Theyon Web Title

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 (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.

November to follow


December 2010 



The early winter weather of late November continued unabated into December with Theydon Bois receiving the full impact of heavy snowfalls, biting easterly winds and severe overnight frosts of minus 5 degrees centigrade. The South East of England including South London was badly affected with virtually no train services in or out of the capital and with trains (including passengers) stranded overnight. Gatwick airport was closed with hundreds of travelers, including Villagers, unable to reach warmer climes. Similar transport problems existed on the motorways in the south east with many snowbound and abandoned vehicles including heavy goods, creating obstructions. As usual, the authorities came in for criticism for being unable to predict and/or cope with the weather. However an official explained that these conditions were exceptional and even Central Europe, used to ice and snow, was suffering from similar transport chaos.  Many schools closed but the Village Primary School maintained its excellent record of remaining open; mums and dads unable to get to work, because of the snow were seen “hauling” their children to school on small sledges or toboggans having dispensed with prams.

Christmas officially arrived in Theydon Bois on the third of the month when, on the icy and snow-covered forecourt of the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), Villager of the Year, Marian Mellis formally switched on the village Christmas Tree Lights. This year the event again took place on a special covered stage where carols were sung by a choir of children from the Theydon Bois Primary School, together with the Theydon Singers. The Christmas Message was given by the Pastor Sue Bartley from the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) and then Chris Jones from the Epping Forest Citizen’s Advice Bureau appealed for support for this vital charity which has helped hundreds of people with various problems. Father Christmas, alias Phil Woods arrived in a large van as his reindeer were having a rest before the hectic run up to Christmas. He then took up residence in his grotto at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) and gave presents and sweets to the younger children. The organizing committee of this very successful event comprised the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Chairman Sue Jones, who was also the MC for the event, and TBPC Councillors Sue Sowerby, John Phillip and the Parish Clerk Sally Crone.

On 14th of the month relatives and friends of Joan Margaret Emily Palmer gathered at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Theydon Bois, for a service of thanksgiving to commemorate her life. The Reverend Dr Anthea Cannell once again returned to the Village from her new ministry at Roydon to conduct a service for one of her previous parishioners. A family tribute to Joan was read by Christopher Palmer, and Gemma Poole read the poem “Places We Love” which had been translated from the Serbo – Croat by Francis R Jones. Organ music was played during a period for reflection and for memories of Joan. Anthea Cannell gave the address and Beryl Denny said the Prayers of Intercession. Joan had been a leading light locally until she suffered a stroke several years ago.

Local residents whose properties back onto the Frank Foster House in Loughton Lane were alarmed to learn that the owners of this care home were seeking planning permission to extend the property. The home was a substantial building overlooking the smaller adjacent properties and was illuminated all night; this was a considerable intrusion in a Village where street lighting was absent, by popular vote, to preserve the rural environment. The planned two storey extension would contain seven bedrooms with a day room.

The Theydon Bois Singers made their contribution to the Festive Scene with their annual Christmas Concert in the TBVH. Their programme contained a miscellany of traditional and classical Christmas music interspersed with seasonal readings. Janet Cass conducted the singers as usual. The pianist and anchor man, once again, was the redoubtable and accomplished Paul Chilvers. The proceeds from the evening went to support the charity Epilepsy Bereaved in memory of Eleanor Mary Davis, the young student granddaughter of one of the singers.

Not to be outdone, the Theydon Bois Music Society celebrated Christmas in the TBVH with a welcome return of the Friends at Christmas group comprising Paul Chilvers – Piano, Victoria Soames Samek – Clarinet, Daisy Brown – Soprano and Catherine Carter – Mezzo. Their programme was varied and included Purcell’s “Hark! How the Songsters”, Head’s “Little Road to Bethlehem” and Cole Porters’ “Every Time We Say Goodbye”. The evening ended with resounding applause from the large audience present.

Members and friends of the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) were invited to attend performances of the Christmas Pantomime “Humpty Dumpty” staged by Potter Street Baptist Church near Harlow. The TBBC had also received the donation of a bench from Philip Sams and family to be placed outside the Church in memory of Lily and Bob Sams. Marjorie Denny and family had donated a sum of money for the purchase of music books in memory of Chick Denny.

The winter weather returned with a vengeance on the Saturday before Christmas. A major blizzard at lunch time deposited some 6 inches of snow within 45 minutes in the Epping area. Road traffic was reduced to the inevitable crawl and major airports across the South of England were closed for a time. Road gritting was non existent in some areas as the sudden onslaught appeared to have caught the authorities unprepared for snow. Locally, Villagers trying to avoid the chaos on the main roads from Epping opted for the usual and shorter route via Piercing Hill which soon became impassable with abandoned vehicles. Those with local knowledge promptly drove into the car park of the adjacent Theydon Bois Golf Club and set off on foot for home, carrying their Christmas (Tesco?) shopping.

Christmas 2010 was decidedly white”. The snows of the past week still lay "round and about" and the temperature was down to minus five degrees C. making December the coldest since records began in 1910. Turmoil continued abroad with unemployment riots in Tunisia, terrorist bomb incidents in Pakistan and Central Nigeria, Taliban fighting in Afghanistan and with North and South Korea making belligerent threats towards each other. In the UK air travellers stranded by the recent bad weather were now flying out (or in) from airports but rail travel was delayed and reduced by the shortage of trains and, moreover, the London Underground System would not operate on Boxing Day due to industrial action. Influenza outbreaks were increasing and visits to hospitals were therefore being discouraged. However, Christmas Eve saw a sharp increase in retail trading which helped offset losses caused by the bad weather. In her Christmas Speech, the Queen spoke of the need to encourage sport as a medium for improving community relations, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury asked if the richest elements of British Society were bearing their share of the economic downturn, and the Pope called for an end to conflict around the world.

But Theydon Bois was at peace and silent in the early morn except where, in many homes, excited children were opening presents and busy housewives preparing festive meals. 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. The roads were quiet and the temporary traffic lights at the ongoing road works at the railway viaduct controlled non-existent traffic. On the village pond a large number of water fowl awaited a meal from thoughtful villagers. 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. 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.


A young Villager, Lochlan Bearman, was "cutting his teeth” in motor racing by making his name in the sport of “karting”, where low powered four wheeled vehicles are raced on a small circuit. The eight year old had beaten most of his rivals aged up to 13 years, in the Red Lodge Honda Cadet Championship, “to top the standings” at the final race of the season. Lochlan started racing when only six and has hit speeds of 55 mph on his way to five race victories and two runners up places.

The Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce held its second Supper Club Evening in the TBVH in early December. The guest speaker was Stephen Norris a former Conservative MP for Epping Forest from 1988 until 1997 and who has since run twice as a candidate for the office of Mayor of London.

A fund raising evening was also held in early December at the Indian Ocean restaurant in Coppice Row in support of the Epping Sports Centre Gymnastics Club which has been chosen to take part in a Gymnastrada international event next year in Switzerland. The evening raised £1,000 towards the total of £21,000 required for a team of youngsters from the Club to compete.

The TBPC held a “One –2 – One Consultation” evening in the TBVH. Villagers were given the opportunity to raise matters of concern or particular issues, in confidence, with a TBPC Councillor or a police officer. There was also the opportunity to have personal possessions made more secure by the application of personal markings.

The year 2010 ended as in 2009 with continuing financial problems and the threat of increasing unemployment and tax rises, this time due to the new coalition government’s policy of “cut backs” to improve the national economic situation. More than 250 thousand people, including many Villagers, travelled to Central London to celebrate the arrival of 2011 which was ushered in at the stroke of midnight by Big Ben and followed by a tremendous ten-minute fireworks display on the Thames, accompanied by music. The London Transport system operated throughout the night with free travel to facilitate the return home.  Back in Theydon Bois the sky over the Village was also lit at midnight with numerous private displays, which lasted intermittently for some time and many houses remained illuminated all night with seasonal decorations, especially where New Year parties were in full swing. So, for many, the Old Year went out on a happy note.






On 30 Sep 2010, the Church Commissioners signed an order which created a new United Benefice of Theydon Bois and Theydon Garnon (a United Benefice is one where Parishes remain separate and distinct but share the same Vicar). This Pastoral Scheme came into effect on 01 Oct 2010 when Theydon Garnon ceased to be part of the Epping District Team Ministry. Interviews for the new incumbent of the United Benefice would be held later.

On a wet Wednesday morning of the 6th Oct, relatives and friends of Stanley Duckworth Johnson gathered at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Theydon Bois, for a service of praise and thanksgiving to commemorate his life. Once again the Reverend Dr Anthea Cannell returned to the Village from her new ministry at Roydon to conduct a service for one of her previous parishioners. A family tribute to Stan was read by Judith Wood, a reading was given by Joy Oliver and Anthea Cannell gave the address. Stan was the widower of Eileen Johnson who had been a leading and stalwart figure in Theydon Bois for many years, and also a member of the TBPC.

The Theydon Bois Village Association (TBVA) advertised for a Caretaker/Keyholder for the TBVH. The position was currently held by Roger Badcock who would be retiring in December 2010 after many years of faithful service in looking after the TBVH at most times and often in inclement weather. The Hall is well used by many groups throughout the week and the principle duties would include opening up and securing the premises, sometimes three or four times daily. Therefore a village resident was required for this position, which would be salaried and could suit a recently retired person. The commitment would be for six days week but the position could be shared by two people.

Early in the month, the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS) held in a lecture evening in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) when the speaker was Cath Patrick, the Senior Conservation Officer for the Lee Valley Park. She spoke about ”Wildlife in the Lee Valley” and the history and nature of the River Lee over many years and how it became a vital transport link to London, with the movement of agricultural produce for the City, and eventually a basis for industrial development along its banks. The Park became established in the 1960s and comprised the river and the many lakes formed by gravel extraction. The Park authority had now established a recreational link running from Ware in Hertfordshire down to Limehouse on the Thames and including the site of the 2012 Olympic Park. The static water areas now available are 50% greater in size than the Norfolk Broads and a Bio Diversity Plan had been introduced which provides many habitat developments for wildlife especially birds, with otters common place already.

The Marylebone Trio, comprising Jemma Bausor (oboe), Jessica Tipton (clarinet) and Alexandra Davidson (bassoon), gave a recital of music by various composers including JS Bach, Gordon Jacob, Alex Silverman and Mozart at the October meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. The audience warmly applauded the performance given by this Trio which was formed in 2003 by postgraduate students at the Royal Academy of Music.

Plans were submitted for a proposed commuter car park near Theydon Bois Station. They related to a 179 car park on green belt land at the former Old Foresters' Club off Abridge Road and it was claimed that this proposal would ease commuter car parking congestion in the Village. These current plans appeared to be a revised version of those submitted last year, which was not approved. The Loughton Residents Association had already spoken out against the proposal because of its affect on passenger congestion further down the Central line. Other objections were being voiced locally.

In a letter to the Epping Forest Guardian, villager Dr John Warren of Woodland Way commented on the car park proposal. He pointed out that the commuter parking problems experienced by residents living elsewhere in the District were probably due to long distance, migrant commuters who drive from places, which already have railway stations into London, to access the cheaper travel on the Central Line. Having spent petrol money for the journey, they were not prepared to pay more money to park. The charges for the proposed car park would be in line with other nearby Central Line stations but a recent increase in charges (£5.50 for Epping) has already caused a public outcry, Therefore, from the outset, the proposed car park would be financially unsustainable.

Villagers were warned of a “scam” which was being perpetrated at cash dispensing machines in the District by team of two or three thieves. As cash was being dispensed, one of the team would drop a £5 note at the feet of the person making the transaction. As this person was looking down and possibly retrieving the note, another thief would take the cash from the machine and possibly take the user’s card as well. The thieves would then quickly disperse and quietly disappear into the crowd having chosen a busy time to commit the crime.

Sunny weather ensured a good turnout of 57 members for the October meeting of the TBWI. The speaker was Mr D Bruce Ronaldson and his topic was every Picture Tells a Story. The visit to the Cliffs Pavilion at Southend on 20th November next was being organised and tickets were now available.

Local resident James Hollis, 16, a disabled swimming champion who suffers from osteongenesis imperfecta, also know as brittle bones, received a grant to help him achieve his ambition of competing in swimming at European level. James opted for swimming as the most suitable pursuit to cater for his condition, although he suffered from a break injury when jumping off a diving board. The grant of £400 comes from the Papworth Trust Scheme which helps disabled athletes with the potential to compete in Paralympics. The award, made because of Jaime’s “incredible determination to succeed”, will allow him acquire a laptop computer to help with his studies at Davenant School while in training.

It was announced that the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) had finally acquired the youth club building off Loughton Lane for use by the community. The site was earmarked for housing development and the building had been empty for a decade, but after considerable negotiations, the TBPC was able to purchase the building from the Essex County Council (ECC) for £300,000. A charitable trust will now be set up to fund the refurbishment of the building which requires redecorating and rewiring. The youth club which, has been using the St Mary’s Church Hall, will be the first to benefit and other organisations including singing and dancing groups have shown an interest in its use. TBPC Councillor Peter Hammond said “Everyone involved was delighted that the deal had finally gone through. We pushed so hard for the youth of Theydon Bois. But it would not just be young people who benefit from the centre being back in the hands of the community. We hope to set up a computer workshop for older people taught by youngsters so that we can get the two working together”.

The last night performance on 30th Oct of Murder Mistaken, staged in the TBVH by the Theydon Bois Drama Society, was well supported. This drama by playwright Janet Green, also filmed as Cast a Dark Shadow, told the story of a charming man who gets rich by marrying and murdering older women until he meets his match.


The ladies of the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) held a Ladies Who Lunch at the Belgique Café in Forest Drive. All ladies were welcome to attend on the basis of “come when you can and go when you have to”.

The TBVH was crowded with model enthusiasts and collectors attending the Toy and Train Collectors’ Fair organised by the Joe Lock organisation. Business was quite brisk and a good variety of items were on sale, possibly  because the second hand market being boosted by collectors endeavouring to raise some cash during the current national economic crisis.

Christians in Theydon Bois and across the UK were asked to join together in support of the Sight Savers charity and remember all who are blind especially those in the developing countries. This year the focus was on the millions of children who are blind, therefore unable to attend school and so face a life of poverty.

The Mothers Union of St Mary’s Church launched Operation Christmas Child in the Church Hall. The aim was to collect items for the world’s poorest children, as suggested in presentations and displays in the Church Hall and the Church. The donated items were packed into shoe boxes (also donated) and financial assistance with postage/transport costs was also requested. In 2009 the church despatched 165 boxes, a record which it was hoped to exceed this year.

During the months of August, September and October 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

03 10 10 Andrew Thomas     Chloe Thomas   Amber Thomas


28 09 10 Gerald Prior           06 10 10    Stanley Johnson

Burial of Ashes

27 18 10    Peter Twinn                17 10 10    Rosina Larner








In the autumn, a hidden danger lurked on the floor of Epping Forest – the deadly “Devil’s Bolete" mushroom. It was not easy to distinguish from among the many other 1,000 variety of fungi currently growing there but, if eaten, could result in hospitalisation at the very least. Excessive mushroom picking had seriously affected the ecology of the Forest so the City of London had now banned all mushroom picking except for scientific research, and then only when licensed. So another hidden danger was that of being prosecuted and appearing in court.

The unfamiliar sight of large red double-decker buses on the local roads  reminded Villagers that the annual Vintage Bus Display and Running Day organised by the North London Transport Society was again being held at the Theydon Bois Village hall (TBVH). While this surprised and intrigued the younger generation, their elders suffered pangs of nostalgia on seeing the old London Transport RT Buses, its famous RML Routemasters, the smaller LS and RF Single - deck Class, and even Green Line vehicles trundling in and out of the TBVH car park. Free rides along the old routes could be taken in these veteran but well maintained vehicles. The most popular was the single-decker Route 250 running from Epping to Romford via Theydon Bois, Abridge, Passingford Bridge, Stapleford Abbotts and Havering. Today’s ride ended at Passingford Bridge where  passengers were amused  to see a Transport for London Bus Stop signifying the end of the old route from Romford which now operates under the new London authority and, which today, ends in the middle of nowhere! Sadly, such is modern progress.

 At a time of economic cutbacks and squeeze throughout the country, commuters using the Epping and Theydon Bois Station car parks faced an increase in the all day parking charges. At Epping, the Monday to Friday rate jumped from £3.70 to £5.50 and at Theydon Bois, from £2.40 to £3.50. The weekend charges at Theydon Bois were now £1.50 for Saturdays and Bank Holidays and £1.00 for Sundays.

 A sunny day resulted in 61 members and 2 guests attending the September meeting of the Theydon Bois WI in the TBVH. The loss of two members in August was reported, Bobby Price and Betty Thomson; letters of condolence had been sent to their families. Communications were received from the Home Start charity for the WI donation of £500 and another, interestingly, from the BBC2 organisation requesting members who had work experience in the 1940s, 50s, 80s and 90s to get in touch regarding a BBC2 series about work. A special August edition of the Essex Federation Newsletter gave details of how the Federation functions and introduced new members of the Federation Board.

The Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) took part in the launch of a new monthly group for Christian children and young people from church congregations in Epping and the surrounding areas. Organised by the Epping Young Christians (EPYC) under the Joint Youth and Children’s Work Initiative, the  first meeting was held at the Box Youth Centre in Epping and comprised  a programme of games, friendship activities, discussions, worship and fun; moreover it provided the opportunity for Christian children and young people to link up locally. The event was planned and led by children’s workers and youth workers, from churches across the Epping District, all of whom were CRB checked and had references from church ministers.

There were claims that crime in the Epping Forest District would rise if the magistrate’s courts at Epping and Harlow were to close as part of 103 planned closures across the country. This action would result in local police officers having to attend the Chelmsford magistrate's court when an application for a warrant had to be made. Chief Superintendent Simon Williams, the Western Divisional Commander, added his voice to the growing protests and said “There’ll be an impact on crime and there may be an impact on officers required to attend cases”. Magistrate Rosemary Padfield of Rolls Farm Ongar said ”I’m quite sure it will a have an impact on magistrates. One of the things they (magistrates) like is they know the local area, that’s part of being a magistrate - you know the roads, the area and the people”.

The St Mary’s Church Harvest Flower Festival was held over the weekend commencing 24 Sept 10. The event began on the Friday evening with a Festival Preview Reception held in the Church followed by a concert given by the Crofton Singers. On the Saturday a mini fair was held in the Churchyard with stalls selling many items and refreshments available in the Church Hall. Many visited the Church to see the nineteen colourful and artistic floral displays sponsored by numerous villagers with most displays dedicated to deceased loved ones. The titles were both descriptive, sometimes touching, especially "Golden Fields, Harvest from Grandpa’s Allotment and Autumn Bounty". The event concluded on Sunday with a Family Communion Service and Festival Choral Evensong.

During 2010 and earlier, extensive building work had been taking place in the Village comprising the construction of new properties or the refurbishment/alteration of existing properties. An area of particular activity was the Piercing Hill where one property currently advertised was a penthouse apartment forming part of the newly converted Victorian Mansion which was formerly Wansfell College. Another was a Victorian house with substantial accommodation, mature gardens and extensive parking. Both were complimented by extensive views over the neighbouring Epping Forest.


Fiona Dodd of the TBBC thanked all who sponsored her in the recent British UK Run in London. Although it was hot day, over 26,000 people took part and although Fiona was not up with the running elite, she did complete the run in a respectable time. The money she raised would be forwarded to the Whitechapel Mission for the Homeless in London.

The three pubs in the Village continued to trade with the Bull and the Queen Victoria benefiting from their central locations. The Sixteen String Jack at its relatively remote location at the top of Coppice Row continued to prove popular with special offers including a free bottle of wine for four diners, Friday Fish Nights, Physic Nights and Halloween Nights. The pub was already taking bookings for Christmas Day lunches.

During the month of September 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


04 09 10    Andrew Cherry and Louise Henderson


09 09 10               Kenneth Bray







There was a possibility that the Epping Forest District (which includes Theydon Bois) could have an elected Mayor. Twelve directly elected mayors are already in office in the UK and Robin Tilbrook, of nearby Willingale, and the Chairman of the English Democrats political party, had started the legal process for an elected executive mayor. He had registered a Petition for a Referendum under the Local Government Act 2000 with the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) elections department and was urging every elector in the District to support the Petition. The Mayor would be directly elected by the electorate and serve for 4 to 5 years. He could not be removed from office by the Council and the civic and ceremonial duties normally carried out by the Mayor would remain, but as the function of a separate “Chairman of Council”.

Local resident Emma Hollis, a highly successful Paralympics swimmer, was among the party of EFDC Councillors who recently visited the 2012 Olympic Park at Stratford and the Lee Valley White Water Canoe Centre at Waltham Abbey. After viewing the Stratford Site, the party returned to the White Water Canoe Centre where Ashley Bartleet from the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority gave an update on the state of progress at the Centre.

After a successful season of telemark skiing as a member of the Great Britain team for this sport, local resident Sarah Hannibal was training hard for the coming season where she hoped to improve on her placing of 18th on the World Cup circuit. Telemark skiing or ”telemarking” is a style of skiing from Telemark in Norway involving the use of wooden skis. Also known as “free heeled skiing”, this entails skiing downhill in the “lunge” position on a giant salom course which includes a jump and curved banking. The physical demands are such that some skiers collapse on completing a four minute race.

On the 24th August, a large congregation attended a Service of Celebration for the life of Joyce Muriel Eynon, which was held in the Parish Church of St John the Baptist in Epping. Joyce died on 10 August 2010 in a Kent nursing home but had been a resident of the Village for many years. She was a great lover of music, being a long serving Chairman of the Theydon Bois Music Society, and so the service began and ended with the music of Frederick Delius. The service was conducted by the Rev Bryon Morrison who also gave the address. The three readings were given respectively by her grandson JJ, granddaughter Alyson and her stepson John Eynon. In the address which followed, the congregation learned about Joyce's extensive involvement in the local community. After the service, Joyce was cremated at Parndon Wood, Harlow, and a reception was then held at the George and Dragon in Epping High Street.

The plan to plant two lines of young oak trees alongside the existing oaks on the Village Green, to ensure a continuation of this attractive feature of the Village, came a step closer. The City of London department based at The Warren Loughton, arranged for a visit to the Barcham Potted Tree Specialists at Ely during which fifty young oak saplings could be selected for purchase for eventual planting on the Green. Keith Thompson, the Estates Management Officer (Epping Forest) accompanied by Dr Jeremy Dagley the Conservation Manager, drove to the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) en route to pick up a group of Villagers who had been invited to join them. Barchams have a wide distribution around the UK and supplies trees to many leading organisations including the Royal Parks, and so has a Royal Appointment to the Queen. On arrival at Barchams, the group was met by Clyde Seagrave of Barcham Sales who conducted the party around the 300 acre site where 160,000 trees across 450 varieties are cultivated annually. An important feature of Barcham trees is that most, some over twenty feet tall, are potted in special "light pot” white containers which screen the roots from sunlight (and heat) to allow the root system to develop naturally while the tree awaited sale and planting. Barchams had taken considerable care with tree irrigation by building two water reservoirs which supply a pumping /filtration system which in turn waters each tree via an extensive computer-control complex. After spending some time selecting the trees for the Village Green, the party was entertained with a light lunch and then travelled back to Theydon Bois much the wiser for this fascinating horticultural experience.

The results of the Theydon Bois Annual Front Gardens Competition were announced. Organised by the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), this competition has been held for some years and, although not widely publicised, encourages residents and establishments to cultivate garden displays which could rival those of professional organisations, or at the very least to keep their gardens tidy. The competition is in four classes and the winners for 2010 were: Formal Gardens – 31 Woburn Avenue, Informal Gardens – 26 Heath Drive, Hard standing with Planting – 23 Dukes Avenue and Commercial – The Queen Victoria Public House.


In late July (26 07 10) interviews were held for the vacant position of Vicar at St Mary’s Church, However, no appointment was made and the position would be re-advertised in September 2010

Local resident Clare Hogan of Pakes Way held a street collection in Epping to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity. Together with her mother they raised a grand total of £471 and wished to thank all who had contributed. The money will go to support the associated Essex Nursing Charity appeal, the organisers of whom hope to raise £450,000 to recruit more nurses in the county.

The Sixteen String Jack at the top of Coppice Row continued to be a welcoming village pub with wholesome home cooking as the main feature of the establishment. Special offers are available for old age pensioners.

The Forest Wines retail business in Forest Drive celebrated its first year of trading. It continued to stock a wide range of wines, beers, and spirits and specialised in supplying drinks for barbecues and special parties.


During the months of July and August 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


30 07 10    Matthew Breavington and Vicky Spry

21 08 10    Spencer Williams and Lorraine Hurley


16 07 10  Ann Van-Der Headon             19 07 10    Betty Clare German

23 07 10  Phillip David Evans                 23 08 10    Vera Hilda Price

24 08 10  Edith Amelia Thomson



JULY 2010 



At the beginning of the month, Dr Jeremy Dagley, the Conservation Manager for Epping Forest, was the speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). After a brief introduction in which he discussed the general management of the Forest, he then gave a very detailed and informative talk about the cultivation of trees by using the ancient crafts of “coppicing and pollarding”. With coppicing, trees (eg. ash, beech, alder), are allowed to shoot from coppice stools and are then harvested regularly for use as rods, poles, fencing, charcoal or general use as timber; part coppiced stools can often serve as boundaries for a parish or an estate. During the subsequent AGM, it was agreed that the following would hold office for the current year: President- A Gillies, Vice President – M Chapman, Chairman – P Newton, Vice Chairman – M Boyle, Treasurer – G Haselhurst, Meetings Secretary – J Watts, Executive Committee – R R G Day, B Frankland, S Gymer, R Levene, H Meteyard, A Purkiss, L Ratcliffe, T Roberts and C Shears.  The Chairman announced with great regret that the Secretary, Eric Thurston, would not be continuing in that office after many years of loyal service and that a new Secretary was now being sought.

The 23rd Annual Donkey Derby organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was a great success due to exceptionally fine weather and its relatively new location on the Village Green, by kind permission of the City of London and the TBPC. Once again the Green resounded to the unusual sound of braying donkeys and the laughter of many children. The events proceeded at a spanking pace under the direction of the Master of Ceremony Phil Simmance, Clerk of the Course Phil Koczan, 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 “Carpenter’s Stakes” to “Scout Scamper” and especially, for this year, “Independence Day” to celebrate the American Fourth July Anniversary. Many interesting steeds were raced including “Big Oaks out of Acorns and Little Trees” and “Big End out of Sump”. 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. Other attractions included a “Mayhem Laser”, and surprise, surprise - donkey rides! Substantial support and sponsorship had come from Village businesses and organisations. The proceeds from the year’s event went to support the Village Scouts, Guides, the newly opened Youth Club and, for this year, the St Francis Hospice.

On a glorious summer's, mid July evening, the Theydon Bois Singers gave a concert performance, in costume, of Edward German’s “Merrie England” to a large audience in the TBVH. This popular work had not been performed locally for some years and was a welcome change from the concerts/recitals of sacred music held recently in the Epping Forest District. The principal soloists were Frances Chilvers, soprano - in the role of Bessie Throckmorton, Kirstie Mathieson, mezzo soprano - as Jill-All-Alone, Anthea Astely, contralto - Queen Elizabeth, Benji del Rosario, tenor - Sir Walter Raleigh and Mark Hansford, bass - the Earl of Essex. Other soloists were Irene Jones – May Queen, Len Bichard – a Butcher, Robin Wilcox – a Tinker, Greg Cole – a Tailor and Paul Collings- a Baker and also Long Tom. They were backed by a 36 strong chorus of mainly senior citizens who gave a robust backing to an excellent production which matched that of professional companies. Once again Janet Cass was the conductor and the accomplished pianist Paul Chilvers held the production together with his brilliant playing.

At the agm of the Theydon Bois Music Society, the members thanked the Committee for the excellent programme of classical music which they had enjoyed during the recent 2009/2010 season. During the coming season there will be eight concerts, all usually on the second Thursday of the month held in the leafy environment of the TBVH. The meeting decided to keep the annual subscription for this coming season to £45 which was excellent value for these excellent concerts for which the Society is noted. New members and visitors (who can pay £8.00 - at the door) would be very welcome. A visit to the Waltham Assembly rooms for a performance given by the Forest Philharmonic Orchestra is also planned. Theydon Bois residents and others from the local distinct are exceptionally fortunate to be able to enjoy these recitals, invariably given by young emergent musicians of high calibre whose music is equal to London performances.

Villagers were once again alarmed and concerned that the hard selling of green belt land in the vicinity of Blunts Farm was again the feature of a sales promotion. Initially a company called Emerging Property Partnership (EPP) claimed that the Village was to be the future location for 3,500 new homes, a fact refuted by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). A new brochure by another company Castra Land Ltd , with the same registration address as EPP, was offering 32 plots of agricultural land near Blunts Farm and  that Castra has already sold out all plots for “phases 1,2 and 3” despite a warning from the EFDC that the land could be worthless as an investment. Another section of land was being offered for sale on the internet auction site Ebay together with the claim that planning permission had been granted for a adjacent 18 hole golf course.

By mid July, a period of hot and dry weather had persisted in the South East of England for more than three weeks. No rain had fallen during that time and the recent annual All England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon was the first, for some years, not to be interrupted by bad weather. The temperature had steadily risen and today peaked at 30 degrees Centigrade (86 degrees Farenheit); the humidity was also very high. These conditions were due to hot humid air moving up from the Continent and medical authorities were warning those with bronchial, heart and other similar conditions should remain indoors and keep cool especially as these conditions were expected to continue overnight

The ongoing controversy between the Government/EFDC and local residents regarding the proposed locations for gypsies and travelers in the Epping Forest District, took a dramatic turn. In 2008 the Government had directed the EFDC to list 34 sites, in a collective proposal, and these were listed in a Development Plan Provision (DDP) document prepared for general consultation between the EFDC and local residents. The government had now agreed that the sites be dealt with on a single basis through the normal planning process. EFDC Leader Councillor Di Collins said” I an absolutely delighted. This direction has been a millstone around our necks for three years”. Calls were now being made for the DDP to be lifted as properties were still being blighted by this document.

A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for the life of Betty Clare Jerman who died on 8th July 2010 was held in St Mary’s Church on 19th July 2010. Betty was married to ex journalist Leslie Jerman who was well known for his national and local journalistic connections and who died in 2009.  A large congregation comprising her family and friends attended the service which was conducted by the Rev Anthea Cannell, from Roydon. The readings were given by Christopher Matthews, Betty’s Nephew, and her daughter Stacey Whatling; Anthea Cannell gave the address. Stacey also gave an extensive obituary in which she described Betty’s life and journalistic career in considerable detail. After the service Betty was committed at the Theydon Bois Cemetery and the ashes of Leslie were interred with her. Betty is survived by her children Seth, Stacey and Toby, grandchildren James, Hannah and Emily and great grandchild Reece.

The speaker at the July meeting of the TBWI was Dr Jane Pearson and her subject, “Essex Hospitals before the National Health Service”. Members were advised that the WI Essex County Newsletter contained an article on screening for the bone condition osteoporosis and another regarding the extensive range of items available from the Essex County Council (ECC) for help in the home.

The Tikadi Hair Salon in the Village announced that it had raised £11,000 to date for the Great Ormond Street Children’s’ Hospital In London, by holding a series of fund raising events. The most recent was on 11 07 10 at Marlow when five of the Salon’s staff and four of their clients very bravely parachuted out of a plane to raise funds for the charity. Previously the Salon held an "Oh My Gosh Takadi Summer Ball" at the Woolston Manor Country Club. This momentous event raised £7,000 and featured Martin Bellamy, a lead singer from the Mystic Souls Group, the Rockabellas all girl group, and a performance of contemporary ballet.

Following a successful pilot scheme where street lighting was switched off in parts of Essex during the night, the ECC now planned to adopt this practice in the Epping Forest District. Reasons given were the saving in costs necessary due to the poor economic state of the country and the increasing amount of light pollution and therefore energy wastage. It was claimed that this action would result in increased crime but the police reported that crime rates after midnight had actually fallen and that lighting could be switched back on when necessary; however, certain important areas eg. stations, car parks, public utilities would remain lit.

A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for the life of David Evans was held in St Mary’s Church on 23 July 10 following David's cremation at Parndon, Harlow. A small congregation comprising his family and friends shared a simple service which was conducted by the Rev Anthea Cannell, from Roydon, and Beryl Denney; the lesson was read by Muriel Kitson. In her address Anthea Cannell talked about the loyalty of David to the church and gave a resume of David's life, his marriage to Beryl Evans and his pride in his family. Following the Service, a small reception was held at the home of David and Beryl in 21 Orchard Drive, Theydon Bois.


In mid July the Essex Air Ambulance landed at the junction of Morgan Crescent and Piercing Hill to take a seriously injured woman to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. She had been cut free from an estate car which had crashed into a tree at a notorious bend at the lower end of Piercing Hill by St Mary’s Church.

Local resident James Hollis, 16, a pupil of Davenant Foundation School, was selected to represent England in the 2010 Sainsbury’s School Games. He will compete in the 100m fly stroke event to be held at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre in September. The Games are the major sports event for young people of school age in the UK and some 1600 competitors will take part in four days of events embracing ten sporting activities.

The “Victorians” Petanque Team based at the Queen Victoria Pub finished in fourth place at the regional finals held at the Bocking Petanque Club. The team, which comprised Dave Tarling, Ritesh Lungut, Francois Bourquin and Andy Wilmot, only had trouble with one game they played where the team surprisingly lost 13 -2 to the Rayne Angels. The top eights teams, including the Victorians, will now represent the Eastern Counties in the Inter Regional tournament to be held this coming September.

The 100th Annual Show given by the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society was held in the TBVH. The function was well supported with many exhibits on view and awards made.

Near the end of the month, the hot spell and long drought finally ended one late afternoon when thunderstorms rolled up from the south and caused a number of minor flash floods in the locality. Nearly one inch of rain fell in a short time but was the "wrong sort of rain" for gardeners who would have preferred a steady soaking over a longer period. Nevertheless, the change was appreciated.


During the months of February and June 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


12 06 10    India Fisher

20 06 10    Connie Ruby-Rose Bicker

27 06 10    Ella Hazel Jones           Ellenie Florence Halliwell

Burial of Ashes

15 02 10    John Blumson



JUNE 2010 



At the end of May (29 05 10) two long established members of the Village community, Jean and John Palmer of Coppice Row, celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. Both spent their early days on the Bow area of East London, were married at Holy Trinity Church in Mile End and moved to Theydon Bois in 1955 in the days when sheep waiting to enter the abattoir of local butcher John Smith were kept on the Village Green. Both became very active in the community. Joan was involved with the local scouts committee, the Conservative Young Wives, the Church Play Group and the Theydon Bois WI – she also worked voluntarily at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping. John worked in the City of London in insurance and was the Assistant Secretary of the Theydon Boils and District Rural Preservation Society when it was extensively involved in protest activities which kept the then planned M25 Motorway away from the Village. Congratulations for their anniversary were received from her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

At the beginning of June the Theydon Bois Drama Society staged "Love’s A Luxury" in the TBVH. This fast moving comedy was set in the West Country in the 1950s and based on the antics of theatre producer Charles Penwick (played by Dave Bennett). He and his actor friend Bobby Bentley (John Haylett) have gone to enjoy a quiet weekend break in the country. But a comic disaster develops when a variety of wives, girl friends and even a scoutmaster arrive uninvited. Charles has fallen out with his wife (Kathryn Walker) and this situation is exacerbated with the arrival of Fritzy Villiers (Angie Beckett-Francis) a French starlet who fancies Charles. Supporting roles which added to the entertainment were Molly (Jane Littlejohn), Dick Kentwick (Robert Clayton), Mr Mole (Martin Oliver) and Mrs Harris (Carol Freeman). Stan Millington was the Director of this excellent production.

The popular Playground At Theydon (PAT) had to be closed due to vandalism. Paint was poured over the three slides rendering them unusable, and also onto the special and expensive impact-absorbent surface of the Playground, a necessary safety precaution for young children. It later transpired that two young girls from nearby Debden had broken into a building site, stolen the paint and were then recorded on CCTV using it to vandalise the Playground; one girl even wrote her name in the mess. After some discussion with the authorities, the PAT Committee agreed to spare the girls a criminal record, and have them personally clean up the Playground instead. This was effectively carried out with the help of Committee members – a very considerate and understanding solution reflecting a forgiving attitude not always to be found these days.

The turn out for the Parish Council By - Election local coming so soon after the Essex County Council (ECC) and Epping Forest District Council elections, held last May was, as expected, mediocre. The final results below show that it was quite a close contest. George Howard and Annie Wood were elected as the new Parish Counillors.

George Howard Lib Dems 506 votes

Annie Wood Lib Dems 504 votes

Paul Warwick- Munday Cons 448 votes

Editors Comment: This paragraph on the Parish Council Elections has been edited from from the original version here and in September Village News.

At the June meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society held in the TBVH, husband and wife duettists, Denian Arcoleo (Classical Guitar) and Helen Arcleo (Flute) gave a comprehensive recital of music for these instruments. They played works by various composers including J S Bach, G F Handel, Maximo Pujol and Gerald Garcia. The couple met while studying at the Dartington College of Arts, and have since played together at many locations including the foyers of the Barbican and the Royal Festival Halls in London, the Cheltenham Fringe Festival and various venues in Belgium and Dubai.

The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) which provides "meals on wheels" to elderly folk in the District, announced that it was closing its kitchen in Langston Road Loughton, and moving the service to Basildon, after the EFDC refused to grant an extension to the lease on the  property. Staff at the kitchen would be losing their jobs. It was understood that the lease could run on until March 2011 but, also, that the EFDC was considering selling the property anyway. WRVS Manager Jackie Middleditch claimed that the quality of the meals would not suffer. But Villager Josephine Middlemass, 86, was horrified at the thought that some food would be cooked and heated in a van on a 40 mile journey.

The 30th Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day at the end of June was held with some 14 gardens open for view. This year the organization was under the new management of Thea Buisson (assisted by Carole James), and a team of helpers drawn from the “Younger Villagers”, especially those actively concerned with the Village Youth Club and the proposed new community centre. The garden tours were well organized by Karen Collins, and the refreshments by Thea's friends and associates. But the “old guard” was present to give extensive help, as in the past, with the general organization. The Village Green was once again in use as a car park and here, the Flower Yard Garden centre in Loughton Lane again erected a stall which enhanced the event and did brisk business. A minibus was in constant use conveying visitors to Great Gregories. The event concluded with the usual Songs of Praise church service held this year in the Baptist Church. Attendance was down this year due possibly to an international football match (England lost 4 to 1!) being held, and also the high temperatures. However the event raised some £3000 in support of Village youth.

At the end of the month, the continuing sunny weather of the previous weeks developed into a heat wave and temperatures were expected to peak at 30 degrees C (83 degrees F).This coincided with the All England Tennis Tournament At Wimbledon, the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset and the football match between England and Germany in the current European Cup competition being held in South Africa. Drought conditions were emerging and gardens becoming very dry. Hosepipe bans and drought orders were being considered for the North West of England, usually the wettest part of the country. However, the farming community was not unhappy as conditions were ideal for hay making and harvest.


At the June meeting of the Theydon Bois WI, the speaker was Mrs Louise Reed whose subject was “Meet Margery Thurston 1941”.

In mid June the TBPC once again invited Senior Residents of the Village to a social afternoon in the TBVH. Parish Councilors were present to host the event and hear the views of residents especially regarding how their social life in the Village could be improved.


During May 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois.


07 05 10    Claire Heughan and Ade Bamford           


15 05 10   Christina and Toby Crook

22 05 10    Beth Moore                Iola Sullivan      



May 2010 



The Playground At Theydon (PAT) charity celebrated May Day with an afternoon May Day Fete held in the charity’s playground. The area was full of excited children with their parents who enjoyed strawberries and cream or ice creams and supported the stalls which featured face painting, competitions which included "tail on the donkey”, and an exhibition of live rabbits as an animal feature. The event raised a substantial sum towards the £900 special project to purchase a "Playship" for the Playground, and also to help with the maintenance of this unique facility which is popular with children and parents in the Village and from the surrounding area.

A special public “Question Time” meeting was held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) to discuss the Gypsy and Traveller situation in Theydon Bois and how it affects the community. Organized by the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) all three prospective ward councillors Sue Jones (Con), Daniel Kieve (Green) and Roland Frankel (Lib Dem) were present to answer specific questions on this controversial issue.

The Village became involved, through the process of a national parliamentary election, in a most unusual and almost momentous event in British political history. This began early on the 6th May when Polling Stations around the country opened for the electorate to vote in the 2010 Parliamentary General Election and also, locally in TB, for a seat on the  Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). The local Polling Station was at St Mary’s Church Hall where a steady flow of residents, 61% of the electorate, recorded their votes. As the Church Hall closed, the TBVH next door became a hive of activity as preparations began for all - night vote counting for the Epping Forest constituency when Eleanor Laing (Cons) was subsequently-elected with some 15,000 votes, an increased majority, and Sue Jones (Cons) was elected to the EFDC at District level.

Many Villagers stayed up all night to hear the election results via TV or radio but by morning a “hung parliament” had become a possible reality and share prices on the stock market began to fall. The Cons had acquired 306 seats but not the 326 needed for an outright majority, Lab had 258 seats and the Lib Dems 57 seats. This resulted in the unusual situation where the minority party, the Lib Dems, held the possible key to the formation of a new government. The usual practice was for the existing Prime Minister and government to resign and the Queen to call the leader of the winning party (the Cons) to form a new government; but it was left, at present, for the major parties to discuss the formation of a possible coalition. This could take some days and so the leader of the defeated Lab party, Gordon Brown, continued as Prime Minister and to reside at No 10 Downing Street.

David Cameron, the Cons Leader then began talks with Nick Clegg the Lib Dems leader regarding either a Cons/Lib Dems parliamentary working arrangement, or the formation of a coalition.  The country was then treated to the unique situation of the defeated Lab Prime Minster Gordon Brown giving a press conference from 10 Downing Street where he also offered to work similarly for a Lab/ Lib Dems alliance.  A possible major obstacle to a working relationship with either party was the Lib Dems intention to change the electoral system by including Proportional Representation (PR) and also its particular positive stance on the European Union. Former Cons Prime Minster, Sir John Major, said that the current situation (horse trading?) was “undignified” and called on Brown to admit defeat and resign, as did other politicians. Following further pressure the Prime Minster tendered his resignation to the Queen who then invited David Cameron to establish a new government; he would be the eleventh Prime Minister during her reign and the youngest for nearly 200 years. David Cameron then announced that a Cons/Lib Dems coalition would be formed with the Lib/Dem leader, Nick Clegg, as Deputy Prime Minister and with prime government posts filled by the members of both parties. Both Ministers agreed that the new government would put party politics aside and function in the national interest. So ended several days unique in British politics which took place in the shadow of a severe, national, economic crisis.

Just to show how futile and insignificant are the efforts of mankind compared with those of nature, the Icelandic volcanic erruption increased and again sent a large cloud of ash into the atmosphere.  In addition to causing severe problems in Iceland, a large ash cloud began drifting south under the influence of a meteorological “high” and air traffic in the UK was again partly suspended for a time.

Yet another threat to the unique nature of Theydon Bois emerged following the publication of the EFDC Local Development Framework (LDF) which contained a Scoping Report for the Epping Forest District. This document, which looks ahead to 2031, will form the basis for decision making regarding local change including the building of new homes. It implied that the Village had a low to moderate sensitivity to change as opposed to Epping which is supposed to be highly sensitive. Moreover the document grouped the Village with local widely populated areas including Loughton and Buckhurst Hill settlements close to a Central Line Tube Station. Mike Emmett, Chairman of the South Theydon Bois Residents Association, said “If that statement becomes set in stone, then that leaves the Village open to all sorts of threats, not least those imposed by gypsy and traveller sites”. A spokeswoman for TBAG said “TBAG strongly objects to this characterisation by the EFDC. If this is not overturned then it will make any attempt to control inappropriate enlargement (of the Village) more of a challenge. The Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society was equally concerned and was joining TBAG in a combined response which highlighted several important features of the Village including its predominately rural aspect and close proximity to Epping Forest. The Society also pointed out that the present social economic predictions in the report did not fully reflect the current down turn in the national economy and its affect on employment and housing growth in the South East.

Sadly, the hopes of Theydon Bois swimmer Emma Hollis were not realised at the recent BT Paralympics World Cup championships in Manchester. The 18 year old European silver medalist finished fourth in both the events in which she competed, being 1.53 seconds behind the USA’s Triple Paralympics silver medalist Amanda Everlove in the 100m backstroke and 0.53 second behind the American in the 50m freestyle. Emma then returned to her studies at Chigwell School and to her A Level exams which she had missed for this year’s swimming event. However, she did well overall and the experience has encouraged her to return to international swimming rather sooner than later.

The Village Annual Meeting held in the TBVH was well attended by a good cross section of residents. Most of the Theydon Bois Parish Councillors (TBPC) were present and gave individual accounts of their responsibilities and current activities. The TBPC Chairman, Sue Jones, gave a comprehensive report of the year’s activities in the Village, generally.

It was claimed that passengers on the Central Line in the Epping Forest District were being put at risk, especially late at night, due to the transfer of station staff to Central London stations which had staff shortages. It was also claimed that the Theydon Bois station was without staff on 13 occasions in the past year. Bob Crow of the RMT Union called unmanned stations a “mugger’s paradise” and said that further job cuts in the network would increase the number of times stations went unmanned. A spokesperson for Transport for London said “It is very rare for a station to be without a member of staff”.

The 49th two day Exhibition of Art Works by the Theydon Art Group was held in the TBVH. One hundred and thirty one paintings were on view and covered many diverse subjects ranging from local scenes to abstract interpretations. These were executed in watercolour, pastel, oil, acrylic, graphite and gouache; several paintings were sold or reserved for sale. The exhibition, undoubtedly the best for some years was organized by the Group’s Chairman Roy Lees, its Treasurer Barry Turner, Secretary Brenda Harris and Committee.

On a bright and mild day, a party from the Theydon Bois WI (TBWI) attended a performance of the musical “The Producers” given by the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society (SODS) at the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff.  This rather controversial production was not well supported, possibly because its central theme was a musical within a musical entitled "Springtime for Hitler"; but the clever script was riddled with humorous innuendos and required a sharp and open mind to be entertaining. However the Sod’s performance of was well produced and equated with that of a London West End production.

John Peck 64, of Theydon Bois and John Whalley, 41, of Epping, achieved their mission to trek to the North Pole in aid of charity. They were airlifted to the Arctic ice sheet and given two weeks to trek to the Pole without succumbing to frostbite, polar bears or holes in the ice. At the outset John Whalley developed foot blisters which became so painful that he had to stop but on the second day he decided to “get on with its” despite the pain. John Peck said “John (Whalley) was in absolute agony, his heel was almost falling off. But he showed the most enormous courage – he wasn’t going to let the pain stop him”. Their trek helped to raise £21,000 for the charity Kids Cancer Research and they celebrated their arrival at the Pole by calling home on their satellite phones. John Whalley commented “One of the most amazing things was seeing the halo effect, where you see the sun and two half suns next to it, almost like a circular rainbow”.


More than 100 people attended the Quiz Evening held by the Roding Rotary in the TBVH. Some £1200 was raised in support of Rotary charities.

A Ladies Fashion Slow in aid of St Mary’s Church was held in the Scout Hut in Loughton Lane. Local models showed a range of clothes for Lades of all ages and sizes. Clothing manufactured for leading stores was for sale at greatly reduced prices.

A sponsored “toddler walk” in aid of the Meningitis Trust was held recently on the Village Green. The event was organized by Hannah and Paul Henson of Loughton who received considerable help from the charity when their daughter Maisie died of the disease in 2008. More than 60 “walkers” associated with their family and friends took part and hoped to raise more than £1,000 for the Trust.

The Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club held its annual prize - giving lunch, prepared by Club members, in the TBVH. A number of cups/trophies were awarded together with bottles of sparkling wine for the runners up. The event concluded with a general entertainment quiz.

Towards the end of the month the weather once again became unseasonable with cold winds and -2 degrees C of frost which troubled many gardeners. Fruit trees and ornamental bushes, especially azaleas were in bloom and under threat. Late frosts were becoming common (global warning?) and wise gardeners were transferring ornamental shrubs into pots which could be placed under cover at night. This cold weather resulted from the reappearance of the northerly anti cyclone which had produced such cold weather in the late winter. But the long range forecast was for seasonally warm weather – and about time too!


During the month of April 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


09 04 10 Walter Howard Dredge

Burial of Ashes

07 04 10 Stan and Dora Dewey



April 2010 



At the beginning of April a natural event unheard of in the UK and especially Theydon Bois affected many in the Village. A dust cloud from an erupting volcano in Iceland covered the country and paralysed all air travel. Consequently those travelling abroad or returning to the UK by air were stranded at airports throughout Northern Europe and even as far as China. The cloud, which, was at some 20,000 feet, could be seen over the village as streaks of white cloud and the sunsets became exceptionally colourful. Theydon Bois is located beneath an area of high aviation activity with aircraft movements occurring at a rate as high as one every 20seconds, at peak times, from low altitude to high levels (30,000 feet) In the Village, residents gradually became aware that, because of the absence of aircraft noise, bird song was more pronounced and conversations could be heard more easily, even from several gardens away! But the "peace" could be broken when the wind carried increasing traffic noise from the M11 and M25 motorways into the Village - a common occurrence!

The “Icelandic volcano affect” continued to spread to most of Eastern Europe and steps were being taken to bring home thousands of travellers by road, rail and sea. Madrid airport in Spain had reopened and coaches were running from there to the Channel Ports. However this method was only partly successful and so a Royal Navy vessel and a new cruise liner was pressed into service for a sea crossing from Spain. Some major airlines including British Airways were making controlled flights into the volcanic cloud and finding that, with extreme caution, no problems were experienced. The flight ban over the UK was then lifted for some Atlantic flights, and a gradual resumption of air travel commenced. However, airlines and tour operators advised that it could be almost a week before the travel backlog was cleared and local residents holidaying in China took more than a week to return home!

In Forest Drive the Harry George Hair stylists was also apparently vacated and the business name removed to reveal that of a previous concern "Bambi”, which traded there many years ago as a child’s clothing outlet. However, the windows were blanked out with newspapers possibly indicating that internal alterations were underway g and a notice advising that Ann Summers, a retail organization supplying ladies lingerie of an exotic nature was coming to Theydon. However this notice subsequently proved to an “April Fool” joke which nevertheless caused a number of Village eyebrows to be raised. The business subsequently reopened after the premised had been refurbished.

On 05 04 10, Gordon Brown the Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Government which had been in office for some years went to Buckingham Palace to request the Queen (Elizabeth II) to dissolve Parliament so that a General Election could be held in the UK. He then returned to his residence at 10 Downing Street and, with his entire cabinet standing behind him, announced that the General Election would be held on 6 May 2010. Almost immediately the leaders of the three major political parties, Gordon Brown – Labour (Lab), David Cameron - Conservative (Cons) and Nick Clegg - Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem)) began their election campaigns, which would entail traveling throughout the UK, for a grueling five weeks of electioneering in what promised to be the most tightly fought election for some decades. Here in the Epping Forest District, the candidates for the Epping Forest seat were already known; Pat Richardson – British National Party (BNP), Eleanor Laing – (Con), Claire Breed – English Democrats (Eng Dem), Simon Pepper – Green Party (Green), Kate Curtis – (Lab), Ann Haigh – (Lib Dem) and Andrew Smith – United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP). Elections for the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) seats would also be held on the same day. The local candidates were Roland Frankel (Lib Dem), Susan Jones (Con) and Daniel Kieve (Green).

It was reported that Parish Councillors Jacqui Dodman and Mike Emmett had resigned from the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC). The reasons for their resignations were not known.

Local resident John Peck, 64, was once again pitting himself against the forces of nature. In 2004 he spent nine weeks with his friend Fraser Dodds rowing across the Atlantic and in 2005 ran in the Marathon des Sabies across the Sahara Desert with another friend, Richard Stuff. John now planned to spend 18 days trekking across the Arctic wastes to the North Pole with fellow trekker John Whailey,41, to raise funds via sponsorship for the charity Kidney Research UK for which already £19,000 has been raised. John Whailey explained that his youngest, two year old daughter was born with only one kidney hence this charity support. John further added”My children are slightly worried that I’ll get eaten by a polar bear but I've tried to reassure them as best I can”. Nevertheless, the two will take a shotgun with them. Both men could be seen training in Epping Forest on skis and dragging car tires to simulate the sledges which will contain the supplies and equipment they need and which will be hauled to the North Pole.

Early in April Rosalind Martin, 52, from Loughton, riding a BMW motorcycle, was injured fatally in an accident in the Abridge Road near a bend where it passes under the M11 motorway bridge; it was believed that her machine clipped the kerb. Several road incidents have occurred there over the years, one being another fatal motor cycle accident; the 60 mph speed limit was often ignored by motor traffic, especially motorcyclists, on this fast stretch of the road. Rosalind, who was a retired psychiatric nurse, was survived by her two children from a previous marriage. She and her partner Derek Gale were planning to marry this July and travel around South America on their bikes.

Villagers were warned that the door to door salesmen in the Village were offering to undertake Block Paving Landscaping of front gardens and patios with a 30% discount. As usual the elderly and vulnerable were targeted and given a seven day "cooling off" period for a written agreement; however, signed agreements were subsequently found to be predated to beyond this period. Once again the warning was given – Never sign any document without careful examination and avoid front door transactions, where possible. Essex Trading Standards were investigating the situation.

On a fine spring evening, the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was almost full of music lovers who had come to hear the Theydon Singers present their Easter Offering, a performance of Handel’s Messiah. A choir of forty four gave a resounding performance worthy of a highly professional choir. The soloists were Frances Chilvers – soprano; Kirstie Mathieson – mezzo soprano; Matthew Howard – Tenor; Mark Hansford – bass and Stuart Dodgeson – trumpet. The conductor was Janet Cass and the accompanist was the redoubtable pianist Paul Chilvers.

At the end of the month with the General Election only a week away, political activity was increasing on all fronts. Surprisingly, the Church of England entered the political arena when the Bishop of Barking, the Right Reverend David Hawkins, whose diocese stretches across to the Epping Forest District, stated his support for the anti racist “Hope Not Hate” campaign. He urged voters to use their vote wisely and added “Racist ideologies, seeking to divide people on the grounds of ethnicity, have no place in mainstream British politics and I encourage people to vote in such a way as to prevent racist political parties making any electoral gains. This election is arguably the most important in a generation”.


The 2012 Olympic Games in East London came a step nearer when the EFDC approached the Olympic Delivery Authority with a request for the relay of runners bearing the Olympic Flame to pass through the District; particular areas of the District were not mentioned. The Authority will be making a decision next year

The speaker at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) Men’s Forum meeting was Sandra Reekei who described her experiences in traveling the Old Silk Road from Turkey to China. She journeyed alone but made many acquaintances en route and found the peoples of most countries very friendly and hospitable in general; the cuisine was excellent in Turkey and China but could be pretty diabolical elsewhere.

The Theydon Bois Women’s Institute (TWIG) held a successful Sherry Morning in the TBVH. Some forty ladies attended and it was notable that some male associates who had attended the Men’s Forum earlier in the morning were quick to slip in before "closing time" and support the function.

Members and friends of St Mary’s Church joined those of Theydon Garnon Church for a journey by coach to visit a Christian Resources Exhibition.


During the month of March 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

13 03 10    Clare Drew and Stanley Drew               

17 03 10 Norman Vigars               23 03 10    Jack Smith & John Hickford
29 03 10    Christine Mary Plume   30 03 10    Patrick Mole



March 2010 



The previous Thursday (February 25) Tony Ames and Jim Watts of the Theydon Bois Village News (TBVN) editorial team attended the awards ceremony for the Essex Life Community Magazine Competition held near Braintree in Essex. To their delight the Village News was awarded third place in this increasingly important competition which, on this occasion, had over 65 entrants from throughout Essex. They were presented with a cheque for £40, and a certificate recording the achievement which was promptly put on permanent display in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH).

The Beech Room in the TBVH resounded to the enthusiastic and melodious singing of a small group of people associated with the Epping Forest U3A. Formed in September 2009 by Jennifer Creswell, who is also their conductor and comes from a musical family, the group has now become a small choir of a thirty two singers comprising thirty ladies and two men; regretfully, its membership is now closed! Meeting on a monthly basis for only a few hours the choir has no aspirations to being professional and sings purely for pleasure with such items as “roundelays” and excerpts from popular musicals eg. Easter Parade and Camelot. The choir is fortunate in having as its accompanist a highly competent pianist, Norman Lansdowne - Davis, who brings a high degree of musical colour and experience to this function. Although formal recitals and concerts are not planned, it is intended that the choir will be visiting retirement homes and centres in the future to entertain the residents.

Following a two years public consultation exercise on transport in Epping Forest, it was revealed that the City of London Corporation, in conjunction with the Essex County Council (ECC), was planning to introduce measures to control road traffic in the Forest. The maximum speed limit on Forest roads would be lowered to 40 mph and include the Epping New Road and especially Coppice Row where it approaches Theydon Bois. These measures were intended to improve road safety and reduce the traffic pollution which adversely affects the Forest generally.

In the middle of the month a fatal accident occurred at 21.45 on Coppice Row in the vicinity of the St Margaret’s Church Hall when John Eldred, 56, of Epping was apparently struck by a silver Vauxhall Corsa car when walking in the area. He was rushed to Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone but was pronounced dead on arrival. Brian Oakley of Coppice Row said ”The whole thing is very unusual. At this time of night there’s one car every five minutes. I had a look outside and there was a parked car which could have been involved. The car looked fine, no broken headlamps or anything. It clearly wasn’t damaged. Local resident Bradley Wilkins of Theydon Park Road commented” The pavements need to be made bigger. On Sunday morning you’ve got the Church and a lot of people come out of the Church”. No arrests had been made but a man from Barking was helping the police with their enquiries.

Transport for London (TFL) which operates the Central Underground Line played down the possibility of extending the Line further into Essex. There had been several recent reports that a feasibility study was being carried out regarding an extension from Epping to Harlow. A TFL spokesperson said “There is a well established rail link from Harlow into London, which stops at Tottenham Hale to link with the tube. Extending the London Underground to well outside the capital to Harlow would not bring any journey-time benefit to passengers, but would involve enormously high costs”. This idea was first mooted in the 2003 Harlow Options Study which proposed the development of North Weald Airfield with a Central Line extension running through the centre to Harlow .This plan was not adopted and the Airfield has since continued to be used for aviation and, recently, as a valuable park and ride facility for major events eg. the Scout Jamboree at Chelmsford and, possibly, the future 2012 Olympics at Stratford.

Road traffic congestion returned to Theydon Bois in a repeat of the situation in 2002 when the rail bridge (or Viaduct), which carries the Abridge Road over the Central Line, was subjected to major repairs. This time the work was expected to be more extensive and continue until February 2011. One lane was closed to accommodate mobile offices and containers while the other became a one way system controlled by traffic lights. Traffic control commenced at the four way junction of the Viaduct, Station Road, Poplar Road and Coppice Row. Since 2002 traffic through the Village from the Wakes Arms to Abridge had increased substantially so the traffic congestion at peak hours (especially school times) became considerable and exacerbated by the current work. It was understood that the Viaduct will, in effect, be rebuilt in sections with those over the rail lines possibly becoming a “tunnel”. The cost for this work was rumoured to be some £4 million.

The Street View Cars of the Google website organization finally arrived in the Epping Forest District to the curiosity, concern or dismay, perhaps, of local residents according to their particular attitude to this exercise. Google have been engaged in the Street View operation since March 2009 whereby every street in the UK will be photographed and stored on the Google website system. In fact most of the photos taken to date are now available for viewing. The editorial writer of Epping Guardian wrote ”As the technological whirlwind unleashed by the Internet over the past few years grows stronger, it can be seen that the privacy and anonymity which protected us in the past are being increasingly whittled away”. However, controversy remained regarding general privacy, people safety and the security of property generally, especially motor vehicles, which could be all adversely affected. A local businessman claimed that the contents of his garage had been recorded while the doors were open and, subsequently, the garage was burgled and tools stolen.

The current edition of "Connected–News From Your Local Conservatives" was circulated in the Village. It contained the following statement: “We have been able to talk on many occasions about issues relevant to Theydon Bois. One particular occasion was when Eleanor (Laing MP) addressed a meeting organized by the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) on the topic of Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Village. It was clear then, as it is now, that we are all pulling in the same direction determined to keep our Village as somewhere special for you”. This immediately invoked an extensive statement from the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG), the first paragraph of which is repeated here: “Residents in receipt of the recently published Local Conservatives Connected and Theydon Bois Conservatives flyers may be under the impression that TBAG is endorsing the Conservative Party. TBAG is however a non political organization and, as stated in our constitution, does not endorse any political party”.

James and Emma Hollis from Theydon Bois were members of a team from the Epping Forest Swimming Club which was highly successful in the Disability National Junior Swimming Championships held at Sheffield. Between them the brother and sister won a total of 20 individual medals and so helped “Team East” to victory. Team Captain Emma won a gold medal in every event she entered and even broke the British record for the 50m breast stroke. The two also scooped the Nationwide Junior Sports Awards after accumulating the highest number of points in their senior age groups.

The TBVH was packed (as usual) for the last night of the current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society. Once again it was an Alan Ayckbourn play – Time of My Life- a bitter sweet comedy about a family which had to cope with a devastating event which changed all their lives. Set in the Essa de Calvi restaurant, the players were Gerry (played by Martin Oliver) and Laura (Sue Seward), their sons Glyn (Simon Gilbert) and Adam (Robert Clayton) and their respective partners Stephanie (Nicola Keegan) and Maureen (Paula Duncan). Other parts were played by Jonathan Meyer. The occasion was the celebration of Laura’s Birthday. With plenty of laughter and tears, the play moved both forwards and backwards in time to follow the relationships of the three couples. The production was directed by John Haylett.

With Easter approaching, the sixth and last of the St Mary’s Pre Lent Soup Lunches was held in the Church Hall. Once again an excellent meal was provided for a small outlay in support of a particular charity, which on this last occasion was the “Poverty – Let’s End It” appeal launched as part of the Christian Aid Week as organised by the Christian Aid charity.  Small contributions could achieve much; £8 would purchase 80 fruit trees for Ethiopia, £16 could purchase materials for main drainage in Kenya and £41 could install toilet facilities and a clean water supply for a family in India.


Local scouts attended a Scout Camp in Brentwood, which is traditionally an all male event but, this year, Guides were all allowed to take part and a team from Fyfield promptly beat all the boy’s teams in the 10 to 13 years age groups. During the two day contest the entrants had to build shelters for the night, cook their own food and pass a series of tests including gadget building and first aid. District Scout Leader Dennis Sweeting who organized the event and was himself a contestant in the first Challenge held in 1983, said “The girls were out of this world they even made a gate for their campsite in addition to a drying board and other items”.

A Toy & Train Collectors Fair in the TBVH was once again the popular venue for “boys” of all ages. More than twenty stalls selling mainly model cars, railways and their accessories were eagerly "checked out" for that much sought after bargain and trade was quite brisk. Light refreshments were available and the car park was full. The event was organised by the Joe Lock business of Hoddesdon which holds similar Fairs elsewhere in the local district.

A special service was held in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) to commemorate Women’s World Day of Pray under the title “Let Everything That Has Breath Praise God”. The service was based on that prepared by the Christian Women of Cameroon for celebration by women world - wide on this special day.

A Tea Party for the Elderly of the Village was held in the TBVH where a large number of “older folk” enjoyed tea and cakes together with the opportunity for a general chat. The event was organized by the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) and several Councillors were present to hear suggestions regarding how social arrangements in the Village could be improved for this age group.

The speaker at the March Meeting of the Theydon Bois WI held in the TBVH was the well known local historian Georgina Green whose subject was “The Buxtons – An Old English Family.

A talk on the Bridge End Gardens was given in the TBVH to the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in anticipation of a future visit by the Society to the Gardens in July 2010.

During the months of January and February 2010, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:


06 02 10     Luca Carroll


25 01 10     Alison Rabone        05 02 10     Peter Twinn






At the beginning of February the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) commenced a series of Monday afternoon free music sessions for children aged from 1 to five years who are resident in the Village. The sessions were held in the Brambles Children’s Centre, which is a Sure Start Children’s Centre as supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Graham Raw was the coordinator for this initiative.      The TBBC Ladies Who Lunch was held at the popular Belgique Coffee Shop in Forest Drive and was supported by many ladies.

On the 5th February, an icy winter’s day, the funeral of Peter Twinn, a WWII Royal Air Force veteran and a popular figure in the Village was held at St Mary’s Church. Peter served as a Flying Officer Air Gunner engaged in many bombing raids over the Continent and was consequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The church was packed to capacity by members of his family, representatives of the Royal British Legion (RBL), the Theydon Bois Parish Council, the Epping Forest District Council, the Aeronautical Masonic Lodge, other Village organizations and his many friends and associates. The RBL was formally represented by Alan Hollingbery, who had recently moved to Frinton and returned to stand throughout the service with the RBL standard... The Reverend Anthea Cannell officiated at the service which was one of the last she would hold before moving to a new ministry at Roydon, Essex. In her address she said that “Peter was a true gentleman and now God has sought him out and taken him home”. Peter was then cremated at Parndon in Harlow.

Sunday Morning 7th February was another sad day for St Mary’s Church and the Village in general, when the Curate the Revd Anthea Cannell held her last service, Family Communion, in the Church before taking up her new ministry at St Peter ad Vincula in Roydon near Harlow. Following this service, a reception was held for her in the Church Hall where she was able to make many personal goodbyes.

During the absence of a resident Minister at the Church, arrangements were made for visiting clergy, other speakers and members of the congregation to lead services; everyone was welcome to these services, as usual. The Revd John Delfgou would be taking early morning communion services and previous members of the St Mary's clergy, the Revd David Driscoll and the Revd Margaret Chapman would also be returning to help. The Archdeacon Martin Webster would visit the Church next March and be followed by Bishop David of Barking in July. Meanwhile the choir and members of the congregation, who have been leading Evensong since July, would continue to do so.

A series of six weekly Lent Lunches commenced in the St Margaret’s Church Hall. For the sum of £4.50, a light lunch was provided which comprised one of eight excellent soups prepared by the Church ladies, roll and butter, a tart-dessert and coffee /tea - excellent value. The proceeds from this first lunch were used to support the Manna Society which organises centres where compassionate and practical help is available for those affected by poverty and homelessness.

The feared outbreak of Swine Fever appeared to be officially over. In the previous autumn the government had made extensive plans to contain the outbreak by setting up a National Pandemic Flu Service as a contact point where those suffering from the condition could receive a confirmatory diagnosis and be treated with antiviral drugs, which the Government was stockpiling. However, mid February, the Government announced the closure of the Service and the redirection of patients to their Doctor who would prescribe medication accordingly. The original precautions would still apply where those suffering from the virus were requested to stay in their homes and use an intermediary for the receipt of medication, and other possible needs; the vaccination program for children in the District would still continue”.

Fly tipping, or the dumping of unwanted rubbish, in the District continued despite the efforts of many to prevent it. Well organized official centres for waste disposal of most kinds were sited in the District; those nearest to Theydon Bois were at South Woodford, Waltham Abbey and High Ongar. The problem of dumping was often due to local residents disinclined to dispose of rubbish in this way, or commercial organizations not wanting to pay the landfill tax for the disposal of their waste.

The (Epping Forest District Council) EFDC approved its budget for 2010-11 which would result in a low 1.5 per cent increase in local council taxation. The EFDC claimed that it was maintaining its pledge to keep future increases at no more than 2.5 per cent. The EFDC Finance and Economic Portfolio Holder, Chris Whitbread, said “This is the lowest council tax increase proposed over the past ten years. It’s something we can be proud of as a Council”.

Illegal drugs appeared once again on the Theydon Bois scene when John Esquiant, 52, of Blackacre Road was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment for trying to flood the country with cocaine worth £80 million. He worked apparently as a taxi driver and builder but was also one of a drug-dealing gang of three which included, Frank Stedman, 26, of North Weald and Fernando Hurtado, 41, from Colombia. They were apprehended following “a trap” where they paid undercover officers of the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), to distribute the drug for them.

At the height of the evening rush hour a signal failure occurred near Liverpool Street Station on the Central Line. Eleven passenger-packed trains were stationary for some two hours during which the unfortunate occupants, which included commuters from Theydon Bois, suffered considerable alarm and extreme discomfort; the Passenger Watchdog organization was investigating. The Village is fortunate to have a rail service which links rural Essex with Central London and beyond. However, rush hour travel is becoming more difficult due to increasing demands on the system and travelling conditions can become even more intolerable when delays of this nature occur. This system-overload is one reason why Transport for London does not want to see Central Line station car parks enlarged or new ones constructed.

The weather was appalling during the month with consistent low temperatures, ice and snow. However the Village was spared the extreme conditions experienced elsewhere in the UK where, in some places, snow fell continuously for forty hours and created drifts four feet deep; but for Theydon Bois, the snow was replaced by rain - lots of it! However February “went out like a lion” on its last day when the District received a further soaking so that local areas were again flooded with “rain run off” which damaged road surfaces and created numerous  potholes to make driving difficult if not hazardous


Girl Guides from Theydon Bois were among a party of 750 Brownies and Guides from the Epping Forest District who travelled to Paris to take part in celebrations to mark the centenary of the Guide Movement.

The Village was featured on TV recently when the Epping Forest Deer Sanctuary behind Coppice Row appeared in the BBC nature programme Natural World. Managed by the City of London Corporation, the 120 acre sanctuary is home for some 150 black fallow deer.

The Tesco multi - chain of food stores had apparently adopted the policy of encouraging customers to be reasonably dressed when shopping at its retail outlets. Subsequently, the Village Tesco Express in Coppice Row was featured in the Sun national newspaper when it reported that model Danielle Lloyd, 26, of nearby Debden was told that she could not wear pyjamas in that store. After some discussion she convinced the management that her garment was an expensive track suit.






Residents who were early risers on New Year’s Day found the hard, cold, light of a full moon illuminating a virtually deserted Village covered in a layer of light snow and ice. Airport security generally was increased following an attempt to blow up a passenger jet in America, and this incurred delays to those traveling abroad. The Royal College of Physicians warned that the excessive consumption of alcohol was overloading the accident, medical and police services in addition to causing health problems especially in the long term. There were further celebrations in London where half a million spectators watched the New Year's Parade in Westminster. Marching bands, American cheerleaders, many floats from London Boroughs, all comprising some 8,500 performers proceeded along a 2.5 mile route. This year’s New Year's Honours List was notable for not including any MPs, possibly because of the MPs’ expenses scandal, and only one banker was included due no doubt to the national outcry at the substantial bonuses paid to the financial sector. So the year 2010 began against a background of uncertainty and pessimism but with some optimism that a general election, due in the summer, could result in a change of government and the nation’s fortune - perhaps!

The cold spell which began before Christmas finally crystallized into a real arctic winter the like of which had not been seen since 1963. In the early hours of Wednesday 6 Jan, some 10 cm (4 in) of snow was deposited on Theydon Bois and the temperature dropped to minus 6 degrees C (20 degrees F). The Village was ice bound with the exception of Coppice Row and the Abridge Road which had been treated with grit and salt. The bus service operated (just) and the Central Line suffered considerable delays. Some 10,000 schools closed throughout the country but the Village Primary School continued its long tradition of remaining open, albeit with limited staff. Some 18 percent of the population was unable to get to work which had a considerable adverse affect on the national economy. Those who remembered the 1963 cold spell were cynical at this absenteeism remembering how, at that time, most of the population continued to work. The increasing shortage of road - treating grit became a source of concern to local authorities and the Government took control of its distribution nationwide to ensure that supplies reached areas most in need. The snow fall continued in the Village until mid afternoon with another 3 cm (1 in) falling, and the evening temperature then plummeted to minus 9 degrees C making any movement the more difficult.

The affect of the prolonged severe weather on the electrical and gas supplies was causing some concern. The Village had experienced several short interruptions in the electrical supply and possibly more were expected. Gas supplies were running low nationally and reserves had to be increased with inputs from Europe and even Russia where equally severe weather was being experienced. Therefore there was alarm when the National Grid cut off supplies to a number of industrial users who had then to revert to using other sources of power. However, it transpired that these consumers enjoyed lower tariffs for accepting the possibility of such disconnection during periods of high demand and this arrangement allowed the National Grid to safeguard domestic supplies.

It was revealed that the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) would be requesting the Government to relieve the Council of its obligations to consult the public regarding Government demands for 34 new gypsy and traveller sites to be established in the Epping Forest District. This request would be based on the substantial cost of the consultation (£180,000) and its outcome where all the proposed sites have been rejected, often by a margin of three to one. Although the EFDC would still have to name the 34 pitches by 2011, this move would enable the Council to deal with each one through normal planning applications.

This year the Theydon Bois Drama Society reverted to its long established custom of presenting a pantomime at Christmas time. Aladdin was staged at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) with a colourful and humorous production presented in true “hammy” pantomime style involving considerable audience participation much to the great enjoyment of the many children in the audience. In true pantomime tradition, Aladdin was a female principal with an elegant Juliet Dover in the role and, conversely, Dave Bennett played a Widow Twankey with all the slapstick humour expected. Martin Oliver, in an unusual change of role, was the evil Abanaza who tried to steal Aladdin’s lamp and was sufficiently nasty to alarm most of the audience who expressed their displeasure with the customary boos and hisses. The principals were supported by an excellent cast who helped keep the panto tradition alive with this first class Christmas production.

It was announced that publishing entrepreneur and local resident David Sullivan had become a part owner of West Ham United, a leading first Division English Football club. A long standing West Ham supporter for many years, Sullivan confessed that he must have been mad to purchase, in conjunction with David Gold, a club debt–ridden to around £110 million. Both partners claimed that they were fulfilling a life long dream by owning this institution, which had made famous football legends like Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst. However its poor financial state prompted Sullivan to call on West Ham supporters to help by buying shares from the 50% holdings in the Club currently owned by CB Holdings, and so ensure that the West Ham remained in English hands.

A £100 fine imposed on local resident Nicola Lashmar of Graylands, for incorrect parking at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, was withdrawn after intervention by the Epping Forest Guardian local newspaper. Nicola, who is handicapped and nine months pregnant was visiting a midwife and feared to cross the car park which was covered in snow and ice. A spokesperson for the Hospital Trust “insisted that the car park had been gritted and that the safety of the visitors to the site was of high priority. It (the Trust) advised visitors to allow plenty of time for appointments and to take care when in the Hospital grounds”. Car parking at the Hospital has been controversial for some time due to the shortage of spaces and the charges incurred. The latter were introduced to deter parking by car users not attending the Hospital, but these have also proved to be a source of income for the Trust.

The last days of January saw hard frosts and more snow. In England and Wales, the month was the coldest recorded since 1982 and, in Scotland, the coldest since records began in 1914. The weather had delayed the appearance of snowdrops although the daffodil plants were now stirring in many gardens so spring, hopefully, must be just around the corner!       


The Theydon Bois Drama Society made an appeal for new talent to take part in its future productions. The Society was particularly keen to attract young people aged between 18 and 30. Those interested in helping with backstage lighting and stage management would also be welcome.


On 6 Jan, the funeral of Walter (Jim) Axon was held at All Saints Church Theydon Garnon. Jim, as he was affectionally known to many had died at his Blunts Farm home in Coopersale Lane, on 26 Dec 09. The Arctic weather and snowbound lanes did not prevent some seventy mourners comprising family, friends and local association representatives traveling to this lovely Tudor Church to pay their last respects.  Jim was a prominent figure in the Village where he had been Chairman of the TBPC, and in Epping where he also served as Chairman of the EFDC. After the service, and during a snow storm, Jim was interned in the family grave in the churchyard.

Peter Twinn DFC, a Royal Air Force WWII veteran and popular figure in the Village died aged 88 on the 24 Jan 10 at his home in Dukes Avenue after a long illness. As the tail gunner in Lancaster and other bombers, Peter had flown on raids over Germany including Nuremburg, Berlin and the infamous Dresden raid; he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He had appeared in many TV documentaries, articles and books as one of the few survivors of that period who was prepared to recount his experiences; his substantial collection of memorabilia and documentation has been passed to the Imperial War Museum. He was active both in the Village, where he was the Remembrance Day and Poppy Appeal orgnaiser, and in Epping where he became President of the Epping and District Branch of the Royal British Legion. Peter is survived by his wife Marjorie, two daughters from a previous marriage, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.


Earlier (2009) Months

Last Updated: 15th March 2011