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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 (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


December 2016



The Village Christmas Market in Forest Drive marked the official beginning of the Christmas season for Theydon Bois. The Village Christmas Tree was once again located on the Green near the Village Shopping Centre. A prominent Villager and former Parish Chairman, John Padfield, welcomed all to the event, including children from the Village School and the Tree lights were then switched on. The Vicar of the United Benefice of Theydon Bois and Theydon Garnon, the Rev John Fry, spoke about the spirit of Christmas and a children’s choir sang carols. John Philip, Chairman of the TBPC which had organised the event thanked all those involved for their help. Shops were decorated festively, as were also the Bull and Queen Victoria Pubs. Santa’s Reindeer made an appearance and a brass ensemble from the Fairlop Brass Band played more festive music.

The Village had been free of serious crime for many years with the exception of the murder of an elderly lady in the 1990s. Sadly another murder was committed this year this year on 13 February when Darren Byrne, 40, of Morgan Crescent killed his wife Maria during a domestic row and then doused her with white spirit and set her alight while still alive. He claimed that he had found her dead on returning from a walk with the dog after the row. He was alleged to have turned on the gas in the kitchen to create an explosion but, when this failed, he tried to make the crime appear to be a cooking accident. At his trial just before Christmas, the court found that Mrs Byrne had died not from a head wound but by immolation from the use of an accelerant. The jury also unanimously convicted him of arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered in relation to his neighbours. Byrne was subsequently sentenced to a minimum twenty four years life imprisonment. The Byrnes were married in 2008, moved to Theydon Bois and had two sons, who were now being looked after by the family.

The annual Christmas Concert given by the Theydon Singers was held in the TBVH before a maximum capacity audience, as a popular part of the Village Christmas activities. Some forty singers presented a programme comprising a series of well known carols, and other songs by modern composers including John Rutter, Paul Teptre and David Wilcox. These were interspersed with readings given by Joan Fraser and Anthea Astley reading the Twelve Days of Christmas by John Julius Norwich. Not to be outdone, the audience joined in the popular carols with much enthusiasm. The Singers were conducted by the lively and youthful Lawrence Tatnall, and the stalwart Paul Chilvers was the accompanist. Donations were made, from the proceeds of the Concert, to the St Clare’s Hospice and the Children’s Society.

In mid December the first thick fog of the winter embraced the Village and the surrounding area, affecting most of the London Airports and the holiday arrangements of the many travelling abroad for the Christmas period. But a recent successful and well attended Christmas concert in the TBBC, given by Epping Forest Singers and directed by Fru Chilvers, helped to banish much of gloom.

It was the turn of Fairlop Brass to give a resounding boost to the festive season when some twenty seven of its members gave a “Festive Crackers” concert in the TBVH. Their lively programme comprised a mix of conventional carols, jazz and popular music well played under their conductor Kevin Jordan. 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 had evolved into a group of some thirty players who perform regularly as a full brass band, or as a smaller ensemble. The band intends to return to TB for further concerts in 2017.

A Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for Joy Grafton Wainwright who died on the 01 12 16, was held in the TBVH and well attended by the many who knew her including Councillors and Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest. Joy had been cremated previously and the casket containing her ashes was placed on a table in a prominent position next to pictures of her family and her many associated activities. She had been a well known amateur singer with an unusually high and melodious soprano voice, so the introductory music to the Service comprised recordings of Joy singing a medley of her songs. She had been a leading light in local operetta and also a member of the Theydon Singers, members of which sang the madrigal “Hail Poetry", from HMS Pinafore, during the subsequent Service.

Following the Welcome and Introduction to the Service, Joy’s daughter Shane recalled many personal memories of her mother and the early days when the family lived in Woodford and how she and her brother Brian played in nearby Knighton Woods; she concluded by saying “Mum you were Incredible”. Shane’s brother, Brian, was abroad in Canada where the winter weather prevented him from reaching the UK in time for his mother’s funeral. The officiating minister therefore read Brian’s recollections of his mother, which were of her drive and determination exemplified by her daily two hours singing practice and, in public life, her involvement and commitment to the community especially with  the New Village Hall, the children’s playground and the reopening of the youth centre.

John Langford of the Village Short Mat Bowls Club then described how Joy and her husband Ken founded the Club some 30 years ago. After Ken's death Joy continued as a strong and loyal player until prevented by increasing infirmity prevented her from attending Club meetings.

An ex Chairman of the TBPC and the EFDC, John Padfield, gave the official address in which he mentioned that Joy and her family moved to the Village in the 1970’s. She became a Parish Councillor, Council Chairman in 1967 and, in addition to her other civic activities, organised the Village Meals on Wheels service for some 22 years.

A reading of David Harkin’s Poem “She is Gone”, followed and then the Theydon Singers sang “You Raise Me Up”. After the Committal and Benediction, Joy’s casket accompanied by Shane and her husband Peter was carried from the Hall to a background of further vocal recordings by Joy. A general reception followed during which there were more personal recollections of Joy, such was her popularity. Charitable donations to the St Clare’s Hospice were invited in her memory.

The dawn of Christmas Day 2016 was relatively warm for December but windy with a cloudy sky soon to be replaced by limited sunshine. The Village itself 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. With the Central Line not operating, the station and car park were deserted as those travelling to airports to join the four million flying out from the UK for Christmas, made other travel arrangements, possibly with difficulty, as the main line rail travel throughout the country was severely disrupted by major rail maintenance. 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 the Baptist Church for the early Morning services.

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. the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that the power of God can chase way the fear of terror and the economics of despair, the Pope called for more sobrieties in a world intoxicated by consumerism, hedonism, and extravagance. Prime Minster said the country must seize the historic opportunity of Brexit to forge a new bold role in the world.

In her televised Christmas Message, which was seen by more than seven million viewers, the Queen spoke of drawing strength from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Some concern was expressed for her health as the journey to Sandringham, together with the Duke of Edinburgh for the Christmas holiday was delayed due to her mild illness; and she was also unable join the royal party for the customary Christmas Day service at the local church.

Many families took their traditional after - dinner Christmas walk. But, as the shortest day of the winter had only just passed, darkness soon fell and by late evening Theydon Bois was once again quiet, lit only by the bright festive illuminations at the pubs, some retail premises and the many decorated residences in the Village.

The Government was accused by the Labour opposition of hypocrisy over the Boxing Day standstill on the rail network. A large number of rail operators were not running any services, due to maintenance work, and a few were operating limited services only. The series of pre Christmas strikes by staffs of the Southern system had caused substantial concern and disruption, and the Government had asked the armed services to provide standby road transport, if needed.

With a successful year for the UK sports personalities, especially in the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics; it was not surprising that the Queen’s New Year Honours list recognised their achievements. Knighthoods went to Andy Murray (world tennis champion and one of the youngest ever to be knighted), runner Mo Farah (four gold Olympic medals), married cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny (both CBEs), and the diminutive swimmer and gold medalist Ellie Robinson (CBE) to mention but a few. The entertainment world featured prominently with actor Mark Rylance (knighthood) who had received wide recognition for his role of Thomas Cromwell, and actress Patricia Routlege (dame) for her humorous depictions of a social climber. But the most popular award (knighthood) was to veteran comedian Ken Dodd aged 89, who in previous years had been acquitted of tax evasion at a high profile trial which he almost made a comedy act in itself.


A terrorist attack with a large lorry at a Christmas Market in Berlin left 12 dead and 49 injured when the vehicle ploughed into shopping crowds and resulted in a general tightening of security in major European capitals. Consequently, a review of UK security in London revealed that roads around Buckingham Palace would be closed for several hours, including parts of the Mall, during ceremony of the changing of the guard. This would be for a three month trial and had been planned for some time.

Another security problem receiving attention was the purchase and use of drones (unmanned flying vehicles) ranging from small toys to larger vehicles carrying substantial loads. Following government consultation, future purchasers of drones would have to register their drone and take a safety test in order to “fly” them. Strict rules regarding their use would be introduced with severe penalties for non compliance, and especially for criminal use. Drone use had become widespread in the past few years with increasing availability from shops, market stalls and other outlets.

During October 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church
Holy Baptism
16 10 16  Ruby Rose Sharon Hewson and Amber Patricia   Susan Hewson
04 10 16  Peter Dennis Hammond – funeral in Church followed by cremation
              The year 2016 ended with December being one of the warmest and driest for some years. The onset of Christmas and the New Year predominated with an early Village Market and the planting of the Village Christmas Tree on the Green. Christmas music was performed at concerts given by the Theydon Singers, Fairlop Brass and one other musical group at the TBBC; Christmas Services were held in the local places of worship as usual. A sad event was the death of the popular Villager Joy Wainwright and many attended her memorial service in the TBVH. It was revealed that half the Government funding for the flood protection of London would be allocated to the Thames estuary region, and the nuisance of uncontrolled drones would be dealt with by legislation. Holiday travel delays, due to rail maintenance and strikes, were exacerbated by the first real fogs of the winter which also affected London’s Airports. Villagers travelled to Central London to join the 1.6 million people who celebrated the arrival of the New Year and witness the London fireworks. In contrast to previous years, UK high street retail trading was down due to the increasing customer use of electronic shopping for ordering goods, and despite the long holiday break which lasted until 3rd January 2017.



November 2016



The November Fifth celebrations began the previous evening at the Village School, following a period of rain. The fireworks produced squeals of delight from the excited younger children, many of whom were holding coloured battery lights, and the loud bangs (suitably modified) kept the adults on their toes. The wet ground presented difficulty in mounting some of the displays so the event finished early and the spectators then moved across to the playground where hot /soft drinks and hot dogs could be purchased from stalls. An entrance fee of five pounds from the many attending made a significant contribution to the school project of new changing rooms for the school swimming pool.  It was hoped that the construction of this amenity would now commence in the New Year. The event was organized by the school parents association under the chairmanship of Joanne Bird in conjunction with the Head Teacher Lesley Lewis.

Marks and Spencer (M&S) the popular and long established high street retail outlet announced a radical review of its marketing policy following a recent reduction in pretax profits to 18.6 % and bottom line profits to 88.4%. Founded as a low price shopping bazaar in the late nineteenth century, M&S became renowned for its high quality men and women’s clothing; at one time it claimed that the business “dressed" the women of Britain. In later years it moved into food retailing in direct competition with similar stores. However the general change in high street shopping where goods could be ordered electronically “on line” had adversely affected the clothing business. M&S had therefore announced a restructuring with the closing of some 60 clothing and home stores, 53 overseas shops and the loss of 2,000 staff.
Many Villagers spent most of the night watching the outcome of the United States Presidential Election as screened live on TV. The two candidates were Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party) and Donald Trump (Republican Party). Clinton appeared to be leading the Presidential Race but in the early hours was overtaken by Trump. She subsequently conceded defeat and Trump was now the President Elect to be installed in office next January 2017. This result was a great shock to many. In several American cities there were demonstrations by the Democratic supporters, especially by the young, who complained that they would lose representation with a Trump government. Internationally, politicians who had made disparaging remarks about Trump’s election campaign, tactfully, or blatantly congratulated the new President on his success.

Against a background of possible Islamic plots to attack the Remembrance Sunday commemorations, especially in Central London, fewer veterans (for security reasons) marched past the Cenotaph in Whitehall as part of the annual commemoration service which was attended by the Queen and members of the Royal family; also present were the new Prime Minister Theresa May and the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Police security was high with helicopters, dogs and armed officers present. The Queen arrived, dressed in black to observe the two minutes silence and then lay her wreath followed by other members of the royal party who did likewise. It was notable that every male member of the Royal family had now served in the armed forces. As the royal party retired, the usual silence was broken by polite applause for the Queen who had been present despite worries about security. In the Village, as elsewhere in the District, the Remembrance service at the Village War Memorial was well attended and with a police officer present, for the first time for many years – an indication of the necessary need for increased security even in the “backwoods" of Theydon Bois.

At the TBWI monthly meeting , June Ward the WI Advisor for Loughton, Chingford and Theydon Bois addressed the meeting to give guidance regarding the future of the TBWI, as at least four members of the Committee would not be standing for re - election at the AGM in April 2017. Consequently the TBWI would not be able to function without a full committee and therefore the National WI Federation would have no alternative but to suspend the TBWI which would then close. A letter to his effect would be sent to all members and there would be further discussion at the next meeting on 18th January 2017.

Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) hosted a concert of gospel music with a distinctive Jewish flavour given by the Hebron group comprising Simon Elman, Chrissy Rogers and Helen Shapiro. Their music was mostly based on the words from the Old Testament and the performers gave personal testimonies regarding how they came to faith in Jesus as the Messiah; Chrissy had a restrictive American background, Helen and Simon were strongly Jewish and Helen was also a well known "pop star” in early days. The event was well supported by some 150 with many coming from the local area and even further afield as Suffolk.

In the early hours of 20 Nov, Storm Angus struck the South of England causing serious damage with winds of 80 mph being recorded. Most of the damage was along the South Coast where a lighter was in difficulties off Dover Harbour, an extensive fire engulfed a hotel in Bognor and the Swanage harbour was also damaged by freak sea conditions. The tail of the storm produced extensive rainfall and widespread flooding in the North and West of England, and also locally at Ingatestone where a mother and child were rescued from a car stranded in the local “flood wash”. The Village escaped with trees uprooted in the Forest and others stripped from their foliage, which accelerated the annual fall and removed the picturesque autumnal scene which had been outstanding this year.

The Head of Public Health suggested a total ban on smoking both within in hospitals and on site. The Charity Ash backed the proposal with the comment “Hospitals exist to protect and improve health which can be undermined by smoking on the premises. It has also been suggested that all patients present a valid British Passport to qualify for treatment under the NHS. For some years private hospitals have lost revenue due to the nonpayment of fees by patients, and so now demand payment beforehand. The current losses in NHS finances could be considerably reduced by the adoption of a passport/ID system.

The agm of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society was held in the TBVH. The evening commenced with Mike Bosun giving an illustrated talk about the World of Flowers, and three groups in particular. He commenced with Dahlias which had probably been around for some 29 million years, and of which there were some 25 varieties. The second group was Pellargoniums which possibly originated from the West Coast of South Africa; these have a pleasant and distinctive scent but are vulnerable to the “white flies” disease. The third group was Fuchsias which originated some 7 million years ago; there are some 100 varieties and they are native to South America only. The following were then reelected : Chairman – Liz McGuire, Secretary – Lee Anderson, Show Secretary – Margaret Bhonsle and Treasurer - Graham Pribul. Committee : Hugh Meteyard, Diana Meteyard, Margaret Jones, John Palmer, Diana Badcock and Robert Jones.


St Mary’s Church held a Christmas Fair in the Church Hall at the end of the month. A sunny day ensured good support and stalls selling Christmas gifts and fare proved to be most popular. During advent the Church family practiced Prosada where small figures of Mary and Joseph were passed between families for symbolic overnight safety. The figures were accompanied with a collection box for the Church Army charity.

Scientists at the European Disease Centre revealed that pneumonia (once described as the old persons ultimate relief), was becoming resistant to antibiotics. It was claimed that antibiotic resistance was now one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. Pressure was increasing for the more prudent use of these drugs and, particularly, for a ban on use in animal feed, to fatten stock and increase their market value.

Road congestion could also be responsible for the difficulties experienced by the Ambulance Services in taking the seriously ill with cardiac and respiratory problems to hospital. These services were struggling to reach critically ill and injured patients quickly enough which added to the problems of the currently overloaded ambulance system.

During September 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

11 09 16   Hollie Sophia Bennett
02 09 16   Brett Steven Short & Joanna Catherine Marsh
10 09 16   Richard Graham Lee & Emma Louise Hammond

The month began with an unexpected announcement that M & S was phasing out clothes sales in favour of food items resulting in branch closures (not, hopefully, the popular Epping Branch). The US Presidential elections were watched with interest and then incredulity, UK Remembrance Services/Parades were well supported in London and locally, the TBWI was warned that it could close due to lack of officers, the Hebron Gospel Singers gave a popular concert in the TBBC, Storm Angus removed most of the autumn foliage and brought sharp frosts to accelerate the onset of winter,  St Mary’s Church opened the Festive season with a Christmas Fair and early Christmas traffic was congested by long outstanding road works. But Santa was on his way!



October 2016



It was revealed that the number of hospital admissions for allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock had increased by more than one third during the past five years. Data from NHS Digital had advised that there were 29,544 hospital admissions in 2015-16 for allergic reactions. This compared with 22,206 admissions for the period 2011-12.

However other bodies, especially environmentalists, claimed that an increase in atmospheric pollution, especially that generated by motor vehicles, was another reason. It was notably significant that the Mayor of London had increased the charges for elderly motor vehicles entering the Central London pollution control zone as these vehicles were generally more pollution generating; moreover he was considering widening this zone within the entire London area which might include Theydon Bois.

The Essex County Council (ECC) warned that sales personnel for solar panel installations were adopting aggressive tactics and ”tricking their way” into residences. One “entry ruse” was to tell property owners with installed panel systems that they were carrying out “health checks” in conjunction with the Micro Generation Certifications Scheme (MSC).

Local celebrity and "pop star" Rod Stewart (formerly resident at the Wood House on the Copped Hall Estate) was formally knighted at Buckingham Palace, for services to music and charity. He received this honour from Prince William who was deputising for the Queen, currently away in Scotland. Rod was accompanied by his wife Penny Lancaster and their two young sons Alastair(10) and Aiden (4).

St Mary’ Church was crowded to overflowing for the Funeral Service of Peter Dennis Hammond, a long standing and popular member of the Theydon Bois Community. Peter’s casket was borne into the Church to the music ”Walk of Life” by  Dire Straits. Some of his grandchildren collectively read the poem “Death is Nothing At All” and added their personal recollections of their grandfather. Tributes to Peter revealed that he had been very active in local community as a Parish Councilor, in welfare matters and as a great humanitarian always willing to help others. He had been a great all rounder in sport, which he encouraged his family to follow, and an aviation pilot. Peter was then cremated at Parndon Wood following which a funeral reception was held at Woolston Manor Country Club.

Transport for London (TFL) officials were quizzed regarding problems with the Central line services in the Epping Forest District. Particular issues discussed were the presumption that  fewer services ran though to Epping, as opposed to Hainault, ageing trains, access problems for travellers with restricted mobility, the possible reinstatement of the line between Epping and Ongar, the extension of CCTV security coverage and future development of tube station car parks..

Lock up Your Daughters, the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society, was certainly an evening of “frolic and fun” as advertised. A departure from the Society’s usual productions, this musical, was based on the eighteenth century play “Rape upon Rape” as adapted by Bernard Miles and set to music by Laurie Johnson with Lyrics by Lionel Bart. Set in a dubious 1735 London coffee house owned by Politic (played by John Haylet), his naïve daughter Hilaret (Nicola Gilbert) is determined to escape her over protective father and sets forth to elope with her beloved Captain Constant (Paul Bloomfield). In a further scenario, corrupt Justice Sqeezum (Bernie Pavely) has a fine time keeping tabs on his lecherous wife Mrs Squeezum (Gill Newlyn). Worthy of special mention was the supportive musical group comprising Kevin Bashford (Keyboards and Musical Director), Richard Wale (Keyboards) and Jamie Murray (Drums). The production was directed by Jo Shepherd.

An increase in “fly tipping” (the illegal and random dumping of domestic and building waste) was expected now that ECC sites would only handle domestic waste. The official reason given for this change was that the sites did not have the capacity to cater for increasing usage by non domestic sites. The ECC also claimed that this new policy would help reduce the amount of illegal waste entering sites.
The illegal and careless parking of motor vehicles on pedestrian footways continued to be a hazard in the District, especially in Theydon Bois. Since parking restrictions had been introduced along the south of the Village Green, displaced commuters were now parking in the busy Abridge Road. This route is used by large commercial vehicles, and is a danger to pedestrians (often mothers and children) due to footways being either limited or nonexistent.

The Halloween celebrations appeared to fewer especially with “Trick or Treat” (T&T) activities. This could have been due to a current “mad clown craze” with individuals wearing masks to frighten or even threaten members of the public; in some instances (not in Theydon Bois) such action had provoked violence. Parents were therefore possibly wary of allowing children to knock on doors for the traditional T & T which, in the past, had supported charities.

The November Fifth weekend celebrations began with a Village Fireworks display at the Village School which produced squeals of delight from the excited younger children, many of whom were holding coloured battery lights, and the loud bangs (suitably modified) kept the adults on their toes. The wet ground presented difficulty in erecting some displays so the event finished early so the watchers moved across to the playground where hot /soft drinks and hot dogs could be purchased from stalls. An entrance fee of five pounds made a significant contribution to the school project of new changing rooms for the swimming pool.  The event was organized by the school parents association under the chairmanship of Joanne Bird in conjunction with the Head Teacher Lesley Lewis.

Marks and Spencer (M&S) the popular and long established high street retail outlet announced a radical review of its marketing policy following a recent reduction in pretax profits to 18.6% and bottom line profits to 88.4%. Founded as a low price shopping bazaar in the late nineteenth century M&S became renowned for its high quality men and women’s clothing; at one time it claimed that the business “dressed" the women of Britain. In later years it moved into food retailing in direct competition with similar stores. However the general change in high street shopping where goods could be ordered electronically “on line” had adversely affected the clothing business. M&S had therefore announced a restructuring with the closing of some 60 clothing and home stores, 53 overseas shops and the loss of 2,000 staff. The nearest M&S store to the Village is the popular Epping clothing/food branch and it was hoped that this would continue, possibly with the Simply Food section enlarged.

The Unite union revealed that the cheque – processing company IPSL was planning to close several centres in Scotland. Among others in the South and possibly under threat was that at Chelmsford. The company had confirmed that it was looking at the “potential centralization“ of sites generally but did not identify which were at risk.

Many Villagers spent most of the night watching the outcome of the United States Presidential Election as screened live on TV. The two candidates were Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party) and Donald Trump (Republican Party). Clinton appeared to be leading the Presidential Race but in the early hours was overtaken by Trump. She subsequently conceded defeat and Trump was now the President elect to be installed in office next January 2017.

The Epping Rail Circle held its annual exhibition in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) with a good attendance despite the rain. Visitors saw could watch the operation of ten model railway layouts in various gauges and configurations. A popular layout was the Circle’s own Tanglewood Common OO scale layout of substantial size which included Central Line Trains (models) and general lighting. The event included many stalls selling model trains and associated memorabilia, and the important refreshment facility was well supported.

Against a background of possible Islamic plots to attack the Remembrance Sunday commemorations, especially in Central London, fewer veterans for (security reasons) marched past the Cenotaph in Whitehall, as part of the annual commemoration service which was attended by the Queen and members of the Royal family; also present were the new Prime Minister Theresa May and the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Police security was high with helicopters, dogs and armed officers present. The Queen emerged from an adjacent government office, dressed in black to observe the two minutes silence and then lay her wreath followed by other members of the royal party who did likewise. In the Village, as elsewhere in the District, the Remembrance service at the Village War Memorial was well attended and with a police officer present– an indication of the necessary need for increased security even in the “backwoods" of Theydon Bois.


An illustrated talk entitled the Apples and Orchards Project was given by Michael Clark in the TBVH, by arrangement with the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society.

During September 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

11 09 16                    Hollie Sophia  Bennett
02 09 16                    Brett Steven Short and Joanna Catherine Marsh       
10 09 16                    Richard Graham Lee and Emma Louise Hammond


Hospital admissions for allergies were increasing, Villagers experienced aggressive sales techniques for solar panels, St Mary’s Church was filled to capacity for the funeral of ex Councillor Peter Hammond, problems with the Central line were raised with TfL, illegal car parking and fly tipping continued, the Theydon Players gave an excellent production of the musical Lock Up Your Daughter, and Rod Stewart was formally knighted. The remarkably mild weather continued on to the end of the month resulting in colourful autumn displays, especially from the Forest trees, due to the currently limited rainfall and calm weather.



September 2016



In September The Metropolitan Police, in conjunction with the Nat West Bank, published the third edition of the “Little Book of Big Scams”. This publication reflected the hazards of everyday life in the UK today and dealt with a variety of issues ranging from identity theft to fraudulent schemes (scams). In the book’s introduction, it was stated that “prevention through awareness” is the vital tool in combating fraud and scams. Elderly people in particular were often vulnerable to fraud if only because they considered themselves, mistakenly, to be “small fry” of little interest to fraudsters.

A late summer mid September heat wave brought record temperatures and high humidity to the south east of the UK including Theydon Bois. An anti cyclone on the continent brought warm air up from the Iberian Peninsula resulting in a temperature of 84.5 degrees F, being recorded in Gravesend, the highest in the country since 1911.

In referring to the 1911 heat wave, a national newspaper pointed out that such high temperatures were no joke in those days due to the adverse affect on farming with a resulting scarcity of milk and vegetables, fruit at famine prices, plagues of wasps and flies and holiday makers besieging railway stations to travel to the nearest seaside resort where the beach spaces available would be limited anyway. However, the danger of sunburn on exposed skin would have been less then, due to the practice of covering exposed areas of the body and wearing hats.

Villagers, and many other UK residents, watched via television the closing stages of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, which were full of entertainment and drama. The closing ceremony was a feast of colour and spectacle highlighted by the success of the British team in winning 67 medals (27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze) and being placed third behind China (second) the USA (first) in the ten competing teams. The drama came in the World Triathlon Series in which two Yorkshire brothers, Alistair and John Brownlee were competing. In the final dash of the 10 km run John was leading with Alistair, a double Olympic gold medal winner, a little behind. When John was seen to falter and about to fall, Alistair came forward to help, supported him to the finish and then pushed him over the line to place second.

Members of the Roding Valley U3A arriving for their monthly meeting in the Thedon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), were pleased to see a permanent overhead electronic projector in a new system for visual electronic presentations. The projector of the previous system required a large stand, which had presented storage and screening difficulties; moreover this earlysystem was often incompatible with the projectors used by other lecturers. Another change was the new lightweight seating readily stored in high stacks and easily moved via special trolleys. These improved facilities had been arranged by the Theydon Bois Village Association.

Following the raid on the Il Bacio Restaurant in Forest Drive, Theydon Bois, on 30 06 16 by police and immigration officials, and the arrest, of a 33 year old Colombian male Romero, the restaurant had its licence suspended for three months at the EFDC Licensing review on 19 09 16.  Romero, was arrested when the officers found warning signs that he was a heavy drug user and seller, and had been known to threaten people with knives.

Mid September marked the WW1 centenary of the destructioin over Essex of two German Zeppelin airships. These intruders flew over the county to bomb military targets in the London area, and also the civilian population in the process. One airship was shot down by an aircraft and crashed in flames at Billericay (Great Burstead) killing all on board, and the other was hit by ground fire and landed intact with its crew at Little Wigborough.. History was repeated twenty five years later during WW2 when the German Luftwaffe bombed London similarly, but with much greater affect, and also attacked military locations in Essex (North Weald and Hornchurch Airfields) in what became the Battle of Britain.

The Draft Local Plan for the Epping Forest District was published and immediately caused confusion and concern in the Village. It would appear that there were four areas in the Village where residential development could take place; in the station car park area, the field to the north of Forest Drive, the Station car park and in Coopersale Lane. The Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) immediately asked all concerned to attend the regular monthly meeting of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), but discussion about the Plan was put back until October. 

September concluded with a significant event in space which                     could possibly affect the future of mankind. The wonders of modern science enabled villagers to see, via TV, live pictures of the final function before its demise, of the Europa Rosetta Space Probe which had been launched in 2004, and which for 12 years had been orbiting Comet 67P in space. With its batteries failing, the Probe was “crash landed” onto the Comet as a final scientific experiment. One fascinating aspect of the Rosetta project, according to one scientist, was that the Probe had discovered that the Comet contained all the elements necessary to create life forms, and so the theory that life on earth began with an earth/comet collision was now a reasonable probability.

The increasing local interest in Astronomy was reflected in the regular meetings of the Loughton Astronomical Society held in the TBVH, and the recent Study Day– Our Solar System and Beyond – held at Copped Hall where the Tutor was Ann Mills from the Royal Astronomical Society.

A midday Harvest Soup Lunch was held at St Mary’s Church Hall. This followed the usual pattern of excellent soup lunches organised by the ladies of the church with a choice of soups and desserts followed by coffee. The proceeds were donated to charitable organisations supported by St Mary’s including the Manna Centre for the Homeless, the Mission to Seafarers and Operation Christmas Child. Further soup lunches were planned for November 2016.

During June and July, the following entries were recorded in the Registers of St Mary’s Church:

17 07 16                  Ralph John Turner
24 07 16                  Terence Butwell, Blake Terence Butwell,
                               Chase Butwell, Reeva Catherine Butwell
                               Rochelle Ronayne
31 07 16                   Henry Matthew Cole
                                Stanley Marc Perkins
04 06 16                    Amy Laura Hammond & Matthew Rickhard
18 06 16                    Donna White & Andrew Swallow
09 07 16                    Lynne Mary Welham & Geoffrey Ian May 
16 06 16                    Manuel James (Jim) Muscatt – Service in Church followed by Cremation at Parndon Wood
20 06 16                    William Richard Conolly – Cremation at Parndon Wood
27 06 16                    Elizabeth Lee – Cremation at Chelmsford
21 07 16                    Iris Margaret Davis – Thanksgiving Service in   Church followed by Cremation at Parndon Wood
Burial of Ashes
07 07 16                    Jean May Brooks
07 07 16                    Vera Weston – Memorial Service followed by    Burial of Ashes  


The weather literally burst upon the country during September with extensive sun shine, high temperatures and subsequent heavy rain (which fortunately avoided the Village). The Paralympics concluded with the British team winning 67 medals and placed third overall, the Il Bacio Restaurant lost its licence for 3 months, St Mary’s Church held a Harvest Soup Lunch and the Zeppelin bombing raids in WW1 were remembered. The month ended with the publication of the Epping Forest District Draft Local Plan, which caused some alarm and controversy and finally, with Villagers watching via TV, the amazing pictures of the deliberate crash landing of the Rosetta Space Probe onto a comet in space.



August 2016



Theydon Bois was once again judged to be the Best Kept Village in Essex and the Theydon Bois Village News was placed third against forty other entrants from the County.

The highwaymen who once frequented the roads in and around Epping Forest have long gone; however highway crime still exists but in a different form. The Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate warned motorists to be alert for bogus unmarked police cars which replicate the "plain clothes" vehicles fitted with flashing blue lights, often used by the police for special or covert operations. Criminals using such vehicles often wear body armour or police type uniforms to further the delusion; the use of firearms and handcuffs has also been reported. The unfortunate motorist, usually driving an expensive car, is forced to stop and his vehicle stolen. Motorists should use the 999 system to alert the police to any incident of this nature.

To the relief of many including farmers, scientists and other project leaders, the government announced that EU funding after Brexit (Britain’s exit from the EU) will be paid by the treasury. The cost will be £6bn annually which the treasury will guarantee to support. Agricultural funding provided by the EU will also continue up to year 2020. But critics claimed that the guarantee will not go far enough and there was continued uncertainty over this matter.

At midnight on Friday 19th August, the first night time underground trains commenced operating, three years after first planned. The overnight trains only ran on Fridays and Saturdays and then only on the Victoria and Central lines at present. Locally, the Central Line trains did not operate beyond Loughton so late night travellers required other transport to proceed further. Transport for London (TFL) increased the number of all night buses to augment the existing day bus services operating overnight. The considerable increase in passengers has also entailed more Transport Police being required to monitor tube stations particularly those normally closed at night.

Many Villagers stayed up until the early hours to watch the televised closing of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and to see Great Britain (GB) become an international sports super power once again. In competition with 78 other nations, GB acquired a total of 67 medals (27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze) to be placed second behind America but ahead of China. The GB Team comprised many outstanding participants but the long distance runner Mo Farah, now the winner of 4 gold medals (2012 and 2016 Olympics) was undoubtedly outstanding; and he was looking forward to winning again in the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo. Hockey Player Kate Richardson – Walsh received the personal honour of carrying the Team GB Flag in the closing ceremony which matched that given to Wimbledon Champion Andrew Murray who did likewise at the opening. The closing ceremony was the mass of colour and sound to be expected from a Southern American country and a highlight was the presence of the Japanese Premier masquerading in carnival costume and then revealing himself to welcome all to the Tokio Games in 2020. Nearer to home, the 2012 Olympic White Water facility at Waltham Abbey played a part by in providing training for Single Kyak Olympic winner Liam Heath; and it was notable that this facility was much used by “water sporters” and spectators during the Olympics, especially by young people keen to emulate the 2016 winners.

Exceptionally fine weather returned later in the month when the Met Office issued a heat wave alert for Southern England with temperatures forecast to exceed 30 degrees C. (86 degrees F.) accompanied by humid conditions. Public Health England also issued a warning of health risks to the elderly and those with cardiac and respiratory medical conditions.

The tourism agency Visit England (VE) estimated that 5.1 million people took leisure breaks within the UK over the this coming August Bank Holiday weekend; and the travel organisation ABTA forecast was that two million UK residents would be aboard over this period. The busiest single day for motorist was the holiday Saturday. VE had also estimated that the weekend would benefit the national economy by £1.3 bn. Local road  traffic in the area, and especially in Epping, increased substantially as many road users passed though the town to avoid possible congestion on the M11 and M25 motorways.

The British Medical Association (BMA) claimed that the safety of patients was at risk because GPs were forced to carry our complex consultations in a short allotted period of 10 of minutes, or less. This particularly applied when GPs had to see more than 60 patients in a day. The BMA called for more funding to allow at least 15 minutes with each patient. In response, NHS England claimed that consultation periods were up to the doctor and that national limits of 10 minutes did not exist.

There was news from the Shetland Isles about a project which was now generating electrical power from the sea and which could in the future benefit the UK and indirectly Theydon Bois. Tidal energy specialists Nova Innovations announced that they had installed the first offshore tidal turbine generators in a tidal race in the Shetlands, and these were now generating electricity for the national grid. They claimed that this project would usher in a new era in the generation of tidal energy, using a new application of a long established practice; an example was the tide mill at Woodbridge Essex which, after restoration, was again producing flour and animal feeds. The great advantage of the Shetland application is the direct generation of constant electrical energy from the tides, a source unaffected by the fluctuations in wind or rainfall as with other methods used today. Another advantage is the use of both high and low tidal flows to maximize energy generation.

A survey by the HM Inspector of Constabulary found that 36% of 26,000 people had not seen a police officer on patrol over a period of 12 months. In Theydon Bois this period was longer, historically, and now more unlikely due to the cut back in police services. Twenty years ago, the Village had a resident police officer and a police house on the green, now sold. The officer retired and was replaced by an area officer based elsewhere and covering a large area of Essex including Theydon Bois and the north towards Stanford Rivers. For a short while, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) could be seen on a random basis in the Village and this constituted a police presence; but they have also gone - possibly linked to the closure of the Loughton and Epping police stations. Despite all this, a police spokesman said that the public perception of police was "vitally important" in having the confidence to report crime.

The Government revealed that over the past four years, the amount of household waste rejected for recycling in England had increased by 84%. Despite most local authorities making arrangements for the collection of waste in separate sacks/bins, clean waste was being contaminated by kitchen and food waste and so had to be deposited in landfill sites.

The British Home Stores (BHS) retail stores finally ceased trading at the end of the month after an 88 year presence on many high streets including the neighbouring towns of Harlow, Romford and Ilford. This was due to the failure of the business in March 2016, its subsequent placement in administration and the failure to find a buyer for 141 stores  many of which had already closed. Retail trading was currently poor due, possibly, to the forthcoming “Brexit” and the affect of good weather over the current Bank Holiday period; according to an analytical research organisation the number of shoppers had decreased by 4.1%.

The Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that the number of blue badges stolen in England had more than trebled in three years. There were 2056 thefts recorded in 2015 compared with 1750 in 2014 and 656 in 2013. Prosecutions for using stolen or lost badges dishonestly had nearly trebled in the last five years. These badges allow drivers with limited mobility to park without charge in pay and display bays, and parking zones for disabled. Thieves had often broken into vehicles to steal these badges, even when not displayed.

In mid month at around one a.m. villagers were disturbed by a bright night sky which could be seen through drawn curtains. This was caused by the annual Persoid meteor shower which occurs annually in August when the earth passes through an extensive Persoid meteor field. This year a “gravitational nudge” by the planet Jupiter had made the display appear more intense, helped by a clear sky and the absence of street lighting in Theydon Bois. Some observers claimed that fireballs had also been seen which would have further intensified the display.

Two girls aged thirteen, from nearby Harlow, became trapped in marsh land at Gilston while walking along a canal towpath. They called the police for help and were soon spotted by a police helicopter. Members of the public were unsuccessful in freeing them but the police then succeeded using a shovel and a broom handle

During June and July 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

17 07 16                    Ralph John Turner
24 07 16                    Rochelle Ronayne
                              Terance Butwell
                              Blake Terence Butwell
                              Chase Butwell
                                Reeva Catherine Butwell
31 07 16                    Henry Matthew Cole
                                Stanley Marc Perkins
04 06 16                    Amy Laura Hammond & Matthew Rickhard
18 06 16                    Donna White & Andrew Swallow
09 07 16                    Lynne Mary Welham & Geoffrey Ian May 
16 06 16                    Manuel James (Jim) Muscatt – Service in Church       followed by Cremation at Parndon Wood
20 06 16                    William Richard Conolly – Cremation at Parndon       Wood
27 06 16                    Elizabeth Lee – Cremation at Chelmsford
21 07 16                    Iris Margaret Davis – Thanksgiving Service in   Church followed by Cremation at Parndon Wood
Burial of Ashes
07 07 16                    Jean May Brooks
07 07 16                    Vera Weston – Memorial Service followed by    Burial of Ashes  


An old fashion summer really returned with the month being possibly the hottest and driest on record including the Bank Holiday,  the annual Persoid night time meteor showers were the brightest for some years and even awoke residents, the police warned of criminals using pseudo police cars to stop motorists and steal their vehicles,   and the HM Constabulary reported that many people had not seen an officer on beat duty for more than a year (or years), and the  theft of handicapped motorists blue badges was increasing. The UK placed second in the international medals table at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the government announced that EU funding after Brexit will be paid by the treasury, the BMA claimed that the ten minute patient/GP consultation period was inadequate and then warned of five weeks of junior doctor's strikes for the autumn. Night time Central Line trains commenced running but then only on Fridays and Saturdays and as far as Loughton. And finally, Theydon Bois was once again judged to be the Best Kept Village in Essex and the Theydon Bois Village News was placed third against forty other entrants from the County.



June 2016


The one hundredth anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme in WW1 was remembered across the UK at the beginning of the month. At 07.30, commemorative services were held, often after all night vigils, in memory of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who left the relative safety of the trenches in France to assault the German lines. At the end of the day some 20,000 were dead and thousands more wounded in the greatest disaster to befall the British Army; and the slaughter continued for several months until some 60,000 had been killed. At Thiepval in France, where a mammoth memorial bears the names of 72,000 men with no known graves, a remembrance service was held in the presence of representatives of the Queen, the  UK Armed services and relatives of the many fallen.

 At North Weald airfield, the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) had created a WW1 memorial site containing a replica trench system, plus a small static exhibition in the control tower. The airfield was established in WW1 and its aircraft were active in shooting down German aircraft and Zeppelin airships which had bombed and killed British civilians. In London and its outskirts, the acting profession made an interesting WW1 contribution with its members donning khaki army uniforms of the period and mixing with the general public on transport systems and in places of general interest, so replicating many scenes commonplace in 1916.

The Theydon Bois Singers gave a Golden Anniversary Concert and Supper in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The event was a sellout and the large audience enjoyed hearing the forty strong choir sing a miscellany of musical items ranging from Richard Rogers “Oh What a Beautiful Morning" to Hubert Parry’s "My Soul There is a Country". Liz Weatherstone and Frances Chilvers were the duettists and readings were given by Anthea Astley and Hilary Redderick. The conductor was Janet Cass, making a welcome return to the Singers, and the hardworking accompanist was Paul Chilvers.

Following information received, Home Office immigration officers visited the Il Bacio Italian Restaurant in Forest Drive shopping area and questioned staff regarding their right to live and work in this country. A 33 year old Colombian male was held on suspicion of entering the country illegally; the business faced a fine of up to £20,000 unless it could prove that it had properly checked the man's passport and verified that he possessed a work permit. A spokesman for the East of England Immigration Enforcement (EEIE) advised that employers should carry out proper checks on their staff to avoid disrupting their business.

The AGM of the Theydon Bois & District Preservation Society (TBDRPS) was held in the TBVH. The speaker was Tricia Moxey whose talk was entitled “Is there honey still for tea or why honey bees still matter”. There has been a massive decline in bee numbers since the twentieth century possibly due to many reasons; disease (Varrda mite from Hawaii), cold winters, farming practices (chemical sprays), the paving over of gardens, and atmospheric pollution - which affects the chemical trails used by bees. During the subsequent AGM, it was announced that Michael Chapman was now President subsequent to the sad death of Bob Day. It was agreed that the following hold office for 2016/17, Chairman – Peter Newton, Vice Chairman – Martin Boyle, Secretary – Jim Watts, Treasurer – Ivor Chinman, Minutes Secretary – Valerie Suckling. The Executive Committee would comprise: Liz Burn, Barry Frankland, Robert Levene, Caroline Lowe, Hugh Meteyard, Anthony Purkiss and Trevor Roberts.

The 29th Theydon Bois Donkey Derby, organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group, was a great success due partly to its location on the Village Green, by kind permission of the City of London and the Theydon Bois Parish Council, and the hot and summery weather. 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 run with titles named after their sponsors ie. Stevenette Estate Agents, Ray Cooney, Richard and Sally Crone, Cooper Paul Chartered Accountants, Percy Publishing, Hetherington’s Estate Agents and Biosure HIV Self Test. The donkeys were quite lively as usual and a few threw their riders, resulting in some sore bottoms, while others had to be “encouraged” to finish in order to provide the three finalists for each race. The associated Fairground comprised roundabouts, bouncy castles and other lively activities including sideshows and refreshment stalls serving tasty snacks from the local Indian Balti restaurant.  Field events included a Tug of War between patrons/staff from the two Village Pubs, the Queen Vic and the Bull, a Fun Dog Show and the Pop Choir from Loughton. More than a thousand visitors attended the event and helped raise a substantial sum in support of the Village Scouts and Guides, so that they could continue to develop their activities in the Village. In the excellent Brochure published for the event, the Chairman of the Derby Committee, Nick O’Flynn, thanked the previous Chairman Phil Koczan for his efforts over the years, Martin Smith for organising the practical side of event and all who had supported the occasion, not least the general public.

In a momentous 24 hour event, which was followed almost worldwide on television, the Prime Minister David Cameron formally resigned from office and was replaced by the Home Secretary Theresa May. Following several weeks of political turmoil, she had been elected to the Office of Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party. This change took place smoothly when David Cameron held his last Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons during which he was warmly applauded for his services to the House. In the company of his Wife Samantha and Children Alwen (10), Nancy (12) and Florence (5) he then gave a farewell address outside 10 Downing Street and all the family then drove to Buckingham Palace for him to tender his resignation to the Queen. The presence of his family on such an important occasion was unusual and probably a mark of royal appreciation for David Cameron’s many years of service as Prime Minister.

Theresa May, accompanied by her husband Philip, then went to the Palace and accepted the Queen’s invitation to form a new government. Another unusual departure from protocol was the almost immediate publication of a news picture of the Queen receiving the new Prime Minster. On returning to Downing Street the Prime Minster also gave an address outside No 10 where she confirmed Britain’s pending departure from the European Union and said she would make this country a place that works for all. She then almost immediately proceeded to form a new government, the first appointment for which was Boris Johnson, the popular former Mayor of London to the High Office of Foreign Secretary. Other appointments followed, but some ministers received their marching orders, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Village motor racing driver Lochlan Bearman, 14, had an eventful racing experience in rounds 9 & 10 of the Ford Fiesta Junior Championship. In his first season since upgrading from kart to car racing, he set the fastest time on the test day against experienced teams. However he suffered several mishaps, when his car's suspension failed  Despite bruised legs, he returned to the track when the car then stopped due to a damaged gearbox and dropped engine. His support team repaired the vehicle with a substitute gearbox but this then created handling difficulties. Nevertheless he completed the race and finished sixth overall.

The Village was successful in two Essex County Competitions. Tony Ames and Jim Watts of the Theydon Bois Village News attended the Rural Community Council of Essex presentations in Coggeshall and found, to their delight that the Village News had been placed third out of forty entrants. They were even more surprised when it was also announced that Theydon Bois had been judged the Best Kept Village in Class One of the County competition, and returned with two awards; a certificate for the Village News and a Plaque for the Best Kept Village. This is not the first time that the Village has been successful in these events, as recorded by plaques/certificates displayed in the TBVH.

The local North Weald Airfield celebrated its centenary with a special Air Fete on the airfield, arranged by Weald Aviation and the EFDC who control the site. The airfield was established in 1916 in WW1 as a base for fighter aircraft to combat German airships and aircraft bombing London. This function was repeated in 1940 when North Weald Spitfire and Hurricane fighters helped to defeat the Germans in the Battle of Britain. The RAF left the base, which is adjacent to the M11 Motorway, in 1964 and it is now used by small businesses and private aviation.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 106th annual show in the TBVH which was well attended. The bright weather attracted considerable support and the refreshment facility proved especially popular. There were seven groups of entry; Vegetables and Fruit, Flowers and Plants, Fun Items, Handicraft, Photographic, Cookery/Preserves, and Junior, which covered 107 classes

The long awaited summer really arrived late in the month with a minor heat wave. The temperature peaked at 34 degrees C (93 degrees F) and Public Health England issued a level two - heat & health alert. The authority requested the general public to check on those who could be susceptible to high levels of heat and humidity, including the elderly, those suffering from asthma, cardiac and lung conditions, and young children. The Met Office was predicting storms with high levels of rainfall but these conditions appeared to have affected the east of England.


July proved to be traditional with much summery activity and high temperatures to suit. It began with the centenary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme in WW1 which affected practically every British family, often with the loss of a loved one. The Theydon Singers gave their Golden Anniversary Concert, a Colombian illegal immigrant was discovered working in a local café, the TBRPS held its AGM preceded by a talk about the importance of bees, and the 29th Village Donkey Derby was held on the Village Green. A significant event in mid month was the appointment of Theresa May as the second woman Prime Minister in British Political history. The Village was once again judged as the Best Kept in Essex and the Theydon Bois Village News was judged third against forty other entrants from the County. The month ended with the remnants of a heat wave providing balmy but very dry conditions and the prospect of a possible drought.



June 2016


On an early warm June afternoon, moist air moved up from the continent resulting in flash floods in London, which trapped motorists in their cars, and caused further flooding in the Home Counties. The Environment Agency announced that 14.5 in (3.5 cm) of rain had fallen in some 60 minutes; the June total rainfall was usually around 4.0 cm for the entire month. Numerous lightning strikes were reported and some had affected local communications and power supplies. There were no reports of damage in the Village but the forecast was for more heavy showers in the next few days. Summer had arrived!

The first night of “Rumours”, the Neil Simon’s comedy staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society got off to a fair start despite the counter attractions of the Queen’s 90th Birthday Week, TV sport and the influence of bad weather. The humorous plot revolved around four couples at a celebratory dinner party and an absent Charlie (who never appears on stage). Rumours abound regarding Charlie’s whereabouts which are compounded by reported gunshots (possibly relating to Charlie) and other factors. One of the husbands has been involved in a motoring incident and when the police arrive to discuss the matter, it is immediately assumed that they are investigating the gunshots – and Charlie. Complete confusion then prevails!

Many villagers were either in London or watching on TV the  weekend events which celebrated the 90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Second.  The first was a Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral which was held for her faithful devotion to the country. Members of the Royal Family were present including the Duke of Edinburgh who was also celebrating his 95th birthday on that day.

The Queen’s Birthday events continued with the Trooping of the Colour on Horse Guard’s Parade by 1600 guardsmen in an annual display of military pomp, precision and colour. This was followed by a Royal Air Force fly past watched by the Royal Family from the Balcony of Buckingham Palace, and with some interest by the youngest members, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. There was also a maritime procession of historic craft on the River Thames. Royal salutes were fired at the Tower of London and elsewhere in the country.

The last of the Queen’s birthday events was held on the third day and included 10,000 representatives of Charities supported by the Queen, who attended a “Patron’s Seated Picnic Lunch” in the Mall. True to form, the weather did not cooperate and so waterproof “ponchos” were issued to keep the guests moderately dry as their enjoyed their hampers of food. Later, an improvement allowed members of the Royal Family to walk down the mall and greet the guests in a 30 minute “walkabout”. At a special viewing rostrum outside Buckingham Palace, Prince William thanked the Queen for what she had done during her long reign and she responded by thanking everyone for the birthday wishes she had received during the Year. This was followed by a parade featuring particular periods in the Queen’s reign with representatives of the charities and the Armed Forces.

The first day (Friday) of the Flower Festival at All Saints Theydon Garnon Church began quietly but with considerable support from churchgoers and the local community, despite the showery weather. This lovely Tudor Church was decorated with floral displays entitled Gardens of the World. During the three day period, historical tours were available around the site which is almost a stone's throw from away the M11 and M25 motorways. Entertainment included bell ringing, choral singing and a demonstration of sheep shearing where one unfortunate creature escaped after losing its winter coat. Stalls selling plants, homemade cakes, children's games/toys and books were busy and as was the refreshment marquee.

It was revealed that more than 80% of the world’s population live under light polluted skies. Scientists explained that a scientific study, with ground measurement and scientific data, was used to create an atlas of a world brightened by artificial lighting. The populations of Singapore, Kuwait and Qatar experienced the brightest night skies and those living in Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar were the least affected by light pollution. In the UK, at the Summer Solstice on 20th of June, the moon was full and with an enlarged, brighter and pink image with bands, despite UK light polluted skies.

The day of decision (23 06 16) for the British nation regarding membership of the European Union (EU) dawned with the South East experiencing another tropical storm of considerable intensity; local areas including nearby Romford suffered badly as did parts of Central London. Transport was severely affected with rail tracks, stations and motor ways flooded.  The Village experienced local flooding but this had mostly dispersed by midday which encouraged residents to attend the polling station at St Mary’s Church Hall to register their vote in the third national referendum to be held in the country’s history; those eligible were simply required to vote in favour of leaving or remaining in the EU.

Following the previous day’s torrential, rain the sun rose on an extraordinary day and a milestone in British history and politics. The results of the national referendum were announced in Manchester and revealed that the UK had voted to leave the EU. The Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside 10 Downing Street said that fresh leadership of the country was needed and that he would step down from office by October 2016. In the referendum he had urged the country to “vote remain” but was this defeated by 52% (leave) to 48% (remain) despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to stay. The UKIP Leader Nigel Farage hailed the outcome as the UK’s Independence Day, while Boris  Johnson said, specifically to young people, that the result would not mean ”pulling up the drawbridge”. Two Labour Party  MP’s submitted a motion of no confidence in their leader Jeremy Corbyn contending that he failed to give party members a clear message on the EU referendum.

Scotland’s first Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said that the outcome of the referendum was democratically unacceptable as Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will. Scotland had voted in favour of staying by 62% to 38% and the Scottish government would now begin preparations for another referendum for Scottish independence from the UK. The British overseas territory of Gibraltar had voted overwhelmingly to stay and in the wake of the UK’s exit, the Spanish government was calling for joint sovereignty of Gibraltar.

In the afternoon the “Wonders of Life Group” of the Epping Forest U3A held its monthly meeting in the TBVH to hear a fascinating talk given by Emeritus Professor Michel Green of the University of Sheffield. His subject was Priests, Piles and Parasites – Medical Mysteries of the Old Testament. This basically comprised his analysis of Biblical stories in the light of current medical knowledge. One example is Samson and Delilah where Samson probably lost his strength through poisoning and not by being shorn of his locks. Another was the pestilence which the Egyptians suffered in the time of Moses and the Exodus. This was probably from plague due to poor living conditions. There was good news from the churches of St Mary’s Theydon Bois and All Saints, Theydon Garnon when it was announced that the Rev John Fry will be the Vicar of the United Benefice which embraces both churches. He would also have pastoral oversight of the parishes of St Michael’s Theydon Mount and St Mary’s Stapleford Tawney. He will be installed in a service to be held at All Saints Theydon Garnon on Wednesday 5th October at 8 pm. The Rev John has been the Curate of the United Benefice since his ordination in 2013.

The political storm continued unabated following the decision of the electorate to leave the EU, and the almost prompt resignation of the Conservative Prime Minister from office.  Seasoned politicians, and others,
were amazed at the subsequent events taking place regarding the election of a new Party Leader and Prime Minster, and especially at the withdrawal from the contest of  the popular ex mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The candidates for the vacant office to be filled (hopefully) early next week were now ex ministers Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, Michael Gove, Theresa May and a new candidate Andrea Leadsom. The Labour party was also in confusion over its new Leader Jeremy Corbyn and there were strong moves within the party to replace him. The general  outcome of these current machinations in Westminster politics, which could affect all including the Villagers of Theydon Bois, was anybody’s guess and might change overnight - a week in politics was a long time!

A Train and Toy Fair which was held in the evening at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) attracted considerable support from model enthusiasts keen to acquire model trains, cars and related accessories at hoped for bargain prices. Some twenty stalls were well stocked and one even included a mint condition Meccano set. Organised by Joe Lock, a repeat event was planned for the early autumn.
The Men’s Forum of the Theydon Bois Baptist Church held its summer meeting in the TBVH to which lady guests were invited. The guest speaker was Margaret Rogers who talked in depth about Japan, its people, their customs, religions and fanaticism. She also mentioned its earthquake - prone geology, including Mount Fuji the sacred mountain, and the disasters which the country had suffered in the past; on the day of her departure from the country, the airport was shaken by several minor earth tremors. The forty eight attending the meeting then sat down to an excellent three course lunch following which the Chairman David Walling wished all present an enjoyable summer.
During May 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of Mary’s Church:
22 05 16    Chloe Amelia Given
19 05 16    Sylvia Joyce Penn
20 05 16    Vera Weston  at Parndon Wood.


June was a momentous month with severe storms both climatical and political. One month’s rain fell in some 60 minutes, accompanied by lightning strikes, which caused severe flooding and transport problems. The Queen’s 90th Birthday was celebrated nationwide in a three day event which included parades, street parties and beacon lighting, and in which the Epping Forest District took part. All Saints Theydon Garnon held a flower festival and it was announced that the Rev John Fry was to be ordained as the Vicar of the United Benefice which embraces both this church and St Mary’s Theydon Bois. The Men’s Forum of the TBBC held a successful summer luncheon with their ladies, and the Theydon Bois Players produced the comedy “Rumours” involving a character "Charlie" who never appears on stage. The Political storm arrived at the end of June with the National Referendum on EU membership where 52% voted for leaving and 48% for staying. The Conservative Prime Minster David Cameron announced his pending resignation, and an immediate “undignified “campaign began among candidates seeking nomination for election to the vacant office. The Labour party fared little better with strong moves to oust its new leader Jeremy Corbyn because of lack of leadership during the Referendum. This political instability was set to continue into July.



May 2016


 Voters throughout the country, were at the polling stations from early in what had been described as an election “Super Thursday” in May. Elections were taking place for the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly. In England 32 of 36 metropolitan boroughs, 19 unitary authorities and 64 district councils, including Epping Forest, were holding elections. Because of the close proximity of Theydon Bois to London, the election of a new London Mayor was of particular interest and Sadiq Khan (Labour) beat Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) to become London’s first Muslim mayor. Forty Police and Crime Commissioners were also being elected in Wales and England, and particularly in Essex where the current and first Commissioner for the County was not standing for re-election.

The Conservatives held on to the Epping Forest District Council and, in Theydon Bois, John Philip retained the Conservative seat with 831 votes against the 254 for George Lund (Liberal). Perhaps, most important, was the election of Conservative Roger Hirst to the office of Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex. His declared policy, basically, was to be tough on anti-social behaviour and reduce the disruption and distress it causes. Later in the month, the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) elected Councilor John Philip as Chairman and Councillor Peter Gooch as Vice Chairman.

In surprisingly glorious sunny weather, the Theydon Art Group held its 55th Exhibition in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Forty artists exhibited some one hundred and forty six different works in varying styles including water colour, acrylic, oil, batik on silk, line and wash, pen and wash, collage and mixed media. The event was well supported and many works were sold. The regular display of member’s paintings in the Upholsterer’s shop window in Coppice Row had undoubtedly helped increase interest in the Group, and also the attendance at this event.

A walk in the Deer Sanctuary Walk behind the Village in Epping Forest, as organised by the Theydon Bois & District Preservation Society, was a great success. A record number of 142 visitors were present including 20 children. Forest Keeper Michael Collins and his wife Angela relinquished their Sunday afternoon to give an interesting tour and talk about the Sanctuary.

Following the election of the new Labour Lord Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who had recently announced a revision of some London travel fares, a night time underground train service was planned to commence on the 19th August 2016. Central line trains would operate between Ealing Broadway and Loughton or Hainault. This night service would not include Debden, Theydon Bois and Epping. Local residents travelling out from London would have to make alterative arrangements (taxi) on from Loughton.

The almost wintry weather did not deter the many attending the Open Day at nearby Copped Hall, an event which was also the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the Copped Hall Trust and the start of the site restoration which is on going to this day. With the sun making a brief appearance, many strolled in the grounds to listen to the Harlow Brass band, visit various stalls featuring the Badger association, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, enjoy drinks, hot dogs and even ice cream, or else move indoors for lunches or tea and cakes in the Racquets Court. The many visitors enjoyed conducted tours around the Gardens and Mansion especially where the part restoration of the main staircase had just been completed. The event was organized by the active Friends of the Copped Hall Trust, and especially by the staff and cadets of the 414 (Epping) Squadron RAF Air Cadets who dealt with the important task of car park management.
On the May Bank Holiday Monday, St Mary’s Church took a starring role by holding a May Fayre and Fun Day. This was held in the TBVH because of the cold weather. Although the outdoor events were cancelled, the Hall was packed with stalls selling various items including more plants, books home bakery, ladies makeup/perfumes and more. A hot dog stall in the car park was very busy, so the weather did someone a good turn after all.

The bad weather continued unabated with cold strong winds and heavy rain. Parts of Essex experienced flash flooding and the seafronts at Southend and Canvey Island were badly affected with some roads being closed. In the Village, flooding was less prevalent as in the winter months due to the masses of foliage now on plants and trees which partially absorbed the extensive ground water. However, the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for more torrential rain.

The twice yearly bus fair was held at the TBVH with vintage buses of various makes and designs occupying the Hall car park. Several took to the road to carry non fare paying passengers, including fascinated young children, along local routes and through rural areas where these vehicles had once served the local communities.

Following on from the recent successful Fairlop Brass Band concert the TBVH was once again the venue for musical entertainment when the Geoff Short Orchestra held an evening of Song and Dance including popular melodies from down the years.

The Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club held its annual prize giving luncheon which was attended by 37 members and guests. The Club Chairman Frank Sparks and the Competition Secretary Marie Hammond presided, and a special guest was Past President Joy Wainwright who presented the awards. She said how pleased she was to be with the Club for this special occasion and congratulated all concerned for making the event a memorable one.


In the May elections a new London mayor and a new Essex Crime commissioner were elected - and the EFDC remained under Conservative control, another Bus Fair was held with vintage buses giving free rides around the area, the Theydon Bois Art Group held its 55th Annual Exhibition and the Short Mat Bowls Club enjoyed a well attended prize giving lunch, a walk in the local Epping Forest Deer Sanctuary, arranged by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society was almost was "over attended" to the surprise of the organisers, and St Mary’s Church held a May Fayre over an unduly cold May Bank Holiday weekend. The month departed with plummeting temperatures and heavy rain which caused Villagers to change back to winter clothing and switch on the heating – and look forward to a hopefully warm June!



April 2016


At the beginning of the month the new mandatory living wage came into force with employers now required to pay workers aged 25 and over the minimum of £7.20 an hour. This was a feature of the Chancellor of the Exchequers budget in midsummer 2015, to create a higher wage in the lower welfare sector of the economy. However workers aged between 21 to 24 years would still be entitled to a minimum wage of £6.70 per hour.

It was announced that Police forces in England and Wales would be recruiting an extra 1,500 firearms officers to help protect the public from terrorism. In addition there would now be more counter terrorism teams outside London and forty armed response vehicles. Most of the new officers would be funded by the government and trained within the next two years.

A national newspaper reported that the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) would use Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAVs) also known as “drones”, to survey structures and check on planning applications. However they had yet to be used due to trained operators not being available. It was also reported that other councils had used drones to check on the condition of council buildings, survey dangerous structures and monitor coastal erosion. This practice, however, could raise concerns regarding the invasion of privacy.

Junior doctors in England began a fourth walkout in their long running contract dispute with the Government. This 48 hour strike took place as the doctors were preparing a legal challenge to government’s decision to impose changes to their pay and conditions. Some other doctors were providing emergency cover but 5,000 operations and procedures had been postponed. An all - out two day strike was now planned for the end of April and would affect all care by junior doctors.

An extreme example of hearing loss due to excessive noise levels was revealed when an eminent viola player sued the Royal Opera House for loss of hearing when seated on front of the brass section of the orchestra. It is now common place for middle aged and even younger persons to suffer from high frequency hearing loss due to excessive sound levels at pop festivals, dance halls and places of entertainment; other high levels also responsible could be road/air transport, building sites and even children when playing in a contained environment. Consequently, many people now need hearing aids, visible or hidden, as an essential aid to general communication.

Current changes in the social activities of young people were highlighted by the Scouting Association when it announced that girls now comprised a quarter of the Scouts in the movement, and almost three quarters of new recruits. Since their introduction 25 years ago, the number of girls admitted has steadily grown to 144,000, including female adult volunteers. Of these 92,000 were girls meaning that one in four this total are is now  female, the highest proportion ever. One young female scout commented “Most people think that scouting is for boys but all are treated equally. For some years, girls have been included in the pre service cadet organisations, the RAF Air Cadets, Navy Cadets and Army Cadets.  Activities in these movements are more adult due to their service involvement, but both sexes are treated equally with the girls displaying the same enthusiasm for membership.

Following the fatal air crash at Shoreham air display in 2015 involving a ex military Hunter aircraft from the nearby popular North Weald Airfield, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had now stipulated an increased minimum altitude at which ex military jets could perform aerobatic manoeuvres and also an increased minimum separation between a civil display and the crowd. The CAA has also strengthened the requirements for feedback on safety issues. Some popular civil displays will now not be held in the UK this year, and North Weald will be holding a “fly - in” where historic and vintage aircraft, among others, can visit as normal air traffic and  be on static display.

  On a bright Spring Day in mid April, the relatives and many friends of local actor John Frederick Rapley, who died on 18 04 16 after a long illness, attended the Greenacres Woodland Burial Park at North Weald for a celebration of his life. The opening words were given by the Civil Funeral Celebrant, Daphne Wood who conducted the celebration. Friend Carl Murray read Joyce Bell’s “A Poem for John” and a special tribute by John’s partner Pat was given on her behalf by the Celebrant. Following the Farewell, Carl Murray also read the Navajo Prayer “Grieve for me, for I would grieve for You” and the gathering ended to the music of the Blue Danube waltz. A tribute “An Actor’s Life for Me” was given by Michael Reed, a fellow thespian and friend of many years. He revealed that “Rappers” as John was known to his associates was born and educated in East Ham where he developed an interest and aptitude for a number of academic subjects, and especially the theatre. Failing to follow a career in journalism, he turned to acting on an amateur basis and became a “pro”. He developed a successful career in television with parts in the Duchess of Duke Street, the Onedin line, Good night Sweetheart and many others. In 1984, he met Pat through badminton and some 16 years ago the pair moved into their home in Theydon Bois. Pat transformed John from a vagabond actor to a respectable member of the local community. He helped students at a Buckhurst Hill Drama School and most notably as Chairman of the Friends Committee for the local Wansfell College for adult education. Two final comments summarised the celebration of John’s Life; the Celebrant had concluded the occasion by saying "Our lives must be the better for having known John”. The other was Michael Reed’s closing remarks “John left us but a short time ago, but I’m willing to bet that he is already in rehearsal for the Celestial Repertory Company’s next production”.
The unique birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, on 22 04 16, when she reached the age of ninety years to make her the longest reigning British Monarch exceeding even that of Queen Victoria, was celebrated widely with parties royal salutes and fire beacons across the country. The Epping Forest District was involved with beacons lit at various locations. And residents of Theydon Bois joined the many who watched the lighting of the Epping beacon in Frampton Road Recreation Ground. This event was organised by the Epping Town Council and a special congratulatory message from Prince Charles to the Queen was read out as a proclamation. Beacons were also lit in similar circumstances at Loughton and Waltham Forest.

The Annual London Marathon took place with some 40,000 runners from 36 countries, and many spectators with some from Theydon Bois. The event was brought into the space age when the countdown was started from space by British Astronaut Major Tim Peake who was engaged on scientific research at the international space station. He actually took part in the  event  by running his own personal marathon using the space station exercise treadmill, and completing a distance of 262 miles (41 km).

The Fairlop Brass Band (Fairlop Brass) made its second return visit to Theydon Bois when it gave an evening concert in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) entitled Big Band Brass. The Band of 23 players was conducted by Kevin Jordan and, on this occasion, accompanied by the Thistles Singers. The programme included a good selection of musical items for which Glen Miller, Robbie Williams and Michael Bauble were noted and the large audience responded enthusiastically. Fairlop Brass originated from the Fairlop Junior School in Barkingside some 45 years ago when some of its members were also pupils of the Redbridge Music School. In its short history the Band has acquired considerable standing with its extensive repertoire and a series of contest successes.


Early in the month, thieves forced open the front door of a house in Poplar Road to steal jewellery. A further burglary, also in the Village  took place on the 11 04 16 at a house in Theydon Park Road where access was gained by smashing open the French doors at the rear of a property, but here the intruders were disturbed by a neighbour. Two men were seen making off in a silver or grey vehicle, and the police were seeking information regarding both incidents. There have been quite a number of burglaries around the village in recent months and police are advising villagers to check their properties and try to ensure they are secure.

The annual parochial church meeting was held in St Mary’s Church to elect new members to the Parochial Church Council and to celebrate all that had been achieved during the past church year.
Julian Sutton spoke about Making Sense of the Iridaceae at the meeting of the Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society, held in the TBVH.       

Members and friends of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society enjoyed a day visit to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Headquarters to view the “Wisley in Springtime” display. The TB Society has also weeded the flowerbeds at Theydon Bois Station in preparation for the planting, in April and May, of this year’s displays.

During March 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
             17 03 16    Maria Louisa Joy Byrne – Funeral in the Church followed by cremation.
             30 03 16    Amalachukwu Bushay – Funeral in the Church.

The NHS  managed to cope with a 48 hour all - out strike by junior doctors, there were several “forced  - entry” domestic burglaries in the Village, two “drones” were acquired by the EFDC for use by the planning department, a celebration for the life of resident and retired actor John Rapley, was well attended at the Green Acres Burial Park. Tthe Fairlop Brass Band made a welcome return for an evening concert in the TBVH, the Scouting movement continued to thrive with girls now comprising some 25% of membership, and the Queen's ninetieth birthday was celebrated with beacons lit at several locations  in the District and the London marathon was started by a  British Astronaut while orbiting the earth in the International Space Station. Finally, the weather remained very cold holding back spring growth for several weeks; but the end of the month saw a move to warmer weather and summer, possibly.



March 2016


During the last weekend in February, the Aurora Borealis – named after the Roman Goddess of the Dawn and better know in the northern hemisphere as the Northern Lights - made a spectacular appearance in the night skies of Northern and Central Britain. This spectacle occurs when charged particles from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with atmospheric gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. There were no particular reports of sightings over the Village which has particularly dark skies due to the absence of street lighting but the Village green is a popular vantage point for astronomical observations (Milky Way) as used by the Loughton Astronomical Society. Airborne studies of the Northern Lights could now be made via special three hour flights from the local Stansted Airport to northern locations in UK air space.

It was revealed that illegally – high levels of nitrogen dioxide were recorded at more than 250 monitoring sites in the East of England; the current law permits a maximum of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic meter of air (g/m3). Client Earth, a group of environmentalists, was planning High Court action over the illegally high readings. The Village lies in a small valley with the M11 and M25 motorways in close proximity and, despite the filtering influence of Epping Forest, the atmosphere can still be affected by motor vehicle pollution which is visible during damp winters and hot dry summers.

In mid month the problems of flooding returned to Central and Southern England after one day of heavy rain. The Village only suffered a good soaking but elsewhere, especially in the Midlands, roads were flooded, rail passengers stranded and schools closed. An area of intense low pressure was the reason and fifty Environment Agency warnings – each meaning immediate action required – were currently in force; more than 160 low level flood alerts were issued for much of England and Wales.

Plans to amend Sunday Trading Laws in England and Wales were unsuccessful following opposition in the House of Commons. A proposal to allow councils to extend Sunday opening hours was defeated with those against contending that a change would chip away at Sunday's special status and result in undue pressure on workers.

The National Health Service (NHS) appeared to cope well with the two day hospital strike by junior doctors - the latest in a series of strikes. But the second day saw difficulties with hospital bed overcrowding due to the absence of junior doctors to authorise the discharge of patients.

Dog owners in Essex were warned about an outbreak of babesiosis, an animal disease which is caused by a single cell parasite carried by ticks. In Essex, two dogs died and three others needed blood transfusions after contracting the disease. Experts had warned that it will be impossible to stop the disease from spreading.

Once again an unusual celestial body was seen in the night skies of Theydon Bois. At about 03.15 (when most villagers were asleep) a bright greenish/white object was seen moving from south to north and leaving a magnesium white trail. This phenomenon, described by some experts as a meteor, was also seen in Central London, Hampshire, Stafford and the East Coast of England.

The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus, was staged on three consecutive evenings in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) by the Theydon Bois Drama Society. In the play, Sister George is a leading character in the fictional BBC radio series Applehurst, as a district nurse who ministers to the medical needs and personal problems of local villagers. The play generated a diversity of characters which kept the audience intrigued and amused. This current production was well directed by John Haylett and supported by hard working members of the Society working back stage". It was also presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.

Good Friday events included the annual Walk of Witness from the St Mary’s and the Baptist Churches to the Village Shopping Area followed by a short open air service. In the evening Villagers attended St John’s Church, Epping, where the Epping Church Choirs Association gave a performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.

The Easter weekend was marred by high winds and rain associated with the incoming Storm Katie which caused wind damage in parts of the UK; at nearby Harlow, a young girl died when a bouncy castle was blown away. Easter Messages from leading figures were influenced by the terrorist incidents of the past weeks. The Archbishop of Canterbury urged people not to give in to the fear of terrorist attacks; Pope Francis said terrorism was a blunt and brutal violence that should be fought with the power of love. The Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK must stand together in the face of threats from terrorism.

Storm Katie blew in and out with a roar in the early Sunday morning leaving a trail of damage across the South of England with torrential rain and wind speeds of over 100 mph. There was partial flooding in the Village with some gardens awash with rainwater runoff from Epping Forest, and the Green and its ditches were also affected. Numerous trees were uprooted in the Forest and some property sustained wind damage including parked aircraft at North Weald airfield. Air travellers returning to the UK from holidays experienced severe delays due to air turbulence, especially during aborted landings, and the resulting diversions. Elsewhere rail passengers were further delayed by the Easter weekend track maintenance work. Road traffic was affected by the partial closure of the M25 Thames crossing.

A further result of the storm was a marked reduction in local retailing on the Easter Sunday and the Bank Holliday Monday. The storm damage in some local areas also prompted the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) to warn of “cowboy” builders” who might offer prompt repairs of a dubious nature at inflated prices,


The Women’s World Day of Prayer was commemorated in a service held in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC). The service for 2016 was written by the Christian women of Cuba.

The last of the 2016 series of Lent Lunches was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall and well supported despite the noises from overhead (described by some as mice in boots) resulting from the “re-roofing” of the building. The Revd John Fry welcomed all present and led a short prayer for the 31 killed, 300 injured and 61 critically ill as a result of the recent terrorist bomb attacks in Brussels.

The speaker at the March meeting of the TBWI was Maggie Radcliffe whose subject was Television from the 1950’s to 2000. At the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society March meeting in the TBVH, Martin Heard gave a talk entitled The Gardens of Impressionism which included those of the painter Monet and others of that period.

During February 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
15 02 16    Violet Weston – Funeral in Church
22 02 16    Audrey Margaret Sullivan–Funeral in the Church followed by committal the next day.
Burial of Ashes
17 02 16 Jill Guy
27 02 16  Doreen Duggett


In March it was revealed that illegally high pollution levels  of Nitrogen Oxide, from motor vehicle exhausts, especially near motorways were causing concern, the NHS  managed to cope with second junior doctors strike, dog owners were warned of a fatal canine disease caused by ticks and reminded that that all dogs now had to be “micro chipped” with details of breed and ownership, plans to extend Sunday trading hours were defeated in the commons, and once again an unusual celestial body (possible a comet) was seen in the night skies. Easter was marred by the usual pattern of bad weather except that this time it was made worse by Storm Katie which brought very high winds and heavy rain; but the traditional Easter services were held including the Good Friday walk of witness to the Village shopping area. The clocks were advanced one hour at the end of the month (27th) to establish British Summer Time and to confirm that spring had now really arrived.



February 2016


Trials in London with Google driverless cars were under consideration and at an early stage. These battery operated vehicles use a system of lasers, radar and cameras to detect objects around them in order to complete journeys. However, Google electronics said that it was only interested in trials in the US at present. The introduction of driverless cars, and then only for congested areas, is some years away so the likelihood of this innovation appearing on local roads (Theydon Bois?) in the long term was unlikely, except perhaps for motorways.

Once again there was turbulent weather across the country, and in mid month, storm Imogen roared in from the south west. Southern England was struck by hurricane force winds of up to 80 mph, heavy rainfall and the loss of power to some 1,800 homes. The Village appeared to have suffered only minimal damage but strong wind gusts were a hazard to those on foot, especially the elderly. Motorists also had to be wary and many had heeded the warnings from the Meteorological Office and stayed at home during the storm. Despite this, there was still considerable traffic congestion in both Essex and Kent due to closure of the overhead section of the M25 Thames Crossing, and the backlog of Europe bound heavy vehicles delayed by the cancellation of cross channel ferry services.

The indiscriminate use of drones (airborne model vehicles) continued to alarm the authorities, especially when used for criminal purposes. The metropolitan police were carrying out trials with raptors (eagles) to bring down and capture these devices when used illegally. Objections to this project came from wild life organisations and the farming community who feared that the use of such large birds, especially in the South of England, could disturb the natural balance of the local environment. Moreover, children en route to school could be alarmed by their presence, and the holidaymaker on the beach might find the hot dog - thieving seagull replaced by a fearsome eagle!

In mid month the body of Maria Byrne was found at a property in Morgan Crescent Theydon Bois. Her death was initially treated as unexplained but a murder enquiry commenced following a post mortem. Darren Byrne, 39, also of Morgan Crescent appeared subsequently at Chelmsford City Crown Court on a charge of murder.

With the pending closure of the Epping and Ongar police stations, among others in the County, due to financial "cut backs" in police services it had been suggested that local fire stations could also serve as police stations. This dual function, currently under consideration by the Essex County Council (ECC), would not only offset the possible closure of some  fire stations in the County but, most important, would continue to provide the important  police  access points which have served the general public well for many years.

A large congregation was present at St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois for the Memorial Service for Audrey Margaret Sullivan who died on the 11th February 2016. The Service was conducted by Sharon Guest, the Curate on Placement, during which a tribute was paid to Audrey for her staunch and active support of the Church of which she was a member. She was very active in village life being a member of several organisations, including the Music Society, and in particular the Theydon Bois Golf Club. Audrey moved to Epping after the death of her husband Arthur but still continued with her Village activities for some years.

Extensive repairs to the Central Line railway embankments north of the Village in the attractive areas of Fiddlers Hamlet and Theydon Mount had entailed the removal of an extensive screen of some forty year- old trees. This had generated protests from local residents who claimed that the M11/M25 motorways were now fully exposed to view so spoiling the vista of this attractive countryside. Moreover, motorway noise, air and night time light pollution had also increased considerably in these rural areas.

The second of the six 2016 Lent Soup Lunches organised by members of St Mary’s Church was held in the Church Hall. The proceeds of each lunch would be used to support various Charities; The Box, an Epping based youth charity, was supported on this occasion. For over ten years this charity has been providing a full time education programme, advice and counselling, learning opportunities, general support and a safe social space for local young people.

The second junior doctor’s strike within several weeks once again resulted in the cancellation of many operations and hospital appointments. The BMA rejected a final “take it or leave it” government offer which included a concession on Saturday pay. With the threat of further strikes, the government was now expected to impose a contract on junior doctors in England.

British Telecom (BT) announced the launch, later this year, of a scheme to divert nuisance phone calls within its network before they reach customer’s phones. A huge computing facility will be used to root out 25 million unwanted calls a week. Currently, BT customers can buy special phones that block nuisance calls, or pay to stop them getting through.

Pictures of a ”terrifying” leopard type creature published in an  Essex newspaper gave rise to reports of similar sightings in the Chelmsford area and fears of a danger to domestic and farm animals in the County; but a couple of local residents subsequently reported that it appeared to be their large Bengal cat which had been lost recently.

 A report from Public Health (England) revealed that that longevity was increasing in this region of the country. For those aged over 65, men could expect to live for another 29 years, and women for another 21 years; but many elderly people were also living in poor health. However, there were variations across England with the North East and North West having lower life expectancies for 65 year olds than in other regions

During November & December 2015 and January 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of
St Mary’s Church:

22 11 15  Iris Mai Frances Taylor
29 11 15  Ava Rose Weatherill
07 11 16  Leigh Bishop and Craig Withers
10 11 15 Ronald Louis Nash - Service in Church and Burial at Epping Forest Woodland Burial Park
28 01 16  Doreen Duggett – Service in Church and Committal at Parndon Wood Crematorium
Burial of Ashes
15 11 15  Rosemary Ellen Osborne
23 12 15  Christopher Edward Lisley Jones


February began with stories of a large leopard - like creature roaming the district (which proved to be a large cat of rare breed), trials of driverless cars were proposed (but hopefully not in Theydon Bois!), it was suggested that local fire stations should accommodate the counter services from police stations lost due to police station closure, the authorities were becoming increasingly concerned about the indiscriminate use of airborne drones, and also lasers directed at overflying aircraft. In mid month a woman died at a Morgan Crescent residence and a man was subsequently charged with her murder, two short strikes by junior doctors in local hospitals caused considerable disruption for patients awaiting consultation and treatment, and Villagers were pleased to learn that the BT phone service was using powerful computers to deal with the nuisance of unwanted calls. In conclusion, the strong and bitter winds of the month had now given way to warmer and bright sunshine as if to endorse the Meteorological Office contention that spring now arrives at the beginning of March (and not with the equinox). But, nature was now on the move at last.



January 2016


Villagers watching on TV saw the New Year celebrated 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. Some 12,000 fireworks from moored barges on the Thames complimented the centre piece of the London Eye in a magnificent fifteen minutes display. Celebration parties in the Village joined in with their own displays to the accompaniment of Auld Lang Syne as 2015 faded into history. Buses and Underground trains were running well into the early hours; but many spectators stayed on to view the festive illuminations or watch the London New Year’s Day parade.

An investigation revealed that hundreds of GP Surgeries in England had stopped taking new patients, or had applied to do so. The British Medical Association (BMA) said that many surgeries were at breaking point as they struggled to fill staff vacancies. In response, NHS England said that it was investing £15m to boost the work force. Medical services were severely stretched over the recent Christmas period due to the long holiday break. Many hospitals were on “black alert” as being overwhelmed by demand and patients were advised to seek the advice of pharmacists and to “self treat” at home.

The Royal College of Nursing also revealed that more than 10,000 vacancies for nursing places in London were not filled in 2015. This general shortage worsened last year with 17% of all London's registered nursing jobs being vacant, an increase compared with shortages of 14% in 2014 and 11% in 2013. The Department of Health did not accept these figures and said that London had 1,800 more nurses than a year ago.

The threatened 24 hour strike by junior doctors took place in many hospitals. Emergency cover had already been arranged and many hospital appointments and operations already cancelled or postponed in anticipation of this industrial action. The dispute was over weekend pay, career progression and the fear of over working. Following the strike, talks between the Government, the British Medical Association (BMA) and the conciliatory service ACAS recommenced amid warnings that the government could impose its controversial new contract on junior doctors, if necessary.

The TBVH was full for the last night production of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy Confusions comprising four short plays. In “Mother Figure”, a busy mother is paid a visit by a housewife neighbour whose matrimonial problems are exacerbated when the neighbour’s husband also calls. “Drinking Companion” featured a sales rep in a hotel who tries to lure a female guest to his room and loses out to the bar steward. “Between Mouthfuls” portrayed two couples dining at adjacent tables and arguing over matrimonial matters until both wives walk out leaving the husbands to discover they are old friends, and then depart for a reunion drink. “Gosforth's Fete” is the tale of a washed out Village Fete where a faulty speaker system reveals an illicit relationship and nearly electrocutes the council chairman and, finally, a “Talk in The Park” presents a humorous discourse between four strangers sitting on separate park benches. The cast of thirteen gave excellent performances throughout and the production was directed by Nicola Gilbert.

Early risers in mid month found that winter had really arrived with a biting wind and a light covering of snow from an overnight storm. Local temperatures were below freezing and minus 10 degrees (-14 C) was recorded for the second night in Scotland. The severe winter weather continued locally with hard, hoar, frosts at night and temperatures down to minus 5 degrees C. for at least three consecutive nights; paradoxically, there was bright sunshine during the day after freezing fog had dispersed.

The last Sunday of the month was sad occasion for the Village when the Rev Stephen Walker, the Vicar of the United Benefice which includes St Mary’s Church in Theydon Bois, held his last service at St Mary's before moving on to pastures new in Yorkshire, which is nearer to his parents. Afterwards, many of his parishioners from the Benefice and the many friends he had known during his Theydon Bois ministry and elsewhere, attended a farewell party in the Church Hall for Stephen and his family. The Assistant Curate, the Rev John Frye, would be in charge of the Benefice while a new Vicar was found.

After many months of discussion between the Essex and Kent road planning authorities, the proposed Lower Thames Road Crossing
linking Essex and Kent was agreed and details published for public consultation. For 50 years the Dartford Road Crossing has been the only road link across the Thames east of London. It provides a vital link between the Channel Ports, London and the rest of the UK. The proposal was basically for new road links which will connect the A2/M2 in Kent with a crossing (tunnel) east of Gravesend and Tilbury and joining the M25 in Essex between junctions 29 (Brentwood) and 30 (Aveley). The route options in Essex were : 1. Directly North to Dunton and Brentwood, 2. North via West Tilbury, Orsett and North Ockendon and 3. as in 2 but by passing West Tilbury. Although the Epping Forest District is some distance from the areas involved, the affect of increased traffic flows and the construction of the tunnel and new road links would almost certainly be felt in the local area where traffic congestion has been steadily increasing over the years.


The first 2016 meeting of the TBWI was held in the TBVH when Dudley Chignall gave a talk about the Canadian Rockies, which was backed by a selection of excellent colour pictures.

An insurance group revealed that more than one in five home insurance claims was rejected due to the complexity of policies. Confusion about what is covered by insurance policies was one reason why policy holders did not receive a payout. Other key reasons for rejection were normal wear and tear in addition to the damage caused by lack of maintenance in homes. In contrast, 99% of motor claims were usually successful.

An analysis study of exam results for state schools in England showed that girls in single sex state schools achieved better results than those in mixed schools. This advantage remained even when other factors such as social background or selective intake where taken into account. Girls from poorer families in single sex schools also got better results in this way.

A BBC News analysis found that police forces in England made only 14 arrests for every 100 burglaries. The number of burglaries each year had fallen but so had the proportion of arrests relative to recorded crimes. Figures published by the Office for National Statics showed that there were 392,341 burglaries in 2014/15 while Home Office data showed that 54,466 arrests were made for burglary.

The beginning of January saw the New Year welcomed with the usual fireworks displays – and an increase in train fares. The NHS experienced the usual winter overload, aggravated by a junior doctor’s strike. It was revealed that more than one in five insurance claims against domestic policies failed due to policy complexities, girls in single sex state schools were more successful than those in mixed schools, a new Thames road crossing was proposed for the M25 between Gravesend and Tilbury and, sadly, the Vicar of the United Benefice moved away from the district for pastures new. And, finally, the weather was “topsy – turvy” with a series of storms which brought  cold and strong bitter winds to the district which persisted up to the end of the month.


Earlier (2015) Months

Last Updated: 27th January 2017