The Month in Theydon Bois


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At the beginning of the month, representatives of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), the Village News and the Village Web site judged paintings produced by children from the Village Primary School in a competition for a Theydon Bois Christmas Card. After much debate, due to the high standard of the work presented, the judges declared the entry by Elise Bray of Class 5/6 F as the winner with her picture of the Village Sign with a Christmas theme, and this was adopted as the official Village Christmas Card for 2008.


A few days later the Christmas celebrations in the Village commenced, officially, with the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony and Christmas Carols outside the TBVH. The singing was led by the Theydon Singers, together with a choir of children from the Village Primary School.  Paul Argent, the Theydon Bois Villager of the year, switched on the Christmas Tree lights and Father Christmas made his usual annual visit. Afterwards, mulled wine (for the adults-provided by the TBPC) and mince pies from the Theydon Bakery were served to the many who attended this popular event.


The Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was packed for annual Christmas Concert of carols and readings given by the popular Theydon Bois Singers. The choir comprised 35 members of both sexes who, although of elderly disposition, worked hard to give a concert of high standard; the program was almost a vocal marathon for the choir who sung twenty carols, plus others in which the audience participated.  Janet Cass was the conductor and Paul Chilvers provided the piano accompaniment. The evening ended with Christmas cheer being provided for all present. The proceeds of the concert were donated to the Willow Foundation, a charity that supports young adults living in life limiting and life threatening conditions.


The vacant premises in Forest Drive, previously occupied by a wine merchants, became” Roger’s Christmas Shop” selling a variety of goods for the festive season. This appeared to be only a short term “Christmas Let” but attracted a fair degree of custom, especially with an “inflated Santa Claus” welcoming all at the shop entrance. Other local retail businesses selling similar lines were not happy to have trading opposition at this time of economic crisis. Nationally, the downturn in the national eco0nomy was becoming acute with the big multi stores, even the Tesco food store complex, slashing prices dramatically to stimulate business in the run up to Christmas. The biggest shock was the pending closure, nationwide, of the huge and long established Woolworths retail complex where prices were “rock bottom”.

Writing in the Christmas Edition of the Theydon Bois Village News, Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Councillors John Phillip and Roland Frankel sought to rationalise the current situation and debate regarding the Consultation Document for a Development Plan for Gypsies and Travellers in the Epping Forest District, (which the EFDC had produced as directed by the Government). They commented that the document was simply, as it said, a Consultation Document, which is the Government’s way of asking the public to tell the Government what the public think of the Plan. Both Councillors urged everybody to take part in this exercise by obtaining their own copy of the document, and the accompanying questionnaire, and completing it in a considered and appropriate fashion. They also believed that there were significant planning problems with the Theydon sites as currently identified (in the document). These were only potential sites, which would have to pass two stages of planning law before they could be considered for a planning application.

The build up to Christmas continued with local residents from Theydon Bois, Epping and the surrounding area packed into the church of All Saints, Theydon Garnon, for the annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols. This charming Tudor Church was floodlit outside to welcome the congregation and also serve as a landmark for the motorists in the busy M25 motorway just down the hill. The church’s set of six bells had been refurbished recently and the bell chamber floor lowered, which enabled the congregation to see the bell ringers at work. The church was lit by some one hundred and fifty candles and decorated with greenery and a large illuminated Christmas Tree. The congregation was invited afterwards to the Church Gatehouse for hot toddy and mince pies.

Appeals usually made at Christmas by charitable organisations, for funding to help with their work, were more evident this year because of the poor economic situation. However, there were several unusual appeals. One came from a Seal Centre in Norfolk, which cares for abandoned seal pups; these creatures have to be kept warm and so gifts of blankets were requested for this purpose. Another even more unusual appeal came from the water authorities that requested the general public not to pour turkey fat down the kitchen sink as this could solidify in the sewers and create blockages.

Another affect of the economic downturn was the lack of demand for recyclable materials. Local authorities had to once again use landfill sites and the EFDC admitted that 655 tonnes of “contaminated waste“ had been disposed of in this way; the “contamination” was due to recyclable waste being mixed with that which was not. Residents responded by saying that the local authority should be more informative regarding the rules for acceptable recycling materials.


Christmas Day dawned fine and relatively mild following the recent hard frosts. In the early dawn Theydon Bois was silent except where, in many homes, excited children were opening presents and busy housewives preparing festive meals. The Bookshop newsagents and the Tesco convenience store, normally open, were closed for this one day and the station stood deserted but also brightly lit with its car park empty, so no rail or road traffic disturbed the peace of this early Christmas morning. Nature was able to assert herself; the twitter of robins in the hedgerow, the song of the mistle thrush, that harbinger of spring, and the calls of the wildfowl on the pond could once again be heard without interruption. Early worshippers emerged to hurry by foot or car past the Village Christmas Tree outside the TBVH en route to St Mary’s Church, or to the Baptist Church. Despite a last minute rush to the shops, the poor economic state of the country saw high street sales fall by some 20 to 30 per cent due possibly to more than 5 million customers purchasing goods at home via modern Internet Systems (and sometimes being disappointed when the goods failed to arrive for Christmas); those who shopped conventionally fared well because of the substantial discounts on offer. Queen Elizabeth II and the Archbishop of Canterbury each gave their Christmas Messages nationwide. The Queen, with two grandsons currently serving in the armed services, asked the country to remember the difficult task being carried out by service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan; she also asked for people to help each other during the economic downturn. The Archbishop warned that the current European economic situation was similar to that in Germany in the 1920s which brought about Nazism and WWII. The Pope denounced homosexuality and also called for greater attempts to establish peace in the Middle East where the Palestinians were firing rockets into Israel.

The year 2008 ended with the greatest economic slump in the UK for more than sixteen years, which heralded high unemployment and rising costs in the future. The weather added to the pain with freezing temperatures for several days emphasising that winter had really arrived. But all this did not deter more than million people, including many Villagers, who travelled to Central London to celebrate the arrival of 2009, which was ushered in at the stroke of midnight by Big Ben and followed by a tremendous ten-minute fireworks display on the Thames. The night sky was illuminated for miles around, even as far as Theydon Bois where the display could be seen from high points in the village. Many stayed on to view London’s other illuminations or even to ice skate on the several ice rinks created for the winter. The London Transport system operated throughout the night with free travel to facilitate the return home; however, a sting in the tail was the news of an increase in fares of 6 percent for 2009 – the next day!  Back in Theydon Bois the sky over the Village was also lit at midnight with numerous private displays, accompanied by the inevitable loud bangs, which lasted intermittently for some time and many houses remained illuminated all night with seasonal decorations, especially where New Year parties were in full swing. So, for many, the Old Year went out on a happy note.


02 12 08 Children from the Village Primary School, in conjunction with members of the TBPC and the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society, braved the wet and cold to spend a day hedge planting on the Great Gregories/Epping Forest buffer land. The event was organised by Country Care and the Epping Forest Conservators.

06 12 08  The Playground At Theydon (PAT) Charity held its Annual Christmas Fair in the Playground by the Village green. Santa Claus, in his “grotto” to give presents, proved to be a great attraction as were various stalls selling Xmas gifts and hot drinks.  The event raised a substantial sum in support of the PAT charity.

The Village Voluntary Litter Pickers were out in force as usual on the first Saturday morning of the month. This practice has been followed for over ten years and has helped the Village to receive several awards for best-kept village etc. This monthly activity has become even more important because of the withdrawal of the “resident” village cleaner by the EFDC cleaning contractor. However, under the leadership of TBPC Councillor Anthony Purkiss, the Village remained remarkably clean, helped by individual residents who remove discarded rubbish at every opportunity.

19 12 08  Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row warned that, in company with national newspapers, the local newspapers were feeling the brunt of the current economic crisis. The local press, in particular, depended on advertising and sales for its continuance and it was therefore in the interests of everybody that the general public should support the press.

27 12 08  The National Trust reported, for the second year in succession, that wildlife was struggling to cope with the unseasonable weather. Birds, mammals and insects appeared to have suffered from the cold late springs, wet summers and long, dry autumns. Particularly affected were puffins, marsh fritillary butterflies and lesser horseshoe bats.

31 12 08  Between September and November 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s church:


01 10 08         Lyn Risen               03 10 08     Margaret Patterson

30 10 08         Elizabeth Ransom  03 11 08     Michael Lowe

20 11 08         Theresa Austin       25 11 08     Mary Heywood

Burial of Ashes

23 09 08         Julia Lewis






In early November a Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Michael Lowe, a resident of Morgan Crescent and a popular member of Theydon Bois Village, was held at the Forest Park Crematorium in Hainault, Redbridge. Afterwards a Memorial Service for Michael was held in the Village at St Mary’s Church, which was attended by a large congregation comprising representatives from many Village organisations and including the many friends he had made during more than fifty years of Village life. Canon Colin Travis conducted the Service with the assistance of Reader Beryl Denney; Timothy Hind, one of Michael’s grandsons, read the lesson. In his address Canon Colin Travis spoke of the contributions to the Village made by Michael and his wife Ann, and especially Michael through his work with the Scout movement and other organisations.

Buddhists from the Guang Shan Temple in London, which is part of a large Chinese Buddhist community, came to Theydon Bois to help plant trees at the Woodland Trust project which is situated near the Village Cemetery. This London community had financed the purchase of 1,500 saplings of native broad-leafed specie, some of which were planted collectively by the Venerable Chueh Ru Shih, Abbess for the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Community in London, and John Knapman Chairman of the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

The Theydon Bois Village School celebrated November Fifth with a super fireworks display in the school grounds. Some 600 adults and children enjoyed the event which had lots of fizzers and rockets with a minimum of bangs. The Friends of the School organised refreshments with a hot drinks stall and a local butcher did well with a high demand for his hot dogs etc.

Remembrance Sunday was observed with parades in Loughton, Epping and Theydon Bois  which were attended by Village residents. A short wreath-laying ceremony was held at the War memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard before the eleven o'clock service. Here, many ex service and Village organisations were present, one notable representative being Flight Lieutenant Peter Twinn DFC who has a distinguished WWII service record. The annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal held in the Village in aid of this charity raised more than £4,000.

The well-known duo, violinist Miriam Kramer and pianist David Silkoff, made a welcome return to the Theydon Bois Village hall (TBVH) when they gave a recital at the November meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. Miriam played a variety of compositions ranging from the Brahms Violin Sonata in D Minor to the very lively Banjo and Fiddle by Kroll, which was in effect the music for an American hoe down and which brought sustained applause from an appreciative audience. An accomplished concert pianist in this own right, David Silkoff contributed much to the recital's success through his fine playing as Miriam’s accompanist.

The outcry against the proposal to locate gypsy/traveller sites in the Epping Forest District was featured on national TV when Terence Ruddigan, 73, of Ongar Road, Abridge, was seen complaining bitterly about the possible compulsory purchase of land on his poultry farm to house four pitches. Councillor Di Collins, Leader of the EFDC, was seen being interviewed outside the Council Offices; she answered a number of questions and gave an empathic no to the suggestion that compulsory purchase orders would be invoked by the EFDC where necessary; however it later transpired that such action could be taken by the government’s Homes and Community Agency. Two sites were proposed for Theydon Bois and the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) stated that this was this was unacceptable and the Council was considering joining other interested parties to seek legal advice to stop the process altogether.

A major event at the TBVH was the bi annual Model Railway Exhibition held by the Epping Railway Circle (ERC). By closing time, more than 700 rail enthusiasts, parents and children had visited the event to purchase items from the eight trade stands and see twelve railway layouts in operation. The largest, the ERC Tanglewood Common layout, received considerable praise while others covered a variety of fascinating working scenarios including a coalmine, the London Kingsway Tram Tunnel, the London Transport Houndsditch Underground Station and the rail system using the notorious WWII Bridge across the River Kwai in South East Asia. Most impressive was a gauge one layout for gardens, modelled on a railway system in the American Middle West during the 1920s. The ERC Chairman Dave Karaskas said that he was very pleased with the success of the event which raised £2,000 for Club funds, and the opportunity to use the TBVH which was a very good venue for the ERC.

Four community seats were recently installed in the shopping area of Forest Drive adjacent to the shops. The one outside the Bookshop newsagents has been dedicated to the memory of Carol Wheeler 1944 – 2006 and to Brian Wheeler 1941 – 2008. This bench was kindly provided by Mark and Kate Wheeler in memory of Mark’s parents, Carol and Brian who used to live by the Village Green. New planters were also erected in the shopping area during the autumn and now contain a variety of autumn plants provided by the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society.  The planters were constructed and presented to the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) by Norman Riley who also made the metal benches which now enhance the Village Green.

Olivia Rhys 60, a pensioner from Buckhurst Hill embarked on a crusade on behalf of all pensioners travelling on the Central Line in the Epping Forest District. She found that free travel for pensioners in the London Boroughs, as enjoyed by her neighbours in Woodford Green, did not extend into Essex and so did not cover the seven stations up to Epping. She called on the London Councils to extend the Freedom Pass scheme into the local area. A spokesman for this authority said the Freedom Pass Scheme was paid for by London residents through local taxation and the matter should be discussed with local authorities in Essex. 


06 11 08  An 18 year old woman was assaulted outside Theydon Bois Station in the early morning of Saturday 26 October. She suffered an injured arm and the police are looking for a thin man of 6ft height who may have been seen in the area shortly before 07.00 on that day.

13 11 08 Villagers were no longer able to pick the Epping Forest mushrooms because the City of London Corporation had now completely banned this practice. One reason was that commercial operators, including Italians visiting the UK specifically for picking these fungi, were depleting mushroom stocks. Another was that the fragile ecology of the Forest was coming under increasing threat due to this practice.

20 11 08  In a recent fixture against the visiting Markhall Youth A team, the Theydon Colts Youth team played well but lost 1–4. Jack Winch scored an excellent goal just before half time but Markhall scored after the break and continued on to win a closely fought contest.

12 11 08 On a bright but very cold day, a party from the TBWI attended a performance of West Side Story given by the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society (SODS) at the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff.  Some of the party lunched and shopped in Southend while others braved the biting wind to walk along the front to the theatre

22 11 08  The St Mary’s Autumn Fayre was held in the Church Hall and was once again a very successful church occasion. The event raised £1,000 for church funds.

23 11 08  A special service was held in St Mary’s Church to mark the occasion of the retirement of Beryl Denney as a Ministry Reader after 12 years loyal service to the church.





The extensive debate in the local media, regarding commuter parking in the Village, continued. John and Susan Warren of Woodland Way reacted to the suggestion from George Dilloway that the majority of Village residents were in favour of a possible new car park to the east of the Theydon Bois station. Both had attended the proposal’s presentation in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) and thought that most present were not commuters but residents who did not support the proposal. They contended that most commuters were not prepared to pay for parking, as indicated by the vacant spaces in the Debden Station car park just down the line, but would rather enjoy “free parking” outside Villagers homes. If established, the proposed car park could become a grey site with eventual housing development; in other words the proposal was an excuse to encroach on the Green Belt

Villagers were alarmed and dismayed to learn that Theydon Bois was one of the areas in the Epping Forest District where sites were proposed for the location of “travellers”, also known as gypsies. This action had been taken by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) at the specific direction of the government and the two local sites could be located in Coopersale Lane and the Abridge Road with eleven and ten pitches respectively. General opposition to the scheme was immediate with the recent illegal site in Epping Lane near Passingford Bridge being cited as an example of what could result. It was claimed that this site had been a base for crime where the police had difficulty in entering, and it was some time before the authorities were able to close it. David Prince of Abridge claimed residents near sites established elsewhere in the county experienced crime, general filth, the destruction of the environment and threats of violence. In Theydon Bois, one reaction was that the local infrastructure could not cope with the influx of travellers and the proposed sites would be in the Green Belt.

The Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing labelled the proposals as the “worst kind of communism”, and was backing residents in their fight against the scheme. She told Parliament that she had received from her constituents, countless objections to the proposals. The Government was riding roughshod over local democracy and opinion. It was not only insisting but also directing in law that the EFDC provided 96 additional pitches for gypsies and travellers over the next few years. This was not about party politics; it was about protecting our local community.

In a typical objection made via E Mail, a writer claimed that one site was only 30 ft from his backdoor. The EFDC was considering taking part of his lane, which included stables, and sheds for forage, geese and poultry and other animals and give it to gypsies and travellers and, in the process, substantially devalue his property. He had served in the armed forces, always been in full employment, paid his taxes and never claimed a penny off the state. Several applications had been made to improve his property but these had been refused because it was in the Green Belt, yet traveller’s sites would apparently be permitted. He asked “Where were his human rights in this situation?”

The proposal for traveller’s sites was debated at the EFDC meeting in the EFDC Chamber before some 200 members of the public. The public gallery was packed, as also was an overflow area with a TV link relaying the debate in the Council Chamber. The Leader of the EFDC, Councillor Di Collins, asked the public to forward their views and ideas on this situation so that a weight of evidence could be compiled to put before the Government. Fourteen police officers were on duty but no trouble was reported.

The Theydon Bois Parish Council Youth Initiatives Working Group (TBPCYIWG) held a meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) to attract volunteers who would help with the running of a village youth club, and other youth activities, for the 11 to 15 years age group. Two locations for the Club were available for immediate use on Tuesday and Friday evenings; some weekend activities were also envisaged. Helpers would be committed to at least one of these evening a week, and also to weekend activities if held. Full Criminal Register Bureau (CRB) checks would be carried out.

The Theydon Bois WI (TBWI) President Kay Rush welcomed 61 members and 2 new members to the October meeting. Vera Weston was made especially welcome after the sad loss of her husband Ralph. Kay also congratulated Gwen Rae who had, at last, received her medal for service with the Women’s Land Army during WWII. Details were given of the forthcoming Federation Christmas Concert, a Federation Workshop this coming November and the Essex National Federation AGM to be held next June at the Royal Albert Hall. Finally, the President made an urgent request for new committee members for next year.

A large audience in the TBVH enjoyed the last night of the current production by the long established Theydon Bois Drama Society. The production was Neil Simon’s comedy Plaza Suite and concerned three different couples in Suite 719 of the Plaza Hotel. Sam and Karen Nash, played by John Haylett and Thea Grina, had honeymooned in the Suite twenty years ago,  Jessie Kiplinger, played by Martin Oliver, a successful film director had arranged a date with an old school friend Muriel Tate, played by Paula Duncan, and the third couple was Norma and Roy Hubley, played by Joe Shepherd and Dave Bennett, who hade hired the Suite for the wedding day of their daughter Minsy; Minsy has “wedding fright” and has locked herself in the bathroom. The hilarity builds as Norma and Roy try  to get their daughter to come out.  And then the other couples became involved!!

Since taking over the Sixteen String Jack public house in Coppice Row, Julie Perrett has seen a steady increase in business and is now serving food, during midday and in the evenings, as prepared by chef Teresa Maslin who was previously with the Queens Head in Fyfield. Julie’s tenancy is a career change after working in sales and marketing and the pub is family run with the help of husband Dean and children Dino and Holly; Holly is the barmaid. Julie commented that the first month was very good – it was a matter of getting to know the locals and making friends.


Steve “Sleepy” Drew of Elizabeth Drive received a long service and good conduct medal recently for 21 years service with the London Fire Brigade. Based at the Chingford Fire Station where he is a member of Red Watch, Steve has saved scores of people from fires, terrorist attacks and in various other accidents, especially the IRA bombing of the Baltic Exchange in the City of London, and the Cannon Street Rail crash.

Playing in the BAA Stansted & Herts Gold Division U10s Football League, the Theydon Colts were beaten 4 goals to 3 by the Markhall Youth B Team. The Colts were 2 gaols down at half time but Oliver Silver managed to pull them back. Colts keeper Webb achieved some stunning saves but the opposition then scored again. Scott Robson scored to get another through for the Colts but a final goal from Markhall ended the contest.

Stuart Smith of Loughton Lane starred in "Not Now Darling", a farce produced by the Chigwell Row Operatic group at the Victory Hall in Chigwell to celebrate their 75th Anniversary. Stuart took the role of Gilbert Bodley and has also appeared in many other of the group’s productions.

A medical condition resulting in brittle bones has not deterred local lad James Hollis, 14, a disabled athlete in the Village from winning the OCS Young Person's Sports Award in competition against many other young sports hopefuls. He took up competitive swimming when eleven years old. is working towards qualifying for the 2012 Paraplegic Olympic games

During September and October 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s church:


01 10 08    Lyn Rixen     03 10 08     Margaret Pattinson

Burial of Ashes       23 09 08     Julia Lewis






Edward George Norris, known to most as  “Ted”, was cremated at Parndon Wood Crematorium, Harlow, on 3rd September. He died unexpectedly and peacefully in bed at his home at 21 Orchard Drive, Theydon Bois, on 19 August 2008. Ted was a stalwart supporter of many Village organisations and activities including the Baptist Men’s’ Forum, the Royal British Legion, the Village Association and, particularly, the Bowls Clubs of both Theydon Bois and Epping. His popularity was reflected in the large congregation who attended his cremation, many of them being  “bowlers”.

The recently refurbished Railway Arms near the Station was the scene of a Saturday evening incident when police were called to an alleged “physical assault” near the building. Neighbours had complained that the former “quiet pub” had become a noisy venue for young people and others congregating outside. Kay Rush, a former member of the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) and local resident, commented “ It (the pub) seems to have a much younger crowd who travel in from other areas and bring a lot of noise and disturbance to the village. It is worrying to residents near the pub who see people, who have been drinking, spilling out onto the pavements; I fully understand their concerns”. The landlord Dave Gourley said” He had received a complaint from one Councillor regarding the problem and had taken action”.

London Underground (LU) and Transport for London (TFL) had advised that they were working on a long-term strategy for car parks; a related survey should be completed in the autumn of 2008. LU and the EFDC have had preliminary discussions concerning car parking at Theydon Bois.

EFDC Councillor and local resident, Roland Frankel, had been assessing a battery powered Smart Fortwo minicar and for the past two months he had driven the electric vehicle around the local district. He commented, “It is a bit unnerving to drive (this vehicle) due to the only audible noise being a   whirring sound as you drive along". The vehicle takes 8 hours to charge, has a 50 kW output, a top speed around 60 mph and runs for 70 miles on one charge and, most important, it produces no emissions”.

The Theydon Bois Music Society commenced its winter season with a recital given by the notable Naides Ensemble comprising Helen Manente – Flute, Nadya Larsen – Viola and Paula Popa – Harp. Their varied programme included works by Beethoven and Debussy, with the items Sicilienne by Faure and Terzettino by Dubois being especially enjoyable.

In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and Village resident Tony Ames gave advice to homeowners experiencing mortgage payment and home repossession problems. He advised that certain rescue schemes existed eg. mortgage rescues, buy back, and sale- and- lease- back schemes, which are designed to allow an owner to remain in residence as a tenant or as a shared owner (paying part rent and part mortgage). But there were pitfalls to be considered!

The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) organisation was criticised regarding its involvement in the objections to the Blunts Farm golf course project. Jacqui Dodman, a member of TBAG and also the Vice Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council replied by stating that  TBAG did not prevent completion of the golf course as claimed. The EFDC had issued enforcement notices for the site and the Environment Agency withdrew the waste exemption certificate because the developers had broken the conditions of their planning permission. The EFDC had informed the developers that a new application for planning permission was necessary and, when submitted, revealed that the importation of a further 72,000 metres of “material” was required.

Regretfully it was reported that the services of Chris Richards, the Village dedicated street cleaner, would no longer be required by his employer the SITA waste contractor, due to a general cost – cutting/reorganisation exercise. It was subsequently disclosed that the TBPC was considering employing and funding a dedicated cleaner for the Village.

Councillor Hammond reported that the QC had prepared a detailed response from the TBPC to the ECC regarding proposals for the land in ECC ownership, at the Scout Hut site. The reply from the ECC, when received, will decide whether or not the Village Green application will be pursued.


At the September meeting of the Theydon Bois Women’s Institute (TBWI), the 51 members and 3 visitors present were informed that the BBC was preparing a Health Care programme about people awaiting knee replacement surgery; those wishing to be included should contact the Essex Federation Office.

In Forest Drive, a planning application for the conversion of the former Wine Rack shop into a restaurant had been rejected by the EFDC and the current rumour was that this could become an undertakers. A memorial bench, donated by the Wheeler family of Green View, will however be installed outside the premises. Cycle racks will be installed outside the Premier Valet business.

To minimise the affects of flash flooding and the overloading of the sewage/drainage systems the Government intends, via new planning regulations, to restrict the amount of hard paving in front gardens unless water can drain away naturally via flowerbeds and lawns.

Local resident Dora Dewy reached her 100th birthday during the month and received congratulations from many sources including the Clergy and Parishioners of St Mary’s church where she is a member. She has been involved with the Mother’s Union of the Church serving as secretary of the group for many years. Her musical talents have also been well appreciated, as, for some years, she was the pianist for the Sunday school; a very remarkable lady.

Another local resident and professional singer, 26 year old Suzi Jari, starred in her one woman show “Secret Love” which was staged for one night at the Harlow Playhouse. This production was based on the career of the 1950s popular singer Kathy Kirby who was at one time the highest paid female entertainer in the country. Sadly Kathy she suffered from health and “fell from fame” in the entertainment world.

Linda Gale of Theydon Park Road, a long-term employee and representative of the Avon UK cosmetic organisation, received the Avon Flame Award at its national business meeting where the achievements of its top employees are recognised.  Linda is currently an Avon UK national trainer and was selected for the award from the company’s 170,000 employees.

The canine world in Theydon Bois scored a success when one of their number, Scruffy, was awarded a cup for being the “Dandiest Dog” at the Battersea Dog’s Home annual reunion held recently in Battersea Park.  Now owned by Villager Ray Ascot of Baldocks Road, Scruffy was once a one-year-old problem dog who was resident at the dog rescue centre after two unsuccessful attempts to place him with a family, which shows how important is a good home to a family pet.

The now regular Toy and Trains Collector’s fair was held at the TBVH. Once again many model enthusiasts were present to either purchase that elusive bargain or obtain a good price for those unwanted models. Business was fair considering the current poor economic climate and the attendance was boosted by some of those waiting for the TBPC meeting in another room and who, reluctantly, had to leave when that meeting commenced.

During August and September 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s church:

Wedding Blessing
30 08 08     Toby and Carol Shepherd     

24 08 08     Emily Shelton
21 09 08     Sophie Gooch

Funerals                                                                                                                                     26 08 08     June Gooding                           
10 09 08     Poppy Anten

Memorial Service
19 09 08     Donald Westcott






For two weeks, many Theydon Bois residents had watched the 29th Olympiad screened live from Beijing in China, the host nation. The Olympiad commenced with one of the most impressive and colourful opening ceremonies organised by the Chinese nation which took the opportunity to demonstrate to the world its cultural heritage and potential in displays performed by hundreds pf skilled artists and athletes drawn from its vast population. The UKGB Team represented Britain and the games were the best for nearly 100 years with the Team finally ranking fourth, in the medal league table of 81 competing countries, by being awarded 19 gold medals, 13 silver medals, and 15 bronze medals. Most successful were track cyclist Chris Hoy with three gold medals and swimmer Rebecca Adlington with two. Of special note was runner Christine Ohuruogu from nearby Chingford who gained her gold medal by winning the 400 metres event. The games concluded with another impressive ceremony in which the Olympic Flag was passed to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for custody until the next games to be in London in 2102 at the Olympic site currently under construction in East London at Stratford.

The high and dangerous speeds of traffic in Loughton Lane were the subject of protests by local residents who were concerned about the safety of children using this thoroughfare. Consequently, the staff and parents of the Theydon Pre School, which meets in the adjacent Scout Hut, handed in a petition to the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), which had supported their calls for action.

Following complaints from householders regarding unsolicited requests to purchase on the doorstep various services and goods, often under the guise of a charity, Caroline Law the Theydon Bois Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator advised that she could provide window stickers to discourage this practice. These are produced by the Essex Trading Standards which read “no cold calling, no home repairs or improvements and the householder does not buy from doorstep sellers”.

The proposed restoration of the Blunts Farm site to a golf course as originally planned appeared to have stalled when it was revealed by the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TB&DRPS) that, not only were new buildings being erected on the site but a motor cross race track was being constructed for racing purposes. The EFDC Enforcement officer was aware of this work and advised that the course was a properly engineered project which would require planning permission. He therefore requested Blunts Farm Estates to submit a planning application or remove the course within 14 days. The TB&DRPS pointed out that noise and pollution could result but was told that this was matter for the Environmental Health authorities to deal with.

The EFDC Principal Planning Officer informed all interested parties that the landowner of the Blunts Farm site had been informed that the motor cross race track with jumps had to be removed by 01 Sep 08. Some residents had been in favour of this new enterprise but many were not, especially Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row who was “outraged” and wanted to know who gave permission for farmland to be used in this way and without planning consent. He advocated the entire site being compulsory purchased and the land returned to farming.

The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) learned that a motor cross country meeting was to be held at Blunts Farm on Bank Holiday Sunday 24 Aug 08. According to the Chairman of the East Kent Schoolboys Scramble Club, “Blunts Farm Essex was a brand new venue not used before. It was 30 miles from the Thames Dartford Crossing, 1.5 miles long and has the potential to become a national venue”. The EFDC's response was that it knew of the planned meeting and that the due processes were in hand. TBAG advised that the Police, Environmental Health and the Health and Safety Executive had been informed.

The EFDC subsequently advised that, in conjunction with the Essex Police, it had received clear indications from the East Kent Schoolboys Scramble Club and the Blunts Farm landowners that the Bank Holiday Sunday motor cross country meeting would not now take place. Behind the scenes, it appeared that the police had visited the site and that, as a police “anti rave” operation for illegal events was being carried out that weekend, the motor cross event was also included and police surveillance equipment was being installed at the site. Another, almost certain reason for the cancellation was that, in the absence of official approval for the course, any event organiser would have problems in securing the relevant insurance cover for the event.  Theydon Bois residents were pleased at this cancellation and appreciated the efforts of all concerned.

Plans were announced for an “art feature in the form of a comet” to be sited at the Woodland Trust’s new “Theydon Bois Wood” which is situated adjacent to the Village Cemetery and the Abridge Road. The Trust's Development Officer, Christina Joachim, said that it would combine art and conservation in a unique way and make a real statement about climate change; it would be visible from the M11 Motorway and help put Theydon Bois “on the map”. However it would eventually be masked by young growth and only appear as a raised line of trees. The proposal had been likened to the “Angel of the North”, a giant artistic figure by a motorway in the North of England. Reactions to the proposal were mixed; certain Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Councillors described the project as spectacular but some residents asked why it was needed in the first place and was it necessary to put Theydon Bois on the map? Surely the Village had received enough publicity recently over off-street parking, Blunts Farm Development, motor cross-country meetings etc. and, tragically, the Grosstephen murder.

Following the extensive debate in the local media regarding the successful introduction of parking restrictions in the Village to discourage commuter parking and, especially, the possible proposal to construct a large car park to the east of the station, the consortium behind this plan held a special presentation in the Theydon Bois Village Hal  (TBVH). The was preceded by a extensive circulation in the Village of leaflets advertising this event and arguing in favour of the proposal for a 309 commuter car park bounded by the Station, Abridge Road, Parsonage Farm and, not surprisingly, the Blunts Farm golf course. The presentation was well attended but most villagers were concerned about the scale of the project and especially the serious and major intrusion into the Green Belt which would result. The supporting press cuttings displayed implied that commuters were being deprived of parking in Theydon Bois, without any mention made of the similar restrictions in Epping, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill which had caused the recent commuter parking congestion in the Village! It was also not mentioned that Transport for London (TFL) were not in favour of additional parking facilities along the Central line because the trains were running at maximum capacity at peak (commuter) times.


Villagers were reminded of the dreadful murder in May 2006 of Catherine Grosstephen at her home in Sidney Road, which had sent shock waves through the Theydon Bois community; Scott Thompson was convicted for her murder. At a recent presentation the Chief Constable of Essex, Roger Baker, presented commendations to the police officers involved. In particular, Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Wills and Detective Chief Inspector Liam Osborne were both especially commended for the professional manner in which they conducted the murder investigation.

In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and TB resident Tony Ames gave advice regarding eligibility for sick, pay and the amount of entitlement. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable when off work for at least four consecutive days and if the claimant is earning more than £90 a week. This is the minimum payable but an employee’s contract may provide extra rights in this respect. Most workers qualify for SSP including part-time workers and those on fixed term contracts.

There was a partial eclipse of the sun by the moon at 10.16 on first of the month. The moon’s shadow swept a great arc across the northern hemisphere starting in Canada and ending somewhere in China. In Theydon Bois, partial cloud enabled Villagers to see, with care, the sun's outline with a small indentation near its top due to the eclipse. Even though small, the eclipse affected the strength of the sun sufficiently to produce a “twilight effect” for a short time, which caused some birds to react with their evening song, and animals to seek shelter.

A team from the Victorians Petanque Club based at the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row reached the final of the Easter Counties Regional Doubles competition held recently at the Towers Petanque Club at South Weald. Dean Little and Ritesh Lungut did well but were beaten 13-4 by Simon Bird and Sofiane Lachani, of the Braintree Petanque Club. Both the Victorians and Braintree teams will represent the Region in the Champion of Champions tournament to be held later this year.

The annual report from the Drinking Water Inspectorate revealed that the local water supply was of high standard as determined by meeting quality control requirements 99.98% of the time. Tests were carried out on 168,000 samples of water in the Thames Region which entailed measuring 40 different aspects of water quality including taste, odour and colour. Thames Water and Three Valleys Water, which supply the Epping Forest District, were also involved.

Children from the Theydon Bois Pre School were sponsored for a Toddle Waddle held on the Village Green and each received a certificate to record their efforts. The event raised nearly £500 in support of the Barnardo's Children’s Charity.

August was the wettest month since 1912 when 192.9 mm of rainfall was recorded in that year. South West England and adjacent areas had experienced more than 50% of average rainfall. Manchester, the Midlands and London (including Theydon Bois where rainfall is usually light by comparison) experienced heavy rainfalls. The temperature continued to remain high as is normal for August but this, together with the excessive rain, continued to produce luxurious growth with plenty of blackberries in the hedgerows; fruit trees, particularly apples, were dropping their swollen fruit in substantial quantities.


During July and August 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of
St Mary’s church:

01 08 08     Andrew Bourne and Beverley Collins                                                            

03 08 08     Luke Hooper

02 08 08  Steven Child and Lisa Love

15 07 08     Gladys Rawlinson             15 07 08     Alice Beckman

21 07 08     Don Westport                  28 07 08     Ralph Weston

Burial of Ashes
01 08 08  Michael Payne                    

01 08 08     Joan Payne

08 08 08  Christina Dower



JULY 2008



It was announced that Paul Thompson would be the new Superintendent of Epping Forest with responsibility to the City of London Corporation for the management and conservation of the 8,000-acre forest. He had relinquished his responsibility for Hampshire County Council’s Countryside Service to take up his new appointment and will be the ninth Superintendent of the Forest since the Corporation took over its management in 1878.

David Williams of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Essex Branch, was the speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society (TBRPS). He stressed that CPRE policy was not necessarily to object to particular rural matters but to create a balance between the pros and cons of a situation. However CPRE was very concerned about the environment including atmospheric and light pollution. Unrestricted and excessive development both domestic and industrial, were other matters of concern. CPRE was especially vigilant regarding inroads into the Green Belt and Theydon Bois was fortunate to have a large section of the Belt (Epping Forest) on its doorstep.

Members of the TBRPS were present at the funeral of their President Ralph Edward Weston who died on 28 July 2008. The Revd Doctor Anthea Cannell conducted the service at St Mary’s Church and read a tribute which revealed that Ralph was a great family man who had progressed to the position of a Principal Scientific Officer in Government service and had become a Member of the Royal Society of Chemists with the award of an OBE. He was also a very practical man who could make desks, unblock pipes, remove graffiti and help others generally. He loved the great outdoors, especially Epping Forest, was President of the Epping Cine Club, a member of the Village Men’s Forum and, not least, its Wine Circle where his efforts sometimes produced explosive results!  Many in the Village would miss him.

Wilfred Pickles, the Brentwood and Ongar MP, entered the parking restrictions debate following complaints from his constituents trying to use public transport to reach their jobs in Central London via the London Underground service from Epping or Theydon Bois. Bus links from villages to these stations were almost non-existent so car use was necessary and car park spaces limited. Local residents (in Epping and Theydon Bois) had persuaded the EFDC to introduce yellow lines in nearby roads and he understood why they had campaigned for such protection. But his constituents had to now drive out to Shenfield or even Chelmsford stations where more car parking was available. He was therefore calling on the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to request the relevant authorities to explore the possibility of additional car parking, especially east of Theydon Bois. This caused some resentment among Villagers who objected to an MP from outside the area advocating more parking in the Village vicinity and especially in the Green Belt. The question was asked, “Why was the MP picking on Theydon Bois and not advocating improved car parking at other rail links eg. Chingford or Brentwood?”

By an odd coincidence, George Bramley, a member of a consortium which owns green belt land to the east of the Station said it (the consortium) intended to submit plans to the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) which would provide a car park for 250 cars at this location. The car park would be accessed off the Abridge Road where, he claimed, a new junction has already been approved to provide entry into the Blunts Farm area.

 Theydon Bois was once again successful in Class 2 of the Calor sponsored Best Kept Village Competition organised by the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE). This year Fyfield, near Chipping Ongar, was judged the winner for 2008 but Theydon Bois came a close second as runner up and a representative of the Village attended an RCCE Award Ceremony held in Little Waltham, Chelmsford, to receive the Certificate of Achievement.

The police were warning residents throughout the Epping Forest District that the illegal drug cannabis was being grown in unoccupied or let properties. The cultivation of cannabis involved intense light and extensive heat.  Indications that properties were being used for this purpose could be windows firmly closed, especially in hot weather, drawn curtains, secured doors (possibly locked externally with padlocks) and/or suspicious behaviour on the part of the occupants (it was not unknown for “gardeners” to be used to monitor the crop). Although such activity had not been discovered in Theydon Bois, Villagers and the Neighbourhood Watch, in particular, were asked to watch out for these giveaway signs. Any suspect property should not be approached but the police informed immediately.

The 21st Annual Donkey Derby organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was a great success due again to its new location on the Village Green and the exceptionally fine weather. The Green resounded to the unusual sound of braying donkeys and the laughter of many children. The events proceeded at a spanking pace under the direction of the Master of Ceremony Phil Simmance, Clerk of the Course Phil Koczan and Stewards Terry Bennett, Paul Gunnell and Mel Wheeler. Seven races were held with titles relating to their sponsors ranging from the “David and Jack Sullivan Derby” to the “Hazel Bird Stakes”. The runners were uniquely titled eg. "Bird Brain by Cuckoo out of Clock”, "Waiting List by GP out of Practice" and "Be Prepared by Dib Dib Dib out of Dob Dob Dob”. A tethered hot air balloon, a new attraction, gave a number of flights and the Army Recruiting Office from Ilford provided an inflatable assault course. Most popular was the hot dog and burger stall provisioned by a local butcher and baker. The main sponsor for the event was the Lexus business of Woodford and significant contributions were also received from the Hetheringtons and Bywaters organisations.

The 99th Annual Show organised by the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society was held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) being the best for many years. There were fewer exhibits, mainly floral, but this was offset by an increase in new exhibitors, mainly from allotments holders. More important, the children’s section had more “growing exhibits” this year, an encouraging sign. The photographic section was again well supported with a large number of entries, many of high standard.

The AGM of the Theydon Bois Music Society was held in the TBVH and well attended. The Chairman, Barbara O’Connor informed the meeting that the Society had enjoyed a successful year and the Treasurer, Frank Hill, reported that the Society was in a good financial position subject to the proposed increase in subscriptions, which was subsequently approved by those present. Paul Argent thanked the Committee for its hard work, which had ensured the continuing success of the Society. 

Forty-seven members of the Theydon Bois WI (TBWI) were welcomed by their President, Kay Rush, to the July meeting in the TBHV. The President advised that income tax rebates on WI subscriptions could now be made back to 2000, and that an osteoporosis screening service will be available on the 10th or 11th November next at the Denham WI Centre. She also thanked the members who helped with the teas at the TB Open Gardens Day and also Sally Sayers who arranged the successful outing to Ely. She concluded by advising members with allergy problems that the speaker in September would be bringing owls to the meeting!

At the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) bi monthly meeting in the TBVH, Councillor Peter Hammond, on behalf of the Council made a presentation to George Gardner the former Parish Council Burial Supervisor who had retired in June 2008 after holding the position since 1992. Peter thanked George for his long service during which time the Village Cemetery had been well looked after and burial matters arranged with sympathy, kindness and much help.             

A team pf pupils from the Theydon Bois Primary School recently attended the Guardian Newspaper offices to receive certificates for their participation in Newsday 2008, a national schools Newsday challenge. Theydon Bois competed with 700 other schools to produce, in one day, their own school newspaper containing news stories about their school as well as national and international events. A Guardian journalist and also former teachers of the school judged the School’s entry.


The Theydon Bois Friends of Cancer Research UK held an evening concert entitled Popular Opera in the grounds of Brocket House in Piercing Hill TB. The audience were able to picnic in Glydebourne style while being entertained by the Cameo Opera Group with a selection of Songs From the Shows. A substantial sum was raised in support of the charity.

The Theydon Singers gave their summer evening concert in the TBVH which, this year, was a vocal performance of The Mikado, that evergreen Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Janet Cass conducted the singers, who were in fine form, and Paul Chilvers provided the excellent piano accompaniment.

The current increase in the cost of living, a general decline in business, falling house prices and a clamp down on credit lending, especially mortgages, by most banks indicated that the national economy was bordering on recession. However the Daily Telegraph national newspaper published a letter from Derry Gibb of Epping who said “My partner, and I went to an excellent tandoori Indian restaurant in the nearby village of Theydon Bois. We were surprised that, by 8pm, only one table was unoccupied and people were queuing for takeaway orders. Credit Crunch! Not around here.”

The Railway Arms, one of the four pubs in the Village, reopened as a Restaurant/Pub following extensive refurbishment. Under new management, the Railway Arms now offered pub food to restaurant standards using local fresh produce prepared by a top chef from Scotland. Children were also catered for with special menus and a safe and secure playground at the rear enabling parents to dine "in peace" if necessary. Many Villagers were pleased that the pub had reopened without being renamed, radically changed or, even worse, demolished to make way for residential development.

Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row alerted Villagers to the return of a telephone fraud where a caller would inform a telephone user that he/she had “won a prize”. To discover more, the user was asked to press a phone button (eg. one). This action would result in the user being charged a considerable amount for the call. The general advice was not to respond and hang up.

On a typical English Summer’s Day (lots of rain) the TBWI held their Summer Strawberry Event in the TBVH. Some 80 ladies attended including, surprisingly, a few men. All enjoyed luscious strawberries and cream and cakes. There was also an extensive raffle. The TBWI President, Kay Rush, thanked all who had organised and supported the function, the proceeds of which would be used to support the TBWI.

The Victorians Petanque Club (VPC) based in Theydon Bois scored a recent success in the Eastern Counties Region (ECR) petanque-qualifying contest when they competed against some 700 players from throughout the United Kingdom. The team, comprising Andy Wilmot, Dave Tarling, Phil McCrostie and Ritesh Lungat, achieved 11 wins in three qualifying events and gained a well deserved second place overall in the final day of the event. The VPC team were now looking forward to representing the ECR in the Inter-regional Tournament to be held next September at Bean Sands in Somerset.

The music of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and many others resounded throughout the TBVH when the Jeff Short Big Band and Singers appeared at a Saturday evening Big Band Summer Ball. The Hall was full of music enthusiasts and especially dancers both young and the old, the latter reliving the heady days of their youth when such music was the vogue. It was a bring your own food and drink function and the fine weather enabled many to picnic on the patio and lawns of the TBVH.

A hot summer’s evening did not deter many men of “senior age” attending a Toy and Train Fair at the TBVH. The event was an attraction for anyone (of either sex) interested in traditional models ie. trains, buses, cars and similar which could be purchased sold or just valued. Some of the stallholders were collectors themselves, especially the organiser Joe Lock. He is a member of the Bluebell    Railway Society in Sussex and also the Hornby Railway Collectors Association having a strong interest himself in Hornby Dublo Model Railways.


JUNE 2008



The controversy regarding the new “yellow line” and other parking restrictions in the Village continued with repercussions elsewhere in the District. Requests by some Villagers for the restrictions to be lifted prompted a sharp retort from Gerald Johnson of Morgan Crescent. He claimed that the thoughtless, indiscriminate and dangerous all-day commuter parking had been a problem here for many years; it prevented the movement of traffic, both commercial and essential (fire services etc.) and was hazardous to pedestrians at road junctions and, especially, near the school in Orchard Drive. Similar restrictions had already been imposed near the Epping, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill stations, presumably for the same reasons, so why should Theydon Bois suffer in consequence? Parking in the shopping area had been reduced to one hour which, it was claimed, discouraged business generally. But it still remained difficult to park outside a shop, due possibly to the popularity of the  Belgique Coffee Bar, or to continuing commuter parking; but the appearance of a traffic warden now works wonders. The ECC Highways and Transport Cabinet Member Norman Hume said, “The parking restrictions were put in place to improve the quality for life for Theydon Bois residents. We received no objections at the time of consultation and we will always listen to and respond to individual concerns now that the parking restrictions are in place”.

Norman Mead, Deputy Chairman of the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign, addressed a recent Epping Town Council meeting to warn that the proposed second runway at Stansted would create a pollution, environment and traffic nightmare for everyone in the Epping District, resulting in many people moving away from the area. The British Airports Authority (BAA) envisaged that the project would only increase the size of Stansted from 3.7 to 5.7 square miles which, although only minor, would have far reaching consequences. Industrial and residential development would almost certainly take place and the expected increase in local populations would change the character of long established communities.

The increasing cost of motor fuels caused considerable concern. Since last March, the price of petrol had risen by 10p to 117p/litre, diesel to a new high level of 130p/litre and the cost of filling the petrol tank of the average family car was now £60. Despite denials from the fuel companies, sales had fallen by 20% as motorists reduced their journeys where possible or used public transport if available. This was noticeable where town car parks had space to spare and stall holders were absent from street markets, especially at nearby North Weald Airfield. Local taxi firms were suffering economically and the Arriva Bus Company, which serves the district, was doing its best not to pass on to customers the increase in operating costs. A subsequent nationwide strike by Shell tanker drivers then caused some disruption in the supply of motor and other fuels resulting in queues at filling stations. The dispute was resolved after a few days so averting a more extensive and damaging disruption. The drivers accepted a 15% pay increase which, to the alarm of the Government, was well above its recommended figure of 3.5% and which meant that tanker drivers could be earning £40,000, or even more, per annum. 

Concerns that Theydon Bois could one day be linked to Loughton were raised with the purchase by auction by an unknown developer of a 9.4 acre strip of land next to Debden Lane. The auctioneer's catalogue stated that the land “offered enormous opportunities and scope not only for significant residential development, subject to all necessary and appropriate consents, but also the opportunity for immediate leisure use”. Loughton Mayor, Chris Pond, commented, “I imagine the developer has bought the land to add to a land bank in the hope that Green Belt policy could be relaxed in the future. The area has historic significance as the overgrown garden of the old Debden House. It (the land) houses an ancient monument, which has never been surveyed. The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) would fight any attempt to rescind that area of the Green Belt”.

The Essex Life journal, associated with the Essex Best Kept Village competition, in which Theydon Bois was judged the best in its class, featured an article about the village in its July edition (published one month early). In addition to including pictures of some prominent features of the Village, Elaine Sivyer, the author of the article, referred to the Village history of hospitality to visitors, especially London East Enders who frequented the Forest Retreats in the early twentieth century. She also cited the community’s concern for retaining a village environment and quoted ex chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), John Eaton, who said “We want to protect the Village by preventing its expansion and loss of identity. Theydon Bois is a little island surrounded by field and forest and we think it important to keep it that way”.

Subsequent to a fatal accident in Loughton Lane and the demand of some residents for speed bumps to be installed there, Loughton Lane resident Pat Anstiss wrote to the local press to voice her objection to the idea. Having resided there for thirty years she claimed that it was the drivers of motor vehicles, and not the Lane, which was the problem. She claimed that speed bumps could damage her car and would exacerbate pollution with the resulting slowing and accelerating. Other local residents also shared this view.

A perfect English summer evening in a garden party atmosphere was the setting for a Churchill Dinner held in a large marquee in the delightful gardens of Great Gregories Farm through the kind invitation of the owners John and Gill Padfield.

Members of the Theydon Bois Branch of the Epping Forest Conservative Association were among other Conservatives and guests from Essex who attended to enjoy an excellent dinner and listened to  the Hon Nicolas Soames, the MP for Mid Sussex and the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill who was introduced by Mrs Eleanor Laing MP for Epping Forest. Nicolas Soames said that he was grateful not be asked to make a political speech for once but was happy to speak instead about his famous grandfather and especially Winston’s wife Clementine who had supported her husband so well in his political career. Stephen Metcalfe, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South Basildon and West Thurrock, then held a fund raising auction and Bob Church concluded the occasion with a fund raising raffle.

Local Resident Chantel Thomas, 50, suffered an appalling experience when exercising her dog in Epping Forest. Hearing a noise behind her, she turned to see a man hanging from a tree who, according to her husband Peter, had apparently waited for someone to witness him jump. The police confirmed that a man, formally identified as Colin Gray, 46, of Cranbourne Avenue Romford had been found dead on the edge of the Forest in Coppice Row, Theydon Bois. An inquest into his death was subsequently opened and then adjourned.

Blazing June arrived just in time for a successful Olympic Summer Fayre organised by the Theydon Bois Primary School and its Parent Teachers Association. The Fayre was held in the school grounds with school staff, parents and children all taking part in various ways. Events included a Flags and Fancy Dress competition and demonstrations of dancing, karate and gymnastics. Several races were held in the sports field including egg and spoon, sack, three legged and also bouncy hopper. The many stalls were busy including those providing refreshments in the form of ice cream, refreshing melon, cakes and sangria (very popular - but for adults only).

The continuing hot weather ensured a great success for yet another Village major event, the 28th Annual Theydon Bois Village Open Gardens Day. Visitors were booking-in at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) from mid morning to early evening for visits to the 22 gave free transport to the furthest  gardens. Carol James and her helpers served the usual light lunches in the TBVH, and which were followed by light teas provided by Kay Rush and another team of helpers. In total, some 30 – 40 people were involved in a variety of tasks from traffic control to programme selling. But the main workload was borne by Linda Cohen – Klein who dealt with the major tasks of planning and organisation long before the event, and also Graham James who acted as a general manager and factotum on the day on the day. The event  concluded with a church service on the patio of the TBVH which was conducted by the Rev Canon Colin Davis and the Rev Dr Anthea Cannell, both of St Mary’s Church; the music was provided by the excellent brass band from the Harlow Citadel of the Salvation Army.


Fifty members and one guest attended the June meeting of the TBWI held in the TBVH. A letter was read from the Federation Secretary advising that the resolution banning the practice of “Bottom Trawling in the Fishing Industry” had been defeated at the National Conference; however another resolution concerning the “Inappropriate Imprisonment of the Mentally Ill” had been passed by a majority of 97%.

At the June meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society in the TBVH, a recital was given by Richard Shaw – piano - and Hanna Marcinowich –clarinet and two different saxophones. The pair played a number of musical compositions by a variety of composers ranging from Malcolm Arnold to Desenclos. Richard was the accompanist throughout except for his excellent solo item - Beethoven's Bagatelle in E flat. Hannah demonstrated her musical versatility including a Jazz item, not unexpected, as she plays with a leading swing band.

The Wine Rack business in Forest Road closed for business. This was not unexpected due the direct competition from the Tesco Store in Coppice Row, which sold wines and other alcoholic beverages at lower prices. The Wine Rack catered for the more discerning imbiber, but at a higher price, and the increasing poor economic situation nationally did not help. An application had been made for the premises to be reopened as a restaurant.

Once again the TBVH was full for the last night of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society. Noel Coward’s evergreen comedy Hay Fever was well supported as usual.

Local resident Alan Brown, 67, and his friends Peter Noke, 66, Mike Mares, 64 and Alan Miles, 64, played 100 holes each in just one day at the Theydon Bois Golf Club to raise funds for the St Clare Hospice where Alan Brown 's wife Wendy was treated before she died. The intrepid four commenced play at 6.30 am and finished at 8.15 pm after nearly 15 hours of golf.

The grounds of Hunter’s Lodge in Coppice Row was the venue for a luncheon party held to thank the many volunteers of Home Start Epping Forest, the Loughton based charity organisation which provides valuable social support for more than 100 vulnerable families in the district.

Blood donor Alan Hollingbery of Forest Drive received a special award after having made some 100 donations of blood to the National Blood Service (NBS) since 1963. Having reached the age limit of 70, he could no longer donate blood and so was presented with a special award of a decanter by Dr Elizabeth Page of the NBS.

The Theydon Bois Mens’ Forum which is organised by the Theydon Bois Baptist Church, concluded its 2007-2008 series of Wednesday Meetings with a special Ladies function in the TBVH. After a coffee reception, David Vroobei spoke about his career in “Jewellery and Gems”. The members and their guests then sat down to an excellent three-course luncheon especially prepared for the occasion.

Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row added his comments to the controversy regarding the value of home-grown foods as opposed to imported foods. He drew attention the fact that, at the peak of the home grown asparagus season, the Epping Tesco supermarket was selling this vegetable as flown some 8,000 miles from Peru. At one time there were twelve farms around Theydon Bois; now only mobile telephone masts appear to be grown!


During June 2008, the following entry was made in the registers of St Mary’s church: Burial of Ashes  10 06 08  Phyllis Shields


MAY 2008



May Day was more than significant for Theydon Bois and the local district because of the elections held for vacant seats on both the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) and the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC). A day of sunshine ensured an early turnout of voters, and polling continued steadily until the booths closed at 21.00 with a high percentage of the electorate having recorded their votes. The following were elected to office (polled votes are given in parenthesis):

EFDC (Theydon Bois Ward)

John Morrison Philip (C) was elected with 48% of the vote (771) to defeat George Andrew Howard (LD) (610). The composition of the EFDC was now C 12, LRA 5, LD 3, BNP 1 and LC 1. George Andrew was contesting the seat previously held by Kay Rush who had not stood for re-election.


Eleven candidates were elected to the TBPC as follows:

Peter Douglas Gooch LA (837), Jennny Berry TBI (804), Susan Margaret Jones LA (763), Sue Sowerby TBI (763), Jacqueline Frances Dodman TBI (761), John Morrison Philip LA (744), Anthony Edward Purkiss LA (730), Mike Hannibal LA (728), Mike Emmett TBI (725), Paul Robert Vincent TBI (724) and Peter Dennis Hammond LA (716).

John Morrison Philip was therefore elected to a sit on both the EFDC and the TBPC.


C: Conservative              BNP: British National Party         LA : Local Alliance

LRA : Loughton Residents Association           TBI : Theydon Bois Independents


At the Annual General Meeting of the TBPC held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) Councillor Susan (Sue) Jones was elected Chairman of the Council. Councillor Jacqueline Dodman was also elected as Vice Chairman.

Local resident David Sullivan, a millionaire publisher and co owner of Birmingham Football Club complained of police methods during his involvement as part of an investigation into football corruption. He was attending a pre-arranged interview under caution with the Club’s managing Director Karen Brady at a City of London Police Station when four officers arrived at his palatial home in Coppice Row. He claimed they could have knocked on the front door (if he was in) and been admitted. However during his absence they searched all over his extensive house and took nothing, but downloaded his computer and that of his secretary. The City of London Police said, “ Nine people have been arrested in the course of this investigation and all remain on bail.

Darlington’s of Theydon Bois, the Renault car dealership trading at the Theydon Garage in Coppice Row, had a change of site management when the current site manger Paul Reynolds retired after forty years in the motor industry. Paul commented, “In the time I’ve been here we have built up a loyal private and business customer ship and have dealt with a huge number of people from the local area. It’s been a very interesting career as I have always loved cars”. His place was taken by Derek Gaynor who had previously worked at Darlington’s for six years and was returning after a two-year absence.

In early May the Village sweltered in a mini heat wave with temperatures of 82 degrees F (28 degrees C), more than 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) higher than the average for the time of year. After the extremely wet weather of late April, the temperature had begun to build within a short period and the combined heat and damp resulted in much luxuriant growth in gardens and elsewhere. Train travel from Theydon Bois station became quite uncomfortable especially in the tube system of Central London and early morning commuters, notably men, were already carrying their jackets while en route to the station. High levels of Ozone developed across South East England and those with bronchial problems were advised to stay in doors

A new sub committee of the ECC Highways and Environment Committee had been set up to consider the consequences of the new parking restrictions in the Village. Yellow lines, with gaps due to parked vehicles, are still enforceable. The restrictions are applicable on Bank Holidays and the TBPC will request that this ruling be waived. Other changes were under consideration. Many comments and objections regarding the restrictions continued to be made , especially from  the car parking commuters who, having been prevented by similar restrictions in Loughton Buckhurst Hill and Epping, found Theydon Bois to be the last free parking area in the district. However most villagers now appreciated the relative quietness, cleanliness and freedom of the  Village roads. Those residents currently unaffected  by the restrictions (but suffered from commuter parking) were now requesting the adoption of the restrictions in their roads.

The sudden closure of the popular Sixteen String Jack public house in Coppice Row caught Villagers by surprise and caused some consternation. It was feared that this attractive pub on the edge of Epping Forest, would become another victim of the current trend for brewers to sell off such establishments, often a social centre of a village, for redevelopment as housing. However, Fergus McMullen the production and sales director for the McMullen Chain of Brewers, allayed fears by advising that the closure was due to personal reasons and that a new tenant was being sought for the pub.

Despite the appalling weather comprising strong winds and two inches of heavy rain, which lashed the Village over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend, the three-day Festival of Flowers at St Mary’s Church went ahead with considerable success. The Church and its surrounds, War Memorial, Lychgate and Church Path, were decorated with sixteen floral displays sponsored by individual Villagers, invariably in memory of departed loved ones. In the Parish Centre adjoining the Main Church were two exhibitions; an historical display, Theydon Bois- Past, Present and Future as presented by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society, and a Teach Us to Pray presentation as organised by the Church.  The total amount raised by the Festival in aid of Church Funds was just under £5,000, an excellent amount thanks to the efforts of all concerned (and despite the weather).

On the following Tuesday afternoon, The Festival concluded with the usual quiet afternoon intended to provide the elderly and frail with the opportunity to view the flowers and presentations. However, on this occasion, a quiet service of remembrance was also held in memory of Pat Protheroe, a long standing member of the church and a once leading member of the community, who died in March 2008.

The National Health Service invariably receives much criticism for various reasons, and which is often justified. But Sandra and James Purchese of Baldocks Road were only too pleased to express their profound thanks to the maternity staff and doctors of Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, for saving the life of their daughter Claire and her new-born baby daughter following a recent traumatic delivery. The staff were superbly professional and sympathetic during the birth and this was repeated during the round the clock attention which the baby needed for some time afterwards. Mother and baby were now doing well.


Local resident Phillippa Dooher, 45, a Breast Specialist Nurse at St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping pledged to raise funds for the Hospital Breast Unit by taking part in a sponsored walk along the Great Wall of China. She intended to spend eight days covering some 100 miles and was preparing for this arduous trek with training, which comprised extensive exercise and walking. She was especially interested in the walk because, unlike most tourists, she would be spending time with a Chinese family in a local farmhouse. With the help of her colleagues at the Unit, Phillippa has already raised some £4,000 in support of the Unit.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to children was supported recently by two Village businesses. The Indian Ocean Restaurant raised £1,200 by at a special evening featuring a magician, and then donating part of the evening's takings to the charity. The Belgique Coffee House raised £571 with a social evening comprising demonstrations and talks on chocolate and coffee generally.

An Antiques Evening was held in the TBVH to raise funds for the Theydon Bois Friends of Cancer Research UK. Representatives from Boningtons Auctioneers were present to discuss and value items brought to the event.

Children’s author Jack Trelawny visited the Theydon Bois Primary School to talk to pupils in Years 3 – 6 abut his “Kernowland" series of books. The series are based on the experiences of Tizzie and Louis (Jack’s own niece and nephew) when they holiday in Cornwall and end up, by way of the magic Crystal Pool, in the parallel world of Kernowland. Jack read passages from his books and presented a fun slide show to give the children ideas on how to write books and where to look for inspiration in writing.

The Theydon Bois Tennis Club held its fifth annual Tennis Tournament recently, at the Sidney Road location, to raise funds for the St Margaret’s Hospital Breast Cancer Unit which treats more than 2,000 women annually. The Club Captain, Nigel Hanley, described the event as tremendously successful with a record-breaking attendance and a fund raising which exceeded that for the previous year. Steve Golding and Clare Smith won the tournament.

The Theydon Bois Art Group held its 47th Annual Exhibition at the TBVH.  The fine weather encouraged a good attendance for the two day event and more than 148 paintings were on view with most available for purchase. Many local views were depicted but seascapes and rural scenes were also in prominence together with some portraits.

The Theydon Bois Music Society continued with its season of notable performances by young musicians establishing themselves in the world of classical music. This month it was the turn of the Erato Piano Trio, a young ensemble that has been praised for its natural musicianship as much as for stylish versatility. John Paul Ekins – piano, Ilya Movchan – violin and Julia Morneweg – cello gave an exciting recital received outstanding applause.

Members of the Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club (Thursday Section) held their Annual Spring Lunch in the TBVH after the morning session of bowling. The Ladies provided an appetising cold buffet, which was washed down with some excellent wine. Following the meal the Club’s Chairman, Joy Wainwright, congratulated the members on the high standard of play during the previous months and congratulated the winners of the various competitions held during the winter.

The Victorians Petanque Club which plays behind the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row, did well in the recent English Petanque Association Triples Qualifier held at Bury St Edmunds. The team, comprising Eastern Counties Regional (ECR) players Dean Little, Keith Flack and Seetahul Dinesh, finished in fourth place out of 33 team entries.


During May 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church


03 05 08     David Frankland and Emma Dakin

17 05 08     Anthony Atkins and Melissa Carey


15 05 08     Doris Wise

16 05 08     Gladys Eaton



APRIL 2008



A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Patricia Caroline Protheroe, a resident who had given long service to the Village, was held at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. Despite there being few relatives to mourn her, such was her standing that the church was almost full for this sad occasion. The Rev Dr Anthea Cannell officiated and the Rev Canon Colin Travers gave the eulogy, which revealed how well Pat had served the community.

The list of candidates standing for election to the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) and the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) on 1 May 08 was published. Several major changes were taking place in Theydon Bois for this election. At EFDC Level, one of the Theydon Bois EFDC Councillors, Kay Rush, was retiring. Standing for election in her place were Nicola Barnecutt (GP), George Howard  (LD), Terry Howard (BNP), Jonathon Collier (C), John Philip (C) and Andrew Smith (UKIP).

At TBPC level, the Conservative Alliance group comprising Conservative and Independents remained. However the electoral commission changes in 2008 did not allow this title and so the group had been renamed the Local Alliance (LA). A new independent group, the Theydon Bois Independents (TBI), had been formed which included members of the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) who had campaigned strongly, and with considerable success, against undesirable developments in the Village, notably the Blunts Farm/Parsonage golf course. A number of TBPC Councillors were retiring or not standing again and so there were seventeen candidates for these eleven seats: Clive Amos (LA), Jenny Berry (TBI), Kenneth Cushing (LA), Bob Day (LA), Jacqueline Dodman (TBI), Mike Emmett (TBI), Peter Gooch (LA), Peter Hammond (LA), Mike Hannibal (LA), Trevor Harvey (LA), George Howard (LD), Susan Jones (LA), Martin Montgomery-Smith (LA), John Philip (LA), Anthony Purkiss (LA), Sue Sowerby (TBI) and Paul Vincent (TBI)

Legends for the above: BNP – British National Party, C - Conservative, GP - Green Party, LA – Local Alliance, LD – Liberal Democrats, TBI – Theydon Bois Independents and UKIP – United Kingdom Independence Party.

An overnight fall of snow did not prevent relations and friends from attending the Marcris House home in Coopersale Lane to celebrate the 100th birthday of Gladys Eaton, one of its residents. Also there to enjoy the champagne and cake were her immediate family including her 98-year-old sister and guests, some of whom had travelled from far distant Bournemouth to celebrate the occasion. She spent sometime reading the congratulatory cards she had received including one from the Queen. Her son John Eaton, a past Chairman of the TBPC, said, ”It was a quiet and happy family occasion”. Gladys used to work as a data entry clerk and moved to the Village in 1979 to be closer to her family.

The official adoption of one hour parking restrictions in the Village became imminent when the yellow lines were painted on some roads where the parking restriction signs were already in place. Complaints continued to be made by residents who could not now park outside their homes during the designated one hour period. Clive Cooper of Theydon Park Road claimed that the parking restrictions were advertised quite inadequately and did not give residents a chance to object. He had therefore started a petition against the restrictions for presentation to the relevant authorities. Other objectors claimed that that the local shops would lose commuter business. Norman Hume, the EFDC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said, “No objections were received from any resident, and the parking restrictions were implemented following discussions with County, Parish and District Councillors. On the credit side, many Villagers who had been inconvenienced by all day commuter parking had now seen a marked reduction in this problem.

An Extraordinary Public Meeting of the TBPC was held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The Meeting was called to consider the future of the Youth Centre site and the application to register the open land around the Centre building as a Village Green. Mr Roy Newland gave a brief history of the site including the closure of the Village Youth Centre by the Essex County Council (ECC) and the application to have the land registered as a Village Green. The ECC had recently made a proposition regarding the site, the Youth Club building and the Scout Hut and had requested that the Village Green application be deferred while negotiations continue. After considerable discussion among the Councillors the following motions were carried unanimously:

1. That this Parish Council authorises Councillor Hammond and Councillor Purkiss, (or other such Councillor(s) designated by the Council), to continue negotiations with the Essex County Council for the eventual transfer of the freehold of the land, that includes the Youth Club and the Scout buildings and the adjacent areas, to the Parish Council for a nominal fee.

2. When the negotiations are complete the New Parish Council will consider a public consultation process for fully informing and obtaining views from residents to facilitate the New Parish Council making an ultimate decision for the good of the Village.

3. This Parish Council authorises the expenditure of up to £1,500 for legal and surveying costs in connection with such an acquisition and/or the Village Green Application. The sum of £1,500 has presently been partly incurred and the remaining balance is provided only in the case of need before the New Parish Council is able to have a public meeting for any further resolution. This sum will be met from the reserves and any further expenditure shall be at the discretion of the New Parish Council.

Sailesh Dawda, the pharmacist who runs the Theydon Bois Pharmacy announced that he is extending the range of the health checks that his business can provide, especially for cholesterol levels. He now had acquired state of the art equipment, which is portable and can be taken into a business to check the health of the work force. A full 20 minute health check comprising blood pressure, diabetes and body composition relative to body weight and height, and also family background, can also be assessed and displayed on a computer generated graph.

Having been instrumental in successfully stopping the dumping of unwanted and dubious waste at Blunts Farm, the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) have extended its activities to other areas where this practice continues. In particular, TBAG had set up a petition to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to highlight this activity and combat what TBAG describes as a “national scam”. It has been supported by Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative MP for Havering, who has a similar problem with soil dumping in his constituency and who is proposing to present to Parliament an Early Day Motion on this issue.

Concern was expressed that the speed camera at the junction of Coppice Row and Piercing Hill was still out of commission after being damaged in an arson attack at the beginning of the month. This was the second attack on the camera by mindless persons who failed to appreciate that this device may, by its very presence, have saved a number of motorists from injury or even death through vehicle collisions. Coppice Row runs down a steep hill from the north of the village and is so dangerous as to require at least twelve road traffic signs to warn of road hazards. The Chairman of the TBPC, Robert Glozier, said that he was deeply concerned and called on the Essex County Council (ECC) Safety Camera Partnership to hurry up and fix the camera.

As if to emphasise the perils of speeding traffic in the Village, during one afternoon, two vehicles were involved in a collision at a notorious danger spot near the junction of Graylands and Loughton Lane, which involved the closure of the latter. According to the police, Simon Clark of Little Chittock, Basildon, who was driving a Toyota RV4 appeared to lose control of the vehicle and collided with an Audi A2 car driven by a 37 year old Loughton woman who was driving her daughter home from school. The daughter was unhurt but the woman was air lifted to hospital by a helicopter, which landed on the Village Green. Simon Clark died at the scene of the accident and the woman driver was subsequently arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

Chigwell Traffic Police Officers PC Bev Alexander and PC Duncan Stableford showed pupils from the Theydon Bois Primary School how to use a mobile speed camera during the officer’s road safety visit to the School. The children were then taken on a special road safety outing to Coppice Row, near the damaged speed camera, to use the mobile camera “for real”. However, all the vehicles monitored at the time were within speed limits, probably because of the presence of the two police officers.

At the April meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), Samantha Ward, a young pianist of exceptional ability, gave an exciting and impressive performance of piano works by various composers including Scarlatti, Chopin and Schumann. However her last item, the Brahms Piano Sonata No 2 in F Minor was both dynamic and inspiring which resulted in sustained applause from the large audience. 

At an open meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society, Ted Carter of Long House Plants gave an interesting talk on Plants of Seasonal Interest. There was no charge for admission and the event was well supported.

During March and April 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s church:            

30 03 08     Isabelle Emery

22 03 08     Andrea Lindasy and Philip Crombie

10 04 08     Pat Protheroe

22 04 08     Irene Fox-Davies



MARCH 2008



At the beginning of the month, the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) published an open letter to the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) in which it requested the EFDC not to grant any more planning applications to developers who sought to circumvent the Landfill Tax by importing soil to “so called” golf course developments. With hindsight of the Blunts Farm saga, TBAG was alert to similar soil importation at other sites. The local golf course developments at Blakes Golf (formerly Ongar Park) and North Weald Golf Club, and further afield at Chadwell Heath near Romford, were also mentioned in this context. All appeared to have experienced similar problems with the excessive importation of soil which included waste material of various kinds, and the apparent administrative oversights regarding its control.

Villagers celebrated the rejuvenation of the Village Allotments by planting an orchard on part of the site unsuitable for other cultivation. A total of 29 trees were planted, being purchased by villagers at £12 each and including such varieties as Chelmsford Wonder and Nolan Pippin. The Theydon Bois Parish Councillor (TBPC) Councillor responsible for the site, Councillor Anthony Purkiss said, “Four years ago, the Allotments were almost derelict but now some fifty are in use. The planting of the orchard is intended to encourage closer community association and it is hoped, that the Village will now take part in the Apples and Orchards Project run by the East of England Charity. The Allotment site was recently secured for the Village by the registration of the title from the Deed of Gift made by Lord Buxton in 1930.

The stormy weather at the beginning of the month left Theydon Bois unscathed relative to the rest of the country where high winds of 100mph caused considerable damage to trees and property. The first storm struck the North of England about ninth of the month where chimneys pots damaged by the February earthquake, were quickly toppled. The next storm, a few days later hit the southwest of England and together with the high seasonal tides, caused coastal flooding. The last storm hit middle England and the wind strength in Theydon Bois was sufficient to blow down fences and strip the spring blossom from the trees.

The one hour Parking Restriction Scheme for certain roads in the Village, yet to be fully implemented, had already caused complaints due to the initial erection of the relevant no-parking signs. Paul Smith of Heath Drive, where some properties have extensive run-ins, complained that he would now have to either pave over the whole of his front garden, take his car to the station and park there (and so exacerbate the local parking problem) or join the game of moving cars to avoid the one-hour restriction times. A further problem, indicative of today’s affluent society, is that many households now have four cars, or even more, owned by parents and their offspring. On the credit side, the Scheme will partly end the problems created by commuter parking in the Village, which are also prevalent throughout the local area.

The current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society was the comedy Cactus Flower. The story revolved basically around a mousy dental assistant Antoinette, played by Angie Becket, in love with her boss Dr Julian Winston, played by Martin Oliver, a womanising, bachelor, dentist. When he enlists her help to break with his girl friend, confusion and complications arise. The acting was good and the scenery excellent but the production, due to the nature of the play, was often slow and protracted

At the AGM of the Theydon Bois Cricket Club held earlier in the year, an engraved silver salver was presented to Club President Jerry Smith in recognition of his fifty years of continuous service to the Club. Also honoured were Ian Stride for his forty years during which he served as Captain and Team Secretary, Pete Gooch for his 39 years service including 2nd Eleven Captain and also Secretary, John Mowbray as Club Treasurer and a player, Warren Hyde for his many years support as a player and supporter and, last but not least, Matt O’Reilly who with Warren Hyde is responsible for the high standard of the Club’s  excellent ground facilities.

The Theydon Bois Music Society scored once again with a notable recital of chamber music at their March meeting. A trio of young musicians comprising James Southall - piano, Susanna Hurrell –soprano and Lucile Perrin - cello, all senior students at various music colleges, played a variety of classical works both solo and collectively.

 The Theydon Boys Scout Troop was among the many from the Royal Forest Scout District, which took part in the Annual Brass Monkey Challenge event recently held at Thriftwood near Brentwood. Each team had to build shelters as tents were not permitted and cook on open fires with only rudimentary cooking equipment. The food however was not the usual bangers and beans, for some scouts prepared meals of rabbit and pheasant and the girls actually baked their own sponge cake for dessert.

To mark Good Friday, a United Walk of Witness was held by the Village churches commencing with members of St Mary’s Church and proceeding along the Village Green to the Baptist Church. Here they were joined by others from the Theydon Bois Baptist Church and then continued along to the Village Shops where a short service was held. Villagers of Roman Catholic faith joined in a similar walk held at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Epping. In the evening St Mary's was full for a performance of John Stainer's Crucifixion as sung by members of the Epping Church Choirs Association and conducted by Simon Winters. The Easter weekend was the coldest recorded for many years as an Artic blast swept down the eastern side of the country to produce substantial snowfalls as far as Mid Essex. The Village experienced icy sleet/snow showers and a light covering of snow which, unfortunately,  was insufficient for snowman-building etc.               

In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and Theydon Bois resident Tony Ames gave advice on the personal situation relating to an employee when his/her place of work was relocated. This was not straightforward and could depend on the employees contract, particular circumstances and any offer of alternative employment. A mobility clause in the contract meant that the employee could be required to work in a number of locations. More detailed advice, particularly regarding the personal aspect involved, could be obtained from the Loughton and District CAB at St Mary’s Church, Loughton

The locally and well know Trimby Dance School, run by Judith and Jennifer Trimby, which taught children Cecchetti ballet and classical Greek dancing, formally closed for teaching in 2000. However it had now transpired that the Trimby tradition of dancing still exists in the Village. The sisters had formed two dance groups which meet regularly in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) for Greek dancing led by Jennifer, and ballet  dancing with Judith.


During the Easter period, the Flower Garden horticultural centre in Loughton Lane, which had closed some time previous, reopened as the Theydon Bois Nursery. The owners of this new venture were Andy Goodwin and Paul Lewis who also had a horticultural wholesale business elsewhere in the area.

The Friends of Frank Foster House held an evening of Music and Song in the TBVH provided by the Jeff Short 16-piece Big Band and Singers. This was the first event held by the Friends and the proceeds were used to pay for entertainments and outings for the residents of the Frank Foster home in Loughton Lane.

The newly opened Belgique Coffee Shop in Forest Road had now become a well established part of the Village scene and was host to a fund raising evening in support of a charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The Shop was full of supporters and friends who enjoyed delicious continental food & wine and, especially, delicious Belgian chocolate treats.

The Playground at Theydon (PAT) Committee held an early Easter Egg Hunt in the Playground by the Village Green. Many children, parents and friends gave their support to help raise a substantial amount to support the Playground.

The Parent Teachers Association at the Theydon Bois Primary School held a charity night during the month at the Indian Ocean restaurant in Coppice Row. Some £1,600 was raised for charity and this sum included a donation of £1,000 from the restaurant’s receipts for that particular evening.


During February and March 2008, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s church:


29 02 08     John Tuff                                  04 03 08     Julia Lewis

05 03 08     Ronald Early                              11 03 08     Maria Pillay

11 03 08     Phyllis Shields                            12 03 08     Cristina Dower

Burial of Ashes             

21 02 08     Annie Freeman                          05 03 08     Richard Jones

07 03 08     Gunda Ball






At the beginning of the month, the prize winning Playground at Theydon (PAT) was severely vandalised and some of the play equipment made unsafe. Consequently the Playground was closed for at least a week until the situation could be rectified.

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, was celebrated as usual by the Theydon Bois WI in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) in the time honoured way. A number of children from Class 1M at the Theydon Bois Primary School were invited to the WI event where they competed with each other to toss the maximum number of pancakes in a given time. Their peers cheered on the finalists with great exuberance, which drowned all normal speech; the eventual winners were Charlie (first) with Emily and Thomas (joint seconds) who each received an Easter Egg prize. The other children were rewarded with chocolate bars, which were wisely taken into temporary custody by their teacher Mrs Merton, and the children returned to their lessons. The Ladies present then held their own pancake race followed by an Easter Bonnet Parade.

The increasing number of road accidents in the lower end of Piercing Hill near the intersection with Coppice Row led to a protest being launched by Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Councillor John Eaton and local residents Gillian Jones, Clare Pollock, Joe Cohen and Peter Jones. Most accidents were due to motorists speeding down the Hill from the direction of Epping and entering the winding section of lower Hill to find traffic queuing back from the intersection. Mark Humphries, 30, from Loughton died in February 2004 when his BMW car hit a tree. The latest incident was on 14th February 2008 when a vehicle struck the garden wall of Joe Cohen’s property and the wall had to be rebuilt yet again. Excessive vehicle speeds continued to occur despite the recent introduction of illuminated speed signs. The police had issued 245 fixed penalty tickets to speeding motorists in the 30 mph area of Theydon Bois between January 2006 and February 2008 and the introduction of mobile speed cameras was under consideration. 

Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row warned of telephone canvassing which appeared to be an attempt to obtain his personal banking details. On the pretext of supplying a national newspaper direct to Leslie at reduced cost, the caller requested details of his bank account, PIN code and credit card details so that payment could be made by direct debit. This information was not given, of course, but this blatant attempt to defraud might well work with other people

A detached residence, Spring House, in the Abridge Road near the M11 Motorway Bridge was gutted by a suspicious fire. The residents were away at the time and no one was injured. Several fire appliances were called to the scene and traffic in the Abridge road was affected for a time.

At the February meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society a recital was given by the Arcadian String Quartet, comprising James Widden – 1st violin, Carrie White- 2nd violin, Neil Valentine - Viola and Alison Holford – Cello, The quartet was formed in 2001 when the players were postgraduate students at the Trinity College of Music and had won the prestigious Barbirolli prize for their outstanding performance of the Beethoven String Quartet which was included in their recital.

Some of the English Long Horn cattle, which have been introduced into Epping Forest to graze out unwanted scrub and so preserve the Forest clearings, had near escape from a suspicious fire. The barn where they are winter-quartered which is owned by the City of London and located at the rear of Great Gregories was seen to be alight in the late afternoon. Three fire crews, two from Loughton and one from Epping, were able to quickly extinguish the blaze and so none of the cattle were harmed.

The Chairman of the Essex County Council (ECC), Lord Hanningfield, and ECC Cabinet Member Tracey Chapman visited the Woodland Trust site in Theydon Bois to join pupils of the Theydon Bois Primary School in planting trees on the newly established site

The formal presentation of the proposals for the renewal, or otherwise, of the oak trees across the Village Green was held at the TBVH during one afternoon and evening. The only change to the initial proposals made at the TBPC meeting on 31 02 08 was the inclusion of the ninth option raised at that time ie. that basically, the Avenue would be closed to vehicular traffic and replaced with a walkway of some form, and the trees dealt with by various methods.

Towards the end of the month, the largest earthquake to strike the British Isles for many years occurred in the early morning at about 01.00 with the epicentre at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire. There was no loss of life and few injuries because most of the population was in bed. However, its magnitude was registered as being 5.2 on the Richter Scale and its affects was far reaching even as far south as in nearby Loughton where one resident experienced the sensation of his bed “moving upwards”. Theydon Bois escaped any damage but many residents were woken by the noise and the electricity supply authorities were almost caught out by a sudden demand for power, during a normally low off-peak period, when lights were switched on and kettles boiled for cup of tea!                       


Mr Happe of Blackacre Road announced that he would be running again, this year, in the annual Flora London marathon in support of The Children With Leukaemia Charity and his target this year was £2,000.

Sylvia and Jimmy Keith of Sidney Road, who are members of the Loughton Camera Club, were among those who organised the Club’s Annual Photographic Exhibition in the Loughton Library. Sylvia was also one of the award winners for her entry in the “record print section” of the exhibition.

The renovation of the spire of St Mary’s Church was competed at a cost of £60,000 and should last for 100 years. The Parochial Church Council was now planning for major repairs of the church roof to be carried out in the autumn of 2008.

St Mary’s Church held a very successful music quiz in the TBVH. The event raised £850 for the church funds.

The speaker at the February meeting of the TBWI was Chris Walker who is an undertaker. The title of his talk was “Where There’s a Will There’s a Relative” and, in addition to describing his profession, kept the meeting highly amused with various related anecdotes.

In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames gave advice on taking the State Pension on reaching retirement age.

The meteorological office announced that February 2008 had been the sunniest on record with a total of 106.1 hours of sunshine which exceeded the 1979 record of 97.4 hours. The 2008 figure was due to an extensive area of high pressure which covered the country for some time.


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


06 02 08     Grace Cannon

13 02 08     Joan Payne






The New Year commenced with a bad start for the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) when the household refuse collections, which on this occasion for domestic waste, were delayed for several days due to the Christmas holiday period. The problem was exacerbated by the amount of discarded food from Christmas meals, which due to the unusually warm weather, began to rot. Moreover, residents who tried to contact the EFDC to complain and/or seek advice were unsuccessful due to the extended holiday closures. However retail outlets, generally, which reopened early (from Boxing Day) were able hold sales which offset losses incurred during the poor trading experienced (by some) up to Christmas.

The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) highlighted another problem in the Blunts/Parsonage Farm area which this time related to a transport concern, Trek Highways Limited, which has been operating illegally there and in the Green Belt, for some years. Trek had applied for planning permission to construct a traffic management depot at Blunts Farm but this was refused. Trek then agreed to vacate the site but then appealed against the several refusals against subsequent applications Meanwhile the business partly developed the site with a hard standing and this resulted in the EFDC issuing an enforcement notice against Trek’s occupation and Trek again appealed. Trek now has four months from 6 Nov 07 to vacate the site and remove the hard standing but, currently, there are no signs of this happening. It was interesting, TBAG noted, that Trek are currently sub contracted to the ECC for road maintenance. Also, its vehicles appear to be accessing the site via the access roads forming part of the adjacent motorway works unit for the M25.

At Harlow Magistrates Court, Matthew Boland, 26, of Loughton Lane Theydon Bois (TB) received a 12-month community order for damaging the door of the Winerack off licence in Forest Road TB on 26 11 07, and for subsequently damaging a passing car in Loughton Lane by throwing a road traffic cone into the road. The Magistrates heard the Bouland was suffering from Asperger’s, a form of autism, and had turned to drink to cope with the difficulties of his condition, and other problems.

The weather turned foul for the second Friday of the New Year when more than one inch of rain fell in 14 hours. Locally, many gardens and other areas were flooded for the first time in some years and the Midlands and the West regions of the UK suffered heavy rain with some sleet and snow. Later in the evening, there was a sharp frost which caused havoc in many areas although Theydon Bois managed to escape with only the usual spate of frozen car locks and windscreens which caused problems for early risers. In mid January, the temperature rose to 13.3 degrees C. (56 degrees F.), to give the warmest January night on record, which completely unsettled the local flora and fauna. Birds were very active in both pairing and feeding in anticipation of early nesting. In parts of the Village daffodils were early coming into flower and camellias were in full bloom

In the late evening the Wine Rack off licence in Forest Road was again in the news when two men confronted a 20-year-old shop assistant who was serving at the premises. They jumped over the counter and threatened her with a knife before escaping with cash and cartons of cigarettes. The men were aged about 20, slim, white and wore beanie style hats. The police were seeking further information from the public about the men and warned that, if seen, they were not to be approached.

The last night of the Christmas pantomime staged on three evenings by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the TBVH was a great success. Local resident Alma Batty described the production as truly wonderful entertainment. There were goodies and baddies, good and bad jokes, dancing girls, two village idiots, Royal Love interest, and excellent music and singing throughout. The scenery, lighting and costumes were quite outstanding and all this for a ticket price of £7. A veteran actor and Society member Frazer Freeman added, “Martin Oliver, playing the Dame, led an enthusiastic cast of old and new faces. Musical numbers were modern and performed with gusto. There was plenty of audience participation and the evil Rumpelstiltzkin, played by Elaine Gilbey, kept the audience booing, hissing and laughing in equal measures. The new director of the Society, Ken Swainsbury, hit just the right note with his piece of festive fun to banish the January blues.”

More than 80 people, including members of the TBPC, attended the formal opening of the Belgique coffee shop in the shopping area of Forest Drive. This shop is the fourth of this coffee shop group to be opened in the district, the others being at Brentwood, Epping and Woodford Green. The owner Igor Bekaert, said “The people of Theydon Bois welcomed us with open arms and we are delighted to be here”. The shop specialises in continental coffees, bakery and patisseries and is a long awaited addition to Village trading. It was also expected that the coffee shop patronage would result in increased custom for other businesses in this area.

Susannah Sowerby of Forests Drive asked “Where do all the commuters come from who now park in Theydon Bois daily?” She complained that, by 8am on weekdays, most of the roads (within walking distance of the station) were clogged due to the nuisance of parked commuter vehicles. In addition to parking on street corners, opposite road junctions, obstructing driveways and “surreptitiously” parking in pub car parks, commuter parking was now moving onto and ruining the village’s grass verges. Moreover public service and other vehicles were experiencing difficulty in gaining access to some roads. She made a request for Essex Highways Department to hurry up and implement the proposed new one-hour no-parking ban planned for the Villlage.

Andrew Newman’s application to demolish Theydon Lodge on the corner of the Village Green and replace it with a three-storey property, complete with swimming pool, was refused by the EFDC Planning Committee. Newman had dismissed local resident’s objections to his plan by insisting that the new property would be identical to the existing house. However, EFDC officials said that the existing house made an important contribution to the street scene and its prominence at a busy road junction added to the quality, character and history at this part of Theydon Bois. The TBPC, which had also objected to the proposal, was pleased that the EFDC had agreed that the building was far too important locally to be demolished. Mr Newman now planned to refurbish the property instead.

The end of the month was the last day for the return of the Theydon Bois Village Design Statement questionnaires, duly completed, which had been forwarded to all residents with the distribution of the Theydon Bois Village News just before Christmas. The Statement will be prepared in the form of a booklet, to give a detailed description of the existing characteristics and main features of design for Theydon Bois. The Chairman of the Village Design Association, John Eaton, said “This (the questionnaire) is an opportunity for Villagers to express their view on managed change and give positive guidance to designers and developers”.

Prior to the bi monthly meeting of the TBPC in the TBVH, Matt Roberts, the Superintendent of Epping Forest gave a pre presentation on the proposals to deal with the ageing Avenue of oak trees which bisect the Village Green. The City of London, which is responsible for Epping Forest and also the Village Green, had a duty to care for and conserve the Forest trees; but tree life was finite and adversely affected by pollution and damage, especially near roads. Eight options for action had been prepared and were explained. An additional option suggested was the closured of the Avenue to vehicle traffic and a vehicle roundabout installed at the junction of Piercing Hill and Coppice Row. These options will all be discussed at a public consultation later in February.


The disturbed weather patterns of late were responsible for a dramatic sunset with bright bands of colours, ranging from gold to blue, extending across the skyline. This was probably due to the frosty conditions developing that evening but it could also have been a partial display of the aurora borealis which can often be seen this far south during atmospheric disturbances. The view was quite remarkable but, sadly, not seen by the very many who were otherwise involved in everyday matters.

The Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) changed its title to the Theydon Bois Action Group  (TBAG). TBAAG was established several years ago to counter the threat of a Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre being built on the boundaries of the Parishes of Theydon Bois and Abridge: the proposal was successfully defeated. However, since that time, the Group has been mainly concerned with Theydon Bois matters and Abridge is no longer represented; hence the change of name.

A bridge drive, attended by 120 players in the TBVH and organised by Anne Sideman of the Rotary Club of Epping, raised £1,450 for the St Clare Hospice at Hastingwood.

Local resident Ken Foster, Chairman of the Theydon Bois Golf Club, raised £2,000 for the Macmillan Financial Support Charity which provides financial support for people suffering from terminal illnesses, and their loved ones. This money was partly raised by Ken making a donation each time he lost a ball in a bunker, together with the proceeds from the year’s social events at the Club.

The Epping Branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution announced that the recent local collections for the charity realised £491.76 in Epping and £335.54 in Theydon Bois making a total of £827.30


During January 2008 and the previous December, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


06 01 08     Archie Carnegie

Blessing of Marriage

23 12 07     Madeline and Adrian McCarthy


24 12 07     Edith Brayshaw         

Burial of Ashes            

30 12 07     Elizabeth Elliott


Copyright 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


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Last Up Dated: 2nd April 2009