July 2019


Community gardeners encourage help from non-gardeners


The Wanstead Community Gardeners are keen to encourage more people to assist them in their work.

“We can do the planting, but as a community, the maintenance can be done by non-gardeners. Watering is needed in times of no rain. Some plants will flower all summer if their seedheads are removed. It would be easy if lots more people just did a bit in a time of their choosing, and this way, it would be a real community effort. Please contact us by email or leave a note in the library,” said Marian Temple.

Email gardeners@wnstd.com


Music event on Wanstead Flats given the go-ahead by City Corporation


The City of London Corporation has given the go-ahead for a large-scale music festival to be held on Wanstead Flats next year.

“The City Corporation has received a proposal from MAMA Festivals for a three-day music event on Wanstead Flats in September 2020. Elected members have agreed in principle the event can be held,” said a spokesperson.

Organisers must now apply to Redbridge Council for a licence and conduct a public consultation. A petition opposing the plans has received over 600 signatures.

Visit wnstd.com/flatsmusic


Open-air theatre hopes to inspire visitors to Wanstead Park

DSC_1786© City of London Corporation / Yvette Woodhouse

Open-air theatre company Illyria will return to Wanstead Park this month with two performances: The Tempest (9 August from 7pm) and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (29 August from 4pm).

“I hope after seeing the plays, people will be inspired to visit this wonderful park and the magnificent ancient woodland of Epping Forest,” said Graeme Doshi-Smith, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee. Picnics are encouraged.

Visit wnstd.com/forestevents


Photo Story 1

2I'm-on-the-phone---Alan-Simpson©Alan Simpson

In the first of a series of articles by members of the Woodford and Wanstead Photographic Society, Alan Simpson tells the story behind this image taken at City Hall

I took this photograph a few years ago, before mobile phones were as ever-present as they are now. Such a scene today would possibly not warrant a photograph or even a second glance.

A photo club outing to London’s higher viewpoints included a visit to City Hall (as part of the annual Open House London festival). I therefore took advantage of the only time in the year when the public has access to the viewing gallery on the ninth floor, outside London’s Living Room; this is where you often see the mayor holding forth in television interviews.

Looking over the barrier, I caught sight of these two men absorbed in their phones down below. Unaware of each other, and in a harsh urban environment, the scene of which they were part conveyed a sense of isolation. By using a short telephoto lens, I was able to exclude any distractions outside the frame and focus attention on the two figures and their immediate surroundings.

Of course, the original photograph was in colour, but the slate grey landscape, the somewhat gloomy lighting and the figures’ dark clothing presented a very limited palette. Back home, when editing the day’s images, I decided this one would benefit from converting to monochrome.

I wanted to home in on the two figures even more, so I cropped the image quite dramatically – the picture shown is only about one third of the original scene. With a little lightening of the shadows and a boost to the contrast, I produced the final image you see here.

I hope the photograph conveys some of what I was feeling when I pressed the shutter on that day.

To find out more about the Woodford and Wanstead Photographic Society – which meets weekly at Wanstead House – visit wnstd.com/wwps

Wanstead’s loss: Jill Stock

Screenshot_20190618-093153_WhatswAppJill Stock

Steve Wilks and Deborah Selner remember Jill Stock, who died at the end of May. Known to many, her funeral saw the City of London Cemetery’s chapel overflowing with friends and family celebrating her life

I had the pleasure of knowing Jill when I moved to Wanstead and she introduced me to various people who were involved in Neighbourhood Watch.

Ever the community worker, she initially became a Watch Co-ordinator and then Chairman of the Safer Neighbourhood Panel, assisting the police and running the group. Having lived for over 40 years in Wanstead, she had a wealth of local knowledge. She regularly organised the annual street party for residents on Cranbourne Avenue where she lived.

Through working as a nurse and being involved in her own children’s schools as a member of Nightingale and Wanstead High PTA, she knew a huge bank of people from all walks of life. A trip down the High Street could easily take an hour with Jill; she always stopped to say hello or have a quick chat. All her neighbours knew her by name and would often knock on her door for an address, a telephone number or a bit of friendly advice, and she never turned anyone away. She cared for everyone, especially the old and vulnerable, and she hated injustice. When something was wrong and needed resolving nobody was more tenacious than Jill.

As a nod to the changing role of technology in our lives, she helped set up the local WhatsApp groups for enabling neighbours to notify others of anything going on in the local area, and this quickly spread out across Wanstead and Snaresbrook. She was also a regular contributor on the Wanstead Community Hub, acting as a point of call for advice on the reporting of crime and other issues that arose.

Jill worked as a district nurse in the local area for some 46 years. When she retired, she was able to concentrate more on her beautiful garden. In December 2013 she developed her hobby of making photographic collages into a small enterprise by taking photographs of Wanstead landmarks and turning them into jigsaw puzzles. Jill sold these puzzles at the monthly Wanstead Farmers’ Market. Entitled Wanstead – A Very Special Community, the collage contained everything about our London suburb. It turned into a quick success. She remarked: “It is quite simple but it is a real joy to sell them. Children especially are interested so that is why I have a slightly easier 200-piece puzzle for them.”

Jill always had time for anyone and was always willing to lend help to those with a problem. She will be deeply missed by the Neighbourhood Watch groups, the local police and residents, who looked at her as a beacon for a model citizen looking after her neighbourhood.

Jill passed away on 25 May 2019 following a road traffic collision while visiting family in Somerset. She leaves behind husband Mick, daughters Sam, Kate and Polly and five grandchildren.

To view more local obituaries and tributes, visit wnstd.com/obit

Learning lessons

Wanstead-says-Dont-Attack-IranLeft to right: Frank Burberry, Dan Redfern, Minnie Life, and Lucy Nichols of Student Stop the War

Wanstead resident and student member of Stop the War Coalition Lucy Nichols explains why she and a few friends recently hosted a stall on the High Street opposing war with Iran

On Saturday 29 June, myself and a group of student activists from the Stop the War Coalition ran a very successful stall on Wanstead High Street. We talked about the very real threat of war with Iran and encouraged locals to share with us the reasons why they were against British involvement in a war in the Middle East.

We came to Wanstead as part of a national day of action called by the Stop the War Coalition, a campaign group set up prior to the war in Iraq which has been campaigning tirelessly against British and American warmongering abroad ever since. The group has a support network that spans the country and includes everything from religious groups to trade unions.

I have been very fortunate in working for the group during my gap year, which has resulted in a fair amount of experience running stalls, leafleting and protesting. This is why I decided to come and campaign in Wanstead; I thought I’d bring everything I know about campaigning back to the High Street I grew up on.

Anti-war sentiment is strong in Wanstead, and in reality, it is difficult to find anyone in Britain who believes that going to war with Iran is a good idea. Despite this, there is no doubt that when US troops are sent to Iran, British troops will follow. Given the chance we could lose the EU as a trading partner, the Conservative government is doing everything possible to keep the US a close ally – even if it means supporting Trump’s populism, racism and warmongering.

By the time you read this, our next prime minister will have been chosen, but as Jeremy Hunt was among the first to back Trump’s line blaming Iran for the attacks on the tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, and with Boris Johnson’s status as our own personal Donald Trump, it is safe to say we’ll probably be joining in with the war on Iran regardless of who our new Tory premier is.

This is precisely why we must continue to mobilise against war. The best way to do this is by getting out and talking to people, as seen by the success of our stall. We amassed almost 100 signatures for our petition and raised almost £60 in donations. Wanstead locals shared their concerns surrounding the grave threat of war, stating ‘it will impact the most vulnerable and innocent the most’ and that we ought to ‘learn from Iraq’.

A Western war on Iran would plunge the region into uncertainty and utterly devastate millions of lives – just like the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen did. I urge people of all ages – especially young people – to help educate, agitate and organise against war.

For more information on the Stop the War Coalition, visit stopwar.org.uk

Trouble above


London City Airport’s Master Plan, released on 28 June, proposes to double the number of flights each year. Steve Wilks looks at the effects of the new proposals on Wanstead and its environs

With an increasingly global and networked world, travelling in our jobs is becoming more commonplace. At London City Airport, in the last five years, its passenger numbers have grown by 40%, hitting 4.8 million in 2018. It expects demand to rise to 11 million by 2035, but its current capacity is limited to 6.5 million passengers, according to the London Borough of Newham.

London City CEO Robert Sinclair has stated the airport does not plan to build a new runway, extend the length of it or expand beyond its current site boundary. The airport wants to emphasise that it will focus on sustainability while expanding and using fuel-efficient aircraft and making its grounds operations carbon neutral.

The airport has tabled a Draft Master Plan 2020–2035 – it proposes to double the number of flights from 75k to 151k by 2035. It is also looking to relax a restriction that sees it close between 1pm on Saturdays and 12.30pm on Sundays, as well as an eight-hour overnight curfew and greater flexibility in its operations in the first and last 30 minutes of weekdays, meaning more early morning and late evening flights. A feedback form has been released for public comment until 20 September.

With this in mind, the plans are likely to face some opposition from environmental groups and neighbouring residents in the outer boroughs. John Stewart, chair of campaign group Hacan East, has warned that “flight numbers could almost double from today’s total.” Local communities will be concerned about the huge increase in the number of planes proposed and in the early hours of the morning and late at night when many people find aircraft most intrusive. Even the safeguards the airport will put in place to reduce noise will have only a marginal effect by 2035. There are also the increased environmental effects – a 2010 MIT study suggests you are more likely to die from exposure to toxic sulphur dioxide pollutants from plane exhausts than in a plane crash.

There is also very limited consultation by the airport – no consultation events are being held in some of the most heavily overflown boroughs, like Redbridge. This risks ignoring a significant proportion of residents who will be most affected by the proposals and this does not bode well for transparency in its dealings with key stakeholders.

While we have to accept the commercial realities of business, and the fact people need to travel, it is essential trips are only made if they are necessary. Technology now allows us to have conference calls online, thus enabling people from different locations around the world to connect. This surely must be cheaper for companies to invest in and less disruptive to employees and their lifestyles.

A public meeting on the proposed changes will take place at Buxton School, Cann Hall Road on 30 July from 7.30pm.

To take part in the consultation, visit wnstd.com/lcaplan or call 020 3858 9911


Wanstead performing arts school celebrates 10th anniversary


A performing arts school in Wanstead celebrated its 10th anniversary in July by staging a show at Forest School’s Deaton Theatre.

“It is very humbling to know that our school has become a significant part of the lives of so many young people over the past 10 years, and to see their growing love and appreciation of the performing arts,” said Michael Da Silva Pearce, principal of DSP Performing, which runs Saturday classes for five- to 16-year-olds at Wanstead High School.

Visit dsp-performing.org


Cricket club passes half-way point of £75k fundraising campaign

cricket-1Wanstead & Snaresbrook CC were crowned Dukes Essex T20 champions last month, beating Harold Wood CC in the final by seven wickets

Wanstead and Snaresbrook Cricket Club has raised over £46k through its Project Heron campaign, which is aiming to generate £75k to refurbish its clubhouse and install new cricket nets.

The total includes a £25k grant from Sport England, £10k from the National Lottery Community Fund and several £1,000-plus anonymous donations.

“Congratulations to the fundraising committee for all their work to achieve this… Over the coming months, we will continue to organise events and apply for more grants to reach our target,” said club chairman Martin Pluck.

Visit wnstd.com/nets


‘Classic and a Cuppa’: invite to Wanstead’s classic car community

20190602_110152-(1)The oldest vehicle at the June gathering was a 1943 James Auto Cycle

A South Woodford resident who organised an informal gathering of local classic car owners and their vehicles in June is planning to repeat the event this month, and is extending an invitation to Wanstead car enthusiasts.

“‘Classic and a Cuppa’ is open to all classic, vintage and veteran cars and perhaps some more modern, interesting or rare ones,” said Gary Zylberszac, whose first event at South Woodford’s Derby Road car park saw 26 vehicles take part.

The second gathering will take place from 10am to 12 noon on 11 August.

Visit wnstd.com/cars