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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 (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


December 2015


On first day of December “Storm Desmond”, one of a recent series of storms, hit the British Isles with great ferocity. Scotland, the North and the Western Coast were inundated with heavy rain and the City of Carlisle was extensively flooded, partly isolated and left without electrical power. In contrast the Southern England and the Village remained free of this disaster except that wind gusts of 20 mph were a danger to road users and pedestrians alike.

There was major terrorist alert down the Central Line at Leytonstone when a man shouting political slogans in the station attacked and a severely injured a rail user before being over powered by a police officer using an electrical “taser” immobiliser.
The Central Line was also in the news when it was revealed that Oxford Circus Tube Station, and some others,  had to be closed for short periods on three separate days due to overload of the system caused by commuters, Christmas shoppers, staffing problems and recent strikes.

The increasing lawlessness of a big city crept closer to Epping and Theydon Bois when a man was shot in the car park of the Marriot Hotel in neighbouring Waltham Abbey. He was apparently carried by car to the nearby Volunteer Pub and the ambulance services and police were called. He was subsequently pronounced dead and the police advised that this was “gangland killing” and not another terrorist incident as some had feared.

A maximum capacity audience enjoyed the Christmas Concert given in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) by some forty Theydon Bois Singers, as a popular part of the Village Christmas activities. Their programme comprised a series of well known carols, and other songs by modern composers including Benjamin Britten and John Rutter. These were interspersed with readings given by Francesca Mellen and John Day. The Singers were conducted by the lively and youthful Lawrence Tatnall, and the stalwart Paul Childers was the accompanist.

It was the turn of Fairlop Brass to give a resounding boost to the festive season when some twenty five of its members gave a “Festive Crackers” concert in the TBVH. Their lively program comprised a mix of conventional carols, jazz and popular music well played under their conductor Kevin Jordan. The enthusiastic response of the audience was such that the concert finished well after time. The community carols were sung heartily and reminded the older audience of the “good old days” with the Salvation Army playing on street corners to bring Christmas to towns and villages across the country. Fairlop Brass originated from the Fairlop Junior School in Barkingside and has evolved into a group of some thirty players who perform regularly as a full brass band, or as a smaller ensemble.

Christmas Eve saw part of the Storm Eva lash across the south east, and the Village, with strong winds that overturned domestic refuse bins at the roadside waiting to be emptied. The Cumbrian area of the North West UK again bore the brunt of the weather, with some property being flooded for the third time this month. In view of further severe weather forecasts the Government’s Cobra national defence committee met to discuss this situation The bad weather also affected the local motorway traffic conveying many to Christmas breaks with families and friends; this traffic was unduly heavy due to the current low price of motor fuel and work on national rail links in the UK during the Christmas period. However, the temperature remained unduly high such that an ice rink in Colchester closed because of excessive melt water forming puddles on the ice.

Towards midnight on Christmas Eve the skies cleared and, as if not to be eclipsed by the Christmas star, a full or cold moon appeared for the first time for 38 years. This occurs when the sun reaches it most southerly latitude of minus 23.5 degrees and will not be seen again at this latitude until 2034. America’s NASA Space Flight Centre in Maryland advised that observers of this phenomenon might see the NASA space craft (lunar reconnaissance orbiter) passing the earth moon.

Christmas Messages to the nation and the world came from leading politicians. The Prime Minster, David Cameron, called for a reflection on British values and said that the country’s important religious roots made it a successful home for people of all faiths, or of none. Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbin used a newspaper article to highlight homelessness and to praise emergency workers. The Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, called for a different sort of society and the Lib Dem Leader, Tim Farron, said the world was in need of hope!

The dawn of Christmas Day was chilly and bright with a slight overcast, which warned of rain and strong winds later as another strong depression crossed the British Isles. 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 houses in Coppice Row and some residents were “taking their dogs for a walk”. 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 Hall en route to St Mary’s Church, or to the Baptist Church for early services. Once again The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Epping was preparing the traditional Christmas meal for those who would be at home alone on this day.

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. In her televised Christmas Message, which was seen by more than seven million viewers, the Queen spoke of light triumphing over the dark in a year that had seen ”moments of darkness”. She also spoke of the birth of Princess Charlotte, her fifth great grandchild and made a lighthearted reference to her forthcoming 90th birthday. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warned that Christianity faced elimination in the Middle East, where it  began, and that the ISIL movement there was creating a trail of fear, violence , hatred and oppression. Pope Francis called for more sobriety in a world intoxicated by consumerism, hedonism, and extravagance.

For many in Lancashire, Yorkshire and North Wales, Christmas was ruined by floods (with 259 flood warnings in place), which forced many from their homes. The rain continued to fall on these unfortunate areas for some 24 hours. The country was divided by the weather with the south almost dry. Sales began in the shopping Malls  of the UK with, in London, the trading giants of Selfridges, Harrods, Libertys, House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer all offering substantial discounts. Consequently many retail centres became traffic blocked and this could continue until the next Bank Holiday on the following Monday Jan 2 2016.


The continuing mild weather (approx 14 degrees C.) was believed to have contributed to a large turnout for the Christmas Day Festive Swims around the East Coast. Some 300 swimmers braved the North Sea at Cromer with thousands watching from the promenade. A spokesman said that this year’s event was a record for swimmers and spectators. Similar "swims" were held at Hunstanton, Felixstowe and Clacton, with similar turnouts.

Essex Karting Champion Lochlan Barman, 14, of Theydon Bois ended his season by finishing fifth in the Junior Rota final round at Kimbolton. His racing focus will change in the New Year to full circuit racing in the Ford Fiesta Junior Championship for 14 to 17 year olds. The first round will be at Snetterton and he was eager to get onto the circuit and start practicing.

During October 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church
Holy Baptism             18 10 15     Max Porter
Burial of Ashes           15 10 15    Roy William Street


The year 2015 ended with December being the warmest since records began in 1910, averaging 8 degrees C. The extensive rainfall and floods in the North West of the UK did not, fortunately, affect the South East which still had a good soaking nevertheless. The Theydon Singers and the Fairlop Brass gave well attended concerts of Christmas Music and Christmas Services were held in the local places of Worship as usual. The Central Line, the Village travel link with Central London, experienced a possible terrorist incident at Leytonstone and the closure of Oxford Circus station due to passenger overloading with Christmas shoppers. A rail fare increase of 1.1% was announced for the first day of the New Year and this change disrupted the automatic ticket machines so that some passengers travelled without charge fo a short time. Many travelled to Central London to join the 1.6 million people celebrating the New Year and witness the usual magnificent firework display by the Thames. UK retail trading, true to form, surged ahead during the last days prior to Christmas, and after, with the long holiday break which lasted until 4th January 2016.



November 2015


The first day of November was note worthy for the “run on” from the previous evening’s Halloween “celebrations” with continuing fireworks to “frighten away any evil spirits still around, plus the number of pumpkin pies being consumed that day. A brief return of late summer with exceptionally high temperatures of around 70 degrees F  encouraged many to dash to the beaches for a last seaside visit bfore winter.

Many villagers watched the Queen on TV as she attended the   annual Festival of Remembrance to honour the UK’s War dead, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and other senior royals one of whom, the countess of Wessex, took part. The most moving aspect was the remembrance service and parade with a two minute silence during which hundred of poppies descended onto the heads of those on parade.

The rain held off for the Remembrance Parade and Service attended by the Queen in Whitehall which was the usual great success. Local services were held at the Village War Memorial, and also at Loughton where only a limited parade was held due to the lack of police control. This problem also applied to Epping where the Parade was cancelled for the same reason. But the parade "would be" participants and the general public united in an impressive “walk” to St John’s Church where a civic service was held.  The lack of police was claimed to be due to financial cut backs to the force; but some contended that this was a political move to influence fiscal policy.

Medical authorities expressed concern regarding the reduction, this year, in the number of those being vaccinated against influenza. Possible reasons were the continuing warm weather and the presumed ineffectiveness of the vaccine used in 2014. Nevertheless vaccination was urged as important, especially for the elderly and those in poor health.

The recent seasonal winter rains, with more to follow, prompted the Essex County Council (ECC) to urge landowners to protect against flooding by checking and, if necessary, clearing their ditches; the authority also advised that it was empowered to force landowners to do this. The 2014 flooding of the Somerset levels was partly due to blocked sluices and ditches and urgent dredging and clearance was necessary when the floods subsided.

The pre Christmas session of three weekly soup lunches organised by the ladies of St Mary’s Church commenced in unduly warm weather. Nevertheless, the meals were enjoyed by many and the proceeds supported the charities Mission to Seafarers and the Manna Centre.

In association with the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS), Peter Warne gave an excellent and informative illustrated talk about Copped Hall and its wildlife. Despite nearly 100 hundred years of abandonment, the intrusion of the M25 motorway and the current restoration of the site, Copped Hall remains a haven for wild creatures. He first spoke of the Hall’s history, buildings and especially the Mansion, which shelters pied wagtails, jackdaws, owls and white doves. The grounds, which in their heyday were “black with pheasants”, are visited by wax wings, fieldfares, peregrine falcons, buzzards, blackbirds, wrens, bullfinches, wrens and a new specie - green parakeets. Overflying Ospreys and red kites have been seen, the latter probably from Epping Forest or the M25 wildlife corridor. Peter has photographed numerous creatures, often with remote cameras, including fallow and muntjack deer, badgers, wood mice, voles, shrews, grass snakes newts to mention but a few. The walled kitchen garden has several beehives and numerous butterflies and moths attracted by its compost heaps and pond. Produce from the Garden is on sale at major events.  Elsewhere, fungi are prominent especially where general forestry has been necessary. All this showed that the site had now changed from first having magnificent gardens, which rivalled those at Versailles, then to a neglected jungle and finally back to become  a restored site to the benefit of HUmans and wildlife alike.

The Village Christmas Market was held in Forest Drive and marked the beginning of Christmas season for Theydon Bois. Shops were decorated festively, as was the tree outside the Bull Pub which served as a Village Christmas Tree. Carols were sung by children from the Village School and the Rev Stephen Walker of St Mary's Church spoke briefly about the spirit of Christmas. The Chairman of the Theydon Blis Parish Council (TBPC), John Philip, which had organised the Market, welcomed all to the event.  The Hainault Brass Band played more festive music and the many present, which included local councillors and Eleanor Laing MP, enjoyed mince pies provided by the Theydon Bakery, mulled wine from the Il Bacio Italian Restaurant and cakes from St Mary’s.


Winter arrived early in mid month a slight fall of snow and with temperatures forced down by a strong north west wind. A sharp overnight frost resulted in the demise of many unprotected plants.

At simple ceremony outside the Theydon Bois Village Hill (TBVH), a tree was planted next to the Hall car park site entrance in memory of Bob Day, a leading member of the community who had lived in the Village throughout his life. Four similar trees were also planned for planting elsewhere in the car park.

A successful "Murder Mystery Evening" was held in the TBVH in aid of the Theydon Bois & District Friends of Cancer Research.

Len Williams was the speaker at the November meeting of the TBWI in the TBVH. His fascinating subject was “A Lifetime in London” which brought back some interesting memories to some of those present.

The TB Horticultural Society was given a demonstration of Willow Weaving by Deb Hart, a teacher at the Writtle Agricultural College.

A St Mary’s Christmas Fair was held in the Church Hall. This was well supported with festive items for sale, snack refreshments and was again popular with children.

During September 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church

Holy Baptism
06 09 15                   Emily May Stockhill
Holy Matrimony
19 09 15                   Sharon Duncan & Herman Granston
26 09 15                   Natalie Duggett & Simon Cork
02 09 15                 Maureen Meade Funeral in Church, Cremation at Parndon Wood
15 09 15                   Anthony Frederick Bushell, Cremation at Parndon Wood
22 09 15                   Violet Mabel Patterson Funeral in Church, Cremation at Parndon Wood
28 09 15                   Rosemary Ellen Osborne Cremation at Parndon Wood

November began with a brief return to late summer and 70 degrees F temperatures, fireworks from Halloween and Guy Fawkes celebrations plus “pre Christmas” Soup Lunches. Remembrance Sunday Parades took place in London and the District although those locally were not police escorted due to police “cutbacks” – the Epping parade was therefore cancelled. Heavy rainfall gave concern to the local water authorities who appealed to landowners to clear their drainage ditches. Snow flurries and sharp frosts arrived in mid month and local societies remained active with meetings and events; an evening presentation of the wildlife at Copped Hall was well attended. Christmas celebrations began in the Village at the end of the month with the Village Christmas Market and the St Mary’s Christmas Bazaar; and Christmas high street retail sales were forced to begin early, even before December had arrived, due to the increasing competition of “on line” electronic shopping. And the month departed like a wet lion with strong 20 mph winds and heavy rainfall to make the month the wettest, and surprisingly, the mildest November for some years.



October 2015


Early in the month, a Beechcraft King Air 200 light plane crashed in a field near the junction of Gravel Lane and Millers Lane in Chigwell. The aircraft burst into flames and the two occupants, both highly experienced and professional pilots, were killed; there were no other persons on board. It was believed that the aircraft was taking off or landing at Stapleford Tawney Airfield near Abridge.

Many eyes turned to the skies to see the Vulcan Bomber Ser. No. XH 558 over fly them Epping Forest District. The last of many used by the Royal Air Force during the cold war period of the last century, it had been kept and operated by a group of ex-service personnel and aviation enthusiasts, and was a popular and great spectacle when displayed at air shows. It was flying a “farewell” around the country prior to its permanent grounding. North Weald Airfield was included and here some 6,000 people waved goodbye, and even motor traffic on the local motorways slowed as it flew by. However, the Vulcan will still be operating at its home midlands airfield but for taxying demonstrations only.

Marilyn Ann Taylor, the last principal of the former Wansfell College she died on 20th September 2015 and the funeral and celebration for her life was held in Green Acres Woodland Burial Park in North Weald. Such was her popularity, and her many links with the District, that the venue was full to overflowing despite a restricted attendance. She had been seriously ill for some time but after a spell in St Clare’s Hospice had returned home and began once again to follow her love of painting with the intention of raising funds for the Hospice. But, sadly, she died shortly afterwards with her intention unfulfilled.

At the end of October, a Thanksgiving Funeral Service and cremation for Sheila Gymer was held at Parndon Wood. Possibly regarded as slightly eccentric by some, this bright, lively and strong minded lady died on the 7th October 2015. She had been part of Village life for nearly seventy years, during which she has been a teacher and governor at the Village School, Parish Councilor, President of the TBWI, country dancer, poet and a stalwart champion of village matters especially with the welfare of the older generation. She trained as a teacher, taught in London’s East End, married Joe at St Mary’s Church in 1952 and they raised a family of two boys, Alex and Nic, and a daughter Jen. Sheila remained active right up to her final days and could usually be seen taking her constitutional walk around the Village green, reading the notice boards, asking questions of the local shopkeepers and often campaigning on their behalf. She had an indomitable spirit and a zest for life which was indicative of her generation, the like of which is not seen often nowadays.

The perils of reliance on electronic communication when dealing with financial affairs was brought into sharp focus when it was revealed that the Talk Talk website had come under sustained cyber attack ie. "been hacked". It was feared that the credit card details of some four million customers could have been comprised. The communication company confirmed that the website was now secure again and that the Metropolitan Police were investigating an allegation of data theft.

Residents of the Epping Forest District were alarmed and concerned at the news of extensive cuts proposed by Essex Police to local services. The Police Stations at Epping, Ongar and Loughton were to be closed leaving with only that at Harlow staying open to the public. Police Community Support Officers would be reduced across the District from 26 to 7. These cuts were part of a plan to save £63 million during 2019 – 20 and Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said that the money saved would be invested in new technologies such as “one to one web chats”.

The last night of the Theydon Bois Drama Society’s production of “Yes Prime Minister” saw a large audience keen to enjoy this sharply satirical play based on the successful TV series of the same name.  The script had been updated to reflect modern times which bemused the many still remembering the popular TV series, but the numerous references to the European Union, sex and ladies of pleasure at the Chequers may have raised a few eyebrows. However, this revision was just as amusing as the TV production; the cast was excellent and most supportive of the two principal actors, the wily and scheming Senior Civil Servant - Sir Humphrey Appleby (played by Martin Oliver) and the long suffering and almost mental Prime Minister Jim Hacker (Paul Arber. This was an excellent production well directed by Carol Freeman and backed by some fifteen hard working members of the Society "behind the scenes".


During August 2015, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

Holy Baptism

22 08 15           Hudson Edward Blake Lester

Holy Matrimony

01 08 15           Caroline Crick & Jonathan Hoyle

Burial of Ashes

22 08 15           Rita Cecily Walker in the Garden of Remembrance

October began with the tragic death of two pilots from Stapleford Tawney Airfield when their Beech King aircraft crashed in nearby Chigwell; a much happier event was the local over flight of the last airworthy Vulcan jet bomber, which was watched by many. Sadder occasions were the funerals of Marilyn Taylor, the last principal of Wansfell College, and Sheila Gymer the one time teacher at Theydon Bois Primary School and a true village chancier in every respect. Scientists warned that living in the almost continuous light was harmful and Essex Police launched a campaign against “night hawking” where criminals using metal detectors scanned private and open land at night for valuable buried objects. The Theydon Bois Drama Society staged a very successful production “Yes – Prime Minister, and some Villagers with Talk-Talk websites found that these had been “hacked” and important data “stolen”



September 2015


Villager Tony Francis Burrell of Orchard Drive was cremated at Pardon Wood. Tony was born in 1941 and married Margaret (Babs) The couple settled in Theydon Bois where they raised two children, Simon and Laura. Tony was employed by the Bank of England Printing Works in Loughton and retired early due to a major handicapping illness. He recovered sufficiently to enable him to drive and but sadly Babs died leaving him to soldier on with his disability. However, he remained active for some years through his interest in antiques. The service of cremation was conducted by The Rev Stephen Walker from St Mary’s Church in the Village. A small reception was held afterwards in the local Bull pub and donations to the Stroke charity were invited to be made in memory of Tony.

Villagers who were awake in the early hours late in September were able to observe a unique celestial event - the eclipse of a "super moon". Because its orbit was close to the earth, at this particular time, the super moon was exceptionally bright and, when eclipsed by the earth’s shadow, appeared to become red. Because of the close proximity of the moon, the National Weather Agency warned of higher than usual tides and issued coastal flood alerts. Fortunately, the weather was relatively calm and flooding did not occur. Those witnessing these phenomena were fortunate as it would be some years before they occurred again.

A very successful Macmillan Coffee Morning was held in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) in support of the Macmillan Cancer Support Charity. This was well attended with nearly 100 people making purchases from several gift stalls and enjoying the refreshments provided. To the surprise and pleasure of the organisers, some £600 was raised in just three hours for this important and worthy charity.

Robert Levene of the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TBDRPS) led an afternoon walk around the local area. The party progressed via Blunts Farm, Theydon Garnon, Pigs Art Works and the Goat Milking Farm. The walk included short explanations about the building of Theydon Garnon Church and the 1305AD origin of the Theydon Charter.

During June and July 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church
28 06 15                   Jasper Heath Jones
              02 06 15                  Christine Ivy Love - Cremation at Pardon Wood
 08 07 15                  Joy Eunice Mosely – Burial at Green Acres Woodland Burial Park at North
30 07 15                  Henry (Harry) Memory – Funeral in Church then Cremation at Parndon Wood

The month of September saw a general return to normality with schools reopening after the long summer recess and local roads becoming busy once again. The short Indian summer continued on into autumn and those awake in the early hours of one morning witnessed a unique celestial event, a super moon. The village now settled down to the autumnal run up to Halloween, November Fifth, Remembrance Sunday, Christmas and the New Year.



August 2015


In March 2014, the previously undeveloped Green Belt land belonging to TFL (Transport for London), being the old allotments site beyond the railway lines and outside the urban settlement of the Village, was cleared by TFL without notification to the TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council), or other locally interested groups. After giving various reasons for this action, TFL admitted that it intended to build a commuter car park. This created considerable concern locally especially regarding the possible affect on the adjacent Green Belt. The EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) contended that TFL’s application for the car park development, under Victorian permitted development rights as a statutory undertaker, was lawful. Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) was adamant that this was not the case and made application for a Judicial Review to challenge this decision of the EFDC. Subsequent negotiations established that TBAG would withdraw the application and that TFL would not develop a commuter car park on this site unless first granted express planning permission following a full planning application under Part 111 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The EFDC supported the campaign by CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) to protect the green belt land across the UK from residential development. This campaign followed the recent disclosure that some 226,000 homes were planned for development in the UK. Epping Forest is more than 90% green belt land and benefits from the historic protection of the City of London as well as the national planning framework. Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest, also supported the campaign and said “We need new houses and we must support the expansion of businesses, but if we lose some of our precious green belt we lose it forever. We must protect it and find other ways for expansion. At present, I see no reason to destroy our green belt when there is currently enough previously developed Brownfield land available in England to build more than one million homes. There are, of course, exceptional circumstances that mean that small amounts of green belt have to be sacrificed, but this must be the exception and not the norm”.

New redevelopment plans for the Sixteen String Jack pub at the top of Coppice Row were submitted for approval. The pub closed in 2014 and a previous application for its redevelopment as a 13 apartment block was rejected in December 2014 by the EFDC which cited the visual impact on nearby property, strain on parking and the distance to the nearest secondary (Village) school. The new application was for a similarly substantial block of 11 flats.

During several nights, star gazers were fortunate to observe a dazzling display of the annual Perseid meteor showers from the constellation Perseus. This display was more prominent than usual because it coincided with an exceptionally dark night sky due to the beginning of a new moon. The best views were seen in the Midlands and North but observations in Southern England (including Theydon Bois) were poor or not possible due to extensive cloud cover.

There was disturbing news that the government was considering reducing the voltage levels of power supplies to cater for low output from wind farms in periods of calm weather. Control (press button) technology had been tested for domestic supplies to half a million homes across the North West England and it was reported that residents there did not notice this reduction. Down south supply reductions had been noticed in Theydon Bois on occasions with low lighting levels and poor TV displays. More prominent had been the total loss of domestic supplies for some time due to possible “load shedding”, in rural areas including the Village.

On Sunday 16th August 2015 the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day) was remembered and celebrated throughout the country and especially in London where a thanksgiving service was held in St Martin’s in the Fields. Amongst those present were the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal family, together with veterans of the Far East Campaign which finally ended the Second World War, which had commenced on 3rd September 1939. Also at the service were veterans of the 14th Army, who had fought the Japanese in the jungles of Burma and Malaya, and ex prisoners of war who had suffered terribly at the hands of their Japanese captors from ill treatment and forced labour in appalling conditions eg. on the notorious Burma - Siam “Death” Railway.

Following the service,  the veterans walked down to the Horse Guards Parade where a Drumhead Service was held  with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall reviewing a march past of Royal British Legion Standards. Afterwards the veterans and their guests, many with their carers, and other ex service personnel walked back to Westminster Abbey through the continuing applause from the watching crowds. En route wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph and at the statues of General Slim, who commanded the 14th Army and Lord Mountbatten who had commanded the British forces in South East Asia.

These events were watched on TV by many and some villagers, especially those families whose men folk had been involved in the Far East, joined the crowds in London and attended these ceremonies. It was not forgotten that the use of the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, brought about an abrupt end to WW2 with the Japanese surrender. The bombs caused thousands of appalling casualties among the Japanese population. But as has often been pointed out, the loss of life would have been much greater on both sides should it have been necessary to invade Japan. The nuclear device saved many lives by shortening the war and it ushered in a nuclear age free of any major wars since 1945.

The low retail price of milk and the even lower price paid to the farmer, especially by the supermarket chains, became of increasing concern to the farming industry.  There had been ongoing protests for some time and in some areas milk producers had removed bottled milk from supermarket shelves and even driven cows into the larger shops to highlight their situatioin. At a meeting in London between Ministers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, supermarkets were urged to use better labeling for British Products. The National Farmers Union (NFU) said the Government was sending the right message but protests would continue as farmers were now desperate. Because of the uneconomic state of milk production, some farmers were switching to arable farming, or going out of business, which had happened locally during recent years.

Details of the Rural Challenge Project announced previously by the ECC (Essex County Council) and comprising the planned spread of a super fast computer broadband for the Epping Forest District, were published in a network map. The £7.5 million scheme would bring fibre - optic cables to more than 4,500 properties so providing broadband speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. Also revealed was the reach of new fibre - optic connections across the District as well as other planned network upgrades. Operator Gigaclear should begin work in November 2015.

The WW2 experiences Denys Favre, an Epping British Legion member and former Epping Town Mayor with connections in Theydon Bois, were revealed in an interesting article about him in the local press. In 1939 he was one of the first recruits to join the marine branch of the Royal Air Force. He eventually became the coxswain of a high speed Air Sea Rescue Launch and helped save airman of various nationalities from the sea. When en route overseas in a troopship, the vessel was torpedoed and Denys with others took to the boats. The U Boat responsible surfaced alongside and the captain addressed them in German. Denys was able to respond in German which possibly saved them from being machine gunned and killed. The captain apologised for not taking them onboard due to limited space and then submerged.

On a later occasion, a young German airman was found afloat in the English Channel. The skipper of the Launch wanted to run him down but Denys stopped him quoting the law of the sea and his own experience with the U Boat commander, and so saved the young pilot’s life. After the war Denys tried to contact the commander and discovered that he had survived the war but died only a short time previously. Now 97, Denys is still active in the local community including the Epping Society, and especially as a founder member of the Trust which is restoring ancient Copped Hall.

The St Mary’s August Bank Holiday weekend Flower Festival commenced with a Friday evening reception in the Church to enjoy a preview of the Floral Displays in the Church, and also a pleasant social occasion enhanced by a musical recital given by the Church Choir. Also on display were the exhibitions “Fairtrade” presented by the Missions Committee and “Early Theydon Bois” organised by the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society.

The Church was open the next day for viewing the seventeen displays of flowers based on the theme “Saints Alive” and representing St Christopher, St Alban, St George, Sts Martha and Mary of Bethany, St Nicholas, St Hubert, Mary, Mother of Jesus, St Paul, All Saints, St Cecelia, SS Mathew and Mark, SS Luke and John, St Barnabas, St Francis of Assisi and St John the Baptist and Simeon. The Church Hall car park was occupied by a number of stalls selling many items and refreshments were available inside the Hall itself. The displays were sponsored by individuals in memory of loved ones who had passed on.

A Festival Family Service was held on Sunday morning followed by communion given by the Rt Rev Peter Hill, Bishop of Barking. A Family Fun Day was held on the Monday in the TBVH and was well supported despite the typically cold and windy wet Bank Holiday weather. The stalls and refreshments were much in demand. Entertainment was provided by the “Time to Shine!” group of young dancers.


Near the end of the month, half a month’s rainfall was recorded in one day in East Anglia and, locally, gardens were affected with sodden blooms and fallen fruit. August was eventually recorded as being the wettest August on record

A puppet show for young children, entitled Fly Away Katie was staged in the TBVH by the Long Nose Puppets Group. The cast included a fairy puppet Katie together with bird puppets with long noses. The event was organised by the EFDC and proved popular, not only with the young audience but also the adults who accompanied them.

During June and July 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church.

28 06 15                   Jasper Heath Jones
02 06 15                   Christine Ivy Love - Cremation at Pardon Wood
08 07 15                   Joy Eunice Mosely – Burial at Epping Forest Burial Park
30 07 15                   Henry (Harry) Memory – Funeral in Church then Cremation at Parndon Wood.


The month of August began with a partial resolution of the controversy regarding the TFL plans to build a commuter car park behind Theydon Bois station on the Green Belt. There was a revised planning application for residential development of the Sixteen String Jack Public House, the 70th Anniversary of the ending of WW2 was remembered, a local war veteran gave a published account of his wartime experiences, the low retail price of milk affecting many diary farmers became a national issue and at the end of the month St Mary’s Church held a weekend Flower Festival. But the fine weather had almost disappeared by then and a typical wet Bank Holiday Weekend contributed to August 2015 being the wettest August on record with four inches of rain recorded locally for this entire month of “summer”.



July 2015


As expected, the high temperatures of late June continued with the hottest July day for 160 years with a peak temperature of 98 degrees F. (36.7 degrees C.) which was greater than the current temperature in India at Mumbai. Roads melted and hundreds of trains were delayed or cancelled due to fears that tracks would buckle in the extreme heat. Once again, those suffering from cardiac and bronchial problems were advised to stay indoors.

This was followed in the early hours by a violent electrical storm and torrential rain which kept many Villagers awake. The storm swept up the country from the south west with almost continuous intense lightning which was disconcerting to many, and also dangerous; on Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons on the Welsh borders, three people were struck by lightning one because he had a long metal stick in his kit and another, who subsequently died, was monitoring a youth training exercise. Theydon Bois appeared to be free of any such incidents, and relief from the heat and drought was welcomed generally.

At midday on the third of the month, a one minute silence was observed throughout the UK in memory of the thirty eight people, many of them Britons, who were killed by a terrorist gunman while sunbathing on the beach in the Tunisian resort of Sousse. This silence was observed by many across the country, including the Queen, the Prime Minister, Parliament and in the local area at Theydon Bois and by crowds outside the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) offices in Epping. Flags were flown at half mast in Whitehall, Buckingham Palace and at the Wimbledon the tennis tournament where the start of play was delayed.

The Theydon Singers gave a Summer Concert in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVA) entitled A Transatlantic Voyage in Song. A hot summer’s evening did not deter a large audience from being present to hear the 34 strong singers render the summer evening with a selection of Negro spirituals, English folk songs and theatrical favorites from Broadway shows. Readings were given by two of the members of the Singers and several solo items were sung by soprano Frances Childers. The Singers were conducted by the lively and youthful Lawrence Tatnall and the stalwart Paul Chilvers was the accompanist.

The 28th Theydon Bois Donkey Derby was held in hot and summery weather. Organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group the event was a great success at 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. Substantial support and sponsorship had come from Village traders who advertised their business via the usual well produced and informative Race Card and Programme. Seven races were held with titles named after the race sponsors ie. the Stevenette Estate Agents, ll Bacio Restorante, Robert Gooch, Ray Cooney, Jamie Macleod and Richard and Sally Crone. Many interesting steeds were raced including “Misconstrued Politicians out of Favour” by the Raine Family Charitable Trust, “Little Onions” by Robert and Fay Levene and “Shakespeare’s Bottom” by Conrad and Marnie Leffman. The donkeys were quite lively as usual and a few threw their riders, resulting in some sore bottoms, while other steeds had to be “encouraged” to finish in order to provide the three finalists for each race. In the excellent brochure published for the event, the Chairman of the Derby Committee, Phil Koczan, announced his retirement after 10 years and said that, during this time, the event gone from strength to strength and thanked all for their help.

The 75th Anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Britain (BoB) in 1940, during which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defeated the German Air Force and so saved Britain from German invasion, was commemorated with a flypast over Buckingham Palace in the presence of the Queen and members of the Royal Family who watched from the Palace Balcony. The flypast comprised Spitfires and Hurricane fighters representing the hundreds who fought in the Battle. The Epping Forest District was also involved as the Spitfires and Hurricanes landed at North Weald Airfield to refuel and could be seen both there and flying over Epping Town.
The AGM of the Theydon Bois & District Preservation Society (TBDRPS) was held in the TBVH. The speaker was Judy Adams Chairman of the Friends of Epping Forest. She spoke about the local amenity of the Forest which was established by the Epping Forest Act of 1878. It is one of the three largest Forests in Europe, has a rich diversity of wildlife, including a deer sanctuary, and is a natural play area for the general public. The Conservators are committed to a long term management project to ensure its continuance in this form. There were strong historical connections through the Queen Elizabeth First Hunting Lodge, Warren House, the Deer, Neolithic camp sites near Loughton and Epping, Wanstead Park with part of the remains of Wanstead House and other features. And of course, the highwayman Dick Turpin is also a part of that history.

During the subsequent AGM, it was announced that the President Bob Day had died in May and that Vice President Michael Chapman would fill the vacant position. It was agreed that the following hold office for 2015/16. President- – Michael  Chapman, Chairman – Peter Newton, Vice Chairman – Martin Boyle, Secretary – Jim Watts, Treasurer – Ivor Chinman, Minutes Secretary – Valerie Suckling. The Executive Committee would comprise: Liz Burns, Barry Frankland, Robert Levene, Caroline Lowe, Hugh Meteyard, Anthony Purkiss, Trevor Roberts and Connie Shears.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 105th annual show in the TBVH. There were seven groups of entry; Vegetables and Fruit, Flowers and Foliage, Fun Items, Handicraft, Photographic, Cookery and Preserves, and Junior which covered 105 classes. The following awards were made; Gazette Challenge Bowl, Gerald Buxton Cup, Frank and Josie Way Memorial Cup, Ted Lock Memorial Cup, William Way Cup, Elcee Cup, Committee Cup, Keswick Cup, Secretary’s Cup, Garden News Shield and a Mini Shield (for Juniors). There were a number of good entries but, sadly, the inclement weather, especially earlier in the year, had affected the quality and number of the entries.

The controversy, regarding the disadvantages/advantages of switching off street lighting overnight to minimise lighting costs, received a new twist. This action was adopted in March 2014 by the Essex County Council (ECC) at various parts of Essex and had caused considerable concern, especially in creating hazards and difficulties for pedestrians and motorists alike. It was also contended that vandalism and crime would increase as a result especially in sensitive areas such as neighbouring Chigwell. A new study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found little evidence of any harmful affects relating to “switch off”, or to part time road lighting or to crime increase in England and Wales. The residents of Theydon Bois, which has no installed street lighting, had generally welcomed these "switch offs" which minimised light pollution from adjacent areas. This fact had also been appreciated by the Loughton Astronomical Society which had visited the Village to make night time astronomical observations under clear “night skies”.

In mid month a nationwide alert was issued to warn of the danger of fire due to the exploding holders for electronic (e) cigarettes). These devices heat e – cigarettes which emit "non toxic vapours" which can be smoked instead of conventional health - damaging cigarettes. More than 100 fires are now attributed to these holders which may also be of the wrong type for the e – cigarette smoked. The Local Government Association wanted manufacturers to mark the holders with an appropriate warning.

Although it was midsummer, there was hint of winter and Christmas when St Mary’s Church made its annual Shoebox Appeal to fill 212 shoe boxes with Christmas gifts for some of the world’s poorest children. Gifts of simple small toys (cars, dolls, skipping ropes, soft toys, bangles were needed to fit into an average size shoe box for easy transit.

Near the end of July the local balmy summer weather was replaced by an Atlantic depression which brought heavy rain throughout the day. However a window of high pressure arrived on the next day with hot sunshine to boost attendance at local events; but on the Sunday the bad weather returned. The rain was welcome sight for those with parched gardens and lawns, but not to local farmers who had yet to harvest their cereal crops, or to Villagers (especially those with children) who had commenced summer holidays, as the most schools had now closed for the summer break. It was reported that almost a month’s rain fell on the Friday and Sunday of this unusual freak weather weekend.

The month began with the hottest July day recorded for 160 years followed by a very severe electrical storm. A two minutes silence was held nationally and observed in the Village in memory of the thirty eight holiday makers murdered by a terrorist on a Tunisian Beach. The usual summer events such as the Theydon Singers, Donkey Derby, Horticultural Show and the AGM of the TB Rural Preservation Society were all held with considerable success. Of special significance was the sight of Spitfires and Hurricanes over flying the area from North Weald Airfield where they took part in a London fly-past to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of the Battle of Britain. An appeal from St Mary’s Church for children’s toys in connection with its Children at Christmas Shoe Box scheme served as a reminder that the year was already on the decline - and August Bank Holiday had yet to arrive!



June 2015


The Electoral Reform Society claimed that the recent 2015 general election was the most disappointing in British History. In a new analysis, the Society (which is campaigning for changes in the voting system) had assessed how the “make up” of Parliament would have differed had other voting systems been used. The United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) would have won 80 seats and the Green Party 20 seats. UKIP received 39 million votes and the Greens 1.2 million but each only secured one seat in Parliament.

The Theydon Bois Drama Society presented The Diary of Anne Frank in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). This true story concerned the lives of a Jewish family hiding from the German occupying forces in war torn Amsterdam to escape the horrors of Nazi persecution. This dramatisation, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, portrayed the experiences of the family, as recorded by their young daughter Anne, and were sensitively portrayed by an expert cast. The Production Director was Jeff Barnett ably assisted by Nicola Gilbert.

Research by the Which Consumer Group revealed that malfunctioning domestic appliances caused almost 2,000 fires in Britain during a three year period; washing machines, tumbler dryers and dishwashers were the most likely cause. Purchasers were urged to register their appliances with the manufacturers, possibly at the point of sale, so that the owners could be alerted by the manufacturer in the event of any recall of such items being necessary.

The annual Trooping of the Colour, by the Welsh Guards this year, to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday on 13th June was held on Horse Guard’s Parade in Whitehall. The Queen and members of the Royal Family were present, some of whom took part in the Parade. On her return to Buckingham Palace the Queen appeared on the Royal Balcony to acknowledge the cheers of the crowds and watched the fly-past salute given by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows Display Team. A special treat for the onlookers was the appearance of Prince George in the arms of his father the Duke of Cambridge.

The pipe which carries waste from Theydon Bois to Abridge ruptured and badly affected some gardens in Hobbs Cross Lane, Theydon Garnon. Not only were householders unable to use their toilets but it left their gardens, especially the vegetable areas, covered in sewage making them unusable, and also emitting a powerful stench.  Keith Mosely, a resident for thirty years, said “I could not ’believe it. The situation just keeps getting worse. We were unable to use our backdoor at one point and my main concern is the long term affect that this will have on our gardens". A Thames Water spokesman at the site said “We are currently investigating the blockage. It is difficult at this stage to say when the issues will be sorted”.

After a dry period of some days, on a Friday evening in mid June the overcast sky suddenly disgorged heavy rain and hail together with lightning and thunder, to the relief of many farmers and gardeners. Cloud cover continued overnight so that that sun was obscured for the dawn of the following equinox marking midsummer; the meteorological office had now defined midsummer as being June First but the summer solstice was still being celebrated on 20/21 June at ancient sites around the country.

And ancient history was not forgotten in Theydon Bois when a Magna Carter Anniversary Service was held in St Mary’s Church to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the most important document in English History. Its importance is recognised as the corner stone of liberty influencing much of the civilized world – a symbol of justice, fairness and human rights. Current research had now established that there were at least four copies of this historic document which is the basis of English democratic government, and a model for similar democratic institutions in other countries. It has now been established that King John did not sign the original document but sealed it with an impression of the Royal Ring. It is also thought that the additional copies were written by different scribes and kept in religious centres.

The midsummer meeting of the Theydon Bois Baptist Men’s Forum was held in the TBVH with their ladies especially invited on this occasion. An excellent presentation about “Beautiful Gardens to Visit” was given by Harry Brickwood of Hockley. He described twenty two unique gardens to visit commencing with Buckingham Place and ending with Beeleigh Abbey in Essex, together with particular interesting horticultural aspects of each plus the availability of refreshments. Copies of a comprehensive and detailed list of all the gardens were distributed at the meeting. After a brief interlude an excellent three course lunch was served, organised by Forum member. Geoff Moody. The event was chaired by David Walling.

The circus came to town – to Theydon Bois in fact. Happy’s Circus, comprising a small fleet of modern motor caravans and people carriers  arrived at the Village Primary School and set up its “Big Top” in the School playing fields. On a  very hot Saturday afternoon 600 parents and children packed into the Big Top to enjoy the one performance. Sadly, as with modern practice, there were no animals in the programme but plenty of fun excitement and laughter with performing acrobats and clowns. Acts included Aerial Hoop with Ms Vicky, Pins and Needles with the Randelles, Sword and Dagger with Micaela Cardona and even Spiderman, Spider Balls and Buckets of Doom! This was a one off event to support the Parent Teacher’s Association fund - raising for School projects. Happy’s Circus is a small professional group which tours the UK and is dedicated to bringing the enchanting world of the circus to schools and charities. In this, the Circus was more than successful judging by the reactions of the children present, many of whom were visiting a circus for the first time. In the extensive and informative programme provided, Head Teacher Lesley Lewis thanked the PTA for organising the event and also all those who gave their support.

St Mary’s Church at Stapleford Tawney held a Flower Festival comprising a celebration of music and flowers with 21 separate displays in the Church. An interesting announcement in the programme was that this parish has two churches; St Mary’s at Stapleford Tawney and St Michaels across the valley at Theydon Mount. Both are about to be linked with those at Theydon Bois and Theydon Garnon and all will share the one Vicar, the Revd Stephen Walker.

Thirteen years old Lochlan Bearman had a successful weekend racing in the Hilton Mill Kart Club Championship. Despite problems with his Kart, Cooper Motor sport worked hard to bring his vehicle to a state where he was able to race and achieve success in a hard race by taking second place. Lochlan said “I never thought that I would be on the winner’s podium with all the issues we have had this weekend, and it has been a good result”.

At the TBWI June Meeting Mrs Fiona Rose gave a talk entitled ”An Overview of the Life and Work of William Morris”. Notice was given of Tea in The Garden to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the WI. This event will be held on 10th July at 64 Duke’s Avenue Theydon Bois. Another forthcoming event announced was the July Coffee Morning at 15 Hill Road on 7th July. Margaret Hopkinson gave an interesting account of her attendance at the Royal Garden Party on 2nd June last.

A BMW Saloon was in flames in Loughton Lane on the Village Green. Firefighters from Loughton were called to the scene and wore breathing apparatus while dealing with the fire which was brought under control. No one associated with the blaze could be found and there were no casualties. Some 50% of the vehicle was affected and an investigation was launched into the cause of the fire.

A primary school in East London took the unusual step of banning children from fasting during the period of Ramadan. The school claimed that a number of immigrant pupils had become ill, fainted or were unable to learn. The school had received, and had acted on, advice that children were not required to fast during Ramadan. It was also suggested that the extended daylight hours of the British summer (from sunrise to sunset) were a possible reason for this problem.

Five men were sentenced in Basildon Court after general waste from their homes and businesses had been found in a half mile length of 3,000 tonnes of rubbish dumped near Purfleet in South Essex. The men had used the services of waste removal contractors as advertised in hand out leaflets.

During April and May 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church
05 04 15                   Jackson Riley – Barratt
10 05 15                   Autumn Charlotte Botha
31 05 15                   Annabelle Demetriou
21 04 15                   Kenneth Picton Stanford - Service in Church then Committal at Forest Park Crematorium

27 05 15                   Robert Reginald George Day - Service in Church then Burial at the Abridge Road Cemetery.


June saw the Electoral Reform Society claiming that the 2015  General Election was the worst on record, the TBDS staged a production “The Diary of Anne Frank”, a school in East London took the step of banning children from fasting during Ramadan because of adverse performance in school, research established that more than 2,000 domestic fires in Britain were due to faulty electrical appliances, the Trooping of the Colour was watched by thousands via TV, and the Circus came to Town for a one off performance at the Village Primary School. June departed in an unexpected blaze of glory with temperatures peaking at plus 85 degrees F. resulting in those suffering from bronchial and cardiac illnesses being advised to stay indoors. And with Wimbledon in full swing it was hoped that this weather would to continue into July.



May 2015


At the beginning of May, much interest was generated by the birth of a daughter to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and a sister to Prince George The birth at St Mary’s Hospital In London was given extensive coverage by the national and international media. Later in the day, the crowds outside the hospital were rewarded with the appearance of the Royal Couple together with their new born, the fourth in line to the royal succession. Prominent London land marks eg. Tower Bridge and the London Eye were illuminated in pink to mark the occasion, and Royal Salutes were also fired. Later it was announced that the baby had been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana and officially titled Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.

Thursday 7 May 2015 was a momentous day in British politics which affected the entire country, and the Epping Forest constituency which includes Theydon Bois. In sunny weather, millions in the UK began casting their votes in the 2015 UK General Election. The polls opened at 07.00 at some 50,000 polling stations across the UK and remained open until 22.00. Some 50 million people, who were registered to vote, attended some 50,000 polling stations to elect 650 MPs and the stakes were high.

 The outcome was astounding. The Conservatives secured 331 seats to Labour's 232 and the Liberal Democrats (LD), led by Nick Clegg, almost collapsed with only 8 seats won. Most surprising were the Scottish Nationalists who acquired 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland. The Conservatives were now the ruling Westminster party with an overall majority.
The results for Epping Forest were: Eleanor Laing (Conservative) – 22,624 votes, Andrew Smith (UKIP) - 9,049 votes, Gareth Barrett (Labour) – 7,962 votes, Jon Whitehouse (LD) 3,448 votes, Anna Widdup (Green Party (GP) – 1,762 votes and Mike Wadsworth (Youth Party (YP) - 80 votes. Eleanor Laing had a majority of 17,978 votes and was returned to Westminster for the third time.Some 9,000 council seats were also being contested across some 279 English local authorities in separate but simultaneous polls. In Essex, the Conservatives acquired control of 29 local councils.

Another national event followed on 8th May with a three day celebration of the seventieth anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, which marked the end of WW2 in Europe. The first day (Friday) was celebrated with a Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall which was attended by the Queen, members of the Royal Family and political leaders. At 3 pm there was a two minute silence to coincide with the official time when hostilities ceased in 1945, and Royal salutes were fired at the Tower of London and Wellington Barracks. In the evening, at Windsor Great Park, the Queen and Prince Philip lit the first of 200 celebratory beacons across the UK. Similar celebrations were held elsewhere and, in London. Prominent buildings were illuminated with searchlights, some in the form of the famous V for Victory sign as used by Winston Churchill.

On the second day, the event was celebrated by the ringing of cathedral and church bells across the country in a” celebratory moment of noise”. Street parties and special events were held across the UK and a “Forties Themed VE DAY Party” was held on London’s Horse Guards Parade.

On the third day (Sunday), the Queen and Prince Philip joined 1,000 veterans and their families in Westminster Abbey for a Service of Thanksgiving. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached the sermon and said that the veterans had ensured victory over the greatest darkness of the twentieth century. Afterwards crowds in the streets outside watched a military parade past the Abbey, through the Horse Guards Parade and down to Buckingham Palace during which the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew overhead in salute. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall took the formal salute during which some veterans, especially those in wheel chairs, stopped to be personally thanked by the royal couple.

At the end of May on another sunny day, St Mary’s Church was almost full for the funeral of Robert Reginald George Day (Bob) who died on 14th May 2015. Bob’s coffin was borne into the Church to the entry music “Ladies in Lavender" by Nigel Hess. The Welcome was given by the Assistant Curate, Rev John Fry, and Bob’s Family participated with family tributes given by daughters Alison and Nicola and his Grandchildren Henry and Lydia. A particular moving tribute was given by his young granddaughter Imogene who sang “Somewhere Only We Know”. Prayers and the Pray of Commendation were given by the Vicar the Rev Stephen Walker. The Service ended with the Louis Armstrong song "What a Wonderful World". Bob was then interred in the Theydon Bois Cemetery in the Abridge Road, which was followed by a reception in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Donations to the Cancer Research charity were invited, in memory of Bob. A large part of Village living history was lost with the death of Bob. Near the end of his life, he wrote a series of articles regarding his youth and life in the Village and these were published in five issues of the Theydon Bois Village News. He was also President of the Theydon Bois and District Preservation Society

The Theydon Bois Transport Bazaar and Bus Running Day were held at the TBVH. Once again the car park of the Hall was the scene of public transport nostalgia with a fleet of some twenty vintage buses arriving to give a glimpse of the glory days of London Transport, especially in the local area. Visitors had the opportunity to climb aboard the vehicles, explore their history and even take a ride through Epping Forest, now in full leaf. A transport enthusiasts’ bazaar was also held inside the Hall.

The Theydon Art Group held its 54th Exhibition in the TBVH. More than thirty artists exhibited some one hundred and forty two different works in varying styles including pastel, oil, acrylic, water colour, ink and even textile/embroidery. The event was well supported and many works were sold. The regular display of member’s paintings in the shop window of the Upholsterer’s in Coppice Row undoubtedly increased attendance at this event.

During March 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church: 
25 04 15 Emily Annie Rawlings, funeral at Islington Burial Chapel, St Pancras & Islington
26 04 15 Dorothy Agnes Aitkin, service at Epping Burial Park and cremation at Pardon Wood.
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH: May began with a Royal Birth - the arrival of a daughter, Charlotte, to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and a sister to their young Prince George. A further major event was the three day celebrations to commemorate VE (Victory in Europe) Day. The political scene changed nationally with the Conservatives winning the General Election and the local MP, Eleanor Laing, being returned to office. The Village lost a long serving and active resident with death of “Bob” Day, the Theydon Art Group held a successful 54th Exhibition, there was some confusion regarding a change of date for household refuse collections, the City of London began consultations about better access facilities for the nearby Armesbury Banks in Epping Forest and a vehicle tyre fire in the Abridge Road caused some disruption. Severe storms at the beginning of the month caused tree damage, local flooding and power supply interruptions, and at the end of May the weather remained “messy” with cold drying winds – no real summer yet.



April 2015


Easter weekend followed the usual pattern of a damp start and a fine conclusion. 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 “ 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.

Churches in Theydon Bois and Epping held their Easter Day Services and, in the evening, The Epping Combined Choirs Association performed William Lloyd Webber’s “Divine Compassion” at St John’s Church, Epping. In their Easter Messages the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Leader of the Opposition, David Milliband, both expressed concern regarding the current persecution of Christians because of their faith. Milliband wrote that people in the UK must do everything to condemn oppression and highlighted the plight of Christians in Syria.

Better weather on Easter Sunday which encouraged many to venture out for various Easter events. One was the Easter Egg Hunt at Copped Hall where a record attendance produced record takings in a short two hour period. The children were delighted with their eggs and the opportunity to "run around" while adults were pleased to visit the gardens, which were open to the public on this occasion, and enjoy the renowned Copped Hall teas.

The National Risk Register of Civic Emergencies warned that 80,000 people could die in a future widespread outbreak of an antibiotic - resistant blood infection. Restricted use of antibiotics could help minimise the risk but the real answer was medical research into alternative drugs and their application.

Investors in pension funds were now permitted to withdraw their entire pension prior to retirement irrespective of age or circumstance.
Although a tax penalty was no longer applicable to an early withdrawal, reinvestment of the pension could be liable for tax. It was feared that some pensioners would withdraw their total pension, spend it and then lack the equivalent financial support in later life.

An old fashioned “smog” once again appeared over the south east England and obscured prominent landmarks, especially in London. This smog comprised brown dust from the Sahara desert and pollution from the Iberian Peninsula, which was reported as also reaching the Arctic area of Norway; and once again motorists found their vehicles covered with this dust. Although the Village was not directly affected, the smog cloud was clearly visible to the south of the Village and the local air quality was correspondingly poor so that those with respiratory complaints were advised to remain indoors.

In mid month a cloudy and chilly Friday marked the end of a week’s spell of early summer with the previous Thursday being the hottest day of the year to date with 64.4 degrees F (24.7 degrees C) recorded in at Wisley, Surrey. On the Norfolk Broads, the heat caused the Prymnesium Algae to bloom, and in South West London police had to break into a parked car to rescue an eight month old baby sweltering in the heat: the South East of the country was hotter than resorts in Greece and Spain. In the North it was still almost winter with low temperatures, and with umbrellas in use. But in the Village, gardens were blooming despite the low rainfall and starting to now dry out bringing warnings of a possible future drought.

Villagers were at first bemused and then concerned when some two hundred motor scooters and riders passed through the Theydon Bois via Coppice Row. They were reported to have come from a “scooter rally" held at High Beech in Epping Forest and were touring the countryside. Many of the scooters were vintage, notably Lambrettas and Vespers, the sight of which reminded some older members of the community of the happy days of youth. However, not all were pleased as the long procession through the village caused some considerable traffic disruption, even on a Sunday morning.

On a glorious spring day, a small congregation of family and friends gathered in St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois, for the funeral of Kenneth Picton Sandford who died on 8th April 2015. Before his long illness, Ken had been a lay reader at the Church and so his funeral there was especially significant. The service was conducted by the Vicar of the United Benefice, Rev Stephen Walker, and the Assistant Curate, Rev John Fry. Prayers were also given by former Reader Beryl Denny. The Vicar spoke of Ken’s contribution to Church life and also of his youth work with scouting.

There was a large attendance at the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) when Victoria Robertson of the Friends of Copped Hall Trust (FCHT), together with other Gardening Friends, Pat and Howard Styles, gave an illustrated  talk about the Copped Hall Walled Kitchen Garden. The four acre Garden dated from 1730 and was in constant production as part of the Copped Hall Estate up to 1939. The walls, which are Grade II listed were probably built with material from the adjacent second Copped Hall, a Tudor Mansion which was then in disrepair. The third Mansion was constructed about this time by John Conyers and finished in 1758.
The Copped Hall Trust acquired the Garden in 1999 and immediately began a general clearance of brambles and self grown trees, on a slash and burn basis, carried out by the FCHT and other volunteers. An unexpected bonus was the carpets of daffodils which emerged that first spring. An initial major restoration was the pear tree walk and clearance of the pond. Cultivation of the cleared areas commenced with potato planting; since then more crops, vegetables and fruit, have been grown and sold in aid of general restoration of the Garden. The soil is organic due to horse manure, from the Mansion stables deposited over a many years: therefore fertilizers and chemicals aids are not used. A current restoration project is the Orchard House which, when completed will once again be used to grow fruit and flowers the year round.
Victoria concluded by describing her natural, cultivated horticultural sculptures of animals created for the interest of visiting children. This art form has now developed into themed figures relating to Copped Hall history eg. William Shakespeare to celebrate the bard’s 450th anniversary.

Thirty eight thousand runners took part in the 2015 London Marathon, the largest number in the event’s thirty eight year history. Fund raisers, elite runners and amateur runners tackled the 26.2 miles (42.2 km) course from Blackheath to Central London’s Mall. Villagers watched on TV or were present to see world record holder Paula Radcliffe running again after foot surgery and in her final Marathon. She completed in 2 hours 36 minutes and said that the pleasure in taking part was more important than her time to complete.

 A ban on displaying tobacco products at the point of sale came into force in the UK. This practice had been illegal since 2012 but now the ban had been extended to small stores and pubs despite objections by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance.
The first of the 2015 walks was held by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society. The walk commenced in fine weather at the TBVH and comprised a Sunday “Tour of Exploration Around the Village”.
It was reported that 60% of electronic waste discarded in 2014 was of a domestic nature and comprised large bulk items such as washing machines, microwave ovens and similar household items. Only 16% of discarded items passed through established recycling and re use schemes.

During February 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
04 02 15                   Iris Rose Edith Jobber, cremation at Parndon        Wood
11 02 15                   Lorimer Terrance Tucker, funeral in Church   burial in a civil cemetery.
24 02 15                   George Pryce Durrant, cremation at City of   London Crematorium.     
              April began with a bright Easter which included the traditional Walk of Witness through the Village, Easter Church Services and a successful Easter Egg Hunt at Copped Hall. The funeral of a former lay reader, Ken Picton Sandford was held at St Mary’s Church. A scooter rally through the Village generated nostalgic interest for some, the Village Horticultural Society organised an interesting talk about the Copped Hall Kitchen Garden, the display of tobacco products at point of sale became illegal, investors in pension funds could now withdraw the entire pension irrespective of age, and 38,000 runners competed in the London Marathon. A fine but short spell of weather in mid month brought relatively high temperatures and also another smog from Africa and the Continent. But the cold weather then returned.



March 2015


Thousands of parents across Essex were pleased that their children had secured a place in the secondary school of their choice. The Essex County Council (ECC) said that 86% of parents had been successful in obtaining places in first choice schools. Fewer than 3% of the 15,000 parents that had applied did not receive an offer from one of the six choice - schools available. The ECC had also received confirmation, from the Department of Education, of a £41.4 million grant; this brought to a total £137.7 million the funding available for supporting the creation of new school places over a four year period up to the year 2017.

According to research by the Co–operative Insurance, nearly one third of UK home owners had converted their garage for alternative use. At one time, a prime requisite for a residence was space to house the family car and protect it from theft, and adverse weather; sadly this no longer applies. However the need for additional living space, the increasing reliability of cars and their increasingly sophisticated security systems, plus the increasing value of an improved property, had now encouraged home owners to make the change. Garage conversions were varied; for office or workshop use (25% of those homes surveyed), enlarging kitchens (14%), additional bedrooms (13%) or enlarging the garden (6%). Consequently, gardens had also been converted into parking spaces (42%) resulting in the possibility of localised flooding due to rain “run off” from paved parking areas instead of  being absorbed in the ground.

The Theydon Bois Village Hall was full for the last night of the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society. Graham Lineman’s classic black comedy The Ladykillers proved popular when first staged in the 1950s and was then made into a film starring Alec Guinness as Professor Marcus, the evil ringleader of a bunch of villains. The comedy centered around a sweet old lady, Mrs Wilberfoprce, living alone in her house near Kings Cross Station and pitted against this gang of criminal misfits, Posing as professional musicians, Marcus and his mob rent rooms in her house and plot to involve her, unwittingly, in Marcus’s' brilliantly conceived robbery. The police are left stumped but Mrs Wilberforce becomes wise to their ruse and Marcus concludes that there is only one way to keep her quiet ie. murder. In the outcome she survives through a series of unique incidents which result in the demise of all the criminals. The cast comprised Louisa Wilberforce (Annette Michaels, Constable Macdonald (Dave Allen), a Villainous Professor Marcus (Paul Arber), Major Courtney (Martin Oliver), Harry Robinson (Kevin Hynes), One-Round (John Haylett), Louis Harvey (Dave Bennett), Mrs Jane Tromleyton (Norma Jones) and Ladies (Mo Jones and Zoe Buckley). The Backstage Crew comprised some twenty members of the Society and the production was directed by Simon Gilbert.

A  rare White Tailed  Sea Eagle, first spotted earlier in March month on the Essex Coast, had now flown inland to the Mickle Mere Reserve near Bury St Edmunds. This large predator was probably from Europe or Scotland, and feeds on fish, small game and even lambs. Therefore local sheep farmers were keeping a watchful eye open for the safety of their flocks.

The government was criticised over the lack of progress for the proposal for a new road crossing over the Lower Thames. The House of Commons Transport Committee said that London was long overdue for this new crossing. Progress on the proposal for a new Essex/Thames bridge was stunted by a short term approach to its planning. The Department of Transport said that it was committed to a bridge and was considering the best locations for the crossing.

The weather authorities warned of atmospheric pollution from the Continent affecting the Eastern UK, merging with local pollution and warned that it could remain for a time due to the cold and calm weather. Therefore, those with breathing and cardiac problems were advised to remain indoors or take precautions when venturing out.

In 2014, to conserve energy, reduce costs and minimize light pollution, the ECC began switching off some 70% of street lighting in the County each night between midnight and 05.00. This had proved unpopular and later in the month the ECC agreed to lights remaining on for an extra hour, six days a week.

The best solar eclipse seen for many years in the UK took place early one morning mid month. Regrettably the South East of England was overcast but it still became noticeably darker between 08.30 and 09.30. Further north, the brilliants sunshine faded as the moon masked some 90% of the sun to leave an unusual crescent shaped object in the sky. In parts of Scotland, and Scandinavia the eclipse was total so that only a black disc was visible with solar flares emitting from its periphery, to the delight of astronomers and scientists. In the South the overcast resulted in a surge in electricity supplies as many observers moved indoors to watch the event on TV and make a cup of tea.

A proposal to demolish a two storey detached house in Theydon Park Road and replace it with five flats was rejected by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Planning Committee, despite the previous approval of EFDC Planning Officers. Sixty-one objections against the proposal were registered, based on a variety of concerns including fears for loss of privacy to local residents and damage to the character of the area.

The Theydon Bois Singers held their Spring Concert in the TBVH. The programme comprised two major works, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Mozart’s Missa in C Major (Coronation Mass), together with a vocal duet Mendelssohn’s I Waited for The Lord, and a solo item Mozart’s Laudate Dominium. The soloists were Frances Chilvers – Soprano, Jennie Tatnall – Contralto, Guy Elliott - Tenor and Mark Hansford - Bass. A thirty four strong augmented choir did well in performing the two major works under the lively conductor Lawrence Tatnall, The hard working accompanist was pianist Paul Chilvers.

The Women’s World Day of Prayers was commemorated by a service in St Mary’s Church. During 36 hours, more than 170 countries participated in this event including England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The service for this year’s day of prayer was written by the Christian women of the Bahamas focusing on the theme “Jesus said to them - do you know what I have done to you?".

On Palm Sunday, Palm Crosses were distributed at St Mary’s Theydon Bois and All Saints Theydon Garnon. A Lambing Service was also held at Searles Farm Theydon Garnon.

The last of the current series of Lent Lunches was held St Mary’s Church Hall. The charity supported on this last occasion was Christian Aid – Help the Poor to Help Themselves and a particular example of this related to Adi, an Ethiopian Woman with eight children who was left very poor by the death of her husband; because of this she lacked status or livestock and was ignored, sidelined and belittled by local society. Her life changed when Christian Aid provided her with a cow which opened up a new world of possibilities and choices for her. This gift enabled her to acquire status, income and food for her family. This 2015 series of five Lunches had now raised over £2,000 for a number of charities’ including Christian Aid.

Near the end of the month most of the village was woken in the early hours by a severe 60 mph gale which rattled roof tops and fences and blew down some trees. The wind persisted during the day and resulted in the M25 road bridge across the Thames being closed and so delayed early morning commuter traffic. In the Village the young and elderly were in danger of being blown off their feet and some took the sensible precaution not to venture out. In London, there was some structural damage including the famous Old Father Time weather vane at Lords Cricket Ground which, having been struck by lightning some years ago, was now severely bent by the wind. The day ended with blustery rain/hail showers which damaged early spring flowers.

A new Knitting & Crochet Group held its first session in St Mary’s Church Hall. All were welcomed, including mums with babies and toddlers, and especially those who were already competent knitters and who could pass on their skills to others.
The Fritillaria Group held an all day Spring Show and Meeting in the TBVH. The event included speakers Martin Rix and Brian Mathew.
The TBWI held its March Meeting in the TBVH and enjoyed a presentation given by Mark Lewis on the subject of London through Artists’ Eyes.
Essex karting Champion, 13 year old Lochlan Bearman of Theydon Bois, continued to make his mark in championship kart racing. In the recent Whitton Mill Championships he finished fourth in round three of an exhilarating race against a strong field which resulted in a very tight finish

During January 2015 following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
02 01 15                   Alan John Morton
28 01 15                   Doreen May Wood
31 01 15                   Eric Bridgeman - funeral in the Church and burial at the Abridge Road cemetery.


The Month saw anxious parents discovering if their children had secured a satisfactory place in secondary education, CO-OP Insurance advised that 30% of homes  now had the garage converted for other use, the Theydon Drama Group staged the Ladykillers, the TB Singers gave their Spring Concert, the Village missed the eclipse of the sun due to cloud cover, pollution from across the Continent gave cause for alarm as did also , for these Villagers with well stocked ponds, the news that a white tailed fish - eating sea eagle had been sighted in Essex. March went out with the proverbial roar as a reminder that nature invariably held the upper hand in everyday life; but the weather eventually improved in time, it was hoped, for a sunny Easter.



February 2015


Motoring at night in the forested and rural areas around Theydon Bois had become more hazardous due to the increase of motor vehicles with faulty driving lights. This was partly due to modern vehicular design which does not include means for the easy replacement of defective light bulbs; an expensive visit to a garage is usually required – hence no immediate remedial action. Another reason was a 23% reduction in traffic police in England and Wales over a 4 year period, possibly due to the reduction in police numbers generally.

The Government Department for Transport (DFT) claimed that drivers using mobile phones illegally while driving were more likely to be sending texts or using the social medial. Overall, 1.1 % of offenders were holding phones as opposed to using an earpiece. Some one half a million drivers had now been caught breaking the law.

Air traffic delays in the crowded air space over South East England, and Theydon Bois, should be reduced in future by the introduction of a new air traffic control system where aircraft separation is based on time intervals, and not distances apart as at present. The new system will be first introduced at London Heathrow and eventually worldwide. So air travellers in future should not experience the long delays which have often occurred in the past, especially during peak holiday periods. However air movements over the Village may increase in the future, with the announcement of a planned expansion of the London City Airport.

The Essex County Council (ECC) backed a £2.72m budget which included investment in road transport and school places. These plans also include £10m over two years for changes to the A20 route and the Chelmsford North East bypass. There are further plans to spend £32m on local bus routes, community transport and concessionary bus passes for the elderly and disabled. 

It was reported that, on 16 01 15 at 11.30 pm, a 22 year old man was kicked to the ground and injured during an attack by five men in Coppice Row. His phone and wallet were stolen and the men disappeared in the direction of Theydon Bois Station. Loughton Police were seeking descriptions of the men and any other information which could assist them in dealing with this crime.

Although the Theydon Bois WI (TBWI) no longer holds a Pancake Race on the Village Green, the Institute held a Pancake Day Coffee Morning in the TBWI. More than thirty members and friends, including several husbands, were present to enjoy the refreshments prepared by the Ladies. Homemade cakes and pancakes were on sale and proved popular. President Jackie Robertson thanked those who had organised the event, had supported it and advised that the proceeds of the Morning would help boost the Institute’s funds.

Holders of the allotments at the Village site in Red Oaks Mead, Loughton Lane, were horrified to find on a Saturday morning that fifteen allotment holder sheds had been vandalised with gardening tools and equipment stolen. This was believed to have occurred on the previous Friday evening and the total value of the stolen items had yet to be established, but could be considerable. Robert Levene of Theydon Park Road who uses his plot to grow root vegetables, berries and beans said “There is very little explanation - it is not the first time that this has happened and probably won’t be the last". Parish Councilor Antony Perkins who manages the allotments said “Vandalism and other anti social behavour in Theydon Bois was increasing due to the lack of a visible police presence. We believe that crime is on the increase despite government figures”. The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) is investigating the incident and police and CCTV footage from the adjacent cricket club are being reviewed to help identify the culprits.

A sign of approaching Easter (and hopefully Spring) was the first of a series of six 2015 Lent Soup Lunches organised by members of St Mary’s Church and 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. Liz Hannibal explained that the Fair Trade Charity was being supported this year and drew attention to a display of Fair Trade items which could be purchased from local stores. The proceeds of this first lunch was some £300; it was hoped that similar amounts would be realised from the other individual lunches which would then be donated to various charities supported by the Church including the Manna Centre and Missions for Seaman.

It was reported that water passed fit for drinking may contain bacteria linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses due to the increase in the toxic algae cyanobacteria (known as blue green algae) especially in freshwater lakes, rivers and waterways. Scientific analysis has shown that during the past 200 years, 58% of such water sources had revealed significant increase in this algae resulting from pollution from industrial sites and sewers which discharge the nitrogen and phosphorus on which the algae survive. Sightings of this growth have been recorded along coasts around the UK and in London’s canals and parks; in 2013 it covered the lake in St James Park opposite Buckingham Palace. The alga kills fish and domestic animals, especially dogs which have drunk the affected water.

The Essex Dog Trust had warned of a significant increase in “wolf – type” dogs being abandoned due to owners being ill equipped to care for these breeds. Ownership, initially, was possibly linked to the depiction of these animals in the entertainment industry (eg.TV). The Trust’s centre at Basildon reported that 35 Arctic – working dogs (Huskies) had been taken in during the last two months and that this breed now accounts for 10% of all dogs at the centre.

It was claimed that the European Approval System for GM (genetically modified) Crops was fundamentally flawed in assuming that that GM plants posed greater risks than conventional plants. But this was not backed by scientific evidence according to the Parliamentary Committee for Science and Technology which contended that GM plants should be regulated on the basis of characteristics and not the cultivation process. Opponents of the Committee’s view were that GM crops may have an impact on wildlife and so need careful scrutiny.

An interesting footnote to the GM controversy was a report that grain was being grown in the UK in 8,000 BC, as established by the DNA analysis of grain found during archeological research on submerged cliffs off the Isle of Wight. It was suggested that British grain was traded or exchanged via a sophisticated network of agricultural links across Europe during and before the Bronze Age.
The House of Commons Committee for Media and Sport found that the TV Licence fee had no future due to difficulties in collecting it and changes taking place in the media. It was suggested that the Fee be replaced by a Household Levy. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) did not agree but accepted that modernization of the Fee system was probable.

St Mary’s Church held an evening Indian Spice event in the Church hall. which comprised an Indian meal prepared by Kalpna Kadri, an Indian cook. She first gave a fun cookery demonstration which produced a shared meal which included poppadoms, a starter and a main course with rice.

All Saints Theydon Church at Theydon Garnon held a quiz night in the Church Gatehouse which was well supported and included a fish/chicken and chips supper.

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

The TBVI was packed for a Saturday Quiz Night held by the Copped Hall Trust. The proceeds for the event, which were boosted by an excellent raffle, were in support of Copped Hall restoration.

Elder members the Village were invited by the TBPC to an Easter Theydon Seniors Afternoon in the TBVH. Council members were present to act as hosts and discuss matters of concern with the invitees. Social activities followed during which high tea was served.
At the February meeting of the TBWI held in the TBVH, Mrs Rogers entertained with a slide presentation entitled “The Scilly Isles to Lindisfarne”.

The Queen Victoria Pub and its car park closed for two months for extensive refurbishment. As the Sixteen String Jack also remained closed pending residential development, the Bull was the only pub now open for business and it was noticeable that the Belgique Continental café was more  busy during the day.

During January 2015 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’ Church.       
31 01 15  Eric Bridgeman, funeral in Church and burial at the            
              Abridge Road Cemetery
02 01 15  Alan John Morton
28 01 15  Doreen May Wood


For a short month, February saw much activity in the Village. The social side of Village life included charity quiz nights, supper evenings (a cook your own Indian meal at St Mary’s Church) plus lent lunches, transport problems including air traffic delays and motor vehicles driven at  night with faulty lights, serious crime incidents including a nasty assault in Coppice Row and  wanton damage to the allotments. The Queen Vic Pub closed for several months and there was talk of dispensing with the TV Licence fee and substituting a more embracing and more expensive (?) method. And the alternating weather pattern continued so the month departed like a windswept and damp lion. Yes, it all happened in February with Spring arriving early, but unofficially.



January 2015


Those villagers watching on TV saw the New Year celebrated well before the midnight in other parts of the world with recorded reports from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Middle Eastern Countries. But the UK’ s turn came as Big Ben struck midnight when a magnificent fireworks display exploded into the sky before an audience of some of tens of thousands in Central London. 12,000 fireworks from three moored barges on the Thames complimented the centre piece of the London Eye in a glorious 10 minutes display. Celebration parties in the Village joined in with their own displays to the accompaniment of Auld Lang Syne as 2014 faded into history.

But New Year's Day had an economic bite for rail users with an immediate annual increase in rail fares. The rail unions complained that the annual increases were invariably ahead of cost of living increases and this increase meant that season tickets were 2.5% ahead The government’s response was that fare increases were crucial to funding for rail modernization.

Although the Festive season brought pleasure to many, others succumbed to illness which needed hospital treatment. The result was that at least 14 NHS Accident and Emergency (A & E) Units in the UK were unable to cope with the unprecedented demand for services and lacked hospital bed back up. Others took emergency measures with marquees in hospital car parks’ and appeals for additional staff. Those still functioning had queues of ambulances with patients and so were effectively out of service; four - hour waits were experienced at the local Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department (ED) in Harlow. Various reasons were given for this crisis; an aging population, closure of GP surgeries at weekends, the inexperience of first call phone personnel deciding if 111 calls justified use of an ambulance and the downgrading of 999 calls by the ambulance service. A significant reason was that patients, being unable to obtain medical advice from GPs, or long delay in obtaining a GP appointment, went direct to the local ED often with trivial conditions – in many cases to obtain flu vaccinations which had been available before Christmas. There were political repercussions in Westminster with the Government accused of not providing adequate funding for the NHS and the Opposition accused of neglecting the Service during its years of office.

The Chapel at Pardon Wood Crematorium, Harlow, was packed with the family, relatives and friends of Roger Frank Badcock who died on 10 12 14 aged 74. He was born in Lincoln and eventually found his way south where he was employed in property management and met his wife Di; they settled in Theydon Bois where their daughters Valerie and Jacqueline were born. Roger was well known in the Village as the Assistant Manager and Keyholder of the Village Hall. He was a member of the Epping Railway Circle and a great Darts Player both in the City and the Loughton District League.

Scotland and the North of England experienced severe storm conditions with 100 mph wind gusts which disrupted road, rail and sea transport and deprived many areas of power supplies. and prompted the met office to issue yellow gale warnings. In the South damage was caused to trees and structures and extensive rain temporarily flooded many areas. Later the night time temperature dropped to 6 degrees C., the lowest in a period of fluctuating temperatures nationwide due to movements of warm and cold air under the influence of an atmospheric jet stream.

The state of the roads continued to cause concern. A Royal Automobile Club (RAC) survey revealed that UK drivers claimed more than £3 million compensation from local authorities for vehicle pothole damage sustained during 2014. Of the 481,664 claims, less than 25% were met with compensation, and the majority of the claims were made for Essex, Surrey and Kent. The Government commented that £4.7 billion had been provided for roads in England since 2010 but the RAC claimed that this was not enough.

The life of Sir Winston Churchill was celebrated on the 50th anniversary of his death with a partial reenactment of his funeral procession along the Thames in London. The PLA Launch Havengore, which had borne his coffin, once again proceeded along the Thames but this time with members of the Churchill family. They left from St Katherine’s Pier for Remembrance Services at the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey and the departure was marked with a band playing Rule Britannia, a four gun salute from HMS Belfast and the raising of Tower Bridge. En route the Launch was accompanied by a flotilla of vessels but, sadly, there was no repeat of the famous dipping salute given by dockside cranes as these had now gone with the redevelopment of London’s docks. Nevertheless, this gesture was replaced by a strong public representation with the thousands, including Theydon Bois residents, who thronged the river banks to pay their respects in recognition of the great debt which the country owed to its wartime leader. This recognition was endorsed by the Prime Minister who laid a wreath at Churchill’s memorial statue in the House of Commons.

During November and December 2014 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
Holy Baptism
15 12 14                   Jessica Rosemary Cole
06 11 14                    Violet Doris Beard - funeral and burial at Chigwell       
15 12 14                    Cyril Frederick Smith – cremation
Burial of Ashes
05 11 14                    Kathleen Edith Procas
01 12 15                    Lily Anne Fawbert


In January the New Year was greeted in the Village with the usual enthusiasm and fireworks, but not the annual increase in train fares (2.5% approx.). A crisis in the NHS meant that patients to Harlow Hospital A & E had to wait many hours in corridors, or even ambulances, until beds could be found for them. The funerals of two Villagers, Roger Badcock and Cyril Smith took place with sadness and solemnity, notably that for Roger who had once been the Assistant Manager and Key holder of the TBVH. At the end of the month the 50th Anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill drew thousands to Central London to see the enactment of his original funeral procession along the Thames. The weather was well in keeping with the season with strong biting winds, low temperatures (minus 4 degrees C) and snow showers. Yet the snowdrops were surviving and a few daffodils deigned to flower while wildlife was already sorting out nesting and breeding sites - so spring was on its way even this early!



Earlier (2014) Months

Last Updated: 31st December 2015