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Theydon Bois Village Web Site

The Month in Theydon

A Month by Month Report since November 2002 by Trevor Roberts

The Month in Theydon Pages are Copyright (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


October 2012



Early in the month the car park of the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was the scene of public transport nostalgia when the North London Transport Society held its autumn meeting with a fleet of vintage buses arriving to give a glimpse of the glory days of London transport. Visitors had the opportunity to climb aboard the vehicles, explore their history and even take a ride through the local area. A transport enthusiasts’ bazaar was also held in the TBVH where visitors could buy memorabilia and enjoy refreshments.

It was feared that food prices would increase following a poor harvest generally in the UK due to the recent bad weather. The National Farmers Union said that wheat yields in England, in particular, were  down by almost 15% on the previous five years average, and productivity was also down to the levels of the 1980s. The British Retail Corporation claimed that food prices were already rising due to the increasing cost of grain following the worst drought in the United States for 50 years, and a heat wave in Russia. But conversely, it was also reported that Brazil had a bumper grain harvest, that in Canada was the largest for three years and the rice and cereal harvests in the Far East were expected to break all records.

A four-year dispute regarding unlawful buildings on the Old Foresters sports ground in the Village green belt ended when Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) officials and contractors arrived early one morning to remove the structures. A brick built electricity storage building was demolished and a portable building was towed away. The EFDC had issued an enforcement notice against the owner shortly after the buildings had first appeared, but the notice was ignored so the EFDC had authorised their removal.

With the onset of winter only a few weeks away and the need for domestic heating to be switched on once again, British Gas and other gas suppliers announced price rises of around 6%; it was expected that electricity suppliers would also increase their prices. Questions were raised in Parliament about this situation and the Prime Minister said he proposed to ask companies to advise customers of the cheapest tariffs available; fuel users were advised to shop around for better deals.

A large audience was present in the TBVH to hear a talk, arranged by the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS), as given by Mike Ashworth, a past curator of the London Transport Museum. Mike’s subject was “150 Years of the London Underground Railway” He commenced by describing the London traffic congestion in the mid 1800s, which was so severe that pedestrian bridges were placed across some thoroughfares. A partial solution was the first underground steam - hauled rail system running from Baker Street to Farringdon which became the basis of the District Line. This and other lines were acquired by Tyson, an American business man, who created the underground system of today. A prominent feature was the Central London Railway (Central Line), one of the first tube railways, which ran directly across Central London from the Bank to Marble Arch with well designed carriages and electric traction to improve passenger comfort. During WW1 and WW2, the underground was used as air raid shelters and in 1939 - 45; the unopened Central Line extension from Leytonstone to Newbury Park accommodated a factory making aircraft components.

The Reverend Angela Canning, a former curate of St Mary's Church, made a welcome return to Theydon Bois to speak at a Wednesday meeting of the TBBC Men’s' Forum. Her subject was pilgrimage and she  talked about this in general and the various forms which it can take, including some well known pilgrimages. She also descried her own walk of pilgrimage with a religious group in Northern Spain.

With the trees in Epping Forest and the Village now displaying their glorious autumn colours, fungi were also emerging from the Forest Floor. The City of London Corporation was therefore warning against the picking of mushrooms as this is now illegal under Forest bylaws. In previous years, licences were issued for this practice but widespread and excessive picking, especially by visitors from the continent where Epping mushrooms are a delicacy, had resulted in the ban and the threat of prosecution for offenders.

Other environmental concerns were a fungus disease which had eradicated ash trees in parts of Europe, had now been found in East Anglian and other UK forests. Chacara Fraxinea caused Chicora Dieback (ash dieback) in ash trees and 50 % of those affected in East Anglia have already been intentionally destroyed to help eradicate the outbreak. The Government had therefore announced an import ban for ash trees effective from the 29th of October; but questions were already being asked as to why this action had not been taken sooner. The Government was advising that people especially children and animals should not enter woodland and to disinfect footwear and animals where outbreaks occurred

The last night performance of the Noel Coward's Fallen Angels, the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the TBVH, was the usual sell out. This follows the earlier success of the Society in receiving its fourth NODA award for the recent production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and a Flame award for the lighting design.

Late in the month an overnight “arctic blast” down the eastern side of Britain quickly ended autumn in Theydon Bois and plunged the Village into winter. In the early morning light, motorists were scraping windscreens and pedestrians negotiating slippery paths. The balmy temperature of 18 degrees C became minus 2 degrees overnight, the lowest October temperature since 2008. The affect on nature was to accelerate the autumn fall of leaves and increase the number of birds feeding in gardens. A more serious aspect was that the previous weeks of bad weather, with fog and variable winds, had affected the migratory patterns of birds. Fishermen at sea had reported large numbers of exhausted birds plunging into the water around their vessels; many of these included red wings, field fares, bramblings and others usually wintering in Britain, and possibly locally.

At the October meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in the TBVH, Horticultural Journalist Kevin Smith spoke about his interest in horticulture and journalism. Following his talk, the Village Pumpkin Weight Competition was held with Joe Rossetti coming first with a 20kg pumpkin and Tricia Haslehurst a close second with a 19kg pumpkin.

With November 5th and Fireworks Night approaching, safety advice regarding Firework Displays was being published. In general; the Firework Code should always be observed, children should watch from a safe distance and/or obey safety rules for using sparklers, only adults should deal with the lighting of fireworks and their safe disposal, and paraffin or petrol should never be used on a bonfire. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also published particular advice on fireworks safety and this was available via its web site.

At the end of the month British’s Summer time reverted to Greenwich Mean Time and all clocks had to be reset back by one hour.  For many businesses and institutions this could be a major exercise. In the Measuring Time Gallery of the London Science Museum, some 500 time pieces had to be reset and this task had commenced some days previous. Large retail businesses selling clocks and timepieces experienced similar problems. On the domestic front, and in the Village, residents enjoyed an extra hour of sleep unless rudely disturbed by their children whose natural time clocks remained unchanged


Rosina Grant, a resident of The Heights in Coppice Row, celebrated her 100th birthday in the TBVH with a party for some 60 members of her family, and friends. She had lived in the Village for 70 years with her husband Albert, who sadly died in 1972, and they had raised two sons Brian and Raymond. She was well known at the Loughton County High School for Girls where she had been a dinner lady for 18 years.

St Mary’s’ Church held a General Knowledge Quiz Night in the TBVH which was well attended. Tickets were £15, which included a fish and chip supper, with the proceeds of the event in aid of Church Funds.

The Ladies of the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) held a “Time for You” morning in the TBVH which gave the opportunity for relaxation and rejuvenation, a chance to chat to friends old and new and to enjoy coffee, tea and home baked refreshments at no charge.

The TBWI held a Fish/Chicken & Chips Lunch in the TBVH with soft drinks supplied (stronger refreshment on a bring your own basis).

Pupils of the Theydon Bois Primary School, together with other primary schools, were at the Tesco High Street store in Epping to be presented with equipment following the School’s participation in the Tesco Schools and Clubs Scheme. The presentation was made by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing.

During September 2012 the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:


16 09 12      Fraser Ian Witherspoon

George Albert Newman


14 09 12      Michael Baldwin Perry - Funeral in Church followed by cremation

October’s departure was much like a typical March exit with strong winds and heavy rain which, fortunately, arrived late in the day so that Halloween (the pagan Samheid Festival  which marked the turning of autumn into winter) was not spoilt for excited  children who dressed as witches , spirits or phantoms, knocked on doors to request a “trick or treat”. They usually received sweets or money as a treat, but cash was welcome as this could help with the possible purchase of fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night (November Fifth) next month.



September 2012



At the beginning of the month the Theydon Bois community was shocked to learn of a road accident on 31 08 12 in which Alma Batty, a retired solicitor, of Orchard Drive was killed and her husband Alf severely injured, when their car was in collision with another vehicle. This occurred on the A30 at Hayle in Cornwall; Alf was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske but Alma died at the scene of the accident. Alma was an active member of All Saints Church in neighbouring Theydon Garnon. Canon Geoffrey Connor, Rector of the Epping District Team Ministry, said “She (Alma) was a well loved grandmother with strong opinions, a very forthright person – you knew were you stood with Alma. The Reverend Stephen Walker, the vicar at All Saints said “Mrs Batty was very involved in the Church and will be very much missed “.

At the halfway point of the Paralympics there was disappointment for the Hollis swimming siblings from Theydon Bois. Emma sustained ankle and elbow injuries prior to the women’s 400m freestyle event but still competed, finished last in her heat and was ranked 14th overall – a courageous effort. She also swam in the 200m individual medley and yet finished only 40.21 seconds behind the Russian winner. James competed in the 100m backstroke and finished fifth in two heats but failed to qualify for the final. In the 100m butterfly event he broke the minute barrier but failed to make the final by just 0.22 seconds and finished 10th out of 22 entrants, despite a strenuous performance overall.

As the Games progressed, it became apparent that those handicapped, both physically and mentally, were amazingly successful in overcoming their disabilities and winning in competition against others similarly afflicted. A most obvious example were the “blade runners” whose missing feet or lower limbs were replaced by sprung steel strips which gave impetus to their motion. “Hand cycling" was another where riders lay supine or sat semi upright and used hand cranks instead of foot pedals. Ingenious devices helped others in field events such as shot putting, archery, rifle shooting and many others. Most remarkable was the participation of the visually impaired with aural guidance from guides and, most remarkable, in team hand - ball games where the players laid on the floor and everyone, including the spectators, had to be absolutely silent so the players could “hear the ball coming”. Truly, the Paralympics were proving that, for the handicapped, there is always something you can do and be successful. To quote one observer ”such is their professionalism that you are watching athletes and not people”.

The Paralympics ended on a hot day where the Paralympics Team GB were finally placed third behind China (1st) and Russia. The Team’s final medal total was 34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze. Once again the British success was, therefore, the more remarkable considering its relatively small population compared with the other leading countries. Once again most Villagers watched the closing ceremony which was just as remarkable as that for the Paralympics opening with the theme “Festival of Flame” which honoured Britain’s ancient traditions with live sets depicting the four seasons. The Ceremony was opened by the  Earl of Wessex, representing the Queen, and he first lapped the track in a custom built vintage car accompanied by Sir Philip Craven the  Paralympics Committee Chairman and driven by an ex army captain who is a “below the knee amputee”. The crowd then marvelled at the courage and grit of Ex Royal Engineer Captain Luke Sinnitt, who despite having lost both legs, climbed to the top of a tall pole to raise the Union Flag. The spectacle continued with a motorized mechanical fantasy horse, a more outlandish mechanical clock on wheels, a flaming cyclist and airborne acrobats and pop singers. The parade of the participant’s national flags took place within a heart shaped virtual ring of fire. The flame was then electronically extinguished by two young British gold medalists Ellie Simmons and Jonnie Peacock, and the Games concluded with a magnificent fireworks display on the Thames centered on Tower Bridge. The colossal enthusiasm and support for both Games was illustrated by the experience of sailing gold medalist Helena Lucas who was traveling to the ceremony with other medalists by train from the West Country. The train guard announced their presence on the train and asked the Olympians to pass down the five carriages, say hello to the other passengers and show their medals. This took two hours!!

On 14 09 12, a bright late summer’s day, St Mary’s Church was almost full for a Service of Remembrance for Michael (Mike) Baldwin Purry who died on 19th August 2012. Mike and his wife Elsie were associated with the village of Theydon Bois for many years although they became residents in Bury Road, Epping, until Elsie’s health failed and she became a resident of the Frank Foster Care  Home in the village; she was however able to attend Mike’s funeral. Mike had a an extensive military background first in the TA and then in WW II with the Essex Regiment in the Middle East; several members of the Essex Old Comrades were present in the church. He subsequently embarked on a successful business career in accountancy eventually becoming the Managing Director of a specialist life insurance company. During the funeral service, which was conducted by the Rev Stephen Walker who also gave the address, an interesting eulogy was given by Mike’s son Simon Baldwin Purry who opened with the words “I first met my father when I was five" (referring to Mike’s WW II absence). His granddaughter, Charlotte van der Boon, recalled memories of “Bambi” the name by which Mike was fondly known to his grandchildren. The poem “God’s Garden” was read by Janine Wallace, Elsie’s daughter and Simon’s step sister. Following the funeral service Michael was cremated at the Forest Park Crematorium at Hainault after which a reception was held at the TBVH.

A special service of celebration was held in St Mary’s Church to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the introduction of the Book of Common Payer in 1662. The service comprised the singing of traditional hymns, prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, readings from the King James Bible and choral renderings of music by Henry Purcell, Benjamin Britten and Charles Stanford.

Satellite observations revealed that the annual summer thaw of Artic ice had ceased for 2012 but that the amount of terrain exposed had been the greatest since records began. The environmental audit committee said the Artic could be ice free in summer within the next few years. The UK weather patterns could be affected by the increased amount of fresh cold water melting into the sea. An authority at the UK Met Office claimed that this would result in colder winters in the UK which could also be drier as snow had less water content than rain. Sea ice has long been regarded as fundamental factor in weather change, and possibly, world climate change. Locally, it was significant that Theydon Bois was experiencing particularly wet summers, and especially for 2012, where the water table remained very high.

Towards the end of the month, the 25th Donkey Derby organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group, postponed from the 17 07 12 due to bad weather, was finally held on the Village Green. But the unusually fine weather of the previous few days promptly disappeared and by midday it began to rain, heavily!! However the spirit of Theydon Bois triumphed and families clad in wet weather clothing and hanging onto umbrellas, “sloshed" their way to the Green for this important event. Most tented activities were well supported, the children’s rides were popular and seven donkey races were run together with a “sheep Race”, which generated considerable interest. An attendance of some 4,000 was expected for this Derby Silver Jubilee event to raise funds for the Theydon Bois Scout and Guide Groups so the wet weather was a great disappointment for organisers and visitors alike; but the children at least, who invariably seemed unaffected by the rain, enjoyed the fun. Show official Paul Vincent said “The people of Theydon Bois were great and turned out to support us despite the weather. But it (the weather) has affected our fund raising and we will be very lucky to break even”.


The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Gardens Society met in the TBVH to hear a talk given by Brian Langley entitled ”British Rare and Localised Wild Flowers”.

The Theydon Bois Astrokyds (Junior Section of the Loughton Astronomical Society) held its first meeting of the autumn in St Mary’s Church Hall. The topic was the Moon, Mercury and Craters.

A Midday Social “Get Together” was held in the TBVH by the Ladies of the TBBC. The event provided the opportunity for relaxed conversation in a pleasant environment with the added pleasure of home made refreshments.

At the September meeting of the Theydon Bois WI in the TBVH, Chris Winter talked about “Growing Old Gracefully”. It was announced that the Police in conjunction with TBPC were seeking local residents to become “Speed Gun” volunteers and monitor the speed of local traffic in order to help reduce accidents which occur in and around the Village.

Theydon Seniors were invited by the TBPC to an afternoon at the TBVH and be entertained by Tom Kelly, followed by an old fashioned tea and informal chat.

Members and friends of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society enjoyed a day’s outing to Pashley Manor and to Merriments.

September is usually the month when Theydon Bois emerges from “summer” with holidays ending, schools reopening and local societies meeting once again. But the Paralympics influence remained, especially as two young residents were participating in the swimming sections, and visitors continued to camp out or park locally in order to use the Central Line for travel to the Games. The local weather also brightened up at times, except for the Donkey Derby which suffered from heavy rain, but was held nevertheless, and received tremendous local support. Village life then returned to normal for the rest of the month.

During August 2012 the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:


18 08 12      Diane Elizabeth Goode and Matthew Charles William Hill.


24 08 12      Arthur Reginald Frederick Grey - Funeral in Church followed by cremation.



August 2012


August, usually a relatively and uninteresting holiday month for Theydon Bois, was transformed with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, especially as two young residents, Emma and James Hollis, were participating in the swimming sections of the Paralympics. The Village was again partly transformed with an influx of visitors either camping out or parking to use the Central Line for travel to the Games. There were two local successes; the Village was judged, once again, to be the Best Kept in Essex for its class and the Theydon Bois Drama Society received a NODA Award for its production of Macbeth staged earlier in the year. And, as if to compensate for a poor summer, the local weather brightened up for the Games, the August Bank Holiday (almost) and the rest of the month.


Two Village residents Joss Farquharson and Les Snelling, 12, were among the 8,000 who carried the Olympic Flame across the country prior to the start of the Games, Jos doing so in Colchester and Les in Brentwood.

Each day from early morning many people, including family groups with back packs containing food & drink, wet weather gear etc, were converging on Theydon Bois Central Line Station en route to Stratford. Some were Villagers, wearing the distinctive Olympic uniforms, being among the 70,000 volunteers from all walks of life helping to organise the games. Tickets were sometimes difficult to obtain and often came from unusual sources. The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) had an allocation reserved for those who were responsible for particular charitable acts in the District  and a Villager who had donated his kidney to his ailing wife (both had now recovered) received a well deserved reward of tickets for his family.  

Most surprising, due no doubt to the Team GB successes was the increase in cyclists especially those on high performance machines using forest roads,  and also "keep fit runners” many of whom were women as the fair sex was prominent among the medal winners. Business increased in the Village Shops, especially the Tesco Express and others selling food, possibly because of the several campsites in the area where those associated with Olympics were staying. Car parking in the Village became difficult due to "Olympic motorists" from outlying districts using the station. Several minibuses from outlying areas including the Midlands were also bringing passengers to and from the station, and this problem was even greater in Epping, at the start of the Central Line. Stewarding of the Games commenced at Stratford Station to ensure steady and unrestricted access to the Olympic Park; this involved a limited daytime closure of the popular Westfield Shopping Centre to all except ticket holders and Olympic workers. Transport for London (TFL) revealed that the underground network had carried 4.31 million passengers on one day against the usual weekday 3.38 million.

In fine weather the London Olympic Games reached a glorious climax with further success for Team GB. The final national placings remained unchanged with the USA first, China second and the UK third with 27 gold medals, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, a tremendous achievement for a small country. The closing ceremony was just as impressive as the opening ceremony and comprised a three hour spectacular musical show featuring some of the biggest names from “British Pop” in the past decade with performances by the Spice Girls, George Michael, Elbow and many others. All this to dramatic scenarios including Churchill speaking from the top of the Queen Elizabeth  Tower (Big Ben), a constant stream of circling London traffic with lorries conveying performing groups and taxis carrying singers on their roofs. The arena was full of athletes, officials, helpers and others singing and dancing beneath an arena roof illuminated with a continuously changing pattern of colours depicting the Union Flag.

The official Olympic flag was handed over to the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian City hosting the next games in 1216 and the Olympic Flame was allowed to slowly die down and extinguish with impressive electronic control. The Games organizer Lord Coe, a former record breaking Olympic athlete, said “When our time came, Britain did it right”. The Head of the International Olympics Committee said “London held a fabulous Olympics enabling athletes to make history“.

The August Bank Holiday weekend had all the signs of being “normal” with high winds and rain forecast. It was therefore not surprising that 1.8 million British holidaymakers were expected to head for overseas climes (and the hot sunshine). Those not doing so, on “staycations” in the UK, would not only risk getting wet and stuck in the traffic, but would also have an expensive break. A current poll revealed that the average cost of a domestic holiday in the UK was £710 per person as opposed to £680 when abroad. These costs included travel, accommodation, food and entertainment, especially for children. Another factor in favour of going overseas was the currently strong pound, especially against the Euro.

Olympic Fever returned with the Paralympics. These Games originated at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, now the home of Paralympics movement. Here in the 1940s, WW2 victims and others were encouraged by Dr Ludwig Guttmann a leading disability specialist, to take up sport as part of a therapeutic process. This was great success and a Hospital Games was held in 1948 which eventually became the Paralympics, with the first international participation in the 1960 Rome Olympics. At the Hospital, now the spiritual home of Paralympics, four flames from four principal provincial cities were combined in a special ceremony to create a single Paralympic Flame. From here the Flame was carried over 92 miles by 600 paraplegic torch holders in a 24 hour relay to the London Stratford arena via a route including such well know locations as Piccadilly, Westminster and the London Zoo. The current allocation of 2.4 million tickets for the Paralympics had already been sold out early and further allocations were being released.

The Village now experienced a second wave of Olympic enthusiasm in a month when the Paralympic Games opened at the Olympic Stadium at Stratford. Once again, those at the event together with some one billion TV viewers were treated to an extraordinary spectacle. The Stadium burst into life with fireworks and illuminations, flying athletes (some in their wheelchairs), a giant umbrella and a mammoth apple. The theme of the display was “enlightenment” and revolved around Professor Stephen Hawking, a totally disabled intellectual of international renown.  He took the audience through history, and started by saying “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at”. The scenes unrolled and included Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity during which the 62,000 spectators  simultaneously bit into apples they had been given, while a mammoth apple with a wheel chair - bound occupant on top was lowered into the area. Above all this, athletes and other participants literally “flew” around the arena suspended by wires as a moving background. The latest scientific developments were depicted by a stream of red tents carried by 128 volunteers to "collide" on the floor like atomic particles. Sir Ian McKellen spoke the words of Prospero from Shakespeare's Tempest “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead”.

The Queen arrived to a royal fanfare while members of the armed services raised the Union Flag, a 430 strong choir sang the national anthem and lights under hundreds of coloured umbrellas were lit up to form a dazzling Union Flag. The parade of the Paralympic participants and some 3,000 volunteer performers which followed, was so extensive that the prgramme slipped by nearly an hour. A paraplegic ex Royal Marine then abseiled into the arena from the adjacent Olympic Tower to pass the torch to a blind footballer who then lit the Paralympic Crucible which comprised 166 flaming petals representing each competing nation. The Queen declared the Games open and the spectacle concluded with music and a magnificent fireworks display.


At a recent presentation, the Theydon Bois Drama Society received a National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) “Flame Award” for its May 2012 production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This award was for the Inspirational Contribution to the Pursuit of Excellence in the Theatre and related to a combination of set design by Lynn Green and Lighting Design by Andrew Pegrum. The Society had received four similar NODA awards in previous years.

Once again Theydon Bois received a Rural Community Council of Essex Award for the best kept village in its class. The Award was based on the activities of many Villagers and organisations including Parish Councilors, Horticultural Society, the Village Cemetery and Allotments, the team of "Village Litter Pickers" and especially, Kenneth, the Village Street Cleaner. The Village was the runner up in the 2010 Best Kept Village Competition and the outright winner in 2007 and 2004.

During June and July 2012 the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

03 06 12    Amelia Penelope Swallow


14 06 12      Eugene Owen Redmond - Funeral in Church with burial at Abridge Road Civil Cemetery

25 06 12      Arthur Charles Thorne – Funeral in Church followed by cremation at Parndon Wood

02 07 12      Thomas Owen McGuiness – Cremation

Burial of Ashes

01 07 12      Peter Lowe



July 2012



The Theydon Bois Village Design Statement (TBVDS) was published in mid summer after many years of hard work by the Theydon Bois Village Design Statement Association (TBVDSA). Presented in an extremely informative and attractive style, this illustrated and comprehensive document relates to the parish of Theydon Bois in the Epping Forest District of Essex.

The Olympic Flame which will be used to light the Olympic Crucible at the London Olympic games arrived at Harlow and then Waltham Abbey where it was greeted by enthusiastic crowds drawn from local areas. However disaster struck when it was being carried along the Olympic White Water course at Waltham Abbey in an inflatable dinghy. Excessive spray extinguished the Flame but it was rekindled from a backup (mother) flame kept specifically for emergencies, and then resumed its journey on into London.

Early in the month the weather, yet again, made headline news with excessive rainfall. The South West, Midlands and North of England had been ravaged by continuous flooding from overflowing rivers and storm drains. This weather reached the South when heavy overnight rain flooded parts of the Village including gardens in Morgan Crescent and Orchard Drive. One semi official explanation for this weather was that the northerly jet stream had moved further south than usual this summer due, possibly, to global warming and the partial melting of the arctic ice cap. A number of flood warnings remained in force and, surprise - surprise, the last of the hosepipe bans by water companies were finally lifted. But summer remained elusive.

Theydon Bois became the poorer, culturally, on 12 July when the Theydon Bois Music Society held its AGM in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The Chairman Barbara O’Connor repeated her assessment of the current state of the Society which she made at its last concert in June; the lack of volunteers to help manage and organize its function had now brought the Society to the end of the road. The last four concerts have been memorable, especially the last where the young pianist John Paul Ekins gave a recital. Society membership had remained stable and its financial situation was sound. However organizing some nine concerts annually required much effort and the committee was therefore standing down; a new one has not been formed and so the membership reluctantly agreed to the proposal to close the Society.

The Theydon Bois Singers held their Summer Concert in the TBVH on a very unsummery evening. The Choir of twenty eight sopranos, twenty four contraltos, five tenors and seven basses gave an impressive performance of vocal works interspersed with readings. The music of Parry, Jerome Kern, Graham & Loveland, Verdi and Stanford was among the many items in the programme. Janet Cass conducted the Singers and Paul Chilvers was the hard working pianist.

Villager Marjorie Chapman, 92, who until recently was a resident in Heath Drive, received recognition for her long term support of the Cancer Research UK Charity. Her involvement began in 1972 after two local residents were diagnosed with the disease; she still takes an interest in the group and remains its President. During WWII Marjorie organised accommodation at the Government Bletchley Park Code Breaking establishment, and she was also involved in the early stages of the Citizens Advice Bureau organisation. Her son Michael Chapman is similarly involved in community work being a Verderer of Epping Forest and, until recently, a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex.

At the AGM of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society, Patricia Moxey gave a presentation about Wanstead Park which comprises the surviving gardens and grounds of the magnificent Wanstead House which was demolished in 1823. After years of decay the Park was acquired by the Corporation of London and opened to the public in 1882. At the AGM the Chairman, Peter Newton, reported that the hard working committee remained concerned about threats to the Green Belt and that local planning applications were regularly monitored. The Society is well represented with its static displays at local events. The Treasurer had submitted a written report which showed that the Society's finances were in a healthy state and that it had made donations to the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) for fencing at the Village Youth Club, and also other donations to the Essex Wild Life Trust and the Open Spaces Society. Alan Gillis and Michael Chapman continued in the offices of President and Vice President, respectively, and the following were elected to office; Chairman – Peter Newton, Vice Chairman – M Boyle, Secretary – J Watts, Treasurer – G Haslehurst, Minutes Secretary – Mrs V Suckling, Committee Members – R Day, Dr B Frankland, R Levene, Miss C Lowe, H Metetyard, A Purkiss, T Roberts and Mrs C Shears.

With the Olympic spirit continuing and the sun shining (at last), the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 103rd Annual Show in the TBVH. There were five major sections in the Show which covered 129 classes of entry: Horticulture (Theydon Bois), Horticulture (Open), Handicraft, Photographic, Cookery and a Junior Section. A Scarecrow Competition proved popular with exhibits displayed at the TBVH entrance; entries were also invited for a Pumpkin Competition in the following October. The following awards were made ; Banksian Medal – Mrs Cox, Frank and Josie Way Memorial Cup – D Seaborne,  Ted Lock Memorial Cup – Mrs E McGuire, Gazette Challenge Bowl – Mrs B Gibbs, Gerald Buxton Cup – Mrs J Turner, John Monkhouse Cup – Mrs Cox, William Way Cup - Mrs Cox, Secretary’s Cup – Mrs J Turner, Elcee Cup – B Turner,  Committee Cup – Miss S Monk, Keswick Cup – Mrs H Howland, Garden News Shield – A Girling, Mini Shield - Ben Abbott. The event was organised by Mrs C Shears with the support of the Society Members and friends.

On the 27th July the first day of the London Olympics, to mark the occasion, Big Ben in Westminster chimed at 08.12 precisely for a short two minute period during which, church and other bells throughout the country did likewise. In Theydon Bois, ticket holders for the Games and many others including Olympic support staff, some of whom were who were camping in the locality, were seen making their way to Stratford via the Central line station wearing their name badges or pink/mauve uniforms relative to their function., In the evening Villagers settled down to watch the Opening Ceremony on TV being joined by some 27 million people world wide to watch the greatest show on earth. During the count down the RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic team roared overhead, an orchestra of young musicians played Elgar’s Nimrod Variation and a camera platform of Olympic Rings supported by four balloons were released to provide views from above the arena. The proceedings commenced with cyclist Bradley Higgins, Britain’s winner of the Tour De France, ringing Europe’s largest tuned bell specially forged for the occasion. Active depictions of early British rural life unfolded around a hill with a large oak tree, country folk tending their fields with “live” livestock and engaged in rural pursuits (eg. maypole dancing) by a cottage with smoke issuing from the chimney. Kingdom Isambard Brunel (actor Sir Kenneth Branagh) then arrived in a horse drawn coach to symbolise the industrial revolution and six great smoking factory chimneys rose from the floor to displace the oak tree and change the country folk into industrial workers. A crucible of molten metal was poured to form an Olympic ring which then rose to join others already aloft.

A series of fascinating scenarios then followed with one featuring theQueen in a pre recorded film. Ian Fleming’s OO7 James Bond (Daniel Craig) accompanied her from Buckingham Palace to an aircraft where they, in theory, parachuted into the arena; she then actually appeared in the Royal Box wearing the same dress and hairstyle as in the film to complete the illusion. On her arrival, members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force carried the Union Flag to a flagpole on the hill where it was flown throughout the Games. Equally impressive was a National Health Service scene involving children and staff from the Great Ormond’s Street Hospital for Sick Children, with the patients jumping about on the hospital beds with great gusto. Conductor Sir Simon Rattle conducted the London Symphony Orchestra with a performance of the theme Chariots of Fire, with comedian Rowan Atkinson accompanying on the piano, and falling asleep in the process.

Music representing the best of British popular music was played, including Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells", the Bee Gees "Staying Alive" and a personal performance of Beatles music by Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. The parade of flags and competitors of the 204 participating nations then began commencing with Greece, the birthplace of the games. As the host nation, the British team led by flag bearer Sir Chris Hoy appeared last, to resounding acclaim while a helicopter dropped seven million pieces of bio degradable paper over the team as a “ticker tape” welcome.

Meanwhile the Olympic Flame, on the final leg of its journey across the country having been carried 8,000 miles by 8,000 Torches, was being escorted to the arena by footballer David Beckham in a launch speeding along the River Thames. On its arrival Sir Steve Redgrave, five times gold medal - winning Olympic rower carried the flame into the arena where it also ignited Torches held by seven young athletes. They then collectively ignited the Crucible from which the Olympic Flame will burn throughout the Games. The Queen then declared the Games open and the event concluded with a magnificent fireworks display.


The 25th Donkey Derby due to be held by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was postponed until September 23rd due to the waterlogged state of the Village Green following the extensive rainfalls of late – nearly four inches in one week.

On a hot July afternoon, the Mother’s Union of St Mary’s Church held a Strawberries and Cream Tea in the Church Hall, which was well attended.

During May 2012 the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

16 05 12    Lauren Eve Britton

20 05 12    Chloe Frankland

27 05 12    Sophia and Christian Hazlewood


28 05 12      Arthur Samuel Vines - Funeral in Church with burial at a civil cemetery.


So ended a memorable July for the Village, which suffered from the vagaries of the weather including flooding, the resulting cancellation of some outdoor events, and also a mini heat wave. The Theydon Bois Music Society closed after many years, with much regret, but the Theydon Singers continued and gave a well supported summer concert. The run up to the 2012 London Olympics aroused much interest and the event affected the Village through increased use of the Central Line, and the influx of Olympics personnel either lodging or camping in the locality. Many Villagers were attending the Games, especially the local White Water events at Waltham Abbey. Britain, and especially Theydon Bois was following the Olympics with great interest via the extensive TV coverage available, and many were looking forward to the Paralympic Games which were to follow.



June 2012




Saturday 6 June was Day 1 of a four day national holiday which celebrated the Queen’s Royal Diamond Jubilee (QRDJ) to mark the 60 years reign of Queen Elizabeth II following her accession to the throne in 1952. The holiday period included two consecutive bank holidays and major commemorative events throughout the UK, and especially in London. On this first day the Queen attended the Derby race meeting at Epsom and saw Camelot, the favourite, win the Derby. The national anthem was sung by opera singer Katherine Jenkins and the RAF Red Arrows aerobatic team gave an immaculate display with their Hawk aircraft. In Theydon Bois, as elsewhere in the District, celebratory flags and artifacts were appearing in shop windows and many residences were decorated with flags, both large and small, and the union flag flew proudly from the flagpoles at the TBVH and the Village School.

On Sunday June 3, Day 2 of the QRDJ celebrations, a unique water pageant was held on the River Thames in London. Many Villagers joined the over one million people who watched the Pageant in which some 1,000 boats sailed down the River from Battersea to Tower Pier. This fleet included the Queen’s Barge, with herself and members of the Royal Family aboard, plus tugs, steamers, river cruisers dragon boats, kayaks and rowing boats of all sizes. The Thames Barrier was closed to steady the Thames flow, Tower Bridge was raised in salute as the Royal Barge passed and HMS Belfast fired a salute.

On Monday June 3, Day 3 of the QRDJ celebrations, there were two noteworthy events; the Theydon Bois village garden party and a mammoth evening concert outside Buckingham Palace. The TB function commenced after lunch in the playing fields of the TB Primary School with families arriving laden with tents, chairs and refreshments with many intending to stay until nightfall and the lighting of a Jubilee Beacon. After the formal opening, the entertainment commenced with young people singing “pop” songs to recorded music and then enjoying musical games and a “mobile quiz”. It was then the turn of the adults with barn dancing which proved so popular that one elderly lady threw away her stick to join in!

In complete contrast the Buckingham Palace concert was a magnificent spectacle of musical entertainment from a special stage erected around the Queen Victoria memorial opposite the Palace. The Royal Family and special guests were present together with 12,000 ticket holders and yet thousands more spectators, including TB residents, who filled the Mall to watch the performance on special TV screens. Those appearing included many famous entertainers and Prince Charles gave a short but moving speech of thanks to the Queen for “inspiring us with your selfless duty and service, for making us proud to be British”. The Duke of Edinburgh was absent in hospital with a minor illness so he was given special loud cheers which, it was hoped, he would hear from his hospital bed not far away. The event ended with the Queen lighting the last of the Jubilee beacons and with rousing renderings of the National Anthem and Land of Hope and Glory, to the background of a magnificent fireworks display.

On June 5, Day 4, last of the celebrations, was the quietest by comparison. The Queen attended a Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral together with many dignitaries including the Prime Minster, David Cameron, who read the lesson. The sermon was given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in which he paid tribute to the Queen’s dedication of herself to others. Afterwards the Queen attended a reception at the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, while other members of the Royal Family attended a reception given by the City of London in the Guildhall. The Queen and Royal Family then lunched at Westminster Hall together with numerous guests drawn from many areas of public life and service.

The QRDJ celebrations ended in the evening when the Queen spoke to the nation in a televised broadcast saying how the celebrations had been  “a humbling experience “ and how she had been “touched deeply” by seeing so many people celebrating together.

In mid June an intense depression passed over the British Isles bringing with it heavy rain (1 – 2 inches) and storm force winds in excess of 50 mile per hour. Once again the local area became rain sodden, several trees were blown down in the district and outdoor events were badly affected. Overnight. more than another inch of rain fell on Theydon Bois resulting in more flooding especially in Piercing Hill/Theydon Road, where traffic was just passable; and the Epping Show planned for coming Saturday was cancelled due to the show site becoming water logged. More then 40 flood alerts were in place in the South East and, surprise surprise, Thames Water, Anglian Water and Southern Water authorities finally lifted the hosepipe ban.

The Theydon Bois Music Society held its last musical meeting in the TBVH at which a piano recital was given by John Paul Ekins, a young musician of increasing repute who was making a popular return to Theydon Bois. Chairman Barbara O’Connor, who has been a stalwart in booking the performers and achieving such high standards for the Society, announced that the inability of the Society to find new officers and committee members to continue its function, meant that the Society was expected to formally cease at its AGM on the 12 July next.

John Paul’s recital comprised works by Liszt, Morel, Mozart and Schubert. The large audience was most appreciative of his brilliant, stylish and deft playing giving a sympathetic interpretation of each item. Especially appreciated were the Liszt Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude and an exhilarating performance of Schumann’s Etudes Symphoniques. The audience accorded him sustained and appreciative applause as a fitting conclusion to a long series of classical music recitals in the village of Theydon Bois. The Society was singularly fortunate to have had such an eminent musician play at its final musical meeting.

An increasing number of burglaries in the Village prompted the Local Neighbourhood Watch organiser to warn residents to be alert and suggested that certain basic precautions be taken to protect their property; the more difficult it is for intruders to gain access, the less likely they will do so. Precautions include ensuring that all windows are closed and locked before leaving a property (including garages, outbuildings and parked cars) and that alarm and security light systems are switched on. Newspapers, milk, post and unsolicited mail should be removed promptly (if away arrange for someone to do this). An increase in visitors in the surrounding area was likely due to the forthcoming London Olympics, so Villagers should be wary of  strangers selling “door to door”,  loitering ( especially where children are playing or en route to and from school), trying house or car doors, peering through windows or arousing suspicion generally. The police should be informed of such actions by phone on 101 (non emergencies or 999 (emergencies).

Marko Bojcun was the speaker at the June meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in the TBVH. An expert on vines and wines he talked mainly about the planting and care of vines to produce the best grapes. Apparently the heavy Essex clay is quite suitable for vines when treated with fertilizer. New vines should be left alone to establish during the first year; they can then be pruned to form rods and laterals and trained accordingly. He has cultivated vines near his Hackney home and also at a community site in the Lea Valley at Chingford. Marko also gave further considerable and useful advice on this interesting subject and answered a number of questions including those about local vines.

The 32nd Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day was held in damp conditions and with the heavy overnight rain preventing use of the Village Green as a car park. Nevertheless some 450 visitors bought their event programmes at the TBVH and then set off on forays around the Village to see the thirteen gardens, St Mary’s Churchyard and the Village Allotments which were all open to view. The garden tours were again well organised by Karen Collins and included five gardens open for the first time. Once again Gardens Day was managed by Thea Buisson, with a team of helpers including some “Younger Villagers” from the Village Youth Club.  The day concluded with Theydon Churches holding the Songs of Praise Service in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church with music provided as usual by the Harlow Salvation Army Band. The event raised some £3,000 for the Theydon Youth Charity, a very creditable amount considering the adverse weather.

On a bright summer’s day, St Mary’s Church was almost full for a Service of Celebration for the life of Arthur Charles Thorne who died on 7th June 2012. Arthur was a well known and long term resident of Theydon Bois and renowned for his love of sports and outdoor activities, including rock climbing, and especially walking. He was leading member of the Essex Ramblers Association and, until his health failed, organised regular walks in the local area, and Epping Forest where many could appreciate the local countryside. In later years he and his wife Joyce were members of the Friends of Wansfell College and spent many hours tending the College gardens. Arthur was a great family man with a number of children, grandchildren and step children all of which he was very proud.  Following the service Arthur was cremated at Parndon crematorium

Members of the Theydon Bois Men’s Forum and their ladies were present in the TBVH for the last Forum meeting before the summer recess. David Williams gave a fascinating and illustrated talk about the Olympic Games entitled “From Athens to Stratford”. The Modern Olympic Games originated in Britain from existing games at Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds and Much Wenlock in Staffordshire. In Wenlock, a Dr Penney thought that the local games could be used for therapeutic purposes and to also bridge the gap between rich and poor, so the modern Olympic games movement was created and he subsequently became a founder member of the International Olympics Committee. Also in Britain, the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire was treating disabled WW1 victims and others in the same way and, through the efforts of Sir Ludwig Guttmann a leading disability specialist, the hospital games eventually became the Para Olympics. The Meeting Chairman, David Walling formally thanked all for   attending the occasion, David Williams for his talk and Vic Dowsett for organising the meal and the catering staff for serving it.

The Theydon Bois Primary School held a Seaside Summer Fayre on, fortunately, one of the few dry and sunny afternoons of this very wet June. The event was arranged by the School and its Parent Teachers Association and there were many attractions especially for children. Two “bouncy castles” catered for the more exuberant youngsters while the more daring did their best to remain attached to a rotating and rolling horse. The many side show attractions included refreshments and games, and also a coconut shy where adults were allowed dislodge the nuts - if they could! The event a great success and raised a substantial amount for School PTA funds.


Charity fundraiser, Lloyd Scott, 50, of Coppice Row crossed the finishing line in this year’s Olympic Marathon a little late because he was “running” in a diving suit. He crossed the finishing line in the Mall in London six days after starting out, to raise funds for the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. Over the past 25 years he had completed 35 similar and gruelling challenges including long distant “runs”, an underwater marathon across Loch Ness, a walk from Lands End to John O’Groat and has now more than £5 million for charity.

Villagers Malcolm and Jenny Heughan were sitting in their lounge when they spotted an unusually large white bird on their lawn. Mrs Heughan described it as “a rare white Peahen” which was walking around our lawn as though looking for somewhere to roost for the night: eventually it flew up into a tree and then vanished.

In May local residents Melanie Merrett, Brigette Bradford, Karen Collins, Alex Phillips and Fiona Bradley, charity “moonwalked” some 20 miles in Central London together with 15,000 women, most of whom were wearing pink brassieres, to raise funds for cancer charities.

Also in May the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb MP, accompanied by Eleanor Laing MP and ECC Councillor Valerie Metcalfe, paid a visit to schools in the Epping Forest District including Theydon Bois Primary School. Here, he was introduced to the pupils by Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds and then enjoyed a school meal of roast chicken followed by jam sponge and custard.

Again in May, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

06 05 12            Lauren Eve Britton

20 05 12            Chloe Frank Land

27 05 12            Sophia and Christian Hazelwood


28 05 12              Arthur Samuel Vines – Funeral in Church                   Burial at Civil Cemetery


June ended with the unsettled weather continuing especially with high winds and rain. Having experienced heavy rainfalls earlier in the month Theydon Bois escaped the recent rainstorms and deluge which inundated parts of the west and midlands of the UK. But June 2012 was the second wettest on record with a rainfall of 132 inches instead of the usual level of 76 inches. And, with a last farewell, rain interrupted play at the tennis championships at Wimbledon



May 2012



An unexpected aspect of the forthcoming London Olympic Games affected Theydon Bois in an unusual way. Extensive security arrangements were planned for this event and would involve units of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Residents of North East London and parts of rural Essex were warned that a nine day training exercise would be taking place when increased airborne activity could be possible. HMS Ocean, a Royal Navy weapons carrier sailed up the Thames to moor at Greenwich The airborne security element would comprise RAF Typhoon fighters based at Northolt and Puma Helicopters at Ilford and these could be operating anywhere in local airspace especially near the Olympic White Water facility at Waltham Abbey.  Nearer to home the Army was planning to locate ground to air missiles at sites on East London and also at Waltham Abbey. A  Royal Air Force spokesman commented ”There is no specific threat and all we are doing is having in place what we would describe as prudent and appropriate measures in order that we could react if required in a timely and appropriate fashion.

Local council elections were held throughout the UK on 04 05 12. There were five candidates for the one Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) seat for Theydon Bois; John Phillip - Conservative, who was returned, Roland Frankel Liberal - Democrats, Daniel Kieve - Green Party, Martin Lawford - Labour Party and Michael McGough - UK Independence Party. The election for Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) was uncontested due to the equality of nominations for the number of seats. However Sue Sowerby and Jenny Berry did not seek reelection and were replaced by Chris Mc Donald and Rob Young. Therefore the TBPC now comprised Peter Gooch, Peter Hammond, Mike Hannibal George Howard, Sue Jones, Chris McDonald, John Phillip, Anthony Purkiss, Paul Vincent, Annie Woods, and Rob Young.

A unique historical event took place when a child refugee from the Spanish Civil War of 1937 returned to Theydon Bois for a few days. Vicente Romero 88, was in a party of Basque children who arrived at Southampton in that year and were given refuge at various locations in the UK including Theydon Bois. Vicente was returning to take part in the 75th Anniversary of their arrival in the UK and was accompanied by his wife and his daughter Covadonga Ciefuegos-Jovellanos, a lawyer from Sans Sebastian who had maintained links with Theydon Bois through local resident Jim Watts. They had broken their journey from Stansted Airport to Southampton to visit the Village and Jim had kindly arranged to meet the party at the Airport and introduce them to several local contacts. The evacuees had stayed at Woodberry, which became Wansfell College, and Vicente was very interested to know about its current state. He was taken to see the residence and was given some pictures showing the building during its early days. Vicente and his party were also given a conducted tour of the Village and other places he would have known during his stay here in 1937.

The ongoing theft of telephone and power cabling continued together with loss of metal signs and plaques from war memorials. This had now become so serious in the area that commemorative plaques, especially on war memorials, were being photographed for record purposes. The national press reported the removal of 20 metres of cable from the Central Line track in the vicinity of Theydon Bois. However the criminals may have been possibly electrocuted as articles of burnt clothing were found nearby. The police were appealing for any information about the theft and, especially, reports of any person(s) who were seeking medical treatment for burns or who were missing or who had not returned home!!

At the Annual Village Meeting held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), John Eaton was named as the Theydon Bois Villager of the Year for 2012 and was presented with the annual award of the Village Rose Bowl. For some years John has been heavily involved in village life through Chairmanship of the TBPC, Governorship of the Theydon Bois Village School, the Village Tree Strategy Committee, and as Leader of the Village “Litter Picks” Group. John was highly active in the Village Design Statement project, is currently a member of the 2012 Queen’s  Diamond Jubilee Village Event Committee but still finds time to get involved with St Mary’ Church of which he is a member. This award was introduced some time ago to recognise the services of particular Villagers. John's current success was one of the most popular to date and well deserved.

Thirty four members of the Theydon Bois WI were informed at their May meeting in the TBVH that the 2013 National Federation Conference will be held in Cardiff. The Essex Federation has already booked two - night stay accommodation in a hotel but each WI attending would have to contribute to the cost. The arrangements for the 2014 AGM (at a different location) will be similar. A Queen's Jubilee Tea is planned for the 11 July 12 as also is a visit to the Cliffs Pavilion on 17 Nov 12 for a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof”. Members were told that, with annual expenses rising and annual income falling, it was necessary to save money wherever possible. At the TBWI resolution meeting, the only resolution discussed and which was passed unanimously, was the need for more midwives to be employed in the community.

William Shakespeare made a long overdue return to Theydon Bois when the Theydon Bois Drama Society gave a three nights performance of his evergreen drama Macbeth. The action of the play took place in 12th Century Scotland in and around Macbeth’s Castle in Dunsinane and in Birnham Wood. In a cast of seventeen, the most prominent were Macbeth (played by Ian Howland) and Lady Macbeth (Angela Becket - Franks), and especially the Three Witches (Jo Shepherd, Lisa Matthews and Karen Burns). The cast was well supported by a substantial Backstage Crew. The production was directed by Teresa Greener and the performances well supported.

Local crime took an unusual turn when incidents were reported where smartly dressed men, apparently of foreign extraction, were seen in a busy road standing by a possibly broken down car and attempting to wave down passing motorists. This occurred at the nearby locations of Passingford Bridge, the Harlow slip road onto the M11 motorway and on the M25 Motorway itself. Drivers who stopped were told that the car was out of fuel, the men were without money and wished to sell personal effects (eg jewelry) to obtain cash for fuel. Official police advice was not to stop if possible. However if forced to do so, drivers should to lock the car doors, not speak to any one, reach for the mobile phone, move on when possible and inform the police.

 A speaker at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) Men’s Forum was Terry Tennens from the International Justice Commission (ICS) who spoke about the function of the ICS and especially slavery worldwide today; 27 million people were held in bondage which is more than that during four centuries of American slavery. He cited instances of forced labour in many countries including India, Cambodia, Middle East and even the UK. The ICS was concerned with human rights, justice for the victims of vice and oppression, human trafficking and the new activities of the illegal acquisition of body parts from living humans.  There was a constant battle against corruption with a need to convince authorities that the rule of law mattered. William Wilberforce and Elizabeth Fry were great social reformers in their day and the ICS was following in their footsteps.

The efforts of a group of volunteers, from the West Essex Ramblers Association, to reopen the footpath running through Blunts Farm from Theydon Bois Station to Theydon Garnon Church were partly thwarted when the repaired footbridges were vandalised. It appeared that a sledgehammer had been used to smash wooden walkways and handrails to make the bridges impassable; the damage appeared to be malicious. However, the volunteers had vowed to continue their efforts to keep the footpath open.

The Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club held its summer presentation lunch in the TBVH. The following trophies were presented as follows: Ladies Singles – Barbara Langford, Ladies Pairs – Sue Dyke and Marie Hammond, Men’s Singles – Alan Drake, Men’s Pairs – Bob Thomas and David Stone, Mixed Pairs – Pat Pleasant and Matt Furlong. John Langford presided and the function was organised by Joy Wainwright and John Field, assisted by Valerie Matthews and Marie Hammond.

There was further concern about an unregulated camp site for 150 tents which will be set up on green belt land adjacent to Theydon Bois Station to accommodate people working or visiting the Olympic Site at Stratford. It was feared that the number of tents could increase to 500 and that they could still remain when the Olympic Games were over. A mini market was also planned and the organisers had now applied for a licence to sell alcohol at the market from 08.00 to 22.00 for the period 23 07 12 to 20 08 12. There was an immediate adverse reaction from residents of Forest Drive and other local roads, especially those who remembered the disturbance caused by functions at the Old Foresters Club which once occupied the site. The application was rejected by the TBPC.

The Theydon Art Group held its 51st Exhibition in the TBVH. The fine weather helped to boost the general attendance and a number of the 153 paintings exhibited were sold. The types of mediums used included acrylic, water colour, mixed media, oil, pencil, pen & wash charcoal and gouache. Floral arrangements were arranged by Joan Thorpe and Ken Kempley donated a mixed media landscape for raffle in support of Group funds. The event was organised by the Group Chairman Roy Lees, Treasurer Mary Spring ham and Secretary Brenda Harris, ably assisted by numerous helpers.

Theydon Bois Cricket Club is enjoying a good season with notable successes. At a recent match in the Herts and Essex Division One, Theydon beat the Ilford Catholic team by nine runs. Theydon batted first and Ilford spinner Ravi Ramanuja bowled an excellent opening spell of two for 23 taking the wickets of Will Stoner and Paul Sartoretti. However Rob Bullivant held the innings together with 71 not out which took Theydon to 163 all out. In reply, Ilford lost the two early wickets of Solusan Thiru and Mulholland with only nine for two but then the run rate began to climb until with Ilford needing 60 from the last ten overs. But wickets continued to fall leaving Ilford, finally, with nine runs short of victory.

In mid May the weather finally relented, after a spring of cold winds and much rain, by bringing in a miniature heat wave. Temperatures rose across the south east, with 28 degrees C in London and 22 degrees at South end. In TB the humid and sultry conditions caused asthma and heart condition sufferers to stay indoors and take their medication where prescribed. However the strong easterly winds (again) returned and the month ended on a wet note.


It was confirmed that siblings, Emma and James Hollis, who are residents of Theydon Bois and members of the Epping Forest Swimming Club, had been accepted as full members of ParalympicsGB team at this summer's Paralympics Games at Stratford. Both youngsters have already swum in international events and were record holders in their own right.

Because of cloud and the early hour, few Villagers were able to observe an unusual astronomical phenomenon – a ”pedigree or super moon”. The full moon appeared to be some 14% larger and 30% brighter due to its current close proximity to the earth.

During April 2012, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Service of Prayer and Dedication

12 04 12            Sally Hayes and Elrick Deklerk


01 04 12              Albert (Bert) Taylor – Funeral in Church, Cremation at Parndon Wood

29 04 12              Jean Doris Strong – Funeral in Church, Burial at Civil Cemetery



April 2012



At the beginning of April the threatened hose pipe ban came became reality for South East England and East Anglia where rivers were at their lowest levels since 1976 and recorded rainfalls were the lowest since 1921. There was some confusion regarding hosepipe restrictions; it appeared hosepipe use was not permitted for cleaning patios (except for health reasons), cars and windows, water lawns (and children on a hot day), fill paddling and swimming pools and ornamental fountains. Permitted use appeared to apply to the cleaning of pets or livestock living quarters, drip irrigation systems in gardens, maintaining a swimming pool conservation system and fill a pond containing fish. The authorities would not employ “water police” to ensure compliance but rely instead on neighbours or others to advise of any violations which could result in fines of up to £1,000.

In a move to discourage smoking, displays of cigarettes and tobacco in shops and supermarkets had now to be hidden from view. This action was claimed to help smokers who want to give up the habit and resulted from Department of Health evidence that such displays encouraged young people to smoke. This action appeared to be part of national policy to show that smoking is not part of normal life and follows the now established practice of banning smoking in pubs, places of entertainment and on public transport. Depictions of characters seen smoking on the stage, in films and on TV had now been discouraged for some time, for similar reasons.

Good Friday, an important date in the Christian calendar, was celebrated in the Village by members of St Mary’s Church and the Theydon Bois Baptist Church with a “Walk of Witness”. Those from St Mary’s walked the short distance to the Baptist Church and, after a short prayer, members of both Churches walked together along the Avenue and across the Green to the Village shopping area. Here a short service was held to commemorate the crucifixion of Christ and to also remind those engaged in their daily business, of the significance of Good Friday. And in the evening some Villagers also attended a United Event in Epping at St John’s Church, Epping, with a performance of J H Maunders Olivet to Calvary, conducted by Simon Winters. Easter Sunday was celebrated by Villagers who attended services at the local centres of Christian worship; at St Mary’s Theydon Bois, All Saints Theydon Garnon, the Theydon Bois Baptist Church and the Catholic Church in Epping.

The glorious and freak weather of the previous year’s Easter Bank Holiday was a distant memory when the continuing cold wind and rain and the increasing motor fuel costs kept many people at home and discouraged family trips of any distance. But some local places of interest were visited including Copped Hall where an Easter Egg Hunt was held and children (and adults) enjoyed searching for the elusive eggs. Being chocolate, they were quickly eaten when found and the still hungry youngsters then enjoyed ice creams bought from an intrepid ice cream lady who arrived together with an old fashioned ice cream sales tricycle.

 Despite overcrowding on the Central Line at peak times, rail travel into London from Theydon Bois was improving generally especially with the major interconnecting links being created at Stratford. A greater improvement will be the Cross Rail link running from Maidenhead in the west to Shenfield in the east due for completion in 2018 which will inter - connect with many of the rail lines in the metropolis. A further planned improvement is Cross Rail 2 from Wimbledon to the Central Line at Leytonstone and then on up to Epping. However, it was disclosed that consideration was now being given to terminate this line elsewhere, possible in North London or Hertfordshire.

Two young athletes from Theydon Bois who are members of Epping Forest Swimming Club were selected by the British Paralympics Association to take part in the London 2012 Paralympics. Emma and James Hollis both have brittle bones and began swimming so to build up muscle to help with this problem. Since then they have competed both in this country and abroad, have achieved notable successes and also broken a number of swimming records.

A furore was created by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's plan to limit the amount of tax relief available on charitable contributions; the Chancellor was said to be shocked by the scale of the tax avoidance involved overall. However there was an immediate backlash of objections from the theatre, the arts and religious organisations. The national Sunday press had field day; the Times said the decision must be reversed, the Mail claimed that two thirds of the government coalition wanted the plan dropped, the Express advocated a crackdown on tax dodgers, the Financial Times thought that the Chancellor could give ground on the issue but would still continue with the plan, and the Victoria and Albert Museum authorities felt that the golden age for Museums (in terms of charitable support) could be jeopardised. The Treasury Minister defended the plan which, it was claimed, would limit taxable contributions and so prevent the rich from opting out of the tax system.

Following a survey carried out by the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), concern was again expressed that light pollution prevented sight of the stars in the night sky. It was claimed that only ten of the least bright of stars in the Orion Constellation could now be seen due to the night skies being contaminated by unnecessary light from streets and buildings. This pollution could cause sleeping problems in humans and threaten wildlife by disorientating mammals and affecting birds (Robins sing all night in some urban areas). The Survey found that light pollution had not reduced since the earlier survey of 2011 in spite of efforts by authorities to switch off street lighting and/or reduce its intensity. Theydon Bois being semi rural has never had street lighting, by popular consent, and residents have little difficulty in moving around during darkness. But it was noticeable that, even here, the night sky was becoming less clear.

Local Government Associations (LGAs) suggested that one in three Councils were concerned about the density of fast food outlets in shopping areas. Town Halls in England and Wales were seeking greater powers to control the number of food takeaways, strip clubs and booking shops in High Streets as, it was claimed, these had an adverse affect on local economies. It was understood that the Government was reviewing high street planning legislation. As an aside, organisations representing most doctors in the UK were uniting in a campaign to deal with increasing obesity and advocated a general promotion of exercise and restrictions on adverts for fat generating foods. The Government Department of Health claimed that it was taking action to combat obesity.

Heavy rain did not prevent members of the Theydon Bois Women’s Institute attending their April meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) to hear Dr Jane Pearson speak about “Life in The 18th Century Essex Workhouse”. News was given of forthcoming events including a Beryl Evans Coffee/Chat morning on 1 May, the Essex Food Show on 12/13 May, a Sherry/Coffee morning on the 22 May and a Queen’s Jubilee Tea on 11 July.

Members of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society enjoyed a pleasant evening in the TBVH listening to a talk given by a representative of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden at Hyde Hall near South Woodham Ferrers in Essex. He described how an Essex farm and its garden were converted into a magnificent horticultural site of unique character and charm which nestles in the Essex Countryside. The farm now includes a café and shop and a series of attractive gardens have been established despite the heavy clay soil, minimal rainfall and the site's exposure to the frequent and cold north east winds. Particular attractions are   the magnificent rose bed lawn and a semi arid garden which needs little watering.

With summer approaching (?), the Theydon Bois Cricket Club held a registration evening at its club house in Loughton Lane. Annual membership was available at £35.  Young people (the Colts) were especially catered for with coaching provided for 8 to 16 year olds, of both sexes, under the guidance of qualified coaches. Competitive fixtures for the under 11, under 13 and under 15 age groups would be arranged for the coming season.

A number of omnibuses and coaches, mainly red and green and both large and small, made their stately way to the TBVH car park, there to rest until called upon to take passengers along the Epping Forest roads – at no charge. The occasion was the Annual Theydon Bois Transport Bazaar and Vintage Bus Running Day organised by the North London Transport Society. Among the many supporters present were older residents who, with nostalgia, viewed the local routes of past years which once served the local area ; No. 20A - Debden, Theydon Bois & Epping Station, No. 38 – Theydon Bois & Chingford Station and No.167A – Chigwell Station, Debden & Theydon Bois. The substantial Bazaar inside the TBVH attracted many enthusiasts and offered the opportunity to purchase models, books and transport mementos of those past glorious days of public transport.

April went out on a soggy and windy note. The drought, which had resulted in a hosepipe ban and appeals to save water, really broke around mid April. Since then, heavy rain, strong winds and low temperatures had prevailed. The meteorological office reported that April had been the wettest month for over 100 years, with three times the average rainfall, and the coldest for 30 years. Flood warnings were in place over many parts of the UK and 20.30mm of rain was forecast for overnight. Locally, many gardens were flooded and Theydon Road by the Golf Course and the Abridge road where the River Roding was partly overflowing had to be negotiated with care. However little water percolated the soil hardened by weeks of drought so unsuitable conditions for growing crops still remained as did the hosepipe ban.


The last of this year's Lent Lunches in the Church Hall was well supported with the usual variety of delicious soups available. The proceeds on this occasion went to support the Christian Aid charity and its work with African communities.

As part of their programme of rural walks during April, the West Essex Walkers held a morning walk in the countryside and woodland around Theydon Bois

The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Society met in the TBVH when the speaker was Robin Alabaster who spoke about “Plants I Have Known”.

The Ladies Section of the Theydon Bois Pre School Group held a Ladies Bingo Evening in the Scout Hut in Loughton Lane.

Sylvia Keith was the speaker at the April meeting of the St Mary’s Church Mother’s Union. Her subject was the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.



March 2012



Early in the month, speed limits on the A104, A121, B1393 major roads running through Epping Forest were reduced to 40mph. The down grading of the route from the Wakes Arms roundabout to Coppice Row was particularly welcome because of its tortuous bends and the extensive Forest which often harboured the Forest deer. These reductions were introduced by the Essex County Council (ECC) to make Epping Forest safer for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, and to also reduce traffic pollution and encourage greater use of the Forest beauty spots.

A local footpath running from Theydon Bois Station to Theydon Garnon Church, and which had been rendered almost impassable by landscape development and rubble dumping, was now useable again thanks to a group of Volunteers from the West Essex Ramblers Association (WERA), which spent three days clearing the route and installing way markers.

Elderly residents were warned not to open doors or admit strangers to their property following a number of unpleasant incidents in the area. Men posing as police officers attempted entry by this means at properties in the neighbouring areas of Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Abridge and Waltham Forest. In the Chigwell incident a woman had a valuable Rolex watch taken from her wrist. Police patrols were now being stepped up in these areas and local residents were requested to be alert.

At the March meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), a recital was given by the Domani duo comprising Helen Arcoleo – flute, and Denian Arcoleo – guitar. These two accomplished musicians played a variety of works by various composers ranging from Ibert to Molin. Particularly appreciated was their performance of the Three Mouvements Perpetuel by the composer Poulenc.

The “Singing for Fun” Choir of the Epping Forest U3A paid a visit to St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, to entertain the residents of the Ashlar House care home. The Choir sang several lively numbers including “Another Opening, Another Show, “Oom Pah Pah, Oom Pah Pah", "Oh Them Golden Slippers", and other numbers which helped brighten up a dull Tuesday morning. There was a general singsong for all in which the the less able residents also joined in. The pianist was Norman Lansdown – Davis and the Choir was led and conducted by Theydon Bois resident Jenifer Cresswell.

A large congregation in St Mary's Church attended the funeral service of Edward (Eddie) Richard Simister who died on the 27th February 2012. The service was conducted by the Reverend Stephen Walker and the eulogy was given by Eddie’s son, Neil Simister who told the congregation about Eddie's early days as an apprentice at a Leytonstone factory and how during WWII he made tooling for the production of Horsa gliders used in the Normandy landings. He then worked as a design engineer for power station manufacturers Babcock and Wilcox and travelled worldwide for this concern. Eddie met his wife Joyce at a dance at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall. They married in 1954 and settled in Purlieu Way, Theydon Bois and often travelled to America where Neil had settled with his family. After the service, a reception for family and friends was held at the Queen Victoria in Theydon Bois.

The last night of “The Odd Couple, a play about two male residents of New York’s Bronx, was staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the TBVH and was the usual sellout. The production was directed by Jeff Barnett who was supported by a back stage production team of fifteen drawn from the Society and its helpers.

A Wine Tasting Evening was held in the TBVH by the Theydon Bois Branch of the Epping Forest Conservative Association. Some sixty members and guests had to assess (taste!) six wines, name their origin and give an opinion of each. The event was organised by the Branch Chairman Richard Risdon and the compere was Colin Hooker whose knowledge of wines was most impressive. At the end of the evening £864 had been raised for Branch funds, the participants were very happy and the Spittoons were only partly used – so much for “wine tasting”.

The Spring Concert given by the Theydon Bois Singers in the TBVH comprised a performance of Haydn’s Creation. The soloists were Francis Chilvers – soprano, Chris Joyce – bass and Mark Hansford – tenor. The work was conducted by Janet Cass and pianist Paul Chilvers was the accompanist.

Near the end of the month, the Unite trade union threatened that a strike by fuel tanker drivers was  possible at Easter. In anticipation of this, the Prime Minster warned the general public to conserve fuel stocks and for motorists to “top up” fuel tanks whenever possible. Because of the continuing increase in fuel costs many motorists were driving with nearly empty tanks and so “top up” became “tank up” resulting in extensive queues at filling stations. Fuel stocks were soon exhausted and steps were being taken to place army tanker drivers on standby; this overall situation was considered by many to be "government generated". The Prime Minister then announced that negotiations would shortly commence with the trade union which, in turn, advised that no strike action would now take place over the Easter period. A senior member of the government thought that the initial warning had effectively blunted the affects of strike action as fuel stocks could stabilise during the coming weeks. In retrospect the shortage was a wake up call for consumers to conserve fule and not take supplies for granted.


St Mary’s Church held a fund raising Cockney Rabble evening in the Church Hall where two “cockney artists” provided an evening of raucous fun with cockney songs from old time music hall to modern rock, together with a background of “cheeky chappy banter” and lots of cockney rhyming slang. A pie and mash supper was provided.

A Quiz Night was held in the TBVH in aid of the Theydon Bois Friends of the Cancer Research UK Charity. Supporters were asked to bring their own drinks but a chicken/fish & chips supper was included in the ticket price of £12.

The Theydon Bois Pre-school held a Saturday morning sale of nearly new children's clothing, toys and books at the Scout Hut Headquarters in Loughton Lane. The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) held a Theydon Seniors Afternoon in the TBVH to which the elderly residents of the village were invited. Tea and cakes were served, and entertainment was provided by Paul Mason.

Members of the St Mary's Church Mum and Pram Group held a sponsored walk around the Village Green in aid of the Clic Sargent charity which helps children and young people who are suffering from cancer. The participants set off with  infants in tow through the mist with the charity’s bright pink balloons attached to prams, or children, and marking their progress. Tea and cakes were provided in the Church Hall on their return.

During February 2012, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

MARCH 2012


19 02 12            Betty Alice Demetriou


07 02 12            Elizabeth Anne White

23 02 12            Marjorie Christine Aulman

Burial of Ashes

10 02 12            Edna Anderson

During the last week of March, the weather became extremely warm (23 degrees C.) and very dry -  with a drought order in the offing. Spring advanced rapidly, crowds flocked to the beaches and young lambs were in the fields. But the cold North West wind then returned with snow forecast for the north of the country, and night frosts locally. So the March lambs could have been well warmed and then possibly half frozen – such is the British climate !


February 2012



The Essex Police announced that Project Athena was now in operation and would facilitate the detection of crime in Essex, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Kent. This Project is a new One Stop Information Technology System which will save time and therefore money in crime detection. It was also revealed that nuisance and hoax calls for police services were on the increase. Recent examples included requests for help with the failure of heated gloves, a spider in the house and confirmation that a bank was open for business.

On February 4th a belt of heavy snow arrived in the evening to cover the whole of the South East of England. Most TB residents had battened down the hatches by early evening but those out and about locally or travelling long distances were caught out. Drivers on the M25 motorway were stranded for some five hours and the M11 was badly affected. Worse still, those returning in the evening from London found the Central Line closed from Stratford onwards; a train had stalled at South Woodford and its passengers had to walk along the track to the station. Other rail users had to continue their journey via bus, taxi or just on foot. Many cars were abandoned on main roads and especially in the local hilly areas with motorists seeking accommodation in hotels or with friends. Air travel was badly affected especially at London Heathrow where many flights were cancelled and weekend travel arrangements disrupted. On the following Sunday morning the deep snow discouraged any early movement with Villagers enjoying a Sunday “lie in”, but soon children were rousing their parents to take them out for toboggan rides on the Village Green or local slopes while other residents cleared snow from paths and cars. The cold weather continued and on the ninth of the month the night time temperature fell to an unprecedented level of minus 13 degrees C.

February 6th was the sixtieth anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth the Second to the throne in 1952, following the death in his sleep of her father King George Sixth. The Queen marked the occasion, which is the start of her Diamond Jubilee Year, in a message to the nation in which she “rededicated herself anew to your service and expressed the hope that this special year would unite families and communities”, and also give thanks for the great advances which have been made since she first became Queen. The King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41 - gun salute in Hyde Park in honour of Her Majesty and to mark the commencement of her Diamond Jubilee Year.

It appeared that more of the population was again turning to religion for the occasions of matrimony and bereavement. The Church of England (CoE) announced a 40% increase in couples marrying in church as opposed to cementing their relationships in registry offices or other alternative locations; and funeral services were also up by 50%. Therefore the corresponding fees for these occasions would be increased in January 2013 to include administration costs and general overheads eg. heating and lighting of buildings. Some members of the General Synod, the CoE governing body, thought that these rises could deter the poorer members of society from using the Church in this way. However, a writer in the National Press claimed that church weddings could become “purely middle class phenomena” and create an unwanted and dangerous disengagement from society.

It was also claimed that the Christian religion was under threat following a high court ruling banning public prayers at a local authority council meeting. This was the result of a former member of Bideford council bringing a legal challenge against the tradition of opening council meetings with prayers; this case was backed by the National Secular Society. Bishops and MPs claimed that the ruling threatened Britain’s Christian heritage and the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, the Islamic group, said that the judgment was an attack on all faiths. Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary pointed out that the new Localism Act would give councils a new power of competence to determine their own procedures. However a simple solution could be the removal of Prayers as an item on council agendas.

In the early hours of February 15th, a cash machine used frequently by Villagers was stolen from the Shell Garage a mile away at the Wake Arms roundabout. A mechanical digger stolen from High Beach was used to demolish the retaining brickwork and possibly remove the machine. The Garage is open 24 hours but the member of staff in attendance was not injured. The local cash machine at the Tesco Express Store in the Village has been tampered with in the past but not suffered from attempts to forcibly remove it, due possibly to the TV security systems in the vicinity.

General details regarding use of the London rail system, including the Central Line, during the London Olympics in mid summer were announced by Transport for London (TFL). The public were particularly requested to avoid peak travel by rearranging work hours and taking note of general travel information published via posters and electronic means eg. Twitter. It also warned that extensive passenger delays could occur at the Central Line and Jubilee Line access stations to the Olympic sites. Villagers travelling by road into London could be affected by traffic changes including road closures, traffic rerouting and lane priorities for Olympic participants, officials and VIPs, which, in East London, will begin at Ilford and onwards to Stratford. Traffic in the Epping Forest District could be adversely affected by visitors to the Olympic White Water facility at Waltham Abbey and the associated use of North Weald Airfield as a park and ride facility. TFL strongly recommended use of the rail systems and not the roads for travel into London during the Olympic six week period.

On February 21st the Environment Secretary declared an official state of drought in the South East of England following two consecutive dry winters. Water companies were urging people to mend dripping taps, install water saving devices in showers and household cisterns and not to clean teeth with a running tap. It was expected that hosepipe bans would be introduced shortly if there was no appreciative rainfall within the next few weeks. Real fears were being expressed regarding the effect on the population of water shortages should there be a third consecutive dry winter.

It was reported that Essex Police was considering dispensing with nearly 100 police officers to offset a funding shortfall of £4.4 million. This is in addition to the proposal to make 988 staff redundant to save a further £45 million over the next three years. Other cut backs were also under consideration.

The death was announced of the victim of a pedestrian road accident involving a car which occurred outside the Tesco Express store in Coppice Row on January 17th. He was Ambrose Skingle, 86 and a grandfather known as Bob to his family, who had spent most of his working life employed by British Telecommunications after serving with the Royal Navy during WW II. He was survived by his wife Joan, a daughter and grandsons. The driver of the car involved was remaining on bail until the March 15th.

The period of Lent having commenced in mid February, the first of a series of Advent Soup Lunches was organised by St Mary’s Church in the Church Hall. A satisfying meal of soup & roll, dessert and coffee, prepared by the ladies of the Church was available for a modest sum. The proceeds from this first lunch were donated to the Fairtrade charity which helps food producers in the developing world to receive a fair minimum price for their products and so enable the poorest farmers and workers to improve their positions and have better control over their lives.


Local resident Barry Turner was the speaker at a meeting of the Theydon Bois Church. His subject was art and Barry displayed a number of his various and well executed examples. He discussed each item in a casual and almost laid back manner which belied the high standard of his work and the painstaking techniques involved. All this created much interest and he was asked so many questions that the meeting almost ran out of time.

Mervyn Marshall was the speaker at the St Mary’s Mothers' Union Meeting in the Church Hall. Mervyn is on the Bishop of Barking’s Steering Committee concerning the London Olympics and his subject was the Churches’ response to this great event.

The Theydon Bois WI held a Shrove Tuesday Coffee Morning in the Theydon Bois Village (TBVH) Hall which was well attended and provided an opportunity for members and their friends to enjoy a pleasant social get-together.

The AGM of the Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society was held in the TBVH and followed by a presentation of members’ slides.

The February meeting of Astro Kyds, the junior branch of the Loughton Astronomical Society, was held in St Mary’s Church Hall. An interesting talk was given on the subject of “Probes to the Outer Solar System”.




January 2012



Early risers on New Year’s Day found the skies overcast but the weather relatively mild. The Village was virtually deserted but the Tesco Express store and the Bookshop newsagents were open, with staff already busy in the Belgique coffee shop and other premises which were still decorated for the festive season. Some Villagers attended the continuing celebrations in London where half a million spectators watched the annual New Year's Parade in Westminster which, this year, launched the Capital’s Year of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Spectators from home and abroad lined the 2.2 mile route of the Parade, in the wet, to cheer and watch marching bands and decorated floats.

The year began against a background of pessimism about the national economic situation especially with the news that rail fares would increase immediately by an average of 5.9%; typically by 3.25% (London to Portsmouth) and 10.7% (Bangor to Holyhead).

In his New Year speech, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the general public “Not to give up on young people following the scenes of rioting by youths last summer. There was a national habit of being suspicious and hostile towards groups of young people. Those involved in the disturbances were in the minority. Charities showed that young people had gifts to offer if they felt safe and were loved”.

The price of scrap metal had increased significantly and so metal thieves were now highly active. The police had set up special units to combat this crime and the Government was proposing legislation to regulate the scrap metal industry. Items stolen included wiring for railway signal and power lines, metal statues, war memorial plaques and, particularly, lead sheeting from church roofs. The Diocese of Chelmsford was the worst affected in the country with over 90 insurance claims being made for repairs. Insurers were recommending that repairs should be carried out using non metallic materials.

The last night of “Allo Allo” the current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was a complete sellout. This popular play, written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft and set in the Cafe Rene in Occupied France during World War II, became a nationwide hit when screened on TV as a series of comedy programmes. The hilarity generated by both the script and the TV production was repeated in the Drama Society’s production which was “jolly good entertainment” according to one of the audience. The production and cast of seventeen was directed by Simon Gilbert who was supported by a back stage production team of twenty drawn from the Society and its helpers.

A road traffic accident black spot in Theydon Bois became blacker when an 86 year old male pedestrian sustained life threatening injuries when in collision with a red Fiat motor vehicle outside the Tesco Express food store in Coppice Road. This area not only carries heavy road traffic from Abridge to the Wakes Arms roundabout but also serves three other road junctions and the entrances to the Tesco car park and the Queen Victoria Pub. Motor vehicle parking is banned outside the store as indicated by double yellow “no parking road markings” and a pedestrian guard rail; nevertheless vehicles are invariably parked there, and the rail often vaulted by drivers, so a line of illegally parked vehicles usually constricts the road at this dangerous location. An illuminated pedestrian crossing is sited only a short distance away but pedestrians still take chances in crossing the road outside the store, especially at night. The accident created a major traffic block in the Village. Traffic congestion remained in the village for some time while the traffic police investigated the incident. The driver of the Red Fiat was man in his eighties who was subsequently arrested and placed on police bail.

There were considerable repercussions and complaints regarding the constant violation of the parking restrictions outside the store and the apparent lack of action on the part of the authorities. Debra Ritchie of Slade End TB commented “When people park outside Tesco, the visibility is non existent and you often see near misses. There’s a lot of parking enforcement in Theydon Bois but how many tickets are issued outside Tesco? I don’t know because here are always cars outside”. A spokesman for the Epping forest District Council (EFDC) said”Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) had visited Coppice Row and the surrounding locations 714 times since the beginning of September last year. They are enforcing parking restrictions and 82 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) have been issued during this period

Tony Ames, Jim Watts and Sally Crone from the Theydon Bois Village News (TBVN) editorial team attended the Essex Community Magazine Awards Ceremony held at Barleylands, near Billericay.  This competition is held in conjunction with the Rural Community Council of Essex, the Essex Life Magazine and the Diocese of Chelmsford. This year 62 entries were judged, the first 16 of which were invited to attend the Ceremony. The TBVN attendees were delighted to learn that the News had again been judged 'Best Community Magazine in Essex' for the second year running. This was the third time in five years that the magazine had been successful and one year there was no competition. A certificate was presented to the editorial team which will be displayed permanently in the TBVH together with the others received for previous years.

During January the weather had became balmy for the time of year with day temperatures up to 56.3 degrees F (13.5 C) recorded in Hampshire with similar temperatures locally, so this winter was expected to be one of the mildest recorded since 1659. Snowdrops and daffodils were flowering and trees beginning to bud. But at the end of the month a high pressure system developed over Scandinavia and brought freezing conditions across from Siberia. The Northern part of the UK experienced substantial snowfalls and, in TB, night temperatures fell to around minus 7 degrees centigrade with hard frosts; so nature went back to hibernation. 


A table top sale was held in St Mary’s Church Hall on the 28th of the month. Individuals or groups could hire a table for a fee of £15 and sell unwanted presents or any other items (within reason). All income was retained by the table/stall hirer and refreshments were available.

A party from the Theatre Group of the Epping Forest U3A, which meets in the TBVH, attended a performance of "Crazy for You" at the Novello Theatre in London. This happy musical contained many of the popular songs by George Gershwin and the almost continuous dancing helped to provide a lavish and colourful production. This successful evening was arranged by Jean Moody.

The speaker at the mid January meeting of the TBBC Men’s Forum was Michael Chapman whose intriguing subject was “You can‘t take it with you, and if you could it would probably melt”.

During the months of November and December 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Matrimony

05 11 11   Simon Wetherill and Laura Jane Toole


01 12 11  Joan Dorothy Nay

Burial of Ashes

12 11 11   Alice Maud Holt      

14 12 11   Frederick Neville Street



Earlier (2011) Months

Last Updated: 14th October 2012