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Theydon Bois Village Web Site

The Month in Theydon

A Month by Month Report since November 2002 by Trevor Roberts

The Month in Theydon Pages are Copyright (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


December 2014


The first chilly easterly winds of winter blowing across Parndon Wood in Harlow, were the background to a sad occasion when many villagers and friends attended the cremation of Robin Llewellyn - Jones who died on the 18 November 2014 aged eighty.  The occasion was a celebration of his life and farming in the Village, and his character was reflected in the relative happy nature of the service as conducted by the- Celebrant Reverend John N Merrill. Robin was carried into the Crematorium in a reed casket to the recorded music “Closest Thing to Crazy" by Katie Melua. Beside the Casket was a picture of Robin and one of his farming boots containing a floral display. On behalf of Robin’s wife Jean, the Celebrant read an account of Robin’s life which revealed that he was born in Ilford on 14th April 1934. Robin’s family were local solicitors, but Robin chose to follow a farming career.  Robin married Jean in 1955 and they had a very happy life together. The couple settled in the Village at Thrifts Hall Farm where they raised three children, dairy farmed and then arable farmed as well as keeping poultry.

The Christmas Concert given in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) by the Theydon Bois Singers was well supported, with a maximum capacity audience. Despite reduced numbers in the choir due to illness, the Singer’s contribution comprised an excellent programme of well known carols and other songs by modern composers including Benjamin Britten and John Rutter. These were interspersed with readings given by Barbara Lane, Lee Pedler, Catherine Nightingale and Linda Wheeler.

A new name appeared in the business community of Theydon Bois with the establishment of Greens – a new butchers. This business was formerly the long established John Phillips Butchers in Coppice Row which was well known and had served the community for many years. The new owner Les began his butchery career when 13 years old and had his own business in Finchingfield when  27. Les was pleased and delighted to find another business in a similar village where customers really appreciate quality. The appearance of Greens ensured that 41 years of the meat trade would now continue in Coppice Row.

Villagers intending to fly out from UK Airports were caught in a major disruption of air travel, the likes of which “had not been seen before” according to the UK National Air Traffic Service. This was due to a fault in the electronic systems used by the Swanwick Air Traffic Control Centre which had affected most of the UK. Passengers were forced to wait until the following Saturday morning or longer before their flights were resumed and some slept on the floor at certain airports.

During the year a number of popular concerts are held in the TBVH because of its excellent acoustics. On this pre Christmas evening, the Fairlop Brass Band made its inaugural appearance at the Hall with a concert of festive music and carols. The band originated from the Fairlop Junior Scholl in Barkingside 45 years ago when some of its members were also pupils of the Redbridge Music School. In this concert under its conductor Kevin Jordan, the Band’ comprised some 28 players who displayed their prowess in an outstanding performance which encouraged the audience to give full voice to the carols which were played.

There had been a steady decline in the world price of oil which now stood at around 60$ a barrel. This was reflected in the fuel cost per litre at garage forecourts which were down to 110p for premium grade petrol and 116p for diesel. A decision by the Middle East consortium OPEC not to reduce output, which would have helped stabilise world markets, gave rise to fears that a political conspiracy existed to adversely affect the economies of some countries These low forecourt prices could be only a short term advantage against declining UK Government oil revenues, but this fact was overlooked in the rush of Christmas Trading which had already begun.

In their Christmas messages, Prime Minister David Cameron took pride in the UK’s Christian Values of giving and sharing and taking care of others. Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg hoped that the principle values of love, hope and charity expressed in the Christmas story were universal. Labour Leader Ed Milliband urged voters to choose generously and with exclusion in the looming election battle in 2015.

The early morning rain/sleet quickly dispersed to give a cold but bright Chritmas Eve and many villagers were soon out and about shopping for last minute gifts or Christmas food. The Village Tesco Express was "crammed" as usual and its Epping counterpart more so. But the Epping Marks and Spencer’s food store was "heaving" with queues of overloaded baskets/shoppers at the checkouts. Here, the wise had shopped early, if only to gain parking space, but with mission accomplished had retired to one of the now many town coffee shops to re - fortify themselves. Back in the Village a calmer atmosphere prevailed but, by lunchtime, the Belgique coffee shop was soon full with early lunch - takers.

The dawn of Christmas Day was cold and quiet with a slight overcast and the promise of bright sunshine to follow. The Village was at peace and silent except where, in many homes, excited children were opening presents and busy housewives preparing festive meals. Already lights were shining out across the Village Green from the new Pavilion Court in Coppice Row. The Bookshop newsagents and the Tesco convenience store, normally open, were closed for this one day but some premises were brightly lit, possibly for security reasons. The station stood deserted but also well lit with its car park empty as those travelling to airports, to join the four million flying out from the UK this Christmas, made other travel arrangements. The only natural sounds were the early winter birdsong and the calls of the water fowl which had taken shelter on the Village pond. Early worshippers emerged to hurry by foot or car past the Village Christmas Tree en route to St Mary’s Church, or to the Baptist Church. But the Village came alive at midday with families on the move to enjoy Christmas dinner in one of the several pubs in the Village or elsewhere. Once again, The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Epping provided a traditional lunch for those who would be at home alone.

In her pre recorded Christmas Message from Buckingham Palace, the Queen highlighted the ceramic poppy tribute, at the Tower of London, to WW1 casualties and was deeply touched by the actions of those who have treated victims of the Ebola disease in West Africa. The Archbishop of Canterbury said that fairy tale endings are not the true spirit of Christmas and alluded to the Christmas Day truce of 1914 after which the war continued. The Pope denounced the brutal suppression of religious and ethnic minorities and highlighted the plight of refugees in Syria and Iraq. Many families took their traditional after - dinner Christmas walk in relatively bright sunshine. But, as the shortest day of the winter had only just passed, darkness soon fell and by late evening Theydon Bois was once again quiet, lit only by the bright festive illuminations at the pubs, some retail premises and the many decorated residences in the Village.

On Boxing Day the weather remained cold with a threat of snow which did not deter Villagers travelling to London for entertainment or to the sales, especially at the Westfield Shopping Mall at Stratford, and also to the London’s West End. Traders were hoping for a good trading week despite being undercut by the “on line” shopping facilities now available in many homes. But bargains were still to be had both in London and locally. Severe snow falls in the North affected road travel and Kings Cross Station in London was closed due to continuing rail maintenance work; and trains were also not running from Paddington to Reading. It was reported that House prices in 2014 had increased by 8.5% according to the Halifax Building Society and property values in London, Greenwich, had surged by 25%; more significantly some 5% of the population aged below 25 was still living with parents. Another interesting news item was that entrepreneurs starting new business were more likely to do so in country areas rather than in towns.

The Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club held its Christmas Meeting and Lunch in the TBVH. The promise of an appetising Christmas meal encouraged a good attendance which included the Club President Joy Wainwright who made a short speech of welcome.
The Indian Ocean Restaurant in Coppice Row, which in 2012 won the Tiffin Cup for the best South Asian Restaurant in the UK, was one of four local sponsors to support a local youngster selected to play in the England Under 13’s Ice Hockey Team. The fortunate youngster was Ewan Hill, 12, from Romford who had been playing the sport since he was seven and was one of only eighteen in the UK to be selected for the team. The other sponsors were Homeward Hounds, also in Theydon Bois, Amy Bramble Yoga in Epping and Matthews Plants in Roydon.

The year 2014 ended with a severe cold snap with overnight frosts and temperatures down to minus 3 degrees C but without snow - fortunately. The overseas news was dominated by a major Greek ferry disaster in the Adriatic and the loss of an Air Asian jet, together with crew and passengers, over the Java Sea. In the UK a Virgin Atlantic jet made a successful safe landing with faulty landing gear, much to the relief of all aboard. The disruption of the London rail systems due to ongoing work and the news that the Directors of Network Rail had received honours in the New Years Honours list, did not please many, especially rail travellers. But most serious was the return to the UK of a nurse dealing with Ebola patients in West Africa, who after several medical checks for the disease was allowed to travel on to her Scottish home where her condition then proved positive. She was transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in London for new special treatment and questions were raised regarding the accuracy of the medical checks and procedures for those incoming from abroad. UK retail trading, true to form, surged ahead during the last days prior to Christmas and during the long holiday break which lasted until 5th January 2015.



November 2014



Following on from the pyrotechnic displays of Halloween in October, the evening of the 5 November was a tame affair except at the TB Primary School where the School Fireworks display organized by the School PTA was a great success. The School playground was packed with parents and children to see an extensive display costing some £2,200 and lasting some 20 minutes seen over a large area of the Village. Head Teacher Lesley Lewis was especially pleased as this was first School fireworks display since she took office last September. She explained that the proceeds of the evening would help raise the £90,000 needed for renovation of the changing rooms at the School swimming pool, and advised that the total raised to date was already£40,000.

Village stalwart, Marjorie Chapman was honoured by the charity Cancer Research UK, with which she has been involved for many years. In 1972, on learning that two Villagers had been diagnosed with cancer, Marjorie and her friend Eileen Wilson set up the supporting Theydon Bois and District Group, Cancer Research UK. Its first fund raising event raised £90 and by 2012 the Group had raised £500,000. Consequently, the charity had recently awarded her a Flame of Hope Honorary Fellowship. Now 96 years of age, she is still an integral member of the Group and its President despite ailing health

The death was reported of Robin Llewelyn Jones on 18 November 2014  following a recent fall. A Village stalwart, he was a supporter of many activities especially those associated with the Epping Forest Conservative Party and had served on the TBPC as a Councillor for some years.

The following were confirmed at a service at St John’s Church in Epping; Andrea Crumbie Shelley Dix, Nicola O’Flynn, Amanda Stephenson, John Whelan, Louise Ann Whelan and Debra Williams. Anna Kosarina was also received from the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Epping Rail Circle held its annual exhibition in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Visitors saw the operation of ten model railway layouts in various gauges and configurations. Among the most popular was a 1950s gauge 0 Hornby tin plate layout which attracted many young children with its larger size, realistic track noise and station lighting. But the best was the Circle’s own Tanglewood Common OO layout of substantial size which included Central Line Trains (models) and general lighting.

Against a background of possible Islamic plots to attack the Remembrance Sunday commemorations, especially in Central London, more than 10,000 veterans marched past the Cenotaph in Whitehall as part of the annual commemoration service, which was attended by the Queen and members of the Royal family. Police security was high with helicopters, dogs and armed officers present. Before the March Past The Queen, dressed in black, observed the two minute silence and then laid her wreath followed by other members of the royal party who did likewise; a royal absentee was Prince Harry who, as an army helicopter pilot and war veteran, had returned to Afghanistan to attend the Remembrance parade there. It was notable that every male member of the Royal family had now served in the armed forces. As the royal party retired, the usual silence was broken by polite applause for the Queen who had attended the service despite worries about security.

In the Village, as elsewhere in the District, the Remembrance service at the Village War Memorial was well attended and with a police officer present, for the first time for many years – an indication of the necessary need for increased security even in the “backwoods" of Theydon Bois. And once again, it was most heartening to see so many young people present on this most important occasion.

In the early hours, fire fighters from Epping were called to a blaze at the vehicle speed camera site at the junction of Piercing Hill and Coppice Row. The fire was reported as being started deliberately and the camera was considerably damaged; this has happened before, and a new camera was installed in 2012.  Situated at a dangerous road junction the camera must had prevented many accidents and injury/loss of life over the years, so it is beyond comprehension that such a criminal act could have been perpetrated.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its first agm following the Societies reorganisation in March 2014. The new Chairman, Liz McGuire presided and the meeting heard that the Society had a very successful year, despite hiccups, through the hard work of a new and enthusiastic committee. The Show Secretary reported that the 2014 Annual Show was successful and well supported by the village school, local organizations, scouts and guides and local youth and other horticultural groups in the local area. The Treasurer had sadly died so the Chairman, as acting Treasurer, announced that the Society’s financial state was sound with a healthy balance.

Presentations were made to Barry and Jane Turner, the former Chairman and Secretary, in recognition of their services to the Society over the years and Jane particularly requested that her work be recognised with contributions to the Tree Foundation Charity. Prior to the agm, Harry Brickwood gave an excellent slide presentation featuring some 30 gardens which could be visited (including Buckingham Palace) with specific information including location and other information).

In mid month severe autumnal weather arrived when over one inch of rain fell in a short period so that roads became awash or flooded and gardens suffered badly. The Anglican Water Authority issued a number of river flood warnings, and the police warned against motoring in flooded roads following a number of vehicles becoming stranded. The first real frost also arrived afterwards to freeze car locks and doors, and cause problems for early morning commuters. However, the meteorological office was hinting that this November and the year 2014 could now be the warmest on record.

Near the end of the month, the St Mary’s Christmas Fair 2014 was held the Church Hall in Coppice Row. The event was well supported with many stalls selling Christmas Gifts for all ages including jewellery, toiletries and other items. Other attractions included a lucky dip, raffle and popular festive refreshments. The ceremony of lighting the Village Christmas Tree was also held and the Cristmas Market in Forest Drive proved popular. Here carols were sung against the background of the brightly lit and decorated Village shops.

Villagers also went to St John’s Church, Epping to join members of the local community at the annual carol service held by the Ilford Citadel of the Salvation Army. The Chairman of the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), the mayor of Epping Town and representatives of local organizations were present to hear the Citadel singers and its Silver Band give the Christmas message in song and word. A collection was taken during the service in support of the hardworking Theydon Bois Branch of the Cancer Care UK charity; this realized some £500 to add to the substantial amount raised by the Branch over the years. Light refreshments were served before and after the service which helped to make the occasion an excellent start to the festive season in Epping.


Local resindent Alan Smith, was taking a scientific approach to paranormal activities and looking for experience in the supernatural. He recently joined Para Huntings UK, a group which uses electromagnetic field meters, digital thermometers and listening equipment to investigate sites of interest (possibly Epping Forest)

Local resident and kart racer Lochlan Bearman, 12, was competing in the final round of the “Stars at the Whilton Mill. Championship” at the Daventry Kart Centre. He was already top of the pre championship placings at the Mill being 71 points ahead of his nearest rival. His machine had a new chassis which was set up during recent racing and should help him to certain victory as champion. He subsequently became champion

Another sign of the approaching festive season was a Christmas Gift Faire held in the TBVH by the St Clare Hospice. Some twenty stalls were selling a variety of Christmas items including lades fashions, jewellery, wooden animals, stocking fillers and seasonal goodies. The Hospice was expecting to be caring for more than 123 patients and their families over the festive period. During October 2014 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

Holy Baptism

19 10 14                    Alfie Kevin Perkins


13 10 14                    Roger Antony Wood - funeral in church followed by burial in a civil cemetery

Burial of Ashes

15 10 14                    Shirley Jones

16 10 14                    Jean Margaret Elderton

16 10 14                    Josephine Middlemass

22 10 14                    Muriel Edwards

November ended with real winter weather of cold winds and rain, not unexpected and welcomed by some gardeners. The most important events during the month were the Remembrance Day parades, Epping Rail Circle exhibition, Horticultural Society agm and slide presentation, the November Fifth School Fair/Fireworks Display, and a further unofficial display when the speed camera in Coppice Row was subjected to an arson attack. Village personalities who made the news were Marjorie Chapman who was honoured for her charity work, Lochlan Bearman, 12, who became a kart racer champion and, sadly, Robin Llewelyn Jones, long term resident, farmer and former Parish Councillor who sadly passed away near the end of the month. But preparations for the Christmas festive season were already underway, despite the weather, with illuminated decorations appearing on shops, houses and gardens



October 2014


The first day the month was a surprise for motor vehicle owners when the government announced a change to the method of vehicle taxation. The coloured paper taxation disc, which is proof of tax payment and had for many years been mandatorily displayed on the vehicle windscreen, would no longer be issued. The relevant tax would still have to be paid either electronically or by cash transaction at a post office, but the record of payment would  be still be registered by the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), as with current practice.

Christmas came early to St Mary’s Church when its members and friends embarked on Operation Christmas Child. Empty shoe boxes were packed with numerous Christmas items including simple toys, hats. children’s mittens and gloves, knitted items, toiletries, stationery etc: the boxes were then wrapped in attractive festive paper. The cost of delivery was £3 per box and contributions to defray this payment were welcomed. Christmas 2013 saw more than 200 boxes being donated and it was hoped to exceed this for 2014.

Political history was made in Essex when former Tory MP Douglas Carswell secured the vacant seat at the Essex seaside town of Clacton with a 12,404 majority, and became the first United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) MP at Westminster.

More than £40,000 of life - saving equipment had been stolen from ambulances and paramedic vehicles in Essex during recent months. Medical supplies including morphine, oxygen cylinders and even blue flashing lights were among the items which had been taken. The thefts have occurred when the vehicles were parked outside homes, hospitals, ambulance stations and even when present at road accidents.

Tube staffs who are members of the RMT Union were planning a two day strike to coincide with separate strikes by local authority workers and civil servants across the UK. The RMT members were objecting to plans to close ticket offices and reduce/redeploy staffs, which they claimed would jeopardise passenger safety. The cuts were scheduled for early 2015 and it was reported that London underground stations could lose nearly half their personnel.

A coffee morning held in St Mary’s Church Hall in support of the Guide Dogs Charity raised £364 which was most welcome as it costs £50,000 over ten years for a dog to be trained and used as a guide. The event was organised by Ms Pat Pearce and friends and was held during the national Guide Dogs week. Pat lost her sight through an accident and a subsequent medical condition.

Epping Forest Roads, which include Theydon Bois, were named by the Deer Initiative (DI) for England and Wales as some of the worst for deer accidents in the UK. Motorists were warned that deer rutting had commenced and could result in deer related incidents causing hundreds of human injuries and possible fatalities.

Great grandmother Winifred Wilson, a resident of Robert Daniels Court in the Village, recently celebrated her 100th birthday at the Court with a party attended by the staff, five children, nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She was born in East London during WW1 and experienced the bombing of London in WW2. She particularly remembered evacuating her home during air raids. On one occasion, her sister ran down the road with a half boiled egg in a spoon; on returning they found that the house had been hit by a bomb and that the cooker was up in a tree.
The first of the Autumn storms arrived in the form of the tail end of Hurricane Gonzola which had crossed the Atlantic from Bermuda as the worst hurricane for many years. The UK was badly hit, especially in the North, but the South did not escape with 60mph wind gusts and heavy rain which caused delays to air traffic, motorway and sea ferries. One problem was the late arrival of autumn resulting in many trees being still in full leaf and therefore prone to damage and uprooting. There was only minor damage in the Village but the Central London population esperinced some injuries and a fatality from fallen trees and also vehicle incidents.

The sights and sounds of the seashore came to Theydon Bois when the British Shell Collectors Club held its annual Shell Show in the Main Hall of the TBVH, for the first time. The Club was formed in 1972 by a group of shell collectors with a mutual interest in shells, both living and fossil, marine, land and freshwater, British and foreign and the animals (molluscs) which produce them. Based in Norwich, the Club membership now exceeded 200 including some from overseas with pure scientists, beachcombers and shell craft artists.

Many Villagers were reminded of the popular BBC radio serial programme which had listeners virtually glued to their radio receivers each evening in the 1940s for broadcast instalments of Dick Barton – Special Agent. The Theydon Bois Drama Society (TBDS) presented a special production of Phil Willmott's Dick Barton classic – The Tango of Terror- which featured all the well known characters including Barton, Snowy and Jock. The production comprised two acts and fourteen scenes with music and vocals in a plot which took the audience from Egyptian Catacombs, via London Airport, Broadcasting House, restaurants and cafes in London and Buenos Aires and finally into cinema cellars in Rio. Ruth Williams was the musical director and pianist and the production was directed by Mark Godfrey.

The weather became completely “out of season” with a warm Halloween eve following the warmest October day (28 degrees C) for many years The culprit was warm air from the Mediterranean which encouraged children to stay up and knock on doors to request a "trick or treat". Pumpkins with carved faces and internal lighting were appearing in windows and the authorities were warning of the potential fire hazard of using lighted candles for this purpose, especially as the fire services were  staging a series of strikes in their dispute over pay and conditions.

Pupils of Theydon Bois Primary School were collaborating with the Chigwell Choir in a Great War Commemoration to be held at Chigwell School in November. The Choir was formed in 1952 from pupils and singers from the local area and, has sung elsewhere both at home and abroad.
Tony O’Connor, the curator of the Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey, was the speaker at a special evening held in the TBVH by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society (TBRPS). His talk dealt with the future of the Museum and the extensive refurbishment now taking place.
During September 2014 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
Holy Baptism
07 09 14                    Drew Paul Smith
14 09 14                    Oscar John Turner
28 09 14                    Scarlett Katherine & Darcie Rose Sands
17 09 14                    Hylda Beatrice Denise Dawes - funeral followed by burial in a civil cemetery
25 09 14                    George Andrew Burn - cremation


The Indian Summer continued on into October and ended in mid month when the tail of Hurricane Gonzola hit the UK but, fortunately, only produced strong winds and rain in the Village. Motorists had an unusual surprise when the abolition of motor tax discs was announced - but not the payment of tax duty. The local roads were reported as being the most frequently affected by deer/vehicle collisions, especially during the current rutting season. The curator of the Epping Forest District Museum gave an interesting talk to the TBRPS about the future refurbished museum, and the TBDS resurrected Dick Barton, Special -Agent, of the 1940s. Clocks went back (controversially?) one hour and Christmas began approaching when St Mary’s Church began packing toys for deprived children as part of Operation Christmas Child. Cold winds arrived and Christmas Cards were already dropping onto some doormats.



September 2014


The major event of the month, nationwide, was undoubtedly the forthcoming Scottish Referendum. The last night of the Proms held in London’s Royal Albert Hall, and screened to the many watching in Hyde Park, reflected a distinctive English fervor. Despite the BBC’s directive that no reference should be made to the Referendum, at both locations, the Union Flag was prominent; the conductor displayed a union flag waistcoat and a Sikh member of the orchestra wore a union flag turban. The usual last night items were played or sung with great gusto, all this comprising a strong “no” response to Scottish devolution as sent from the south side of the border.
After several weeks of political campaigning, decision day arrived for the people of Scotland when they voted to decide the country’s future. Voters were asked to give a yes or no to the referendum question should Scotland become independent of the United Kingdom. Scottish residents in the UK (and TB) were watching with great interest, and annoyance, as they were excluded from voting.  At approximately 06.10, on 19 09 14, BBC TV announced that the majority of votes cast in the Referendum had been counted; 45% of the electorate had voted for independence and 55% against, and therefore the structure of the United Kingdom would not change. Alex Salmond. Leader of the Scottish Union Party conceded defeat but said that he hoped the last minute political reforms promised by Westminster would be pursued and become reality. He also, significantly, commented that the inclusion of sixteen and seventeen year olds in the election process may have been significant in the result.

St Mary’s Church held a new style event – a St Mary’s Garage Sale. Similar to the long established Theydon Bois Open Gardens day, punters walked around the Village visiting private garages instead of gardens. Householders made a £10 donation to the Church to participate and sell virtually anything from their garage or outside stall. The public paid a nominal £1 for a map of the various garage locations which was organised from the Church Hall, where there were also Church stalls and refreshments. The event was organised by the Church Events Committee and particularly Joy and Phil Simmance.

It was revealed that the Transport for London (TFL) group planned to reduce staff levels at London tube stations by up to some 50% in early 2015; Epping could lose 45% of its staff, Loughton 28% and Theydon Bois none - being usually unmanned. The London Underground Chief Operations Officer said “Under our proposals, there will be more staff available and visible to help passengers and keep them safe and secure. Staff will be brought out from behind windows and back offices to be where people need them – in ticket halls, and on concourses and platforms. But there was good news regarding late night trains from London. In early 2015, trains will run through the night at six minute intervals but only as far as Loughton in the Epping Forest District: TB Villagers would have to make other arrangements (taxi?) to complete their journeys. As an interesting aside, the restored Epping Ongar Railway held a recent “display” of historic railway stock including the last underground train, now in private hands, which served Epping/Ongar, and which had been restored to a running condition when powered by batteries.

Members and friends of the TB Horticultural Society paid a visit to the Royal Horticultural Show at Wisley in Surrey. The party travelled by coach and the continuing Indian summer helped to make an enjoyable day.

The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Society held its first autumn meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The speaker was Doug Joyce and his subject, Alpine plants in Sweden.

The TB Rural Preservation Society held a Sunday Afternoon walk around the village viewing ancient land marks which depicted the history of Theydon Bois.

Thirty nine members and one visitor were present at the September meeting of the TBWI. The speaker was Dudley Chignal who spoke about Beatrix Potter and the Lake District. The meeting was told about a petition being raised regarding congestion caused by vehicle parking along the Village Green.
The 3rd Theydon Bois Brownie Pack celebrated its 45th Anniversary as part of the Brownies movement by holding an Open Afternoon in the TBVH. The event was well attended, with tea being served, and with past members of the Pack present to help make a memorable event

During August 2014 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
Holy Baptism
10 08 14                    Oliver James Bennett
06 08 14                    Kathleen Edith Porcas – funeral in Church then cremation
16 08 14                    Shirley Ada Dawkins - cremation
17 08 14                    Christopher Edward Lisley Jones – funeral
Burial of Ashes
31 08 14                    Dennis William Perry

The political highlight of September was the referendum regarding the move to make Scotland independent of the United Kingdom. This was a cliff hanger situation for many, especially those Scots living in England. With 45% for and 55% against devolution, the decision was clear cut but some political elements in Scotland were expected to raise the issue again in future years. The Transport for London (TFL) group planned to reduce staff levels at London tube stations by up to some 50% in early 2015; Epping could lose 45% of its staff, Loughton 28% and Theydon Bois none being already unmanned. September really excelled with its weather as the ongoing Indian summer continued right up to the 30th with fine warm days and cool autumnal nights. The month was the driest on record (with only 17% of the expected rainfall) especially in the south east where
gardeners were watering blooms which by now could have been affected by mild frosts. The countryside and hedgerows were still laden with natural food which had encouraged birds to forsake gardens and take to the country. And once again this glorious weather was continuing, on and on, into October - hopefully!



August 2014


At the beginning of the month the 2014 Commonwealth Games ended in Glasgow’s Hampden Park Stadium with a closing ceremony during which Lord Smith, Chairman of the Games, said “Sport unites us, we are all Commonwealth connected". Present in the vast audience were the Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour Party Leader Ed Milliband and the Earl of Wessex representing the Queen.  In true Scottish tradition, a lone piper in the roof of the stadium played Auld Lang Syne to bring eleven days of athletics to a conclusion. The Games were judged by many to be the best ever with England top of the medals table with 174, and Scotland with a record 53.

The one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of WW1, also known as the Great War, was recognised in the Village with a special service of commemoration held in St Mary’s Church. In Glasgow, a national service of commemoration was also held with the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  World leaders attended religious services and vigils in Belgium, the country which was the first to be invaded by Germany in the War. In Westminster Abbey, a special Vigil Service was held with many of the congregation holding candles representing the lives of those fallen during the war. All were extinguished in turn and then the Duchess of Cornwall. extinguished the candle on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. Outside, a symbolic single light beam was projected up into the London sky as the lights of many public buildings, including 10 Downing Street, were also extinguished. The population was requested to also switch off their general lighting at 22.00 and to display a solitary candle or light in their homes in keeping with the Westminster Abbey vigil; many homes in the Village did so.

At the Tower of London, the Royal British Legion had “planted” in the moat a carpet of 888,246 artificial poppies – one for each British military fatality in WW1. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Harry attended to plant their own poppies and talk to war veterans. Nearer to home, at North Weald Airfield, the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council), in association with the North
Weald Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association and as part of the Royal British Legion Centenary Poppy Campaign, had planted a circular field of real poppies near the Hurricane Fighter WW2 Memorial, thus linking the remembrance of those who had died in the two great world conflicts.

St Mary’s Church continued to publish an excellent monthly Parish Newsletter which has, for many years, contained details of Village life and much of this information has been included in the Theydon Bois Local History. The August Newsletter contained a small compilation of Village activities in the early stages of WW1 (1914 – 1918). This has been included below in its entirety together with kind acknowledgements to the editor of the Newsletter.
“A Branch of the Red Cross was established in 1909/10 and was well supported with first aid lectures at Birch Hall. In October 1914 subscriptions to the organisation were used to fund the making of 75 shirts and pyjamas for soldiers in hospital, and refugees. Bundles of cloth and pieces of material were given, resulting in the Essex Needlework Guild sending 100 garments for this cause and, later, another 100 from the Village (these would have been mostly sewn by hand at this time).
By December 1914, 63 men had enlisted including 4 brothers from the Austin family (in 1911 the population of the Village included 197 males).Theydon Towers in Forest Side was taken over as a hospital nursing 28 wounded  Belgians, and money was collected in the Village to aid those left in Belgium and being starved by the Germans. In early 1915 working parties were held to sew and knit for soldiers and the Belgians, everywhere. The Mission Room in Ivy Chimneys was used as a recreation and writing room for the Forces.
 News was received that two of the Austin brothers were recovering from wounds and, by the summer, the first memorial service was held, for 25 year old Archibald Howe who had been killed in the Dardanelles, Turkey. The Working Men’s’ Club next to the Queen Victoria Pub, was used by women as a depot to make surgical bandages, dressings etc. to supply British and Allied Hospitals at home and at the front. Also, volunteers were making swabs, splints, pine dressings, slippers and clothing, at the same time collecting money to help wounded French and starving Belgians.”

A summery August beat a hasty retreat when the remnants of Hurricane Bertha crossed the Atlantic to batter the UK. The Hurricane’s tail whipped across London and East Anglia with 50 mph gale force winds and tropical rainfalls of up to 50
mm (2 ins) in certain areas.  London Heathrow Airport was closed for a time with flights diverted and some London Underground stations were flooded. East Anglican rail services were partly disrupted by flooded tracks and fallen trees. Theydon Bois caught the edge of London’s heavy rainfall with partly flooded roads mainly due to the Epping Forest rainwater “run off” but otherwise escaped the worst of the weather.

Rural crime took a new turn with reports of nationwide thefts of livestock. Thefts of farming machinery were in decline due to the improved security precautions now being taken by the farming community with CCTV, the locking of gates and blocking of openings in hedges/fences. Criminals had now switched to stealing cattle and sheep, in small numbers to minimise noise and avoid alerting farmers. In some instances, stock had been slaughtered in the field. The illegal movement of stock also meant a possible return to increased animal infections including foot and mouth. No particular incidents had been reported in the local area but the threat was increasing generally.

This Saturday 16 08 14 was a sad day for Theydon Bois when the Village Butcher John Phillips pulled down the shop blind for the last time. John and his family business had served the Village for 55 years and John joined the firm on leaving school. He eventually took over from his father, and will always be remembered for his genial manner and welcome presence, especially at Christmas when the festive decorations of his shop could be seen from across the Village Green. The business had been acquired by Les Green and John intends to return to the Village on occasions to help with its smooth change of ownership.

The Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) launched a “Waste of Space Campaign”. This was based on the need to stop the needless waste of countryside, and the green belt, which is under threat from plans for over 700,000 new homes. The Campaign asks people to spot spaces in towns, cities and villages that could be regenerated for new housing. At the last count there was enough brown field land for around 1.5 million homes; this could save a huge area of countryside while providing the homes needed. Photos of nominated sites with details could be submitted to CPRE via electronic communication (E Mail, Face book, Twitter or mobile phone) or on a downloaded CPRE map/form. Some 100 submissions had been received since the Campaign launch some three weeks ago and more are expected as it gained momentum.

The Saturday and Sunday August Bank Holiday weather remained “summery” for local weekend events. On the Sunday, Villagers went to Copped Hall to join the many there for late summer open day which, this year featured “Epping, a Town at War" to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 (the Great War). Visitors were given an excellent brochure/programme which mentioned that many men from the Town and Copped Hall who fought and died in the War and they are commemorated on the Town War Memorial on Church Green, their names having been painstakingly researched by the Epping Branch of the Royal British Legion. One reason for the total destruction of the Copped Hall Mansion by the fire of 1917 was the absence of many local men, from town and Mansion, away serving in the armed forces who would had otherwise been fighting the blaze. Nearly 1000 visitors supported the event in perfect weather and so helped to further publicise and support the on - going restoration of this ancient mansion and site.
In extreme contrast, the following Bank Holiday Monday proved to be “classic” – continuous rain, partially flooded roads and even a slight frost in some areas! Once again the weather experts were forecasting the wettest August since records began and Villagers attending outside events, especially the London Notting Hill Carnival or coastal resorts, would probably agree. The death of Richard (Dickie) Attenborough, the doyen and towering presence of the British Film Industry, was sad news to the older, and not so old, generation. As a successful actor and producer of many awards - winning films, most notably "Gandhi", he was friendly to all on the film set encouraging actors to do their best. He was of modest height with big personality but with an unusual shortcoming; this was his inability to remember people's names and so invariably greeted everyone with “darling” even, it was rumoured, the Queen on one occasion.

The funeral service of Christopher (Chris) Jones was held in St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois and attended by a large congregation. He was a retired civil servant, was a member of the Order of the British Empire and had been the Administrative Director of the British Museum.  Chris was a leading figure in the Village as Vice Chairman of the Village Association and his connections with the Drama Society, Men’s Forum, Bowls Club, U3A Literature Group, monthly Litter Picks and as Treasurer of the recently revived Horticultural Society. The service was conducted by the Rev Stephen Walker and following the introductory words of welcome and opening prayers, tributes were made by Martin Oliver, Andrew Burnett, Matthew Eastwood and Rebekah Creanch. At the end of the Service, the congregation departed with the recorded voice of Rod Stewart singing ”For the First Time". Chris was cremated at Parndon in Harlow and a reception was then held in the TBVH. Donations to the Macmillan Nurses Charity or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau were invited in memory of Chris.

It was reported that Conservative Robert Glozier, a former Villager and former Chairman of the TBPC, was voted onto the EFDC following a recent by - election. Robert is now the representative for Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing.

During June and July the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

Holy Baptism
01 06 14     Sophie Claire Christine Venden
15 06 14     Alana Margheria Bishop
06 07 14     Elsie Seren Margaret Cole
13 07 14     Daisy May & Phoebe May Whelan
20 07 14     Oliver Stanley Byrne
07 06 14     Emma Cathryn Hannibal & Carl John Smith
11 07 14     Sophia Elizabeth Henderson & James Michael Hunt
02 07 14     James Patrick Burke – cremation
10 07 14     Brian Howard Parker – funeral in church then cremation
14 07 14     Diane Elizabeth Prebble – cremation
14 07 14     Eric Browne - cremation
Burial of Ashes
26 07 14     Brian Charles Restall

August was typical with schools closed, families away on holiday, relatively traffic free roads and the usual wet bank holiday Monday. The conclusion of the Commonwealth Games at the beginning of the month created much interest with England top of awards table with 174 medals and Scotland with a record 52. A major event, nationwide and locally, was the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War; services and wreath - laying ceremonies were held throughout the district and a special account of Theydon Bois involvement at that time was published in the St Mary’ newsletter. The increase in rural crime with livestock being stolen was causing concern. CPRE launched a Waste of Space Campaign to encourage the general public to advise of any residential orindustrial sites no longer in use and suitable for new housing. Two special people sadly passed away; Christopher (Chris) Jones  who was well known and active in the Village and, nationally, Richard (Dickie) Attenborough who had brought pleasure  to  many over the years through his career as an actor and film producer. Both will be missed, but life goes on as summer becomes a hopefully glorious autumn.



July 2014



That the Tour de France (TDF) could be held in England with international cyclists racing though the Essex countryside and, especially the Epping Forest District, seemed most unlikely! Yet on Monday 7th July 2014 it actually happened when 197 riders set out in pleasant sunshine to race the 96 miles in the third stage of the TDF from Cambridge to Central London. Epping Town was decorated with flags and bunting with the yellow TDF colour prominent and many shops & office windows also displayed TDF yellow bicycle silhouettes. As the town was the last en route before metropolitan London, and having the last station on the Central Line, many Londoners arrived to join the many in the packed High Street to see the riders speed through.

 Epping was also the route section where the race “breakaway” was held so creating a further attraction. Some Villagers cycled up through Epping Forest to see the race at the roadside from the Epping to the Wakes Arms, and then on to Woodford. Those better organised, drove through the back roads to Buckhurst Hill and Woodford to set up roadside viewpoints, some with barbecues. The race finished in the Mall and the winner was Marcel Kittel from Germany who completed in a time of 3 hours, 38 minutes at an average speed of 26.6 mph. It was estimated that more than 3 million people were onlookers at the third stage and possibly 5 million for all three in the UK, not including those who watched via TV. The TDF organisers were astounded at this response and a spokesperson said a return to England “was not if, but when”.

With the recent support for the Tour De France in Essex and the resulting enthusiasm for cycling generally, it was sad to learn of a “downside“ to this activity. A Freedom of Information request revealed that where vehicle drivers were found guilty of causing the deaths of cyclist, only 50% received jail sentences and only 25% received a driving ban; in 2013, 109 cyclists were killed on UK roads and more than 3,000 sustained serious injuries. The roads around and through the Epping Forest District are now often so crowded at weekends that many drivers, especially the newly qualified and the elderly, only drive when necessary. A recent particular cycling hazard, to pedestrians and motorists occurred around 22.00 one July evening when a continuous stream of cyclists, many without lights, were “night riding” north through Epping presumably along the TDF route. The extensive traffic congestion prevented many motorists from crossing or using the High Road and affected Villagers returning home to Theydon Bois.

The Theydon Bois Singers held their “summertime” Concert in the Theydon Bois Village Hall on a pleasant summer’s evening. The Choir of thirteen sopranos, eight contraltos, six tenors and nine basses gave an impressive performance of musical items requiring considerable vocal flexibility and effort. The first half, comprised operatic excerpts, but the second really took off with items from popular musicals including; Oliver, My Fair Lady, and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The audience responded with prolonged applause especially for the Singers new conductor, Lawrence Tatnall who brought a youthful, theatrical ambience to the evening. Frances Chilvers was the guest soprano and the accompanist was Paul Chilvers.

The speaker at the 2014 AGM of the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS) was Peter Warne, a retired biologist, photographer and wildlife expert. In a short space of a few years, he has produced several illustrated publications regarding Copped Hall and Epping Forest wildlife. Peter is currently carrying out a wildlife survey of Copped Hall and he illustrated his talk with some of the fascinating wildlife photographs he had taken and, in addition, to describing some of his enjoyable wildlife experiences.
During the subsequent AGM, it was announced that the President Alan Gillies had died in January and that Bob Day was nominated for 2014/15. President- Bob Day, Vice President – Michael  Chapman, Chairman – Peter Newton, Vice Chairman – Martin Boyle, Secretary – Jim Watts, Treasurer – Ivor Chinman, Meetings Secretary – Valerie Suckling. The Executive Committee would comprise: Liz Burns, Barry Frankland, Robert Levene, Caroline Lowe, Hugh Meteyard, Antony Purkiss, Trevor Roberts and Connie Shears.

On a bright sunny morning, a large congregation was present at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church for the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Victor Frederick Dowsett who died on 3rd July aged 85. He and his wife Brenda were staunch members of the Church and very active in Village matters. At the Service the welcome was given by the Moderator the Reverend Eric Baldwin who also read the Eulogy. Victor’s daughter read a lesson and his two granddaughters made tributes during the family contribution to the Service. Victor’s family expressed their thanks to everyone for their thoughts, prayers and many kindnesses
The 27th Annual Donkey Derby organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was a great success partly due to amazing HOT weather (unlike that for previous years) and its truly “village 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 Simance, 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. “Stevenette Stakes” sponsored by Stevenette Estate Agents, and the Banner Horse Derby sponsored by Banner Homes. Many interesting steeds were raced including “Scruffy Shoes  by ”Teen out of Polish”, “Chemo Therapy” by Mary Simmons and “Come On You Spurs” by Alan Kay. This year other events were held in the Arena including children’s races, a dog show, “wellywanging” and golf, among others. The Fairground included Chair Planes, roundabouts, bouncy castles and other lively activities, 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 in support of the Village Scouts and Guides.

A new Bishop of Barking, Peter Hill, who described himself as being “an urban guy” and with interests in pilgrimage, rock music, football and rugby, was ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral. His diocese includes Epping Forest and therefore St Mary’s, Theydon Bois. Originally from Swansea, the Bishop had been archdeacon of Nottingham since 2006 and his wife Ellen had taught children with profound learning difficulties in Mansfield; the couple  have two adult children and two grandsons.

A further sad event for the Village was the funeral of John Donald Field, who died on 2 July 2014. This was held at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church where John was a non conformist lay preacher.  The church was packed with more 140 present which was indicative of John’s long and active involvement with the Theydon Bois community. He hailed from Poplar in East London and he married Iris from neighbouring East Ham in 1952. Both were involved in youth work and they moved with their children Anne and Ian to the country at Theydon Bois so the two could have “roses on their cheeks”. The service was conducted by the Rev Eric Baldwin who also gave the address. Personal memories of John were related by Iris Field, David Walling, Martin Oliver and Ken Coates and these revealed the depth of John’s Village activities. In addition to the Baptist Church and its Men’s Forum, he was a leading member of the Village Association, was involved with the management of the Village Hall for some years and was also the Secretary of the Village Short Mat Bowls Club.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 104th annual show in the TBVH. There were five major sections in the Show which covered 126 classes of entry: Horticulture (Theydon Bois/Allotments), Horticulture (Open), Handicraft, Photographic and Cookery and Junior. The following awards were made; Banksian Medal, Gerald Buxton Cup, John Monkhouse Cup, Secretary’s Cup and Committee Cup – Barry Turner, Frank and Josie Way Memorial Cup and William Way Cup – Colin Crudgington, Ted Lock Memorial Cup – Diane Badcock, Elcee Cup – Julia Edmunds, Keswick Cup – Victoria Robertson, Garden News Shield – Antony Girling, Mini Shield – Annabel Elliott. Show Secretary Margaret Bhonsle said “ There were a lot of good entries but, sadly, we had fewer  in the fruit, vegetable  and flower competitions due to the thunderstorms on Friday (previous day)”.
Near the end of July the 2014 Commonwealth Games commenced in Glasgow with an opening ceremony which rivalled that for the 2012 International Olympics in London. It was expected that strong Scottish patriotism would be prominent among participants and spectators alike in view of the forthcoming Scottish Independence referendum for self-government away from Westminster. Nevertheless, the Games were already proving popular through extensive TV coverage of the Opening ceremony and its events. 


Most Villagers appreciate living in or near Epping Forest and make use of this wonderful facility for recreational purposes. The High Beach area on the eastern ridge of the Forest near the Lea Valley is especially popular with families because of the scenic views, adequate car parking, the open grassed areas and, most important, a Tea Hut serving light refreshments. This Hut has been leased from the City of London Corporation by the Melton family for 84 years. The Corporation has now put the lease up for open tender, which could affect the future of this facility and the livelihood of the current leaseholder, Bradley Merton, and so a petition against this change was being circulated.
Villagers joined the Epping Community at a concert “Choral Cornunopia” at St John’s Church Epping held by the Epping Combined Choirs Association. The programme included a variety of works for voice and instrument, by Chilcott, Pachelbel, Vaughan Williams, Rutter, Kelly, Bruckner, Rachmaninov and Monteverdi. The conductor at this feast of music was Simon Winters and his son David was the accompanist and organist.
At the July meeting of the TBWI, 34 members and one visitor heard Mrs Juliet Archer speak about Jane Austen in the Twenty First Century. A member warned about credit card theft as she had been a recent victim of this crime outside the Tesco Express Store in the Village. The President Jackie Robertson advised that she would be moving out of the Village sometime in August but would be continuing her duties as President.
During May 2014, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
Holy Baptism
05 05 14    Violet Rose Phyllis Taylor
22 05 14    Walter Reginald (Reg) Turner – service at crematorium
28 05 14    Denis Perry – service at Church followed by cremation
Burial of Ashes
20 05 14    Josephine Madeline Inglis


This year, July experienced real summer weather with a ten day heat wave which boosted attendance at the TB Donkey Derby and the TB Horticultural Society Show. But the real event was the TDF where many Villagers stood by the roadside in Epping to see the 197 cyclists race past, almost “in a flash”. The deaths and funerals of two longstanding Villagers, Vic Dowsett and John Fields were sad events. But matters improved with the arrival of school summer breaks and the commencement of summer holidays for many families; the Commonwealth Games also proved popular for those holidaying in the UK (in Glasgow), or relaxing at home. Yes, July was a good old fashioned English summer month - at last!



June 2014



A new law came into force in England making it a criminal offence to force people into marriage.  Any convicted offender would be liable to a maximum of seven years imprisonment. Groups campaigning for this change claimed that thousands of potential victims will now be protected.

The practice of shopping "online” via computer took a step forward when the  Amazon Organization announced facilities for pre ordered goods to be collected from certain railway stations.  The goods would be deposited by the supplier in racks of special storage compartments and the customer had only to enter his order number on an associated computer for the relevant compartment to open and permit access to the goods. This arrangement would, for the busy commuter, speed delivery times, and also reduce the necessity for home deliveries by courier.

Al weekend flower festival was held at All Saints Theydon Garnon, the sister Church to St Mary’s. The festival theme, Books, was well depicted by the excellent floral displays in the Church and also by a large bookstall. The refreshments tent proved popular as were the other stalls. However, one event of major interest was a sheep shearing demonstration by a local sheep manager Richard Clay who is also a member of All Saints and one of its bell ringers. His expert control of struggling and almost aggressive animals, some the size of  large dogs was most impressive. This demonstration showed that, despite the close proximity of the M11 and M25 motorways, Theydon Garnon and Theydon Bois are still semi rural communities.

Local resident, Louise Cornwell, complained via the local press about the increasing hazard to pedestrians created by commuters and others parking in the vicinity of the Village Green, especially along the south side. She claimed that the problem began with the 2012 Olympics with parked vehicles restricting the effective use of the road; some motorists have actually driven along the pavement, and at speed, when mums with push chairs and toddlers are walking along to a nearby church.

The weather was hot for the 34th Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day. Many visitors bought their event programmes in the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) early and then set off on forays around the Village to see the twelve gardens, St Mary’s Churchyard and the Village Allotments which were all open to view. The garden tours were well organized by Karen Collins and included visits to Larkmead Hall in the Abridge Road and to actor Ray Cooney's Ridge House at Forest Side which were reached via a minibus service from the TBVH. 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 TBDRPS (Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society) also had a display stand depicting trees and their importance to the environment.  Four hundred visitors attended the event and so raised a total of £2,650 for the Theydon Youth Charity. 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 and singing led by members of the St Mary’s and Theydon Bois Baptist Churches.

The Theydon Bois Primary School held its 2014 Summer Fair in the school grounds in fine weather. As usual, children were catered for extensively with three bouncy castles/slides 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 a member of school staff; but when finally opened, the interior was found to contain only a small prize for the successful door opener.

Not to be outdone, the Theydon Bois Pre - school Group held its summer fete at the Scout Hut in Loughton Lane. The attractions included a Nerf Gun Gallery, Teddy Bear Tombola, Penalty Shoot Out, Bouncy Castle, Hook a Duck, Face Painting, Guess the Sweets and Find the Treasure plus a Grand Raffle.

The 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in France by allied troops in WW2 was celebrated nationwide and especially in Normandy. As with previous national events, TV enabled the public to follow some of the celebrations as they took place. On Gold Beach, the Royal British Legion had planted 22,000 union flags each carrying personal messages and representing each serviceman who died on D-Day, or shortly afterwards. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were present and attended various memorial services and laid wreaths. They also saw a reenactment of the capture by glider borne troops of the Pegasus Bridge over the Caen canal and also a further reenactment at Rammville of the D-Day drop by 300 parachutists from four countries; this event included an eighty nine year old veteran who took part with the aid of a professional parachutist, and who thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The Queen, who was on a state visit to France, laid a wreath at the British war cemetery at Bayeux and Prime Minister David Cameron with his wife Samantha were also present. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived later and spent much time with the Veterans.

A well known Theydon Bois resident and war veteran, Eric Thurston recalled landing in Normandy via the famous Mulberry Harbour on D Day plus six and moving with the advancing forces right into the heart of occupied Germany. He was particularly pleased that one of his staff became the well known popular comedian Benny Hill whom he encouraged to become a professional. After the war, Eric settled in Theydon Bois with his wife Rose, established a local engineering factory and became manager of the Herts and Essex Flying Club at Stapleford. He also embarked on a secondary and successful career as a commercial pilot flying mercy flights for “spare parts surgery”, operating an air taxi service for the famous and teaching at an air navigation school.


It was announced that the series of 2014 Lent Soup Lunches held by St Mary’s Church raised the magnificent sum of £2,057, all of which was donated to charities and organisations supported by the Church.

In response to an appeal to Help Keep Our Village Tidy, a party of willing volunteers spent a Saturday morning on a village litter pick, especially in the vicinity of the Village Green, where, the start of warm summer weather had encouraged many visitors to picnic, and regrettably, leave their rubbish behind.

A Saturday evening saw the last night of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the TBVH. Their performance of Billy Liar, written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, was well presented to an appreciative audience.
The TBDRPS held an afternoon walk from the TBVH to view the new green art work sited in woodland near the Theydon Bois Cemetery. This feature, probably the largest public work of art in Essex, was described in a short explanation given by Tony Chadwick of the Woodland Trust Essex
The TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council) Senior's Event was held in the TBVH where afternoon tea was served, with general entertainment, and the opportunity for a friendly chat with other senior citizens in the Village.

Forty members and one visitor attended the June meeting of the TBWI (Theydon Bois Women’s Institute which was held in the TBVH. Arthur Brooks gave a talk entitled “A Taste of Music Hall” which was interspersed with musical examples in which the audience also participated.

During April 2014, the following entry was made in the register of St Mary’s Church:
09 04 14     John Reginald Watkins (Funeral service in Church followed by civil burial)


In addition to providing warm weather, June was notable for the 70th Anniversary of the D - Day landings in Normandy during WW2, the Theydon Garnon Flower Festival, the Village 34th Open Gardens event, the summer fairs held by the Theydon Bois Pre School Group and the Primary School, and also the many other regular summer activities in the Village all of which were well attended.  And more are due in July!



May 2014


The local elections for seats on the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) were held in dubious weather, which did not prevent a 40% turnout of the electorate in the Theydon Bois Ward where the candidates were Susan Margaret Jones (Conservative) – 898 votes (elected) and Annie Wood (Liberal Democrat) – 378 votes. St Mary’s Church Hall was used as the Village Polling Station and the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was the location for the subsequent counting of the votes cast for the nineteen wards in the District. Elsewhere there was a political upset when the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) emerged as a major influence by winning council seats nationwide, and also three East Anglican seats in the European Parliamentary elections.

New laws came into force regarding the owners of “killer” dogs, which allow their animals to attack children, adults and other animals, eg. Guide Dogs; such offences could now entail up 14 years of imprisonment. Prosecution could also now follow if the attack occurred within the owner’s home, unless the victim was a trespasser.

The continuing controversy about building homes on the green belt to help reduce the national housing shortage was highlighted when it was suggested that England had enough “brown field” (previously used) sites available for 2.3 million homes. However, developers were reluctant to use such land because of the cost of renovation and/or decontamination.

A claim that the heart of the village could be lost was made by Michael Webb of Coppice Row when a proposed sale of the Sixteen String Jack pub was announced. In a prominent position of the top of the Coppice Row Hill, this pub is one of only three now remaining in Theydon Bois following the recent redevelopment of the Railway, near the Station, and the closure of the Wheatsheaf, also in Coppice Row, during the last century.

St Mary’s Church held a May Fair in its Church Hall and grounds. Various stalls were selling cakes, bric a brac, china and glass, books, toiletries, home produce together with tombola and a raffle. Entertainment for the children included the usual bouncy castle and games.

The Theydon Art Group held its 53rd Exhibition in the TBVH where thirty two artists exhibited one hundred and forty two different works in different styles including pastel, oil, acrylic, water colour, ink and even textile/embroidery.  Member’s work is regulary displayed in the shop window of the upholsterers in Coppice Row.

 Once again the car park of the TBVH was the scene of public transport nostalgia when the North London Transport Society held its spring meeting with a fleet of some twenty vintage buses arriving to give a glimpse of the glory days of London transport and other bus companies.

There was good news from the Theydon Bois Cricket Club. After only a few weeks into the cricket season, the first and second elevens were undefeated in matches played in the Herts and Essex first and fourth divisions. The Friday night coaching sessions for young people up to fifteen years have regularly attracted more than fifty youngsters each week.  The under elevens (U11s), thirteens (U13s) and fifteens (U15s) teams have all won games and the (U11s) are already in the league sem - final for this year.

And last but not least, the Theydon Bois Village News won the title of Best Community Magazine in Essex, for the third time in four years - an excellent start to a promising Theydon Bois summer.


Music returned to Theydon Bois in an unusual form and at an unexpected venue when the Chigwell Jazz Club relocated from the Chigwell Hall to the Theydon Bois Golf Club, for its regular Monday night club evenings.
All Saints Church Theydon Garnon held a successful Barn Dance and Hog Roast at Searle’s Farm.
At its May meeting, the Theydon Bois Women’s Institute agreed the form of a resolution regarding organ transplant which would be submitted at the Federation’s Annual Meeting at Leeds in June.

Current research had found that the tradition of reading bedtime stories to children, was dying out – Winnie the Poo was “old hat”. Parents younger than 24 years were now significantly less likely to follow this practice; but grandparents were likely to continue to the delight of their grandchildren.



April 2014



Residents who found their vehicles covered with a grimy and sandy dust early one morning thought they were the victims of an April fool joke when the meteorological office advised this was desert sand brought up from the south by strong winds from the Sahara.  Moreover, a large air mass from the Continent had brought industrial pollution inland, especially to East Anglia and to the London area where it combined with local atmospheric conditions to produce dangerous “smog”. The situation became serious when the authorities further revealed that the smog contained health threatening particles with recorded pollution levels in Central London rising steadily and well known landmarks were “disappearing”. Conditions outside London were less severe as the pollution tended to remain in “local pockets”; Theydon Bois was relatively unaffected, possibly due to the influence of Epping Forest. Nevertheless, the older generation was reminded of the black sooty smog of the 1950s which killed many and remained in place for days..

The Theydon Singers gave their spring concert in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The augmented choir comprising 13 sopranos, 10 contraltos, 6 tenors and 9 basses performed four major works; Handel’s Zadok the Priest, Parry’s I Was Glad, Schubert’s Mass in D and the Faure Requiem. The soloists were Frances Chilvers- Soprano, Guy Elliott – Tenor, and Mark Hansford – Bass. Lawrence Tatnall conducted and Paul Chilvers was the pianist.

Villagers who regularly commute to their workplace using the Central Line were once again affected by a forty eight hour underground rail strike called by the RMT Union. Once again, the reason was the proposed closure of all ticket offices on the system with ticket sales replaced by electronic or other means. A limited service was running between Epping and Leytonstone with travel onwards possible using one of the 8000 London buses running especially during the strike. The Central Line service between Leytonstone and Hainault was also unaffected until stations along this route began closing in the early morning. Transport For London (TFL) claimed that 40 to 50% of the underground services were operating on the first day, but travel was again threatened with a future 72 hour strike.

Thirty eight members were present at the April meeting of the TBWI in during which AGM was held and the following committee elected:  President – Jackie Robertson, Secretary - Lynne Licence, Treasurer – Janet Slater, Register/Vice President – Audrey Hill, Minute Secretary – Janet Wagstaff, Gift Aid – Mary Leng, Prog Sec/Asst Sec/Vice Pres – Margaret O’Connor, Mutual Service – Carole Browning, Refreshments – Phyllis Pritchard, MCS – Mary Simmons. Co - opted non committee Members: Refreshments/Tea Hostess Enquiries – Kay Rush, Theatre Outings – Doreen Snell.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting of St Mary’s Church was held in the Church Hall after a morning service. It was advised that those wishing to vote at the meeting, or stand for the Parochial Church Council, would have to be entered on the Electoral Roll. Those so entered would have to have been baptised, be over 16 years of age, a resident of the Parish and should have worshipped regularly at St Mary’s for at least 6 months.

The usual Easter getaway got underway in mid April in fine spring weather with more than three million people expected to holiday in the UK, and some two million going abroad. Some were delayed by travel problems when Channel Tunnel trains were cancelled and other travel links became overloaded. Motorists were also on the M! and West Country motorways. A further disruption for rail users was the cancellation of some services due to Easter weekend repair work.

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, after a short prayer, members of both Churches 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. Later, Villagers attended St John’s Church in Epping to hear the Epping Church Choirs give a performance of John Stainer's choral work “The Crucifixion”.

In his Easter message, the Archbishop of Canterbury explained how he was struggling to do what is right and just for all on the subject of gay marriage within the Church of England. He also asked that prayers should be made for all who faced conflict in their lives. In his message, Pope Francis asked all to pray for the poor and abandoned in the world.

A pleasant Easter for many included the Royal Family when the Queen’s eighty eighth birthday was celebrated on Easter Monday. The occasion was marked in London by a 41 gun salute in Green Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. A portrait of the Queen taken by photographer David Bailey was also published to commemorate the occasion.

After nearly twelve months of building activity, the site of the former Darlington’s Garage at the junction of Coppice Row and Orchard Drive was transformed when the new Pavilion Court development by Banner Homes was completed. It was described as being (according to the sales brochure) a wonderful gated development featuring eight, luxurious, one or two bedroom apartments, overlooking the Village Green. Most apartments were two bed/two bath and some were carpeted and had light fittings. Asking prices were best offers over a range from £395,000 to

£795,000. Visits by prospective purchasers commenced on the following Saturday, with many seeking information and access to view. However the initial terms required a reservation deposit of £2,000 together with the name of the solicitor appointed to process the purchase; £650 of the deposit would be retained if the sale did not progress. The development certainly complimented the appearance of this part of the Village and its name was understood to be derived from a “pavilion” (sports or otherwise) which once existed on the site.


A new business in the Village, the Theydon Watch Repair Centre in Coppice Row, opened recently and occupied the premises used in the late 1900s by Barclays Bank, This business carries out repairs on site, changes watch batteries and straps on a “while you wait basis", and offers new items on part exchange. The business also purchases old gold and jewellery.

A popular Music and General Knowledge Quiz in aid of the St Clare Hospice, was held in the TBVH. Organised by the Old Bucks Association, a similar event, was held two years ago by the Association, this was a resounding success.

Recent work carried out at the TBVH included replacement of boilers, a “deep clean” of the building, maintenance of the Oak Room floor, sealing of the flat roof and part renewal of the Hall curtains.

During March 2014, the following entries were made in the registers of St  Mary’s Church:
21 03 14      Doris May Daniels (cremation)

13 03 14      Elsie Purry (funeral then cremation)                                                 


April, the first holiday month of the year, produced an early surprise when Villagers found their cars covered by grimy Sahara dust. Then, a large air mass from the Continent brought industrial pollution to South East where it combined with local atmospheric pollution to produce a dangerous “smog”, especially in Central London. The Theydon Singers gave their spring concert in the TBVH. Village retail trading was expanded by the recent opening of the Theydon Watch and Repair Centre in Coppice Row. The TBVH was partly refurbished. The Annual Parochial Church Meeting of St Mary’s was held in mid month and Good Friday was celebrated in the usual way by members of St Mary’s and the Theydon Bois Baptist Church with a “Walk of Witness” through the Village. The new Pavilion Court housing development in Coppice Row was completed and there was yet another strike on the London Underground system to disrupt commuter travel to London. But most Villagers enjoyed a pleasant Easter in bright sunshine, as did the Queen who celebrated her eighty eighth birthday.



March 2014



The first of the 2014 Lent Soup Lunches organised by members of St Mary’s Church was held in the Church Hall. For the modest sum of five pounds, an excellent soup lunch prepared by the ladies of the Church could be enjoyed together with dessert and coffee/tea. The proceeds would be used to support various Church charities and also the Manna Centre and Missions for Seaman. Towards the end of the month the St Mary’s Mother’s Union met in the Church Hall where the Rev John Fry spoke about Thoughts for Lent.

Thirty seven members were present at the March meeting of the TBWI held in the TBVH. They were informed that the Essex WI Federation was once again supplying spring bulbs when ordered through the TBWI. Secretary Jackie Robertson gave a comprehensive report regarding the Federation annual meeting at Southend where the speaker was Michael Portillo, the well known TV personality and ex government Minister. He addressed the meeting without notes and attired in one of his famous coloured jackets, to the general delight of the ladies present.

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing welcomed the extension of the dangerous dogs act. She commented “I have campaigned extensively for measures to prevent dog attacks and for appropriate punishment for irresponsible dog owners. In my constituency the punishment given to dangerous dog offenders has been an insult to their victims. Thanks to these new laws, this will no longer be the case”.

The spring production of the Theydon Bois Drama Society, staged in the TBVH, was the drama “Murder Weapon” by the playwright Brian Clements. The small and hard working cast comprised Inspector Fremon Helliwell (played by Martin Oliver), Jessica Bligh (Nicola Gilbert), Charley Mirren (Jeff Barnet), Diane (Lisa Mattews), Hugo (Paul Arber), Paul (John Haylett), Constable Walters (Jack Chambers). The production was directed by Simon Gilbert.

Just when spring appeared to be firmly established, the wind swung round to the north east to bring a substantial fall in temperature and flurries of snow. Once again gardeners rushed to cover their sensitive plants or bring them indoors. But after a period of rain, conditions returned to almost normal with cold nights and sunny days.

The children of the Montessori Nursery, which meets in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), supported the Sport Relief national fund raising event by meeting personal challenges. The children crawled through tunnels and tested their balancing skills and also enjoyed the obstacle course and a relay race. The children, aged between 2.5 and 4.5 years were hoping to raise a grand total of £200 for the event.

An Essex Peace Symposium organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association was held during the afternoon in the TBVH. The aim of the event was to remove misconceptions and promote the integration of different cultures in Britain. The Association is part of a movement founded in 1889 with world wide membership exceeding tens of millions. The President of the Association, Rafiq Ahmed Hayat said “Ahmadiyya Muslims vary from mainstream of Islamic teaching in believing that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who lived from 1835 to 1908 was a prophet". In referring to an infamous UK killing in 2013 in the name of Islam he said “Some people forget the fundamental teachings of their faith and some are misconstrued and used to gain power”. Local resident Jim Watts said ”It (the symposium) was a good idea to counter any narrow minded views of Islam”. Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing, EFDC Chairman Mary Sartin and Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston  attended this open meeting.

With the hopeful approach of warmer weather, the annual introduction of summertime, lighter evenings and out door parties, the authorities once again made an appeal for festive airborne Chinese fire lanterns not to be used. Last summer, one such device caused a colossal fire at a recycling plant in the midlands resulting in injuries to several firefighters. An Essex County Fire Officer said “These lanterns are meant to be launched over the sea and are inappropriate for use inland. They can land far from the launch point and are likely to be dangerous when falling in dry areas”.


Early in the month the Women’s World Day of Prayer was commemorated with a special afternoon service in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC). An annual event, this year’s Day of Prayer was prepared by the Christian Women of Egypt with the theme “Streams in the Desert”.

A “Murder Mystery Evening” organised by the TB and District Friends of Cancer Research UK was held in the TBVH. The Wesley Players provided the “dramatics" and a Fish/Chicken Supper was served during the function.

The Alpine Garden Society of the Epping Forest Group met in the TBVH to hear Arthur Nichols speak about Northern Greece.

Astrokyds, the junior section of the Loughton Astronomical Society recommenced its evening meetings in the St Mary’s Church Hall. These were being held regularly every second Friday in the month 6.30 to 8.30 with Brian Morton as the organiser.

The TBWI held a Pancakes Coffee Morning in the TBVH. A sunny day encouraged some 36 members and friends to attend and the proceeds, especially from a raffle, helped raise a substantial amount for WI funds. Pancakes were much in evidence, as prepared by Secretary Jackie Robertson, and she was accorded a special vote of thanks for her efforts.

During February 2014, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

16 02 14    Jessica Willows Dawkes      

24 02 14      John Albert Davis (Funeral in church followed by cremation at Parndon Wood)                                                   

March was the month when humans and nature really emerged from the cold and very wet previous winter months. The early arrival of spring with birds nesting and lawn mowers whirring seemed to confirm this until winter returned with a sharp bite later in the month. But Village life got into its stride with the TBWI holding a Pancakes coffee morning, the Drama Group becoming involved in theatrical crime, an Islamic group holding a peace conference in the TBVH and St Mary’s serving the annual Lent soup lunches. Preparations were being made for the forthcoming great Easter festival, soon to be with us once again, and the last day of March was the warmest to date !



February 2014



The second “soggy” week of February began with the worsening of the weather and more severe flooding. The heavy rainfalls which had struck UK now affected areas well to the east especially the Thames which now had record flow levels at 14 critical points. The Somerset Levels, always prone to flooding, were in a bad state with residents being rescued by boats from isolated villages. Downstream and nearer to London the wholesale evacuation of residential properties especially in Surrey was commencing in a deterioration situation where some looting of vacant promises had begun. The corridors of Whitehall were beginning to rouse and several Cobra (national emergency) meetings had been held with the Prime Minster in the Chair, who had already visited some of the worst affected areas. Essex being less densely populated was now under threat with severe flood warnings in place for the Rivers Stour, Brook, Chelmer, Coker and Box.

A solemn group of relatives and Friends of Alan Frederick Campell Gillies gathered together at the junction of Buxton Road and Forest Drive to witness an act of remembrance for Alan who died on 4th Jan 2014. Thhee trees were planted in his memory and would serve as a reminder to many villagers of Alan’s Long Service to the Village of Theydon Bois. The tree planting was arranged and funded by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society of which Alan was a long serving member for many years and who eventually became its President.

In addition to combating the weather, Villagers commuting to London by Central Line now had to contend with a possible further strike on the London underground system following the two day strike of the previous month. Once again the reason given was the intention of the rail authorities to close all booking offices and transfer the staff to other duties. But a last minute agreement was reached in which no redundancies would be involved and so the threat of strike action was lifted.

Local MP Eleanor Laing who hails from Paisley near Glasgow commented on the forthcoming referendum on 18 Sep 14 regarding Scotland becoming independent and separate from the UK. She described the referendum as a    “battle between head and heart” for the Scottish people. She continued “My first thought is for the people I represent in Epping Forest who benefit from being at the very hub of the successful United Kingdom. As far as the head is concerned, there is no doubt whatsoever in the minds of the vast majority of Scottish people, and throughout the United Kingdom, that we are better together”.

Details of the third stage of the international Tour de France cycle race were announced. This is planned to take place on 7 July 2014 and will be run from Cambridge to Trafalgar Square in Central London. Local roads will be closed for several hours before the cyclists arrived from Chelmsford via Willingale, Fyfield, Moreton, North Weald and then on through Epping, Redbridge, and Waltham Forest. This will be a great occasion especially for the Epping District and the 35 mile route is expected to be lined by many enthusiasts and well wishers; some local authorities were already making celebratory arrangements. One disadvantage would be the decision by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), for various reasons not least general safety, to cancel the long – established Monday market on that day.

On Valentines Day, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) had recorded the highest rate of Thames water flow since records began in 1883; for over 50 days the flow rate had exceeded 275 cubic metres per second. The CEH also advised that, on the basis of currently recorded data, Southern England was likely to experience the wettest winter ever recorded. It was also announced that, currently, sixteen severe flood warnings were in force and some million properties were without power.

It was hoped that the current severe storms in the west and south of the UK would be the last for this winter. The second, mid week, storm would be the worst with wind speeds of up to 108 mph battering coasts, tearing down sea defenses and forcing sections of the motorway and rail systems to close. Such was the severity that Prime Minister David Cameroon again visited the affected areas and promised unlimited financial support for those affected, and appealed for nationwide support for the essential services which were overstretched. This produced a general public response with the Royal Family involved in the Windsor area where Princes William and Harry were to be seen helping with “sandbagging”. Although the heavy rains appeared to have ceased, their affect continued to be felt in the Thames Valley and Central London where the Thames Barrier was in frequent operation to allow the Thames to flow almost unimpeded against the high tide surges occurring during the week. Once again, the Village and the surrounding area suffered from local flooding but with nothing as serious as that in the Thames Valley.

It was revealed that homes in the Epping Forest District are more likely to be burgled than at any other location in the County. Crime figures for 2013 for Brentwood and Epping Forest (the two areas are linked for statistical reasons) showed that 1,026 homes had been targeted by thieves but that more than 700 had been in the Epping Forest area. A police officer commented that burglary continues to be a problem in Epping Forest. Burglars know that the area is affluent and has easy access via road and rail. The number of dwelling burglaries was going down and we (the police) were throwing all resources into getting it lower. We are also trying to educate people about  keeping their homes safe but they still leave keys in back door locks or place window/door keys in visible locations.


The spirit of the Winter Olympic Games held recently in Russia, lived on in the Theydon Bois through the pupils of the Village Primary School who had followed the events with great interest. One which particularly appealed to them was “curling” where a granite stone is slid towards a horizontal target along an ice path scrubbed clear with small brooms. Head Teacher Lesley Lewis said “We are looking forward to holding our own inter-house curling competition".

During January 2014, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


19 01 14      Eva Rose Asha Bhardwaj - Sharp


13 01 14      Eileen Dorothy Tyrrell (Memorial Service followed by burial of ashes)

17 01 14      John Yates (Memorial Service followed by burial at civil cemetery)                                                                    
22 01 14      Margaret Adele Brown (Funeral Service)

February ended with Villagers slowly recovering from another period of appalling winter weather and looking forward to some sunshine. The Winter Olympics held in Russia brightened up the end of the month generally, but the news media continued to give details of flooding in Southern England and the efforts being taken to minimise its affects. The armed services were now involved in flood relief and even junior members of the Royal Family were seen helping in Windsor. But the Meteorological office had now decided that the 1st and not the 20th (Spring equinox) of March was the first day of Spring, and with the sun finally emerging at last who would argue with that!







Early risers on New Year’s Day found a damp and dull Village which was later inundated with heavy rain, driven by yet more strong winds, and discouraged visits to local shopping malls holding New Year sales. However some Villagers went to London to watch, with thousands, a rain - sodden traditional New Year’s Day parade which, in its 28th year, was claimed to be the largest yet.

The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) advised residents of reports that a company was operating in the district with representatives using door to door cold - call tactics to offer house holders the opportunity to reduce their council tax bands. The authority also advised that these people were not from the EFDC and, moreover, that the company would be taking a share of any overpayment refund made in connection with a particular successful tax band reduction.

The new term at the Theydon bois Primary School commenced when a new Head Teacher Lesley Lewis, formerly with Shelley Primary School at Ongar, took charge of 313 pupils. She said  “It (Theydon) is a much larger school but still retains the feel of a village community school, which I like. I’m not one for changing things for the sake of it”. The previous Head teacher, Elspeth Bonds, retired at the end of 2013 after 16 years service in which she raised the standards and reputation of the School to high levels.

The unprecedented spell of storms and heavy rain over the Christmas and New Year period, nation wide, finally eased in early January having left 2,000 homes waterlogged and 75,000 properties without power. The coastal regions of the West, South West and Southern England had suffered most with properties and beach areas battered by 60 mph winds and 30 ft waves. But the heavy rainfalls on saturated ground meant that rivers were now flooding and the Thames Barrier had been raised a number of times to protect Central London. Upstream the River Thames was in full spate and many riverside dwellings in the stock broker belts of Surrey and Berkshire were inundated by steadily rising floods which could continue for some while due to further wet weather arriving. Locally, the River Roding had also flooded adjacent fields, which are natural flood plains, and at one time the road link between Abridge and Theydon Bois was just passable. The runoff from a saturated Epping Forest continued to affect adjacent properties but the Village centre was drying out thanks to the improved drainage system which was installed after the extensive and regular flooding experienced in the late twentieth century.

The memories of Villagers who lived in the Ilford area during WW2, were possibly stirred by a news item in the Epping Forest Guardian regarding the wartime underground factory in the Central Line Tunnels. Today’s commuters travelling through them to London are probably completely unaware that, during the war, the tunnels housed part of the Plessey Factory which manufactured aircraft and other components within the confines of the yet to be opened Central Line. This factory was an almost complete entity with a canteen, medical facilities and even a small railway for general transportation of goods and personnel.

On a cold and damp January morning, the Chapel at Parndon Wood Crematorium was full for the cremation of local resident Alan Frederick Campell Gillies, who died on 4th January 2014. Alan was born in West Ham, London and served in the RAF during WW2 as a radar technician rising to the rank of Sergeant. Post war he followed a career in local government eventually becoming the Head of Education in Waltham Forest. Alan and his wife settled in Theydon Bois with their children Julie and Rob. At the service Julie read the poem “I Love a Tree” and Rob made a "Tribute to Dad”. The congregation sang “Happiness” - Ken Dodd, the intro music was “Stranger on the Shore”- Acker Bilk and the service closed with “Pack Up Your Troubles – The Andrews Sisters. A reception was held afterwards at Alan's home in Elizabeth Drive and donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund were welcomed in lieu of flowers.


It was thought that the apparent decline of birdlife in parts of the UK was due possibly 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. Also, deer were becoming an increasing hazard to road traffic and also the general public.

During November 2013, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


13 11 13  Mrs Gladys Godsalve (service in the Church followed by burial at a Civil Cemetery).

Burial of Ashes

10 11 13  Geoffrey Hugh Martin

24 11 13  Norman Stanley

”Ghastly" was perhaps the most appropriate description of the current spell of English weather - and January 2014 was no exception. The national and local media were describing this weather as the wettest, windiest, dampest possible, in the vain hope, perhaps, of encouraging the weathermen to find better and sunnier conditions; but to no avail as water tables remained high, and fences continued to “rock” in the gales (if not already blown down). For the farmer, stocks of winter animal feed were declining and the land was cold and saturated with water seeping into many areas especially where new born lambs were being tended. The countryside was at its bleakest, and on one local farm a lonely scarecrow could be seen raising its soggy arms as if in desperation at having to dry out yet again, probably after being blown into another flooded drainage ditch!


Earlier (2013) Months

Last Updated: 22nd January 2015