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LOUGHTON: Grant for youth counselling

12.26pm - 21st February 2018

THE Spark youth charity based at Loughton Youth Centre in Borders Lane has received £500 from the Haslers Foundation. 

The money will go towards the cost of providing counselling for young people in the local area. 

Spark offers a counselling service with currently no waiting list and on a donation-only basis making it affordable for everyone. 

For more details, ring Spark on 020 8508 6743 or email spark@worthunlimited.co.uk

   

LOUGHTON: Launch of Loughton Art Trail

11.52am - 21st February 2018

LOUGHTON Art Trail 2018 will be officially launched on Saturday (February 24). 

Organisers are on the lookout for a wannabe Picasso or an aspiring Michelangelo, or someone inspired to paint the grandeur and heritage of Epping Forest. 

Alternatively it could be someone who has taken an amazing holiday photo. 

Loughton Art Trail is appealing to local artists who want to see their work displayed in pop-up venues around Loughton during the last two weeks in May. 

This will be the third Loughton Art Trail, which is part of Loughton Festival and the Essex Summer of Art.

The Trail creates a feast of visual arts across the town in libraries, Epping Forest College, Restore Community Centre, Loughton Methodist Church and shops and other businesses. 

Local artists can showcase and sell their paintings, photos, sculptures and crafts. 

The Trail also includes walks and talks, workshops and family-friendly events, with children’s activities in half-term week (May 26 to June-2). 

The call for artists is the Trail’s launch event, and takes place at the opening of the LifeWorks Art Hub, a new creative space in Loughton. 

The Trail organisers are town councillor Stephen Pewsey, LifeWorks co-ordinator Jenna Thorne and local artist and art teacher Ruth Dronsfield. 

Mr Pewsey said: “This is an opportunity for all of us in Loughton to enjoy the work of local artists and to join in as well and get creative.” 

For further details, visit the Loughton Art Trail Facebook page. 

For application forms email loughtonarttrail@gmail.com

   

EPPING/ONGAR: Grant success for railway

8.47am - 20th February 2018

THE Epping Ongar Railway is to become more disability-friendly after a successful bid to the Stansted Airport Community Trust to provide a fully accessible coach on its regular heritage services.

The Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society and Epping Ongar Railway made a joint bid for £2,000 to the Stansted Airport Community Trust earlier this year. 

The money will be matched by the railway and society to give a total fund of £4,000 for the conversion. 

The guards' van of one of its coaches will be insulated, heated, fitted with lights and suitable seating and with double-width doors to ensure passengers with disablities can travel in comfort. 

Epping Ongar Railway business development manager Dean Walton said: "I am really pleased we will soon be in a position to provide much better accommodation on board for our disabled passengers and I am grateful for the support from the Trust and the Society for this project." 

The carriage that will be used is an ex-BR Mark 1 ‘BCK’ - a traditional compartment coach but with a large luggage and parcels area. 

The carriage is currently undergoing a major refurbishment but the money will allow the parcels area to be upgraded so it is suitable for use by disabled passengers and their families. 

It is hoped the project will be finished in 2019. 

Stansted Airport Community Trust chairman councillor Susan Barker said: "The trustees are delighted to support this worthwhile project in the local community. In their application the railway explained that they wish to open up this great local attraction to more people, and this grant will go some way to helping them achieve that." 

Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society chairman Wililam Dale said: "I would like to thank with appreciation councillor Susan Barker for helping us to be awarded the grant. "I am very pleased to receive the cheque from Susan on behalf of the EORVS. 

"The society’s volunteers work hard to restore and maintain the carriages. This is a great vote of thanks for their hard work and for that I would like to thank the Trustees for their support. 

"I look forward to welcoming councillor Barker back next year to view and possibly ride in this newly-restored coach."

   

EPPING: Bowls club gets £1,000 boost

8.09am - 20th February 2018

EPPING Bowls Club has received £1,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. 

The club was chosen as one of three local projects to benefit from the scheme in November and December when customers could put blue tokens in boxes supporting local causes each time they shopped in a local store. 

The club will put its money towards the cost of replacing at least one of its mowers. 

Epping Bowls Club, established in 1891, is based in Lower Bury Lane and is keen to recruit new members for the new season starting in April. 

Free 'Come and Try’ days will be held on Sunday, April 29, and Sunday, May 27. 

Club secretary Anne Munro said: "This is a great injection for club funds and we are delighted. Thank you to all who put their tokens in our box. Bowls is a great game for all the family." 

For more about the club visit http://www.eppingbowlsclub.co.uk/ or email Anne Munro at a43munro@btinternet.com

   

#EEF999LIVE: DEBDEN: Armed raid at convenience store

8.56am - 19th February 2018

A MAN armed with a knife fled with a three-figure sum of cash after threatening a member of staff at the Martins store in Pyrles Lane, Loughton. 

The incident happened at about 8.30am yesterday (Sunday). 

The armed man left with an accomplice who stood by the entrance. 

A quantity of cigarettes was also taken. 

The man with the knife had a scarf covering his face. He has been described as white, of medium build, about 5ft 10ins tall and may have had a grey rucksack. 

Police have issued a CCTV image in connection with their investigation. 

Anyone with any information or CCTV and dashcam footage from about the time of the incident should ring Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 

PICTURE

   

ONGAR: Women rescued from car stuck up tree

8.55am - 18th February 2018

TWO women had to be freed from a car after it crashed into a tree in High Street, Ongar. 

An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the vehicle was left in a precarious position about 4ft off the ground by the entrance to Zinc Arts near the Four Wantz roundabout.

Firefighters from Harlow and Brentwood stabilised the vehicle before freeing the two women who were both left in the care of the ambulance service.

The incident happened shortly after 11pm last night (Saturday).

   

#EEF999LIVE: DEBDEN: Boy injured in robbery

8.16am - 18th February 2018

A BOY suffered cuts to his face, legs and body when he was involved in an altercation with two men who robbed him of his phone and watch in Debden.

Police say the men approached the 17-year-old victim as he sat on a bench in Torrington Drive at about 10.30pm on Friday and demanded the items. 

The boy was taken to hospital for stitches for his injuries. 

The suspects, who ran off, have described as white. One was wearing a black balaclava and the other a face mask. 

Anyone with any information is asked to ring Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

LOCAL PLAN: BUCKHURST HILL: Decision to keep Lower Queens Road site in Local Plan "utter madness"

2.26pm - 16th February 2018

THE decision to include business premises in Lower Queens Road as a site for housing in the district council's Local Plan has been described as "utter madness".

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley also condemned the move when he visited the area last Saturday and supported councillors Steven Neville and Simon Heap in their efforts to try and get the site removed. Mr Bartley visited the four shops and spoke with the owners and workers. 

He said: "The shops are vital to the local community. In particular I was struck by the launderette which has been there for decades and is the only one for miles around and used by hundreds of people and how reckless Epping Forest District Council is in threatening it with closure by inclusion in the Local Plan."

Mr Neville said: "It was a real privilege to have Jonathan down to show his support for the shops and for the residents who live above. 

"I really do not think the district council has not thought this one through thoroughly enough as this will have a big social and economic impact. These are four thriving locally-owned businesses, the very sort we should be supporting." 

Mr Heap said: "It is utter madness to keep this site in the local plan. At best it gains 15 extra units but that involves the removal of tenants and the ruination of the existing thriving businesses. 

"It is, at the very least, ill-considered. It is council-owned but that does not mean the residents can be dismissed from the equation."

   

#EEF999LIVE: BUCKHURST HILL: Woman charged with murder and neglect after death of baby

7.26am - 16th February 2018

A WOMAN has been charged with murder and neglect following the death of a seven-month-old baby in Buckhurst Hill.

Police were called by the ambulance services to an address in Buckhurst Hill at about 3am on Tuesday, August 15 last year. 

A baby was taken to hospital and later died.

Tests showed the child had suffered multiple fractures. 

A man and a woman were arrested on Monday, August 21. The man has been released without charge.

Shalina Kukkundoor Padmanabha, 31, of Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, has been charged with murder and is due at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court today (Friday).

   

DISTRICT: Book charts woman's cancer battle

12.50pm - 15th February 2018

A BUSINESSMAN from Chigwell has fulfilled his wife’s wish to publish her inspiring biography to help other cancer patients, following her death. 

Russell Brenner, 52, has published Lisa'’s biography, 'Cancer and Bling', with a portion of the profits going to St Clare Hospice where Lisa received care from February to May 2016. 

The remaining profits will be split between two other charities close to Lisa’s heart, the Helen Rollason cancer charity and Isabel Hospice. 

Lisa was first diagnosed with cancer in 1996, at the age of 31, shortly after the birth of her son, Marc. 

Lisa lived through cancer for more than 20 years, using her experience to also campaign for better treatment and raising awareness of the need for early diagnosis. 

Lisa was also instrumental in campaigning for the drug Herceptin to be made available on the NHS, appearing on Sky TV News while having chemotherapy in 2000. 

Lisa was cared for by the St Clare Hospice at Home team in her home, as well as spending time on the Inpatient Unit in Hastingwood in May 2016. 

Lisa died on May 3 last year, aged 52. 

She wrote about her experience with cancer from her first diagnosis with the intention to inspire other people living with cancer to ‘not give up’ and it is these writings which form her inspirational biography.

Russell said: "Lisa was going through hell but she never let cancer win. Lisa won. 

"She was happy, never miserable, and I think that’s the reason she lived for so many years after first being diagnosed. 

"Lisa was very glitzy and glamorous, and she loved life. She loved anything sparkly! That’s why her book is called 'Cancer and Bling'. 

"Lisa would always put her make up on, get dressed, and go out and do whatever she wanted to do." 

He added: "Now, less a year on from Lisa’s death, I have published her book – as Lisa asked me to. She was writing about her fight with cancer right from the very start - to help and inspire other people with cancer. 

"Lisa wanted her experience to benefit others and to inspire them to stay strong and live life to the full. 

"I hope that her readers will find the book a beacon of hope and that her bravery and glamorous approach to her illness will serve as an inspirational tale to all of us who face obstacles in life.” 

Russell said: "St Clare’s was one of the highlights of Lisa’s time in care. St Clare is like an extended member of your family. 

"Everybody that works or volunteers at the hospice genuinely cares about what they do and you just love them from the minute you meet them. 

"St Clare’s is beautiful - the grounds, the rooms and the garden. Lisa and I would sit out on the patio in the garden together, which was lovely. 

"I think that what St Clare’s does is absolutely incredible. 

"My over-riding memory of St Clare would have to be that you always had somebody there to talk to. I knew that if I had a problem with anything, I could ask. I didn’t feel like I was alone." 

'Cancer and Bling' is on sale priced £9.99 in the St Clare Hospice shops and is also available online at https://projectypublishing.com/pre-order-cancer-and-bling/ 

To read Russell’s full story, visit the St Clare Hospice website https://stclarehospice.org.uk/care/stories/

   

DISTRICT: Foodbank launches Lent challenge

11.32am - 15th February 2018

EPPING Forest Foodbank is encouraging people to take part in its #40for40 Challenge in the run-up to Easter. 

Epping Forest Foodbank leader Heather Scholer said: "With people struggling to afford food living locally, it is important that we can continue to support families in crisis throughout the Easter period. 

"We provide essential emergency food, emotional support and practical advice to families who live near you and really need us." 

Epping Forest Foodbank is asking people to give up 40 pence for 40 days. 

With the addition of Gift Aid this comes to £20.

People are also invited to challenge themselves to give something up during this period, and donate the cost of what they save to Epping Forest Foodbank.

At the end of Lent, on March 31, supporters are asked to bank the money they have raised and send a cheque (made payable to Epping Forest Foodbank with ‘Lent’ on the reverse) together with the Gift Aid Form which can be downloaded HERE - to Lent Appeal, c/o St Mary’s Church, 201 High Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1BB.

   

DISTRICT: Former council leader "instrumental in shaping council in to what it is today"

11.30am - 15th February 2018

FORMER Epping Forest District Council leader Di Collins, who died on Tuesday, will be remembered as the woman who was "instrumental in shaping the council in to what it is today". 

Mrs Collins was a district councillor for 19 years. 

The district council flag at the Civic Offices in Epping has been lowered today as a mark of respect.

Council chairman David Stallan said: “My deepest condolences as chairman of the council go out to her family for their sad loss. It was an absolute pleasure and an honour to serve in Di’s cabinet as housing portfolio holder. 

"She was well respected politically across the chamber and for her charitable work across the district. "We will be inviting full council to stand for a minute’s silence on February 22 in tribute to Di’s memory. 

Council leader Chris Whitbread said: “I’m saddened to learn of Di’s passing. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very sad time. 

"As leader, she was instrumental in shaping the council in to what it is today and we are indebted to her for this. 

"She was dedicated to the people of Epping Forest and will be greatly missed not only by her colleagues but for the work she has done for the people across the district.” 

Mrs Collins first became a district councillor in 1991 and was elected to represent the Epping Hemnall ward, which she did until 1999. In 2001 she was elected to represent the Passingford ward and served until she retired in 2012. 

She became Conservative Group leader in 2004 and became council leader in 2006, a role she undertook for six years. 

She was a member of many committees and panels and also represented the council on many outside organisations such as Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, the East of England Regional Assembly, the Corporation Board of Epping Forest College and the East of England Local Government Association. 

Loughton Roding ward Independent councillor Stephen Murray said: "I saw Di in action for all of her 11 years on the district council and always held her in very high regard. 

"Although we rarely had similar views on major local issues, she always gave of her best, was very approachable and was very happy to work with councillors from across the council to help solve local issues." 

She was known to the council as a dedicated and compassionate fundraiser. 

Mrs Collins supported many local charities and community groups. She was chairman of the then Epping Forest Primary Care Trust, where she supervised the construction of the new St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping. 

Mrs Collins also held positions such as chairman of the Board of Governors of Epping Forest College, chairman and later president of Epping Forest Conservative Association and was a governor of Epping Junior School. 

She was a major fundraiser for national and local charities including the RNLI, Abbeyfield Society, St Clare Hospice and the League of Friends of St Margaret’s Hospital. 

In 2013 - a year after she retired from her role as councillor - she was awarded the accolade of Citizen of the Year for her commitment to the district, its people and to the council.

   

DISTRICT: Recruitment drive for volunteer police cadet leaders

8.52am - 15th February 2018

A RECRUITMENT drive has been launched for Volunteer Police Cadet leaders in the district. 

Following the success of the Volunteer Police Cadet programmes across the county, the search is on for more volunteers to work alongside police officers, staff and Specials to become Volunteer Leaders, assisting with running weekly Volunteer Police Cadet evening sessions. 

Previous experience in working with young people would be an advantage but is not essential. Training and support will be given. 

Anyone interested should email volunteer.police.cadets@essex.pnn.police.uk

For more information about the role, ring Citizens in Policing Officer Neil Dibell on 101 ext 110025.

Volunteer Police Cadets is a national, uniformed voluntary youth organisation and is currently being delivered successfully in Essex and many other force areas. 

The scheme is open to young people aged 13 to 18, including those vulnerable to crime or social exclusion. 

The VPC offers a variety of opportunities to the young people involved, many of which would otherwise be well beyond their expectations. 

The aim is to prepare young people for their future by providing varied activities and opportunities to develop qualifications, enhance their inter-personal skills and confidence, and achieve a sense of pride through supporting community policing.

   

#EEF999LIVE: DEBDEN: Man arrested over armed raid

4.01pm - 14th February 2018

A MAN has been arrested over an armed robbery at the McColls store in The Broadway, Debden, where a man armed with a knife stole a three-figure sum of cash. 

Police say a man, from Loughton, is in police custody following the incident which happened shortly before 6.30am today. 

A police spokesman said two men were reported to have gone into the store, one of whom selected a soft drink which he took to the counter. 

As the till was opened by the staff member, the man with the bottle produced a knife and pointed it at the victim. 

He reached over and stole the cash tray which contained a three figure sum of cash. 

Both men then left the shop.

Officers are conducting enquiries to establish the whereabouts of the man reported to have been carrying the kitchen knife. He was described as white, aged in his mid-20s, 5ft 6ins tall, of average build and with a local accent. 

He was wearing a black baseball hat and dark clothing. 

Anyone with any information should ring detectives at Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

DISTRICT: Death announced of former council leader

3.08pm - 14th February 2018

EPPING Forest District Council has announced the death of former council leader Di Collins. 

Mrs Collins, who died yesterday (Tuesday), represented the Passingford ward as a Conservative councillor from 2001 to 2012 and was council leader from 2006 to 2011. 

She was leader of the Conservative group from 2004 to 2011. 

Councillors will observe a minute's silence at the next full council meeting on Thursday, February 22. 

Mrs Collins served on many of the council’s member bodies including the current and former area plans sub-committees, the finance and performance management cabinet committee, the joint consultative committee, licensing panel, local development framework cabinet committee, North Weald Airfield strategy cabinet committee and the previous overview and scrutiny committees. 

Mrs Collins, whose son, Tim, was MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale from 1997 until his defeat at the 2005 general election by Tim Farron, later leader of the Liberal Democrats, also represented the district council on many outside organisations.

These included the Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, the Association of Essex Authorities, the Care and Repair Management Committee, the Waste Management Partnership Board, the East of England Regional Assembly, the Corporation Board of Epping Forest College, the East of England Local Government Association and the General Assembly of the Local Government Association. 

Away from her council work, Mrs Collins - who lived at Theydon Garnon - was a supporter of many local charities and often hosted fundraising events at her home. 

They included events for the League of Friends of St Margaret's Hospital, of which she had been a leading figure, and the Friends of Jubilee Lodge at Chigwell.

   

DISTRICT: Former West Essex Gazette editor dies aged 91

7.28pm - 13th February 2018

A LONG-time editor of the then West Essex Gazette has died aged 91. 

Dennis Wood - who was born to parents Rose and Arthur at Toot Hill on December 26, 1926 - died peacefully at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, on Tuesday, February 6. 

Dennis attended school locally before joining the ATC at the age of 15. 

He tried to join the RAF in 1944 but failed and went on to work down mines as a Bevin Boy. 

He finally joined the Army in June 1946 and spent a couple of years in Singapore and Malaya. 

His journalistic career began after he was demobbed in 1948 and applied for a post as trainee reporter with the West Essex Gazette. However he was turned down for being too old, at the age of 21. 

Several years later a chance meeting with a young female cub reporter, Christine, in the Kings Head, Ongar, resulted in him being offered a job on the West Essex Gazette - and marriage. 

Dennis married Christine on March 21, 1959, and bought a bungalow in Magdalen Laver. 

They had two sons. Nicholas was born in 1961 and Jonathan in 1964. 

Dennis spent many years with the West Essex Gazette, - which became today's Epping Forest Guardian - including many years as editor. He retired in 1991. 

Paul Davies - Guardian-Gazette reporter, sub, editor, and ultimately Group Editor 1970-1995 - said: "Everyone who worked with Dennis spoke of him with affection. 

"He had a great sense of fair play both in his dealings with others and in his journalistic principles. It won him respect not only among his colleagues but with community leaders and members of the reading public. 

"His knowledge of the Epping Forest area was encyclopaedic and he took his responsibilities as an editor very seriously. For all his gentle, non-confrontational manner, nothing got past him. 

"The old school of newspapermen were famously wary of new technology in the newsroom. 

"When we computerised the production process in the late 1980s, Dennis was the one among his contemporaries who embraced the new methods with quiet enthusiasm - certainly more so than some of his younger union-driven colleagues! 

"Today's newspaper industry is the poorer for the passing of men like Dennis Wood."

Christine died in 1993. While on holiday in 1995 Dennis met Jill and they married in July 1996. Dennis also leaves six grandchildren. 

His funeral will be held at Cam Valley Crematorium, Great Chesterford, at midday on Thursday, February 22.

PICTURE

   

ONGAR: Tributes paid to district councillor

UPDATED 11.28am - 15th February 2018
1.44pm - 12th February 2018

TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of Ongar district councillor Brian Surtees. 

Councillors and council officers will observe a minute's silence in his memory at the next full council meeting, on Thursday, February 22. 

Mr Surtees, who was previously an Ongar town councillor, had represented the Chipping Ongar, Greensted and Marden Ash Ward for the Liberal Democrats since 2014. 

He served on many of the council's member bodies including the licensing committee as chairman, the adjudication sub-committee, the standards committee, area plans (east) sub-committee, communities select committee, complaints panel, governance select committee, grant aid review task and finish scrutiny panel, joint consultative committee, neighbourhood select committee, overview and scrutiny committee, planning service scrutiny panel, portfolio holder advisory group on superfast broadband, the safer, cleaner, greener scrutiny panel, standards committee, transformation task and finish panel and youth engagement review task and finish panel. 

Liberal Democrat group leader Jon Whitehouse told Everything Epping Forest: "Brian's death came as a great shock. He was someone who believed in service and in helping others. 

"He demonstrated that commitment in his professional life, in his ministry for the Church of England and in his service on Ongar Town Council and the district council. 

"I will miss him greatly and my thoughts are with his family and close friends."

Standards Committee chairman councillor Gavin Chambers told Everything Epping Forest: "I was sad to hear of his passing. Councilor Surtees always spoke with passion and courtesy at the standards committee meetings. 

"My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."

Loughton Roding ward Independent councillor Stephen Murray said: "Working with Brian over the years was always a privilege and a pleasure. 

"He was a true gentleman who always thought carefully about his contributions and interventions to the issues we discussed at Epping Forest District Council. 

"He was always happy to bring his Christian faith to bear on his public duties and obviously cared deeply for Ongar in particular and the district in general."

Buckhurst Hill Green Party councillor Steven Neville said: "He was a lovely, lovely guy, one of the best. He really cared about people and always held himself well in the council chamber. 

"His passing is a great loss to his family, the church, Epping Forest District Council and the people of Chipping Ongar."

Mr Surtees represented the Chipping Ongar ward on Ongar Town Council for many years during which time he was chairman, vice-chairman and committee chairman. 

His service to the council and the town will be remembered with a minute silence at the next full council meeting. 

Town council chairman Derek Birch said: “Brian served the town for many years and helped a great many people through his personal and political life. 

"His commitment to Ongar was second to none and he will be sorely missed. 

"On behalf of Ongar Town Council, I offer sincere condolences to his family and friends."

   

DISTRICT: Awards for teachers

1.42pm - 12th February 2018

THREE teachers at schools in the district have been recognised at the 2018 Essex Teaching Awards. 

The annual awards, in their fifth year, were presented at Hamptons Sports and Leisure Centre in Chelmsford. 

The Essex County Council-run event celebrates excellence in education and highlights the outstanding work of teachers and other staff in the county’s schools. 

Julie Lorkins, of St Andrew's Primary School, North Weald, was highly commended in the Primary School Headteacher of the Year Award. 

Claire Moore, of Oak View School, Loughton, was joint winner of the Special School Teacher of the Year Award while Anne Armstrong, of St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, Loughton, won the Student Choice Award (Primary Schools). 

Essex County Council education cabinet member Ray Gooding said: "Schools in Essex do an excellent job, with about 94 per cent currently rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted and pupils continuing to achieve fantastic results. 

"Teachers and other school staff have obviously played a vital role in those successes and hearing about the difference our award winners have made to the lives of young people in the county is always one of the main highlights of my year. 

"I am very proud of their achievements and these awards are a great way of recognising their hard work and commitment."

   

LOUGHTON: School holds Democracy Day

8.51am - 10th February 2018

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing joined students at Roding Valley High School for its Democracy Day.

The day highlighted democracy at all levels - from town, parish, district and county council level to Parliament and Government.

Mrs Laing spoke at an assembly attended by Year 7 students and fielded questions posed by elected Year 7 members of the Form Council. 

Questions ranged from how Mrs Laing first became involved in politics to her views on whether Theresa May was a "strong Prime Minister". 

Mrs Laing said: "I was delighted to be invited to take part in the day and to meet the young students who are so well versed into politics, and who showed a real passion for politics at all levels. 

"I am sure I met some future councillors or even MPs!" 

Senior Leadership Team member Kumers Naidoo, who was the co-lead, helped co-ordinate the day and shared his experiences growing up in South Africa under apartheid when there was no democracy. 

The event was Roding Valley High School's first ever Sixth Form-led drop-down day with a team of some 30 Sixth Form students helping out. 

During the day students took part in workshops - which included debating whether the voting age should be lowered to 16, a move which won the support of students. 

Students also discussed the parliamentary system, and took part in a mock political rally when they took on the role of youth councillors for a fictional local authority. 

Head Boy Matthew Tinker, who organised the day, said: "Democracy Day was a great success. 

"We began by asking the young people if they knew anything about a democracy and only five people put their hands up. 

"By the end of the day all 240 young people felt as though they could put their hand up. 

"We had an amazing team of Sixth Form students who taught the students all about their democratic rights and responsibility. I could not thank them enough." 

Judith Hodges, Senior Leadership Team co-lead for the day, said: "I heard one young person saying that this was their ‘best day at school ever!"

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: Afternoon tea treat for students

4.34pm - 9th February 2018

YEAR 13 students at Debden Park High School were treated to afternoon tea in recognition of their endeavours this academic year.

With university offers flying in following record high numbers of UCAS applications, the school served afternoon tea for the students who were waited on by members of the Senior Leadership Team.

Assistant headteacher Joe Simm said: "We know how hard Year 13 students have been working in the run-up to their final A-Level exams and we wanted to show them how proud we are of everything they have been doing this year. 

"As well as enjoying the selection of cakes and scones, students all received 'Shout Out' cards with messages from all their teachers. 

"This is a fantastic year group and we know, if they can keep up their brilliant start to the year, they will have great success in this summer's exams."

   

LOUGHTON: Students take to the stage

4.31pm - 9th February 2018

STUDENTS at Debden Park High School showcased their talents to a packed hall of parents, teachers and friends when the Expressive Arts team held 'An Evening with Expressive Arts'.

The show was presented by the two head music ambassadors in year 11 - Rosie Cooper and Nathaniel Davies - and featured a mix of dance, music and drama. 

There were a variety of acts including singers, pianists, contemporary dancers and instrumental soloists and ensembles. 

The highlight of the evening was the penultimate act - Year 10 students Amber Atkinson and Elizabella Noyc who took on the famously challenging 'In his Eyes' from Jekyll and Hyde which received a standing ovation from the audience. 

Assistant Headteacher and Director of Specialism Sebastian Ventura said: "All students performed with maturity and professionalism and we were extremely proud of the incredible talent and bravery they demonstrated throughout the show." 

Year 11 student Rosie Cooper said: "I really enjoyed being part of the concert. I'd never had the opportunity to present before and being a music ambassador has allowed me to do that. 

"I really enjoyed the freedom of the concert and being given a chance to perform my own arrangement of one of my favourite pieces of music. 

"I always get a bit nervous before performing but the audience were so supportive of all the acts and made it an entertaining evening for everyone involved."

   

LOUGHTON: Praise for young drummer

4.29pm - 9th February 2018

A DRUMMER who has lessons at Loughton Music Academy is setting his sights on starting his own band after passing his Grade 8 drumming exam with Merit. 

Loughton Music Academy director Cliff Cooper has hailed the achievement of 13-year-old Jake Omer as "exceptional". 

Mr Cooper said: "At 13 years old this is an exceptional achievement for someone so young." 

Jake's father, Adam, said: "Jake is a gifted musician and a credit to himself because he puts in the practice to be as good as he is. 

"He loves music, plays different genres and enjoys them all. Thanks to Loughton Music Academy for their help and to Jake's grandfather, Ernie, also a musician, especially for his encouragement of music with Jake since he was a toddler."

 Jake continues to practice and play the drums at home on both his acoustic and electric drum kits and with continued lessons at the High Road-based Loughton Music Academy. 

Looking to the future, Jake said: "I would like to play in a band, get experience, then start my own band and play in different countries across the world." 

Mr Cooper said: "Everyone at Loughton Music Academy is very proud of Jake's progress over the years and he is heading in the right direction to playing professionally as a pro-drummer. 

"When you love what you do, it really shows!"

PICTURE

   

ONGAR: Council to take over flagpole

7.51am - 9th February 2018

ONGAR town councillors have voted that the town council should take over responsibility for the flagpole in the Pleasance car park - despite being told there is no budget. 

Last night's planning and environment, open spaces and public relations committee was told the flagpole was donated to the town by the Ongar Town Partnership in 2002. 

Ongar Residents Association councillor John Reynolds added that residents' sssociation "got involved" two or three years ago after a complaint was made about the state of the flag, and the residents' association looked into getting a new one. 

There were also issues with repairs to the winding gear for which funds were raised by the residents' association, he said.

Mr Reynolds said the responsibilities would include maintenance, providing a replacement Union flag so the existing one can be cleaned, meeting an obligation to fly the Commonwealth flag on March 12, and arranging for the lowering and changing of the flag when occasions dictate. 

Locum clerk Philip Wicks told the meeting that town clerk Aimi Middlehurst had stated that the council did not have a budget for any expenditure on the flag, and a licence would be required if the council was to take over responsibility. 

Council chairman Derek Birch told the meeting the choice was to remove it or take over ownership.

He said: "It was put up originally by Ongar Town Partnership. They no longer exist so someone has to take ownership of it. 

"If we are going to keep the flagpole the logical people to take it over would be the town council, and the council would need a list of events (when it has to be flown). 

"It won't be onerous on the staff but at the end of the day someone needs to take ownership and if a licence is required let's take it over as a body."

   

ONGAR: Council accused of showing "no sense of urgency" over Neighbourhood Plan

7.49am - 9th February 2018

ONGAR Town Council has been accused of showing "no sense of urgency" over getting a Neighbourhood Plan for the town underway. 

Mary Dadd, chairman of the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group, expressed her disappointment when she told last night's town council Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee that it had taken three months for the town council to confirm a sub-committee for the Neighbourhood Plan with invited members from the community group. 

Mrs Dadd said: "The community group have done considerable background work and have had some engagement with the community." 

She told the meeting there was a feeling among the community group of it being "sidelined" and "snubbed". 

Mrs Dadd added: "Please, I beg you (the town council) to get your act together and do it with the full involvement of the community." 

Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee chairman councillor Lawrence Mendoza said: "The community group should be heavily involved." 

Councillors was agreed that the community group should be invited to submit names of its members who would be interested in attending a Vision and Objective workshop. 

Mr Mendoza said: "I would want to see senior members of that community group invited to the workshop."

   

ONGAR: Date set for annual town meeting

7.47am - 9th February 2018

THE annual Ongar Town Council meeting will be held at the Jubilee Park Pavilion on Thursday, March 22.

   

ONGAR: Two-day litter pick planned

7.39am - 9th February 2018

A TWO-day litter pick is planned throughout Ongar by the town council ahead of the Ongar Town Festival.

Councillors have agreed to hold the event on April 28 and 29 - a week before the festival event on Sunday, May 6. 

The council intends to promote the event through local schools.

   

ONGAR: Council to spend £1,800 on rebranding noticeboards

7.37am - 9th February 2018

TOWN councillors have voted to rebrand six notice boards in the Ongar Town Council area at a cost of £1,800 plus VAT - despite being told "there is no finance available for this". 

Councillor John Reynolds said the cost could be met from 'general reserves'. 

Locum clerk Philip Wicks told last night's planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee: "There is no finance available for this." 

Council chairman Derek Birch said there was £500 in the budget for 'noticeboard repairs' however Mr Wicks replied that repairs to a noticeboard would "take up most of that".

What do you think?

Tony Sach (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group)
- Make the councillor pay out their own pockets then they might stop wasting tax payers money. 

Clare Mintern (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - Are you serious! We need police officers not bloody noticeboards! 

Inez Collier (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - I'm down the road in Epping and I echo this for you. We need police not noticeboards or sodding flagpoles.

   

ONGAR: Council awards grant for town festival

7.33am - 9th February 2018

A GRANT of £200 is to be made by Ongar Town Council to Ongar and District Twinning Association towards the cost of staging the Ongar Town Festival and petanque tournament on Sunday, May 6.

   

ONGAR: Council receives county council grants

7.31am - 9th February 2018

ONGAR Town Council has received £8,000 in grant funding from the Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund - £5,000 for a kickwall at the Love Lane recreation ground and £3,000 for replacement play equipment at the Greensted Road play area.

   

ONGAR: Council to go ahead with donkey rides

9.42pm - 8th February 2018

ONGAR Town Council is to go ahead with holding children's donkey rides on the nature reserve despite a complaint from a resident and concerns from Epping Forest Countrycare. 

The planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee tonight reviewed the decision to go ahead but voted to continue with the venture at the nature reserve at the bottom of the High Street on two Sundays in May and June. 

In a letter to the council the complainant,wrote: "It is hard to believe that anyone in Ongar Town Council would suggest an activity that is cruel to animals be provided for children's entertainment.

"It is completely unacceptable. Is the council not aware that there is an internet petition doing the rounds to call on our government to ban all such activities? 

"I would like an assurance that no such event will ever be held in our town." 

Epping Forest Countrycare said such an event would have a "negative impact" on the nature reserve because the donkeys' hooves will damage the soil and fauna and possibly impact the soil causing further damage, an issue which would be worsened if the weather is or has been wet. 

Countrycare added the same issue applied to visitors' feet while there is also concern the donkeys will eat the flora. 

Donkey dung would have to be cleared as it would damage the delicate balance of the soil and fauna, and May and June are not good times of year as the wildflowers will be in abundance and likely to be damaged which could impact on the seed spreading and affect wildflowers in future years, Countrycare added.

Councillor John Reynolds told the meeting the idea had been approved at the last committee meeting to highlight the nature reserve and make use of the open space. 

He said that 30 years ago donkeys were kept on the nature reserve. 

Mr Reynolds added that the views expressed by Epping Forest Countrycare were "their personal opinion" and added: "Quite honestly, if you're a gardener you realise it (the Countrycare response) doesn't make sense." 

Councillor Jane Battersby said she had investigated the matter following the last meeting. 

She said: "When I came away from the meeting I felt uneasy that we hadn't explored all aspects of this. "I also appreciated we want to promote it and use it. I question whether donkey rides is the best activity to have down there. 

"Countrycare had told me 'it's a nature reserve, it's not a recreation field'." 

Mrs Battersby added: "It was my concern that we hadn't fully understood the implications like risk assessment, people being present to oversee it and that an area of shelter is provided." 

Committee chairman Lawrence Mendoza, who came up with the idea, said: "They are not going to run the Grand National in the nature reserve. They are going to walk 30 yards with a donkey and a child." 

He said the "one minority person" who had complained was "making a mountain our of a molehill".

Council chairman Derek Birch asked the council to get insurance cover in the event of rain, as it was costing the council £600 over the two days. Children will be charged £1 per ride.

The council underlined its previous decision to go ahead, having seen health and safety and other documentation from the operator. 

Mr Mendoza said he had spoken to someone with a disabled child who was looking forward to the rides.

He added the operator was demanding payment upfront and the bookings would be lost if the council kept stalling over the matter.

What do you think?

Tony Sach (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group)
- Still in today's PC world, it is totally unacceptable for these animals to be used in this way.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Students provide Valentine's balloon delivery service

4.13pm - 8th February 2018

STUDENTS at King Harold Academy provided a Valentine's Day balloon delivery service to raise money for the school's rewards fund. 

The fundraiser was the idea of the school's Heads of Year. 

Students were invited to pay £1 and write a short message and post their request in a special Valentine's ‘mail box’. 

A red heart-shaped balloon, with the message attached, was then delivered to recipients during the last lesson today (as St Valentine’s Day falls during half term). 

Some 130 balloons were delivered with Key Stage 3 students particularly keen senders.

Gemma Perry, Head of Year: Year 7 and 8 and Transition, said: "It has been a successful enterprise and one we plan to repeat next year.

"It was wonderful to see the excitement on the students' faces as we showed up at classroom doors to deliver the balloons. 

"Even some staff got involved, embracing the spirit of the event."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: School launches creative writing club

4.10pm - 8th February 2018

A CREATIVE writing club has been launched for students at King Harold Academy, Waltham Abbey. 

The club, organised and run by English teacher Stuart Springthorpe, aims to develop writing skills and confidence, promote a love of reading and writing and help students on the path to publication through mentoring and competition entry, both internally and nationally. 

More than 60 students have already registered for membership with 35 attending regularly on a Wednesday afternoon. 

Mr Springthorpe said: "Students have applied been appointed to specific roles to aid the organisation and running of the club. 

"Students have already began to submit and collate work for a school ‘showcase’ anthology which will include poetry, short stories and artwork."

   

#EEF999LIVE: NORTH WEALD: Police renew appeal over armed robbery

9.22am - 8th February 2018

POLICE have renewed their appeal for information after a member of staff at Coverdale Racing in High Road, North Weald, was threatened at gunpoint in a "terrifying ordeal". 

Police say a man walked into the bookmakers and pulled out what is believed to be a black handgun. 

He threatened a member of staff and then left with cash. 

The gunman has been described as white, about 6ft tall and of medium build. 

He had a scarf covering his face and wore a black coat, trousers and gloves. 

Investigating officer Detective Constable Sarah Barker, of Loughton CID, said: "An innocent member of staff was subjected to a terrifying ordeal with an armed robber threatening him at gun point and demanding cash. 

"We have been making extensive enquiries at the scene and have reviewed CCTV at the business and surrounding area. 

"We are now appealing for information and would urged people to call Loughton CID on 101 quoting crime reference 42/8210/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

This incident, which happened at about 8.40pm on Wednesday, January 17, was first reported by Everything Epping Forest's #EEF999LIVE police and crime news service. 
To register for the emailed updates, email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com with #EEF999LIVE in the subject line.

   

#EEF999LIVE: BOBBINGWORTH: Two men arrested after stolen lorry pursuit

4.15pm - 7th February 2018

TWO men have been arrested near Ongar and two police officers injured after officers pursued a stolen articulated lorry that was used in a ram-raid in Harlow. 

Officers received reports that the vehicle was used to ram gates at a business in Temple Bank at about 11.15pm last night (Tuesday).

Two suspects then stole a skip and drove off. 

Officers quickly located the lorry, gave pursuit and signalled for the vehicle to stop, without success. 

A police spokesman added: "The vehicle was then used to ram our police car with officers suffering minor injuries before a stinger was successfully deployed.

"The suspects decamped in Blake Hall Road, Bobbingworth, at about 11.35pm and following a search of the area using police dogs and our helicopter we located them." 

A 23-year-old man, from Laindon, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle and a 29-year-old man, from Hockley, was arrested on suspicion of driving while disqualified, theft of a motor vehicle, theft and failing to stop. 

They remain in custody for questioning.

   

LOUGHTON: Children take part in Safer Internet Day

3.50pm - 7th February 2018

CHILDREN at Hereward Primary School took part in Safer Internet Day. 

Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "The issue of keeping children safe is something that is taken very seriously at Hereward Primary School. 

"As part of this commitment to the welfare of our pupils, each class participated in activities this week as part of National Safer Internet Day.

"Each teacher focused on ways to promote awareness of how children can stay safe online when using social networking, apps, instant messaging and gaming. " 

Year 6 pupils became 'Safer Internet Superheroes’ for the day as they made capes and enjoyed face painting. 

Year 3 children took part in drama activities where they had the opportunity to act out possible scenarios that may occur when they are online. 

The Reception children also had an entertaining morning as they took inspiration from SMARTY the Penguin to create their own penguin faces.

After school there was a presentation to parents with a record number in attendance. 

The day was organised by Scott Buckland. 

He said: “A fun and education day was had by everyone. It is so important to promote safe internet habits amongst our children.”

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: School choir sings at O2 Arena

10.10am - 7th February 2018

THE Thomas Willingale School and Nursery choir joined thousands of other singers to perform at the O2 Arena. 

They were among 7,890 other children who took part in the Young Voices concert. 

Music teacher Rachel Bartels said: "We sang a variety of songs from classical to pop. We were backing singers to Alfie Sheard, Natalie Williams, The Magnets and Urban Strides dance team. 

"It was a brilliant night."

PICTURES

   

EPPING: What was the weather like last year?

9.12pm - 6th February 2018

LAST year some 24.16 inches of rain fell in Epping but amateur weather enthusiast Tony Harvey described it as "yet another normal year" for weather records. 

While the rainfall measured at his Rayfield home was slightly more than in 2016 it was still around the average for Epping, 

Mr Harvey said. The wettest day of the year was August 9, when more than one inch was collected. 

The warmest day was June 21 with 86F and the coldest was January 26 when the thermometer hovered around freezing all day. 

Snow was in short supply with a slight covering on January 12 but it was not until the end of last year - December 10 and December 26 and 27 - before more worthwhile falls were recorded.

Mr Harvey said February 23 will be remembered as a very windy day when many local roads were closed because of fallen trees. 

Monthly rainfall totals for 2017 were: January 2.85ins; February 1.64ins; March 0.99in; April 0.35in; May 2.82ins; June 2.19ins; July 3.58ins; August 2.69ins; September 2.88ins; October 0.62is; November 1.37ins; December 2.18ins. Total 24. 16 inches.

   

BERNERS RODING: Off-road rider dies in dirt track crash

3.33pm - 6th February 2018

A MAN has died after the off-road bike he was riding hit a tree on a dirt track in Berners Roding. 

The 58-year-old man, from Ongar, was riding on land between the junction of Ongar Road and School Lane when the incident happened at about 4.55pm on Sunday. 

The man died at the scene despite the efforts of members of the public and emergency services. No other vehicle was involved. 

The dirt track was closed while police carried out an investigation. 

At this time officers are not looking for any further witnesses, a spokesman said.

   

#EEF999LIVE: WALTHAM ABBEY: Motorcyclist manages to escape would-be robbers

10.23am - 6th February 2018

A MOTORCYCLIST managed to ride off unhurt when three people tried to rob him of his motorbike in Waltham Abbey. 

Police say the motorcyclist was waiting at traffic lights in Highbridge Street at about 12.50pm on Sunday when three men on a black Honda motorbike, possibly a SH300, stopped and demanded that he give them his bike. 

Two of the suspects tried to push the victim off his machine however he managed to ride off unhurt. 

The suspects have been described as white, slim and aged in their early 20s. They were all wearing black clothing. One was wearing a black motorcycle helmet and the other two had black balaclavas.

Anyone with information is asked to ring Loughton CID or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

THORNWOOD: Function room to be named after former council chairman

9.51am - 6th February 2018

THE main function room at the Parish Hall at Thornwood is to be named after former North Weald Bassett Parish Council chairman Cyril Hawkins.

Parish councillors have agreed that this will be named 'The Cyril Hawkins Room' with a plaque unveiled in the hall. 

There will also be a bench on the green behind the Parish Hall with a plaque commemorating Cyril Hawkins who was known as 'Mr Thornwood' for his years of dedicated work in the Thornwood ward, and throughout the North Weald Bassett Parish.

   

NORTH WEALD: Grant for Community Orchard

9.49am - 6th February 2018

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council has been awarded a grant of £1,350 from Essex County Council's Community Initiatives Fund to create a Community Orchard. 

The orchard will be established on three unused Queens Road allotments. Work has started to clear the area. 

The council has also received £290 compensation from Thames Water after the area had an historic sewerage problem.

   

NORTH WEALD: Council opposes cafe plans

9.46am - 6th February 2018

PLANS to turn part of the former post office in High Road, North Weald, into a cafe are being opposed by the parish council. 

The same applicant whose two previous applications to use the premises at 38 High Road as a take-away were rejected by the district council has now submitted proposals to convert part of the ground-floor into a cafe. 

The opening hours, when compared to the take-away plans, have been shortened, to 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. 

However councillors continue to have concerns over the parking - with only two parking spaces to be provided - and ventilation proposals, including the removal of grease and fat. The planning committee voted unanimously to object to the latest application. 

Councillor George Mulliner, speaking at Monday's parish council planning committee meeting, raised concerns over parking, fearing customers would park in the village hall car park 

"I think parking is one of the main issues," he said. 

Council vice-chairman Brian Eldridge said: "I can't see much difference to the previous application." 

Council chairman Alan Buckley asked: "What's the difference between a cafe and a takeaway?" He added the dispersal of grease and fat is already a problem in the area. He told the meeting: 

"It's notorious in that area. We have constant problems with grease and fat coming from hot food outlets. If this carries on, this will just add to the problem we've already got." 

Councillor Andy Tyler said: "The application states that 98 per cent of smells will be eliminated - it's the other two per cent that will cause the problem. It's just not right to have this in a residential area."

Councillor Sheila Jackman said the parish council should re-submit its list of hot and cold food outlets which are already in the village. I don't see any reason why those objections shouldn't be repeated this time." 

Parish council clerk Sue De Luca said she was aware of 19 villagers who have written to the district council highlighting issues with smells and parking saying such a use was "not right" for the village. 

The meeting heard that the planning definition and class use for a cafe stated it is for on-food sales only, while take-away use, which had been the issue with the two previous applications, was for the sale of hot food off the premises 

Parish and district councillor Dave Stallan said: "The issue of competition is not a planning reason." 

He added: "While I support the comments (about parking)... that was not one of the reasons why it was refused (by the district council). 

"It weakens the case when highways raise no objection."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council holds civic service

9.22am - 6th February 2018

WALTHAM Abbey Town Council's civic service was held at the Lea Valley Church on Sunday. 

Dignitaries from surrounding local councils joined with church members for the service of music and prayer which was followed by refreshments. 

The service was led by Pastor Geoff Ace and included a reading from church member, 

Waltham Abbey Town Mayor councillor Mick Fitch. Mr Fitch said: "I was pleased with the attendance at the civic service and delighted to be able to welcome the chairman of Epping Forest District Council, the chairman of Harlow District Council, the Mayors of Epping and Loughton and several Freeman of Waltham Abbey."

PICTURE

   

ONGAR: Town council to reconsider donkey rides

1.32pm - 5th February 2018

A TOWN council decision to hold donkey rides on the nature reserve at the bottom of Ongar High Street is to be reviewed after a resident complained and the move was opposed by Epping Forest Countrycare.

Planning and environment, open spaces and public relations committee chairman Lawrence Mendoza put forward the idea, which received committee support, at the last meeting after saying the nature reserve was under-used. 

The council has agreed to hold children's donkey rides on two Sundays in May and June at a cost to the council of £600 - with children charged £1 per ride. 

However after Everything Epping Forest reported the council's decision the move attracted widespread criticism on social media, and a resident has complained to the town council.

The complainant wrote: "It is hard to believe that anyone in Ongar Town Council would suggest an activity that is cruel to animals be provided for children's entertainment. 

"It is completely unacceptable. Is the council not aware that there is an internet petition doing the rounds to call on our government to ban all such activities? 

"I would like an assurance that no such event will ever be held in our town." 

Councillor Jane Battersby, since the last meeting, has told the council there is an onus on the 'hirer' (the town council) as well as the organisation which provides the donkeys, to ensure the animals' welfare and that there needs are met. 

She added councillors would be required to act as volunteers and oversee the events ensuring the welfare and safety of the animals and the public. 

Epping Forest Countrycare has said such an event would have a "negative impact" on the nature reserve because the donkeys' hooves will damage the soil and fauna and possibly impact the soil causing further damage, an issue which would be worsened if the weather is or has been wet. 

Countrycare added the same issue applied to visitors' feet while there is also concern the donkeys will eat the flora. 

Donkey dung would have to be cleared as it would damage the delicate balance of the soil and fauna, and May and June are not good times of year as the wildflowers will be in abundance and likely to be damaged which could impact on the seed spreading and affect wildflowers in future years. 

The matter will be discussed again by councillors on Thursday evening.

   

VOTE 2018: BUCKHURST HILL: Green Party co-leader to visit

9.19am - 5th February 2018

GREEN Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley will visit Buckhurst Hill to speak to residents and small business owners about how the Green Party is working to improve their community. 

Mr Bartley, a dedicated disability rights campaigner and father to a disabled son, will visit Buckhurst Hill Station where Green Party councillor Steven Neville has successfully campaigned for step-free access.

During Saturday's visit, he will also go to Lower Queens Road where small businesses and flats are under threat as a potential site for development in the district council's Local Plan. 

The visit is part of a local Green Party action day of campaigning ahead of the May district council elections when Mr Neville will be standing for re-election. 

Mr Bartley said: "With just two district councillors, the Greens in Epping Forest are making a real differencem from securing step-free access at Buckhurst Hill Station to reducing plastic use in the council offices and across Epping Forest. 

"They are the voice of local people whether it be supporting the local campaign to save a well-loved green space or fighting to save shops and other small businesses from demolition. 

"One of those businesses, the IG9 cafe, has a great reputation for their vegan options so I'm particularly looking forward to visiting and finding out more." 

Mr Neville, one of two Green Party district councillors for Buckhurst Hill East, said: "I am delighted Jonathan is coming to see some of the work we have been doing. 

"Step-free access for Buckhurst Hill Station has been long overdue and is a must for disabled people, the elderly and parents with small children especially. 

"Our fight to save the shops and homes of those in Lower Queens Road is very important." 

He added: "We believe in a strong local small business sector and that people should not be turfed out of their homes for redevelopment. 

"This is part of the work of I have been doing over four years representing my residents."

   

#EEF999LIVE: EPPING: Man suffers broken jaw in High Street assault

8.24am - 5th February 2018

A 19-YEAR-OLD man suffered a broken jaw and facial injuries when he was assaulted in Epping High Street. 

Police say the incident happened at 2.55am yesterday morning. 

The victim, from Hoddesdon, was taken to hospital. 

Enquiries are ongoing. 

Witnesses and anyone with information about the incident are asked to ring officers at Loughton Police Station on 101 quoting reference 42/16419/18.

   

STAPLEFORD ABBOTTS: New chapter for school

9.15am - 3rd February 2018

STAFF and children at Stapleford Abbotts Primary School are experiencing the dawn of a new era with a new name for the school which has now joined The Kemnal Academies Trust. 

Stapleford Abbotts Primary Academy - as it has been known since the start of the year - joins the Trust which also runs King Harold Academy in Waltham Abbey and Debden Park High School in Loughton. 

Kim Thackray, who is continuing in her role as Head of School at King Harold Academy, has been appointed headteacher of Stapleford Abbotts Primary Academy with Sharon Simpson Head of School. 

Mrs Thackray said: "We appreciate that parents have seen many changes at the school and imagine that their wish is for stability and continuity to ensure their children receive the best education possible. 

"Miss Simpson and I have worked together for many years and most recently have taken an Essex primary school in very challenging circumstances to a 'good' outcome by Ofsted. 

"We have taught and been leaders in both secondary and primary school settings." 

She added: "I will be working with Miss Simpson to drive the school forward. Our experience gives us a full understanding of what progress the children will need to make to achieve age-related expectations. 

"We know what will excite them and will create for them a school where learning is interesting, challenging and thought provoking, in a safe and happy environment." 

Miss Simpson said: "We will work tirelessly to ensure that Stapleford Abbotts Primary Academy is a school that our community can be proud of. 

"We both have high expectations for the school, all its staff and for the outstanding education that we will provide. 

"Together we will work with parents to the same end and with the same purpose for their children to be happy and to achieve remarkable things. 

"We believe standards and expectations must be high, and we will support everyone to achieve them."

   

LOUGHTON: Barber's shop to donate day's takings to charity

8.46am - 1st February 2018

A LOUGHTON barbers shop will be raising money for charity when it gives a full day's takings to Save the Children. 

Staff at Mr Barbers Loughton - at 287 High Road - will be cutting and shaving in aid of the children’s charity on Saturday (February 3) when every penny spent by customers will go to the charity. 

There will also be a cake sale. 

Mr Barbers hopes that with the support of the local community, colleagues, friends and family that some £2,500 will be raised.

   

LOUGHTON: Charity's second funding boost in a month

8.44am - 1st February 2018

THE Loughton-based Spark youth work charity is celebrating its second major funding boost in less than a month. 

Spark, based at Loughton Youth Centre in Borders Lane, has received £2,000 from Epping Forest District Council to help it purchase much-needed equipment for its youth club and to support the delivery of its counselling service for young people.

Spark is passionate about supporting young people and provides both mentoring and counselling with no waiting lists. 

Spark recently announced that it had received £5,000 from Aviva with the money ensuring that the youth club, which is a partnership with Essex County Council, can run for another year two nights a week during term-time. 

For more information about the charity, ring 020 8508 6743 or email spark@worthunlimited.co.uk