Miranda Krestovnikoff© Jasper Matthias

It started here

To celebrate 50 years of the RSPB’s Local Groups, the North East London branch will be joined by the conservation charity’s president in South Woodford this June. David Littlejohns invites you to the party Big national organisations don’t always think too much about the local scene. But 50 years ago, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was an exception, and so started its first Local Group, known as the Epping Forest Group. Others soon followed, and the idea has now spread so widely that there are over 140 RSPB Local Groups dotted all over the UK. So this year, on 14 June, we shall be celebrating having started this movement in 1969, and we have separated Miranda Krestovnikoff, the president of the RSPB,...



To mark Women’s History Month, an Eastside Community Heritage exhibition at Wanstead Library will uncover the stories of local women inventors this March. Judith Garfield reports The world of invention and enterprise has been male-dominated throughout history and the lives and creations of female inventors have frequently been overlooked, glossed over and ignored. Women have consistently had their contributions swept under the rug and hidden in the background while their male counterparts have stood in the foreground as standalone pioneers. Women from east London who were behind four revolutionary innovations – which changed the way we eat, dress, love and find our way home – have now had their stories discovered in our new exhibition. One such story was that of Phyllis Pearsall, who invented...


Fine amnesty as libraries across Redbridge undergo major upgrade

Libraries across Redbridge are being upgraded to improve online and interactive services for library users. “The new system will make it easier and quicker for residents to download eBooks and search for books and services online, as well as incorporating a brand new app so customers can access their library on the move… This is also an opportunity for budding authors and local publications to share their work online as the system change will give them access to online facilities,” said a spokesperson. During the upgrade – which is expected to be completed by mid-March – it will not be possible to renew items and a fine amnesty will be in place until the end of the month. Joining a library, using public computers and...


Floating ideas

There are currently over 1,500 properties with a ‘high’ chance of flooding within the River Roding catchment between Stansted and the River Thames.


We love suburbia

Margaret Pepper is one of many artists taking part in this year’s Woodford Festival. Here, the local painter explains what led her to produce what is often controversial work I have been asked to contribute some thoughts on the Woodford Festival art trail, in which I began taking part around 2008. To make some sense of my art, I need to explain my background. I was born male in 1944, lived near Soho until 1967 when I moved to Woodford and got married. The first time I ever painted anything was around 1976, a period in my life when everything went wrong at the same time, and I found painting gave me a form of at least partial escape from my troubles.By the beginning of 2002, I suddenly found...


Back to (which) school

Holly Whittaker and her daughter were one of 72 applicants who didn’t receive any of their preferred primary school places in Redbridge this year. Here, Holly tells their story and highlights the problems Monday, 16 April 2018 is a day I remember all too clearly. It should have been an exciting day, finding out the primary school place my daughter would be attending, sharing the news with her and getting her all excited about the prospect of starting ‘big school’.Instead, when the email finally came through that evening, our excitement turned to disbelief in a matter of seconds. The email told us we had not got any of our six preferred options, instead they had placed us in a school two and a half miles from...


Our blue planet

The Wanstead Society and the South Woodford Society have joined forces to raise awareness of and take action over the litter problem at Eagle Pond in Snaresbrook. Scott Wilding reports. Photography by Geoff Wilkinson Most of us have seen, or heard, about the BBC’s series Blue Planet. This groundbreaking programme highlighted the link between the plastics we throw away, which then enter the oceans, and the damage they do to our wildlife.We have our own blue planet on our doorstep. Eagle Pond, off Snaresbrook Road, like all wet habitats in the area, has suffered this summer as a result of the long dry spell, low oxygen levels and litter. Just like the turtles and whales in the oceans, the local wildlife suffers just as much with the plastics...


Support bereaved parents

Stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands is seeking local volunteers to help establish a new support group in Woodford. Area coordinator Rose Abrehart explains what is needed “I found out that I had lost my baby just before Christmas. There are no words to describe the utter despair I felt.” Those are the words of a parent who was helped by Sands.Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK. We work nationally to reduce baby deaths through promoting better maternity care and funding research. We have a programme of training and a wide range of resources designed to support professionals to improve the bereavement care they provide following the death of a baby, and we provide a comprehensive bereavement support service both nationally through our...


Red, amber, blue

From traffic light signalling to flood defences and waste collections, Councillor Michael Duffell (Conservative, South Woodford) spends much of his time holding the Labour-run council to account I am proud to have been elected as a Conservative councillor for South Woodford. I had been picking up casework and issues regularly in the years running up to election, and since then, it has been no different. Most of the work stems from chronic mismanagement of council services from the administration in the townhall.South Woodford is in the forgotten corner of the borough. The streets are getting dirtier, pot holes are endemic and hedges go unpruned. The administration is getting the basics wrong while spending money on vanity projects elsewhere.We are hearing time and time again that rubbish, recycling and green...


Cleaner & Greener

As Councillor Beverley Brewer (Labour, South Woodford) settles into her new political role, the local resident highlights some of her party’s environment-themed priorities Having lived in South Woodford for so many years, I am tremendously proud of our area and what makes it special.I am also very proud to have been elected by you as the first Labour councillor for the new South Woodford ward. As your councillor, I am committed to working hard for everyone in South Woodford. In particular, I will always stand up for the most vulnerable members of the community.Until 2014, Redbridge Council had never had a Labour majority, but this May, local people elected Labour members to 51 of the 63 seats on the council. During the election campaign, I helped deliver...


Dental practice raises over £2k for Stroke Association

Dr Malik and his team from Improve Your Smile at Woodford House Dental Practice presented representatives from the Stroke Association with a cheque for £2,170 in August. It follows a charity coffee morning and raffles held at the practice earlier in the year, which is now set to become an annual event, raising awareness of the links between oral health and stroke risk. “I was overwhelmed by our patients’ kindness and also the multitude of amazing raffle prizes that were donated by local companies,” said Practice Manager Moona Malik. “A stroke can happen to anyone, but there are steps you can take to minimise your risk, including looking after your oral health.” A free blood pressure check event is also being planned for the autumn at the...


Local author launches creative writing group

Local resident and author Anne Cassidy will be launching a new creative writing group at Woodford Green Library this October. “When I started writing I didn’t know a single other person who wrote. It was only when I joined a writers’ group that I found like-minded people,” said Anne, who has published over 40 novels for teenagers, most notably Looking for JJ, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2005. The group, which will hold its first meeting on 2 October from 6pm to 7.30pm, will meet fortnightly and will be a chance for unpublished writers of various experiences to come together and work on their craft. “I am keen to give writers a reason to write,” added Anne, who became a full-time writer in 2000 following...