Wanstead Night Shelter

The Wanstead Winter Night Shelter launched at Christ Church hall last month. Revd Canon Ann Clarke reports on the largely volunteer work that has made it such a useful resource for their weekly guests Steven Timms, MP for East Ham, acknowledged recently that if it were not for Faith Group Night Shelters, 2,200 more people would be sleeping on the streets of London each night. As part of Forest Churches Emergency Night Shelter (FCENS), Wanstead Parish opened its parish hall doors on 7 January to guests for the very first time. We were able to provide our visitors with a welcoming hot drink, a nourishing hot meal, shelter and breakfast,  and a listening ear and a smile. Thanks to the financial support from our crowdfunding...

4bbo9©Tracey Adebowale-Jones

Swan lakes

In the first of a series of articles celebrating the swans that reside on the lakes of Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats, Tracey Adebowale-Jones explains her love for these graceful birds. After some years of being captivated by and photographing the swans of Wanstead Park, I was walking one day around the Heronry Pond when I spotted a very forlorn-looking swan sitting in the reeds of a muddy, shallow estuary. I was struck by its sadness, condition and reluctance to come over to me for food (unusual for most swans). After that first encounter, I started to take bread and seed, eventually coaxing it across the water so she would eat. Each day I went at the same time and each day she began to...

Whipps Cross Hospital

Future for Whipps

In the fourth of a series of articles looking at the redevelopment of Whipps Cross Hospital, Gordon Drakes is pleased to report that being environmentally friendly will be a key design principle in the new build Campaigners were informed last month that an environmentally friendly hospital and the lowest possible carbon footprint will be a key design principle in the new Whipps Cross Hospital, and that the redevelopment team want this to go further and enable the whole of the site to achieve a carbon neutral footprint. To cover additional costs, a 3% uplift to the capital bid for building the hospital is to be included. They are aiming to achieve the ‘Excellent’ level of BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). Alastair Finney, the...

rambutan-2477621_1920Rambutans are exotic fruits grown in tropical countries

Jewish New Year for Trees: songs, stories and unusual fruits

Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue invite those interested in Jewish culture to celebrate Tu b’Shevat (New Year for Trees) on 9 February. “This festival was developed in the 16th century to mark the first signs of winter’s departure and the re-awakening of nature in Israel. It is marked by tree planting and eating uncommon fruits, such as rambutans,” said Martin Gaba. Celebrations will take place at 2 Fillebrook Road, Leytonstone from 2pm to 5pm, with food, songs and stories. Call 07434 631 948 or visit

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Voices from the past

Ahead of a family orientated oral history training session in Wanstead this month, Rev Dr Jack Dunn explains why listening to your elders is important, and why talking to youngsters is vital for the community This month, Wanstead Parish, in conjunction with Eastside Community Heritage (ECH), will be offering a unique opportunity to develop and gain new skills through oral history training at St Mary’s Church. The training is part of the parish’s Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) community activities, associated with the recent repair and renovation works of the masonry at St Mary’s, and is open to all. It has been particularly designed to be family friendly and is ideal for children aged 10 and over and their parents, caregivers and grandparents. ECH has been...

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Apprenticeship and training fair for local teenagers and young adults

A local rugby club will host an apprenticeship and training fair on 8 February, for students aged 15 and over. “There will be a CV clinic, interactive activities – including how to find your career online – and demonstrations by our members, from construction to forensics,” said a spokesperson for Eton Manor RFC. Wanstead-based North London Loft Rooms and Petty Son and Prestwich will be among the companies taking part. The event will take place at the club’s Nutter Lane grounds from 10am to 2pm. Visit


How was that?

Wanstead and Snaresbrook Cricket Club players Nanette Kritzinger and Saba Nasim reflect on their experiences representing England at the Indoor Cricket Masters Series in 2019 The 2019 Indoor Cricket Masters Series proved one thing: the England women’s team made their mark on the international stage in every possible way; performance, team spirit, sportsmanship, determination, friendship and courage. Heading into the World Series 2019, England was considered the underdog and very much a developing country in the sport of indoor cricket, about to square up against the well-established masters of the game, Australia, New Zealand and hosts South Africa. The fighting spirit of the England team could not be dampened, and it was soon clear that we are now becoming a force to be reckoned with. In...

DSC_5178Marie Curie Fundraising on Wanstead High Street in 2013, the year the local group was formed. ©Geoff Wilkinson

Wanstead and Woodford Marie Curie fundraising group reach £100,000 target

The Wanstead and Woodford Marie Curie fundraising group has reached its target of raising £100,000 for the charity, which provides care and support to people with terminal illnesses and their families. “This has taken six years to achieve, but we are finally there,” said a spokesperson for the group, which was formed in June 2013. To mark the achievement, a celebratory afternoon will take place at Wanstead House on 22 February from 2pm to 4pm. There will be a short talk on the work of Marie Curie, a cheque presentation and informal discussions over tea and biscuits. “When we collect in the local area residents are so supportive and generous, and we would like to let them know how their small contributions add up and...


Time to go digital

If the computing world has left you offline, make time for some digital discovery at Wanstead Library next month, says Rose Meredith, Development Librarian at Vision RCL “I just can’t do that!” “That digital stuff isn’t for me, I can’t understand it.” “I’m a total failure at downloading.” “I can’t change!” Do you sometimes feel the digital world has gone on without you and that you will never have a chance to get on board the digital highway? Ever found yourself declaring a story of your fate that cannot alter? Do you feel sure the digital world is really not a place for you? Libraries have altered people’s perceptions throughout time, enabling people to access all kinds of information and participate in new worlds of knowledge....

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Now showing in Wanstead: two horticultural happenings

The Wanstead Community Gardeners are keen to point out two horticultural happenings in Wanstead for the public to enjoy. “There are winter irises at the Wanstead United Reformed Church on Grosvenor Road – four clumps of them. Originating in Algeria, they flower from October through to March and are exquisite! Plus, Garrya elliptica (silk tassel bush) – many shrubs around the station. They bear extraordinarily long catkins the whole winter. A sight for sore eyes!” said Marian Temple....


Caring for the resident swans of Wanstead Parklands

A charity dedicated to the care of swans will host an event in Wanstead Park on 2 February. “Swan Sanctuary volunteers have been active in Epping Forest for many years…Last December, we rescued and operated successfully on one of the Heronry swans in Wanstead Park and returned him to the lake,” said a spokesperson. The event – which will take place at the Temple from 2pm to 2.30pm (adults: £3; children: free) – will be followed by a guided walk to Perch Pond to observe the resident swans. Visit

p2Untitled-1©Richard Arnopp

Restoring Wanstead Park

In the ninth of a series of articles looking at the developing plans for restoring Wanstead Park, Richard Arnopp of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands reflects on the recent River Roding flooding This winter, nature gave Wanstead Park an unexpected but very welcome Christmas present. On 21 December, after days of very heavy rain, the water level in the River Roding rose to its highest level for some years and inundated the Ornamental Water. Within hours, the flood began to recede, but several years of low water levels had been resolved at a stroke, with the lake filled to capacity. The River Roding sits in a huge valley, the relic of its past as a seasonal torrent during the last glaciation, carrying vast volumes of spring meltwater...