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MARCH 2007 



The month commenced badly for some motorists in the local area who experienced engine-running problems. The main reason appeared to be faulty fuel sensors and, subsequently, the supermarket fuel with which the vehicles had been fuelled. The fuel had been supplied from a North Thames distributor, and trading standards officers found that this was contaminated with an excess of silicon, which had damaged the sensors. The Tesco supermarket chain, which had supplied the fuel, immediately closed the filling stations affected to clean the storage tanks and acquire fresh stocks of fuel. It offered to pay for engine repairs, provided receipts for purchase of the contaminated fuel were presented.

The first total eclipse of the moon for three years was visible in the clear night sky over Theydon Bois early in the month. The absence of street lighting enabled villagers to view this astronomical phenomenon, which, just before midnight turned the usual friendly face of the moon into a blood red disc. Such an eclipse was described in the Bible as the “moon turned to blood” which helped scientists establish the date of Christ’s Crucifixion as Friday, April 3, AD33.

An early sign of spring was the annual opening by the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society (TBHS) of their Trading Hut in the Village at Hunter’s Lodge. This facility enabled members of the TBHS to purchase, at special prices, a wide selection of horticultural necessities ranging from potting compost to gardening implements

The Naiades Ensemble came to the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) to play for the Theydon Bois Music Society at their March evening meeting. The Ensemble comprised Helen Burton-flute, Nadya Larsen-viola and Paula Popa-harp; their programme included works by Arnold Bax, Joseph Haydn and Claude Debussy. These three young ladies were recent graduates or current students at the Royal College of Music and, in addition to their chamber music roles, also pursue busy careers as soloists, teachers and orchestral freelancers.

The funeral of Pat Bull, a former teacher at the Theydon Bois Primary School, was attended by current and former members of the school together with parents and ex pupils. The School also held a special assembly to commemorate her time there. The School Hall was also especially decorated and the children prepared “Memory Books” and unique displays for the occasion.

Sydney and Margaret Scott who are resident in Piercing Hill adjacent to the now disused Wansfell College, responded to the claim made by Jason Cooper of the Mountcharm organisation that, if the plans for their redevelopment of the College site were not approved, then vandalism of the site could follow. The Scott's pointed out that the current vandalism resulted from the removal of the double security gates and  the warning signs at the main entrance in Rothwell Road, and switching off the  night-time security lighting.. However, fencing was erected across Rothwell Road itself, which required the Scotts to take expensive legal action in order to establish their personal rights of way to the adjacent Epping Forest, after 40 years of personal usage.

Philippa Sharp of Forest Road was currently training for the London Marathon in support of the charity Children with Leukaemia with a target of £2,000. She was currently studying for a sports degree at the Hertfordshire University and works part time at Virgin Active in Chigwell where she had been able to carry out most of her training.

The TBVH was packed for the last night of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society of Francis Tunbridge’s “Deadly Nightcap. This play was a good combination of drama and mystery reflecting back to his famous “Paul Temple” detective radio serials as broadcast by the British Broadcasting Company in the 1950s and 60s. An undoubted star of the production was Rosemary Harrison who had recently joined the Society after many successful years at the Kenneth Moore Theatre in Ilford, East London. Her role as Sarah Radford was both demanding and extensive requiring her to be on stage most of the time. Other excellent performances were given by Simon Gilbert as Geoffrey Curtis, Jeannie McDonald as Lucy Baker, Stan Millington as Edward Donnington, Angie Beckett-Franks as Kate Warren, Dave Bennett as Jack Radford, Megan Salter as Anna Truman, Franz Holman as Dr Maurice Young, Martin Oliver as Cliff Jordan and Ian Shaw as Arnold Boston. Carol Freeman directed the production.

At the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Planning Committee meeting on 23 May, the revised application to convert the former Wansfell College building into 14 flats with onsite parking was refused on the grounds of over development in the Green Belt. The application for a replacement dwelling on the site of the Caretaker’s cottage was withdrawn at the last moment. Theydon Bois Parish Councillor (TBPC) Sue Jones paid tribute to the considerable efforts of the Piercing Hill residents in presenting their case to the EFDC.

At the March meeting of the Theydon Bois WI, the President Kay Rush welcomed new members Winifred Batten, Carole Browning and Celia Cornwell to the Institute. George and Marion Mills had thanked W.I. members, generally, for the substantial amount of soap, toilet rolls and soap powder which had been collected for the Revival Centre in Chernigov. Sheila Gymer gave a report on the Federation Annual meeting which she attended recently at Brentwood. Later in the month, members together with husbands and friends, travelled by coach to Southend and Westcliff to attend a matinee performance of George Gershwin's “Crazy for You” at the Cliffs Pavilion, staged by the  evergreen Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society, affectionally known as SODS.

Jacq Dodman of the Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) joined in the objections to the new application for the development  of the Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf Course which would entail the further importation of material to infill the deep pits on the site and finish the overall development (the pits were a hazard to children who had been playing or even swimming in them). It had already been claimed by objectors that adequate material existed on the site for infilling and this obviated the need for the return of large earth-carrying vehicles which would further damage the local roads and adversely affect many residents along the route. Jacq claimed the easiest option was for someone to approach the developer and ask him to infill (the pits) as a matter of urgency before his new application could be considered.

Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest, expressed her concern over the proposal to complete the Golf Course in this way. She said, ”I’m very concerned about the situation and support the views of TBAAG. I know it’s a complicated problem for the EFDC but we have to consider the enormous detrimental affect of thousands and thousands of lorries going through Theydon Bois”.

The children of the Village Montessori Nursery, which is held in the TBVH, took part in the recent nation-wide Comic Relief appeal in support of children’s charities. The nursery children dressed in red for the occasion and took part in  “toddler’s obstacle course” to raise in excess of the £200 previously collected for the 2006 Comic Relief.

Tikadi, a new unisex hairdressing salon, now occupying the site of the former Theydon Pets shop, opened for normal business following a grand opening party. The salon is run by Michael who some twenty years ago based himself in Loughton after training and working in the West end. He built a strong and loyal client base, which included residents from Theydon Bois.  Michael and his wife Tracey have seven-year-old triplets Tiegan, Adem and Kian from whose names the business name Tikadi is derived.

Emma Hollis, 15, of Dukes Avenue suffers from osteogenesis, a brittle-bone condition that prevents her from taking part in any contact sport where she could sustain injury. However she is able to take part in swimming competitions, especially for the disabled, a number of which she has won, and trains at least five time a week. Emma, a pupil at Chigwell School, has promoted disability swimming and has consequently received a £500 award through the EFDC’s leisure bursary scheme.

The Playground At Theydon (PAT) Charity held an Easter Gala in the Playground by the Village Green with stalls and other entertainment for the young children of the Village and their parents. The Playground was packed with excited children taking part in the many events and sideshows, in glorious sunshine, with the Easter Egg hunt proving to be the most popular. A considerable amount was raised for the Charity’s funds.

 During March the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:     


04 03 07     Emily Collins

18 03 07     Ben Abbott


05 03 07  Hilda Chalk

09 03 07  Gordon Newman

14 03 07 Mary Lelliott

19 03 07 Leslie Ellison

23 03 07 Renee White

Memorial Service

20 03 07  Anne Manning






As a contradiction to the frequent criticisms of the National Health Service (NHS), Clare Horgan of Pakes Way thanked the staff of the oncology department at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, for their outstanding compassion and for the care and attention she received while in their care. She said that,  “This country was fortunate to have this medical service available whereas, in America where she spent some eleven years, medical attention was cost-counted and medical decisions depended on the type of health insurance one possessed”.

Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row echoed the views of many residents when he complained about the amount of unwanted advertising material which was delivered to his residence by the Royal Mail. He had written to this organisation requesting that the practice cease but in reply had only received an unsigned letter”. If every residence in the Village had received the same amount of unsolicited material, then a lot of trees must have been cut down to provide the paper required.

A revised planning application for housing development at Wansfell College was submitted by Mountcharm Ltd following the rejection by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) of their original application and the subsequent rejection by a Government Inspector; the Inspector found that the proposal would be an inappropriate development in the Green Belt. The revised application was almost identical except that the number of flats had been reduced and the proposed replacement of the caretaker’s house remained. The Managing Director of Mountcharm wrote a long letter to the Epping Guardian in which he warned about the threat of vandalism to the building and site if the granting of the revised planning application continued to be protracted, due to nature of the objections and the planning process involved. It was also claimed that the Pagoda in the grounds had been stripped of its lead and the caretakers house vandalised.

Real winter arrived overnight on 8 February, which produced heavy falls of snow by early breakfast with more falling. Eventually 6-8 cm covered the village with the inevitable dislocation of public services and road traffic. Commuters struggled to reach the station and on into London via a disrupted Central Line service (if they tried) but many stayed away from work. The M11 and 25 motorways became almost impassable as did roads out of the Village. Most local primary schools were closed including the village school and delighted children and some adults found a use for their toboggans. In fact most of South East England shut down and prompted complaints that the modern generation could not cope with weather disruptions, which were commonplace in the mid twentieth century. Fortunately, the temperature immediately began to rise so that the snow soon thawed but by evening promptly froze to adversely affect local movement once again.

Residents prescribed medication on a continuing basis, and repeat prescriptions, found that medication was now only available for a maximum of 28 days from General Practitioners (GPs) in South West Essex. The West Essex Primary Care Trust had introduced this policy to prevent the stockpiling of medicines, which could be dangerous where several were prescribed and patients possibly confused regarding dosage times; the standard 28-day period could help avert this. But although not stated, the riding cost of medication incurred by the Trust would also be reduced. On the credit side, most pharmacists now kept a record of patient’s prescriptions and would obtain authorisation from the GP for repeat prescriptions and then supply the medication.

More than 200 people attended a Celebration of Faith Service in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), the second to be held. The event was hosted by EFDC Chairman Anne Haigh and introduced by the Canon Rev Colin Travers from St Mary’s TB. The Service represented the diversity of religious faiths in the Epping Forest District and a series of short presentations on the theme “Who is my Neighbour” was given by some of these. A collection raised £400 in equal support of the EFDC Chairman’s chosen charities ie. Action In Mental Health (AIM), Home Start Epping Forest and Essex Ambulance First Responders.

Many Theydon Bois residents regularly shop in Epping High Street, especially on Market Day, and were therefore interested to learn that the Marks and Spencer (M&S) multiple trading outlet was considering a possible site in Epping Town for one of their “Simply Food” outlets. A number of the well-established trading businesses in Epping High Street had been closing for some time, invariably because of rising costs, and were being replaced by coffee shops and fast food outlets; this was changing the character of the Town. Moreover, improved shopping facilities, with the “big name” outlets, in Romford and Harlow were drawing shoppers away from Epping.

The most terrible incident in the recent history of Theydon Bois, perhaps within living memory, reached a conclusion when Scott Thompson was tried for the rape and murder of 89-year-old Catherine Grossstephan at her home in Sidney Road in the Village on 18 May 2006. At Chelmsford Crown court on the 15th February 2007, it was revealed that Thompson had previously been arrested on the suspicion of rape elsewhere but then released. Thompson pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced, on his 24th birthday, by Judge Christopher Ball QC to life imprisonment with the proviso that he served a minimum of twenty-nine years.      Sara Beam of Forest Drive and her husband complained about the latest planning application for the Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf development in which the proposed Clubhouse was now relocated nearer the centre of Theydon Bois, and their back garden! Moreover, this building would contain locker and changing rooms, a professional’s shop, office and social accommodation and catering facilities, and could become a hotel, and restaurant. There were also plans for a 300 capacity car park; why so many for an 18-hole golf course? Surely the EFDC planning department could see that this was another unnecessary leisure development in the Green Belt.  Lee Bray, also of Forest Drive, pointed out that the Blake's Golf Club at North Weald, is also owned by the Blunt’s Farm developers and which also caused some controversy during its development, was now offering facilities for corporate meetings and conferences, weddings and catering including a public restaurant.

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, was celebrated in the TBVH by the Theydon Bois WI in the time honoured way. A number of children from Class 1M at the Theydon Bois Primary School were invited along to compete with each other in “pancake tossing”. The Ladies present then held their own pancake competition following which their Easter Bonnet Parade was held. Two of the few men present were pressed into service as judges and wisely awarded third place to the WI President Kay Rush for her delightful creation. Second and first place went to members of the Talking Hands Deaf Group who were visitors on this occasion; the first place was won by the leader of the Group, Iris Penn. Iris is well known for her work in dealing with deafness and who uses a trained dog, also present, to help her cope with her disability eg. to warn of doorbells and phones ringing etc.


In bright spring sunshine, a tree planting ceremony was held on a very waterlogged Village Green with pupils from Village Primary School taking part. The Trafalgar Tree planted by other pupils early 2006 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar had, unfortunately, died. Therefore this was replaced together with two new trees, the Queen’s Tree and the School Tree. Representatives of the EFDC were present as also were members of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC); Robert Glozier (Chairman), John Padfield, John Eaton and Sue Jones together with Madeline Murphy the Parish Clerk. Others included Elspeth Bonds, the Primary School Head Teacher, Peter Newton and Jim Watts from the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society and Trevor Roberts, the Village Local History Recorder. Especially welcome was Mat Roberts, the recently appointed eighth Superintendent of Epping Forest who helped plant one of the trees, a significant gesture which endorsed the strong link which exists between the Village and Epping Forest


The Loughton Friends of St Clare Hospice held a fun night at the Police Sports Club in Chigwell. The occasion was a big thank you for the Friends supporters who, over 12 years, had helped raise £100,000 for the Hospice, which is at Hastingwood. Fundraiser Marion Oliver of Woodland Way, Theydon Bois, hailed the event as a great success and said that the Chief Executive, Richard Cowie, was present to give his personal thanks to the Members of the Friends and their Chairman Marylyn Coleclough for all their hard work. The event raised a further £880 for the Hospice  


The weekly series of Lent Soup Lunches, leading up to Easter, commenced in St Mary’s Church Hall. A modest outlay of £4.00 secured a bowl of soup with roll and butter, a slice of fruit tart and a cup of coffee. All the food was prepared and provided by the ladies of the church and the proceeds of this first lunch went to support two charities for the homeless; the Manna Day Centre at London Bridge in Central London and the Newham Night Centre in London’s East End. St Mary’s Church further supported both charities by providing food for the Centres and people to help manage them.

 In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames gave advice about bankruptcy and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs). An IVA is an agreement between the debtor and the creditor(s) which allows the debtor to avoid bankruptcy by paying off a proportion of the debt(s) over a fixed period, which could be a number of years. He also elaborated further but advised that it was often best to visit the Loughton Office to discuss personal circumstances with a CAB member.

Scouts from the Royal Forest District, including some from Theydon Bois, took part in a recent Brass Monkey Challenge held at the Thriftwood Scout Campsite at Brentwood. The scouts had to spend 24 hours outdoors without tents and prepare their food in the open. Each team was assessed on its ability to build shelters and cook meals. The Scouts were also tested in a variety of activities including first aid, menu selection, health and safety and gadget making. A spokesmen said that it was excellent to see so many young people taking part in a demanding challenge of this nature.

As February, and hopefully winter, drew to a close the Meteorological Office announced that this winter had been the second warmest on record with an average temperature of 5.47 degrees C. (41.8 degrees F.). The highest temperature in South East England during this period was 6.53 degrees C. (43.8 degrees F.), a new record.

During the month and the previous December the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:            


14 12 06     Eileen Johnso             

15 02 07     Charles Newstead            

16 02 07     Irene Brooke-Boulton (nee Day)






At the beginning of the month there was news regarding the future of the public bus service which serves the Village. In late 2006, the Arriva bus company announced that the 500 route from Old Harlow to Romford would be rerouted via Chipping Ongar so bypassing Theydon Bois and Abridge; and this would still apply. But after much adverse reaction from residents, the Essex County Council (ECC) stepped in to change the Route 10, which operates from Loughton to Abridge via Debden. This will be renumbered Route 541 and operate hourly from Buckhurst Hill to Epping (St Margaret’s Hospital) via Abridge and Theydon Bois. Bus travel to Romford and Harlow from the Village will now entail a bus change at Epping; but there will now be a direct link from the Village to St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping.

A C Wheeler of Purlieu Way complained about the unpleasant smells from wheelie bins and the possible dangers to public health resulting from the fortnightly-only emptying of their contents. Refuse collecting personnel had complained that collection times (for them) had doubled, morale was low and that staff were leaving. The Epping Forest District Councillor (EFDC) Councillor responsible, Stephen Metcalfe, was urged to take into account the affects of global warming and negotiate once a week collections with the waste disposal contractor.

A national rodent survey found that a 69 percent increase in callouts relating to rats had occurred in urban areas not usually associated with such vermin. The National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) had surveyed the situation for some 300 local authorities and found, overall, a thirteen percent increase in the need for pest control. Rats were the predominant pests, with increasing numbers, and a major reason was the change from a once weekly to fortnightly collection of domestic residue wastes. Another was the increasing use of compost bins as part of recycling programmes where rodents burrowed underneath to reach the contents. The report endorsed the views and fears of many Villagers who deplored this change in the collection of domestic waste, especially those residents who had called out pest control officers in recent weeks.

Jacqi Dodman of the Theydon Bois and  Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) claimed that Theydon Bois, which prided itself as being a bastion of middle England with core middle class values, was sleep walking into allowing further dumping at the Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf Course. Since the earlier dumping was stopped, she claimed that the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), by way of a compromise, had been encouraging the landowner to reapply for further development of the site. A proposed public enquiry regarding the development had been halted by a new planning application EPF/2195/06 which entails a further 23,000 return lorry movements onto the site through the conservation area of Abridge.

Mike Emmett of Abridge Road commented upon the Ombudsman’s report on EFDC planning matters which found serious faults where the EFDC had mistakenly allowed the building of a large property in the Metropolitan Green Belt at Theydon Bois. He asked how could the EFDC be so diligent when processing small incidental planning applications and yet so negligent in administering a major planning application that has compromised the Green Belt. The Ombudsman’s Report, which found serious faults with the EFDC planning process, with this and other recent planning fiascos (ie. Blunt’s Farm), surely proved that a full investigation of the EFDC planning department was required.

The future of the rows of oak trees on each side of the Avenue, which crosses the green, was causing concern. The trees were planted in 1832 to, reputedly, celebrate the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne. A survey revealed that time had taken its toll and that several would have to be felled. Trevor Roberts of Orchard Drive pointed out that nature always had the last say in tree life by blowing down those due to go. The recent hurricane force winds, and extensive rain which resulted in tree root insecurity, could bring about this situation prematurely and suggested that steps be taken to safeguard the remaining trees. There was, however, a proposal to plant new rows of trees alongside the existing ones so that the magnificent panorama of the green could be preserved.

The TBVH was once again packed for the last night of the current three-day production by the Theydon Bios Drama Society, which was Alan Aykbourn’s “Season’s Greetings”. This unusual festive contribution by the Society portrayed relatives and friends at the home of Belinda and Neville, played by Paula Duncan and Bernie Paveley, to celebrate Christmas. All the differences, tensions and emotions, which often emerge on such occasions, were well brought out. Gill Newlyn, as Rachael a retiring spinster, and Simon Gilbert, as Clive, an author, provided the romantic element.  Dave Bennett gave a strong and dominant performance as Harvey, a single relative, who in an unusual twist at the end of the production shot Clive after mistaking him for a burglar. But the best and most entertaining character was Bernard, a complex and simpering individual, played by veteran performer Martin Oliver. His insistence in giving his regular and unwanted Christmas puppet show was a central feature of the production and brilliantly presented by Martin with a fumbling incompetence which produced much laughter from a delighted audience. Sasha Brenner as a very pregnant Pattie, was Bernard’s unfortunate assistant, and Iain Heard as her very indifferent partner Eddie who helped provide good back up to the “Christmas fun”. Angie Beckett-Franks directed this excellent production.

Bad weather struck again with driving rain, and wind gusts of 99 miles per hour in parts of the UK. The entire stretch of the M11 Motorway, including the section near Theydon Bois, was closed due to overturned motor vehicles. In the Village itself some structural damage was caused to buildings, fences and trees especially in adjacent Epping Forest where fallen trees closed some roads for a time. Pedestrians were almost blown off their feet in the Village centre and the trains leaving Theydon Bois Station had to move at crawling pace along the open areas of track to the north and south of the Village.

In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames gave advice on obtaining the services of competent and trustworthy builders. He advised that a government–backed scheme entitled “Trust Mark” now existed which provided details of trustworthy trades people who would carry out home improvements.

Following the substantial local rainfall during the last few months it came as no surprise that the Three Valleys Water Company, which supplied water to the Village, lifted the hosepipe ban introduced during the last summer. Paradoxically, local streams and rivers were flooding across the countryside so that much open ground and many gardens were reduced to quagmires, especially after the recent storms. But the Company warned that supplies still remained low in the aquifers of the water sources so that possible drought conditions in the 2007 summer could again result in a ban.

The Theydon Bois Toy and Train Collector’s Fair was once again held in the TBVH with a much reduced attendance because of the stormy weather. Surprisingly, the dealers present were not unnecessarily dismayed as the “hard core” of enthusiasts still arrived to ensure the success of the event, repeats of which were planned for the coming months.

Real winter finally arrived in mid January with a biting northerly wind and an overnight snowfall of some 3 cm. In the early dawn light, the Village took on the appearance of an Artic wonderland but the temperature began to rise quite quickly and most of the snow had gone by midday, to the annoyance of the children at their desks in the Village Primary School.

The Theydon Bois Pre School which is based in the Loughton Lane Scout Hut and caters for two to five year old children, received a “good rating” in the relevant categories of its recent Ofsted Report inspection. High scores were achieved for the effectiveness of provision, the protection of children, keeping children healthy and helping children to achieve. One of the most pleasant aspects of the Report was the Inspector’s comment regarding how happy and relaxed were the children.

A CTV maintenance contract with Theydon Security had been signed and Improvements made to the Village security system. This included the installation of an infrared system for the Playground, which although costing £250, had provided a much improved picture quality.

The was now an agreement in principle for the granting of a licence by McMullens the brewers for the use of the front car park at the Queen Victoria pub by the customers of the Tesco Express Store. Details for operation of the car park, and the prevention of its use by commuters, would be the subject of further discussion.

The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) had discussed with the ECC its proposed withdrawal of the mobile library service for Theydon Bois. A former TBPC Councillor Sheila Gymer had written to the Prime Minster objecting to this proposal. The Village was the greatest user of the service and it was hoped that this would be retained. She had received a reply from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport advising that the ECC had now decided to retain all the library stops including Theydon Bois but on a fortnightly basis only.

The weather invariably had the last say for January when it was announced that the month had been the second warmest since records began and the fifth warmest in the Central England for 350 years. The January average temperature in the UK was 5.9 degrees C. (42.6 degrees F.). Global warming again?

During January 2007 and the previous November and December, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


31 12 06               Liv Marie Dahmen           


27 11 06               Pat Holmear                    04 12 06     Win Taylor

14 12 06               Harry Allen                      20 12 06     Ray Burton

05 01 07               John Bambrook               10 01 07     Gwen Neal

17 01 07               Charles Brooks                18 01 07     Ray Ryder           

Burial of Ashes

17 12 06               Peter Harbott




Copyright 2006/7. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


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Last Up Dated: 10th May 2007