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Theydon Bois Village Web Site

The Month in Theydon

A Month by Month Report since November 2002 by Trevor Roberts

The Month in Theydon Pages are Copyright (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


December 2009 



Christmas arrived early in the month when Villager of the Year, Norman Riley, formally switched on the Village Christmas Tree Lights outside the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). This year the event took place on a special covered stage in the TBVH car park where carols were sung by the children's choir from the Theydon Bois Primary School, and the Theydon Singers. The Christmas Message was given by the Revd Dr Anthea Cannell from St Mary’s Church and then Di Anderson from the Essex Air Ambulance appealed for support for this vital charity which has saved many lives; a collection was then taken. Father Christmas, alias Phil Woods arrived to sit in his TBVH grotto and give presents and sweets to the younger children; the sweets were provided by Champer and Pravin Khetiya the former owners of the Village Bookshop. Mince pies, for all, were provided by the Theydon Bakery and Gillian Jones, Jacqui Dodman and Sue Sowerby distributed hot drinks. Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Chairman, Sue Jones, compered the event.

At a special service at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church, Sue Barclay was inducted as Pastor. The Church had been without a minister for some time and her arrival was most welcome. Sue had worked for British Telecom as an engineer and manager and then spent seven years studying for BA and MA degrees in theological studies.  She had also worked for two Baptist Churches, the most recent at Westcliff on Sea. Sue was also a volunteer for Tearfund, a Christian relief and development organisation and had been involved in similar projects in Ethiopia and India.

A conman posing as a window cleaner struck twice in the Village the homes of elderly women. At one address he claimed a charge of £5 for windows which he had not cleaned. He repeated this trick at another home but when there changed only £3 but then short changed the lady over a £20 note. The man was aged between 40 and 50 was 5ft 10 in height, had short dark hair and was wearing a grey jacket. The police were seeking further information about him

The TBVH was packed by the many wishing to hear the popular Theydon Bois Singers give their annual Christmas Concert of carols and readings. The choir comprised 35 members of both sexes who, although of advancing years, worked hard to give a concert of high standard; the program was a vocal marathon for the singers with many carols and excerpts from Handel’s Messiah – no mean feat! Audience participation in the singing was robust and appreciated. Readings were given by Hilary Hedderick, Rowena Radcliffe, Doreen Snell and Peggy Cooke. Janet Cass was the conductor and Paul Chilvers was the pianist. The proceeds of the evening were donated to the Epping Forest Young Carers charity.

Local campaigners for the introduction of free travel for pensioners on the Central line rail system in the Epping Forest Distinct were angered by the news that the government had reclaimed £130,000 of its funding allocation made to the EFDC for subsidised local transport.  It appeared that this was due to the EFDC not using the entire allocation as received. Particularly vexing was the anomaly that residents in Woodford had free travel throughout London, while neighbours across the local boundary in Loughton and onto Epping did not. Despite petitions and official approaches, the EFDC had said that it could not afford such free travel.

On the shortest day of the year blizzard conditions swept down from the north and during the night a weather front remained stationary over the south east (and Theydon Bois) to cover the area with some 5 inches of snow on already frozen ground. Travel movement in the area was difficult and some Villagers travelling to the Continent were delayed en route for several days. Airports shut down and the cross channel sea ferries were overbooked. The local night time temperature fell to minus 6 degrees C. This weather continued for some days with sheet ice on the side roads and footpaths making conditions treacherous underfoot. Walkers en route to the shops and station suffered from falls - some serious; even motorists came to grief when stepping down from their vehicles. The M11 and M25 motorways were both kept clear, and therefore heavily used, so road traffic seeking alternative routes caused traffic congestion, especially in neighbouring Epping where some Villagers were “last-minute” shopping.

On Christmas Eve, with an improvement in the weather, there was a surge of high street trading generally, despite the poor economic state of the country. Many stores began their Boxing Day sales early, and the proposed January increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) was another incentive to shop now. Customers buying at home via modern Internet Systems were disappointed not to receive their goods in time for Christmas (the weather again) and so had also to main street shop for Christmas gifts. From very early both the Village butchers, J. Phillips and Quality & Excellence, were busy preparing Christmas orders, the Theydon Bois Bakery was getting ready to meet the usual Christmas rush, the popular Belgique Coffee Shop was expecting plenty of customers and the window of the Theydon Stores hardware shop was ablaze with Christmas decorations. Local churches were preparing for their late night communionservices although these were not being held in some parts of the country due to the lack of late night public transport, or worse, the threat of street crime; but a more hopeful reason was that parents would bring their children to the services.

Christmas Day dawned fine and cold but, thankfully, clear of the sheet ice. 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 but some premises were brightly lit, possibly for security reasons. 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 could once again be heard; 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 .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. Queen Elizabeth II and Church Leaders each gave their Christmas Messages nationwide. The Village came alive at midday with families on the move to enjoy Christmas dinner in one of the several pubs in the Village or elsewhere.  By late evening Theydon Bois was once again quiet, lit only by the bright festive decorations which illuminated the exteriors of many homes.

The year 2009 ended with the continuing economic slump, the greatest in the UK for more than sixteen years, resulting in high unemployment and rising costs; but bargain hunters continued to crowd the main shopping centres,. The weather added to the pain with freezing temperatures but did not deter more than one million people, including many Villagers, travelling to Central London to celebrate the arrival of 2010, which was ushered in at the stroke of midnight by Big Ben and followed by a tremendous ten-minute fireworks display on the Thames which illuminated the night sky for miles around, even as far as Theydon Bois where the display could be seen from high points in the village. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wished everyone a Happy New Year with the comment that London was a most exciting city which looked forward to the

future with enthusiasm and energy. Many stayed on to view London’s other attractions or even to ice skate on the several rinks created for the occasion eg. at Somerset House. The London Transport system operated throughout the night with free travel. Back in Theydon Bois, fireworks at numerous private displays ushered in the New Year and many houses remained illuminated all night with seasonal decorations, especially where parties were in full swing. So, for many, the Old Year went out on a happy note.


Reference was made, widely, especially in the TV and press media to 2009 being the end of the present decade of ten years. But it was pointed out that this decade commenced on 1st January 2001 which was the first year (number 1) in the decade and that 2009 was the ninth year (number 9). Therefore the present decade would end on 31st December 2010 – in other words there was still one year to go!

The chequered history of the Sixteen String Jack pub at the top of Coppice Row entered a new phase when a grand reopening was held under the new management of Derek and Carol. Many attended to enjoy a free buffet and appraise the new varied bar and seasonal restaurant menus which were on offer.

The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) held an auction in the TBVH to raise funds for both The Group and the St Clare Hospice. Many of the items for auction, including a crate of champagne, were donated by local businesses and other benefactors. The auctioneer was local resident Phillip Gee.

The Village Montessori Nursery which is held at the TBVH was among the first in Essex to gain accreditation for its use of the Montessori Method of teaching. This award was gained after the nursery was assessed to ensure that it was fulfilling the Montessori ethos of self – directed child activity and observation.

The TBVH was the recent venue for Rainbow, Brownie and Girl Guide units across the District who attended a centenary handicraft meeting. More than 400 girls from 22 different groups took part in the event


During the months of August and November 2009, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


05 11 09    Edward Arthur Newland


22 11 09    Harriet Bowen

Burial of Ashes

22 08 09    Jim Smith           17 11 09    Wilfred Shales



November 2009 




The first major Village event in the month was November the Fifth, “Guy Fawkes Night”, celebrated in the Village in the time honoured way with residents holding firework parties in their gardens. However, the increasing popularity of Halloween Night on the 31st October each year had undoubtedly reduced this social activity. Nevertheless, the display at the Theydon Bois Village School was well attended despite the very wet weather and but the following Saturday was fine and so many firework parties were held then with the night sky, once again, being full of flashes and bangs to the background of smoke issuing from garden bonfires and barbecues.

To the dismay of residents in the Epping Forest District, the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) decided against making a legal challenge to the Government over plans to establish 34 new gypsy and traveller sites in the District. Seven separate campaign groups claimed that the public consultation process earlier this year, regarding the sites, was flawed and were therefore campaigning for the EFDC to follow the example set by the St Alban’s authority and challenge the Government in High Court However, it was hoped that progress on this matter would now stall until after the next general election in 2010, a change in government and a possible revision of policy regarding the sites.

Early in the month BBC TV carried a news item which reported that the police had raided a warehouse “in the Theydon Bois area” in which cannabis plants, worth one million pounds and an illegal substance, were being cultivated. It subsequently transpired that the warehouse was at Blunts Farm in Coopersale Lane. Farm owner Phil Newman, who was away on holiday while the raid took place on Friday 6 November, said that “he had rented the building to a group of men and was amazed at the police discovery. They must have spent a fortune on it (the warehouse). There were lamps and vents everywhere, the doors of the warehouse had been welded shut and the building had been surrounded by security personnel and a guard dog”. Three men were subsequently arrested.

Remembrance Sunday was observed with parades in Loughton, Epping and Theydon Bois, which many Village residents attended. A short wreath-laying ceremony was held at the War memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard before the eleven o'clock service, with ex service and Village organisations present. Once again many young people were present at the Remembrance events in the Epping Forest District, especially those in uniform. There was also a greater attendance by members of the public due to concern about the increasing number of service personnel being killed and wounded in Afghanistan, and the continuing claims that the personnel involved were under equipped.

The Missions Committee of St Mary’s Church held an Autumn Soup Lunch in the Church Hall to raise funds for the purchase of Aquaboxes. These are large water container/filters used in deprived areas especially overseas to produce clean drinking water from dubious and possibly contaminated sources. When initially despatched, and before use, the empty container is filled with simple but essential items of value in poor communities eg. buckets, baby clothes, simple tools, cooking and eating utensils and many similar commodities. Many Aquaboxes have now been sent to third world countries.

The AMICE Piano Trio comprising Miriam Kramer – violin, Susan Cooper – cello and David Silkoff – piano, entertained the Theydon Bois Music Society at its November meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Each member of the Trio is a professional musician of high standing in their own right; Miriam Kramer, with David Silkoff as accompanist, is well known in the local district having previously given a number of recitals in the TBVH and Copped Hall.

It was revealed that two local health authorities, the Whipps Cross University Hospital Trust and the National Health Service (NHS) West Essex Primary Care Trust, had paid out substantial compensation regarding the poor care and treatment which villager Phyllis Foster of Thrifts Mead had received; this was when a patient at the Whipps Cross University Hospital and then the Princess Alexander Hospital (PAH) in Harlow. Sadly, Mrs Foster died two days after discharge from the PAH. Her son, Robert Foster, who had engaged solicitors to help with the case said” I felt that I had to speak out and make a stand on her behalf and try to ensure that the hospitals concerned learned lessons so that other elderly patients would not be as badly treated as my mother was”.

In a letter to the local press, Susan Warren of Woodland Way complained about the adverse affect of government pressure on local authorities to provide substantial numbers of new homes. Consequently, in the Epping Forest District, two inappropriate sites at Willingale and Abridge had been put forward for housing development. Another adverse affect was where planning permission was granted for the demolition of sound property to make way for new housing with increase residential capacity. She cited a substantial and spacious five bed roomed house in a “premier road“in Loughton which was advertised as having planning permission for the erection of a substantial replacement dwelling.

Michael Chapman, a former resident of the Village, was elected to the post of Verderer of Epping Forest following the retirement of the previous incumbent Michael Davies, 81, after serving 25 years in that office. Michael’s role, which is entirely voluntary, will be to represent the views of Forest users on the board of the City of London which is the authority responsible for maintaining the Forest. A solicitor by profession, Michael, 64, is a resident of Epping Green, an Essex Deputy Lieutenant, the chairman of St Clare’s Hospice and Vice President of the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society. He will represent the northern parishes on the edge of the Forest; Epping, Theydon Bois, Loughton, Waltham Cross, Chingford and Chigwell.

The high increase in the price of scrap metal and copper to over £3,000 a ton had led to the widespread theft of metal road signs and telephone cables in the district. The authorities were therefore replacing stolen road signs with plastic versions of little scrap value. However, the theft of telephone cables was a different matter and could seriously affect local communities and create possible life threatening situations. Telephone cables were invariably stolen by organised gangs, who masqueraded as phone engineers, wore regulation high visibility unmarked jackets, used official-looking vans (also unmarked) and even placed road obstruction cones around the site of their activities. They then connected steel cables to the copper phone lines and dragged them out from the ground using a van. Although such incidents had not been noted in the Village, residents were requested to inform the police of any suspicious activities of this nature. 


Shakespeare was brought to The Village in an unusual way when  “Shakespeare and the Globe”, an interactive event exploring the playwright’s life and works, was presented in the Theydon Bois Village Hall by American actor Bryan Torfeh. Bryan flew in from his native Los Angeles to present the event at the request of a friend from Woodford Green. Bryan’s aim is to make Shakespeare more understandable and appreciated generally.

Local resident and boxer Casey Riordan became an amateur European Boxing Champion by winning a gold medal at the Angered Boxing Cup championships held in Sweden. Competing in the under 63 kg weight category, he first beat a boxer from Manchester, then Anders Boding from Denmark and finally, Kyle Shaughnessey from Salford. Casey was boxing under the auspices of the Newham Boxing Club where he trains regularly.

The recently opened Carriages Restaurant in Coppice Row (formerly the Railway Inn) was judged the Restaurant of the Year in a competition held by the Epping Forest Guardian. The restaurant had already acquired a high reputation locally for its contemporary British cuisine.

Incidents of rubbish – dumping in Epping Forest increased during the first six months of this year by 51%. Not only is this practice unsightly and expensive to clear up, but the rubbish can harm the Forest environment, especially when set on fire by vandals. Consequently the Corporation of London had decided to install TV cameras in areas where this practice is most prevalent. Furthermore, it was introducing a scheme whereby anyone informing on a person(s) committing this nuisance would be rewarded with a payment of £500.

Local resident Matthew Eggert, 29, of Woburn Avenue was one of the nominees for the Bursary Prize at the 2009 Oska Bright Film event, A budding animator and film maker despite a learning disability, Matthew had been successful at the Festival previously, having won the Best Film Award in 2004 with”Tree Wiz and the Apple Attack” and in 2005 with”Bedside the Seaside”. His entry for 2009 is entitled “SOS –Save Our Sheep”.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its AGM in the TBVH and this was followed by interesting presentation about life in Canada.

The Theydon Bois Branch of the Epping Forest Conservative Association held its Autumn Dinner at the Theydon Bois Golf Club. Over 70 members and guests attended and, after an excellent meal, were given a talk by a director of the organisation responsible for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held at Stratford in East London.

Towards the end of the month, Janet Lavender of St Mary’s Church took Christmas Parcels down to the Mission to Seafarers at Tilbury, Essex. The Parcels had been prepared at the Parish Centre in the Church and contained many useful items including woollen hats, scarves, gloves, toiletries etc.

The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) held a Parish Council Afternoon Tea in the TBVH to enable the elderly to socialise and enjoy tea and cakes. They were also given a presentation, Security in the Home, with the emphasis on bogus callers and how to deal with them.

 At the end of the month the weather once again had the last say with mild temperatures, strong winds and lots of rain. The ground was now saturated as the result of severe weather in mid November and continuing “water run off” especially from fields caused fears that first sharp frosts could produce icy roads and the inevitable road accidents. Climate change was once again cited as the reason for this weather especially as statistics revealed that the last five years had been the warmest since records began 150 years ago.


During the months of September and October 2009, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois.


20 09 09    Charlie Bird              
04 10 09    Cameron Pigney
25 10 09    Charlotte Emery                 
25 10 09    Joshua Bridge


07 10 09    Elsie Wish                  
14 10 09    Doris Jarvis

Burial of Ashes

03 10 09    Doris Wagner             
03 10 09    Nancy Cartwright







The question of free travel for pensioners aged over 60 in the Epping Forest District was again raised when Transport for London (TFL) announced a possible increase in fares due to a record drop in the use of the rail system. Pensioners feared being “cut off” from London by a large increase in fares. Eileen Fletcher, 86, of Goldings Hill , Loughton, travelled from South Woodford to Leytonstone one Sunday with her husband and had to “pay  £10.20 to travel just two stops“. However London Mayor Boris Johnson had said that any subsidised fares must be paid for by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), which had claimed that it could not afford a subsidised scheme.

Golfers using the Theydon Bois Golf Club again complained about the perils of crossing the Theydon Road, which passes through part of the golf course, due to speeding road traffic. Club Manager Colin Stewart said” We did get new (road) signs put up which was an improvement but many drivers just really do not pay attention to them. There are cars driving along at 60 mph and there is unlimited overtaking. It is still quite dangerous and we are now hoping to have something done about the central line (road) markings

Residents in the Epping, Abridge, Chigwell and Theydon Bois areas were angry that people caught indulging in sexual activity in car parks only received a “ticking off” when apprehended. The Corporation of London, which is responsible for Epping Forest, and the Association of Chief Police Officers (CPO) had adopted the same guidelines which suggested that any enforcement action should only be taken as a last resort. Fortunately, in Theydon Bois, such incidents had only occurred in the Genesis Slade car park at the top of Coppice Row and well away from residential areas.

The nation’s Royal Mail (RM) postal service was crippled when 120,000 postal workers, withdrew their labour for two days. This was due to a breakdown of talks between the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and management over modernisation plans, working conditions and pay. The management intended to offset the affect of the strike by the early employment of temporary staff engaged annually for the Christmas period, but the employment arrangements had yet to be completed. The Union threatened to carry out a series of national rolling strikes as it did in 2007. RM has been steadily losing business to private operators and the strike could exacerbate this situation. A serious aspect of the strike was its affect on the government health plan to immunise vulnerable patients against the highly infectious swine fever which was re emerging as winter approached. Patients would have been called forward for urgent immunisation by post but doctors now intended, where possible, to give notification by phone or other means.

Restaurant Reviewer V Norris paid a visit to the Carriages dining establishment in Theydon Bois, previously the Railway Inn, to sample its cuisine. She and her dining companion were warmly and cordially received in a smart and contemporary - styled dining room more in keeping with exclusive establishments. The menu was excellent and she was able to select fish and other low calorie dishes; her companion dined on steak and speckled hen ale pie. The service was excellent as were the wines. Carriages was therefore not only a good restaurant but also an admirable lunchtime venue which included a very smart coffee bar, if a meal was not required.

The President of the Theydon Bois WI, Kay Rush, welcomed 52 members and 4 guests to the October meeting of the Institute. She drew attention to the current issue of the Essex Federation Newsletter regarding the resolution, passed at the County Annual Meeting in March, which proposed that car parking charges at NHS hospitals should be abolished. An important item regarding breast screening was also included in the Newsletter.

On the 26 10 09 the BBC Television service screened the following news item “Conservative MP Eleanor Laing has survived a vote of confidence by her constituency party after disclosure of her conduct over expenses. The MP for Epping Forest was criticised for not paying capital gains tax on the sale of two properties on which she had claimed public money. Although she had done nothing wrong under the rules in place at the time, she agreed to voluntarily repay £25,000. A host of MPs have stepped down over the outcry over excessive claims.

That evening a meeting was convened by the Epping Forest Conservative Association at the Roding Valley High School, Loughton, to confirm the selection, or otherwise, of Eleanor Laing as the Conservative candidate at the next General Election for the position of MP for Epping Forest. Only members of the Association were permitted to attend and vote.

A ballot was then taken which proved in favour of Eleanor Laing’s selection. The MP said she was delighted by the overwhelming support of the majority of the party members and humbled by the support that all these good people who had bothered to come to this meeting. She hoped that this vote of confidence would draw a line under the controversy surrounding her expenses. However, the

Leader Writer in the Epping Forest Guardian commented ”The lasting affect of the whole expenses scandal is likely to be a fall in the confidence felt by voters in their MPs, their integrity and the ability to manage their own affairs”

The last night of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was the usual “sell out”. The Society’s performance of Moliere's classic Tartuffe was ambitious with most of the dialogue being in verse, but surprisingly entertaining nevertheless. The action took place in the house of Orgon (played by Richard Clayton) in France during the mid 17th century. The play opened with Orgon’s mother, the formidable and crotchety Mme Pernelle (Kay Rush) berating the family and especially Dorine, the seductive  family maid (Angei Beckett-Franks) who seemed to have more influence in the family than she should. Much reference was being made to the yet to appear Tartuffe (Vic Norris) and the bumbling Orgon reveals that he intends to give the hand of his daughter Mariane (Sophie Norris) in marriage to Tartuffe although she is promised to Valere (Simon Gilbert). Tartuffe finally appears in Act 3 and turns out to be a sanctimonious, lecherous and conniving religious zealot with designs on Orgon's wife Elmire (Tee Greener). Vic’s portrayal of Tartuffe had the audience both amazed and much amused by the antics of this dubious fraud, including his attempted seduction of Elmire on a table under which Orgon is hiding.  It then transpires that Orgon has also given Tartuffe all his property and the fraud shows his true character by threatening to throw the family out of the house by legal means. After the Bailiff, M’sieur Loyal (Ian Shaw), appears to present a writ for eviction, the Officer (Martin Oliver) arrives, arrests Tartuffe for various earlier misdemeanours and restores both property and “normality” to the Orgon family. The reminder of the cast who gave excellent support to the production were Damis (Orgon’s son – Tom Donoghue), Cleante (Orgon’s Brother in Law - John Haylett) and Flipote (Mme Parnell’s Maid – Jeannie McDonald). Jo Shephard was the director of this excellent and entertaining production.


At a meeting of the Theydon Bois Preservation Society in the TBVH, John Brown, the Regional Development Officer of the Woodland Trust gave an illustrated talk about Theydon Bois and the One Hundred Acre Wood.

 Part of the Epping Forest land in the Abridge Road was temporarily renamed “Fo Guang Forest” to celebrate the planting there of 4,500 new trees by members of the Fo Guang Buddhist Temple in Central London.

The members of Theydon Lodge, in conjunction with the Theydon Bois Golf Club, held a “Phil Speller Memorial Golf Tournament “. Phil, a Past Master of the Lodge was only 56 when struck down by a sudden heart attack in 2008. The proceeds of the event were donated to the Haven House Children’s Hospice.

Early in October a Harvest Festival Family Service was held in St Mary’s Church where the congregation were given a talk by a member of the “Send a Cow” charity which the Church supports. A Church Autumn Fare was held later in the month as also was the Annual United Service for local Churches.

The Theydon Bois Music Society enjoyed a delightful evening of music in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) with a recital given by Inge-Lise Nygaard Parsons, soprano, and Robert Hunter, piano. The evening was compered by Doreen Snell in place of Barbara O’Connor who was, unfortunately, indisposed.      

Michael Aplin of Hill Road TB walked through the doors of the Top Golf Driving Range in Chigwell, and found that was the one millionth customer of the business. As a result Michael was given a one off chance to win a million pounds by holing in one. However the odds are very long as many golf professionals play an entire career without doing so.

 The Copped Hall Trust commenced its programme of winter lectures in the TBVH with a talk given by Richard Thomas about a street in Hoddesdon, Herts, named Admiral’s Walk, its origins and the community who lived there.

The Old Buckwellians Association, the old boys association of the former Buckhurst Hill County High School, held a recent charity fund-raising quiz night in the TBVH and raised £785 for the St Clare Hospice.

At the end of the month the weather once again had the last say. An unusually long “Indian Summer” during recent weeks included temperatures as high as 21 degrees C. (70 degrees F) on the 27 Oct. Weather forecaster were therefore predicting a mild winter; but the sceptics reminded the populace that parts of the country experienced snowfalls this time last year, and advised that warm clothing and snow shoes should be got ready.






PRINCIPAL EVENTS              

During late August, the replacement Bus Shelter was installed near the beginning of the rail viaduct in the Abridge Road. This substantial wooden structure improved the appearance of this part of the Village and was the result of considerable efforts made by Parish Councillor Anthony Purkiss and ex Parish Councillor Sheila Gymer

A thanksgiving service was held in St Mary’s Church on 14 September for a longstanding and respected member of the Village community. Wilfred Stanley Shales died on 24 August 2009 and the Church was crowded with representatives from Councils and local organisations, and also his numerous friends who came to remember him. The service was conducted by the Rev Canon Colin Travers, the former Vicar of St Mary’s, who had especially travelled down from his retirement home in Ely for this sad occasion. A family tribute was read by Peter Fisher, the length of which reflected the high esteem in which Wilf was held by many. The reading was given by Muriel Kitson. In his address Colin Travers referred to his association with Wilf over the years and described him as a man of great convictions, of particular value to our society and we should thank God for this.

The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) scheme for the collection and recycling of domestic/garden refuse came into affect at the beginning of the month as householders had now been issued with the necessary equipment  ie. another wheelie bin and a Kitchen Caddy, both coloured green. A detailed explanatory leaflet was also issued which claimed that, “On average, we throw away a third of all the food we buy. This waste food rots in landfill sites and produces huge quantities of methane “greenhouse gas” which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By introducing, a new, weekly, combined food and garden refuse recycling collection this waste can be diverted from landfill sites, cut pollution and fight global warming. Domestic food and garden waste will be taken to a processing plant where it will be converted into a valuable soil fertiliser”. The fortnightly collection of plastics, cans (particularly defined in the leaflet) and card placed in clear EFDC-issued sacks would continue, as would the collection of glass bottles and jars in the existing blue bins.

 Adverse comments regarding the new scheme continued. Local resident C Bullman of Theydon Park Road thought that late holiday month had been a bad time to distribute the new bins as these items, when left outside the homes of absent residents, would advertise their unoccupancy and encourage crime. A Harris of Epping was critical of the Kitchen Caddy method as this was unhygienic with smelly waste left, invariably in the kitchen, to decompose for a week. J F Girgis of Chigwell was also concerned with the hygiene factor as kitchen waste was to be dumped in the new bin which was not to be lined. However, it was later revealed that householders could now “purchase” special decomposable bags to accommodate this waste in the new bin.

Essex Watch, in association with Essex Police, warned that householders had been offered, via phone calls, the opportunity to have a free alarm system installed which would be linked with the Police, Fire & Rescue and the Ambulance Services. They were advised that a single cost of £200 would be necessary and, but once committed to an installation, a representative would call when the cost could be increased to £3,000. The company involved would claim that it was recommended by the emergency services, which was untrue. The Police advised that they do not recommend individual companies. Householders were also advised to check that any vendor of goods for sale at the door was be in possession of a valid “Pedlar’s Certificate”. This was not an Identity Card (ID) but an official certificate issued by the Chief Constable of the County Police Force (Essex Police)

Once again, a pleasant summer’s evening was enhanced with music when Eleanor Percy - violin - and Irin Lyakhovskaya – piano - gave a recital at the September meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society in the TBVH. Their extensive programme included works by Mozart, Bartok, Dvorak, Brahms, Elgar and, to conclude, an impressive performance of Franck’s Sonata in A. Both performers were very experienced soloists who had been playing together as the DUO group since 2000, and since then have been highly acclaimed for their concert performances throughout the UK and Europe.

The plans to locate sites for gypsies and travellers in the Epping Forest District, especially in Theydon Bois, continued to cause controversy. The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) advised that the District would have the second highest number of pitches. It would also have the highest number of pitches per population, highest number per hectare of unconstrained land, the highest number to planned new dwellings, and the second highest concentration in relation to agricultural employment in Essex. The St Albans District Council had already issued legal proceedings in the High Court against the Secretary of State in a bid to squash the proposed increase in sites in its area on the grounds that this was highly disproportionate. The Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was advising local authorities to say “no” to a quick compliance to arbitrary demands from the government.

 TBAG held a fund raising dinner/quiz evening in the Queen Victoria to raise funds to save the Village from the inappropriate development of the two Gypsy and Traveller sites proposed for the green belt in Theydon Bois, and to reduce the overall site/pitch provision proposed for the District. Local MP Eleanor Laign attended the function and reiterated her support of TBAG and its cause. The function raised £1,689 and this was generously matched by a Village resident to give a grand total of to £2,689

In the absence of President Kay Rush who was on holiday, Doreen Snell presided at the September meeting of the Theydon Bois WI, and welcomed 51 members and 3 guests. The meeting stood in silence in memory of Joyce Peck who had died recently. Among several items of correspondence received was letter from the UK Police Service asking for volunteers to help improve its disaster strategy. Richard Thomas was the speaker and gave an interesting talk entitled “A Walk with the Admiral”. Doreen then raised the important matter of the WI Committee. Two members were resigning which left only six on the Committee (each of whom were responsible for other WI jobs) and this was quite inadequate for a large WI. Volunteers to serve on the Committee were urgently needed and the WI would have to consider closing if these were not forthcoming.


A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving was held in St Mary’s Church to commemorate the completion of the building work there. The Preacher was the Revd Canon Colin Travers who once again travelled down from his retirement location in Ely for this special church occasion.

The Theydon Rainbow, Brownie and Guide Groups attended a special service at St Mary’s Church as part of the Girl Guiding UK Centenary Celebrations. After the service the celebrations continued with tea/coffee and cakes in the Church Parish Centre.

At the end of the month, the Village continued to enjoy what was once known as an “Indian Summer” ie. dry, mild and sunny weather. The autumn foliage on trees and shrubs was exceptionally colourful and barbecues remained popular, which compensated for this year’s poor summer weather. No rain had fallen for several weeks so September 2009 was now one of the driest on record in this part of the country and the hard ground resulted in some local football and rugby fixtures being postponed until ground conditions improved.




August 2009 


Leslie Jerman, a long standing member of the community who lived in Coppice Row, died on 12th August after a period of illness. He was a man of many parts being a retired journalist, former editor of The London News, aviation correspondent for The Scotsman, prison campaigner and family historian. Although not especially active in village life he was often featured in the local press through the many issues which he raised including the Blunts Farm development, the loss of cheques in the post, the shortcoming of the household waste collection system and, lately, the withdrawal of licences for the picking of mushrooms in Epping Forest adjacent to his home. His funeral service was held at the Pardon Wood Crematorium, Harlow, on 20th August.  He was survived by his wife Betty, also a retired journalist.

Another untimely death was that of Wilfred (Wilf) Shales, a leading figure and resident of Theydon Bois and a former Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), who died on 24th August aged 82 after a long illness. Wilf was a very active member of the community despite advancing years and was particularly remembered for his chairmanship of the TBPC during the building and opening of the new Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) in 2000 - 2001.

Twice in four weeks, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union and the ASLEF Union called a two day strike of drivers and rail workers on the National Express East Anglia rail network. On Thursdays and Fridays virtually no trains ran on the overhead system out of London's Liverpool Street to Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich. Particularly affected was the line running to Stansted Airport where this busy link was reduced to just one train an hour. Nearer to home, rail users from Harlow and Brentwood were motoring to Epping and Theydon Bois to use the Central Line (London Underground) which was unaffected. Consequently, this Line and its station car parks were overloaded; the Theydon Bois car park was full by 6 am and motorists were, once again, attempting to park wherever possible in the Village. The RMT had threatened industrial action, on at least 14 previous occasions, over working conditions and pay; strong feelings were expressed by some train commuters who thought that such strikes should be made illegal.

It was revealed that the Central Line underground railway which runs into the Epping Forest District was the “hottest” on the London Underground System. On one day in 2008, the internal temperature in the carriages reached a sweltering 32 degrees F. A spokesman for Transport for London (TFL) revealed that millions of pounds were being invested in dealing with high temperatures across the underground network. However, he didn’t reveal that air conditioning was already installed in Central Line trains but only in the driver's compartment. This was essential as, without this facility, a driver could fall asleep at the controls of the train.

The Theydon Bois Drama Society was the recipients of the Pat Redhead Drama Award for its production of the musical comedy “Jeeves" which was staged in the TBVH during January 2009. This award was made by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and has national status. The production was based on the character created by P.G.Wodehouse with lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn and a musical score written by Andrew Lloyd Webber no less. The Society Manager Karen Burns said “There are a lot of drama groups around here with high standards locally so we are very proud to have won this award.”

The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) announced that it was prepared to fight on against the additional sites for Gypsies and Travellers proposed for the Epping Forest District. Having already spent £3,000 in its protest action, TBAG was now spending an additional £1,000 to employ a planning consultant with unparalleled local knowledge who had highlighted sites omitted from the consultation process. The consultant believed these sites to be as good as if not even better than those selected by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). The TBAG spokesman added that these sites were mostly located in an area completely excluded from the consultation process.

TBAG also disclosed, via E Mail, the possibility of housing development on the Blunts Farm site and asked if there were plans to build 3,500 new dwellings in Theydon Bois and, also, were there plans to increase the size of the Village by almost 200%? TBAG revealed that Emerging Property Partnership Ltd (EPP) was advertising plots of land for sale on Blunts Farm, varying in size from 176 to 199 square metres with prices starting from £11,500, and were advertised on several websites. According to TBAG, the EPP describes the Key Investment Points of the project as being “An area on the greater sites already earmarked for development on the Local Development Frameworks.” TBAG advised that 104 hectares of land bounded by the M25, M11, Coopersale Lane, Abridge Road and the Central Line railway have been put forward, by the EFDC, as land for potential housing development in the EFDC "Call for Sites" exercise.

The summer edition of Watch Word, the Neighbourhood Watch (NW) Newsletter, announced that Neighbourhood Watch street signs would soon be appearing in the Village. This action is part of a scheme to publicise the presence of NW throughout the Epping Forest District, to boost the increasing interest in the scheme and to reassure residents by its very existence. Related Watch Schemes already existed ie. Shop Watch, Business Watch, Horse Watch, Golf Watch and Farm Watch. Road users were also reminded that certain current practices were illegal eg. cycling recklessly and on the pavement, parking/stopping motor vehicles near school entrances, at pedestrian crossings (also within zigzag lines), in front of entrances to property, opposite traffic islands, on bends and within 32 feet of a road junction regardless of where any single or double yellow lines commenced.

An amendment to the ECC  (EFDC) Permitted Parking Area and Special Parking Areas (Consolidation) Order 2008 was issued to take effect from 24 Aug 09. This affected Theydon Bois with (1) Certain sections of some roads in the Village being now subjected to No Waiting at Any Time restrictions (2 Other Roads would now be subjected to No Waiting Mondays to Fridays 10 am – 11 am (3) Changes would be made to the No Waiting Mon – Friday times in certain roads and (4) Roads already subject to Mon to Fri No Parking periods would have the existing times of 11 am to 12 am changed to 10 am to 11 am. These changes appear to have resulted from the continuing and increasing use of Village Roads for commuter (station user) parking,  and the residents  of roads now subjected to  parking controls for the first time, should have unobstructed access to their properties. However, once the economic recession was over and especially with the holding of the London Olympics in 2012, commuter parking could increase dramatically.

Towards the end of the month and during the school holidays, Villagers were surprised to see an important addition to the Theydon Bois Primary School. On the front lawn now stood a half size flagpole at the top of which the Union Flag was flying. The flagpole was the idea of the Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds and was intended to make a statement to all, and especially the pupils, that the premises were a place of importance and a part of the British way of life. Flags associated with national days (St Georges Day) would also be flown in the future and possibly those of other countries on special occasions. The School Parents Teacher Association supported the project and provided the finance, and the School Caretaker carried out the installation.


More than 36 youngsters attended “Hip Hop” dance classes at the TBVH. The event was part of the Epping Forest Arts Events and Jenny Baker from Hip Hop Bob was present to teach the dancers the basic techniques and a particular routine. They were then split into two groups and allowed to expand the routines further. Epping Forest Arts Assistant Vanessa Gayton said” The occasion was brilliant and we even had some boys dancing which was great”.


During the months of June and July 2009, the following entries were made in

the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


11 07 09            Helen Carter and Ben Abbott

25 07 09            Samantha Stanley and Lee Sands


28 06 09            Charlie Stone      12 07 09    Violet Crombie


08 07 09            Irene Carey        16 07 09    Jennifer Smith

Burial of Ashes

03 07 09            Janet Vigars         04 07 09   Florence Godfrey

08 08 09            Jennifer Smith



JULY 2009 



The AGM of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society was held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) and preceded by a talk given by Paul Hewitt, the Manager of Epping Forest Country Care (EFCC), an organisation working in association with the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) and located in the EFDC Planning Department. Paul outlined today's changes and threats to the countryside, not least those of Climate Change and local aviation pollution (Stansted Airport). At the subsequent AGM the following officers were elected: President Arthur Gillies, Chairman Peter Newton, Vice Chairman Martin Boyle, Treasurer Geoffrey Hazlehurst, Secretary Eric Thurston, Meetings Secretary Jim Watts and Minutes Secretary Sue Warren. The Executive Committee was re elected en bloc and comprised B Ballard (Mrs), R Day, L Faille (Mrs), B Frankland, S Gymer (Mrs), H Meteyard, A Purkiss, T Roberts and C Shears (Mrs). 

On a brilliant summer’s Sunday morning, the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin at Theydon Bois was packed for a Eucharist of Celebration and Thanksgiving on occasion of the retirement of Colin and Joy Travers. In addition to the Church Family, the congregation included Colin’s family and friends and also representatives of the churches where Colin had served as priest in the past years. Colin's Sermon included reference to Christians being Ambassadors for Christ in this modern age, which has a culture with little room for the spiritual and is relational to our consumer driven world with too much emphasis on self at the exclusion of others . Communion was then taken after which the choir sang a Celtic Blessing arranged by John Rutter. The service concluded with The Peace and The Dismissal and, on leaving, the congregation each received a small prayer card as a gift from Colin and Joy. Most of the congregation then attended a large reception in the TBVH where refreshments were provided and Colin and Joy had the opportunity to meet many friends and acquaintances of past years and to say many more informal farewells.

The stalwart and locally renowned Theydon Bois Singers held a summer concert in the TBVH entitled “Our Favourite Things”. A full house enjoyed the music of some forty odd mature singers, who gave strong renderings of such favourites as the choral introduction to “Zadok the Priest”, two sympathetic negro spirituals, the ever popular “If You Were the Only Girl in the World” and, to show that they were not living in the past, they sang the pop Group Abba’s Thank You For The Music” as a rousing final number. The accomplished Janet Cass was their conductor and Paul Childers supported her with his commanding but sensitive piano accompaniment.

The AGM of the Theydon Bois Music Society was held in the TBVH when it was announced that the membership was constant at 74 and the finances were sound. It was agreed that the February meetings would be discontinued due to the extremely bad weather conditions, which had adversely affected the meetings for the previous three years.  It was also agreed that the Society would continue to attend performances of the Forest Philharmonic Orchestra Walthamstow in North East London. The following officers were re-elected: Chairman – Barbara O’Connor, Secretary – Doreen Snell and Treasurer – Frank Hill. Pat Davies resigned from the Committee and John Spencer was elected in his place. The other members were re-elected en bloc viz.  Marjorie Roberts, Audrey Sullivan, Pamela Dibble, and Jennifer Bonsey.

The Corporation of London announced that the last three mounted Ranger Officers would be replaced by two Officers either on bike or foot, and the third by a health and safety officer. This decision sparked outrage among regular users of the Forest who claimed that horses were the best way of reaching trouble spots in the Forest because of the fast response they provided in inclement weather when the going was bad.

The 22nd Annual Donkey Derby organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was held on the Village Green, by kind permission of the City of London and the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC). The events proceeded at a spanking pace under the direction of the Master of Ceremony Phil Simmance, Clerk of the Course Phil Koczan, Start Official Andy Bowles and Stewards Terry Bennett, Paul Gunnell, Pat Gill and Mel Wheeler. Seven races were held with titles relating to their sponsors ranging from the “Cooks Ferry Chase” to “Cub’s Canter”. The runners were uniquely titled eg. "Dentist’s Appointment by Tooth out of Mouth”, "Goes like a Rocket by Stephenson out of Loco" and "Blarney Boy by Stone out of Castle. Sideshows included the coconut shy where a few dads unwisely risked back problems and, most popular, the hot dog and burger stall provisioned by a local butcher and baker. The main sponsor for the event was McMullen, the Hertfordshire Brewers, supported by the Queen Victoria and Volunteer local pubs and other organisations. The proceeds went to support local Scouts and allied groups, especially the newly opened Youth Club in St Mary’s Church Hall.

At the July meeting of the TBWI, the President Kay Rush welcomed 57 members and 5 visitors on a very wet day. She advised that the Autumn County meeting of the Federation would be held on 15 Oct 2009 at the Civic Hall, Blackshots near Grays; visitor’s tickets would be available on request from the Secretary Doreen Snell. Further planned activities include a Tea and Cake Afternoon, an American Lunch, and theatre visits to see performances of "Sister Act" at the London Palladium and "My Fair Lady" at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend

During the middle of the month work commenced on the infilling of the two great pits on the site of the Blunts Farm Development. This followed several years of complaints and actions by the TBPC, village residents and local groups particularly the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG). In 2003 the two pits were excavated at Blunts Farm, which is on Green Belt land, into which large quantities of soil were deposited on the site by some 300 heavy lorries arriving daily.  The pits became water filled and were a dangerous attraction to children for swimming and even boating. The local issues regarding the Blunts Farm development were featured the national press and on television. Campaigners from TBAG fought for enforcement action to be taken and the Epping Forest District Council agreed that the site should be returned to normal by October 2009. TBAG spokeswomen said that they were doubtful the work would be completed by October 2009 but the site may at least be safe.

The news that the Government would continue to press for the EFDC to establish sites in the Epping Forest area (34 initially and 128 in total by 2011) for the accommodation of Gypsies and Travellers brought dismay to many residents and resulted in strong adverse reactions. Typical of these was a letter in the local press from Loughton resident Michael McGough of the Freedom Association. He wrote “This decision is totally undemocratic. The consultation process had been an expensive sham and highlights the impotent voice of local government in representing the people. We now have government by diktat from Brussels and the (UK) Department for Communities and Local Government”.

Following the closure late in 2008 of the long established Wednesday Luncheon Club organised by Marian Mellis and her team of helpers, the TBPC was seeking to organise a replacement for this very successful facility for the elderly population of the Village, especially for those with limited mobility. Therefore in mid July elderly residents were invited to attend a “tea and chat” in the TBVH and give their views on this subject; some forty attended, some in wheel chairs. The TBPC also invited a representative of the Voluntary Action in Epping Forest (VAEF) organisation to attend and discuss potential hazards in the home which could result in falls and injuries. 

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 100th Annual Show in the TBVH. There were five major sections in the Show which covered 129 classes of entry: Horticulture (Theydon Bois), Horticulture (Open), Handicraft, Photographic and Cookery. A Pumpkin Competition was held and, for the first time, a Scarecrow Competition entries for which were of very high standard and decorated the entrance to the TBVH. The following awards were made: Banksian Medal - Mr Weetch, Frank & Josie Way Memorial Cup – Mrs S McPherson, Gazette Challenge Bowl, William Way Cup & Secretary’s Cup – Mr Parsons, Gerald Buxton Cup - Mrs J Turner, John Monkouse Cup – Mr Crudgington, Elcee Cup – Mrs Badcock, Committee Cup – Mr T Roberts, Keswick Cup – Mrs H Howland, Garden News Shield – Sinead Donaghy, Mini Shield and RHS Certificate - Ben Abbott. Scarecrow (Family Entry) – Crudginton Family and Scarecrow (Local Societies) - Keep Fit Group. The event was by a team of hardworking helpers led by Society President Barry Turner.              


Although some way away, the 2012 Olympic Games in London were beginning to have an impact in the Epping Forest Area. The EFDC had been asked for North Weald Airfield to be used in conjunction with the Games as a camping site, for “air passenger” operations or particularly, as a “park and ride” system for those travelling to London.  Essex Police were especially concerned that the car parking problems at Epping and Theydon Bois stations and their surrounds, where the Central Line runs through to the Olympic site at Stratford, could become an even greater problem during the Games.

The Epping Forest Guardian announced that it was reopening its editorial office in Epping. This had moved in 2008 to Highams Park in Chingford. In common with many other local newspapers affected by the current economic recession, the Guardian appeared to have reduced its news content to accommodate more advertising material so to compete with the “free” publicity mediums circulating locally.

The month of July ended on a dismal note for many with heavy rain and some flooding elsewhere in the country which spoilt the many family holidays now being spent at home instead of abroad due to the economic crisis. The Meteorological Office had forecast previously a hot summer suitable for al fresco meals and barbecues; but this had now been revised to include heavy rain at times with bright periods and cool temperatures. In other words – wet!



JUNE 2009




In early June six candidates stood for election to represent the Epping Forest District on the Essex County Council (ECC), with the following results: Janet Whitehouse (Lib Dem –2481 votes), Jim Surguy (Con – 2080 votes), Andrew Smith (United Kingdom Independence Party – 581 votes), Daniel Kieve (Green Party – 219 votes), Ronald Frankland (British National Party – 306 votes) and Simon Billough (Labour Party – 192 votes). It was possible that the success of Janet Whitehouse was due to her being better known to the local electors though her many activities.

On the same day, voters were asked to elect seven representatives from the Eastern area of the UK to sit as members of the European Parliament in Brussels. Those elected were Geoffrey Charles Van Orden (Con), David Bannerman (United Kingdom Independence Party), Robert Sturdy (Con), Andrew Duff (Lib Dem), Richard Howitt (Labour), Victoria Ford (Con) and John Agnew (United Kingdom Independence Party).

Hare coursing, a” sport” where hares are pursued by dogs, and usually killed, became prevalent locally with some fifteen cases being reported each month in the Epping Forest District. Organised gangs were operating at night and trespassing on farming land, by foot and car, to carry out this illegal activity; betting was involved. Hare coursing was outlawed in 2005 after a long campaign by animal rights activists who claim that the sport is cruel.

The 3rd Theydon Bois Brownie Pack based at St Mary’s Church held a 40th Anniversary party and presentation in the Church Hall. Some 24 Brownies aged from 7 to 10 years took part and celebrated by cutting a large anniversary cake. Also present were the Revd Canon Colin Travers, Vicar of St Mary’s, Sue Jones Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), TBPC Councillor John Phillip and other leading members of the community. The occasion was organised by Liz Hannibal, the Pack’s Leader, and members of the Pack Committee.

Early in the month, members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMTU) withdrew their services on London Underground rail network for a period of 48 hours. This followed a breakdown in talks between the RMTU and the underground management over discussions regarding tube workers conditions and pay claim (a five percent increase). This meant that the Central Line service from Theydon Bois was severely restricted and Villagers had to either drive or seek alternative public transport instead eg. via the overhead system from Chingford to London.

 Miyuki Kato, a promising young Japanese pianist from Tokyo, was the solo performer at the June meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. She played a variety of works by Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert/Listz and Tchaikovsky. Chopin was also included and it was in her performance of his Waltz in Eb Major that her expertise and brilliance of playing was most pronounced, which brought prolonged applause from the audience.

Regular users of Epping Forest, especially horse riders, claimed that the Forest was descending into lawlessness since the number of Forest Patrols had been reduced. Members of the Epping Forest Riders Association (EFRA) had reported a surge in the number of incidents involving dangerous dogs, fireworks, drinking parties and motorbike racing now that there were only two mounted keepers and eight foot-keepers. It was feared that all patrols would soon be dispensed with following a meeting with the City of London Corporation from which members of the public were banned.         

Teaching staff and friends of the Theydon Bois Primary School and the Davenant School in Loughton attended a Celebration for the life of Jane Penelope Gant held at St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois. Jane, a chartered accountant who had turned to teaching and had taught at both schools, was born on 6 August 1965 and died on the 3 June 2009 after suffering a long period of illness. She lived in the Village in Heath Drive with her husband Steve and three young children. The Church was packed to overflowing for the service which was conducted by the Vicar the Revd Canon Colin Travers, who gave the address, and the curate the Revd Dr Anthea Cannell. Husband Steve gave a moving eulogy.

The Theydon Bois WI celebrated its 90th Anniversary with a grand afternoon meeting in the TBVH. The invited guests included officials from the Essex Federation of WIs, the Chairman and Secretary of the Theydon Bois Village Association and Sue Jones the Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC); Eleanor Laing MP unable to attend due to parliamentary duties. Also present were representatives from the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), and the Presidents of local WIs from Buckhurst Hill, Chingford, Loughton and Epping. Past Presidents and members of the Theydon Bois WI (some in their 90s) also attended. After a formal toast to the TBWI, Martin Harrison entertained the meeting with songs reminiscent of the last 90 years.                 

The sorry saga of the closure of Wansfell College in Piercing Hill and its subsequent sale was approaching a possibly happy ending when the building, now named Coopers Court and comprising 14 luxury apartments, was put on the market. The house and grounds are being carefully restored with some elements of the property being extensively remodelled. The agents, Savills of Loughton, claimed that the sympathetic conversion of the building has resulted in each apartment being different.      

A hot summer’s sun shone on the Country Fayre held by the Theydon Bois Primary School in the School grounds at the front of which a number of scarecrows, created by the pupils, were placed to greet people on their arrival. Sponsored by the Village “Tikadi” hairdressers, the Fayre included a variety of stalls selling everything from hot dogs to photographic services. Children’s entertainments included animals brought along by the Lee Valley Parks Farms including several lambs, which were growing up fast, guinea pigs and tortoises, all of great interest to the youngsters. The event was organised by the Parent Teachers Association headed by Michel Arthur and Deborah Winch.

A special public meeting was held in the TBVH to announce and give details of the proposal for the Village to purchase the disused Youth Centre in Debden Lane for the purpose of converting the building into a Village Community Centre.

ON the last Sunday of the month the 29th Annual Theydon Bois Village Open Gardens Day was held with visitors booking-in at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) from mid morning to early evening for visits to the 20 gardens which were open, 4 for the first time; St Mary’s Church, the Baptist Church and the revitalised village allotments were also open to view. The   Village Green was once again in use as a car park but many visitors came by train as in the early 1900s to visit the Forest Retreats. Carol James and her helpers served the usual light lunches in the TBVH and, later, Kay Rush and another team of helpers provided light teas. In total, some 30 – 40 people were involved in a variety of tasks. 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. The event was organised by Carol and Graham James and raised a some £5,000 in support of the Village organisations

The EFDC announced the issue of an additional bin to each household in the coming autumn; it was not made clear if the bin was for garden or domestic food waste. The EFDC claimed that some 5,000 residents had been consulted about the additional bin and claimed that its use would improve the domestic waste-recycling rate. However, if garden refuse was to be disposed in this way, then the additional Bin would be totally inadequate judging by the large number of sacks already being used for this purpose.

The EFDC announced a further change to the District recycling scheme by decommissioning all of the 26 local recycling centres where glass, cans and paper can be deposited, in special large bins, outside normal waste collection times. It was claimed that £10,000 would be saved yearly and used for other collections, possibly textiles

The month ended with an official heat wave, which had been developing for some time. The meteorological office warned that temperatures could rise from 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) to 91 degrees F (33 degrees C) and advised the elderly and those with particular medical conditions affected by heat to stay indoors during the hottest periods of the day.


The Theydon Bois Men’s Forum, which meets regularly in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church, concluded its current season of meetings with a summer lunch held in the TBVH. Some fifty members and their ladies enjoyed an excellent meal which was preceded by a talk given by Brian Curtois, Lecturer and Broadcasting Consultant, who was widely known in the 1980s as a leading national journalist and parliamentary correspondent for the BBC.

A team of friends from Theydon Bois, led by Fiona Bradley, took part in a 5 km fun run in the Harlow “Race for Life” event in support of the Cancer Search UK charity. The team was running in memory of family and friends who had suffered from this disease. North Weald Airfield was the venue for the event and the team raised more than £1,500 for the charity.

A group of local ladies, The Theydon Girls, took part in a recent, sponsored, midnight walk around the cycle and footpaths of Harlow to help the Hastingwood based St Clare’s Hospice to reach its target of £150,000. The group (including a solitary male) managed to finish the walk in just under two hours and raised £2,000 for the charity

Theydon Bois Golf Club was narrowly beaten by Lexden Wood in the second round of the Lesley Wood Plate Competition. However there was better news for Club Captain Ian Moore whose Golf Day Charity Event raised over £600. Chris Sproat and Terry Curtis won this contest in a close run final with the top nine pairs separated by only two points.


During the months of May and June 2009, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois.


01 05 09              Peter Turner and Kelly Page


31 05 09              Patrick and Maxim Mulqueen

07 06 09              Samuel Hughes and Joshua Baker

21 06 09              Harry Stockhill 


01 05 09              Edith Smith

01 06 09              Arthur Darvill

05 06 09              Joe Slater

15 06 09              Jane Penelope Gant

Burial of Ashes

Margaret Pattinson



MAY 2009 




There was general dismay when the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) admitted that it was unlikely to be able to meet the Government’s deadline of July 09 for the EFDC to submit its overall response to the proposals for 34 Travellers and Gypsy sites in the District. Nearly 10,000 people had responded to the related consultation document, distributed previously, and thousands of pounds had been spent by residents’ groups in preparing their comments. The EFDC was now negotiating with the Government for more time to complete the Council's overall response.

At the bi monthly meeting of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) held near the end of May, the Chairman Sue Jones announced that Norman Riley was The   Villager of the Year for 2009 and presented him with the Village Rose Bowl annual trophy. She also made known that the Parish Clerk, Madeline Murphy, was relinquishing the office of Parish Clerk with effect from that evening, and welcomed the new Acting Clerk Sally Crone. The Chairman then paid tribute to Madeline as follows:

Madeline has worked tirelessly in the office for seven years.  The Clerk’s job is not an easy one; as Councillors, we make the decisions but it is the Clerk who has to carry out the work involved. One of the Clerk’s responsibilities is to advise us on our responsibilities and duties and we have relied on Madeline’s extensive knowledge to point us in the right direction or, indeed, to tactfully prevent us from overstepping the line as we carry out our work as councillors. Madeline has in many ways been the face of the TBPC. For anyone visiting the Council Office it is normally Madeline who is there to greet them, listen to their concerns and provide the first line of help or advice. Madeline is always ready to down tools and help them, often sorting the problem before it is referred to us. One of Madeline’s responsibilities has been to help collate the articles for the Village Newsletter. The Newsletter is now a long way from the original brief black and white copy. Madeline was on the team instrumental in the updating of the format of the Newsletter some years ago. Madeline has always enjoyed this aspect of the job, we appreciate her input and I’m sure that the present team would like to join me in thanking her for the time she has committed to this, and wish her every success in any future venture she wishes to follow.

More complaints were made regarding commuter parking on the grass verges at the junction of old Station Road and the Abridge Road but this time, from the car parkers themselves. Valerie Lair of Abridge was ”very sorry to hear that people outside Theydon Bois had the audacity to use Theydon Bois Station”. However, the lady omitted to mention that she was not paying parking charges and that she could also try to park near other stations on the Central Line. Peter Newton of Kendal Avenue, Epping, commented that this situation was due to bad planning. The EFDC, the Essex County Council (ECC) and the Government had allowed Transport for London (TFL) to close the line to Chipping Ongar and sell off the goods yard there for a quick buck.

Commuter parking problems in the Village continued when the residents of Thrifts Mead (where parking restrictions do not apply), voiced their complaints regarding commuter parking and motorists who park their vehicles and then depart, presumably via the Central Line, for long term holidays. The problem is exacerbated by road traffic proceeding to doctor’s surgery and an adjacent residential home. An ECC spokesman advised that a one-hour parking restriction and a no parking restriction would be introduced in the road shortly.

 In mid May, nearly sixty members and friends of the Theydon Bois Short Mat (Thursday) Bowls Club sat down to an excellent annual buffet lunch provided by the ladies of the Club in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The Club Chairman Joy Wainwright assisted by the Club Competitions Secretary, John Langford presented the annual awards to Club members who have been successful in the Club competitions held during the previous September to April. These included a new trophy, the Ted Norris Cup, which was awarded to Sue Barrington for winning the session of Target Bowls.

Once again the Theydon Bois Music Society enjoyed a remarkable musical evening given this time by three talented young woodwind musicians. The Marylebone Trio comprising Jemma Bausor – oboe, Jessica Tipton – clarinet and Alexandra Davidson – bassoon gave a very professional recital in which the three instruments combined to produce a unique quality of sound. Their programme included Mozart’s Divertimento No 2 and Ibert’s Cinq Pieces en Trio and a jazz arrangement of George Gershwin’s Summertime.

For several weeks the Daily Telegraph (DT) national newspaper had been publishing details of the expenses claimed by MPs, especially regarding the purchase and maintenance of their place of residence as associated with their parliamentary duties. It appeared that many claims did not comply with parliamentary rules and this caused controversy and resentment throughout the country where many were affected by unemployment and financial restrictions. The DT finally turned its spotlight on to Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest. The press claimed that she had admitted not paying Capital Gains Tax (GCT) when she made £1 million on a second home bought with the aid of taxpayer's money.  As a shadow junior minister she had claimed more than £80,000 from the public purse towards mortgage interest and service payments on two adjacent flats bought in Westminster, even though her constituency home (in Theydon Bois) was less than a one hour journey away using the London Underground rail system The MP, who denied any wrongdoing, said, “I will of course be liable for CGT when I eventually sell my house in Theydon Bois as, under rules defined in the HMBC publication issued to all MPs, it is defined as my second home”.

The organisers of the Theydon Youth Club, which opened earlier this year, widened the scope of activities for its members by arranging for a “ mobile high wall “ to visit the car park of the TBVH. This four meter high structure, provided by the Essex Association of Boys Clubs, is a climbing and abseiling facility for the youngsters and the Club members were quickly scaling the structure and abseiling down the other side. The Theydon Bois Village Association (TBVA) allowed for temporary use of the TBVH car park, as a level area was needed for the “wall”. Another recent Club outside activity was a visit to the Benfleet Skate Park where Club members had the opportunity to skateboard and cycle. Recently, there had been much criticism in the Village about the lack of leisure facilities for young people (apart from the Scout and Guide units) and it was heartening to see how this New Youth Club with an increasing membership of 50 youngsters was helping to deal with this problem.

The Farmwatch crime prevention scheme set up by the Epping Forest Neighbourhood Police Team in conjunction with the EFDC and Epping Crime Reduction Officer Tony Ellis, received praise from the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. At a crime conference in London, the Prime Minister said “The Epping Forest Neighbourhood Police Team has now created an E Mail chain of over 70 farmers who keep each other informed of rural crime and keep burglars at bay. I want every area to consider using mobiles and E Mail to give people instant advice on safety and any other crime or anti social behaviour problem”.

The retail premises in Forest Row vacated by the "Noodle" toy business and its neighbour "Theydon Security" was retailing general hardware and similar household items not generally available elsewhere in the Village. It was understood that the business was associated owners were the traders who rented the vacant Wine Shop in Christmas 2008, on a temporary basis, to sell festive items. Therefore The Theydon Stores might not be a permanent retail outlet.

The Spring Bank Holiday was blessed with glorious weather, for the St Mary’s Church May Fayre drew a large number of visitors, from the Village and much further (Central London. The central activity was in the Hall itself where refreshments were served throughout the event. Outside were many attractions and stalls including bouncy castle, children’s sideshows, barbecue, bric a brac, tombola, toys, face painting, ice cream and home produce. A special attraction was a fancy dress competition with children dressed as their favourite nursery rhyme character. Another was a special plant stall where a large variety of plants were on sale. The event was a great success which raised over £4,000 for church funds.

The last day of May was the hottest for some time with temperatures of 26.9 degrees C recorded on the South Coast and 24.2 degrees in London. The local temperature was midway between the two due to the strong easterly breeze which, surprisingly and invariably, brings cooler air in from the East Coast only some twenty-five odd miles away (as the crow flies), under these conditions. This glorious weather had persisted for some days now due to the high pressure centred over the British Isles and which was forecast to continue for some days yet, so June should be a ”blazing month” right from its start.           


Three residents of Theydon Bois and former members of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) who worked on the land during WWII were honoured at a special presentation held in the TBVH. Lillian Griffiths, 83, Florence Harrison, 86, and Gwen Rae each received a certificate of service presented by a representative of the EFDC, and a badge from the Prime Minister Gordon Brown which had been forwarded to each previously via the Royal Mail; another recipient was Marjorie Bird from Loughton. Lord Petre, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, was also present as the representative of the Queen.

Sophie Gillett, a great grandmother and a resident of the Frank Foster House in Theydon Bois, celebrated her 100th birthday on 07 05 09. A former resident of Bethnal Green in London’s East End, she survived the aerial bombing of the WWII “blitz” and met Queen Elizabeth (consort of King George VI and subsequently the Queen Mother) when she came to see the victims of the bombing and the resulting damage. Sophie moved to Loughton after the death of her husband Charles in 1970 and remained there until 90, with her “boyfriend”. A true Eastender, (with a repertoire of naughty songs) Sophie was one of six children, and she herself had two daughters, five grandchildren and five great grand children. She is an ardent loyalist and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her congratulatory birthday letter from the current Queen Elizabeth II.

The Theydon Art Group held its 48th two day Annual Exhibition in the TBVH on 08 05 09. There were 97 paintings on exhibition, many of which were sold. The presiding Officers of the Group were Chairman – Roy Lees, Treasurer – Barry Turner and Secretary – Brenda Harris.  Vi Smith provided the floral arrangements for the Exhibition.

Steve Allen, 55, a local resident and self confessed “fitness fanatic”, raised £1,000 for the Haven House Children’s Hospice by completing a marathon on a rowing machine. Steve, a married father of four children, was helped by his friends Chris Gray from Epping and Daniel Sergeant from Loughton who also took part by "rowing alongside”. The trio rowed some 26 miles and raised a grand total of about £2,000 for the charity.



APRIL 2009 




The proposal for a commuter car park on green belt land adjacent to Theydon Bois Station continued to cause controversy. In a letter in the local press from Abridge resident Rosslyn Elton, Theydon Bois resident Gervase Dawidek responded by asking how she would react to “a large car park on the fields of Abridge with floodlights and attendant noise and litter. He suggested that she arrive sufficiently early (at Theydon Bois station) to avail herself of one of the existing spaces or, if she was sufficiently concerned about the environment, to catch a bus”. He believed it “vital that the residents of Abridge and Theydon Bois unite to thwart such proposals which will only lead to continuous suburban sprawl from London to Cambridge”. The proposal has been rejected but the applicant is appealing against this decision.

Commuters were now creating an unofficial car park at the junction of Old Station Road and the Abridge Road (near the proposed “green belt “ car park), which was causing damage to the grass verges and spoiling the environment. Debbie McLaren from Thrifts Hall Farm opposite the area said, “More people are coming here every day because nothing has been done about it. It’s a busy road and they stop in the middle and then reverse over to the other side. It’s an accident waiting to happen.” John Atwood also from Thrifts Hall Farm said, “They (the Police) say they can only ticket the cars if they are causing an obstruction. These people don’t live in Theydon Bois; they come from the surrounding villages”.

Adverse comments were made regarding MP’s expenses, and especially their use of such funding to support “second homes” in London. Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Councillor Joan Whitehouse said “Many of us who travel to Central London each day don’t understand why MP’s within easy commuting distance of Westminster should have a second home paid for by the taxpayer”. Villager John Owen of Forest Drive “agreed that there may be a need for MP’s “to stay in the Westminster area due to an extremely late night or for an early start in the Commons the next day. But he also balanced that against the cost of a taxi fare from the Commons to the MP’s constituency where their main residence existed.

The campaign for free travel on the underground rail system for pensioners in the Epping Forest District ran into the buffers despite the collection of 2,500 signatures in two petitions in favour of this plan. The EFDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee refused to even negotiate with Transport For London over this issue. At present, any pensioner living in London can travel free on the system using the Freedom Pass Scheme but their counterparts living in the Epping Forest District have no such support. Committee members made several comments, one being that this proposal was a luxury that the EFDC could not afford, but other members disputed this. Another member commented that this issue had existed for 13 years and would not go away.

It was revealed that nearly a quarter of a million pounds had been spent, to date, on the consultation process for the proposed Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Epping Forest District. This sum comes from local financial resources (e.g. local council taxation) and this disclosure has added to the resentment against the scheme.

The road link between Theydon Bois and Bell Common was once again the subject of serious protests regarding its dangerous road conditions. Previously, the residents in the lower end of Piercing Hill had been complaining but now the golfers using the Theydon Bois Golf Club were requesting that safety measures be incorporated in the Theydon Road which continues from Piercing Hill and passes through the Club Golf Course towards the Bell Common. At least 221 members of the Club had signed a petition demanding that the ECC install “slow down” and “pedestrian crossing” signs on the 60 mph stretch of the Road where players regularly cross between the 14th and 15th holes. John Spencer, the ECC member for Epping and Theydon Bois, visited the site and was hoping to get some signs installed which warned motorists of pedestrians crossing the Road.

Motorbike riders using the motor cross site on the controversial Blunts Farm Site in Coopersale Lane were once again, causing disturbance and annoyance. The police had been inundated with calls from local residents who had experienced angry confrontations with the riders. The EFDC had ordered Phil Newman the landowner to demolish the track and had threatened enforcement action. Mr Newman said,” I have had so many complaints. I will get a bull dozer to break it  (the track) up by the end of the month because it is getting a bit out of hand now”. Farmer Jim Axon, who sold the land to Mr Newman and still lives in his home at the edge of the site, complained that his Easter Weekend was ruined by the bikes roaring across the track from 8.30 am. until late afternoon.

Young skateboarders who use the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) car park for their sport had now become a serious problem due to their bad behaviour and the damage they cause. They had also become a danger to people and children using the TBVH by persisting with skate boarding right up to the entrance to the building when this was in use. Groups aged from 10 years to late teens had also insulted Hall users and even threatened Debbie Palmer the manger of the Montessori Nursery when she refused to move her car which was “obstructing” their activities; she had also photographed them on the Nursery Roof damaging the roof tiles. The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Chairman, Sue Jones, said, “It is an ideal meeting place for them but it has caused problems. But we are aware of what is going on and the Theydon Bois Village Association met the police last week to see what can be done.” Initially, permission was given for the younger youths to skateboard at the TBVH but this has now got out of hand with older youths with cars coming from other areas to skateboard.

The TBVH was the venue for an interesting presentation entitled “Feeling Good – Keeping Safe”. The Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership, in conjunction with Roding Valley U3A, invited a number of local organisations concerned with the welfare of elderly people and house security, generally, and local residents to attend.  A number of scenarios, acted by members of the U3A, demonstrated how distraction burglaries are carried out and help residents recognise bogus callers and to refuse them entry.


The 97-acre site owned by the Woodland Trust off the Abridge Road was the recent scene of unusual tree planting. Led by Michael Portillo, a former Defence Minister and Chairman of the Judging Panel for the annual Man Booker literary prize, members of the Panel planted 13 saplings at the site. The intention was to help replenish the trees cut down (elsewhere) to create the 112 novels they “ploughed through” during their judging deliberations.

The new wine store, Forest Wines, on the corner of Buxton Road and Forest Drive was broken into during a Sunday night prior to its formal opening. The premises were partially stocked but security shutters had yet to be fitted, subject to the successful application for planning permission for this improvement. However the store is now open and proving to be an excellent addition to the Village retailing community.

Di Angelo, a leading actor in the TV Programme “East Enders” and also a winner of the TV Strictly Come Dancing Competition, came to Theydon Bois to help launch a men's hair dressing business in the Village. The "Esquires Barbers" in the Forest Road shopping area, a new business, was established by Andy Valentine of Waltham Abbey who has 15 years experience in hairdressing.

The "Noddle" toy business and its neighbour "Theydon Security" vacated their premises in the Forest Drive retail area. Noddle had specialised in upmarket and educational toys for young children and Theydon Security was well known in Theydon Bois through its installation of the Village CCTV Systems, which had helped to reduce local crime. Theydon Security will though continue to provide the Village CCTV system and a full range of security services to all commercial and residential customers. Contact Tim Pennegar Tel: 01992 815446.

Former Villager Rosalie Pilgrim, who has lived in Loughton for 97 years, celebrated her 100th birthday with a large party held for her by her family and many friends, some of who had come from all over the world. She moved from Theydon Bois when very young, left school at 14, was apprenticed in dressmaking, became a seamstress, and settled in Millsmead Way with her husband Maurice. Now widowed and a resident of Cherry House, Loughton, she is very fit and independent.


During the months of March and April 2009, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois

Holy Baptism 

29 03 09     Max Newman and Sophia Olding

12 04 09     Megan Palmer


27 03 09     Janet Vigars



MARCH 2009



With spring just around the corner, the Meteorological Office announced, not surprisingly, that the departing winter had been the coldest for some years. The average mean temperature for the previous February, January and December was 3.1 degrees C. being the lowest since 1995 when 2.4 degrees C. was recorded. However the forecasters expected the recent trend of mild and wet winters to return and continue into the future.

The Epping, Loughton and Waltham Abbey Branches of the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) had now merged to form a new Epping Forest Citizens Advice Bureaux (EFCAB). The services offered at the three CAB centres will continue but it is hoped that the merger will result in an improved service for the community. Confidential and free general advice is available on any subject including welfare benefits, employment, debt, consumer problems, housing issues, relationship problems, specialist debt advice and how to reduce domestic fuel bills. All the information and help provided is given by fully trained advisers at the three centres in the District.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society published its 2009 Year Book and distributed copies throughout the Village. The Society will be holding its 100th Annual Show in the Theydon Bois Village Hall  (TBVH) on 25th July 2009, which will be a major event. The Society’s President, Barry Turner gave the sad news that the “Trading Hut”, an important gardening facility run by the Society in the Village for thirty years, is closing due to lack of support. The Hut was established as a "shop" where its members could obtain garden supplies on a discount basis, and receive horticultural advice.

Rumanian gypsy dances were included in a recital for violin and piano given at the March meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society in the TBVH.  Kokila Gillett – violin – and Pavel Timofejevsky – piano – also played music by Beethoven, Sarasate, Debussy, Ravel and Bartok/Szekely. These two young artists are already seasoned performers having played for radio, television, and film productions and given performances in concert halls in such diverse locations as Mumbai and Moscow.

Writing in the Theydon Bois Village News, Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Councillor Peter Gooch reported that a comprehensive response was made to the Gypsies and Travellers consultation exercise (also known as the Consultation Document) prepared by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). This involved the TBPC, The Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society, Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) and the South Theydon Bois Residents Association (STBRA), the latter with their own significant expense in securing the services of planning and other subject matter experts. The response contained strong planning arguments why the identified sites in the Village were not appropriate. TBAG in conjunction with other residents/action groups are mounting a legal challenge against the EFDC and the site selection process employed, an action fully endorsed by the TBPC.

Since the beginning of the year, the local Youth Club “Theydon Youth" has been meeting every Tuesday evening in the St Mary’s Church Hall. There were now 30 members comprising children in the age group 11 to 15 years and they have a ”Youth Committee" which is involved with decision-making regarding the Club. Reasonable behaviour is expected as defined by a set of Club Rules which request members To Respect People, Respect Equipment, No Smoking, No Alcohol, No Drugs, No Fighting, No Violence, No Stealing, No Abusive Language, No Skate Boarding (in the building), No Interfering with Lighting but to ENJOY THEMSELVES. The TBPC has been strongly supportive, donating a “start up grant “ of £1,000 and is represented on the Committee by Councillor Peter Hammond.  This grant has been used to acquire Club Insurance, stock the Tuck Shop and pay for the Club’s volunteer helpers to attend a first aid course. Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks have been carried out on all the Club’s helpers and child protection training is being arranged. The youngsters now have a location where they can meet friends, play pool, table tennis, play station or watch TV. Adult volunteers to serve on the Committee would be welcome.

A car crash in the notorious lower section of Piercing Hill resulted in a strong reaction from local residents in this area including Clare Pollock, who had lost count of the number of accidents occurring there in the last 13 years. A fatality occurred in February 2004 when Michael Humphries, 30, of Loughton died when his BMW car left the road. In 2005 the Essex County Council (ECC) had sited a speed camera in the area but this was removed within months.  A Villager commented that the installation of an illuminated speed limit sign appeared to have encouraged drivers to slow down; but this did not seem to have applied to the “lunatic element” that charged into this dangerous area. Another possible cause of accidents were vehicles, especially those black or dirty, being driven without lights during the day in conditions of poor visibility in the forested section of the road. The ECC revealed subsequently that it would be introducing new measures to deal with the problem.

In the TBVH, the Theydon Bois Drama Society staged a three-night production of the play “The Heiress”. The setting is the front parlour of the residence of Dr Sloper, played by Martin Oliver, in Washington Square, New York City, around 1850. The Heiress is Catherine, his daughter played by Sophia Norris, a young and innocent young lady whose hand is sought by Morris Townsend, played by Robert Clayton, an opportunist of bad character and dubious background.  His intentions fail and he is sent packing but then returns, a reformed character, to continue his with his matrimonial intentions – the outcome is surprising. The production was well staged and produced as usual.

At the March meeting of the Theydon Bois WI (TBWI), Colin Street spoke about his “Life and Work" at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre” in London. Kay Rush, the TBWI President, welcomed 67 members and one guest. She advised that Age Concern for the Over Fifties was an excellent organisation which could help with the provision and installation of smoke alarms, security locks, handrails, and bath rails, possibly free of cost.

A planning application for a car park with 350 spaces on the site of the Old Foresters Sports Ground to the east of Theydon Bois Station, was rejected by the EFDC. Despite several petitions in favour of the plan only 500 people gave their support (assuming that they were residents of Theydon Bois which has a population of more than 4,000!). Objections were also received from the TBPC, Loughton Town Council, TBAG, Theydon Bois  & District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS) and, last but not least, Transport for London (TFL) which had previously stated that it was not in favour of additional car parking facilities along the Central Line rail system because this was already over utilised. A major objection was the location of the car park on Green Belt land and that the design and lighting would have an adverse impact on the area.

In an open E Mail to Villagers, TBAG appealed for financial support in its objection to the inappropriate development of the proposed Gypsy and Traveller's sites in the Green Belt at Theydon Bois. This support was needed to properly respond to the Gypsy and Traveller's ongoing consultation organised by the EFDC. TBPC Councillor Peter Gooch had advised that a legal challenge to the Consultation was important, a view fully endorsed by the TBPC. A recent Government reduction in the Gypsy and Travellers pitch requirements for the Epping Forest District could possibly be due to the District’s robust response to the Government’s proposals.


A series of Lent Soup Lunches prepared by the ladies of St Mary’s Church was held in the Church Hall. For the low price of £5.00 a lunch of nutritious soup (seven varieties to choose from), dessert and coffee/tea could be enjoyed. These lunches were used to support and promote various charities

The Spar Grocers in Forest Road ceased trading. Part of the business was transferred to The Bookshop newsagents nearby which should see an improvement in business as a result. With this change, the newsagents had in fact now become a village store of the type once commonplace before the days of high-powered retailing.

The Theydon Bois Singers in the TBVH gave a rousing performance of Mendelssohn’s choral work “Elijah”. These mature and experienced vocalists coped well with this major work in which they accompanied lead singers of professional standing who had kindly supported the event.






At the beginning of the month the heaviest snowfall for eighteen years (some 8 inches) struck Theydon Bois in the early hours and virtually stopped all movement except the most hardy of pedestrians. Some 230 schools closed in Essex but the Village School opened as usual due to the efforts of the Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds and a few staff. Only a limited service was possible on the Central Line and many of the other underground rail lines in London shut down. The centre of the capital was brought to an almost complete standstill when all buses were withdrawn from service, for the first time ever (buses continued to operate during the wartime aerial bombing of London). The M25 Motorway was closed and road gritting services in both the Village and London were overwhelmed. In the Village, many residents were either unable to get to work or else opted for a day’s holiday, and so many families were out either walking in the snow or tobogganing on local slopes. The Artic Weather returned a few days later when sleet falling on icy surfaces produced some dangerous road conditions. The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) appeared to be conserving its stocks of grit by only treating major or busy routes, so minor roads in the Village had to be negotiated with care. Another road hazard, now making an appearance, were the numerous and often dangerous potholes caused by the freezing snow and frost.

Within days of the blizzard, one inch of rain falling in 24 hours caused considerable disruption by mixing with melting snow. Extensive flooding closed the roads through Abridge including that down from Theydon Bois and extensive flooding of gardens occurred in the Morgan Crescent area where the Slade Brook was in full spate due to water running off the high ground of Epping Forest already saturated by snow. Although Village roads were passable the usual lake appeared by the pedestrian crossing in Coppice Row where inconsiderate motorists splashed unsuspecting pedestrians. Water continued to run off onto the roads for several days and produce icy patches at night, yet another hazard for unsuspecting road users.

And the snow returned yet again on the evening of the Theydon Bois Music Society’s February meeting when Marcus Andrew gave a very professional and entertaining recital of music by J S Bach, Joseph Haydn, Francis Poulenc, Frederic Chopin and Claude Debussy. Sadly the audience comprised less than twenty stalwarts who had braved a continuing snowfall (again) of more than one inch to attend. Marcus did not curtail his recital despite a possible difficult journey home to Greenwich in London. Those in the audience from Epping had trouble in negotiating the hills out of the Village and one lady wisely returned to Theydon Bois to stay the night with a friend.

James Surguy, a resident of Theydon Bois, was selected as the prospective Conservative County Council Candidate for the Theydon Bois, Epping, Thornwood and Coopersale area. Well known as a conference speaker, writer, and industrial commentator, Jim runs his own business specialising in Corporate Development, M & A, helping clients with growth strategies, exit planning and value realisation. He believed that the ECC (Essex County Council) should put more pressure on the Essex Police to fight crime in our area, strongly oppose government pressure for more gypsy and travellers sites, support local businesses wherever possible and continue to support local post officer and GP surgeries.

The rural environment of Theydon Bois once again came under threat with the news that the five mobile telephone companies - Vodaphone, Orange, T Mobile, 3 and O2 - were planning to increase the number of phone masts in the Epping Forest District to improve local reception. More than 100 masts are already installed in the local area and a further 30 were planned. Two would be in the Village, one at Parsonage Farm and the other, most unsightly and intrusive, on the roof of the old telephone exchange by the Village Green. Apart from their visual intrusion, masts have been considered as health hazards due to possible harmful radiations emitting from the aerials on the masts. The Stewart Report commissioned by the Government found that there may be health risks relating to masts and advised against them being installed next to schools. Masts can be erected without planning permission when under 15m in height. An example of what to expect locally is at the Oak View Special School in Loughton where governors, staff and parents have been fighting to remove the mast already on their site, yet the Orange Company planned to erect another there.

The campaign for free London rail travel for old age pensioners in the Epping Forest District was gathering momentum. Currently, people in the District who are aged over 60 must pay the full fare at local stations while their London neighbours, some only a short distance down the line, have free transport through the Freedom Pass Scheme. The London Councils rejected a petition of more than 2,000 signatures, calling for an end of this anomaly, earlier this year. However, Norman Hume, the Essex County Council (ECC) member for Highways, had promised to raise the matter with Transport For London (TFL) after his recent meeting with the EFDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The EFDC was offering commercial organisations the opportunity to sponsor the maintenance of roundabouts at road intersections in return for advertising their organisation with 5ft wide signs on the roundabouts. The nearest to Theydon Bois would be the Wakes Arms in Epping Forest on the Loughton to Epping Road. The City of London, which has legal responsibility for the Forest, has objected to slogan boards being sited in the ancient Forest. The Campaign to Protect Rural Essex (CPRE) considered that the signs would detract from the "rural feel" and the visual quality of the Forest. Moreover, the signs could distract the drivers of road vehicle users especially at dangerous road junctions. Another undesirable form of advertising appearing in the district was the increasing use of lorry trailers carrying posters and parked in fields adjacent to busy roads.

A new form of crime came to Theydon Bois when Stephen Ward, 55, an Advertising Director from Kensal Rise, London, was robbed of £15,000 at gunpoint. He had used the eBay electronic auction website system to arrange for the purchase of a Land Rover motor vehicle with the transaction taking place at the Theydon Bois Station. However, at the Station, two men approached him, brandished a firearm and demanded the money. Fearing for his life, Mr Ward complied and the men also took his laptop computer and mobile telephones.  A spokeswoman for the Essex Police said that detectives were currently scanning the CCTV footage for evidence.

Police and farmers in the local area have joined forces to combat the increasing incidence of rural crime. Nearly 70 farmers in the Epping Forest District are now linked to the police and each other via an E Mail Computer Network established by Tony Ellis, the Local Crime Reduction Officer. News of rural crimes and details of suspicious people and vehicles can now be quickly circulated via the network, as also can images recorded on farmers’ own CCTV Systems. Mr Ellis said, “The network covers a huge area and is already getting results. Shared information and security advice is reducing crime and leading to arrests, and the scheme has attracted attention from farmers across Essex and other police authorities.”

The EFDC announced a revision of the domestic refuse collection/recycling scheme for the area. It was proposed to issue an additional wheelie bin, for the collection of garden and/or domestic food waste, to each household. Residents would have the option to be issued with sealed bags instead of an additional bin and this would help households with limited space for bin storage; the plastic bags currently in use would be phased out eventually. 


During the months of January and February 2009, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

01 02 09     Thomas Moore


31 01 09     Tim Jones & Lisa Frankest


03 02 09     Steven Price    06 02 09  Lillian Carter    19 02 09  Frederick Jones






Theydon Bois was virtually deserted at first light on New Year’s Day. The Tesco Express store and the Bookshop newsagents were open and, surprisingly, the contract street cleaners were already at work although there appeared to be little festive rubbish around. The downturn in the economic situation continued with the FTSE Index at the lowest level since its inception and with farming costs, council taxation and travel fares forecast to rise. There were demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in London against the Israeli air strikes launched against Gaza in an attempt to stop the Hamas terrorist organisation firing rockets into Israel. A possible disruption of Russian gas supplies to Britain was forecast due to Russia cutting supplies to the Ukraine through which British supplies also pass. On the bright side, retail trading continued to be brisk due to the substantial discounts on offer to offset losses incurred by poor trading during the Christmas period. In London, 400,000 people watched the New Year Day’s Parade from Westminster to Central London. But the year 2009 began against a background of uncertainty and pessimism.

Just before the Christmas the Fosters Ladies Hairdressers in Forest Road finally closed its doors, as the owner John Foster was retiring after being in business there for more than 50 years. Fosters was established in 1939 by John’s parents who initially lived in the flat above. After serving an apprenticeship elsewhere in hairdressing, John joined his parents in the business and carried on when they retired. John supported the local community in many ways especially by allowing his window to be used as an unofficial notice board, which publicised the many events and activities for which Theydon Bois is noted.

As the winter frosts became more frequent with black ice forming on the roads, a continual hazard in the Abridge Road once again caused problems. A continuous overflow of water onto the road near the lower bend, in the direction of Abridge, froze frequently and caused a number of road accidents; seven had occurred recently on an early Saturday morning. This situation had prompted local resident Owen Rowland to complain to the Essex County Council (ECC) that water had been flowing for some time into the road from a manhole cover outside his home. The ECC cleared a gully but the problem persisted

During the Christmas period, an application was made for a car park on the site of the Old Foresters Sports Ground to the east of Theydon Bois Station. The application was lodged by a company apparently formed specifically for this project. The owner of the land, George Dilloway, said, “The council had not provided any options for car parking in the area and at the moment about 60 people were already dumping their cars there illegally, and everyday, because there is nowhere else for them to go with all the double yellow lines”. Mr Dilloway also hoped that Transport for London (TFL) would construct a new entrance to the station to make the proposed car park even more accessible to commuters. However TFL had already stated its objection to any new or extended car parks serving this rail system as it was already overloaded with passenger traffic. A Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) spokesman said, “The development would just compromise our Green Belt with no local benefit”.

The first snow of winter fell during the early hours of the Monday after the Christmas/New Year break which was the first real return to work for many, and the one centimetre layer of snow falling on frozen ground severely hampered the rush hour traffic, until the roads were fully gritted. This current cold spell had commenced on Boxing Day and was the coldest start to a New Year for 30 years.

In the middle of the month the weather stood on its head by producing temperatures a high as plus 23 degrees C. in complete contrast to those of minus 4 degrees C. experienced only a short time ago. The ice quickly disappeared from the Village Pond and the daffodil shoots now appearing grew another few inches. Global warning was again blamed (?) for this anomaly of an early spring but strong winds were forecast for the coming weekend.

TBAG circulated a leaflet entitled “Theydon Bois Under Threat” which listed three areas of major threat to the Village:

1. A planning application for a commuter car park (EFP/2439/08), on the Old Foresters Sport Ground behind Forest Drive, for 160 car spaces with a possible extension to 350.

2. 104 hectares of land including Blunts Farm, the Old Foresters site and additional farmland being promoted as potential housing development in the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) “Call For Sites” strategy.

3. Two potential gypsy and traveller sites, proposed for Coopersale Lane and at its junction with the Abridge Road, for a total of 21 pitches and at least 42 caravans.

More than 150 Villagers and other interested parties packed into the Village Primary School for a meeting held by the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) to discuss the Consultation on Options – Development Plan Provision for Gypsies and Travellers in the Epping Forest District, (hereafter referred to as the Consultation Document). This publication, circulated by the EFDC, contained a multiple-choice complex questionnaire which many Villagers found difficult to understand. The TBPC had therefore organised a presentation to provide a greater understanding of the issues involved. The Chairman of the TBPC, Councillor Sue Jones presided and welcomed   all present especially Mrs Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest.  Mrs Laing spoke of her total support to the opposition to the Document, which she said was totally undemocratic and circumvented all our democratic processes.  She told of her request to the Speaker of the House of Commons for a debate on the issues involved and this had taken place in the House on Oct 2008. Both herself and Mr Eric Pickles, the MP for Brentwood, were working closely together in this matter.

The current production of the Theydon Bois Drama Society held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was a great success being a musical with the musical score written by Andrew Lloyd Webber no less. The production comprised a series of extracts from the “Jeeves “stories by P.G.Wodehouse with lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn. In a cast of fifteen players, several playing dual roles, Ian Heard was outstanding as Bertie Wooster and he was well matched by Martin Oliver's excellent performance as Jeeves, the suave and impossibly competent butler. Sophie Norris was equally excellent as in the roles of Evaline Appleby-Whitchurch and Madeline Bassett. The Ruth Williams Ensemble with Ruth Williams as the musical director provided the music and Jan Freeman directed the production.

Kay Rush, President of the Theydon Bois WI welcomed 60 members to the WI January meeting and gave a special welcome to new member Daphne Ruffell. The Essex Federation was appealing for donations of personal toilet items, disinfectant, etc which would be passed on to the deprived residents of poor countries. Forthcoming events planned for 2009 include a Pancake Social in February, a Sherry/Coffee Morning in April, a Tea and Cake Social Afternoon in September and an American Lunch in October. The talk given at the meeting about the Essex Air Ambulance was both interesting and revealing especially regarding operational costs.

A questionnaire was circulated to all residents in the Epping Forest area, regarding the future management of the Forest. Known as the Epping Forest Strategy and issued conjointly by the City of London and the Essex County Council, it dealt with five aspects of Forest Management; improving the Forest Environment, Route Management, Site Accessibility and Road Safety, Road Signage and Sustainable Transport.


The Church Authorities announced that charity collections at St Mary’s Church during the Christmas period amounted to more the £2,500; Parish Christmas Card sales raised £650 for the “Send a Cow” relief charity, Christmas Church Services realised £1,100 for the Children’s Society, Carol Service collections amounted to £750 for the Christian Aid Congo Appeal and Posada raised £150 for the Church Army.

It was revealed that the off licence business at the corner of Buxton and Forest Roads could possible reopen under another name. The previous Wine Rack business closed in June 08, probably due to competition from the Tesco Express mini market around the corner in Coppice Row. A planning application in the names of Chagi and Amit Khetiya had been submitted for this new business.

During one night early in the month, the Bookshop newsagents in Forest Road were broken into. The entire stock of cigarettes, cash from the till and the contents of the cash point machine were all stolen.

An increase in fire incidents, generally, in the County caused the Chief Fire Officer of Essex to request the installation of more smoke alarms in homes and businesses.


During December 2008 and January 2009, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

28 12 08     Jayden Poole


22 12 08     Doris Harris

16 01 09     Florence Godfrey

21 01 09     Dora Dewey

Burial of Ashes

07 12 08     Michael Lowe

03 01 09     Ralph Weston 

Last Updated: 3rd February 2010