Local news

Davenant Foundation School "proud" of A-Level results


Students at Davenant Foundation School, Loughton, produced an excellent set of A-Level results that, once again, will place the Sixth Form as one of the most successful in Essex.

Of all the subjects taken by the 179 students, 99.2 per cent were awarded pass grades A*-E, 55 per cent were awarded grades A*-B and 26 per cent were graded A*-A.

Outstanding performances were recorded by Daniel Riches (four A*s), Harriet David, Leah Hembury, Christian Fayolle, Amber Fernandes, Megan Finan and Aidan O’Donoghue (three A*s) and Alice Maynes and Aaran Noble (two A*s).

The majority of students gained their preferred places at universities with others moving directly to high quality employment opportunities.

With the results attained, Daniel Riches, Leah Hembury, Claire Lovell and Alice Maynes) achieved the results required to take places at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Headteacher Chris Seward congratulated the work of staff and students.

He said: “High quality A-Level results depend on the experience and commitment of teachers as well as the immense hard work of students.

“This year’s results are closely in line with those of recent years and I am delighted by the efforts of everyone when there is such great pressure to maintain standards through a time of considerable change.

“Everyone at Davenant is proud of what our students achieve and we wish them well as they move on to the next stage of their education and working life.”

Record A-Level results at West Hatch High School


West Hatch High School is "delighted" with record A-Level results achieved by students this year.

Eighty-one per cent of all grades were A* to C with 53 per cent at A*, A and B grades - both figures up significantly on last year.

The overall A-Level pass rate was 100 per cent with vocational courses excelling - Travel and Tourism, ICT Fashion and Sport all achieving 100 per cent A*-A.

This has meant many West Hatch students have gained access to their first choice universities.

Top performers were Anna Clark (two A*s and one A), Eleanor Meakin (two A*s and one A), Harry Klein (three As), Aaron Sharma (A*, A and B), James Mahoney (two As and one B), Adil Sait (two As and one B) and Catrina Silva (two As and one B).

Headteacher Frances Howarth said: "The school is delighted with these results.  

“Students' hard work coupled with excellent teaching from our experienced staff enable West Hatch to continue to provide a very high quality Sixth Form education.  

“We wish our students well as many of them now go off to prestigious universities across the county or take on top jobs and apprenticeships in London.”

A number of top performing students heard their results via text as they are trekking with the school undertaking voluntary work in Kenya.

For more information on West Hatch High School visit or email the school office at   


Enrolment for West Hatch High School's Sixth Form is on Thursday, August 20.

Stortford dad takes on 14 challenges for St Clare

A Bishop’s Stortford man who set about transforming his health after hitting a mid-life slump is about to undertake his 12th endurance challenge in less than a year for St Clare Hospice.

Sales manager Richard Funnell will embark upon the gruelling London to Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge on August 29 having already completed 10 other challenges, ranging from 10km runs to obstacle courses, since September last year in aid of the Hastingwood-based charity.

With two more challenges to come later this year, by November he will have completed a total of 14 events in a bid to raise £2,000 to support people living with a terminal or life-limiting illness and their loved ones.

Richard, 57, was inspired to begin his health and fitness kick after tipping the scales at 18 stone. “Being overweight didn’t come as any great surprise,” he said. “I didn’t have a suit that fitted, a pair of trousers that weren’t tight, and even my best friend had my number saved in his mobile phone under ‘fatty’. The surprise was just how fat I had let myself become.

“In the preceding few years I had had gym memberships, worked with personal trainers and been on some pretty depressing diets. But all this does not come cheap and true to form, I eventually gave up going. But it was clear I had to make some serious changes and I needed to do something I could focus on which would be motivational and life changing. Taking a good, hard look in the mirror and the person smiling back at me, it dawned that I was a prime candidate for hospital. The wake-up call had arrived and, if I hit the snooze button again, it was likely I would die.”

He signed up with Regiment Fitness after stumbling across one of their boot camps while walking the family dog, Archie, in Southern Park, near Thorley, and soon the weight was falling off.

With my fitness up and my weight under control, it was time to add more purpose and dimension to my training,” said the dad-of-two. “So I decided to take part in a sponsored walk in support of a local charity, and one which helps people in my community. Two years ago, my wife was the victim of breast cancer and although it was caught very early and she remains in full remission, it was, and remains, a life-changing experience for her, our family and friends.

“Through our own personal experience with cancer, we knew a lot of money quite rightly goes into funding research. However, we knew nothing about what happens when the second and third chance runs out. So we started looking into hospice care and discovered it helps people to live as actively as possible, from the point at which their illness is diagnosed as incurable to the end of their lives, however long that may be. And it carries on caring for families, carers and friends beyond the death of the person they love. It was at this point I discovered St Clare and, when I asked around, I was amazed at how many people we knew who had been touched, either personally or remotely, by this fantastic organisation. I now had my purpose.”

Since then Richard has completed the St Clare Hospice 10km Run, Trekfest: The Beacons, Nuclear Fall Out and Hatfield Broad Oak 10km Run among others.

He said: “These events would not be possible if I didn’t train and, whatever you think, I have had to work hard to get where I am today. I am the oldest in our region at Regiment Fitness, but I am able to compete with the youngest. My nickname at training is ‘Dad’ and the younger members are happy to partner me. I don’t see my training or any of the challenges I have taken on as a cost – I view them as an investment in my future, supported by some amazing people.”

You can help Richard reach his £2,000 fundraising target by visiting his sponsorship page You can read his blog here

And if you have been inspired to take up a challenge for St Clare, then see

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing supports CPRE Green Belt campaign

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing has today given her support to a new initiative launched by the Campaign to Protect Rural England to ‘Save the Green Belt’.

The campaign follows recently released data that shows that 226,000 houses are currently planned for development on Green Belt land.

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the Green Belt.

Since 1955, when it first became national planning policy, the Green Belt has been hugely successful in protecting the countryside and aiding the regeneration of towns and cities across England.

The Epping Forest district is more than 90 per cent Green Belt and benefits from historic protections from the City of London as well as the national planning framework.

The present national Green Belt policy - introduced under this and the last Government - is one of the most protectionist ever and the Conservative Manifesto included an explicit promise to uphold the Green Belt's protection.

Mrs Laing said: “We need new houses and we must support the expansion of businesses but if we lose some of our precious Green Belt we lose it forever.

“We must protect it and find other ways for expansion. At present I see no good reason to destroy our Green Belt - not when there is currently enough previously developed brownfield land available in England to build more than one million homes.”

Mrs Laing added: “There are, of course, some exceptional circumstances that mean small amounts of Green Belt have to be sacrificed, for example when brownfield land would otherwise go to waste, but those must be exceptions, not the norm.

“Epping Forest District Council is very good at protecting the Green Belt and I commend the council for that.

“The national legislation is in place to protect our Green Belt.

“I am pleased that this national campaign draws attention to the duty on local planning authorities to use this legislation properly and increases pressure on developers to act responsibly.”

African drumming at town council family fun day

African drumming was among the entertainment at the latest family fun day held by Ongar Town Council at the Jubilee Park and Pavilion, Ongar.

Visitors could try their hand at drumming while there was also an array of inflatables for children to enjoy.

The Jubilee Pavilion was open as usual with visitors able to try out the table tennis table which has been donated to the town council.

Jubilee Park manager Angus McKenzie said: "We were delighted with the turnout at Friday's (July 31) event which saw more than 100 children and adults enjoy the entertainment provided.

"We are holding the family fun days on Fridays throughout the summer holidays and look forward to welcoming more people in the coming weeks."