December 2019


Children create Christmas stockings for residents of local nursing home


As part of her Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative, anti-bullying ambassador Elsa Arnold launched an ‘outreach for loneliness’ project earlier this month.

“We held an event at The Duke, where children designed Christmas cards and stockings, which we filled with gifts for the residents of Cambridge Nursing Home,” said Elsa. “The stockings were delivered by local families, who also spent time at the home to spread Christmas cheer… I would like to thank The Duke and the wider community for their enthusiasm in getting involved.”


A word from the UK’s youngest parliamentary candidate


Henry Scott stood as an independent candidate for the Leyton and Wanstead constituency in December’s General Election.

Having recently turned 18, he was the UK’s youngest candidate.

“The election has been brilliant, and it’s given me a lot of experience, but also educated me a lot on the issues in our area and in the country. From the homeless to business owners, everyone has problems that need to have a change in the way they are dealt with… I was surprised at some of the abuse myself and other parties received, but I’ve been told that’s just how politics works… I am definitely going to run for a councillor position next time. The campaign has spurred me on and built me up with enthusiasm,” said Henry, who received a 1% vote share with 427 votes.


Photo story 3

Waterjet-Handstand-©Robert Gibbons

In the third of a series of articles by members of the Woodford and Wanstead Photographic Society, Robert Gibbons tells the story behind this image taken on the South Bank

A few years ago, I had booked to see The Wizard of Oz at the Festival Hall on the South Bank and had arrived early for the afternoon matinee, which was due to start at 2.30pm. I always carry a small compact camera with me and decided to kill time by wandering around on the off-chance of seeing any photos worth taking.

Squeals of laughter drew my attention to an area where multiple jets of water were squirting from the ground at random intervals with children running in and out, trying to guess the right timing in order to avoid a soaking. None of them were successful.

After a while, a couple of young guys spontaneously started to do handstands in the waterjets, and it seemed this might make an interesting shot. However, within a moment, a mother and her small son entered the scene, beyond and between the two handstanders, and I could see that the child was completely enthralled with the action and mesmerised with innocent joy.

As a photographer, you get a kind of visceral feedback when elements combine and the composition feels ‘right’, so I put the viewfinder to my eye, instinctively framed the shot and pressed the shutter to record the ‘decisive moment’ before the scene changed and life moved on.

This picture was accepted for exhibition at the London Salon in 2009.

Although I title this photo Waterjet Handstand, at its heart it’s about the joy of a child experiencing things for the first time, and therefore has a timeless quality. I’m pleased I was able to record it.

To find out more about the Woodford and Wanstead Photographic Society – which meets weekly at Wanstead House – visit

Families invited to enter the spirit of Christmas in Wanstead Park

2010-12-19_Wanstead_0213-mid©Tim Reder /

Residents are invited to get into the spirit of Christmas with a series of festive events in Wanstead Park on 22 December.

“Wrap up warm and gather at the tea hut at 10am to enjoy a slice of cake and something warming. Join in the carols, accompanied by the glorious sounds of Aldersbrook Brass Ensemble echoing across the Heronry Pond,” said event organiser Gill James. From 11am to 2.30pm, families are encouraged to continue the seasonal celebrations at the Temple. “Children can enjoy stories and Christmas crafts, and everyone can listen to folk music and ceilidh band Storm in a Teacup and local musicians Cliff Oliver and David Thornett playing seasonal melodies on the keyboard. The surprise performance will be a 15-minute Christmas carol.”

All events are free, with donations to Shelter and Friends of Wanstead Parklands.


Festival of Lights


Residents of all faiths and none are invited to a street party this month, organised by Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue, in celebration of the Jewish festival of Chanukah. Martin Gaba reports

On Sunday 29 December, there will be a bracing diet of free latkes (potato pancakes), doughnuts and hot chocolate as Leytonstone rocks to the live music of Menasche and the Shulhoppers in a street party to mark the eighth night of the Jewish festival of Chanukah (Festival of Lights). This will take place opposite Leytonstone bus station on the planting area at the junction of Fairlop Road, Fillebrook Road and Grove Green Road. All are welcome!

This street party is organised by Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue (LAWS). It will begin with the lighting of a huge candelabra, the Leytonstone Menorah, with nine stems, for the Jewish festival of Chanukah, which runs from 21 to 29 December this year. Starting with two lights, an additional light is lit every night until all nine are switched on, when there will be a splendid spectacle of them all shining forth. After the event, the party will continue with music and refreshments at LAWS.

Chanukah marks a miracle which took place in 167 BCE after a successful Jewish revolution by the Maccabees against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the occupying Greeks, in which they recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem. Every Jewish place of worship has a special light on the whole time to signify the Divine Presence. However, there was only enough oil to light the candle for one night in the Temple. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days until fresh supplies could be brought. Over 2,000 years later, we are still marking this event with small presents, candle-lighting and songs.

LAWS is a small, warm, all-age and inclusive, traditional orthodox Jewish community,  with a congregation right across the Jewish spectrum, from those who have no religious belief to those who are observant. We have a robust and stimulating programme, including weekly explanatory Saturday services followed by a meal, wonderful Friday night dinners attended by up to 35 people, Hebrew tuition and workshops on Jewish topics of cultural and religious interest.

All who want to learn about Judaism – whether they believe in a God or not and just wish to explore Jewish culture or identity – are very welcome to attend.

The Leytonstone Menorah is generously supported by the Highways Agency, Make it Local, the Waltham Forest Borough of Culture, The United Synagogue and the Federation of Synagogues. The menorah was constructed at Design Engineering’s workshop in Leytonstone.

The Chanukah street party will take place opposite Leytonstone bus station on 29 December from 4pm to 6pm (free; open to all). Celebrations will continue at Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue, 2 Fillebrook Road, E11 4AT. For more information, call 07434 631 948 or visit

Old enough to…


In the fifth of a series of articles looking at the work of Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering, Priti Mistry offers advice on how older people can prepare themselves for the winter season

It is that time of the year again. Winter is upon us and already it is cold, and in most homes, the heating has been switched on. However, for some older people who are on a low income, they sadly end up leaving their heating off to make ends meet and to be able to manage their money. Therefore, I want to share some tips that will help us all to get through the colder days and months.

Test your heating
You don’t want to find out your heating isn’t working when you need it most, so it’s a good idea to get your heating system serviced every year in the build-up to winter to make sure it’s running safely and efficiently. Make sure gas heating is serviced by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer. If you’re a tenant, your landlord should check your heating system and appliances are safe at least once a year. If you own your home and are on means-tested benefits, you may qualify for a free annual safety check from your gas supplier (although this is not the same as a full service).

Extra food
Keep some extra food in the cupboard or freezer just in case you can’t get out to the shops. Also, if you’d rather stay indoors, you could do your food shopping online and get it delivered to your doorstep. Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering also offer a home support service (paid for) where we can go out and do shopping for you.

Water pipes
Water pipes can freeze and burst, so it’s important to know where your main stopcock is and check it’s easy to turn in case you have to turn the water off. If it’s jammed, you may need to replace it.

Slips and falls
To avoid a slip or a fall, keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths when it’s icy out. You could try a local DIY shop, or get in touch with the council, as some provide free bags.

Dog walking
If you’re worried about walking your dog in icy weather, contact The Cinnamon Trust (call 01736 757 900). They may be able to match you with a dog-walking volunteer in your area.

Keep moving
Not only is staying active essential for your general wellbeing and fitness, it also generates heat and helps to keep you warm. When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour. Get up and wander about, maybe spread out chores throughout the day. If walking is difficult, you can do chair-based exercises while sitting or holding on to the back of a chair. Even moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes can help you keep warm and well.

For more information on Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering, call 020 8220 6000 or visit

Consultation on making Wanstead a low emission neighbourhood


Redbridge Council will begin consulting residents next month about plans to roll out the Low Emission Neighbourhood proposals in the local area.

“The area covered will encompass most of Wanstead, bringing changes to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use. The new scheme will also see measures to lower speeds, cut rat runs and reduce the levels of pollution… Make sure you have your say in creating the low emission Wanstead of the future,” said Councillor Paul Donovan.

Click here to view current council consultations.


Death duties


The death of a loved one is something most of us will experience at some point in our lives, so it is important to understand your duties as an executor of a will, says Hollie Skipper of local solicitors Wiseman Lee

If you have been named as an executor in a will, there will be many practicalities that need to be dealt with which fall to you. At such an emotional time, you may be unsure of what needs to be done.

It’s a common misconception that you cannot act as an executor if you are a beneficiary of the will. In fact, an executor is very often a spouse, child or other family member who will inherit from the will.

As executor, your role is to deal with the assets of the person who has died. The assets often include a house, bank accounts, investments and belongings. The assets are collectively known as the Estate. Once you have obtained the Grant of Probate and the assets of the Estate have been collected in, it will fall to you to distribute the Estate in accordance with the terms of the will and ensure that each beneficiary receives their inheritance.

As executor, the first thing for you to do will likely be to register the death and obtain copies of the death certificate. It is important to request several official copies as photocopies will not be accepted by many of the organisations you will need to notify. When registering the death, the registrar will provide you with a reference number so you can use the ‘Tell Us Once Service’. This is an online service that notifies most government organisations of the death in one go and is a very useful tool. You will, of course, still need to contact banks, building societies, insurance and pension providers separately.

If you have not already done so, you will need to obtain a copy of the will and consider whether or not you need to apply for a Grant of Probate to legally allow you to deal with the assets of the Estate. If no will has been left, referred to as ‘dying intestate’, you will need to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’ to legally deal with the assets. If everything was jointly owned or there is no property involved and assets are below a certain value, probate may not be required. If you think you may need to apply for probate, it is best to seek legal advice to ensure the process is carried out properly.

Applying for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration involves valuing the assets, paying any inheritance tax due, closing bank accounts, selling property, liquidating investments, settling any debts from the proceeds of the estate, accounting to beneficiaries and finally settling their legacies.

Sometimes, people are reluctant to take on the role of executor. Hopefully, the person making the will would have taken time to discuss the matter with you first. You may refuse to act by signing a Deed of Renunciation. If other executors are named, they will be able to continue without you. Alternatively, you can appoint a solicitor to deal with the administration of the Estate on your behalf.

Wiseman Lee is located at 9–13 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PU. For more information, call 020 8215 1000

The old East End

Ezra-Street,-Colombia-Road-DSCF5595©Geoff Wilkinson

In the second of a series of articles, local photographer Geoff Wilkinson discusses his new exhibition – entitled ‘Quick! Before it goes’ – depicting London’s East End, an area which resonates with many residents here. Pictured here is Ezra Street in Bethnal Green

Although I have, during my lifetime, continued to be aware of the changing East End, it is only since opening Gallery 84 in 2008 and spending more time exploring the vast area for photographic opportunities that I have realised how much of it has actually disappeared.

Huge swathes of tenement buildings have been replaced by modern dwellings, much better living conditions for the residents, I’m sure, but the loss of the architecture leaves a void not filled by the modern equivalent. Or is that just nostalgic thinking?

Some gems still survive; the Georgian town houses at the southern end of Bethnal Green’s Paradise Row are a fine example. They have survived and live in harmony with the fashionable restaurants and bars that have taken over the railway arches at the northern end.

The shops and houses of Columbia Road remain unchanged since the Victorian era. Its Sunday flower market attracts tourists and shoppers from all over London searching for perfect blooms and garden plants. With the hustle and bustle of a full market, plants being bought and sold, the unchanged shopfronts are the perfect backdrop for the day. Had this example of a market street been swept away, the economic and social benefits to the community as a whole would have been lost.

Change will happen and, of course, it should, but perhaps we should think just a little more before pulling down buildings and thus changing the character of an area.

Living in Wanstead, I never take for granted how lucky I am to live in such a unique place that has people within the community who strive to protect and conserve both buildings and a community environment for future generations.

Geoff’s exhibition of East End photographs runs until 1 March at Gallery 84 on Nightingale Lane, Wanstead, E11 2EZ. For more information, call 020 8530 1244 or visit

Hospice seeks volunteer drivers from Wanstead


Saint Francis Hospice is in need of more volunteer drivers from the Wanstead area to chauffeur patients to and from the hospice grounds.

“As a volunteer driver, you’ll be helping fight isolation and loneliness among people living with life-limiting illnesses. You’ll also be sparing them the difficulties of driving or using public transport,” said a spokesperson for the Romford-based hospice, which provides care to people across Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood.

Call 01708 753 319