November 2022


Can you add some Christmas goodies to the Tin in a Bin foodbank?


A statement from Tin in a Bin:

“2022 has been another year where the generosity of our community has been demonstrated. Tin in a Bin has received more calls for our services, and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us. In December, in addition to cupboard essentials, we’re keen to receive Christmas goodies, like biscuits and chocolates, to offer cheer to those who are struggling. 2023 will undoubtedly continue to be challenging for many. Every donation will help.”

For drop-off points, visit


Serving Wanstead


Paul Canal is overseeing the third annual Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal and urges anyone who can make up an extra plate on Christmas Day to get in touch

“If you have enough food to eat, you have enough food to share”. Those words were often used by my late father-in-law, Cecil McKenley, and it was these words that were the inspiration behind the Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal.

Launched in 2020, the appeal is an initiative that aims to supply a festive meal to local residents in need or those living on their own.

During the pandemic, our country and community came together in an impressive display of compassion and community solidarity. From shopping for the vulnerable to checking on elderly neighbours, we rediscovered what it means to be a community. The Christmas season is an opportunity to amplify that spirit of giving and sharing, of reaching out as an extension of the Christmas message.

We all cook too much at Christmas. The cost in money, food waste and carbon emissions is staggering. At the same time, a few streets away, someone is lonely and hungry. They would appreciate a Christmas meal. We are throwing food away. The connection is instant and the solution obvious! Plate up an extra meal and brighten a stranger’s Christmas. 

The benefits are obvious as well. Less food waste, a delighted lonely person in need and a reminder that Christmas is really about giving. And in addition to a hot meal, and perhaps a Christmas cracker or two, we are also reaching out and offering friendship, empathy and real community spirit. There are many reasons why someone could need a meal this Christmas, ranging from being on their own through bereavement or relationship breakdown to ill health, old age, disability or financial issues. Throughout the year, so many people in Wanstead support the Tin in a Bin foodbank network. Think of this as ‘tin on a plate!’

All we need do now is connect a person in need with a person who can share. So, would you or someone you know like a hot Christmas meal delivered locally on Christmas Day? If so, please get in touch and we’ll do the rest. Discretion and anonymity guaranteed. Conversely, if you are one of the many Christmas chefs who cooks for an extra person or four, and could provide a meal or two to a person or couple in need, please let me know. I will link the chef with the recipient, and our community can be assured we are doing all we can to spread the spirit of Christmas. 

Last year, over 80 meals were delivered via the Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal, including vegetarian and halal meals. I certainly hope the need is less this year, but I also hope that whatever the need, our great local community can once again meet it. Thanks, Wanstead!

For more information and to take part in the Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal, email or text 07769 159 433


Redbridge Council launches Women’s Safety Mission Statement


Redbridge Council has launched its Women’s Safety Mission Statement.

“Over the last two years, Redbridge Council has listened to the views of women and girls… The listening exercises consisted of surveys, focus groups, safety walks and workshops, and the findings formed the basis for the Women’s Safety Mission Statement. In total, we were able to hear from over 2,500 individuals about the issue of safety for women and girls in the borough,” said a spokesperson.



An evening of seasonal music and refreshments at Wanstead Library

modalityModality choir

Redbridge Music Society will host local choir Modality at Wanstead Library’s Churchill Room on 6 December.

“The choir, directed by Woodford-based singing teacher Jenny Ewington, will perform a range of festive songs interspersed with poems and solo items. The piano accompanist will be Ben Summers. The evening will conclude with complimentary seasonal refreshments,” said a spokesperson. The concert will begin at 8pm (tickets on the door; members: £8; visitors: £12).

Call 07380 606 767


Fly high beautiful Bruce: iconic black swan one of many bird flu deaths

IMG_3288-copy©Don Taylor

Local residents have paid tribute to Bruce, the black swan, who died from avian influenza earlier this month.

“He was a fabulous and sassy swan, and I know everyone loved him,” said Helen O’Rourke. Bruce originally arrived at Eagle Pond in 2020 and settled at Hollow Ponds the following year. “He had a loyal following of people who came to feed him. He was a special swan and loved by all who met him. He will be very sadly missed. Fly high beautiful Bruce.”

The death comes amid the biggest outbreak of bird flu the UK has ever seen.

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Wanstead Cricket Club helping to restore school library in Kenya


Wanstead Cricket Club member Scott Emmons is raising funds to help an African school.

“On a recent club tour to Kenya, we visited Kabiro School in Nairobi to run a coaching session. One of the things that shocked us was the state of the school library – a single shelf beneath a corrugated iron roof, with two chickens sleeping in front of it,” said Scott. Funds will be used to repair the roof, install shelves and supply new books.

A fundraising event will take place at the Overton Drive club on 3 December from 11am.



Lights, Cameras, Christmas

_DSF1523©Geoff Wilkinson

Residents gathered on George Green earlier this month for the switching on of Wanstead’s Christmas tree lights. Here, local councillors Jo Blackman, Paul Donovan, Daniel Morgan-Thomas, Sheila Bain and Bayo Alaba reflect on the event. Photo by Geoff Wilkinson 

As councillors, one of the highlights of our year is the annual turning on of the Christmas tree lights on George Green. It is a great opportunity for the community to come together. For us, and many others, it has come to mark the official start of the build-up to Christmas.

The ceremony has grown over the years. We are always grateful to be joined by Wanstead Church School’s choir, and more recently also by Steve Hayden, the popular local milkman. We are also often joined by panto stars from Redbridge Drama Centre, and this year, we had even more special guests, with Father Christmas making an appearance alongside DJ Dapper Elf and Christmas Belles on stilts. 

Whilst festive events are a time to celebrate, they are also often a reminder of those who are no longer with us, in particular those we’ve recently lost, including through the pandemic. And, of course, we now really appreciate these opportunities to gather with friends and neighbours in person more than ever after ceremonies like this were put on hold in recent years. 

We know Christmas can bring financial pressures to the fore and that many will be concerned about their finances with rising inflation and economic uncertainty. The council has mobilised a range of support, and we would encourage those facing pressures to look at the council’s special website which brings together the range of support provided.

We are lucky to have such an active and supportive community in Wanstead, and encourage residents to check on their neighbours throughout the festive season and support the local Tin in a Bin foodbank initiative, as well as other local community projects.

There are some great opportunities to entertain the family in Redbridge this year. The pantomime at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford is Aladdin. After a successful first year, the ice rink and Christmas market are returning to Fairlop Waters. And Valentines Mansion is hosting a Victorian Christmas event on 3 and 4 December with a range of craft and festive activities. Wanstead also has a number of local Christmas events, including school Christmas fayres and events hosted by local churches, as well as the Christmas market on the High Street on 17 December.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

For support with the cost of living, visit

For more information on Wanstead Village and Wanstead Park councillors. Visit


Christmas present appeal

Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 11.16.57

Residents are invited to donate gifts, clothes and Christmas treats to the Tin in a Bin foodbank on 26 November.

Wanstead Cricket Club will be be hosting the event from 10am to 1pm.

Gift ideas (new) include toiletry sets, Lego, play dough, colouring sets, board games, books and £5 gift cards.

Men’s underwear, warm clothing and trainers are also much in need to support the homeless.


New festive shop popping up on Wanstead High Street this month

Screenshot 2022-10-31 at 16.01.35©Donna Mizzi/Jeanette Cole

Members of Art Group Wanstead will be selling handmade creations, decorations and artwork at a pop-up shop in The Stow Brothers on 27 November.

“The community-supporting estate agents have generously given over the front of their premises at 117A High Street for local artists. They are also currently staging a three-month changing art display on their walls, which shoppers and local families can enjoy. This is a chance for local people to find imaginative and unique buys virtually on their own doorstep,” said a group spokesperson.


History comes home

cyrilCyril Page (1899–1918) © Redbridge Heritage Centre

Redbridge Museum will open a new permanent exhibition early next year exploring 200,000 years of local history. In the ninth of a series of articles, Museum Officer Nishat Alam looks at some of the items on show

As part of the Redbridge Museum development, we’ve been busy creating some new displays about the history of the borough, in addition to refreshing and expanding some of our existing displays. This month, I’m looking at a brand new exhibit in the works about the First World War, an important historic event that’s been commemorated by the museum in a major temporary exhibition, website and even a book, but with only one aspect – the war dead – currently covered in the permanent exhibition.

The new display will, of course, expand on the subject of the borough’s fallen soldiers, as well as explore the wider impact of the war on Wanstead, Woodford and Ilford. 

About 1,500 men from Redbridge were killed during the First World War, 320 of whom were from Wanstead. Some 280 of these names appear on the Wanstead War Memorial, unveiled on Tarzy Wood in 1922, including Cyril Page of 32 Gordon Road (pictured above in 1917), whose story was researched by students from Wanstead High School as part of our First World War centenary project. Cyril joined the army shortly after his 18th birthday in August 1917 and was killed in action in France only months before the end of the war a year later. Some of the material in our collections relating to Cyril’s military experience will be on display to illustrate the realities of war for local young soldiers and their loved ones, such as photographs, medals, letters and postcards. 

The display will also look at how the borough pulled together to support each other and the less fortunate during wartime. Hundreds of refugees escaping the fighting in Belgium sought solace in the borough, with many staying in Wanstead in houses like ‘Bellegrove’ on Woodford Road, Snaresbrook, which could accommodate 20 guests in 12 rooms. Local residents also helped to raise funds for the refugees through concerts, including one organised by the Wanstead Primrose League in October 1914, where a Belgian couple performed a violin and flute duet.

The war was transformative in many ways. Women went into the workforce, many for the first time, often filling in jobs traditionally taken up by men in communications, transport and industries. Others, like Cecilia Matthews of Cowley Road, Wanstead, became Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses working in convalescent homes like the Woodford and Wanstead Military Hospital based at Highams Manor (now Woodford County High School).

There are plenty more stories that will be explored in this new display, but I’ll leave it to the objects, archives and newly designed text panels to tell them.

For more information on the impact of war on Wanstead, visit 

For more information on Redbridge Museum and to complete a survey about the new displays, visit


Wanstead resident’s crime novel aims to empower young women

Screenshot 2022-10-31 at 16.35.26

Local resident Paterson Loarn will be launching a self-published crime novel in the newly refurbished Cuckfield this month.

“My novel Samvida and the Purse of Gold highlights the need to empower young women to defeat sexual bullying and fulfil their potential. It also explores the effects of money laundering on the environment,” said the author, who will donate half of any profits from the event to the charity Lendwithcare.

The launch will take place on 24 November from 7pm, with a Q&A session at 7.30pm.