Thousands turn out for Air Fête

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Something for all the family – thousands headed to the Centenary Air Fête on Sunday 17 July 2016 to celebrate 100 years of flying at North Weald Airfield.

Fun on the carousel

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Happy in the hot sunshine

Beautiful aeroplanes lined the perimeter tracks while a mini-zoo, face-painting, bouncy castles, fairground attractions and charity stalls kept the children happy in the hot sunshine. Crowds were entertained at the central arena with music, dance, gymnastic displays, stunt bikes, WW1 Re-enactors and presentations.

From ice cream and burgers to North Weald Airfield’s own centenary celebration beer ‘Scramble’ there was something for everyone to enjoy at the Epping Forest District Council-owned airfield.

Royal Norwegian Air Force

The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Jeane Lea hosted a VIP delegation flown in by the Royal Norwegian Air Force on Saturday. Among the guests was Major General Wilhelm Mohr (99), known as the father of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

General Mohr flew spitfires from North Weald Airfield in 1942 and was joined by a number of British veterans including Air Commodore Roger Topp AFC, the former commander of 111 Squadron, the RAF’s Black Arrows based at North Weald from 1953 to 1957.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force Falcon performed a flypast and dipped its wings as it left for the return trip to Oslo.

Profits for local charities

Profits from the day organised jointly by the Events Team at Weald Aviation and Epping Forest District Council are to be donated to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for use by local charities and voluntary groups.

Military vehicles, re-enactors & planes

There was a wide selection of military vehicles and re-enactors including groups dressed in the uniforms of the First World War. MiGs, Vampires and a Hawker Hunter of the Cold War stood alongside WW2 aircraft including the P51 Mustang and a newly arrived Hawker Sea Fury. North Weald Model Flying Club had miniature versions of several full-sized planes on display.

There were classic cars and motorbikes to admire along with the latest video games to play in virtual reality. ‘Children’ of all ages also had the chance to sit in the Essex Fire and Rescue fire engine and talk to the paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service.

Helicopters

There were helicopter pleasure flights and chances to sign up for flying lessons. The Essex Police helicopter made an appearance while the airfield-based Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance returned from an operational call during the afternoon.

Special presentations

The day concluded with special presentations to Air Commodore Topp and Arthur Moreton, a long standing resident and expert on North Weald Airfield who has devoted many years of his life to preserving the special cultural bond between North Weald and the people of Norway.

 

Epping celebrates Armed Forces Day

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The Armed Forces Day flag was raised in Epping on Monday 20 June 2016 to mark the start of Armed Forces Day celebrations. Chairman Jeane Lea and Reverend Peter Smith of Waltham Abbey Church were joined by councillors, staff and members of the public in a flag raising ceremony at Epping Forest District Council’s civic offices.

Chairman Jeane Lea and Rev Peter Smith holding the Armed Forces Day flag

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Led by Chairman Jeane Lea, 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 the Armed Forces Day flag were lowered to half mast in tribute to the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was tragically killed in her West Yorkshire constituency on Thursday.

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day takes place Saturday 25 June 2016. Showing support for our Armed Forces provides a much valued morale boost for the troops and their families.

Our Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They work around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.

Our chance to say thank you

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Raising the Armed Forces Day flag is our chance to say thank you to all the extraordinary men and women who protect us, on behalf of the Epping Forest district I would like to say a big thank you.”

“Armed Forces Day also gives us all a great opportunity to help raise awareness of the contribution and sacrifices our Armed Forces, both past and present, have made for our country.”

 

Join our Somme Centenary Commemoration

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On 1 July 2016 it will be exactly 100 years since the First World War’s Battle of the Somme started. Epping Forest District Council Chairman Jeane Lea would like to remind residents they are invited to our Somme Centenary Commemoration.

The Somme Centenary Commemoration takes place at North Weald Airfield on 1 July 2016 at 7.30am, the time when troops went over the top. Services of commemoration will be held throughout the UK.

Chairman Jeane Lea and husband Tony

Epping Forest District Council and the Royal Gunpowder Mills are also mounting a special educational exhibition in North Weald Airfield Control Tower. The exhibition is free and available to residents and school groups between Saturday 25 June and Friday 1 July 2016.

Battle of the Somme

In World War 1, the Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles on the Western Front. It claimed more than a million casualties in 141 days.

Battle of the Somme

Overnight vigil

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Our commemorations begin the night before with an overnight vigil. Airfield staff will dress in 1916 British Army uniforms and tend a brazier lit by our Vice-chairman throughout the night next to a reconstruction of a WWI trench.”

Early morning service of commemoration

Chairman Jeane Lea continued: “At 7.30am the soldiers will take their place by a symbolic trench as Father James Rodley leads the service of commemoration with hymns, prayers and readings from the verses of the Great War poets.”

“The service is free to attend and I hope that residents will join me for this simple service of commemoration. Help us keep alive the memory of our fallen heroes. We must never forget the price paid by so many poor men all those years ago.”

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Skye terrier takes home the gold

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Epping Forest districts dog lovers came to Waltham Abbey and saw Bruce the Skye Terrier take home the best in show title.

Companion Dog Show 2016

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Responsible dog ownership

Our Companion dog show, a must for all dog lovers, took place at the Town Mead Park in Waltham Abbey on Sunday 5 June 2016. It raised an amazing £1,572  for the German Shepherd Rescue (West Essex) charity as well as promoting responsible dog ownership.

On the day there were 18 novelty classes, 8 pedigree and 5 obedience classes to compete in, as well as German Shepard dog rallies.

Bruce the Skye terrier took home best in show with Cindy the Pembroke Corgi taking home best veteran.

Helping with the judging were Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Jeane Lea and Waltham Abbey Mayor Councillor Helen Kane.

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Our dog show is brilliant at bringing the community together and shows the strong bonds families have with their pets. Today was a lovely day and it was obvious to me just how much we love our animals – take a look at all the great pictures.”

Get your dog chipped

She continued: ‘It is important to look after your dog responsibly. From April it has been a legal requirement to microchip your dog and you could be fined up to £500 if your dog isn’t chipped by the time they’re 8 months old. Something as simple as a microchip could reunite you with your pooch if they were to get lost. Don’t delay, microchip your dog today!’

Gunpowder Mills application rejected

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The PGL submitted planning application for a children’s adventure holiday centre at the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey was refused at the full meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Monday 6 June 2016.

Royal Gunpowder Mills - Proposed application drawings

Referred to Full Council

The decision followed an earlier meeting of Planning Development Management Committee at which the application was provisionally approved before being referred at the request of councillors 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.

Important heritage in the district

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.

PGL application

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, after a long and considered debate, councillors felt 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.

Proposed application drawings

Moving forward

Setting out their reasons for refusal, councillors said that there was insufficient reason for the demolition of the cordite factory which would severely impact the Conservation Area. They wanted to see more attention given to the visitor centre and objected to the overall increase in the footprint of new buildings proposed for the site.

Councillors recommended that any future application footprint of new build should be substantially reduced, the cordite factory should be retained and that consideration should be given to the operating company.

In the second application, councillors agreed plans for conversion, alteration and extension to a number of listed buildings for guest accommodation and classrooms.

 

Battle of the Somme Commemoration

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Epping Forest residents are invited to take part in national commemorations marking the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Battle of the Somme

Early morning service

Following an all-night vigil by airfield staff, residents are invited by Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Jeane Lea to an early morning service of commemoration for people of all faiths at North Weald Airfield.

The service will begin with the sounds of distant battle at ‘H’ Hour 7.30am, the hour at which troops along the line left their trenches for the bloodiest day of fighting in British military history. The battle was to rage on at terrible cost on all sides until the 18 November, leaving families devastated by loss across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

Exhibition

Epping Forest District Council has joined with the Royal Gunpowder Mills and the Royal British Legion for the commemorations. Members of the public will be welcome to visit an educational exhibition for local school children currently being prepared at the airfield, this includes

  • A reconstruction of a WWI trench
  • Indoor displays and exhibition

Provided by Epping Forest District Museum and the Royal Gunpowder Mills, and Mills volunteers to talk to local schoolchildren about the First World War.

Keeping the memory alive

Chairman Jeane Lea hopes local residents will join her at the early morning service to be taken by Father James Rodley of St Andrews Church.

She said: “100 years on, it is so important that we keep alive the memory of the First World War. If we are to avoid such terrible mistakes again, we must never forget the price paid by so many poor men all those years ago or the lessons learnt for future generations. The Battle of the Somme left scars that have reverberated through the years.”

“I particularly hope that there may be some residents with connections to the battle or indeed the Great War, whether through great grandfathers, uncles or other connections, who will join me at ‘H’ Hour for this simple service of commemoration.”

Mrs Lea (a former member of the Women’s Royal Army Corp) continued: “The British Army of 1916 was made up of soldiers from every colour, faith and culture. Sikhs, Muslims and people of Jewish faith were just some of the soldiers of different faiths who stood prominently beside their Christian comrades in those terrible months and years. I hope people of all faiths and cultures will feel able to stand with me in commemoration of those sad days.”

Overnight Vigil

Events at North Weald Airfield will begin as dusk approaches on the evening of Thursday 30 June 2016. Airfield Officers dressed in the uniforms of the British Army of 1916, will invite the Vice-chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor David Stallan and other invited guests to light a brazier. Those staff will tend the brazier throughout the night.

As the hour approaches (7.30am) when troops left the comparative safety of their trenches, the sounds of battle will be broadcast across North Weald Airfield. Members of the Vigil they will take their place by a symbolic trench as Father Rodley leads the service of commemoration with readings from the verses of the Great War poets.

Residents will be offered light refreshments at the end of the service in North Weald Control Tower, where the exhibition by Epping Forest District Museum and the Royal Gunpowder Mills will be on display. The exhibition will remain open to visitors and school groups between Saturday 25 June and 5pm on Friday 1 July.

We should never forget

The 1 July 1916 is the bloodiest day in British military history. The British Army alone sustained 57,470 casualties in the first 24 hours, of which 19,240 soldiers perished.

Over the next 141 days the battle claimed over 1 million casualties

  • German casualties            500,000
  • British casualties               419,654
  • French casualties              204,253

Services of commemoration will be held throughout the UK as the Nation remembers. 

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New Chairman of Council – Jeane Lea

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Councillor Jeane Lea is the new Chairman of Epping Forest District Council. Outgoing Chairman Councillor Liz Webster handed the reigns over to Mrs Lea at the first meeting of the Council since May’s local elections.

Cllr Webster and Chairman Jeane Lea

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Welcoming new Councillors

Proceedings began with a welcome by Councillor Mrs Webster to new councillors taking their seats in the council chamber for the first time with photographs of the signing of the register.

Thanks for a year of service

Business continued with Councillor Webster’s final address to fellow members as chairman. She thanked all her colleagues for their kindness, guidance and support. Mrs Webster said that she had met some amazing people during her year and thanked everyone for helping raise £4,600 for her Chairman’s Charity, the Royal British Legion.

Tributes to Liz Webster were led by Council Leader Councillor Chris Whitbread. His sentiments were echoed in turn by Councillor Stephen Murray, Councillor Caroline Pond and Council Chief Executive Glen Chipp.

Welcoming the new Chairman

In a warm, affectionate and funny speech, Councillor Syd Stravrou nominated her friend and fellow Waltham Abbey councillor, Jeane Lea as the new Chairman of Council. The nomination was seconded by Councillor Chris Whitbread with unanimous support from the Council Chamber.

Accepting the honour, Councillor Lea thanked fellow councillors for their kind words and promised to do her utmost to uphold the best traditions of the chairmanship. She announced that her Chairman’s Charity will be the Herts Essex Air Ambulance.

Councillor David Stallan is the new Vice-Chairman of Council.

Mrs Jill Angold-Stephens received warm applause on presentation of a long-service medal for her late husband Ken who passed away earlier this year.

Cabinet and Committees

Business continued with the appointment other councillors to official positions, committees and outside organisations.

Council Leader Chris Whitbread has a new Cabinet. Following the election of Councillor Stallan as Vice-Chairman of Council, Councillor Syd Stavrou moves from the Finance to the Housing Portfolio. Gagan Mohindra returns to the Cabinet as the Council’s new Finance Portfolio Holder.

Councillors Richard Bassett and John Philip swap portfolios. Councillor Bassett takes on the Governance and Development Management Portfolio while John Philip takes on the stewardship of the Local Plan as Planning Policy Portfolio Holder.

Other members of the Cabinet retain existing roles:

  • Councillor Anne Grigg                    Asset Management and Economic Development Portfolio
  • Councillor Will Breare-Hall           Environment Portfolio
  • Councillor Helen Kane                    Leisure and Community Services Portfolio
  • Councillor Gary Waller                   Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio
  • Councillor Alan Lion                       Technology and Support Services Portfolio

Other appointments include Councillor Mary Sartin as the new Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Brian Surtees as Chairman of the Licensing Committee, and Councillor Brian Sandler as Chairman of the District Development Management Committee.

 

Heartfelt tributes at Full Council

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Heartfelt tributes were made by Councillors for the late District Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens at a meeting of council on 26 April 2016. Ken was a highly respected District Councillor with a distinguished career. He passed away on 8 April 2016 after a long illness.

Warm thoughts of remembrance were also shared for Roger Pratt, who served as Epping Forest District Council’s Standards Committee Independent Person since 2012. Roger passed away on 15 March 2016 and will be sorely missed.

Councillor resignation

Councillor Sharon Weston resigned from her post as District Councillor for Loughton Forest ward on 23 March 2016. A by-election to fill the vacancy will take place at the same time as other elections on 5 May 2016.

New constitution

The council has adopted a new constitution with immediate effect. The constitution sets out the principles, rules and protocols for the way in which the council conducts business. It also sets out the processes by which decisions are made and states who is responsible for these decisions.

Councillors reassured

Full council was reassured that the two UAV’s, purchased by the council in February 2016, are to be used responsibly and in accordance with the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A council policy, operational manual and approved Civil Aviation Authority training need to be drafted and organised before the UAV’s can be used.

 

Museum reopening a huge success

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Epping Forest District Museum reopened it’s doors to the public on Saturday 19 March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

EFD Museum reopening

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The bells of Waltham Abbey Church rang as reenactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment marched up Sun Street towards the museum to help the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Liz Webster cut the ribbon to officially reopen the museum.

Party atmosphere

A party atmosphere was enjoyed by all who came to celebrate the museum’s special day. They were treated to a jive dance demonstration and a morris dancing display by the Chingford Morris Men in Sun Street.

Over 750 people visited the museum, they enjoyed activities including decorating eggs in the new community space, and were given access to all the museum’s new galleries for the first time.

Welcome back

Museum staff were thrilled with the positive feedback they received. Comments include “Big improvement, proud to live in the Abbey” and “Welcome back! We’ve missed the museum and love the new look!

Museum on the Move

The museum team also celebrated the reopening of the museum by making a film showing what has been going on behind the scenes. The ‘Museum on the Move’ film also features as part of the museum’s first temporary exhibition all about transport through history.

Epping Forest District Museum reopens

Future events

This reopening sees a new start in the museum’s history with a fantastic programme of events and activities coming up in the next year. The museum’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will be back this year taking place on Saturday 26 March from 10am to 3pm. The public is invited to follow the trail around the museum and solve the puzzle to win their chocolate prize. The event is free and open to all.

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Keep up to date with the project and all of our current events through our social media channels.

Stars shine bright at civic awards

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It was a bittersweet Epping Forest District civic awards ceremony at Gilwell Park on Friday 18 March as councillors and guests came together to honour the district’s finest.

Watch our video

In pictures

Civic Awards 2016

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Citizen of the Year

The evening hosted by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Elizabeth Webster, culminated with the announcement of the prestigious Citizen of the Year Award to Thornwood resident and Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator Mick Sheen. Mick passed away suddenly on 30 January. He knew he had been nominated for the award but did not know that he was the winner. Colin Green of Toot Hill was highly commended for his long years of service to Essex Police and volunteer work in and around Ongar.

Chairman Liz Webster paid tributes to all the award winners but particularly Mick Sheen whose family were understandably unable to attend. Mick’s friends Caroline Wiggins and Colin Freeman accepted the award on his family’s behalf.

Chairman Webster said: ‘I hope this recognition will give Mick’s family some small comfort at such a difficult time. Our hearts and wishes are with his wife June, daughters Samantha and Sue and the rest of their family.’

Volunteer Team of the Year

Epping Forest Countrycare received a special Volunteer Team of the Year award. Ray Ellis, Cherry McCredie, Polly Nichols, Jack Welchman, Mary Dodd, Pam Mayes, Abigail Oldham and Kevin Mason received the award on behalf of all the district’s Countrycare volunteers.

Young Citizen of the Year

Molly Gayler from Lambourne End is the Epping Forest District Young Citizen of the Year. Introducing the award, Vice-Chairman of Epping Forest Council, Councillor Jeane Lea described Molly’s wonderful work supporting children with disabilities and her passion for sport. Samantha Burton and Jordan Michaelson, both from Waltham Abbey received commendations in the Young Citizen category. Ellouise Lemon who also received a commendation was unable to attend the ceremony.

Community Service Medals

Councillor Mary Sartin introduced the Community Service Medals awarded to Sub Officer Jonathan Ford of Red Watch, Loughton (Essex Fire and Rescue Service), Collette Howell represented by Stuart Miller (East of England Ambulance Service), and PC Paul Richards (Essex Police).

Youth Council Cup

Epping Forest District Youth Council Cup winners Joseph Pasco, Malachi Fontenelle, Chloe McKendrick and Doncho Atanassov were introduced by Councillor Richard Morgan.

Sports and Creativity Awards

Councillor Richard Morgan also invited Naomi Harryman of Thornwood to receive the Sports Award of £1,000 from the Chairman. Taylor Danson, Allie Munro and Lynne Jefferies of The Shambles Theatre Company received the Creativity Award for £1,500 to support their ground-breaking work holding violence against women up to the spotlight and tackling the issues around mental health for men.

Chairman’s Charity

Master of Ceremonies Ted Prior announced that almost £1,000 had been raised for the Chairman’s Charity, the Royal British Legion, in a raffle during the evening.