Local news

Chigwell School footballers crowned regional champions

Chigwell School’s U11 football team are through to the Independent Schools U11 national finals after winning the Essex regional event.

Twelve teams from across the region entered the tournament which was held at Chigwell.

Chigwell started strongly and secured five victories to finish top of their group.

Chigwell then beat St Aubyn’s in the quarter-final and Brentwood in the semi-final to set-up a final against Elm Green.

The opening stages were a tense affair with both teams creating chances however it was Chigwell who came through in the end with a 3-0 victory.

Chigwell now travel to the national finals at the FA’s national football centre, St George’s Park, on Tuesday, May 3, next year.

Head of Football Creag Lawrence said: “The boys played some excellent, creative and attacking football during the afternoon and won the tournament whilst playing the game in the right manner.”

Swimmer nets impressive haul of 12 medals at autumn gala

A swimmer at West Hatch High School, Chigwell, has earned herself an impressive haul of 12 medals at a recent swimming gala.

Emma Richards, 13, won a gold medal, two bronze medals and nine fourth, fifth and sixth-place medals at the London Borough of Redbridge autumn gala at Fulwell Cross, Ilford.

Emma’s best performance came in the 50m backstroke where she struck gold.

Her third place medals came in the 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke.

Emma, a Year 9 student at the High Road school, also recorded several personal best times and six county times enabling her to compete in Essex competitions.

Emma said: “I’m looking to get a few more county times and hopefully two regional times that I’m close to.”

Emma, who lives in Hainault, has been swimming since she was five and is now in the A-squad at the London Borough of Redbridge Swimming Club.

She trains about six times a week, often having to get up at 5am to fit in a training session before starting school.

She said: “The shortest training session is one-and-a-half hours and the longest is two-and-a-half hours. It’s something that I have to do, it takes my mind off things so I find it quite fun.”

Emma hopes to be taking part in international competitions in about two years’ time.

Performing Arts students attend convention

Sixth Form Performing Arts students at West Hatch High School attended 'Compose Your Future', a specialist UCAS convention with Universities held at ​Excel in London.

Drama and dance schools from across the country gave students the opportunity to find out about the range of higher education opportunities available.

Teacher Sue Pavelkova said: "The event was inspiring to see how many opportunities are out there for students of Performing Arts - degrees, diplomas, a new pioneering online music degree, and even dance and acting courses in Barcelona (delivered in English).

"The convention included practical demonstrations which included a 'silent concert' where the audience wore headphones and an awesome stage / film make-up session leaving our students with bullet wounds and scared arms!"


Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing joins King Harold Day celebrations

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing joined the celebrations to remember King Harold in Waltham Abbey on Saturday.

Flowers were placed at the King Harold Memorial Stone in the Abbey Church churchyard as part of the traditional King Harold Day event.

The flower-laying ceremony was held after costumed participants and civic dignitaries took part in a procession from the Epping Forest District Museum in Sun Street, through Market Square and down Church Street to the Abbey Church.

The day commemorates Harold Godwinsson, King Harold II, who was Lord of the Manor of Waltham when he was Earl of Essex and East Anglia, owned much land and property in the area, and whose family home with his handfast wife, Edith Swan-Neck, was at Nazeing.

Harold founded the Minster Church which eventually became the Great Abbey, and legend has it that his body was brought back to the Abbey after his death at the Battle of Senlac Hill (Hastings) in 1066.

The Abbey Gardens hosted stalls, sideshows and other attractions throughout the day.

Mrs Laing said: “It was great to see so many people celebrating King Harold Day and important to remember the connection between our historic town and the Battle of Hastings.

“I congratulate Tricia Gurnett and everyone who works so hard to make this annual event such a success.

“We are all looking forward to next year's very special 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings - and the death of King Harold.”

The Dream Factory launches updated website

The Dream Factory charity's website has a new look, with details about its recent news and 'dream-making' success and its forthcoming events.

The website is managed by Petrina Penn, of Hungry Sheep Website Design.

She said: "I am delighted to support Avril (Avril Mills, the charity's founder) in her wonderful work.

"The charity continues to grow so I thought it would be an ideal time to update and upgrade its ever expanding website.

"The newly-launched website is user and mobile friendly. It has information about all recent and upcoming events, includes the facility to allow people to donate online and also features the charity's regularly updated Twitter feed."

Petrina added: "I hope the new website will help The Dream Factory to even greater success in the future.

Miss Mills said: "We are extremely grateful to Petrina who has saved us so much money, and this enables us to put more money into making dreams come true  The new-look website looks fabulous."

To visit the website go to

The Dream Factory has now granted some 348 dreams to children and young adults with life-limiting conditions.