Upshire, a director of Newbury Park based Mediplacements Ltd, where Rebecca had worked. Edward said that ”He was devastated when Rebecca died so suddenly and if we can help prevent that happening to someone else, then our efforts will have been worthwhile”.

The Quality and Excellence butchers in Forest Drive once again received awards for its products. This time the firm competed against 200 other butchers and the national champions, the Wolverhampton District Butcher’s Association, to gain a gold award for its home-made steak and stilton pie, and three silver awards for its steak and ale pie, pork and leek sausages and pork and apple sausages. Butcher and owner Mark Scrace said "The competition was tough and the judging ruthless but the use of fresh ingredients, the policy of Quality and Excellence, definitely helped.

A growing number of white collared professionals were opting out of high paid employment to take on lower paid and easier work which was free of the pressures of high powered responsibility and exacting travel. Matt Davis, 46, who lives in the village with his partner and young daughter, is one such person whose example was featured in a national daily newspaper. Matt was earning £38,000 per annum when he left his job as a Private Client Stockbroker for a securities business in the City of London. He has turned to window cleaning and now earns £20 an hour, some £30,000 a year.

Enquires had been raised regarding the ownership of the Allotments following its survey by “persons unknown”. Subsequent investigations revealed that the land had been donated to the Parish by a Colonel Robinson, and the discovery of a letter from Barclays Bank dated 1931 stating that the deeds were held by that bank. Steps were therefore being taken by the Parish to retrieve the deeds and have the land properly registered.

Prior to the bi monthly meeting of the TBPC held in the TBVH, the annual presentation of the Theydon Bois Rose Bowl for community service within the village was made, this year, to Jane and Barry Turner by the TBPC Chairman John Eaton. This recognised their long-standing involvement and support in village activities, especially, with the annual horticultural show. The opportunity was also taken to make presentations to the following Councillors who were relinquishing office after years of service: Margaret O’Connor (8 years), Sheree Powell (4 years), Ronald Smith (20 years) and Wilfred Shales (4 years and past chairman). They would be replaced after the forthcoming parish elections by Matthew Hayday, Anthony Purkiss, Peter Hammond and Susan Jones who were standing for election unopposed. Thanks were also expressed to Councillor John Eaton for his services as current Chairman.

During the meeting, a planning application was heard for the installation of flood lighting at the village Tennis Club. Some Councillors were for the application as it facilitated evening tennis training for young people; others were against because of the adverse affect on the village rural environment, through light pollution. The Club proposed a system of low level illumination such as that used by the Chipping Ongar Tennis Club, but a neighbouring resident of that Club described how light-intrusive was this system. A member of the Loughton Astronomical Society, which met in the village because the absence of street lighting provided good night viewing facilities, pointed out that the Society also catered for young people with its activities; the Tennis Club lighting proposed would further increase the local light pollution, which was already high in this area, and so hamper their astronomical observations. The planning application was rejected by the TBPC, and the hope expressed that their decision would not be reversed when the application was submitted to the Epping Forest District Council.



Copyright 2004. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


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Last Up Dated: 28th September 2004