Raising The Flag For Britain`s Armed Forces

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Armed Forces Day 27 June

Epping Forest District Council proudly joined the nation`s celebrations on Monday 22 June 2009 to recognise the contributions of Her Majesty`s Armed Forces. A specially commissioned flag was raised as part of Britain`s first ever Armed Forces Day, which will now take place on 27 June each year.

A short service was conducted by the Reverend Bryony Morrison, Team Vicar in the Epping District Team Ministry. The Chairman of Council, Councillor Penny Smith raised the flag in front of senior councillors, officers from the district council and members of the Royal British Legion. A piper from the Epping Forest Pipe Band played the bagpipes during the service.

Chairman Cllr Penny Smith shows the special Armed forces Day flag

Councillor Penny Smith, who had the honour of raising the flag for the first time said: The day is an opportunity for the whole nation to show its appreciation for the contribution made by all those who serve or have served in Her Majesty`s Armed Forces past, present and future.

Epping Forest is one of hundreds of towns and cities around the country to fly a special flag throughout Armed Forces Week which runs from 22 to 27 June 2009. After the ceremony, the Chairman of Council hosted a short reception for those attending the event.

Land Army Girls Honoured

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Former Chairman Cllr John Knapman thanked the Land Girls on behalf of the District

Over thirty surviving `Land Girls` who toiled on the Home Front to provide food for Britain were officially honoured at a reception host by Epping Forest District Council at Theydon Bois Village Hall.

Official recognition of their role has been woefully late in coming. When the Women`s Land Army was disbanded in 1950 the members were shabbily treated, receiving neither medals nor gratuities, and being required to return most of their uniforms.

It was not until the new millennium that members of the Women`s Land Army and Women`s Timber Corps were allowed to join the annual Remembrance Day march in London to the Cenotaph, despite the fact that other national service organisations had for some time been part of the parade.

Chairman Cllr Penny Smith listens to stories of happy memories and comradeship

It took a further eight years of pressure before the British Government agreed to officially recognise the efforts of Land Girls in 2008 and award a specially designed badge to commemorate their service.

The badge has been specially designed by the Garter King at Arms and bears the Royal Crown. It shows a gold wheat sheaf on a white background surrounded by a circlet of pine branches and pine cones to indicate the work of both the Land Army and the Timber Corps.

Each `Land Girl` was represented with her official badge and a specially designed certificate by former Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman and the Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Michael Chapman.

Former Chairman Cllr John Knapman enjoys a cup of tea with the Land Girls

The afternoon reception was a very happy occasion with many of the guests getting a chance to recall their wartime memories with fellow `Land Girls`, of whom many are now over 80 years of age. Stories told were of the incredibly hard work, long hours and even some of romance. But overwhelmingly it was a time of happy memories and comradeship.

Following the presentations Florence Harrison 86 from Theydon Bois said I`m very proud to be given this medal, although I didn`t think about what I was doing at the time. We just got on with it and had a thoroughly enjoyable time – just like this afternoon`.

A full list of the Epping Forest District Land Girls who received an official badge is listed below with links to photographs of those who attended the reception.

Susanna Andrewes Ivy Grant Christine Rumball
Frances Astrella Lillian Griffiths Muriel Rush
Marjorie Bird Joan Hammond Doris Sage
Evelyn Bolden Dorothy Harris Margaret Saggers
M P Butcher Florence Harrison Rosetta Saville
Edna Campion Queenie Harvey Doris Seaman
Doreen Childs Betty Holland Joan Sleet
Joan Cloughton Sheila Horsham W M Smith
Sylvia Cole Constance Jackson Myrtle Stallan
Frances Cray Gladys Kempton Margaret Starling
Elsie Dearson Phyllis Kennerley Sylvia Studwick
Irene Edwards Kathleen Knott Mary Trower
Amy Eldridge Rita Lea Lilian Twaites
Joan Everett Jenny Lowe Violet Webb
Lilian Fensom Joan Lynes Barbara Williams
Doreen Fitzpatrick Constance McPhail Rita Williams
Ivy Gaze Jean Ann Murray Joan Wood
Mollie Gingell Joyce Pollard Jessie Wood
Bessie Goss Gwendoline Rae Marcia Wood
Jane Gottschalk Flora Rideout

Veterans Return For Airfield Gate Guardian Dedication

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RAF veterans returned to North Weald on Sunday 19 April 2009 for the dedication of the Hawker Hurricane replica aeroplane that now stands as a permanent guardian at the gates of the former Battle of Britain Airfield.

Serving officers and men of 56 Squadron from RAF Waddington, who were based at RAF North Weald for more than 13 years, joined Wing Commander Tom F `Ginger` Neil, DFC who flew the actual Hurricane depicted by the Gate Guardian.

 

North Weald Airfield Gate Guardian Dedication webcast (opens in a new window)

Veterans by North Weald Airfield gate guardian

Other veterans from World War II and the Cold War joined Rev Rayner Harries MBE in the dedication and unveiling of plaques, one of which lists the 50 squadrons that flew from North Weald and another which lists the supporters who made the community partnership project possible, supported by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor John Knapman and airfield historian Arthur Moreton.

  • Arthur Moreton received a Special Award from Chairman John Knapman at the Civic Awards 2009.

A Vampire jet-fighter of the type flown by the RAF at North Weald in the 1950s performed a flypast. A flight of four ex-RAF Bulldog Trainers then flew a `missing man` formation as guests remembered those who did not return.

RAF Vampire jet-fighter

Guests were treated to further flypasts and an aerobatic display as North Weald proved that its flying heritage remains as strong as ever.

North Weald Airfield Gate Guardian

Rev Rayner Harries explained to guests that the Hurricane replica was not to commemorate war. They were gathered to celebrate the `Spirit of North Weald` which `continues to live on in friendship, fellowship and mutual support`. North Weald today enjoys a peaceful legacy, playing its part in the World Scout Jamboree and expecting to become involved in the London 2012 Olympics.

Dedication to the new North Weald Airfield gate guardian

The last RAF fighter squadron left North Weald Airfield in 1958 and it closed as an RAF base in 1964. Today it is owned by Epping Forest District Council. Aviation still plays a major role along with various business and leisure activities. North Weald Airfield also hosts the largest outdoor market in Europe on Saturday each week and Bank Holidays.

Council staffed filmed the dedication service, extracts of which can be viewed from the link at the top of the page.

Hurricane Gate Guardian Mounted at Airfield

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After 18 months of hard work and fundraising, the Spirit of North Weald Gate Guardian was mounted at the entrance to North Weald Airfield on Wednesday 25 March 2009.

The replica Hurricane being mountedThe Gate Guardian being mounted at the entrance to the airfield

The Gate Guardian was first unveiled to the public on 18 May 2008 at the Spirit of North Weald Airfield Open day and Fly-in, an event commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the birth of the RAF. The full size fibreglass replica Hurricane was lifted into position with the help of UK Lift and Haul Ltd, Airfield tenant Dave Young and the North Weald Airfield Operations Team.

The Gate Guardian in position at sunset

Arthur Moreton, airfield Historian and a major driving force behind the project said: “The Hurricane looks magnificent and is a fantastic achievement for everyone who has been involved. It truly reflects the spirit of North Weald. It is not only a fitting tribute to everyone who served at RAF North Weald but also something the whole community can be very proud of.”

Arthor Moreton received a Special Award at the Civic Awards this year for his work at North Weald Airfield, click on the link below for news, pictures and a webcast of the event.

Civic Awards 2009 Special Awards

The replica Hurricane was first unveiled at the Spirit of North Weald Airfield Open day and Fly-in, click on the link below for news and pictures of the event.

Hurricane Returns to Guard Airfield

Civic Awards 2009 Leisure Bursary

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You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

Paralympic hopeful, Lauren Smith is the winner of the Sports Leisure Bursary for 2009. Lauren lives in Waltham Abbey where she attends King Harold School. She trains and competes at the elite level within the British Disability Swimming Programme and has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Danish Open Championships later this month.

Lauren was unable to attend the awards but a cheque for fifteen hundred pounds will help toward achieving her ambition to qualify for London Paralympics 2012.

Civic Awards 2009 Community Service Medals

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You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

Community Service medals are awarded to members of the Emergency Services who have made a special contribution or shown care and dedication well above and beyond the call of duty.

Police Community Support Officer Hayley Toye

Chairman John Knapman with PCSO Hayley ToyeEpping Forest District Council supports its local PCSOs, and works in partnership with them and Essex Police, and provides funding. As a result there has been real benefits from the introduction of PCSOs. No-one illustrates that better than the winner of the Epping Forest Police Community Service Medal for 2009.

Hayley Toye is a dedicated Officer serving the neighbourhood of Debden. Well known by local Councillors, residents and young people, she has made a particularly strong impact on anti-social behaviour. Her strength lies in talking with people and listening to them.

Building relationships and trust, Hayley has tackled problems as diverse as graffiti, racial abuse, shoplifting and inconsiderate parking. She uses her initiative to find new ways of communicating with local young people, one particular notable example being her Halloween disco.

Essex Ambulance Service Paramedic Brian Clark

Chairman John Knapman with Louise SamouelleBased at Ongar Ambulance Station, Brian Clark has been saving lives since 1980.

He is described as a `lovely, caring gentleman ` and he can be unaware of his impact on the people around him. Attending a minor emergency, Brian was surprised when the patient recognised him as the man who had saved his life years earlier. He has a reputation for remaining calm and level headed in pressurised and extreme situations.

Brian plays a big part in the social calendar of his station and the same friendly approach has endeared him to many of the new recruits he has mentored and trained over the years.

Brian is unable to receive his Community Service Medal in person but representing him at the awards presentation is Brian’s manager from the Essex Ambulance Service, Louise Samouelle.

Civic Awards 2009 Staff Awards

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You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Diana Collins feels that any organisation is only as good as the people it employs and launched the staff awards to recognise the importance of staff to the Council and residents.

Improving Services for the Community – Simon Hill

Over the last two years or so, Simon has brought the work of the Council into the homes of the community through webcasts. He developed the best webcasting service of any Council in the country. If you want to know what your Councillors are doing, you can watch the debates on your computer, live and recorded.

Simon was also nominated for his work in support of Epping Forest Youth Council. He played a central role in giving our district`s young people a voice. He was a key, behind-the-scenes figure in the success of the Big Youth Debate and he continues to provide unstinting support.

Councillor Diana Collins, Simon Hill and Chairman John Knapman

Dealing with the Public Award – The Careline Team

Careline is on call 24/7, every day of the year. It is a lifeline. When the alarm is raised, Careline is there to get the care and support our elderly and vulnerable residents need. It may be a simple call for a warden, friend or member of the family to drop round or it might be a life-saving call to the Police, Fire or Ambulance service.

Diane Moore and Michelle Green received the Dealing with the Public Award on behalf of all the members of the Careline Team.

Councillor Diana Collins, Michelle Green, Chairman John Knapman and Diane Moore

Staff Innovation Award – The Youth Council Strategy Team

The staff award is for Innovation went to the Youth Council Strategy Team. This team includes many Council Officers, including the Council`s Public Relations Team and Simon Hill of the Chief Executive`s Office. The team is led by Gill Wallis of the Deputy Chief Executive`s Office, Lucy Eales and until a few days ago, Nick Robinson, the Young Persons` Officer. After a magnificent job for the Council, Nick has moved on to a new role but is still working with young people in the community.

Representing the Youth Council Strategy Team, Gill Wallis and Lucy Eales received the Staff Innovation Award.

Councillor Diana Collins, Gill Wallis, Chairman John Knapman and Lucy Eales

Presentations were awarded to the runners-up in the three categories of awards at the Council back in January. David Hogg of the Deputy Chief Executive`s Office, the Forward Planning Team of Planning and Economic Development and Sharon Lekha of Corporate Support Services all received awards.

Civic Awards 2009 Young Citizen of the Year

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You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

The Young Citizen of the Year Award

The Epping Forest District Young Citizen of the Year for 2009 is Darnell Margurite.

Young Citizen of the Year Darnell Margurite and Chairman John Knapman

The Young Citizen of the Year Award was awarded to a young man who has made a tremendous difference to his local community.

In the past Limes Farm has had a bedevilled reputation for social issues and crime but more recently the Estate has enjoyed a much better atmosphere, lower levels of crime and less anti-social behaviour. The Young Citizen of the Year for 2009 has played a key role in the transformation.

He has given young people on the Estate something to do. Only 19 years old himself, he has worked with a close friend, Ben Wooley, to set up a football project for 8 to 13 year olds. It has not been easy. He has faced and overcome some very challenging behaviour, honing his own skills as a football coach and winning the respect of the Estate.

His efforts have not gone unrecognised elsewhere. Watching his voluntary work on Limes Farm, he came to the notice of Tottenham Hotspur, which has offered him a coaching role within their Football Foundation. His enthusiasm, dedication and hard work have marked him out as a true role model.

Civic Awards 2009 Special Awards

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You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

The Special Awards are to people who have made special contributions to the community.

Arthur Moreton

Arthur Moreton and Chairman John KnapmanArthur Moreton became involved with North Weald Airfield as long ago as 1961 and it has been one of the consuming passions of his life ever since.

An historian of some note, Arthur has played a major part in protecting the cultural heritage of the Airfield. He is in large part responsible for the Airfield Museum. As a Trustee he was instrumental in setting up the North Weald Memorial. His latest achievement was the unveiling of the Gate Guardian, a life-size replica Hawker Hurricane, the Aeroplane that became synonymous with North Weald’s finest hour during World War Two.

The Hurricane was a talisman not just of the RAF. Pilots from many nations flew the planes during the Battle of Britain and Arthur has worked particularly hard to build relationships with the people of Norway and the Norwegian Royal Air Force. He has helped to foster long and enduring international bonds of friendship.

Arthur has taken the Airfield into St Andrew`s Primary School where he gives regular talks to the Children of North Weald about their history and heritage. For many years he also served the wider community as a Parish Councillor.

Arthur was anxious to say that he is part of a team with many other people who also care for the Airfield and the award is for them as much as for himself. In recognition of the outstanding work in the promotion and development of North Weald Airfield Museum and International Relations with the Royal Norwegian Air Force, Arthur Moreton received the special Certificate of Appreciation.

John Davis

John Davis and Chairman John KnapmanIn an emergency, we all hope that we would do the right thing. But would we have the courage and the presence of mind? John Davis received a Certificate of Appreciation but he insisted he would only accept an award if it was in recognition not only of his own actions but also the bravery of fellow motorists who helped to save a family trapped in the wreckage of their car.

Cab Driver John Davis from Waltham Abbey was on his way to work one Friday evening in July last year. As he drove down the Epping New Road, he witnessed a major traffic accident. Cars collided and one was thrown into the air before crashing into the Forest.

John slammed on his brakes and ran to the scene. Inside the wreckage he found an unconscious woman and four young children. Helped by two ladies, he battled to free the children before turning to the second car, which was now in flames. Inside he found a man trapped who was also unconscious.

As flames spread, there was no time to wait for the emergency services. John and his fellow rescuers dragged the man from the wreckage and placed him in the recovery position. He then returned to comfort the first lady who had now regained consciousness. Fire crews took an hour and a half to cut her out.

The family are immensely grateful to John and the other people who rescued them. The Police have described his actions as incredibly brave.

Georgie Sparks

Wayne Sparks accepts a medal on behalf of his son Georgie SparksNot every story has a happy ending. Georgie Sparks was a member of J Company, Four-Two Commando, The Royal Marines. He lost his life defending his friends and comrades in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan on Thursday 27 November 2008. Georgie was only 19 years of age.

Major Reggie Turner, Officer commanding J Company described Georgie. He was `personable, courteous and hard working`. His dedication and professionalism were obvious and these qualities helped him to qualify for the special role of sniper before deployment to Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Lee Smith said: He was the Troops Baby but don`t believe for a second that counted against him. His life revolved around his two passions: his family and his shooting. He was the perfect soldier, the perfect friend.

Georgie was a local boy from Theydon Mount and clearly loved his life and lived it to the full. As a district, our community is incredibly proud of him and the sacrifice he made on our behalf. Georgie’s parents, Wayne and Toni and his sister Katie received a medal as a small token of the district`s gratitude.

Civic Awards 2009 Citizen of the Year

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You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

The Citizen of the Year Award

The Epping Forest District Citizen of the Year Award for 2009 is Mrs Kay Ericson.

Citizen of the Year Mrs Kay Ericson and Chairman John Knapman

So many of the community events that enrich our district could not happen but for familiar but often overlooked organisations. One such organisation is the British Red Cross. The Red Cross fills a special role. Its volunteers are highly trained and professional. They are on standby and can be called to an emergency at a moment`s notice. They also provide routine first aid support for events ranging from village fetes to football matches.

But to be effective, Red Cross volunteers need to be trained and they need to be organised. The Epping Forest District Council`s Citizen of the Year for 2009 is a lynch-pin in the training and organisation of our local Red Cross. Utilising 33 years of experience in providing first aid to the public, she mentors and supports new volunteers.

Medical equipment can be costly and complicated. The Citizen of the Year trains other members of the Red Cross on the use of equipment and organises equipment loans for local residents who could not otherwise afford such expensive hardware.

However, the influence of this lady goes well beyond her work with the Red Cross. Anyone who has ever benefited from the work of Voluntary Action Epping Forest also owes her a debt of gratitude.

For ten years she has been a member of Voluntary Action. She is a Trustee, was Vice-Chairman and then Chairman from 2005 until she stepped down just a few weeks ago.

This lady from Epping has had a profound but often unrecognised impact in our community. In her nomination, she is described as a `role model`, `a selfless individual `, using her skills, knowledge, experience and in some cases her own money to help and support others.

For over 30 years she has infected people with her enthusiasm, always for the good of our community. The Epping Forest District Citizen of the Year for 2009 is Mrs Kay Ericson.