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JUNE 2006




The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Coppice Row was packed to overflowing on 5 June for the Thanksgiving Service for the life of Catherine Amy Grosstephan who was brutally murdered at her home in Sidney Road Theydon Bois on 25-26 May 06. The Service was conducted by the Revd Anthea Cannell with the Revd Canon Colin Travers offering the prayers of intercession. A comprehensive, fascinating, and informative Family Tribute was given by Jim Surguy, Catherine’s son in law, which revealed how widely Catherine was known and how equally influential she was in her own quiet way. 

Following his visit to the Blunts Farm development last month, Sir John Harman, Chairman of the Government Environment Agency said that the development was run by an operator who had made millions of pounds importing thousands of tons of waste. He vowed to make the developer pay for abusing the licensing system. Average crime waste convictions were running at under £10,000 and so provided little deterrent for such operations and so he conceded that the Agency had few resources other than to follow up information provided by the public. The Agency was considering using its powers to force the operator to remove excess waste from the site. However, it would await the outcome of the developer’s appeal against the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) enforcement notices, and the views of the residents regarding any associated lorry movements, before proceeding further.

In a letter to the local Guardian newspaper, Mike Emmett of the Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) remained suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the granting by the EFDC of the planning application for the Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf Course development. There had been much concern regarding who was responsible for granting the application without adequate conditions.

The new leader of the EFDC, Councillor Di Collins, said that the Conservative-Independent coalition on the Council would work together as a team and target the decline of the high streets in the Epping Forest District and protect the green belt.  She announced six aims of the EFDC Cabinet: to reorganise the waste removal chaos, establish free parking on Saturdays to counter the decline in retail trade, preserve the green belt, support the facilities previously set up for teenagers and preserve the powers of parish and district councils. Of these, the most challenging would be striking a balance between protecting the green belt and creating affordable housing for young people.

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing warned that the Government was planning to use aerial and satellite photographs of homes and gardens to aid council taxation assessments. Despite Government Ministerial denials, she claimed that about two million homes hade already been identified as having “value significant features" which would increase council tax valuations. She also claimed that this information was being used to create a database of gardens, which detailed exact boundaries to facilitate housing developments

St Mary’s Church was again packed for another Service of Thanksgiving, this time for Patricia Mary Best who died suddenly on 30 May 06 at her home in Dukes Avenue. She had not been in the best of health for some years with an increasing infirmity but managed to lead an active life in the village, despite being widowed when her ex police officer husband Bill died in early 2005.  Once again the Revd Canon Colin Travers and the Revd Anthea Cannell officiated and Pat's sons Chris and Tim Best gave the Readings. Pat and Bill were well known in the Village and her passing closed a chapter in local community life. Pat was subsequently cremated.

During the early part of June, the Village joined in a surge of national pride due to England entering a team in the Football World Cup. The flag of St George, long neglected by the average Englishman and Briton, returned to sudden favour by being flown in numerous places, not least with smaller versions attached to motor vehicles. Many even bore the superfluous inscription “England” which, to some, reflected an ignorance of the true origins of the Flag while to others it represented the popular support for the English Team which had been successfully managed for some years by Sven-Gorman Eriksson, a Swede. The principal team members included the captain David Beckham, who lived in nearby Sawbridgeworth, and young goal scoring Wayne Rooney whose difficult recovery from a foot injury caused much concern. Thirty two teams were competing for the Cup in a series of matches played at various locations in Germany, with the final match due in Berlin on 9 Jul 06.

Global warning continued to be a reality (to some) as the increasing temperatures of the previous days reached a record 32.2 degrees C. (90.1 degrees F.) on 12 June 06, the hottest June day ever recorded in the UK. Once again speed restrictions were imposed for Central Line trains because of the buckling of rail tracks and bottled water was distributed to heat exhausted passengers at underground stations. The dry spell produced high ozone levels and those suffering from bronchial conditions (eg. Asthma); the elderly were advised not to venture outdoors, especially in the afternoons. And unnecessary car journeys were also not advised, if only to help minimise atmospheric pollution. And the weather remained true to form when the hot spell broke in the late afternoon of the next day with torrential downpours, which partly flooded local roads and caused extensive disruption on the London road and rail systems.

The Theydon Bois Drama Society (TBDS) received a favourable write up from drama critic Karen Hart for its performances of “Rope “ in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) on the 18 –20 June 06. The play concerned a rather macabre murder and, by dreadful coincidence, the first night was also the same night when Catherine Grosstephen was murdered at her home in the Village although both audience and players would have been unaware of this at the time. The plot related to two university undergraduates who murdered a fellow student and hid his body under the floorboards of their room. A leading role, Charles Granillo, was played by Simon Oliver, the son of veteran TBDS actor Martin Oliver. The hardworking cast produced a polished performance and the impressive set, designed by Graham James, even featured an atmospheric flickering fire.

The 26th Annual Theydon Bois Village Open Gardens Day on 26 June 06 was once again a huge success. Twenty-two private gardens across the    Village, some “park like” and others just simple family plots, were open to view and a few included small stalls selling plants and refreshments (Pimms No 1!) in aid of charities. The furthest away were at Warreners and Great Gregories in the north, and Theydon Park Road in the south and special minibuses provided free transport to these locations. Car parking, again free, was provided on the Village Green by kind permission of the Epping Forest management/City of London. The TBVH was the centre of operations and a constant hive of activity with ticket and programme sales, the provision of lunches and teas and as a general congregating area. The day concluded with a short Songs of Praise service on the patio of the TBVH conducted by the Rev. Canon Colin Travers and the Rev. Dr. Anthea Cannell of St Mary's Church with music provided by the Band of the Salvation Army from a local Citadel. The event      involved the efforts of a large number of people, not least the organisers Graham and Carol James, which illustrated the tremendous community spirit of Theydon Bois. The day raised well over £4,000 to support the upkeep of the TBVH and the Playground At Theydon (PAT) Charity.

At a recent hearing at the Harlow Magistrates Court, Nicola Marsden of the Theydon Pets retail outlet in Coppice Row was fined £100 (against a maximum of £500) and ordered to pay £225 towards meeting the EFDC prosecution costs after admitting to keeping a pet shop without a licence. Miss Marsden was prosecuted after an EFDC Environmental Officer purchased a guinea pig from her shop on 16 March 06 when a valid pet shop licence for the premises did not exist at that time.
The EFDC subsequently found a ”good home” for the guinea pig! 

Helen Lucas of Loughton, who works for the Woodland and Wildlife Conservation Company in Theydon Bois, skydived from 13,000 feet while strapped to a parachutist instructor to raise  £1,600 for the Alzheimer Research Charity in memory of her mother, father and brother. Much of this sum was contributed by members of the Theydon Bois Cricket Club and also her colleagues at the Conservation Company.

Some forty members of the Liberal Democrats Party attended a celebration lunch in the TBVH to thank former EFDC Leader Michael Heavens for his years of service to the Party, and also the community. Liberal Democrat colleagues including EFDC Chairman and Buckhurst Hill Councillor Ann Haigh and also Liberal Democrat Group leader Joan Whitehouse, paid tribute to his energy and commitment as a ward councillor. Michael retired from the EFDC in May 2006 and had now moved to Oxfordshire with his wife.

The current season of Men’s Forum Meetings organised by the Theydon Bois Baptist Church ended with a Summer Lunch in the TBVH to which the ladies were invited. Ex police officer Barry Kaufmann-Wright, also known as “The Wildlife Man”, was the speaker.

In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames wrote about powers of attorney.

Dr Warren of Woodland Way continued his adverse comments regarding the introduction of wheelie bins and especially the over-long fortnightly collection of domestic waste from these containers. He continued to be concerned about health problems resulting from pathogen–forming, unhygienic, smelly domestic waste.

During May and June 2006, the following entries were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church, TB:

27 05 06  Stanley Humphries and Glenys Ofield
10 06 06  David Heughan and Lee Stothert              

28 05 06 Isbella Beeby  
18 06 06     Ava Brown            

06 06 06  Patricia Best    
13 06 06     Charlie Smith
20 06 06  Catherine Grosstephan

Memorial Services
02 06 06 Eileen Wilson   
05 06 06 Catherine Grosstephan

Burial of Ashes
21 05 06  Walter Noble   
02 06 06   Eileen Wilson                  
03 06 06  Lydia Shepherd



MAY 2006



A high level meeting was held regarding the Parsonage Golf Development.  Present were Sir John Harman, Head of the Environment Agency, Eleanor Laing MP, Councillor John Eaton TBPC, Essex County Council (ECC) Councillors Kay Rush and Robert Glazier, Mike Emmett from TBAAAG (Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group) and an EFDC representative. The Environment Agency’s withdrawal of the exemption certificate for tipping at the site was still in place and the maximum fine the Agency could impose for illegal tipping was £8,000. It was alleged that the Parsonage Golf Developer was seeking to excavate another golf course near the existing Blakes Golf Course in North Weald.

Early on the Friday morning of 19 May 2006, a neighbour of Catherine Grosstephan who lived in Sidney Road TB noticed that Catherine’s curtains had not been opened. The police were called and Catherine was found dead in her living room. Initially, it was assumed that her death was from natural causes but investigations revealed that valuable jewellery, which she usually wore, was missing. A subsequent post mortem found that she had been asphyxiated and a subjected to sexual assault. A high level murder enquiry resulted which made the national headlines, partially disrupted village life and kept many residents  “on edge” especially when a hunt developed for a male murder suspect, a Scott Thompson, thought to be in the locality. He was finally found, charged with murder on Sat 27 May 2006, subsequently appeared before Chelmsford magistrates and was remanded. Aged 89 years Catherine was a popular member of the Village community but who tended to keep a low profile despite being active through the membership of many local organisations. She was very popular with a warm and friendly disposition, which endeared her to most people. The ways of the modern world did not seem to trouble her and this may have been one reason for her untimely death as she could not be bothered with alarm systems and often left her back door open. Catherine’s death was a salutary reminder of the dangerous times in which we now live and how it is now most important to retain the strong community spirit of Theydon Bois, to look after ourselves and our neighbours and especially those of advancing years.

The early spring weather turned hot for villagers to record their votes at the polling booths in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Three candidates were standing for the TB seat; Robert Glozier, Conservative (Cons) who was standing for re election, Roland Frankel Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) and Michael McGough UK Independence Party (UKIP). The counting commenced in the TBVH shortly after the poll closed at 10 pm. and it was not long before disaster struck for the Cons. After a recount, Roland Frankel  (721 votes) defeated Robert Glozier (693 votes) by a narrow margin. This meant that one of the four cabinet members on the EFDC was lost by the Cons and that, for the first time in many years, the Village did not have a Conservative member on the EFDC; at the end of the night the Cons were one seat short of a 30 seats overall which would have secured them an overall majority on the EFDC for the first time in 12 years. In an open letter to the press, Robert said that he was disappointed to lose by such a narrow majority and thanked all who had supported him during his six years in office. Another success for the Lib Dem was where the EFDC Councillor Janet Whitehouse, a resident of the Village was returned as the Councillor for Epping District of Hemnal.

A Government appointed planning inspector was briefed to decide the future of the now closed Wansfell College buildings, and its site in Piercing Hill. Planning applications to convert the building into 20 flats with on-site car parking and a new dwelling in the grounds were rejected by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) in February 2006. The application was considered to be an over development which would intrude on the local scene and generate traffic congestion, all to the detriment of local residents. The agents, Vivendi Architects LLP Ltd acting for the applicant Jason Cooper of Mountcharm Ltd, spoke of their surprise at the decision and had indicated that an appeal was likely.

The Theydon Art Group held its two-day 45th Exhibition in the TBVH. Some 145 paintings by 31 artists from the village and the surrounding area were on display. All were of high standard and quite a number were sold. The officers of the Group for this year were Roy Lees – Chairman, Barry Turner – Treasurer, Brenda Harris – Secretary, Pamela Priest – New Members Secretary and John Pierce – Exhibition Secretary.

The Spring Bank Holiday weather remained showery but brighter than the previous day’s damp conditions, which had helped make this May the wettest for 23 years. This followed an April with a rainfall slightly above average and a March with a 16% higher rainfall. This all occurred against the background of a current hosepipe ban for the local area, and drought orders being granted elsewhere in South East England. However the Government Environment Agency advised that the recent torrential downpours had done little to affect the current water shortage, which was now claimed to be greater than that experienced in the great drought of 1976.

Residents of Theydon Bois (TB), who are members of the Epping Forest University of the Third Age (U3A), enjoyed a day with a U3A Outings Group who travelled to Kent by coach. The first stop was Tenterden when, after a short period in the town, the party travelled by train (hauled by a steam engine) on the Kent and East Sussex Railway to Bodiam in Sussex. Here they spent a pleasant afternoon being conducted around the ancient Bodiam Castle and then enjoyed cream teas served by the National Trust, which owns and maintains the site. Despite heavy traffic on the motorways, the party arrived back at TB in the early evening thanks to the coach driver who used modern electronic maps to avoid the worst of the traffic congestion.

The TBHV was full for a special May meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society, when the popular 18 strong Madingley Camarata String Orchestra returned to give a concert of music by Handel, Nielson and Tchaikovsky. The conductor/violinist was Peter Pople, who was also a founder member of the Alberni Quartet. The concert was funded from a legacy to the Society from the estate of Hazel Hill who was a strong supporter and regular attendee at its musical events until prevented from doing so by illness.

Transport enthusiast, young and old attended a Transport Enthusiasts Bazaar, which was held at the TBVH. Inside were many stalls selling memorabilia and outside in the car park were a number of vintage buses and similar vehicles all in running order. For a small fee (bus ticket) one could ride in these vehicles and, from the upper deck, enjoy a different and enhanced view of both the village and Epping Forest.


At the May meeting of the TBPC, Councillor Robert Glozier was elected as Chairman and Councillor Susan Jones was elected as Vice Chairman.

The Craft Lines retail business in the Village was closing and the adjacent TESCO Superstore had agreed to the transfer of the Village recorded CCTV equipment to their premises from the Craft Lines location. The value of the system was proved by the use made by the police of the recorded information available during their investigations into the murder of Catherine Grosstephan.  

Two members of the Village News editorial team were honoured by the TBPC for their respective services to the village over some years. Tony Ames and Trevor Roberts were the conjoint recipients of the Village Rose Bowl Award for 2006; each will retain the Bowl for six months to avoid possible argument, and having to divide it into two halves.  

During the previous year, the TBPC had incurred substantial expense in making safe a large number of headstones in the Village Cemetery.

Some 35 ”toddlers”, accompanied by their parents and helpers from the TB Playgroup, took part in the Barnardo's Big Toddle walk to raise funds for this well known children's charity.

It is possible that the 7.5-ton weight restriction on the viaduct over the Central line would be lifted when the ongoing repairs to the structure were completed.

The Woodland Trust had acquired some 100 acres of land near the Village Cemetery by the M11 Motorway, and was seeking to plant trees and create an open area for community use and also a buffer area around the Village.

 Following complaints made by the parents of a boy resident in the Village, regarding his failing to secure a place at the Theydon Bois Primary School,  County Councillor John Spencer had discussed the matter with the ECC to ensure that this and other similar cases were properly reviewed in future.

Tom Finch of Barnmead TB and a pupil of Davenant Foundation School received a special award from the Epping Rotary Club for his support of the Breast Cancer Care Charity. In two years Tom raised over £600 by selling pink ribbons, Christmas cards, labels with tapestry inserts and holding raffles.

A public meeting was held in the TBVH to launch a search for the 50 most favourite trees in the Epping Forest District.

During April and May 2006, the following entries were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

Funerals:               28 04 06     Graham Robert Avery

Burial of Ashes:      03 05 06     Ernest Charles Mynott


APRIL 2006 


 April the First was anything but an “all fools day” for the Committee of the Playground At Theydon (PAT) Charity with the official reopening of the Playground following the major refurbishment of the play surface. The occasion was also an Easter Gala with stalls and other entertainment for the many young children who were present. The event commenced with a balloon race and then Joy Wainwright, Chairman of PAT welcomed all to the event and thanked the Committee for its hard work in raising the £28,000 required for the resurfacing, and particularly for their organisation of today’s event.  John Eaton, Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), formally reopened the Playground and thanked Joy and the Committee for their resolute support of PAT over many years, especially the Committee Secretary Fiona Bradley, who had pursued him relentlessly for financial support from the TBPC, which he was pleased to reveal had amounted to £5,000

Together with other water companies in the South East of England, the Three Valleys Water Company supplying Theydon Bois (TB) introduced a ban on the use of hosepipes and sprinklers for domestic use. This particularly applied to watering gardens although ponds could still be filled if containing fish, and the washing of paved areas was also still permitted. This ban followed two successively dry winters in the South East, and the driest 15 months since 1933. Consequently, water companies were encouraging conservation with the use of storage facilities (water butts) and the general introduction of water meters for consumers.

Members and friends of the Theydon Bois Music Society travelled by coach to the Barbican Centre in London to attend a concert given by the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor David Runnicles. The programme opened with the melodic Serenade for Strings by Elgar and ended with the mighty Symphony No 1 by Brahms. However, the main attraction was the popular Piano Concerto No. 25 by Mozart,  brilliantly played by the international Swiss pianist Andreas Haefliger.

A possible change in the political composition of the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) was forecast when the list of candidates for the 2006 EFDC elections on 4 May 06 was announced. Three council leaders were standing down and four councillors retiring. It was possible that the Conservatives, who were four seats short of overall control in the last election, could this time achieve their objective. In TB, Robert Glozier (Conservative) its current District Councillor was standing again; the other candidates for this seat were Roland Frankel (Liberal Democrat) and Michael McGough (United Kingdom Independence Party).

It was announced that Theydon Bois would be entering the 2006 Best Kept Village Competition run by the Rural Community Council of Essex   and sponsored by Calor Gas.

The last in the series of six Lent Lunches running up to Easter was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall. During the meal, the Rev. Canon Colin Travers, announced that the lunches had raised a total of some £1,200, which would be used to support church missions both at home and overseas.

Dick Leng, formerly of Barnmead TB and President of the Probus Club of Epping, handed over the reins of office to George Pamphilon at the Club’s AGM. During his successful year, Dick had arranged for a number of excellent speakers to address the members at its monthly meetings and had helped increase the membership by personally introducing four new members. This was just one example of how Theydon Bois residents were active elsewhere in the local community, particularly Epping.

The last night of the “Rope”, the current production of the Theydon Bois Drama Society was the usual successful event and well supported by villagers and residents from the local area.

Dr John Warren of Woodland Way TB continued his criticisms of the EFDC’s new refuse collection service, and the introduction of wheelie bins, by revealing that the EFDC had voted for a “fast track” introduction of fortnightly wheelie bin collections without proper trials or the consideration of feedback from residents. It now appeared that 1,000 complaints a month were being received about waste collections, which had now required the setting up of a special committee to consider this situation.

The EFDC refuse collection debacle continued when South Herts Waste Management (SHWM), the company responsible for waste collection and street cleaning throughout the district, went into administration.  The EFDC now had to pay out £200,000 to find a new contractor and come to a "negotiated settlement" with SHWM, over a seven-year contract with the EFDC begun in October 2002.

Tony Ames of Hill Road TB, a volunteer adviser with the Loughton and District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and a regular writer the CAB Column in the local press, dealt this month with the problem of an unmarried couple with children who had now separated and where one of the partners was changing the name of the children without the consent of the other. He gave particular advice and also recommended a visit to the Loughton CAB which offered general guidance and information on any subject including welfare benefit, consumer problems, housing issues, relationship problems employment and debt. However the case in question highlighted one of the many social problems which now existed in the country’s fast changing society

A presentation on men’s health was given at the annual meeting of the Epping Forest Patient and Public Involvement in Health Forum held one evening at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The guest speakers were Malcolm Perry from Prostrate Support, Colin Osborne from the Orchid Charity and Nikki Scarlioli from the Epping Forest Primary Care Trust.

Ashley France of Woburn Avenue TB took part in the 14th London Marathon and completed the 26.2 mile course in 4 hours 35 minutes. He was running in aid of the charity Leukaemia Research and gave further support by raffling meat at his local pub, the Bull Inn, to raise a grand total of £1,300.

Following the publication of “threats” by Phil Newman of Blunts Farm Estates TB to build 4,500 homes on the Blunts Farm site, Jim Watts of the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society gave a strong and robust response. He contended that the threats were clearly “kite flying” aimed at intimidating TB residents and their representatives into backing down on the present enforcement action on the site. The developer was well aware of all the planning laws with regard to green belt land and that planning applications have to go through the normal planning process; also that they have far less chance of success than the building of certain recreational facilities. The government had given clear guidance on the protection of the Green Belt and this is fully supported by the EFDC. It would require a major revision of Government Green Belt Policy to allow this amount of building in TB; even the deeply flawed strategies of the East of England Plan recognised that there should not be building in this part of the Epping Forest District.

During the evening, model railway enthusiasts of all ages crowded into the TBVH for a Toy and Train Fair. Although these events are usually a male preserve there were a surprising number of ladies present, some of whom were well informed about “toys and trains” and who could give expert advice, especially regarding transactions.  Many items were on sale and valuations were also available.

The Theydon Bois Tennis Club supported the Breast Cancer Research charity with a charity tennis event at their Sidney Road courts in TB. The event was open to all tennis players over 16 years and it was hoped to raise at least £600 for this charity.

The Theydon Bois Singers celebrated their fortieth anniversary with an evening Spring Concert before a large audience in the TBVH. Their programme comprised three works; Handel's Zadok the Priest,  Mozart’s Requiem and Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens. The soloists were Frances Chilvers – soprano,  Kirstie Mathieson – contralto,  Chris Joyce – tenor and Mark Hansford - bass.  Janet Cass conducted and the Paul Chilvers was the accompanist.

Tragedy struck one evening on a notorious stretch of the Theydon Road near the Theydon Bois Golf Club.  A Ford car travelling towards Epping struck a tree and a 51-year-old man in the front passenger seat was killed. The road was closed for five hours while emergency teams cut a woman, believed to be the driver, from the wreckage. Although apparently uninjured, she was subsequently taken to Princess Alexander Hospital in Harlow and then arrested in connection with the accident and released on police bail.

During March and April 2006, the following entries were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church, TB:

Marriage                06 04 06     Paul Sauvary and Amy Mohns

Baptisms               19 03 06     Davey Perriment    26 03 06     Daisy Eaton

02 04 06     Georgina Crispin

Funerals                20 03 06     Ida Horn

Burial of Ashes       12 04 06     Philip Blumson        15 04 06     Gladys Shales



Copyright 2006/7. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


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Last Up Dated: 24th July 2006