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EU REFERENDUM: District votes for 'Leave'

7.33am - 24th June 2016

VOTERS in Epping Forest voted 63 per cent in favour of leaving the EU while in neighbouring Harlow the figure was 68 per cent. 
Turnouts were high - 76.9 per cent in Epping Forest and 73.56 per cent in Harlow. 
The voting figures for Epping Forest were 28,676 Remain; 48,176 Leave. 
In Harlow the figures were 29,602 Leave; 13,867 Remain.

   

DISTRICT: Flooding round-up

UPDATE 9.04am - Reports A414 closed between the Four Wantz roundabout, Ongar, and North Weald. Queues back to Norton Heath.

8.55am - 23rd June 2016

DRIVERS are experiencing difficult conditions after torrential rain overnight.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has dealt with some 200 flood and weather-related calls since midnight with incidents largely centred around Brentwood, Chelmsford and Ongar. 

Everything Epping Forest is aware of the following situations however please note conditions are constantly changing. 

* Ongar fire fighters have been called to flooding in properties in Stondon Massey
* At least one road in Stapleford Abbotts is flooded. EEF is awaiting further details
* Reports of heavy flooding at the Rectory Lane-Newmans Lane junction in Loughton
* Difficult conditions on roads in Stanford Rivers and Ongar area including the A414
* The course at North Weald Golf Club is closed today. The driving range is open.

If you have any updates and pictures please email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com or send them via Twitter - @eefnews - or add them to the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page or group.

   

EPPING: Council marks Armed Forces Day

12.45pm - 21st June 2016

THE Armed Forces Day flag was raised at the Civic Offices, Epping, to mark the start of Armed Forces Day celebrations. 
Epping Forest District Council chairman Jeane Lea and Rev'd Peter Smith, from the Abbey Church, Waltham Abbey, were joined by councillors, staff and members of the public in the flag raising ceremony on Monday. 
The ceremony showed the district’s support for the men and women who make up our Armed Forces. 
As a mark of respect both the Union flag and Armed Forces Day flag were lowered to half mast in tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox who was killed in her West Yorkshire constituency last Thursday.

   

EPPING: Theydon Grove residents hold Queen's birthday street party

8.48am - 21st June 2016

RESIDENTS of Theydon Grove, Epping, held a street party and picnic to mark the Queen's 90th birthday.
The event was attended by Epping mayor Les Burrows and his wife, Carol. 
The residents and their families turned out in force and the road was closed for the event which included a live band, face painting and a fancy dress competition. 

PICTURE (Photo by Derek Berwin)

   

WILLINGALE: Funding boost for church

2.45pm - 20th June 2016

A GRANT of £10,000 has been awarded by the National Churches Trust for roof repairs at St Christopher's Church, Willingale.
St Christopher’s is one of 29 churches and chapels in the UK to benefit from the latest grants from the Trust, the UK church repair and support charity.
St Christopher’s shares a churchyard with the older St Andrew’s Church. 
St Christopher is the larger and the more frequently used. In the 14th century, St Andrew’s was deemed too small and a new church was built on the other side of the churchyard. 
St Christopher’s chancel and nave are 14th century and the tower and parapet added in the 15th century. Built of flint rubble mixed with fragments of Roman brick, the building is Grade II* Listed for its architectural and landscape value. 
The grant will complete vital roof repairs. 
Slipping and degraded roof tiles will be replaced with new clay tiles ensuring the building is weather-proof. 
The rotting timber structure will be made safe and tree roots blocking some drains will be removed. Combined with exterior masonry restoration from 2014, St Christopher’s will be able to be removed from Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register.

   

DISTRICT: Midsummer Ball raises £3,500

2.42pm - 20th June 2016

THE second Midsummer Ball in aid of the Breast Unit at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, and Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, raised over £3,500. 
Some 140 guests at Woolston Manor Golf and Country Club, Chigwell, enjoyed a three course meal and entertainment which featured cabaret singer Sharon Scott, Michael Buble tribute act Kai McKenzie and headline act Frankie’s Guys, a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute act. 
Fundraising included a bus stop raffle and game of Heads and Tails. 
There were also live and silent auctions. 
Organiser Jessica Heffernan said: “It was the best Midsummer Ball to date – all of the guests had an amazing time and are all asking me when is the next one. 
“Thank you to all of the local shops and restaurants who donated a raffle prize for this excellent cause."

   

THORNWOOD: Outline plans for garden centre homes

1.47pm - 20th June 2016

OUTLINE plans for 16 homes on the Happy Grow Garden Centre site in Thornwood have been submitted to Epping Forest District Council. 
The application includes the demolition of the garden centre and ancillary buildings. 
Details of the appearance, landscape, layout and access have yet to be finalised. 
The application will be considered by North Weald Bassett Parish Council before a decision is made by Epping Forest District Council.

   

CHIGWELL: Operation follows drug dealing concerns

1.45pm - 20th June 2016

POLICE and partner agencies have carried out extra high visibility patrols on the Limes Farm estate, Chigwell, in response to concerns about drug dealing. 
As a result of consultation, the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership and the Community Policing Team organised a joint operation with Epping Forest District Council to provide reassurance to residents and gather information to help tackle drugs and associated issues with violent crime. 
Local police and officers from Operation Raptor in the West Local Policing Area, a team set up to tackle drug dealing gangs, carried out stop checks and searches. 
They also patrolled the area with Park Guard, which works on behalf of the council. 
A 36-year-old man from Middlesex was arrested for failing to appear at court for shoplifting. 
Epping Forest district commander Denise Morrissey said: "There is not a significant issue with crime on the Limes Farm estate but there have been some concerns raised about drug dealing and there have been some isolated incidents of violent crime in recent years. 
"We will be repeating the operation as part of our ongoing efforts to disrupt gangs attempting to ply their trade our district and to ensure that residents feel safe going about their daily lives in our communities.
"We also rely on information from the community, which is important as it helps us shape our operations and work to tackle these issues." 
Anyone who has information or concerns should ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

   

EPPING: Chef to compete in national competition

1.42pm - 20th June 2016

THE Head Chef at Haywards Restaurant in Epping is through to the semi-final of the national Chef of the Year competition. 
Jahdre Hayward entered the competition in April when he submitted a detailed application involving a three course menu with full recipes for two guests which he will need to cook in two hours. 
The brief gave particular requirements for what needed to be included with a risotto for the starter, the use of a whole chicken for the main course and a dessert using choux pastry. 
The chefs were asked to consider a number of factors when deciding on their menu and the judges will pay particular attention to skills, sourcing and provenance of ingredients, taste and flavour, wastage, seasonality, the balance of the menu and timings as well as many other criteria. 
Jahdre said: "I decided to enter the competition to help push my business forward. 
"We are a small restaurant and I believe what we are doing is unique. We are keen to promote good food and fine dining in the county and offer something different to local people." 
He added: "There are a lot of fantastic chefs who have previously won this competition. 
"It’s one of the major competitions to be involved in and it would be amazing for my career but more importantly for the restaurant."

   

EPPING: MP visits Ashlar House 'street party'

9.12am - 20th June 2016

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing visited a fundraising 'street party' at Ashlar House care home in Epping.
The event, held as part of national Care Home Open Day, featured a barbecue and various stalls, including a tombola. 
Proceeds from the day will go into house funds. 
Mrs Laing said: "I was delighted to be invited to Ashlar House and be able to meet staff and visitors and support the home's fundraising day."

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: MP visits Woodland Grove care home

9.10am - 20th June 2016

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing visited Woodland Grove care home in Loughton to help mark national Care Home Open Day. 
Mrs Laing was taken on a tour of the home which opened just over two years ago and caters for 72 residents. 
She met several of the residents, some of whom she already knew from her time in the constituency.
Among them was former Theydon Bois councillor Joy Wainwright who will celebrate her 98th birthday later this year. 
Mrs Laing was shown around by Harnoop Atkar, managing director of Oakland Primecare which owns Woodland Grove, and general manager Jo Coughlan. 
Mrs Laing said: "I was delighted to be invited to visit Woodland Grove and see the wonderful facilities that it has to offer. I was surprised to see so many people who I knew." 
She added: "Woodland Grove has dedicated, committed and caring staff who are on hand to provide wonderful services to the residents. 
"I was very impressed to see that the residents have their own hair salon, and can enjoy fine dining with their families. 
"There is also a cinema room and plenty of quiet areas where the residents can sit and read." 
Mrs Laing added: "I was most impressed by the whole operation and was delighted to hear that it provides well over 100 jobs in Loughton and actively works with apprentices and has close ties with Epping Forest College and Davenant Foundation School students."

PICTURES

   

CHIGWELL: Students take part in Micro:bit initiative

4.07pm - 19th June 2016

STUDENTS at West Hatch High School are among some one million students taking part in the BBC's Micro:bit initiative. 
The BBC and its various partner have launched the BBC micro:bit - a pocket-sized, codeable computer that allows children to get creative with technology. 
In the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative for 30 years, up to one million devices will be given to every 11 or 12-year-old child in Year 7 or equivalent across the UK, for free. 
Sara Trickey, Head of Computing and ICT at the High Road school, said: "We have launched the BBC Micro:bit with our Year 7 students. 
"Each student in Year 7 has been issued with their very own programmable device to get them started in the world of computer programming. 
"These will help students develop a number of important skills for modern life in the world, including computational thinking and problem solving. 
"We have set students an ongoing project this half-term to program something amazing with their microbits - some projects include a Hogwarts sorting hat and a magic 8 ball fortune teller! 
"As well as these, the BBC’s micro:bit website gives a whole host of projects for students to try - including making their very own digital watch! 
"We are very excited to be able to give this phenomenal opportunity to students and we are very much looking forward to seeing their completed projects in a few weeks time!"
In the 1980s, the BBC Micro introduced many children to computing for the first time. 
Part of the BBC’s 2015 Make it Digital initiative, the BBC micro:bit builds on the legacy of the Micro for the digital age, and aims to inspire young people to get creative with digital; develop core skills in science, technology and engineering; and unleash a new generation of digital makers, inventors and pioneers.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said: "Just as the BBC Micro introduced millions to personal computers 30 years ago, the BBC micro:bit can help equip a new generation with the digital skills they need to find jobs and help grow the UK economy. 
"It's the unique role of the BBC that allows us to bring together an unprecedented partnership to deliver such an ambitious project." 
"The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that can be coded, customised and controlled to bring digital ideas, games and apps to life."

PICTURE

   

EPPING: Council to host two continental markets

9.15am - 19th June 2016

TWO continental markets organised by Epping Town Council are to be held in Epping High Street in the next month. 
An Italian Market will be held from 9am on Saturday (June 25) with a French Market also returning for another visit on Saturday, July 16 (from 9am). 
Town clerk Beverley Rumsey said: "The council decided a couple of years ago to introduce continental markets and they have proved very popular additions to the town. 
"We hope many people will visit the stalls and buy traditional Italian and French produce right on their doorstep! 
"We don't have too many specialist markets throughout the year as we wouldn't want to detract from our important Monday market, but three or four a year adds a nice variety."

   

LOUGHTON: Davenant headteacher to retire

2.06pm - 17th June 2016

THE headteacher of Davenant Foundation School retires next month after 15 years at the helm. 
Chris Seward started at the Loughton school in September 2001, having previously been headteacher at a school in Hertfordshire. 
His retirement will mark the end of a 39-year teaching career which began as a history teacher at a comprehensive school in Ealing, west London. 
Mr Seward said: “It has been great to maintain a really high and consistent level of achievement across a whole range of activities. It is not just academic success that we value at Davenant - it is as important to see students developing themselves through sport, music and the arts. 
"For me it’s about consistent achievement in exams and a consistent commitment to a broad curriculum with a wide range of opportunities for our students. 
"Developing and maintaining this level throughout the whole period has been a tremendous satisfaction.”
Mr Seward added: “Nurturing mind, body and spirit has been a constant priority for the school over the 15 years and I believe this is the fundamental purpose of education and learning.” 
Mr Seward singled out many highlights of his time in charge at Davenant including the school’s music tours to Italy and the visit of many high-profile figures to Davenant among them Lord Falconer, England women’s cricketer Lydia Greenway, Paralympian Hannah Cockroft and seated volleyball player Martine Wright. 
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing has also been a regular visitor to the school. 
However, just as important have been the individual successes he has seen with students over the years. Mr Seward said he would miss the many “inspirational” young people who have regularly surprised and impressed him during his time at Davenant. 
He said: “They are a wonderful group who bring a richness of diversity and experience to the school. 
“I will certainly miss my colleagues with whom I have really enjoyed working but what is unique about a school is the young people. It is the day-to-day experience of working with the young people that I will miss most of all. 
“I will miss finding out about their interests and what is important to them and seeing so many of the students making a really positive contribution to the school and to their home communities.” 
Retirement does not mean an end to Mr Seward’s work in education. 
In addition to his intention to get more involved with his local community in Hertfordshire, where he lives, he is looking forward to travelling and perhaps taking on a school governor role while also having “a little bit of freedom in how I use my time and being able to explore new pathways”. 
Mr Seward’s successor at Davenant is Adam Thorne who is currently headteacher at a school in Havering. 
Mr Seward said: “I’m already working with Mr Thorne to ensure there is a good transition and he’s able to make a successful start in September.” 

Pictures click here

   

THEYDON GARNON: Church holding flower festival

2.03pm - 17th June 2016

FLORAL arrangements on the theme of Gardens of the World are on display at All Saints Church, Theydon Garnon. 
The three-day festival, officially opened by Rev'd Canon Geoffrey Connor this morning, continues tomorrow (Saturday, 10am-5pm) and on Sunday (11.30am-5pm). 
Some 25 displays fill the church while there are various stalls in the churchyard.
Refreshments, including lunches and cream teas, are available. 
Attractions over the weekend include a jazz band and sheep shearing. 

For a slideshow of pictures click here 

For details about how to order prints or e-versions of any of the pictures featured email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com or ring David Jackman on 07710 447868.

   

DISTRICT: MP pays tribute to Jo Cox MP

2.00pm - 17th June 2016

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has paid tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox who died after being stabbed and shot in her West Yorkshire constituency. 
Mrs Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was elected to Parliament at last year's general election. 
She was married with two young children. 
Mrs Laing said: "I am shocked at the news that Jo Cox has been murdered. This is utterly tragic and totally heart-breaking. She was a lovely, lively, capable and effective MP. I had a very high regard for her. We are all thinking of her family and praying for them."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Students vote for change

9.35pm - 15th June 2016

YEAR 7 to 10 students at King Harold Academy experienced a taste of democracy when they voted for new tutor group names to start in the new academic year. 
The Student Voice, which regularly meets to discuss school issues, met with Head of School Kim Thackray and provided a shortlist of names based on famous British people. 
The 13 names - including literary greats, scientists, sportsmen, and key political figures - were Attenborough, Austen, Brunel, Churchill, Darwin, Dickens, Hawking, Pankhurst, Potter, Redgrave, Rowling, Shakespeare and Tolkien.
Students were provided with ‘official’ ballot papers and information and books on the famous British personalities to help them make an informed choice. 
School librarian Giselle Morris transformed the Learning Resource Centre into a polling station where students placed their votes in the ballot box. 
Hundreds of votes were received and the results of the top four final names will be announced at the end of term. 
The voting exercise took place two weeks before British citizens will take part in the EU Referendum.
Students had the opportunity to discuss issues on staying in or out of the EU along with issues on voting rights, its history, the importance of living and participating in a democratic society and British values.

   

EPPING: Town council backs Epping Hall cinema idea

8.08am - 15th June 2016

EPPING Hall is set to host film screenings after the town council supported a proposal to use the venue as a community cinema. 
Local resident Susie Evans-Frank, who works as curator at the Barbican cinema, put forward proposals to the town council saying Epping Hall was "the perfect place" for film showings. 
She has suggested test screenings to gauge support and interest in an 'Epping At The Movies' initiative with three screenings on one day - a family screening in the morning, a 'classic' matinee and "more mainstream" evening showing.
She told last night's council meeting: "It's in the heart of the town, would be fantastic addition to the town and would be a much needed leisure attraction. It would encourage community spirit." 
Susie added: "There is such a solid history of organisations (in Epping) and it would be a really great way of complementing them. It would be wonderful to have your (town council) support for the idea." 
Councillor Hugh Pegrum, whose only concern about the idea was the long-term future of Epping Hall as part of the St John's Road redevelopment which is set to include a cinema, said: "We've been waiting for about 15 years for someone like you (Susie) to come along and organise something like this!" 
Councillor Jon Whitehouse said: "I think this is well worth supporting. 
"I think it's worth a punt. If a cinema is built on the wider (St John's Road) site we have not lost anything. It all seems very well thought out." 
Councillor Nigel Avey said: "I think we should be bold and get on with it. I think we should take this proposal with two hands and get on with it." 
The council has agreed in principle to waive the hall hire charge for a day early next year for a test screening. 
During the town council's evidence gathering for the Neighbourhood Plan 74 people stated that they wanted a cinema in the town while seven requested more arts and culture.

   

NORTH WEALD: Flooding closes parish council office

5.24pm - 13th June 2016

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council's office at North Weald Library will be closed for at least the rest of the week after flooding at the premises overnight. 
The council office and the library was closed today. 
The parish council will also be unable to open the library on Wednesday and Friday. 
No decision has yet been made whether Essex County Council library staff will be able to open the library tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday. 
The parish council has had to move almost all its furniture and files out of the office.

   

LOUGHTON: Students display art and photography work

5.21pm - 13th June 2016

STUDENTS at Roding Valley High School have displayed the art and photography work which they have been working on for the past 18 months. 
Their work includes all of their coursework, their exam final pieces and all of their preparatory sketchbooks. 
Head of Art David Tisdale said: "We have such a broad range of materials, techniques and scales this year including ceramics, pen, pencil drawing, painting, collage and assemblage. 
"Each piece of work is individual, experimental and exciting, with some of the students producing work which wouldn’t be out of place in any A-Level exhibition." 
He added: "This year, for the first time, we also exhibited the work of our A-Level artists and photographers. This turned out to be of great benefit for our GCSE students as they could see the difference in scale and skill required for this higher level of study." 
Many pieces from the exhibition will be displayed at Loughton Arts Centre, High Road, Loughton, from Saturday, June 25, until Friday, July 8.

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: Bus service proposals "simply not good enough"

1.08pm - 13th June 2016

TRANSPORT for London has launched a consultation exercise over the future of "crucial" service which serves Loughton and Debden. 
TfL has drawn up proposals to "restructure" route 167 following the loss of Essex County Council funding in April. 
As part of the proposals Route 167 would no longer run between Loughton Station and Debden Station, a new route 677 would be introduced providing a limited stop service between Ilford and schools in Debden using double-decker buses (on school days only) while no changes are proposed to the route 20 service.
Loughton Roding Independent town and district councillor Stephen Murray is urging local people to have their say during the consultation period. 
He said: "Following the withdrawal of funding from Essex County Council this April TfL have launched a consultation about terminating this crucial service at Loughton Station rather than Debden Station. 
"This would mean Loughton High Road, Church Hill, Rectory Lane, Chester Road, Davenant School, Jessel Drive, Burney Drive, Willingale Road and Debden Station would no longer enjoy this regular service. 
"The proposed alternative of the new school route 677 running as an express twice a day from Buckhurst Hill Station stopping at the three secondary schools - Roding Valley, Davenant and Debden Park - during term-time is simply not good enough. 
"This proposal represents a major cutback in our bus service for a large part of our town. 
"I would urge all local residents and users of this key service to respond to the consultation which closes on July 22."

For more about the consultation click here

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Housebuilding schemes on hold after council terminates contract

1.05pm - 13th June 2016

A BUILDING contractor working for Epping Forest District Council on four house building schemes in Waltham Abbey has had its contract terminated. 
The council says it has now started negotiations with P A Finlay, who undertook refurbishment works at Marden Close, to complete the new-build of four other sites in Waltham Abbey after a notice was served on Broadway Construction immediately terminating the contract with them for Phase 1 of the council’s house building programme. 
The council said: "This follows a default notice that was served on April 26; the reason being that they were not carrying out the works regularly and diligently, contrary to their contract obligations."
The council added that it has now taken over responsibility for safety and security on the four sites and put in place arrangements with a security company to carry out 24-hour patrols until a new contractor is appointed. 
The council’s agent, Pellings LLP, is undertaking a "thorough and detailed" inventory of materials and equipment on site and recording the works that have yet to be completed.

   

LOUGHTON: Refurbished play area re-opens

1.02pm - 13th June 2016

THE Traps Hill play area, next to Loughton Library, has reopened after an £80,000 refurbishment. 
The choice of new equipment was finalised through extensive public consultation. 
The equipment is suitable for a wide range of ages from toddlers to 14-year-olds. 
As well as the traditional and basket swings, there is a challenging multi-play piece for teenagers with a climbing wall and bannister slide. 
The new roundabout with seats is fitted level with the safety surfacing and suitable for wheelchairs. For younger children there is an adventure trail and multi-play unit. 
There is also a 'witches hat' (a spinning cone climber) and trampoline. 
A total of £20,000 of the cost of the work came through a grant from Essex County Council's Community Initiatives Fund. 
Councillor David Wixley, chairman of Loughton Town Council’s Recreation Committee which undertook the project, said, “This is just one of the eight playgrounds provided by the town council. 
"We were very successful in last year’s Essex Playing Fields Association annual competition; the playground at Monksgrove received a Silver Award while those at Westall Road and Colebrook Lane both received Certificates of Merit. 
"We expect the Traps Hill playground will be a strong contender for an award this year." 
He added: "We hope families will join us for the official opening ceremony and family event on Saturday, July 9, from 10.30am-12.30pm.”

   

BUCKHURST HILL: PICTURES: Crowds turn out for 'Royal' occasion

4.30pm - 11th June 2016

For a slideshow of pictures click here

HUNDREDS of people turned out to welcome a special visitor to Buckhurst Hill on the day the Queen officially celebrated her 90th birthday. 
Children were on hand to sing Happy Birthday as a parade featuring cheerleaders and a Beefeater made its way down Queens Road. 
And then the special guest stepped out of the 'Royal' car and the crowds welcomed 'Her Majesty' just hours after the Queen's official birthday celebrations, the Trooping of the Colour', in London. 
This afternoon's event, organised by Buckhurst Hill Village Forum, saw the street lined with stalls and entertainment. 
After the official welcome to 'the Queen', the 'royal' visitor went on a walk-about up Queens Road before taking to a throne where she posed for photographs and met her loyal subjects, including Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing and county councillor Valerie Metcalfe. 

For a slideshow of pictures click here

For details about how to order prints or e-versions of any of the pictures featured email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com or ring David Jackman on 07710 447868.

   

EPPING: School marks Queen's 90th birthday

9.38am - 11th June 2016

A TREE to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday has been planted at Ivy Chimneys Primary School, Epping, by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing.
Mrs Laing - and Epping Mayor Les Burrows - were invited to the school's Queen's birthday celebrations which saw the children parade round the playground in their specially-made crowns and wearing red, white and blue clothes. 
After the planting of a hornbeam tree, which replaces a weeping willow, the children sang Happy Birthday to Her Majesty. 
Mrs Laing said: "Ivy Chimneys Primary School should be really proud of their efforts today (Friday). 
"It was really wonderful to see the children marching and wearing their crowns, which were magnificent, and their red, white and blue clothes to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.
"It was a great pleasure for me to plant the new hornbeam tree in the school grounds and very important that the children appreciate the value of trees to our environment."

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: Students compete in cup cake bake-off

9.19am - 11th June 2016

TWELVE students in Years 7 to 10 at Roding Valley High School, Loughton, took part in a cupcake bake-off challenge. 
The students had to make up to 12 cup cakes using their own ingredients, decorate the cakes and present them to the judges - all within 75 minutes. 
Judges marked the cakes on their appearance, texture, flavour, the students' attention to hygiene and safety and presentation. 
The winner was Ellie Blundy for her Hawaiian-themed cup cakes with Mary-ann Thurgood runner-up.
Paula Goosen, Head of Technology at the Alderton Hill school, said: "We were very pleased with the quality of products made and proud of all our students. 
"We look forward to next year's competition."

PICTURES

   

DISTRICT: Solicitors supporting 'Make A WIll Fortnight'

8.51am - 9th June 2016

LOCAL solicitors are supporting St Clare Hospice’s ‘Make a Will Fortnight’ (June 6-17). 
They are volunteering their time to enable people to make a Will in return for a donation to the Hastingwood-based hospice. 
Seven solicitors’ offices in the Epping Forest area are taking part. 
All they request is a suggested minimum donation of £180 which is the standard cost of a Will. 

The participating solicitors are: 
Epping - Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP, 181 High Street (01992 578642). 
Buckhurst Hill - Diamonds, Queen’s Mews, Queen’s Road (020 8559 0778). 
Woodford Green - Thirsk Winton, Swan House, Johnston Road (020 8505 4777). 
Loughton - Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP, 106-108 High Road (01992 578642), Stapley & Co, 141A High Road (020 8502 1934) and Attwaters Jameson Hill, 147 High Road (020 8508 2111). 

Appointments are limited. For more information about Make a Will Fortnight contact St Clare Hospice's corporate partnerships manager Amy Jacobs on 01279 773758 or email amy.jacobs@stclarehospice.org.uk

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Man homeless after flat fire

9.03am - 8th June 2016

A MAN has been left homeless following a fire at a flat in Waltham Abbey. 
Two fire crews - from Waltham Abbey and Loughton - were called to the fire in the loft of a flat in Edward Court at about 6.15pm last night. 
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using two hose reel jets took almost an hour to deal with the blaze.
An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the Red Cross was called to help a man who was unable to return home as a result of the fire.

   

NORTH WEALD: Garden area officially opened

8.45am - 8th June 2016

THE garden area in front of the parade of shops in High Road, North Weald, has been officially opened by Epping Forest District Council chairman councillor Jeane Lea. 
The idea for the garden, which has transformed an area of land into floral beds, came from North Weald Bassett parish councillor and vice-chairman Alan Buckley. 
He said: "This area is the focal point of the village and we wanted to make it an attractive area. It is now far more pleasing on the eye for residents and passers-by." 
A group of six volunteers helped plant the area with some 200 plants and four local businesses - GreenAcres Woodland Burials, Davis Homes estate agents, Stuart Poulton, The Family Funeral Director; and Cinnamon Indian Restaurant - are sponsoring the initiative. 
Their support will cover the cost of maintaining the area for the first year. 
Mr Buckley added: "It's the busiest part of the village and the garden has certainly brightened up and tidied up that part of the parish." 
District council chairman Jeane Lea, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, said: "I think it's very nice and it's brilliant that the community is working together, with the parish council and local businesses coming together, to brighten up the area."

PICTURES

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Adventure holiday centre plans rejected

6.07pm - 7th June 2016

PLANS for a children's adventure holiday centre at the Royal Gunpowder Mills site in Waltham Abbey have been rejected by district councillors. 
The PGL application, refused at last night's full council meeting, followed an earlier meeting of the planning development management committee which had provisionally approved the proposals before they were referred to full council. 
A separate listed building planning application for the conversion, alteration and extension of several buildings to provide classroom and guest accommodation was approved. 
The Royal Gunpowder Mills is one of the most important sites of special scientific interest and heritage in the district. Gunpowder production is thought to date back to the 16th Century. 
The site contains many listed buildings as well as a natural habitat of exceptional quality. 
The Mills is run by an RGM operating company. 
The original intention was to open the Royal Gunpowder Mills up to the public with the aid of a trust fund set up by the Ministry of Defence and Lottery funding. 
However, in recent years, the site has been unable to meet its running costs without drawing down capital funds, leading to concerns about the long term financial security of the Mills, the district council has said.
PGL has a number of children’s adventure holiday centres around the UK. 
The planning application proposed to convert part of the site for children’s holidays while seeking to conserve other environmental and heritage related parts of the site. 
However councillors felt that any benefits of the proposals were outweighed by the demolition of historic buildings, intensive use and harm to the heritage and environmental value of the site.

   

DISTRICT: MP sponsors women's rights exhibition

4.33pm - 7th June 2016

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has sponsored a new exhibition in Parliament charting 150 years of progress on women’s rights and gender equality. 
The exhibition has been produced by the UK’s leading sex equality charity, the Fawcett Society to mark the 150th anniversary of the date of the presentation to Parliament of the first petition for women’s votes.
Millicent Fawcett collected signatures on that first petition, but at 19 was too young to sign it herself. 
She then went on to lead the constitutional campaign for women’s votes (the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies) and was in Parliament to witness the granting of universal suffrage in 1928, 62 years later. 
The suffrage movement was not only campaigning for votes for women but also wanted to achieve wider social transformation of access to education, property rights even the right for women to exist in their own right and not only as the property of a man. 
The Fawcett Society, established in Millicent Fawcett’s name, is marking its 150th anniversary with a timeline in Parliament and a call to speed up the pace of change. 
The charity has also published a book about the history of the suffrage movement, In the steps of exceptional women: the history of the Fawcett Society, by Jane Grant. 
Mrs Laing will be donating a copy of the book to all the secondary schools in the Epping Forest constituency. 
Mrs Laing said: “I am delighted to support this important exhibition. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Millicent Fawcett and the suffragists and suffragettes who campaigned alongside her. 
“This is why I will be donating a book about our suffrage history to all the Epping Forest secondary schools. 
"I hope that all pupils, boys and girls, will get the opportunity to find out more about this crucial part of our past. 
"I want the young people in my constituency to experience a future free from sex discrimination. Equality - it’s about time.” 
Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers said: “We are very grateful to Eleanor Laing for her support and help with bringing this exhibition to parliament. It is fitting that it should be there for the 150th anniversary of the petition presentation. 
“By understanding our past we can make sex discrimination history. We don’t want to wait another 150 years for equality.”

   

EPPING GREEN: Village to get village hall

2.56pm - 7th June 2016

AFTER a 50-year wait, Epping Green is to finally get a village hall. 
Plans have been approved by the parish and district councils for a village hall and church centre at the chapel site in Epping Green. 
Rev'd Paul Walker said: "The village Chapel like the village hall are central places for folk to gather. Sadly 50 years ago the village was unable to secure ownership of the village hall and it was sold. 
"The Chapel has been an active Church at the village centre for 200 years and due to growth now requires more space and 21st century facilities."
The community solution is a new combined church and village/parish hall centre built over two levels. 
The project, incorporating the current 19th century landmark structure is expected to cost about £250.000 and will hopefully be completed by next summer, the anniversary of the village hall's closure. 
Rev'd Walker, who is also Lead Chaplain for St.Margaret’s Hospital Epping, said: “We are delighted with the plans and planning approval and I want to thank everyone who has supported us this far and to ask for ongoing support and prayer to see this community project become a reality."

   

EPPING / ONGAR: Talks given to local groups

2.54pm - 7th June 2016

A TALK on the Island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic was given by Anthony Hoad to the June meeting of the Probus Club of Epping. 
The next meeting is a ladies lunch at Lindsey Street Community Association, Frampton Road, Epping, on Wednesday, June 15. 
Enquiries regarding the club should be made to secretary Hilary Dodd on 01992 560381. 

ONGAR and Shelley Ladies Thursday Group member Linda Hague gave a talk on her recent holiday in Scotland at the last meeting. 
The July 7 meeting is a mystery trip. Some spaces are still available. For more details, ring Sylvia on 01277 362924 or Linda on 01277 363278. 
In August there will be a talk by Jan Fullerton on District Nursing before the NHS.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Ninefields Community Day

8.03am - 7th June 2016

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has praised the "strong community spirit" on display at the Ninefields Community Day. 
Various stalls and sideshows were manned at Saturday's event which was also attended by Waltham Abbey firefighters and air cadets from the 414 (Epping and North Weald) Squadron. 
Waltham Abbey mayor Helen Kane and town and district Conservative councillors also visited the event which was organised by the Ninefields Residents Panel. 
Mrs Laing said: "I was delighted to visit the Community Day and thank the organisers for all their hard work arranging the event. 
"It displayed the strong community spirit which exists on the Ninefields estate with many local people coming together to ensure that the event was a great success."

   

ONGAR: Have your say on town issues

8.21am - 4th June 2016

A PUBLIC meeting is being held in Ongar to give residents the chance to give their views on current problems and future opportunities for the town. 
The 'It's Our Ongar' meeting - in the Budworth Hall ballroom at 8.15pm on Monday, June 20 - is being organised by district councillor Brian Surtees. 
He said: "At the Annual Town Meeting in May many concerns were raised about the future of Ongar and a plea was made for there to be 'less negativity' in published comments and public meetings." 
Mr Surtees - who on Thursday failed to be co-opted onto the town council of which he is a former chairman - offered to arrange a meeting where residents of all ages and interests could express opinions about current problems and future opportunities to aid councillors and service providers in decision making.
Ideas and questions for the meeting can be raised via a website www.ourongar.com which has been set up by Mr Surtees. 
He said recently-mentioned issues include the threat to the Green Belt and the effect of projected housing development. 
For more information, ring Mr Surtees on 01277 363607 or email bsurtees@seetrus.com

   

EPPING: Church to host EU Referendum debate

UPDATED 8.43am - 12th June 2016

8.18am - 4th June 2016

A DEBATE on the EU Referendum will be held at St John's Church, Epping, on Tuesday, June 14.
The 'In or Out?' event (7.30pm) is being hosted by Churches Together, Epping District. Entry is free.
Speaking for 'Out' will be Andrew Smith, a finance director and Epping Forest UKIP parliamentary candidate and Jamie Martin, education technology advisor, former Special Adviser to Michael Gove at the Department for Education and spokesperson for tghe 'Vote Leave' campaign.
Speaking for 'In' will be Dr Marina Prentoulis, senior lecturer in media and politics at the University of East Anglia and spokesperson for the 'Another Europe' campaign and Old Harlow councillor Joel Charles, the deputy leader of the Conservative group on Harlow District Council and the council's shadow spokesman for regeneration.

   

LOUGHTON: MP visits new Screwfix branch

4.04pm - 3rd June 2016

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has visited the recently-opened Loughton branch of Screwfix saying it is a welcome arrival in Epping Forest. 
The branch, on the Prospect Business Park off Langston Road, Debden, opened about four months ago. It stocks some 11,300 products and has created 16 new jobs. 
Mrs Laing said: "I am extremely impressed by this new enterprise which has opened in Loughton, It is great that it is employing local people and has created 16 new jobs. 
"Even more importantly it provides a really important service to local businesses right on our doorstep."
She added: "Screwfix is a real success story using modern retail methods and the most up-to-date technology. It has gone from strength to strength and I know it will be a great asset here in Epping Forest."

PICTURES

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town mayor re-elected

9.55am - 3rd June 2016

WALTHAM Abbey mayor Helen Kane has been re-elected for a further year. 
Mrs Kane presented a donation to St Clare Hospice and Waltham Abbey Army Cadets at the Annual Town Council Meeting. 
Councillor Mick Fitch was elected deputy mayor after councillor Jeane Lea stepped down from the position. Mrs Lea has been elected the chairman of Epping Forest District Council for 2016-17.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Somerset village given Freedom of Waltham Abbey

9.53am - 3rd June 2016

THE Freedom of Waltham Abbey has been given to the community of Montacute in Somerset to celebrate the connection between the two communities through the Legend of the Holy Cross. 
A sealed and signed citation was presented to Montacute Parish Council chairman Vincent Baker and Gordon Rendell, churchwarden at St Catherine’s Church in Montacute. 
Montacute is a small village in Somerset where the legend of the Holy Cross begins. An angel appeared to the village’s blacksmith which led to the discovery of a miraculous black cross. 
The Lord of the Manor, Tovi the Proud, decided that the cross should be removed to some great religious house, and gave orders for the red and the white oxen to take the ribbon bedecked cart to one great church after another, but not until Tovi’s small manor at Waltham was mentioned did the oxen take the strain. 
The cross was installed in the small church where now the Abbey church still stands, with the Abbey eventually becoming a great place of pilgrimage. 
In 1540, the Abbey at Waltham was the last to be dissolved by King Henry VIII, and at that time the cross was lost. The Abbey Church today still celebrates the Legend of the Holy Cross. 
Mr Baker thanked the town council for the honour, presented by town mayor Helen Kane, which will be displayed in the village church.

   

ONGAR: Former council chairman fails to get co-opted onto council

9.11am - 3rd June 2016

ONGAR town councillors have voted 5-4 not to co-opt former council chairman Brian Surtees back onto the council. 
Mr Surtees, a Liberal Democrat district councillor for Ongar - who lost his seat in the town council elections in May 2015 and lost last October's by-election when Derek Birch (Ongar Residents' Association) was elected - was one of three people who put themselves forward for co-option following recent resignations.
 One vacancy can still be filled by co-option while the Shelley vacancy which exists following the resignation of Labour councillor Peter Gode has yet to be advertised and so it is not known whether it will require a by-election or can also be filled by co-option. 
Jane Battersby (Independent) and Conservative Ongar district councillor Paul Keska were co-opted onto the council at last night's council meeting. Mr Keska said he was standing as an Independent town councillor.

   

ONGAR: No support for market move

9.09am - 3rd June 2016

A SUGGESTION first made four years that the weekly Ongar market could be moved into the High Street has failed to get support from the town council. 
It was suggested back in 2012 that the market move from the Pleasance car park however town councillors last night decided the car park was a far safer location. 
Council chairman Jim Browning said the car park was a "much safer environment". 
The idea has been a long-standing item on a North Essex Parking Partnership list of possible schemes across the district.

   

ONGAR: Vandalised post box to be removed

9.07am - 3rd June 2016

THE post box in St Peters Avenue, Shelley, is to be removed following "constant vandalism", the town council has been told. 
Last night's planning and environment and public relations committee meeting was told that Government legislation states that as long as there is another post box within half-a-mile the box does not need to be replaced.

   

ONGAR: Speed limit plea backed

9.06am - 3rd June 2016

A PLEA from residents of Moreton Road, Ongar, for the 30mph speed limit to be extended towards Moreton is to be taken up by Ongar Town Council.

   

ONGAR: Town clerk welcomed back

9.04am - 3rd June 2016

ONGAR Town Council chairman Jim Browning has welcomed town clerk Aimi Middlehurst who has returned to work following a period of sick leave. 
Speaking at the start of last night's meeting he thanked the council staff for their "excellent teamwork and (for) holding the fort in a very competent way" in her absence.

   

ONGAR: Two district councillors put themselves forward for co-option onto town council

4.56pm - 1st June 2016

TWO of Ongar's district councillors have put themselves forward to be co-opted onto Ongar Town Council.
The council will decide tomorrow evening (Thursday) whether Conservative councillor Paul Keska, Liberal Democrat district and former town councillor Brian Surtees and local resident Jane Battersby should join the town council. 
If all three are co-opted there remains one vacancy still to be filled by co-option while the vacancy created by the resignation of Shelley councillor Peter Gode is yet to be advertised therefore it is not known whether this will be filled by a by-election or co-option.
Mrs Battersby, in her letter to the council, says she has decided to take a "leap of faith" and put herself forward to be a town councillor. 
She adds: "I believe that our town council needs a more balanced membership following the unfortunate disruption of the last 12 months. 
"I have no agenda and would be standing as an Independent councillor. My main concern is to support the residents of Ongar and do the best to improve our town, putting past events behind and looking for the best way to move forward." 
Mr Keska was recently re-elected vice-chairman of the district council's area planning sub-committee (east) which covers the Ongar area. 
Councillor Brian Surtees, in his letter, said: "Whether co-opted or not I will continue to support the town council in any way I can. 
"Sometimes this has meant acting as a 'critical friend' in order to point out potential pitfalls that could damage the council, but I am not against change or innovative ways of working."

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Council elects new chairman and vice-chairman

8.40am - 1st June 2016

BUCKHURST Hill Parish Council has elected councillor Neville Wright as its new chairman with councillor Bobby Nagpal elected vice-chairman. 
The new council has also elected councillors to its various committees. 
Committee chairman elected were: Finance & Establishment, Bobby Nagpal; Planning & Environment, Ken Williamson; Accommodation, Neville Wright; Neighbourhood Plan, Smruti Patel and Recreation & Amenity, Jo Share-Bernia. 
Councillor Wright said: "I am delighted to have been elected chairman and I am relishing the challenge of leading the parish council going forward. 
"There are some key issues coming up in the shape of the Local Plan and the review of the Green Belt, to name just two, and I am looking forward to tackling these on behalf of residents." 
He added: "I would like to thank councillor Aniket Patel for all his hard work in leading the parish council over the last few years and wished him continued success in his role as a district councillor.” 
Outgoing chairman Aniket Patel said he had been "an absolute honour" to have chaired the council for the last three years. 
Mr Patel said: "My personal passion was developing the library as a community hub and how we could offer additional services from these premises. 'The Stack' (the name given to the space behind the library) has the potential to accommodate, child, youth and elderly services and I hope the accommodation committee continues to take this project forward. 
"The council is in an extremely strong position with a number of exciting projects in the pipeline. 
"Over the last four years not only has the reserve position increased by approximately £500,000 but the council has increased its services whilst freezing its proportion of council tax." 
He thanked councillors and staff for their support and added: "Collectively we have achieved a huge amount for the Buckhurst Hill community and I hope, whatever your allegiance, that you (the new councillors) all work together to continue the good work."

   

DISTRICT: Hospice volunteers attend Royal Garden Party

8.36am - 1st June 2016

TWO St Clare Hospice volunteers have attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. 
Margaret Pomfrett and Gill Richardson, who both live in North Weald, were invited in recognition of their service to St Clare Hospice. 
Margaret, who has volunteered for St Clare for more than 20 years, said: "I first became involved with St Clare in February 1995 when I joined up as a volunteer street collector. 
"A few years later I started helping with the St Clare Lottery and used to go from door to door around my neighbourhood in North Weald collecting the residents’ ticket money. I still regularly stand on Ongar High Street or at the local supermarket proudly holding my St Clare bucket." 
Margaret also spends time as a volunteer receptionist working every Wednesday on the front desk at the hospice centre at Hastingwood. 
"It is a lovely, happy place to work, in beautiful surroundings, and I feel honoured to be able to help the hospice in my own small way.” 
Gill is a retired nurse who has volunteered at the hospice for more than a decade. 
She first became involved when she was asked to join the Ongar Friends fundraising group and was treasurer for two years. In 2005 Gill became a volunteer driver for the day therapy service.