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LOUGHTON: Investigation launched after shattered window leaves Tube passengers "shaken" 

9.32pm - 21st May 2018

PASSENGERS were left "shaken but unhurt" after a Tube train window was shattered as the train approached Loughton Station. 

British Transport Police and London Underground staff are investigating the incident which happened at about 5.30pm today. 

Epping town and district councillor Holly Whitbread, who was on the train and took a picture of the shattered window, told Everything Epping Forest: "The train was approaching Loughton and all of a sudden there was a large bang and the window shattered. 

"Everyone looked around shocked unsure what had happened. A few people were shaken but luckily no one was hurt." 

Miss Whitbread said she thought the window could have been hit by a pellet from an air rifle. 

Later, reacting to Everything Epping Forest's report of the incident on its Facebook page and group, one reader said she had read elsewhere that children had earlier been throwing stones at trains. 

A message posted on the Central Line's Twitter feed at 6.14pm stated: "We are aware of the situation and currently investigating this as a priority with the police."

   

LOUGHTON: Lifeboat quiz raises almost £500

3.50pm - 21st May 2018

A QUIZ held by the Loughton and Woodford branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution made a profit of £491. 

Organisers thanked Epping Forest Outdoor Group members who again support the branch. 

The group also organised a fundraising evening for the branch and raised £86.96 in donations and the sale of RNLI gifts and souvenirs.

This year Lifeboat Day street collections will be held on Saturday, June 2, in Loughton and district. 

Anyone able to offer some time as a volunteer can email Mike Evans on 0208 502 1788.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Police appeal over Honey Lane blaze

3.22pm - 21st May 2018

POLICE are appealing for witnesses to the fire which affected four houses and a garage in Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey. 

Emergency services were alerted at about 11.40am last Thursday and remained on the scene for almost 12 hours as the fire spread through the roof spaces of the homes opposite Leverton School. 

A joint fire and police investigation is ongoing to establish the cause of the fire. 

Police say they want to speak to any witnesses who have yet to come forward, particularly a man who was seen filming the incident.

Anyone with any information should ring Loughton CID on 101 quoting reference 42/68968/18.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Police operation catches more than 200 speeding drivers

3.20pm - 21st May 2018

THREE people were arrested on suspicion of drug-driving and more than 200 drivers were caught speeding during a police traffic operation on the A121 in Waltham Abbey. 

A 40-year-old man, from Waltham Abbey, and a 39-year-old man, from Enfield, were arrested on suspicion of drug-driving and have been released pending further enquires. 

A 30-year-old man, from Enfield, was arrested on suspicion of drug-driving and on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. He has been released pending further enquires. 

The operation also caught 208 speeding drivers and 97 people driving without wearing a seatbelt. 

A further 24 drivers were found to be driving while using their phones. Each driver received six points and a fine. 

Two drivers were found to be driving without valid insurance and both had their cars seized.

 Matt Hine, Operational Tasking Supervisor at the Casualty Reduction Section, said: "We’re better equipped than ever to detect those that drive while under the influence of drink and drugs. If you take the risk, it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught and put before the courts." 

Anyone with information about drivers who regularly get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Always dial 999 if you know someone under the influence of drink or drugs behind the wheel of a vehicle.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Investigations continue into Honey Lane blaze

7.46am - 18th May 2018

INVESTIGATIONS will continue into the cause of a fire which spread through the roof space of four houses in Waltham Abbey. 

Crews remained at the scene last night, almost 12 hours after the blaze broke out. 

At the height of the incident some eight fire crews were tackling the blaze which started at about 11.30am.

Kay Mockford, whose brother's home was one of those involved in the incident, wrote on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page: "There was three explosions from the house next door but one. They say it was gas canisters." 

Shannon Rose, from Colchester, posted on the Everything Epping Forest Twitter feed that her mother saw the fire as she drove past and "banged on the houses and got everyone out". 

Leverton Primary School, which is on the opposite side of the road to the blaze scene, was closed with the children kept indoors as smoke billowed from the properties. 

Police helped evacuate the school in the afternoon with the children taken to the nearby Marriott Hotel where they could be collected. 

During the incident the Salvation Army was on hand to provide refreshments with Walltham Abbey Tesco providing food and drink. 

Honey Lane was cordoned off at both ends with only residents who lived within the cordon allowed through.

   

#EEF999LIVE: LOUGHTON: Man robbed of car at knifepoint

9.46am - 16th May 2018

POLICE are appealing for information after a man was robbed of his car at knifepoint in Loughton.

The 26-year-old victim, from Loughton, contacted police shortly after 10.15pm last night. 

He was walking out of an alleyway onto Brook Road when a man approached him and demanded his phone, which was handed over. 

He then demanded his car keys. 

When the victim refused, the suspect showed him a knife. 

He then took the keys, found the car - a grey Ford Kuga ST-Line - and drove it off towards Brooklyn Avenue, Loughton. 

The victim was unhurt. 

Anyone with any information should ring Loughton CID on 101 quoting reference 42/67591/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: MP welcomes step-free access at station

8.39am - 16th May 2018

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has welcomed the announcement from Transport for London that Buckhurst Hill Station is now step-free. 

The Central Line station is the first to benefit from the Mayor of London’s £200m fund to boost accessibility across the capital. 

Buckhurst Hill is the 74th London Underground station to become step-free and the first of five stations on the eastern section of the Central line that will be made step-free over the coming years. 

Mrs Laing said: "I am delighted that Buckhurst Hill Station is now step-free. This is something that commuters and other users of the station have wanted for a long time. 

"This will significantly improve access for older and disabled people, as well as parents or carers with buggies."

The Mayor’s investment, announced last year, will provide step-free access at a number of stations around London to increase the total to more than 100. Investment across TfL will mean that by 2022, 40 per cent of the network will be step-free. The figure is currently 27 per cent. 

The other stations confirmed to be included in the Mayor’s investment boost include Debden, Newbury Park, South Woodford and Snaresbrook.

   

CHIGWELL: First cabinet role for county councillor

3.08pm - 15th May 2018

CHIGWELL and Loughton Broadway county councillor Gagan Mohindra has been appointed to his first Essex County Council cabinet role, as portfolio holder for Economic Development, which includes housing. 

Council leader David Finch on Mr Mohindra's appointment, said: “Gagan will renew our focus on economic growth, ensuring we know what skills businesses need and that we have the commercial space for them to develop. 

"We know that Essex needs at least 136,000 new homes over the next 20 years - Gagan will work with partners across Essex to facilitate housing growth in such a way that the characteristics of the county we cherish are protected and enhanced. 

"We are not just building new homes, we are building communities.”

Independent Loughton Roding ward councillor Stephen Murray - Congratulations to councillor Mohindra on achieving this significant post of influence within Essex County Council. 

Perhaps he can start by listening to the community within his own County Division (Chigwell and Loughton Broadway) who have made their views very clear as regards the need to protect and keep Jessel Green. 

Also now we have a local county councillor within the key decision-making body at County Hall in Chelmsford can I suggest that two county issues are of the utmost local importance and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. 

Essex Highways need to start tackling the seriously poor condition of our local roads, the potholes are an utter disgrace and are often commented on by my constituents and their visitors from nearby London authorities who appear to give highway maintenance a far higher priority than Essex County Council currently do, and the near total darkness experienced during the night with the Essex policy of switching of every street light in residential areas - many residents and shift workers continue to express their desire to see a more flexible policy than the current switch-off policy operated by Essex County Council.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Council chairman reflects on past year

2.25pm - 15th May 2018

BUCKHURST Hill Parish Council chairman Neville Wright has reflected on the past civic year during which one of the main topics was Epping Forest District Council's Local Plan. 

Thursday's Annual Parish Assembly heard that the council had questioned and objected to all three potential development sites included in the district council's Local Plan document which is being challenged in the High Court by a Theydon Bois-based developer later this month. 

The parish council's objections included questioning the "soundness" of the Plan. 

Mr Wright also reported that speeding is a key local issue describing it as a "detrimental problem" for the Parish. 

He added: "It does impact on us because of the nature of the roads in the area." 

He highlighted the Speedwatch scheme which is operated by volunteers and was "already making a positive impact", and called on more people to come forward to get involved with the initiative. 

Mr Wright also highlighted the council's Winter Warmers event held last autumn, and hoped a repeat event would be held this year, and also expressed his delight at the success of the Christmas in Queens Road event. 

He also expressed the council's thanks to Val Evans, the Deputy Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer, who is leaving the council shortly. 

Mrs Evans has been with the council since 2010 and has twice acted up as clerk. He said Mrs Evans had been "a great support to councillors past and present". 

The Annual Parish Assembly heard brief presentations from representatives from Buckhurst Hill Community Association, Buckhurst Hill Residents Society and the guide groups at St James' Church and St John's, Buckhurst Hill.

The meeting also welcomed Hannah Hockin, corporate partnership and events executive with the charity Carers UK, who was presented with a cheque for £1,156, the proceeds of the council's fundraising efforts during the past year. 

The meeting also saw parish council-funded Police Community Support Officer Kai Farrant introduced to the Parish.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Council to focus on community halls

2.22pm - 15th May 2018

THE future of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's two community halls - Roding Valley Hall and the Woollard Centre - are to be considered by the parish council during the next civic year. 

Parish council clerk Kevin O'Brien told Thursday's Annual Parish Assembly that the aspiration was that ideas regarding the future of one or both of the halls will be ready to be made public towards the end of the year. 

The council has said that it is hard to justify continuing to operate two community halls, given the overall level of hires, the high level of operating costs and the significant amount of spending required to bring the buildings up to date. 

Parish council chairman Neville Wright confirmed that current users would be consulted over potential development ideas as the council wanted to ensure the facilities to be provided in any new building met the demands of the current, and potentially future, users.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Council supports Carers UK

2.20pm - 15th May 2018

A CHEQUE for £1,156 was presented by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council to Carers UK - the proceeds of the council's charity fundraising efforts over the past year. 

The charity was chosen by council chairman councillor Neville Wright who handed the cheque to the charity's corporate partnership and events executive Hannah Hockin at Thursday's Annual Parish Assembly. 

The money was raised through various fundraising events, including at the 'Christmas in Queens Road' event which was organised by the parish council and Buckhurst Hill Residents' Society.

PICTURE

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council funds PCSO

2.15pm - 15th May 2018

A POLICE Community Support Officer funded by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council was introduced to residents at the council's Annual Parish Assembly. 

PCSO Kai Farrant will be patrolling the parish council area undertaking high visibility patrols and targeting known crime hotspots, including areas which have seen an increase in burglaries. 

He will also meet with local residents and local organisations. 

His presence is the result of long-time efforts by the parish council in negotiation with Essex Police.

Parish council chairman Neville Wright said: "It is about the residents and making residents feel safe and reassured. It will be nice for Kai to engage with local residents and the parish council." 

Parish council clerk Kevin O'Brien told Thursday's Annual Parish Assembly: "We think this (to employ a dedicated PCSO) is a really, really positive move."

Epping Forest District Commander Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said: "When I started as District Commander and met the parish council it was clear they were extremely supportive of our local Police and Community Support Officers. 

"I hope over the coming weeks and months that residents get to see a visible presence in the community and they establish a good link with our Community Team."

PICTURE and PICTURE

   

LOUGHTON: MP launches Loughton Art Trail

2.12pm - 15th May 2018

THE Loughton Art Trail, backed by £10,000 of Lottery funding, was officially launched by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing. 

The opening ceremony, which included a cake cutting,was held at Lifeworks, the creative arts centre behind Loughton Methodist Church. 

Mrs Laing said: "What a wonderful event. It was a great pleasure to launch the Loughton Arts Trail and to have the opportunity to meet so many very talented artists and to see their wonderful paintings and sculptures.

"I congratulate everyone involved for bringing together local businesses and artists in this brilliant initiative." 

Mrs Laing cut the cake to mark the opening of this year’s Art Trail which features almost 100 local artists (including The Young Artists) of The Lopping Hall Gallery who were invited to the launch. 

The work of local artists is being exhibited at a dozen venues around the town.

PICTURE

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Litter pickers take to streets

2.30pm - 14th May 2018

A GROUP of litter pickers hit the streets, verges, hedgerows and car parks of Waltham Abbey as part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Great Plastic Pick Up. 

Nicola Liddard, of Waltham Abbey WI, and Roundhills resident Mandy Pomfrett Bass organised litter picks with support and promotion from the Waltham Abbey Litter Picking Posse. 

Nicola said: "Everyone should have an interest and a pride in their local area. If it looks good it makes you feel good. There was terrific team spirit on our plastic and litter pick venture. We want to 'Keep Waltham Abbey Beautiful'." 

Teams covered the south of Roundhills, parts of Lee Valley Regional Park near McDonalds, the Abbey Gardens, Crooked Mile and the small car park area by Tesco and the medical centre. 

Twenty-nine bags of litter were collected over three days, along with car child seats, assorted shoes and a shower curtain. 

Dave Plummer, who organised the support from the Waltham Abbey Litter Picking Posse, said: "It's been great to see so many people taking the time to get stuck into making our town tidier but it’s a real shame that it needs doing at all. 

"So much of the litter we collected was unnecessary single-use plastic, from water bottles to McDonalds sauce pots and straws. 

"Of course there’s no reason for people to litter at all. Hopefully the recent interest in plastics and litter following the BBC’s superb Blue Planet 2 series will help people see how littering affects our environment, locally and globally, and maybe encourage a change of behaviour." 

The Waltham Abbey Litter Picking Posse organises regular litter picks along with promoting picks from other groups. 

To get involved visit https://walthamabbeylitterpickers.org.uk

   

DISTRICT: MP praises student speakers

1.41pm - 14th May 2018

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has praised the public speaking skills demonstrated by students who took part in the west Essex round of the 'Speak Out' Challenge. 

Mrs Laing, who was among the judging panel, said: "The speeches were inspiring and articulate. It was a brilliant event." 

More than 525 Year 10 students in west Essex’s state secondary schools received a one-day public speaking and communications training workshop when they were given the skills and the confidence to develop and deliver a competition speech on a topic that is important to them. 

Fifteen students were at Epping St John’s School for the west Essex round. 

The winner was 15-year-old Josh Tedeku, from Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow, who received the top prize of a £100 gift certificate and a place in the Grand Final in July. 

Josh impressed the judges with his speech entitled 'Three seconds' where he talked about how everyone should make an effort to help save our planet. 

Second place went to Lewis Martin 15, from Epping St John’s School with a speech entitled 'Why football is more than the beautiful game. 

Third place was awarded to Roding Valley High School student Florence New, 15, with a speech entitled “I’m not blind." 

Epping Town Mayor councillor Nigel Avey, who presented the awards, said: “I certainly wish I had had this type of opportunity when I was at school as I think everybody, not just politicians or lawyers, should get the opportunity to develop these skills as it is enormously important in developing confidence and self esteem." 

The 'Speak Out' Challenge, the world’s largest youth speaking event with more than 19,000 students in London and Essex taking part, is supported and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation and designed and delivered by Speakers Trust, the UK’s leading public speaking charity.

PICTURES

   

EPPING: May Fayre attracts bumper crowds

1.37pm - 14th May 2018

THIS year's Swaines Green May Fayre attracted bumper crowds. 

The event - in its 17th year - was held by the Friends of Swaines Green Conservation group supported by 1st Theydon Garnon Scouts and Epping Army Cadets. 

There was something for all the family from interactive belly dancing and ferret racing as well as Morris Dancing, donkey rides and a Punch and Judy show. Stalls sold local produce including jams, preserves and honey, as well as plants. 

There were also owls to hold and snakes to stroke. 

Acting chairman Jacqui Mortimer said: "The Friends of Swaines Green would like to say a very big 'thank you' to the new owners of the Thatch Cottage for continuing to allow the Fayre to be held on their land. 

"We were very pleased to see so many families having a good time and would like to thank all those who visited our fayre and made this such a wonderful traditional day out." 

Next year’s fayre will be on Saturday, May 4 while the Friends of Swaines Green Annual General Meeting is in the Conference Room, Epping Hall, St Johns Road, Epping, at 8pm on Wednesday, June 6, when guest speaker Cherry McCredie will give a talk on Hedgehog Preservation. 

For more information about The Friends of Swaines Green and its conservation work, visit www.swainesgreen.org.uk or go to the Friends of Swaines Green Facebook page. 

The email address is swainesgreen@gmail.com.

PICTURES

   

#EEF999LIVE: ABRIDGE: Police appeal to dog walkers over crash

10.07am - 14th May 2018

POLICE investigating a serious collision in Ongar Road, Abridge, are appealing for dog walkers who were in the area to come forward. 

Police were called to reports of a collision involving a motorbike and a red Seat car on the A113 Ongar Road, outside Abridge Garden Centre, at about 1.50pm on Sunday, May 6. 

The motorcyclist suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital where he remains. 

Officers believe there were a number of dog walkers in the area at the time and need to speak to them to see if they have any information which could help the investigation. 

Anyone who saw anything relating to the collision, was driving and has dash cam footage, or has any other information, is asked to ring Essex Police on 101 quoting incident 605 of 06/05, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

#EEF999LIVE: ONGAR: PICTURES: Woman and girl taken to hospital after collision

9.45am - 14th May 2018

A WOMAN and a girl have been taken to hospital after they were in collision with a car in Ongar. 

Police say officers were called to reports of a collision involving a car and two pedestrians in Greensted Road at about 8.20am.

The road was closed between Ongar Bridge and the Two Brewers pub while emergency services dealt with the incident. 

A man was checked over by ambulance crews at the scene. It is not known if he was also taken to hospital. 

An air ambulance was called to the incident and landed in the field behind Bushey Lea. 

Police are appealing for information. Anyone who can help is asked to ring Essex Police on 101.

PICTURES

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Concern over school's academy move

8.28am - 10th May 2018

CONCERN has been voiced over a move to transfer Waltham Holy Cross School to an academy trust. 

A parent, addressing Waltham Abbey Town Council's Annual Town Meeting last night, said: "We are not happy as parents. Parents have not been informed. It seems that no-one is listening." 

She added: "We are really hoping that someone along the line will pull up and listen to what we have to say. 

"We need the community's support and our council's support. As a community it takes a village to raise a child and we really have to start sticking together, Right now we are not really being acknowledged."

Parents have expressed concern over the proposed transfer of the school to an academy trust following the findings of an Ofsted inspection which concluded the school's overall effectiveness was "inadequate".

Town councillor Helen Kane told the meeting: "The town council and district council has no influence on the (Waltham Holy Cross School) Ofsted report. That decision is according to the law and the Academies Act 2016." 

She added: "I am very, very willing to share information I have collected with you. I did meet our MP, Eleanor Laing, and she is very well aware. 

"This is an ongoing situation. There is a law about academies. I know schools that chose to be academies."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: "No truth" in fire station closure speculation

4.11pm - 9th May 2018

FIRE chiefs have dismissed suggestions that Waltham Abbey Fire Station is to close saying there is "no truth" in the speculation.

Instead, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is continuing to appeal for would-be new on-call firefighters to come forward ahead of a change to the Sewardstone Road fire station becoming an on-call station by the end of next year. 

The only change planned for Waltham Abbey's fire station is that it will change from a day-crewed station to an on-call station which means that instead of having firefighters in the fire station during the day Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, firefighters will respond to incidents when alerted by a pager, just as they already do in Waltham Abbey between 6pm and 9am on weekdays and at weekends. 

On-call firefighters have everyday lives and jobs, until their pager sounds. 

To become an on-call firefighter the person must live or work within five minutes of Waltham Abbey Fire Station, be aged over 18 and be physically fit, though support will be given to help successful applicants meet fitness requirements.

Waltham Abbey Station Commander Assistant Divisional Officer Dave Barnard said: “On-call recruitment can be difficult in commuter towns, because nowadays there are fewer people who both live and work in the community during the day. 

“On-call firefighters are a crucial part of local services and communities and the role is unpredictable, exciting and at the same time, extremely rewarding. I encourage anyone interested to apply.” 

For more details about apply to be an on-call firefigher, ring 01376 576698, email oncall.recruitment@essex-fire.gov.uk or visit www.essex-fire.gov.uk/walthamabbey 

An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the conversion of Waltham Abbey’s fire engine from day-crewed to on-call will be complete by the end of next year.

   

EPPING: New mayor follows in father's footsteps

9.49am - 9th May 2018

PICTURES

COUNCILLOR Nigel Avey has been elected as the new Epping Town Mayor with councillor Grahame Scruton the new Deputy Town Mayor. 

Mr Avey was proposed by councillor Barbara Scruton who said he was following in the footsteps of his late father. Ken, who is the only person to have served two terms as Town Mayor. 

Mrs Scruton, herself a former Town Mayor, said Mr Avey was a "worthy person to represent the town".

Outgoing Epping Town Mayor Tony Church reflected on his year in office saying it has been an "immense honour and privilege" to have been mayor for the past 12 months. 

After handing over the chain of office, Mr Church highlighted just some of the 240-plus engagements he attended during his civic year, including the 100th anniversary of Epping WI, the 80th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Epping, the 40th anniversary of Epping Probus Club - and the 100th birthday celebrations of former Epping Town Mayor Denys Favre. 

Mr Church thanked councillors and town council staff for their support during the past year. 

Deputy Mayor Grahame Scruton's position as Deputy Mayor was proposed by councillor Les Burrows who said councillor Scruton would be "an excellent deputy with the support of (his wife) Libby." 

A cheque for £903.67 was presented to Epping and District Royal British Legion. The money was raised by outgoing mayor Tony Church who chose the branch during his year in office. 

Mr Church presented the cheque to branch secretary John Duffell before last night's annual council meeting.

PICTURES

   

NORTH WEALD: Investigation launched into golf club blaze

9.44am - 9th May 2018

AN investigation has been launched into a fire at Blakes Golf Club, North Weald. 

Three fire crews were called out at about 6.20am yesterday to find a two-storey outbuilding used by the groundsman "20 per cent alight".

The fire was surrounded after about 40 minutes with crews reporting that the blaze was under control.

The fire crews - from Harlow and Old Harlow - took about two hours to deal with the inciden and used thermal imaging cameras to ensure there were no remaining hotspots within the timber structure. 

The building, which included office facilities and a gym, was badly damaged.

   

SHEERING: Exhibitions for new M11 junction scheme

9.25am - 9th May 2018

TWO public drop-in events relating to the M11 Junction 7A scheme are taking place in Old Harlow. 

The events are an opportunity for people to meet project staff and discuss the latest developments which include noise barriers along Gilden Way / Sheering Road. 

These are planned to install noise barriers at some locations along Gilden Way and Sheering Road to reduce the impact of traffic noise on residents. 

The barriers are typically wooden fences, although other materials can be used such as brick and clear plastic. 

The scheme will also see the removal of The Oxleys underpass. Harlow Council has told the county council there are significant benefits to removing the underpass under Gilden Way between The Oxleys and Gilden Close. 

The underpass does not conform to the latest accessibility standards, is prone to flooding, and has become associated with anti-social behaviour. 

The existing crossing near the junction with Mulberry Green would be upgraded, ensuring it provides a safe crossing across Gilden Way. 

The events are at Mulberry Green Church Hall, Catholic Church of the Assumption, Mulberry Green, Old Harlow, between 2pm and 8pm on Friday (May 11) and between 10am and 4pm on Saturday (May 12).

   

LOUGHTON: School supports cancer charity

9.20am - 9th May 2018

PUPILS and staff at Hereward Primary School got their charity caps on to raise £340 for the cancer charity CLIC-Sargent. 

They arrived for school in their favourite headwear and made donations to the charity for children and young people which provides clinical, practical, financial and emotional support for patients and their families after diagnosis. 

Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "Last year we sadly lost one of our loved members of staff to cancer and saw the devastating effect this had on her family. 

"We are proud to help raise money for such a worthwhile charity in order to help support families at difficult times when a loved one is suffering from a serious illness."

   

THORNWOOD: Decision awaited over rugby club plans

8.05am - 8th May 2018

A RUGBY club is awaiting a district council decision over whether it can develop its site and provide facilities for the wider community. 

Epping Upper Clapton Rugby Club wants to develop its home in Upland Road, Thornwood,  with a state-of-the art, multi-use, all-weather pitch and new function suite. 

All of the upgrades - along with its existing facilities - will be available for use by the wider local community as well as primarily by the rugby club’s various junior and senior teams. 

The club says the intended facilities are vital to the long-term future of the club. which has had to call off almost 400 matches in the last three years due to the lack of all-weather facilities. 

The rugby club will pay for the new facilities but the plans depend on Epping Forest District Council approving a development of ten homes on club land.

The club is calling on members and the local community to help send a message to the council that this is the last chance to secure the long-term future of the club and the role it plays in the community. 

Club chairman Paul Donnelly said: "We want our rugby club to continue to grow and provide the best possible facilities for our teams, local schools and the wider sports community.

"Delivery of our upgrade plans is absolutely vital to achieving this and to securing the long term future of our club. 

"That's why we're calling on the council to approve the plans, including the small development that will fund them. 

"And we are asking club members and other local residents to join us in sending the message to councillors that this really is the last chance to ensure Epping Upper Clapton RFC doesn’t just survive, it needs to thrive too."

   

#EEF999LIVE: NORTH WEALD: Boys, 14, charged over burglary

8.03am - 8th May 2018

TWO 14-year-old boys have been charged in connection with a burglary in North Weald where a car was stolen from an address in School Green Lane.

It happened at about 3.35am on April 8. 

Two boys were arrested in Loughton a short time later. 

One of the boys has been charged with two counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, dangerous driving, and handling stolen goods. 

The other boy has been charged with two counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, and handling stolen goods. 

They are both due to appear at Chelmsford Youth Court on June 8.

   

ONGAR: Crowds flock to Ongar Town Festival

2.29pm - 6th May 2018

PICTURES

CROWDS of visitors flocked to Ongar High Street for the first ever Ongar Town Festival.

The day-long event - with a strong French flavour - was officially opened by Epping Forest District Council chairman Dave Stallan. 

Visitors included a group from Ongar's French twin town of Cerizay. 

The event was centered around a petanque tournament in the Pleasance car park which also hosted various stalls and sideshows as well as musical entertainment. 

Various stalls were manned at the Budworth Hall which also hosted a karate display and music from the Zinc Singers. 

Several shops - including Ballonatics and Hockings butchers - entered into the festival spirit with decorated shopfronts and costumes. 

Ongar Town Council hosted childrens donkey rides at the nature reserve at the bottom of the High Street while Ongar Fire Station opened its doors to let visitors see the firefighting equipment - and children to try their hand at using a fire hose. 

Festival entertainment was also provided at Ongar Station, Zinc Arts and Jubilee Park. 

For a slideshow of pictures click here

   

SHEERING: Four-day music festival for 2,000 people planned for village farm

12.16pm - 4th May 2018

A FOUR-day music festival expected to attract 2,000 people is being proposed for a farm in Sheering.

Epping Forest District Council's licensing sub-committee will consider an application for a premises licence for the event at a meeting on Wednesday, May 16.

PX Plus Hospitality wants to hold the live music event from Friday, August 24, until Monday, August 27, at New House Farm in Sheering Lower Road. 

However the proposals have met with objections from Sheering Parish Council. 

Essex Police has also raised concerns over the length of time organisers want to be able to sell alcohol, and also the traffic congestion expected to be caused by the event. 

PX Plus Hospitality, in its application papers to the district council, state that there will be two festival areas and camping facilities provided for 2,000 people. 

The 'PX Plus Festival' would feature acoustic music artists performing 'intimate sets' in the farm's grounds with three acts each day. 

The organisers stress that there will not be continuous live music performances and not all the acts will be amplified. 

Music will be performed outside both in the central courtyard or in the garden in front of the house with artist playing 'paired-back acoustic sets'. 

There will be no stage or raised platforms.

Sheering Parish Council has objected to the licence application voicing objections to the expected noise levels, the "very unreasonable" timings proposed and the feared traffic congestion the event would attract. 

Essex Police licensing officer Peter Jones has written to Epping Forest District Council raising concern over the length of time alcohol will be available. 

He wrote: "The licence seeks to permit the sale of alcohol for periods up to 15-and-a-half hours at a time. Availability of alcohol for this long raises concern of all-day drinking that may lead to alcohol-fuelled violent crime." 

He adds that given the rural location, and with no public transport links, "persons... are therefore likely to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol". 

Mr Jones added that with 2,000 people expected, police would anticipate between 500 and 1,500 vehicles trying to access the site via a single entrance.

   

DEBDEN: Teenagers robbed

8.35am - 3rd May 2018

TWO teenagers were robbed by a group of men along Rectory Lane, Loughton. 

They were approached by four or five men who ordered them to hand over their belongings. 

They left with a jacket, which was later recovered, an iPhone 8 and a three-figure sum of cash. They were last seen getting on a train at Debden Station. 

The incident, which happened shortly before 1.30pm on Monday, left one of the boys with minor injuries.

Enquiries are ongoing and police are working closely with the British Transport Police to try and identify the suspects. 

Anyone with any information is asked to ring 101 and ask for Loughton Local Policing Team, or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Holy Cross Festival returns

8.32am - 3rd May 2018

THE Holy Cross Festival returns to Waltham Abbey on Saturday after an absence of a couple of years.

This year it will include the Walk representing the bringing of the Holy Cross to Waltham in 1035, and a chance to hear about the six churches which have existed on the Abbey site during the centuries. 

A new feature will see visitors asked to decide whether they would like to be a Viking, Anglo Saxon, Norman, Tudor, or from the time of King Henry II, and to wear some article of clothing in the colour of that period. 

The day start with a guided tour of the Abbey Church at 11am. A music recital will be held at 12.30pm with coffee and tea available from noon. 

During the morning the Church Tower will be open for visits. 

This is the first time for some years that it has been possible to climb the tower. 

A second guided tour will take place at 2.30pm. 

The walk or procession will gather in the Cornmill Car Park (behind the town hall) by 1.15pm. 

Organisers hope at least some of those taking part will be in medieval costume. 

The large black cross, which represents the Holy Cross of Waltham, will lead the procession and will be carried by Waltham Abbey Scouts. 

At 1.30pm the procession will begin and will use the small bridge in the car park to cross the River Lea, (as the pilgrims did in 1035), and will go through the town centre via Church Street, Market Square and Sun Street. It will then go via Darby Drive through the entrance into Abbey Gardens and eventually back to the Cloisters area behind the Abbey Church. 

On the way the walk will follow the outline of the Great Abbey built by King Henry II. During the walk, the Abbey Bells will ring. 

The procession is timed to arrive behind the Abbey Church at 2pm. 

The procession will break into small groups, which can be joined by those who have gone straight to the site without being part of the walk, and will visit each line in turn. 

At each line the story of that particular church will be told. The Legend of the Holy Cross will be told at the line of Churches 1 and 2. 

Finally the people will be invited to re-form a Procession and walk the line of the Norman ambulatory church, where at the Apse they will be acknowledged by the 'Dean' of the Abbey. 

The event is run by a small group representing the partnership of the Abbey Church, Waltham Abbey Town Council, the King Harold Day Society and Waltham Abbey Historical Society, and celebrates the day in 1035 when Tovi the Proud, Standard Bearer to King Cnut, brought the miraculous Holy Cross from Montacute to Waltham.

   

DISTRICT: Chance to enter Royal Parks Half Marathon

8.26pm - 1st May 2018

ST Clare Hospice is offering ten supporters the opportunity to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, October 14, as part of Team St Clare.

Setting off from Hyde Park, the 13.1-mile route passes through four of London’s eight Royal Parks and passes some of London’s most iconic landmarks on closed roads, including Buckingham Palace.

Applications to apply to run for Team St Clare can be made until the noon deadline on Monday, April 30. Places are not given on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

All applications are assessed on an individual basis. 

Application forms can be downloaded from the St Clare Hospice website at www.stclarehospice.org.uk/event/royal-parks-half, or from Emma Broadbent on 01279 773754 or by emailing emma.broadbent@stclarehospice.org.uk

   

DISTRICT: Foodbank sees demand almost double in a year

8.23pm - 1st May 2018

THREE-day emergency food supplies were provided to 1,197 people in crisis by Epping Forest Foodbank between April last year and March 31, compared to 640 the previous year. 

Of this number, 591 went to children. 

The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has reported a UK-wide increase foodbank use, believes the local increase is due to people struggling on low incomes, continued issues with benefit payments and issues with Universal Credit. 

Epping Forest Foodbank shares the concerns of other foodbanks in full Universal Credit rollout areas, highlighted by The Trussell Trust in a report about the difficulties some people are experiencing. 

The foodbank has provided emergency food and support to people needing help due to the adverse impact of the initial wait and the inability of Universal Credit payments to cover the cost of living. 

As part of a national network campaigning for change, the foodbank is working hard to offer practical emergency support to help prevent people affected going hungry, whilst simultaneously participating in vital research and raising awareness about the issues local people are facing. 

Epping Forest foodbank manager Heather Scholer said: "We don’t want to be here forever. No one in Epping Forest should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all. 

"It doesn’t have to be this way - with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, this is possible. 

"But until that time, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most - we’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community with no money for food are able to access emergency support, and that has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds. Thank you." 

The running costs for the foodbank are now about £36,000 a year, all of which is raised locally. 

Costs include warehouse and office space, to sort and stock donated food, travel costs to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, and other overheads like utilities and insurances. 

The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding - local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at www.eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk

* Paul Howard, from Loughton, is running the Hamburg Marathon on Sunday (April 29) to raise money for Epping Forest Foodbank. 

Anyone wanting to sponsor Paul can do so at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/paulhoward2