Theyon Web Title

Theydon Bois Village Web Site

The Month in Theydon

A Month by Month Report since November 2002 by Trevor Roberts

The Month in Theydon Pages are Copyright (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


November 2013 



The weekend prior to November 5th was celebrated in fine style Village with a number of firework parties and displays in the Village. And on the 5th, the most prominent event was the display and party held at the Theydon Bois (TB) Primary School as organised by the School Parent Teachers Association.

The aftermath of the great storm of 28 October continued to be felt locally with the Hobbs Cross Business Centre still awaiting the reconnection of its BT phone links. Steve Arnold, Director of United Technologies said”It is an absolute nightmare. So far it (the disconnection) has cost us over £6,000. We have had to fork out for IT services, new routers, new mobile phone contracts, and have lost business”.

Despite the damp weather many Villagers, including children, travelled up to London to watch the Lord Mayor’s show. For only the second time in its 800 years history a woman, Fiona Woolf had been selected as Lord Mayor and she travelled in the magnificent Mayor’s Coach through the City's Streets between the Bank and Aldwych. The procession was some three miles long and included representatives of the City Livery Companies, members of the armed services and some 150 businesses, charities and other groups associated with the City. It was bright but cold for Remembrance Sunday, which encouraged good attendances at Church Services and Parades in the Epping Forest District where the two minutes silence was held in memory of those who died in WW1 and WW2. Many Villagers attended these events or more especially the official Parade in Whitehall, which was seen nationwide on TV. Once again many young people were present at these services, especially those in uniform. In Theydon Bois, a short wreath-laying ceremony was held at the War memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard with ex-service and Village organisations present.

The Epping Forest Branch of the University of the Third Age held a Coffee Morning in the TBVH where its “Singing for Fun" vocal group entertained with a lively performance of popular songs. These included “Another Opening Another Show” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” which was well received and even prompted some "dancing in the aisles". The group concluded its performance by leading the large audience in a general sing - song. Jennifer Cresswell the group’s leader conducted and the popular pianist Norman Lansdown Davis was the accompanist.

At the AGM of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society, awards were  made to the winners of the Society’s  Village Front Gardens Competition; Formal Section - Mr & Mrs P Skingle of Midhill, Coppice Row, Informal -   Susan D Collins of 41 Thrifts Mead, With Parking - Linda Nightingale of 15 The Weind, Commercial - The Queen Victoria Pub. The future of the Society was then discussed extensively; it was in a very sound financial position but lacked volunteers especially committee remembers. The hard working Chairman, Barry Turner, and Secretary Joan Turner both wished to stand down and replacements were needed for the Society to continue. Efforts were being made to find further volunteers and an Extraordinary General Meeting would be held in late January/early February 2014. The Society would then close if a formally elected Society had not been established by then.

Crop marks in various forms can be found throughout the UK and especially in the West Country at harvest time. However a “crop mark” with a difference was now visible alongside the M11 motorway near the Village. It comprised a number of elliptical raised paths of differing lengths radiating out to form a common point and contained within a single shape. Each path will be planted with trees of different specie to form woodlands of differing character and environment. This is an 'earth artwork' commissioned by the Woodland Trust for Theydon Wood from artist Richard Harris.

A party from the TBWI travelled to the Cliffs Pavilion at Westcliffe to attend a performance of the musical Guys and Dolls as staged by the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society (SODS).The cool but bright weather provided scenic views of the Thames Estuary for those taking lunch in the Pavilion restaurant.  The matinee production was first rate with lots of colour, excellent choreography and a high standard of singing and acting generally. The visit was arranged by Doreen Snell and she was thanked by Jackie Robertson on behalf of all in the party.

The announcement by Transport For London (TFL) and the London Mayor Boris Johnson that underground train services could soon be running all night (24 hours a day) was received with enthusiasm by Villagers especially those who had night time London employment or who wished to remain in town after a theatre visit. However, the details were sketchy as it appeared that this might not apply to all services, or that those running could be on a restricted basis.

For some Villagers Christmas began in late November when they attended St John’s Church in Epping for the traditional Christmas Carol Concert. The music and carols were provided by the Salvation Army and the sound of Christmas music filled the Church. The event was held in support of the Theydon Bois and District Cancer Research UK Charity, and traditional light refreshments were served afterwards as the residents of Epping and Theydon Bois socialised in true Christmas fashion.

And, even nearer to Christmas, St Mary’s Church quickly followed the Epping concert with a lunch time Annual Christmas Fair held in the Church Hall. This was well supported and there were numerous stalls selling home produce, toiletries, nearly new gifts, jewellery, and refreshments.


Four November Soup Lunches were held in the St Mary’s Church Hall. Organised by the ladies of the Church and their friends, a delicious light meal was provided for a nominal five pounds with the proceeds supporting various charities; Operation Christmas Child, Missions to Seamen and the Manna Centre, respectively.

There was a distinctive Christmas flavour at the November meeting of the TBWI when Anita Marie Sackett spoke about the Victorian Christmas and the Origins of Pagan Customs.

At the November meeting of the Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society in the TBVH, David Haslegrove gave a presentation featuring The Flowers of Szechuan.

During September 2013, the following entry was made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:


18 09 13      Pearl Irene Ringwood (subsequent internment at the Epping Forest Burial Park).


November was busy month for Villagers with November Fifth celebrations, the Lord Mayor’s Show, Remembrance Day Parades, Winter Soup Lunches, a TBWI visit to Southend, the possibility of an all night passenger service on the Central Line and the likely closure of the TB Horticultural Society. Christmas activities began at the end of the month as Theydon Bois began to prepare for the great Festival of Christmas.



October 2013 



The Vice Chairman of the West Essex Clinical Commission Group (CCG) which took over from the district strategic health authorities described the previous system of health care delivery as deeply flawed. As a Chigwell General Practitioner (GP), he said that there was a need to improve communication. Once his patients were admitted to hospital, they tend to get lost in the system. A CCG medical director vowed to improve access to doctors but plans were at an early stage. In Theydon Bois, care is patchy with a doctor from the Epping Limes practice attending the local surgery. Therefore most Villagers tended to consult GPs in Epping at the Limes or High Street Surgeries, or at the Abridge Surgery.

The demolition of the Theydons bar/dining establishment in Station Approach was now complete and the construction of Theydon Mews, a new residential accommodation on the site, had now commenced. Theydons had formerly been The Railway pub and the only remaining trace of this establishment was the inn sign which still stood on a residential property opposite.

Michael Chapman, a Verderer of Epping Forest, was the speaker at a special evening arranged by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society (TBRPS). Michael’s subject was Rambling Through Epping Forest and he spoke extensively about the Forest and the difficulties of maintaining its natural environment while keeping the area readily accessible to the general public. Other aspects included the Forest management,  the limited funding generally available, the acquisition of buffer land, the safety of the several dams , introducing livestock (English Longhorn Cattle), dealing with criminal rubbish - dumping and the unintentional fouling of ponds (feeding the ducks), the refurbishment of the Chingford Hunting Lodge and the provision of a new Forest Centre there, the extensive staffing required (the few keepers are just the tip of the iceberg) and the increasing need  for public car parks.

Once again the TBVH car park was the venue for a number of vintage public transport road vehicles when the North London and Essex Transport organisation held its Transport Bazaar and Vintage Bus Running Day in the Village. On display were some four double decker and two single decker buses, one in Green Line colours. A unique vehicle was a "triple composite" with a shortened bus at the front, the cab of a diesel rail car at the rear  inter connected by a section of an underground train carriage. This unique vehicle was on loan to the Epping – Ongar Railway which uses vintage diesel buses to carry visitors to its stations at North Weald and Ongar.

The prolonged Indian Summer disappeared almost overnight when a strong artic blast moved down the east coast so that, the next morning, those Villagers who had heeded the meteorological office warning of low temperatures of some 5 degrees C emerged clad in warm clothing and scarves instead of the summer wear of a few days ago. The penetrating wind blasted trees still laden with “summer” fruit which soon fell to the ground so that the green household waste collecting bins, usually almost empty at this time of year, were crammed with foliage and spoiled fruit.

Eleanor Laing, MP for Epping Forest and a resident of Theydon bois, was elected as one of three Deputy Speakers in the House of Commons. She beat other challengers for the position where she will be required to stand-in for the Speaker, John Bercowe, when he is not present. She occupies the position left by MP Nigel Evans who has stood down from the office of Deputy.

The autumn production of the Theydon Bois Drama Society, staged in the TBVH, was J B Priestley’s Comedy “When We Are Married”. Set in Yorkshire in 1908, the play features three couples, the Parkers, the Soppitts and the Helliwells who were married on the same day in the same church and by the same clergyman and who are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss. Out of the blue disaster strikes when they learn that the clergyman was never licensed and that they have been living in sin all those years. At a stroke, all the cherished certainties of their lives start to unravel. Home truths fly like confetti, simmering resentments come to the surface and skeletons threaten to tumble out of the cupboards. The antics of the three couples trying to hide shameful secrets and retain their hard – won standing in the community provide much entertainment and humour, well generated by an extensive cast. The production was directed by Carol Freeman.

The well forecast St Jude's Day Storm, which was greater than the 1987 hurricane arrived in the early hours of a Monday morning with wind gusts of up to 80 mph so few Villagers were surprised, even when the electrical power failed at breakfast time to spoil the first meal of the day or early morning cup of tea. Moreover, commuters arriving at the station found that trains were not running up to Leytonstone and, more serious, most over ground train services were not operating in or out of London. However, this time, the storm was short and sharp arriving early when schools were closed for half term holidays and so fewer people were out and about, or had heeded the warnings to stay indoors. Fallen trees which blocked roads, rail lines, disrupted power lines and crushed cars were the main problem; some 120 trees were down in the Epping District including several in Theydon Bois. Epping Forest staff, having received early warnings from the meteorological office, soon cleared Forest roads but envisaged many more weeks of work in the Forest itself. And the power supplies were soon restored locally but, in deep Essex, many areas were without power for some days yet.


Paul Woodward, 62, a retired police officer and resident in Thrifts Mead TB was planning a five day trek along the Great Wall of China to raise money for the St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood. Both of Paul's parents are being cared for by the Hospice and he is himself is now a volunteer receptionist there. The trek can be very hilly and he could be walking up to seven hours daily. Paul has a fund raising target of £3,000 and has already received £1,700 in support.

During August 2013, the following entries were made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:

Holy Baptism

18 08 13      Frankie George Harry Djemal.          


17 08 13   Alison Mary Fortescue and Mark James Cowell

So October went out with almost a roar. Plans to improve patient access to local Doctors were under consideration, veteran omnibuses once again ran along local roads (for one day), the Theydon Players staged their autumn production, local MP Eleanor Laing was appointed a Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons, Paul Woodard at 62 years planned a charity walk along the Great Wall of China, the Railway Inn (Theydon Bars) disappeared under residential development and similar development forged ahead on the site of Darlington’s Garage. And the St Jude’s Storm followed by Halloween ended a mild autumn month.



September 2013 



The Essex County Council (ECC) was proposing that certain residential areas in the Epping Forest District would have the street lighting switched off between midnight and the following 5 am. The reason was the need to conserve energy, save the taxpayer some £1 million annually and reduce light pollution generally. The ECC had been consulting local authorities regarding such action and had agreed that certain important areas eg. High streets, hospitals and those with essential services would be excluded from the proposal. Various local groups had subsequently complained; one spokesperson described the scheme as absolutely dangerous, another perhaps more logically, suggested that the alternate switching of street lighting might be adopted instead. Another argument against the scheme was a possible increase in street crime or road accidents. But a local policed authority pointed out that a pilot scheme elsewhere in the County had not resulted in any increase in either.

The Village Pond, an attractive feature of award winning Theydon Bois was restocked with fish during last July. Local resident Robert Levene found the fish were distressed (gasping for air) and in trouble. The Epping Forest authority was informed and a specialist company arrived to investigate and deal with the problem. Apparently the oxygen level had fallen to a dangerous 20% below which fish start to die, and so pumps had to used to re - oxygenate the water; the normal content  should been have been 80%. The situation was quickly retrieved and the cause found to be decomposing food (mainly bread) being the remains of the overfeeding of fish and waterfowl by well intending individuals, in combination with the recent hot weather. “Feeding the Ducks” on a Sunday afternoon” is a popular activity in the Village especially for children. But warnings against overfeeding have been made in the past to avoid encouraging vermin to take up residence where "ready meals” are available.

Concern was expressed by many in the local district when the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Planning Department revealed that areas to the east and south west of Epping, included in the forthcoming Local Plan, could be required to accommodate many new homes. Much of the land in these areas is Green Belt and a major objection was that insufficient effort had been made to identify alternative Brownfield sites which could be used instead of open countryside. Another argument against the plan was the inadequate infrastructure available for the development of some of these areas. The Director of the National Trust had visited Epping recently and expressed the view, that despite the need for new homes, the Green Belt should be protected. However one possible developer claimed that the proposed housing was good news for future generations as young people could purchase affordable homes and so continue to live in the district near their relatives and friends.

The speaker at the September meeting of the Theydon Bois WI had to cancel at short notice due to family illness. However, a visitor from Chingford deputised and spoke about a perilous journey she had made with her husband through Northern Canada during the winter months. Incidents experienced included the absence of booked coaches, a train breakdown which left them snowbound on an icy terrain and then, most serious, the collision of the ferry boat with rocks and the subsequent abandoning of the ship in the arctic dark. Two of the party died in the incident and the rest survived with the help of nearby islanders; this calamitous story held her audience spell bound. Dealing with other matters, the Secretary, Jackie Robertson, warned of scams being perpetrated via phone where the listener was pressurised to give details of their bank account/card. Invitations had been received to join coach tours arranged by the Essex WI Federation; unfortunately these were impractical for the TBWI due to the coach pickups being early and in the West Essex area.

Forty five members and Friends of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society spent a pleasant day visiting Burghley, England's Greatest Elizabethan House, situated near Stamford in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire. After initial refreshment in the Orangery Restaurant, the group began individual tours of the House. This was built by William Cecil, First Lord Burghley Principal Secretary and Lord Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth the First. Burghley is renowned for its historic collection of paintings, ceramics and many works of art some, dating back to 1688 and earlier which are a key to the understanding of the tastes, tradition and aspirations of past generations. Many paintings relate to leading figures in English history including Queen Elizabeth First, Charles First, Queen Victoria and even Oliver Cromwell who took and occupied the House in the English Civil War. Most impressive was the Heaven Room with continuous murals on walls and ceiling painted by Antonio Verrio and depicting Gods and Goddesses disporting themselves “as they were wont to do”. The grounds were created by Capability Brown, and are used for the well known Burghley Horse Trials, but which also now form part of a modern agricultural environment. A notable feature was the two complimentary Gardens of Surprise; the first depicting scientific advances since 1560, including fascinating water features, and the second including a variety of contemporary sculptures. The visit and coach journey were arranged by Jane Turner, who received much appreciation and thanks for her efforts.

Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) had circulated a leaflet throughout the Village regarding possible future residential development here. TBAG asked if Villagers wanted to see the following take place?

The loss of the Green Belt land around Theydon Bois.

Several hundred new homes in Theydon Bois plus the increase in road traffic.

The local school to be massively oversubscribed.

A wait of a month to see a doctor.

The underground (Central Line) to come under yet more pressure.

These were just five of the inevitable consequences if plans for more housing development went ahead in Theydon Bois. Those saying "no” to the above were asked to attend the public Parish Council Meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) on 26 September 2013. This meeting took place in unusual circumstances with so many Villagers present that a larger room had to be quickly organized. The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Chairman, John Phillip explained that this was a normal TBPC meeting with only a short time available for questions on general matters. However, in the face of much Village concern, he handled the situation well by agreeing to take questions on Village planning and this took some fifty minutes of the Parish Meeting Agenda. He concluded by commenting that the strong reaction from residents was a good sign that residents were concerned about possible housing development within the Village boundaries and the continuing protection of its green belt. He hoped that there would be a similar response from Villagers at the EFDC Cabinet Planning meeting in October when the issues raised by Villagers could be discussed.


During June and July 2013, the following entries were made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:

Holy Baptism

02 06 13   Sophia and Joshua Stephenson.

21 07 13   Freya Jane Simmance 

28 07 13   Nathan William Lee


21 06 13   Edward Smith and Katherine Xavier Zimpel

29 06 13   Alexanda James Lawson and Kayley Maria Neale

20 07 13   Craig Nightingale and Catherine Scott

Local resident Eric Furze recently reached the ripe old age of 100 years. Congratulations were forthcoming from the Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowling Club where he had been an active founder member and, eventually it’s President, until unable to continue due to advancing years. Having a very pleasant and personal disposition he has many friends, not least in the Village, and so became a member of other organisations, including Barkingside Probus.

The Theydon Bois Baptist Church held a Family Fun Day on the Church premises. Entertainment was provided for young and old and included games and craft activities including scarecrow building. Refreshments were also available. This function was the Church’s contribution to the Village social scene and was without charge to all attending.

The month ended with very little rain and a continuation of the warm sunshine of an Indian summer. Some notable events included the strong Village reaction to possible local housing development, the proposed reduction in street lighting in the District (TB unaffected), a near disaster affecting the Village Pond, the TBWI speaker’s account of a Canadian holiday trip which went terribly wrong and the TB Horticultural Society's popular visit to Burghley House. Not bad for a relatively “quiet” Village on the fringes of Epping Forest



August 2013 



Road cycling was fast becoming a popular pastime/sport due possibly to the UK's success in the 2012 Olympics, and the wish of many to escape the TV and improve their personal fitness. Lightweight cycle frames, complex but easy to use gears, fashionable rainproof clothing including head protection, a host of accessories and an amazing variety of machines for all ages meant that families could be seen riding around the relatively quiet and wide side roads of the Village, but with care. However the main routes of the Abridge and Loughton Roads, Coppice Row and Piercing Hill had become more dangerous with parties of cyclists, especially at weekends, travelling together at speeds of up to 30 mph and so becoming a hazard to other road users.

Early in the month, the more experienced and professional cyclists rode through the London following the 2012 Olympic route and then continued on into Surrey in the largest ever mass participation cycling event in the UK. Those taking part included various dignitaries, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. These events resulted in the closure of many roads to normal traffic with much inconvenience to local residents, especially in rural Surrey. Therefore current suggestions were that that the 2014 event be switched to elsewhere - perhaps Essex and even Theydon Bois?  But, nevertheless, the weekend was a great success with 65,000 cyclists enjoying a healthy day’s exercise with congenial company and in good weather.

A new development taking place in the countryside, seen as a boon by some and a threat by others was causing considerable concern and debate. ”Fracking” is a process which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with considerable force, and using water and chemicals to extract oil and natural (shale) gas. This technique is being used in America where the use of energy and the related costs have been reduced dramatically. The Government was hoping that these advantages could also apply in Britain, particularly if Fracking was carried out here and especially in the Home Counties and North West of England where large deposits of shale exist. The issue had already become contentious with environmental groups claiming that the process was another threat to the countryside. Moreover, they also claimed that unusual seismic disturbances experienced recently in unlikely places eg. Blackpool was due to exploratory Fracking. Already protest groups have been demonstrating and hindering exploratory work. At present, the areas mainly affected were the Southern Coastal Counties where shale deposits already exist; but could Essex and even Theydon Bois be affected, in this way if energy supplies could become depleted in the long term?

Errant motorists were once again, and with some justification, be the target of the road traffic authorities. The Epping Forest District was one of  six areas in Essex where CCTV cars would patrol and register vehicles that are parked in ”keep clear” areas outside schools, on rural clearways, by bus stops and on taxi ranks. Registered owners of the offending vehicle would only be aware of “registration” when notification of a fixed penalty charge arrives in the post. Traffic police were also stopping drivers who “tail gated”, (drove too close to other vehicles) when at speed and  “hogged” (stayed) in the centre lane on motorways when the nearside lane was clear; penalties were also increased for driving while using a mobile phone.

The August Bank Holiday weekend in TB began on a wet Saturday where a persistent “splodge” of 2.0 inches of rain which fell over this south eastern corner of Essex, the "driest" county in the UK. Villagers visiting the coast in vain search of sun were confronted with flooding on the Southend sea front and flooded road - underpasses, especially at Hockley where a mother and children had to be rescued from a sinking car. Here in TB the St Mary’s Flower Festival had commenced and so a steady stream of stalwart supporters visited the Church to view the nineteen colourful and descriptive floral displays based on the biblical theme “Water of Life”; depicted were Noah and the Flood, Crossing the Red Sea, Moses in the Bulrushes, and particularly the baptism of Jesus, His Walking on the Water, his changing Water into Wine and his Crucifixion. Elsewhere in the Church, the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society held a Local History Exhibition of Village Photographs.

Sunday was all change. The sun was out and after Morning Church Service it was all systems go with car parking on the Village Green, refreshments in the Parish Centre, the displays in the Church, and, in the afternoon, live music in the churchyard by courtesy of the Davenant Community Choir. The day concluded with a Special Festival Service. The strong late summer sunshine on the August Bank Holiday had dried out the Village and the Church Festival continued as before but with the children especially catered for with a Family Fun Day in the Church Hall Grounds. Here, excited children enjoyed a Bouncy Castle and other various games or “refuelled” with ice cream, hot dogs and other tasty items. A very happy person was the mobile ice cream seller who was busy touring the Village in his van and selling his wares to residents who, on hearing his chimes and coerced by their children, promptly appeared to buy yet more ice cream. Bank Holiday was back to normal!

There was good news for house owners who had large mortgage commitments, and especially for young people with first time mortgages. The Halifax Building Society announced that, during the second quarter of 2013, mortgage repayments accounted for 27% of average incomes, as opposed to 48% in 2007. The Society claimed that this was due to the current low mortgage rates together with a fall in house prices. Also the Government scheme “Funding for Lending”, introduced a year ago, had encouraged lenders to lower loan rates.

Police were warning of recent criminal ”flash and crash” road accidents. The unofficial practice adopted generally by considerate motorists to flash their lights to indicate their giving way to other vehicles, was being exploited by criminals. After so signalling, criminal drivers would then deliberately collide with the emerging or approaching vehicle and then claim that the driver of this vehicle was responsible. Cash compensation could then be demanded, sometimes with menaces, from the unwitting and innocent driver.

 August was anything but a quiet month with several issues affecting the Village. The number of cyclists using the Forest Roads (and sometimes their bad behaviour) was causing increasing concern; the possible extraction of oil by “fracking” in the South of England was another, although only a remote possibility locally (?) and a government proposal to raise the upper age limit for jury service to 75 years also raised a few eyebrows. The major event of the month, the St Margaret’s Flower Festival was a great success after a rainy start. The ongoing summer weather was a boon to Villagers on holiday and helped boost summer functions. Locally, farming had benefited with a good grain harvest, which was now almost over, and bumper crops of cultivated fruit (apples) and the wild fruit of the hedgerows (blackberries) were filling many a larder. And the weather men were forecasting a late Indian Summer to follow the best English Summer for many years.



July 2013 



At the beginning of the month, because of extended heat wave, the Essex Fire Authorities were warning of a new fire hazard - airborne Chinese Lanterns. These celebratory devices included burning material to keep them aloft and in the right locations (China?) were intended to be launched over water and so extinguished on landing. However, this novelty was being used inland in this Country and one lantern had already caused a disastrous fire in the Midlands. Moreover, farmers were concerned that they could injure livestock and ignite crops. Unfortunately, the Government had rejected the idea of banning these devices.

A hot sunny Saturday evening set the scene in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), which was packed to capacity for a major Village musical event. The Theydon Bois Singers presented a selection of vocal items from the Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) operettas at a retiring concert for Janet Cass, the Singers Conductor and Director for many years. Excerpts from numerous G&S operettas were sung with the professionalism for which  the Singers are known. The principal soloists were Frances Chilvers – Soprano, Kelly Sharpe – Mezzo Soprano, David Menezes – Tenor and Mark Hansford – Bass. They were joined by soloist members of the Singers, notably Anthea Ashley, with whom Janet Cass sang a duet, and Paul Collins with his robust rendering of the Sentry’s Song from Iolanthe. At the conclusion of the concert, Janet thanked all who had helped the Singers over the Years and especially the remarkable pianist and accompanist, Paul Chilvers who received a standing ovation. Janet announced that her successor would be Lawrence Tatnal.

The speaker at the 2013 AGM of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society was veteran villager Bob Day. He spent over an hour recalling life and events in the Village since his very early days illustrating the many local changes over some 70 years. The basic elements of rural life had now gone including four dairy farms with their associated village shops, tradesmen who delivering bread, coal and milk, and a village post man with a twice daily local round. Bob worked as a paper boy, a Saturday boy at the large houses, golf caddie and even as a choir boy, for each function; and he was paid for his services. Bob particularly mentioned the two Retreats (entertainment and dining complexes) in the Village which catered for several thousand visitors each weekend who arrived in some 27 trains. The greatest change has been in property values: a four bedroom house now selling’s at £600,000 cost £690 when first built.

During the  AGM, it was agreed that the following would again hold office for the current year. Officers: President- A Gillies, Vice President – M Chapman, Chairman – P Newton, Vice Chairman – M Boyle, – Secretary, J Watts -Treasurer I Chinman, Meetings Secretary – V Suckling, Executive Committee: L Burns, R G Day, B Frankland,  R Levene, Christine Lowe, H Meteyard, A Purkiss, T Roberts and C Shears.

The 26th Annual Donkey Derby organized by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was a great success partly due to amazing HOT weather (unlike that for previous years) and its truly “rural location” on the Village Green, by kind permission of the City of London and the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC). Once again the Green resounded to the unusual sound of braying donkeys and the laughter of many children. The events proceeded at a spanking pace under the direction of the Master of Ceremony Phil Simmance, Clerk of the Course Phil Koczan, Start Official Andy Bowles and Stewards Terry Bennett, Paul Gunnell, and Pat Gill. Seven races were held with titles relating to their sponsors eg. “Carpenter’s Stakes” sponsored by Robert Gooch and “Aevum National” sponsored by Aevum Construction.. The donkeys were quite lively as usual and a few threw their riders, resulting in  some sore bottoms, while others had to be “encouraged” to finish in order to provide the three finalists for each race. This year other events were held including a dog show, “welly wanging” and golf. Popular amusements and attractions kept the children, and therefore their parents, happy. Sideshows included a coconut shy,  and several refreshment stalls run by local organisations. Substantial support and sponsorship had come from Village traders who advertised their business via the usual well produced and informative Race Card/Programme. More than a thousand visitors attended the event and helped raise a substantial sum to support of the Village Scouts in their activities.

The current heat wave which reached its second week with the highest temperature levels to date ie.  32 degrees C. (89.6 F).The Met Office upgraded its previous heath weather warnings to Level 3 following predictions that this current July could be the driest, and hottest, for 247 years. Despite the previous wettest spring and winters for some years, and the predictions by some water companies that adequate supplies were available, the Affinity Company which covers London and the Home Counties was warning of a 25% surge in demand (surprise, surprise). Consequently, users were advised to be cautious with water usage and farmers to only irrigate at night and, moreover, to harvest their crops as soon as was practicable. However most were enjoying the sunshine which was giving a boost to personal health and to local outside events. Yet once again, the water industry in the UK was being criticised especially over the lack of a national water grid system as opposed to those for gas and electricity which already existed; many water companies were now owned by organisations outside the UK.

Late on a Tuesday evening its was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge (fondly known to many as Kate) had given birth to a baby boy at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. The news was promulgated in the traditional manner with a formal royal notice placed just inside the entrance to Buckingham Palace for public display.. The Prince was subsequently named George, Alexander, Louis and was now third in line to the throne behind his grandfather Prince Charles and father Prince William (Duke of Cambridge). The next day, celebrations commenced with the Bells of Westminster Abbey being rung for more than 3 hours to coincide with the firing of royal salutes in Green Park by the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery, and the Honorable Artillery Company at the Tower of London.  Congratulations to the new parents flooded in from world wide and the Band at Buckingham Palace joined in by playing the popular tune “Congratulations” during the Changing of the Guard. But it was later in the day when world attention centered on St Mary’s Hospital where the Royal Couple with baby emerged to meet the world press. Breaking with convention, they came forward to show their sleeping infant to the media, receive congratulations and respond with their thanks. The baby was then transferred to a special “carry cot” which Prince William secured within the vehicle, the Duchess sat in the back and to resounding cheers, Prince William then drove off with his wife and son Prince George, Alexander, Louis of Cambridge – a future king of England.

The overall impression was that this was a truly modern young family who would have particular ideas about bringing up their son. The manufacturers of the carry cot were surprised at the unexpected publicity for their product and, elsewhere, the baby market was booming with sales of other products possibly associated with the new Royal Prince. Needless to say, the residents of Theydon Bois watched these events with great interest on TV and so felt that they were a part of this great occasion.

Near the end of the month the heat wave broke overnight with thunderstorms which swept up from the southwest and deluged the Village in the early hours. Some minor flooding was experienced due to the compacted and dry nature of the ground but this soon dispersed helped by the continuing "normal" summer temperatures and drying winds. So ended the driest and hottest period for some years, in complete contrast to previous summers, and the Village settled down to much cooler and, to some, welcoming damp and thundery conditions which were forecast to continue for some time.

An indication of how holiday habits have changed, especially with visits overseas, became evident in a published report from the Foreign Office regarding lost and/or damaged passports. Most serious was the recent situation where 30,000 passports were lost or stolen so costing passport holders and the government some million’s of pounds. During 2012 there were 2254 cases of people requiring emergency travel documents due to carelessness where passports were lost, or damaged when used as beer mats or partially destroyed when left in the pockets of laundered clothing.


Some forty members and friends of the Epping Rail Circle enjoyed their annual dinner at The Bull in the Village. The menu (reselected and ordered) was extensive and enjoyable and, being a hot evening, the bar was much in demand.

St Mary’s Church held a Curry Night in the Village Balti House as a Church fund raising event. Many Villagers were present to enjoy an evening of fellowship with friends, good food and good wine. The Balti management donated a percentage of the dining profits as a contribution to the event.

As one of the many other fundraising activities associated with Theydon Churches, Wendy Adams of All Saints Church, Theydon Garnon, was collecting plastic bottle tops from milk, water, fruit juice, and fizzy drink containers to raise funds for the acquisition of wheelchairs. A collection box for such items had been located in the Church.

The St Mary’s Mother’s Meeting met to enjoy Strawberry Tea with the Rev Stephen Walker and to hear the Rev John Fry speaking about how Curacies work in the Church of England.

In May 2013, the following entry was made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:

Holy Baptism

26 05 13      Lucy Kempley


July was an active month both locally and nationally. The birth of Prince George once again brought the Royal Family into popular prominence and generated considerable interest. Local events included the summer performance of the Theydon Bois Singers, and the retirement of Janet Cass as their conductor, an interesting talk about the Village given by a long established resident Bob Day, a St Mary’s Church curry night (in hot weather!) and the Annual Donkey Derby which was blessed with almost tropical conditions. The wind and rain of previous summers was noticeably absent and the Village suffered instead from an extensive heat wave with temperatures as high as 32 degrees C. A further heat wave arrived at the end of the month providing ample reason for barbecues, alfresco meals or an escape to the cooler coast. Yes – July was decidedly different this year and “back to normal” with summer arriving at last.



JUNE  2013 



In late May, the "Theydon Moon Walkers" a group of ladies from the Village joined 17,000 women (plus some men) to walk the streets of London overnight to raise funds for the breast cancer charities. Wearing red brassieres, the Theydon team set off from Battersea Power Station at 22.45 to join the many others, including celebrities, to walk to Central London. Fiona Bradley, the Theydon Team organiser said that the event was a great success, the team had raised £2,800 to date and more contributions were expected

The last night of “The Aspern Papers”, was staged in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) by the Theydon Bois Drama Society to a large audience. The play related to an original novella by Henry James based on an anecdote that he heard about a Shelley devotee who tried to obtain some valuable letters written by the poet. The stage adaptation of the original novella was written by the actor and playwright, Sir Michael Redgrave and the action took place in the grand hall of the mansion of a Miss Bordereau in Venice. The other characters in this excellent production were the housekeeper Assunta (played by Angei Beckett – Franks), an American lady Mrs Prest (Jennifer Goodwin), a writer Henry Jarvis (Paul Arber), Tina Bordereau (Nicola Gilbert), Juliana Bordereau (Lisa Mathews) and Jarvis’s manservant Pasquale (Richard Clayton).

At 11.30 am approximately, on a quiet Sunday morning, the Village and most of the surrounding area was alarmed by a loud explosive sound which rattled and broke some windows, shook buildings and startled wildlife, not to mention people. Rumours regarding the source were numerous and ranged from a gas explosion to activities at the Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Museum. The subsequent official explanation was that an RAF Typhoon aircraft on routine operations had been sent to investigate an aircraft approaching London Heathrow Airport which had apparently lost radio communication with the airport control; the Typhoon’s pilot had probably accelerated rapidly and “gone supersonic”. Villagers with green houses and homes with substantial window areas were hopeful that no further incidences of this nature would occur.

The 33rd Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day commenced at 11.00 in cloudy and damp conditions with light rain. Nevertheless many 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 organized by Karen Collins and included five gardens open for the first time. And once again the Gardens Day was managed by Thea Buisson, with a team of helpers including some “Younger Villagers” from the Village Youth Club. Refreshments were served by Thea’s friends and associates in the TBVH where the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS) had its usual display stand with members answering many questions about the Village. A minibus was in constant use conveying visitors to those gardens some distance away. The day concluded with Theydon Churches holding the Songs of Praise Service on the Village Green with music provided as usual by the Harlow Salvation Army Band. The event raised a substantial sum for the Theydon Youth Charity, and the event was sponsored by the "Lawn Hopper" lawn treatment business.

The current parking problems in Theydon Bois, resulting from increased rail commuter parking in side streets and the new restrictions of use for the Queen Victoria Car park, were about to be exacerbated. The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) proposed to change the parking arrangements in the Village shopping area of Forest Drive where two hours waiting time are permitted. The NEPP was proposing to replace this facility with parking meters which shop owners claim would seriously damage their businesses. More alarming was the possibility that this scheme could be extended to other parts of the Village currently controlled by yellow parking lines, and so parking meters could destroy the scenic aspect of the wide grass - verged rural side roads which are a feature of Theydon Bois. Subsequent to objections to the scheme at Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) level, the NEPP had suspended implementation of the scheme pending a public consultation to be held by the EFDC.

Theydon Bois Primary School held its 2013 Summer Fair in the school grounds in fine weather. As usual, children were catered for extensively with three bouncy castles and a special attraction - a police box from the well known Dr Who television series. This was locked and keys were available, for a small fee, to open it and see who was inside. This could have been Dr Who himself, or even more importantly, the School Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds. But when finally opened, the interior only contained a small prize for the successful door opener. Other attractions included hot dogs with sausages donated by Riverway Foods Ltd, and of special interest, a stall featuring the work of Richard Clarke Photography which specialise in family group’s portraiture. In the introductions to a impressive 2013 School Fair brochure, Mrs Bonds wrote” As always, our  Parent Teachers Association has worked hard to bring together something for every one and whether relaxing over a long cool drink, watching the gymnastics or playing a game, the event promises to be fun". And it certainly was!

At the end of the month, John Fry was introduced to the Village as a new Curate in the United Benefice of St Mary’s Theydon Bois and All Saints Theydon Garnon. On Sunday the 30th he was ordained Deacon in Chelmsford Cathedral and was then welcomed by the local congregations at a combined evening service held at All Saints. John would now be entitled Reverend and be in a training role working alongside the Vicar of St Mary’s, the Rev Stephen Walker, as an assistant minister in the United Benefice. He would also be living with his family in the Village. Writing in the St Mary’ Newsletter, John informed the parishioners that, together with his wife Jennifer and daughter Abigail aged 2, he had moved from Oxford where he had been studying theology at Wycliffe Hall as training for ordained ministry in the Church of England. He grew up in Southend on Sea and was excited to be returning to Essex. His family was looking forward to getting to know the area and meeting and working alongside people in the churches and local communities.


The TBDRPS held an afternoon walk around the district to envisage "Country Estates –Then and Now".

At the June meeting of the Theydon Bois WI in the TBVH, Ms Lindsay Hurrell gave a talk about ”Canine Partners”.

A Seniors Event organised by the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) was held in the TBVH, and was well attended.

A Hog Roast organised by Theydon Garnon church was held at Searle’s Farm and was also well supported.

At the June meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in the TBVH, there was a presentation about the village of Lambourne End entitled “Food For Thought”.

The St Mary’s Mother’s Union continued to be active with an enrolment service and an outing in late June. Potential members were invited to contact Jackie Walker, the Branch Leader.

And so, in contrast with May, June ended with a general brightening of the weather and the promise of heat waves to come. The 2013 Open Gardens event and the TB School Summer Fair were both well supported as were other numerous Village activities. There were two particular arrivals on the Village scene. The first was a sonic boom generated by an overflying RAF jet aircraft which caused some alarm. The second, more peaceful and welcoming, was the arrival of John Fry the new curate to the United Benefice of Theydon Bois and his family. They were made most welcome and looked forward to Village life in Theydon Bois.



MAY  2013 



Despite objections from many in the Village, the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC)) Planning Committee gave approval for an application to convert the Old School House in Coppice Row into residential accommodation. This 1840 listed building was occupied by a watch making business affected by the current economic recession. The owner of the building said that after failing to find a buyer for the property a home conversion was the only option available”. The conversion will comprise two semi detached homes and a single storey side extension.

Councillor Sue Jones said “This is the best way to secure the preservation of the building”

As expected, the Essex County Council (ECC) Elections were a disappointment for the major political parties, mainly because of the general dissatisfaction of voters with the performance of the current National Coalition Government. The emergent United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP), which won substantial support from the electorate winning 140 seats, was another factor. This situation was reflected in the elections for the Epping/Theydon Bois seat on the ECC with the following results:

Jon Whitehouse    Liberal Democrats               1664 votes

Robert Glozier       Conservative                      1273 votes

Andrew Smith       UKIP                                 1073 votes

Simon Furlough     Labour                               240 votes

Barry Johns          Green Party                        146 votes

Lighthouse Furniture, a Christian Social Enterprise and Registered Charity working with the Epping Forest Reuse Scheme, was now based on the Bower Hill Industrial Estate in Epping. The project serves the community by providing good quality second hand furniture and household items at reasonable prices. It is open to the general public and the charity is intended to help those who are struggling to help themselves.

The Theydon Art Group held its 52nd Exhibition in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). One hundred and forty four paintings in water colour, oil, acrylic and line and wash, depicting a variety of subjects, were on display and many were sold. The committee basically responsible for the event comprised Barry Turner - Chairman, Mary Springham – Treasurer, Brenda Harris – Secretary, and Derek Springham – Exhibition Secretary. Historically there has always been considerable local interest in the Group’s activities, especially through its display in the window of a retail premises in Coppice Row.

The EFDC Museum in Waltham Abbey contains some 50,000 historical artifacts from the local area, including Theydon Bois, covering a period of 10,000 years. Up to now the Museum has suffered from cramped conditions, generally, and a severe lack of storage space. However, the National Lottery Fund has now made available a grant of £1.5 million to help with the “Museum at the Core Scheme”. This Scheme will also now enable the Museum’s permanent exhibition to be housed in its original 1520 Tudor building.

The Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club held its summer presentation lunch in the TBVH. The annual competition awards were presented as follows: Ladies Singles – Sue Dyke, Men’s Singles – Matt Furlong, Ladies Pairs – Pat Whaymand and Barbara Langford, Mixed Singles – Barbara Langford, Mixed Pairs – Alan Pleasant and Sue Dyke, Target Bowls – Brian Parker and Most Improved Bowler – Margaret Jones. The Club President Joy Wainwright, welcomed everyone to the function, Club Secretary, John Field said grace and the Competition Organiser John Langford presided.

In the EFDC Consultation Document of July 2012 which was distributed to the residents of the Epping Forest  District for their general comments regarding the future of the District, three possible sites were suggested for residential development on green belt land in Theydon Bois. However, a formal looking and unsigned document, not issued by the EFDC and proposing a fourth site had now been distributed in the Village; this suggested site, or fourth option, is the land between the M11 Motorway and the B172 Abridge Road. Considerable confusion had been caused by the publication and the EFDC had subsequently published, via its website, an official disclaimer for the new document.

The two car parks at the Queen Victoria pub became  security controlled with cameras and restriction notices stating that these areas were now only available to users of the pub, and then only after the vehicles had been recorded by the pub management. This was a 24 hour restriction and offenders would be charged £150 (£75 if paid within 14 days). Theadjacent Tesco car park now had only three nominated parking slots permitting a maximum of 20 minutes with no return within one hour. The pub car parks had been leased by Tesco from the McMullens Brewery for some years. Business in both the Tesco store and the Village Post Office within was affected and there was possible concern for the future of the Post Office itself. London bound commuters who parked all day in these areas were thought to be partly responsible for the problem. Some Villagers are now renting out their parking drive ways (to commuters?) for a fee.

Theydon Youth, the local youth club which meets regularly and caters for the 8-10 and 11-16 year groups, continued to increase in membership and activities. During the late spring its members attended the Stubbers Activity Centre at Upminster to enjoy participating in archery, tunneling, climbing and jet skiing. A coach from the Essex County Cricket Club ran an indoor Street Cricket session and was most impressed with the performance and behaviour of the youngsters. The money raised from the 2012 Open Gardens Day was used to fund the Stubbers Trip and purchase an Air Hockey Table, two Swing Ball Games, an Archery Set and Computer Games - all items requested by the members. At Youth Council level, Theydon Youth has set an example across the District as a successful Youth Club run by volunteers and not reliant on local authority funding. Thea Buisson is its hard working organiser.

The residents of Theydon Bois have always been noted for their charitable support. Two notable local charities are the Essex Air Ambulance (EAA) based at Boreham near Chelmsford and the Hertfordshire Air Ambulance from North Weald, which also covers for the Essex facility when this is not available. Therefore the appearance in the Epping Forest District of charity bags for discarded items to generate financial support for a Coventry based Air Ambulance Service, claimed to be specifically for children, caused concern as this could reduce income for the two local services. EAA issued a warning to its supporters about the new charity; a spokesman said "While we have not been tasked with any child transfers in particular, we are not aware of any case which we were unable to deal with and where the children’s air ambulance would have made any difference". A spokeswoman for the Coventry Service said “We have two services in the midlands and a third, the Children's Air Ambulance, which serves the whole pf England. As the Children’s Air Ambulance charity we are fund raising across the country.

The death was announced of the Rev Alan Jones who was vicar of St Mary’s from 1977 to 1988. He died peacefully on 20 02 13 at the St Nicholas Hospice at Bury St Edmunds.


Police patrols in Epping Forest had been increased following a spate of arrests for drug use. There had been a number of prosecutions for indecent behaviour but this activity did not appear to be on the increase. Forest Verderer Michael Chapman commented ”The biggest issues for the Forest are fly tipping and the removal of mushrooms and bracken. This does spoil the Forest for other people and makes me cross”.

Members and friends of the Theydon Art Group spent a pleasant day in Suffolk countryside around the River Deben estuary. A lunch break at Woodbridge provided the opportunity for viewing and sketching marine craft, and especially the tide mill which had just been restored to working order. The party then visited the renowned Anglo Saxon burial grounds at Sutton Hoo and the excellent museum which contains many artefacts from the famous ship burial site.

Members of the TB Horticultural Society spent a pleasant day visiting the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley in Surrey.

The May meeting of the TBWI was held in the TBVH and well attended. The main item was the discussion of resolutions.

After a Sunday morning service at All Saints Theydon Garnon, a plant and produce sale was held in aid of Church funds. Perennials, annuals and small shrubs were available together with a variety of home made cakes and preserves.

The St Mary’s May Ball was held at the Theydon Bois Golf Club and was well supported.

With the end of May coinciding with the end of calendar spring, the Meteorological Office announced that the 2013 Spring had been the coldest on record in 51 years and had generally seen frequent easterly and northerly winds which had brought cold air down from the polar and arctic regions. Surprisingly, real summer was expected to arrive in the first days of the coming June but a spate of late spring sunshine had already caused gardens to burst into life, but too late for some; soft fruit growers had resorted to artificial means (poly tunnels) to ensure that strawberries would be available for the Wimbledon tennis championships in June. Otherwise, May saw some surprising results in the ECC Elections, the approval of a  conversion of the Old Village School and  the usual Village Social activities continued apace, especially for the young members of Theydon Youth who had been particularly active during the previous months.

In April 2013, the following entries were made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:

21 04 13      Francesca Rose Carroll


20 04 13     Beth Sarah Padfield and Michael Anthony Francis


17 04 13      Joan Ann Crook

Memorial and Burial of Ashes

04 05 13      Mabel Maxwell



APRIL  2013



As the following item was published in the press on the First of April (all fools day; its authenticity was doubted by some. Briefly it was claimed that Government ministers were taking steps to reduce UK energy consumption in view of a possible shortage of electrical energy in the near future due to the lack of investment for new power stations. An agency headed by a “Light Tsar” would recruit staff to personally contact businesses and homes to discourage the unnecessary use of power and lighting. Agency staff would be empowered to issue penalty notices to persistent offenders and be issued with binoculars and other equipment to determine if a lit room was empty or in use. However certain authorities were already reducing or curtailing street lighting for reasons of cost and Villagers travelling to London and seeing the great buildings at Canary Wharf illuminated all night could see the logic in creating such an Agency (if true).

For many years it had been generally accepted that the population of the UK comprised three basic groups, Upper Class, Middle Class and Working Class, each of which tended to relate to wealth and social standing. Since then the nature of the population had changed considerably with only some 39% now being in these categories. In 2011 the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), in conjunction with the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Manchester, carried out a Great British Class Survey of 160,000 people from BBC studio audiences. This survey found that the population was now categorised into seven separate groups relative to Economic Capital (EC), Social Capital (SC) and Cultural Capital (CC) as follows:

ELITE – The most privileged and wealthiest group with high levels of EC, SC and CC.

ESTABLISHED MIDDLE CLASS – The second wealthiest group with high but lower levels of EC, SC and CC, but gregarious and less culturally engaged.

TECHNICAL MIDDLE CLASS – A new a small group with high EC but less culturally and socially engaged.

NEW AFFLUENT WORKER – A young and active group with medium levels of EC, SC and CC.

EMERGENT SERVICE – A new and young group (possibly service workers), often found in rural areas, with low EC but high levels of emerging SC and CC.

TRADE WORKING CLASS – A group with low EC, SC and CC, but not the poorest, with a higher average age than the other classes.

PRECARIAT– The poorest and most deprived group with low EC, SC and CC, and precarious every day lives.

Commuter car parking in Theydon Bois Roads, which had plagued the Village several years ago until the introduction of street parking controls, returned again to the Village. The increasing use of the Central Line plus the recent increase in charges for the station car park had resulted in commuters parking in uncontrolled roads some distance from the station especially in Hornbeam Road. Here the residents were disturbed very early and commuter parking was obstructing property and creating road hazards. Through traffic in busy Coppice Row was also affected by motorists exploiting an uncontrolled section of this main route through the Village. A spokesman for the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) said “Following discussions of the evidence with the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), the NEPP was not proposing that restrictions are put in place at this location (Hornbeam Road)”.

Packford’s, a small but well known Hotel in Woodford, which has strong links with the Village, recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Founded by Harry and Margaret Packford in 1963 the business quickly established itself in the local community as a venue for local Rotary and Probus meetings, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations and private parties. In 1978 they sold the business to their son Simon who married Debbie in 1983 and the couple settled in Theydon Bois. The couple refurbished the Hotel which continued to flourish under their new management. Sadly, Simon died suddenly in 1999 but Debbie continued the business even embarking on an extensive modernisation and improvements to the Hotel. Debbie’s daughter Sarah has now joined the successful management team.

The news that former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher, aged 87, had died of a stroke was greeted with sadness, both nationally and by most local people. She died at the Ritz hotel in London when staying there following a minor operation. Tributes and condolences were made almost immediately by politicians and world leaders, especially those associated with her long years of government.  Flags were lowered to half mast throughout the country including the offices of the EFDC and TBPC. Tributes and condolences began to be made almost immediately; the Prime Minister David Cameron said, from the steps of 10 Downing Street, “She would be remembered for her remarkable legacy and as a patriot prime minister who had saved the country. He announced that Parliament would be recalled  from the Easter recess, so that Westminster could pay tribute to her.

Her supporters would always remember her decision to send a military task force some 8,000 miles to the Falkland Islands to successfully retrieve them from an invader. She also took on the trade unions, especially the mineworkers, and others whose actions were adversely affecting the national economy. Her bitterest enemies, included left wing elements, were quick to voice their feelings by “celebrating” her death, but such reactions appeared to be in the minority.

The Police were warning residents of a telephone based fraud operation which had recently claimed 30 victims in the local area. Criminals had been posing as police officers via phone to inform residents that they had been the victims of bank fraud and then tricking then into handing over their bank cards to “couriers”. Suspicious residents were advised to confirm the authenticity of the caller by using the police enquiry number 101, which a member of the gang had monitored and would give false verification. Police advice was never to give any personal banking details over the phone, and not to pass their bank cards to any stranger.

The number of young people suffering from measles in the current outbreak in South Wales was increasing, and the Government Health Secretary had therefore advised parents, especially in the London area with its high population density, to have their children immunised with the MRA vaccine if this had not already been done. This outbreak appeared to relate to the refusal of some parents not to follow similar Government advice in previous years due to fears that the vaccine was could produce serious side affects in some cases, despite the unpleasant and possible fatal nature of the disease.

In mid April, with many Villagers watching on television, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh led the mourners at the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher held in St Paul’s Cathedral. Her coffin had been carried on a gun carriage drawn by the Queen’s Household Cavalry along Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill, with members of the armed forces lining the route, and watched by thousands wishing to pay their last respect. Outbursts from some dissenters were quickly lost in the sustained applause as the coffin was borne into the Cathedral by Falkland veterans currently serving in the armed forces. More than 2000 dignitaries from around the world were present at the service where the sermon was given by the Bishop of London with lessons read by the current Prime Minster, David Cameron, and Amanda Thatcher, Lady Thatcher’s young American grand daughter. Immediately following the service, Lady Thatcher was taken by car for cremation and her ashes subsequently interred at the Royal Hospital Chelsea alongside those of her husband Denis.

The poor state of the local roads continued to cause complaints, especially for the back lanes, where numerous potholes and damaged road surfaces existed due to the recent severe winter. The current Abridge Road, a major route, was becoming dangerous because of vehicles swerving to avoid hazards including flying fragments from the damaged road surface. Roadside residents had been lobbying the Essex County Council (ECC) to effect repairs and one had even offered to do so with using roofing material from his business.

Lottie Bradford, 12, a young resident in the Village with musical talent, was looking forward to taking the stage in the regional finals of the nationwide Teen Star contest. If successful she would be appearing in the finals at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London. Lottie is a pupil of the Anglo European School at Ingatestone and has been singing and dancing since she was a toddler. Lottie commented “It is really fun. I've always enjoyed singing and dancing and this is a great way to express yourself and display your personality”.

Concern had been expressed regarding Government plans to allow some ground floor properties to be extended by up to 26ft without planning permission. This was followed by strong criticism from planners and councils on the grounds that such action would possibly provoke disputes between neighbours. However Mr Pickles, the government minister responsible, had now advised MPs that homeowners wishing to build extensions would in future have to notify the local authority with particular details. The authority would, in turn, have to inform any adjoining neighbours of the proposal, as with current practice, and also consider if the proposed extension would have an unacceptable impact on a neighbour’s amenity.

Some 300 visitors flocked to the car park of the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) for the annual omnibus show organised by the North London Transport Society. Nostalgia reigned supreme for the older attendees. While the younger visitors enjoyed sitting in the vehicles and, in some instances, being literally taken for a ride around the surrounding area along which were once popular, and important public transport routes. Some of the vehicles had visited TB before but a notable exception was a 1935 Leyland bus which had been painstakingly restored. A small transport fayre with refreshments was also held in the TBVH.

During early April, farmers continued to suffer badly with those in the north losing livestock (lambs) due to snow, and the cold weather had set back arable farming considerably; it was reported that “Weetabix”, the well known breakfast cereal, was not being produced at present due to a shortage of wheat, and potatoes had yet to be planted in some areas. But the  late arrival of Spring with two exceptionally warm days was promptly followed by a sharp return to winter with cold winds and night frosts which sent gardeners rushing to protect their bedding plants, and the re emergence of winter clothing - ne'er cast a clout till May be out!. But the month ended with warmer weather making a comeback which gave hope for a fine Early Spring Bank Holiday due shortly.


The Theydon Bois Singers held their evening Spring Concert in the TBVH. The principal works sung were Gounod’s Mass for St Celia and Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. The soloists were : Frances Chilvers – Soprano, Kelly Sharpe – Mezzo soprano and  Benji de Rosario – Bass. Janet Cass conducted the performance and Paul Chilvers was, once again, the hardworking accompanist

A team from the Theydon Bois Golf Club beat Stoke by Nayland to win through to the next round of the Leslie Wood Team Championship, a major inter club tournament held by the Essex Golf Union. In the morning the Club won by 3-2 in the foursome team matches and 10-5 in the afternoon singles played off from scratch.

In mid April the bright sunshine and relatively high temperature of plus 19 degrees C., finally convinced Villagers that spring had arrived. So conditions were ideal for the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society (TBRS) which held the first of its 2013 afternoon walks entitled “Tracks – Past and Present” around the local area.

The Parent Teachers Association of the Theydon Bois Primary School held an evening Beatle Drive which was well supported.

The St Mary’s Mothers’ Union met in the in the Church Hall to hear a talk ”Significant Women in the Ancestry of Jesus" given by Anne Ball

The TB Horticultural Society held its monthly meeting in the TBVH to hear a talk on Long House Plants. Various plants were available for purchase.

Once again the regular toy and model train fare was held in the TBVH. This evening event was well supported with many enthusiasts, young and not so young, buying items and holding expert discussion, over a cup of tea, about their purchases and hobby generally.

Angie Jones gave a “Practical Demonstration” at the April meeting of the Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society held in the TBVH.

The Theydon Bois “Astrokyds” the Junior Section of the Loughton Astronomical Society held its bi monthly meeting in the St Mary’s Church Hall.

The Epping Friends of St Clare Hospice held a Spring Fayre in the TBVH, which was well supported.

In February 2013, the following entry was made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:


25 02 13    Elizabeth Lester (followed by cremation at Parndon Wood Crematorium, Harlow.



March 2013



Theydon Bois Golf Club was beaten by Chigwell Golf Club when the two recently competed in the "Mail on Sunday" tournament. William Noblett, 15, Theydon’s youngest player won 2 & 1 against Chigwell's Tony Cairney (nine). However, Chigwell’s team Captain Michael Came (nine) held on to a 1 up win against Ray Docherty (five) when Ray’s last putt of the match just edged past the hole. The guest speaker at the Club’s Annual Dinner was Olympic Gold Medallist Sally Gunnell, who hails from the local area and is still the holder of the British record for the 400m hurdles.

Despite the official arrival of spring (March 1st according to the meteorological office) winter returned with a biting east wind which discouraged outside activities and brought night time temperatures down to minus 6 degrees C. The next day saw snow flurries in the Village which did not settle but Kent and Sussex were inundated with substantial snowfalls which immobilised rail and road traffic and marooned travellers in their cars. Conditions were so bad that local Red Cross units were out distributing food and blankets to those stranded. The near Continent including the  usually mild Channel Isles were equally affected and the Euro Star Rail service from St Pancras Station in London was cancelled leaving many travellers including some  Villagers seeking alternative routes to France, Spain and other possibly warmer climes. Back in the UK seasonal displays of daffodils and crocuses had disappeared under blankets of snow, although renowned for their resilience. And gardens suffered generally.

It was revealed that the wild deer population in the country was now at  its greatest since early days and was threatening the ecology of forests. There were therefore calls for immediate culls of deer, notably from scientists at the University of East Anglia, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission. The deer in Epping Forest also came under scrutiny and Head Keeper Keith Francis explained that the population there is controlled to 200 and a cull plan has been in place for some years based on a deer count. This was complicated as the deer were not static so the plan has to work in conjunction with land owners and farmers. A sanctuary, currently containing 140 black fallow deer was established in Theydon Bois in 1959 and the Forest Keeper here, Michael Collins, defended the need for periodic culls, citing, as one reason, the some 50 to 60 deer related - road accidents occurring in the District each year; culling was carried out by professionals who know exactly what they are doing.

Following the national outcry regarding the use of horse meat in certain food products, several claims were made that such meat was regularly consumed on the continent and is a delicacy there. So Igor Beckaert who owns the chain of popular Belgique continental restaurant/coffee shops in the local area, including Theydon Bois, announced the introduction of a tomato and horsemeat stew as part of his new Bapas (Belgian Tapas) menu. Igor said “We are already selling it (horse meat) at our Bishop’s Stortford Branch after another restaurant there was selling horse burgers. It is doing really well and we have not had one single complaint. Of course it is wrong to include horsemeat in dishes not meant to contain it, but we need to take a serious look at diversifying the meats we eat”. Public reaction was mixed ranging from approval to the derogatory but, locally, the horse meat dishes would soon be introduced at his Wanstead and Loughton branches.

No, not again!!! With only a week before Easter and the commencement of British Summer Time and, hopefully, the end of the coldest March on record, winter continued to hold its icy grip on the UK, and Theydon Bois. Scotland, the North and Midlands experienced appalling "mid-winter" conditions with blizzards, deep snow, power cuts and immobilised transport: but, surprisingly, the national rail system was relatively unaffected and remained in operation. The South East had been warned that snow was due overnight and it appeared in the Village during breakfast. Nearly two inches of snow fell in a short time but by mid morning a slight thaw helped to clear the roads; but it remained icy cold and hard frosts were forecast.

The last night of “See How They Run”, a comedy by Philip King, staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society was well supported despite the severe winter weather. The play revolved around Penelope, the ex actress wife of the Rev Lionel Troop. While he is away she is paid a visit by Clive, an actor before conscription into the army, and he invites her to dinner in a town which is out of bounds to servicemen; Clive therefore dresses in Lionel’s clerical garb. Miss Skillinton a parishioner sees the couple repeating one of their theatrical scenes and jumps to the wrong conclusion. Matters then become highly complicated, to say the least, when Lionel returns followed by the Bishop of Lax and a German prisoner of war disguised as yet another vicar. The production was highly enjoyable due to the excellent performances by members of the cast, the hard work of the back stage crew and, not least, the playwright’s excellent script.

Good Friday, an important date in the Christian calendar, was celebrated in the Village by members of the 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 members of both Churches then proceeded 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.

Easter Sunday was celebrated by Villagers who attended services at the local centers of Christian worship; at St Mary’s Theydon Bois, All Saints Theydon Garnon, the Theydon Bois Baptist Church and, in Epping, the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. In his first Easter message as Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby warned against a hero leader culture and against hoping that individuals could solve society’s problems. And the new  Pope Francis pleaded for peace in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, especially in Syria, and asked how much bloodshed and suffering must occur there before a political solution is found to its internal conflict?

Another Easter Sunday event was the University Boat Race held on the Thames along the traditional four mile course from Putney to Chiswich. Because the 2012 race was interrupted by an unauthorized swimmer, additional security measures were provided by waterborne Royal Marines and the River Police. The bitterly cold wind did not deter the many spectators who lined the banks but the crews delayed their rowing “warm-up” until the last minute. Oxford won by a length and a quarter but Cambridge held on, ready to challenge for the lead, until the bitter end. Modern technology proved an embarrassment to the BBC TV organisation covering the event. The “encouraging” remarks of each Cox to his crew could now be transmitted from the boats as did the strong language of the Oxford Cox which was heard in the televised converge, and for which the BBC had to apologise.

Once again the Easter Holiday period experienced freak weather which was dry but with bitter east winds. These conditions and the continuing poor national economic situation kept many people at home and discouraged family trips of any distance - so all was relatively quiet for this Easter. However families did venture out for exercise or to visit local places of interest. One was at Copped Hall where an Easter Egg Hunt was held and many children (and adults) enjoyed searching for the elusive eggs with such success that the organisers ran out of “prizes”. 


Local resident Chris Neil, 18, a young jazz pianist from Hill Road, was one of a group of musicians playing at a musical festival at the Loughton Music Club as part of the current Loughton Festival. Their performance included popular and contemporary tunes based on songs sung by Stevie Wonder and Adele, and other popular jazz songs. Also in the Group were Matt Lowrie on bass, Dom Antony on drums and singer Ellie Bignall.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society announced that, due to unforeseen circumstances, it would not be holding its annual Show this year. However, three talks had been arranged and outings organised to the Horticultural Shows at Buckhurst Hill and Epping.

The Theydon Bois and District Friends of Cancer Research UK held a fund raising quiz night in the TBVH. A fish/chicken and chips supper was provided, with drinks on a bring your own basis.

The speaker at the March meeting of the TBWI was a Mr A. Billings whose spoke about the origin of Nursery Rhymes. A competition was held for members to decide which was their favourite children’s book.

Theydon Bois Primary School Choir combined with the Chigwell Choir for a concert held at St Mary’s Church, Chigwell, in association with the Loughton Festival. John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children” was the principal work sung.

The first evening meeting of the Epping Forest Business Group was held in the Queen Victoria Pub. The Group provides the opportunity for trades and business people to meet, network and enjoy a meal together. It was hoped that this additional arrangement would be successful.

So the month ended being the coldest March (and Easter) on record (minus 15 degrees C in parts of Scotland), and extensive snowfalls were the norm in many parts of UK. The north easterly airflow responsible had kept air temperatures low as far south as the Channel Coast, when these areas should at least have enjoyed warmer conditions. Despite the final emergence of spring flowers and the introduction of British Summer Time, most days had also been gloomy generally and many Villagers were pleased to see March depart.



February 2013



The snow returned early in the month to deposit some two inches of the “white stuff” on the Village overnight. Despite the gloomy sky, the leafless trees in Epping Forest appeared to glow with the accumulation of snow which remained for some time due to the almost constant freezing temperatures. By now most Villagers were resigned to clearing the snow from footpaths and cars, yet again, and the elderly and infirm wisely stayed indoors where possible.

The ecclesiastical world, especially those of Roman Catholic faith in the Village was surprised by the news of the sudden and almost immediate “resignation” of Pope Benedict XVl from office. Such a situation had occurred only once in 600 years, and was due to the honesty of a great man who finally realised that his failing health would not allow him to continue as church leader. Shortly afterwards, (in early March) a papal convocation comprising a body of Cardinals would be held at the Vatican in total isolation in order to elect a new Pope. Their decision would be indicated in the time honoured way by white smoke issuing from a particular Vatican chimney. A possible early contender for the papacy was reported to be a Cardinal of non white origin.

Pancake Day in Theydon Bois was celebrated by the Theydon Bois WI (TBWI) with a special coffee morning in the Thyedon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). In the past the WI had held a pancake race along the road bisecting the Village Green but, sadly, this had ceased some years ago due to modern motor traffic. But the custom had been revived by the Village Primary School and all the pupils, suitably attired in warm clothing and boots, trooped along to the snow covered Green to race in groups near the Avenue of Trees. They returned to school, rosy cheeked and excited after an enjoyable morning “out of school”. The event was organised by Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds and former Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Chairman John Eaton.

Reports of horse meat being substituted for beef in meat products finally came fully into the open when the European Union (EU) urged members to tackle the widening scandal of mislabelled horse meat. Its Health Commission advised that DNA tests should be applied to processed beef for traces of horse meat for three months from the beginning of next Month (March). The UK Environment Secretary agreed and added that testing should also determine if the veterinary medication, phenybutazone (bute) was also present. UK MPs called for the UK Government to direct that greater testing of meat products be carried out to assure the public that there was no threat to human health.

The horse meat saga continued when one of the UK’s largest catering and hotel chains, found horse DNA in its products sold as beef. The director of a meat producing concern claimed that there were often some 120 access points in the meat supply chain from source to product and that these were therefore difficult to monitor. The Food Standards Agency claimed that after 2,501 fresh tests had been carried out, no new products had been identified as having more that one percent horse meat. Apart from the possible risk of contamination with horse meat, the older generation was bemused by the general abhorrence to eating this meat when, in WWII, horse meat butchers in many high streets provided the means to augment the severe wartime meat rationing. And those going abroad today, especially to France could be served horsemeat as a delicacy.

The village youth club, Theydon Youth (TY), recently celebrated the first anniversary of its move to the new Youth and Community Centre in Loughton Lane following the purchase of the building from the Essex County Council (ECC), and its refurbishment by the TPBC. TY caters for 8 to 16 year olds and sometimes has up to 60 children attending in the 8 to 11 group. The youngsters have the opportunity to play hockey, five a side football and enjoy outside visits. Most important, more than 20 parents assist with the running of the Club and help with the necessary fundraising. Thea Buisson, the club coordinator is developing plans for the Club members to help the older members of the Village community to acquire modern electronic computing skills. These would include the use of E mails and surfing the internet, in which skills today’s children are usually very competent, but are often a mystery to the older generation.

Following the recent assessment by the government education watchdog Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) the Theydon Bois Primary School was officially upgraded from satisfactory to good. The School has 310 pupils, the majority who whom first join with language and literacy skills below the national average, a situation which is reversed by the time they leave Year 6. The Inspectors said “Some teaching was outstanding and high expectations were apparent throughout the School”. Sadly, and subsequent to the assessment, Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds announced that she would be retiring in August after 15 years at the School. In a letter to staff and pupils she said ”The years have been eventful with many challenges and successes. The School has been well served by many staff, governors and volunteers from whom I have received tremendous commitment and support”.

A sad footnote to this news was the removal of the giant oak tree, a distinguishing feature at the front of the School, which had dominated the area for many years, even when this part of the Village was open farmland. An assessment of the tree revealed that it was some 60% dead with the root system failing, so it had to be felled. However the School still retained its other major feature, the adjacent flagpole, flying the union flag and others on special occasions.

Near the end of the month a strong and bitterly cold east wind, direct from the Russian Ural Mountains, brought the possibility of local power supply cuts into sharp focus. One Sunday newspaper reported that the national electricity grid system was in danger of being overloaded by an increasing demand which had resulted in a partly rundown power station, due for closure at the end of the year, to be switched back into full production. Moreover, the report pointed out that the Government’s decision to build new nuclear electricity power stations, had yet to be implemented and the majority of existing nuclear power stations were due to be taken out of service in 2015. The local temperature was hovering around freezing point during the day and lower at night with slight snow flurries, conditions due to a high pressure system over the continent pushing back the relatively warm southwest air stream.

The period of Lent had commenced during which a series of Lent Soup Lunches, organised by St Mary’s Church, was being held in the Church Hall. A satisfying meal of soup & roll, homemade dessert and coffee, prepared by the Church ladies, was available for a modest sum. The proceeds from one lunch were donated to the Manna Society, a charity which provides a compassionate and practical response to poverty and homelessness. St Mary’s Church also announced its participation in a “Send a Cow” fund which supports the purchase of livestock essential for the livelihood and existence of African and other families.  Donations were  derived from petty cash collected in small jam jars and  distributed in the Church and the Village generally.


The Theydon Bois Conservative Association held a Wine Tasting evening in the TBVH which was supported by some eighty members and friends. The presenter Colin Hooker then identified the wines and gave a short description and background for each. Eleanor Laing MP was among those present and she congratulated the Association and its Chairman, Richard Risdon for arranging a most enjoyable evening. Refreshments were organised by the ladies of the Association and the evening raised some £900 for the Association funds

The Theydon Bois Astrokyds, the junior branch of the Loughton Astronomical Society, held its February meeting in the St Mary’s Church Hall.

The Theydon Garnon community held a well supported Quiz evening in aid of the Epping Box Charity. The function was held in the Gate House of All Saints Church, Theydon Garnon, and included an excellent fish/chicken and chips supper.

The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Society held its agm in the TBVH, which was followed by an interesting presentation of members’ slides.

Mr David Vroobel was the speaker at the February meeting of the TBWI. His very interesting subject was “Facts about Gold and Sliver”.


In January 2013, the following entries were made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:

27 01 13    Heidi Charlotte Agnew and Henry Ben Agnew

Service of Memorial and Thanksgiving
25 01 13    Norman Stanley

February ended with Villagers slowly recovering from the severe winter weather (again) and looking forward to some sunshine. The month saw the unusual resignation of the Pope, the OFSTED upgrading of the Village School, the alarming disclosers regarding the use of horse flesh in meat products, and the commencement of the St Mary’s Lent Lunches – a sure sign of approaching Easter. But generally, most Villagers were pleased to see February depart.



January 2013



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 still decorated for the festive season. But the festive season was over especially for Villagers using public transport where fares for road and rail travel had increased by 4% above the rate of inflation. Those commuting into London, and also using the London hire - cycles (Boris Bikes introduced by the Mayor of London), all had to pay more. This was the tenth consecutive year of annual increases which now made London the most expensive European City in which to travel, and caused much controversy. Transport for London (TFL) had added to travel costs by increasing station car park charges by 10%.

The EFDC announced the issuing of three Dog Control Orders (DCOs), effective from 14 01 13, when the following would constitute an offence:

Failure to remove dog faeces from public land.

Failure to leash dogs on public land when so directed by authority.

Failure to limit dogs to four when on public land.

AT a weekly meeting in the TBVH, the Thursday Section of the Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowling Club held an all day Target Bowls Match. Some forty members and guests enjoyed a lunch break meal comprising a selection of German cold meats and cheese chased down by an excellent selection of German wines’ The Club President, Joy Wainwright, thanked everyone for supporting the event and especially John and Barbara Langford who organised the day and travelled to Germany to "select” and collect the meal. The Match continued after lunch and was won by Brian Parker with Matt Furlong as runner up.

In the mid afternoon of an early grey January day the chapel at the Parndon Wood Crematorium, in Harlow was full for a service in memory of Brian Terence Giddens, a member of the Short Mat Bowling Club who died on the 20th December 2012. It was also a celebration for the life of a gentle man who had acquired a great love of nature, of poetry and literature. This was reflected in the music and readings in the service. The poem “Leisure” by William Davies was read by George, and another reading was A E Houseman’s poem "Loveliest of All Trees".  At the end of the service the hymn “All things Bright and Beautiful” was sung and Brian’s coffin remained on view as the congregation left so that personal farewells could be made. A reception was held afterwards at the Bull in Theydon Bois where the general geniality of those present reflected Brian's character.

The last night of Absurd Person Singular by Alan Ayckbourn, the current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society was the usual sellout. The play portrayed three couples in the kitchens of their homes on three successive Christmas Eves and the antics which occurred. The cast comprised an ambitious tradesman Sydney Hopcroft (played by Simon Gilbert), his wife Jane (Rebecca Philips), an architect Geoffrey Jackson (John Haylett) his depressed wife Eva (Ann Beckett Franks).a banker Ronald Brewster – Wright (Martin Oliver) and his alcoholic wife Marion (Nicola Gilbert). The production was supported by twenty five back stage helpers who changed the kitchen sets (which included washing machines, sinks and refrigerators) twice in two short intervals – a no mean feat on a small stage. The production was directed by Paula Duncan.

After several severe weather warnings, snow finally arrived overnight and early on a mid - January Monday to give a slight covering in the Village. Rail travel was affected but not local main road traffic, due to the overnight road gritting overnight. However, around midday a heavy snowfall of about half an inch resulted in a marked and quick decline in motorists and pedestrians, especially at the Epping Monday Market where many Villagers usually shop. Some schools in the district closed early to allow children to go home but some pupils, naturally, took the opportunity to play in the snow instead.

Later in the month a substantial snow fall of some 2 inches covered the District overnight but did not cause much disruption due to a partial thaw and, once again, the overnight work of the EFDC "road gritting” teams. But the next day (Sunday) the snow returned just after breakfast and continued steadily throughout the day until some 5 – 6 inches covered the area. Children (and parents) were out snowballing, or more especially, towing children in inexpensive and simple plastic sledges being sold by the local supermarket. The next day, a Monday, the Village awoke to the reality of real winter as the District was covered in treacherous ice and snow. Side roads were almost impassable but the main route (Coppice Row) through Theydon Bois was just clear, Central Line trains were running and commuters were slithering along to the station to travel to London or elswhere. Many schools were closed but an exception was the Village Primary School and Head Teacher Elspeth Johns was seen hurrying along to receive her pupils and continue the excellent record of remaining open despite inclement weather.

Some of the footpaths in the Village were deteriorating and several had been re-laid and improved over the years; the latest to receive attention was in Orchard Drive near the Village Primary School. Residents of Thrift’s Mead  drew attention to the state of the footpaths in this road were a number of elderly residents live, and the Theydon Bois Surgery and the Robert Daniels Court Retirement Home were located. In response to complaints a spokesman for Essex Highways said “the policy of the authority was to ensure that footpaths were safe, and when this site was inspected no safety hazards were identified. The site would continue to be monitored and if any hazards were identified then appropriate action would be taken”.

Near the end of the month on a bleak and cold Friday with snow still around, St Mary’s Church was again crowded for a service in memory of Norman Stanley who died on 9th January 2013 aged 81. Norman had been cremated previously that day at Pardon Wood Crematorium at Harlow. The Reverend Simon Elman officiated at the Service and also gave a tribute. An amusing eulogy was given by Norman's son in law John Jones which gave an insight into Norman's particular humour and his love of family, people and life. Norman and his wife Jean had lived in the Village for many years, were active members of the community and had raised a family of two daughters, and a son. Norman was a leading member of the Village for many years as a former Chairman of the Theydon Bois Village Association and was also an active local sportsman, especially in tennis, golf and sailing. A post funeral reception was held at the Theydon Bois Golf Club, which many attended.

A week’s ordeal by snow, ice and low temperatures ended overnight on the 26th when heavy rain and strong winds dispersed the last of the snow. But, the rise in temperature to a relatively mild level resulted in almost immediate local flooding from thawing snow, and water flowed from gardens and fields in various areas around the Village .More than 80 flood alerts were issued across the UK. Gale force winds produced high tide levels and, at a West Country port, a child in its pram was blown into the sea and then saved by the Dock Master who promptly jumped into freezing water to do so; both survived the ordeal.

A planning application for a controversial but interesting and unique “eco house” on the site of Coppice Farm in Coppice Row, was submitted for consideration by the EFDC. This development would be in the green belt and the principal objectors were the TBPC, the TBRPS, TBAG, Epping Forest Conservators, and London Green Belt Council. The applicant argued that the building, comprising three separate structures, was an unique, energy saving development with a low profile and green roofs to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Its opponents claimed that the application was yet another attempt to violate green belt policy in the district and would be a precedent for further similar applications. The application was finally rejected at the EFDC District Development Control Meeting.


A delivery driver/owner lost his van and livelihood due to the vehicle being stolen while he was delivering goods to a residence in Theydon Park Road. The delivery firm, to whom he was under contract, dispensed with his services subsequently because he had left the ignition keys in the vehicle.

The apparent decline of birdlife in parts of the UK was possibly due to the increasing numbers of deer. The British Ecological Society reported that a recent field study found that the increase in Roe deer had resulted in a decrease of woodland scrub and a subsequent reduction in birdlife. Deer were becoming an increasing hazard to road traffic and also the general public. In a recent incident, a frightened deer ran into a shopping arcade in a Chelmsford and injured a woman.


During the December 2012 the following entries were made in the St Mary’s Parish Registers:        


02 12 13    Isabella Ruby Rose Lester

Holy Matrimony

01 12 13  Kelly Frankland and Danny Gould

15 12 13  Chris Cole and Carolyn Turner

29 12 13  Brook Escudier and Katherine Griffiths


21 01 13 Vi Saggers

January 2013 quickly passed into history, thankfully, as the harshest winter month for some years due to heavy snowfalls, severe frosts and the excessive and pervading damp from the saturated ground - a legacy of the previously wet 2012. Road users once again had to be wary of numerous potholes which could damage motor vehicles and possibly cause accidents. The green belt associated with the Village was, once again, successfully defended but other possible threats were on the horizon. However the snowdrops and daffodils had already reappeared again and the lengthening days were bringing thoughts of Easter and even summer holidays to help Villagers shrug off the affects of a very unpleasant winter.


Earlier (2012) Months

Last Updated: 29th January 2014