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If you have any items of interest that you think would be suitable to be included on our website please let us know via our website Join & Contact Us page, phone 01702 207297 or drop in to 25B Belchamps Way or 2 Englefield Close. Only digital documents and photos please and if we believe they are appropriate we will include them.

Hawkwell Residents Association Autumn 2015 Hawkwell Voice Newsletter

Hockley Residents Association 2015 Coach Trips & Holidays

Elizabeth Close Play Area Recent Refurbishment

Click on local news, information, newsletters and interesting websites below and also our Local Events Calendar . See Ashlea Simpson 'A Hawkwell lady living in the USA' and the 2011 update, near the end of this page. Also see Alexander Zass (Samson) a Russian strongman buried in Hockley, below and on our History & Photos page.  We check website links from time to time but if you spot one that has change or has been deleted please let us know via our website Join & Contact Us page.

RDC Recycling Calendar   Recycling At Home   Recycling Banks   Recycling Centres  Britain From Above - Southend

RDC's Holiday Activities    Highway Code    Armed Forces Veterans    Walk4life    Rochford Matters    Essex Libraries

Bulk Buy Home Heating Oil Club       Arriva Bus South East       Police Crime Figures       BBC Weather      BBC News

Essex Weather  ECC - Your Essex  Southend Echo  Southend Standard  Southend Yellow Advertiser  Essex Enquirer

ITV News  Sky News  Rochford History  Spotify Free Music  Streetlife Calendar  Massive Youth Club Havens Hospices

Free Youth Club  TV Guide  Strokes Swim School Lessons  Talking Newspapers for the Blind Citizens Advice Bureau

Essex UnITe help an older person use a computer    Outdoor Adult Park Gym    Springboard's Handypersons Service

Who Can You Trust?     Buy With Confidence - Find a TS Approved Trader     RNIB    Rochford Neighbourhood Watch

Hawkwell RA Spring Newsletter   Hawkwell Village Hall  Hawkwell Parish CouncilHawkwell PC Spring Newsletter

Rayleigh, Rochford & District Association for Voluntary Service - RRAVS - RRAVS Spring 2014 Newsletter DisabledGo

Hockley Residents Association Hockley Parish CouncilHockley PC Summer 2015 Newsletter Hockley Living Age UK

Crimestoppers - A Charity Organisations   DisableGo Rochford   Local Farmers Markets  ASB & Other Reporting Form

Essex County Council - Report Highway Issues (Including Street Lighting)  Essex County Council General Complaints

Belchamps Scout Centre  Recycled Teenagers Club  Mushroom Theatre Company  Sunday Saver Bus Fare Changes

Want to be a Retained Firefighter?                       Rochford Hundred Rugby Club                       Hockley Woods Walks


September 2015

Solar Farm

On the 19 August 2015 a company called Lightsource presented a proposal to building a solar farm in Hawkwell adjacent to Hockley Woods. I was surprised that this event was not widely advertised, in fact I only new about it the day before from social media and a leaflet in the post. I am also surprised this event was held in the small Hawkwell Village Hall Annex causing residents to queue up outside and that a large part of the car park was cordoned off for no apparent reason.

I am not against the idea in principle but unless the land is guaranteed protection as green belt after its estimated 25-30 year life, I believe the land will then be regarded as a brown field site. It may seem unlikely that this area would ever be built on due to its location and that it is agricultural land, but if this area was used as a solar farm and is regarded as a brown field site, it would make this area suitable for development. This would would then be the thin end of the wedge for further development to this location from the existing built up area of Hawkwell. There is no guarantee that green belt will not be built on, as in the case of the Clements Gate Estate - 176 homes being built on green belt in Hawkwell, but if an area is regarded as a brown field site there is a greater chance of this happening. Do we take the chance of the area being a future building site? It appears to me to be a gamble and a gamble that will not effect me personally but will effect future generations.

Belisha Beacon

The combined crossing light and belisha beacon near Thorpe Road in Main Road Hawkwell that I think was knocked down in January, was reinstalled about 3 months ago. Would you believe it at the time of writing and 8 months on from being reported, it is still not connected to a power supply. This is the responsibility of Essex County Council Highways that still have loads of road and paving repairs that need doing and street lights that are not working. I wrote to MP Mark Francois and he got some reaction but not enough to get the job completed. Does it take someone being knocked down before anything is done?

Dog Mess

We are still getting complaints from residents about dog mess left on our streets by a few irresponsible dog owners. We have all trod in it from time to time and know what an unpleasant experience this is. There is also the issue of dog mess and eye disease, especially with children. Rochford District Council and Hawkwell Parish Council supply dog bins on many dog walking locations but if there is no bin available you must pick it up, bag it and take it home.

Coach Trips

The Hockley Residents Association social secretary organises great value coach trips including pick-up points in Hawkwell:

Friday 27th November – Christmas in Faversham & Canterbury.

For further details please visit the Local Events page on the Hockley or Hawkwell RA websites or phone Brian O’Shea on 01702 204334.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations

August 2015


We have received a number of complaints about the speed of broadband connections in Hawkwell and Hockley. There are a number of online speed checks that can be used to measure download and upload speeds but we would not recommend that you use one that needs to be installed as they may come with unwanted extras. Unfortunately the results are not very reliable as they vary from company to company and on the time of day the test is carried out. We believe it is safe to say that connections in our area are poor. Before we take any action we would be interested to hear your experiences and if any of our readers / members could advise us if anything could be done to improve this situation.

Greensward Academy

Am I the only one that thinks the new Greensward Academy building could have looked a lot better? I can't think why anyone would think this design would compliment our area and I am surprised that it ever got passed by planning committees. I suppose it passes all the acceptable building criteria but from an aesthetic point of view I believe it completely fails. It is completely in your face being so close to the road and I would say it is on a par with the Lego building in Southend for poor design. Maybe I am out of touch with what looks good today and as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I would be interested to get your views.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations

Clements Hall Shelter (Built for Hawkwell Parish Council) - Spot the difference!










July 2015

Barclays Bank Closure - As you are probably aware our last bank in Hockley the Spa Road branch of Barclays is closing on the 9 October 2015. It is because the number of customers has fallen by 51 percent in seven years mainly due to the increasing use of online banking. Unfortunately a number of elderly customers are not up to banking online, as they have not grown up with the use of computers or ATMs. It also means that shopkeepers in Hockley will need to travel to Rayleigh or Rochford to bank their takings. Its a pity they cannot scale down their operation in Hockley but of course this costs money and banks are trying to save costs like everyone else. The only good news is you will be able to pay in cash and cheques to your personal Barclays account at the Spa Road Post Office and of course get money out of other three existing ATMs in Hockley. Regrettably elderly people that cannot bank online or get to Rayleigh or Rochford will now be left in the unsatisfactory position of finding someone they can trust to help them out.

Pond Chase Nursery Development - House builders Charles Church is preparing a planning application for residential development on the former Pond Chase Nursery in Folly Lane, Hockley. As part of the process of preparing an application, Charles Church held on the 3 June a public exhibition on the 70 home proposal that provided local people with the opportunity to view the initial master-plan and speak to members of the development team. The Hockley Residents Association are concerned that the Rochford District Council allocation for this area is 50 homes and we feel that this should be adhered to. We are also concerned that sufficient affordable homes should be provided and the infrastructure issue should be sufficiently addressed for drainage, flooding, power and water supplies and additional school places. We have further concerns about the access road junctions with the B1013 particularly with the busy Folly Lane junction that should be improved with maybe a mini roundabout.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations


26 April 2015

COPE - I attended the 'Community Older Persons Event' COPE in April organised by Rochford District Council. Apparently these event have been running for quite a few years now but I must admit I had not noticed them until a friend attended one last year and gave it a good report. It was held at Hockley Community Centre in Westminster Drive and ran from 10.45am until 3.30pm. It was a day packed with information from various organisations including the Fire Service, Neighbourhood Watch, The Police, Transport Services, Trading Standards, Voluntary Services and Community Safety. There was a couple of keep fit sessions that you were invited to join in from Chair Fit and Tia Chi organisations. I though the day was well worth it if only for the excellent free buffet lunch, tea, coffee and biscuits on tap and meeting and talking to new and interesting people. If you have a problem getting to these events free transport may also be available. There are two more events this year – 25 June at Great Wakering community Centre and 1 October at Stanbridge Memorial Hall. I would really recommend you attend one of these events, as you may actually learn something useful that could save your life or at least save you money. To reserve you place ring 01702 318103.

Bonfires - Why is it as soon as it warms up and we fling open the windows that neighbours start having bonfires in their gardens and the unpleasant smoke drifts through the house. They obviously don't think before they commit this act of anti social behaviour. Being a bloke I do have some understanding of this act, as for some reason men and mainly men, enjoy having bonfires and barbecues. It's probably in our DNA handed down from cave men. Lighting bonfires may not be illegal but maybe it should in our area. Now we have a weekly green bin service I see no reason to burn garden rubbish, in fact I am sure the Rochford District Council would welcome every bit of green waste they can get. If there is too much for one weeks bin load, just store it up for the following weeks. It doesn't need to be illegal, just be a good neighbour and put it in the council bin or get your own green waste recycling bin.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations


3 April 2015

Bullwood Hall - Harrow Estates plc is preparing a planning application for residential development of 55 homes on the former Bullwood Hall Prison site. As part of the process of preparing an application, Harrow Estates held a public exhibition on the proposals which provided local people with the opportunity to view the initial master plan and speak to members of the development team. The public exhibition was held on the 17 March at The Parish Hall. On the whole I believe most of the people living locally to Bullwood Hall will be glad if this area becomes housing. I think on the proposed modifications to the High Road / Bullwood Hall Lane junction would eliminate most of the current poor access. Attention should be paid to the bushes on the south side of the junction that currently butt up to the edge of the road way, as at the moment they prevent a clear view to the south of the B1013. I got the impression from the consultation day that although there is a proposal to build affordable homes as part of the development, this would be eliminated if possible. There may have been a change in the Government's percentage requirements on this subject but I would personally not support a development of this size that did not include a reasonable amount of affordable homes as part of the plan. We may have a considerable number of large and expensive homes in Hockley but I am sure most of the people living in them would like their families to be able to afford to remain in the area in future.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations

Bullwood Hall

Prison Site

Prison Gates

Eldon Way - Sapphire Packaging have put in a planning application (15/00144/OUT) to demolish 27, 28 and 29 Eldon Way and replace them with 5 shops with two stories of 20 flats above. This application is basically the same as one that was refused in 2013 but replacing the flat roofs with apex roofs. The parking and bin provision is still not sufficient and the detail on the layout of the flats needs improving, as some bedrooms seem to be missing on the plans. A shop has already failed in Eldon Way and I believe that people will not want to walk the 200m or so from the Spa Road shops to these shops. I am sure the flats would be popular if affordable but being tucked away, the shops could possibly remain unused unless enough speciality use can be found. I am also concerned with the loss of jobs in Hockley. I know that the RDC HAAP is for changing Eldon way into a mix of shops, flats and leisure facilities but I believe that we need local jobs for local people. Many people that work on the Eldon Estate live in Hockley and walk to work. Shipping jobs out to the airport in my opinion is not the answer. The high-tech jobs proposed at the airport in the RDC and Southend JAAP are not suitable for mister average and the airport area is not served by pubic transport. As far as I can see the buildings proposed for demolition are in use and the businesses that occupy them would need to move or close down, which I find unacceptable.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations

Eldon Way

Refurbished Unit

Proposed Demolition


6 March 2015


Plans have been submitted to demolish Benchmark Doors and Auto-Plas at 90 Main Road Hawkwell and replace them with 1 detached, 8 semi detached and 27 terraced houses, making a total of 36 homes. Although I welcome the 27 hopefully affordable terraced houses, I also believe loosing this service and light industrial site would be a loss of potential jobs in Hawkwell. It could be the thin end of the wedge by also turning the adjacent service and light industrial sites Stonebridge House, Rawal Pindi Nursery and possibly the adjacent homes on large plots, into more housing and with a further loss of job opportunities. I also believe from personal experience, that the proposed entrance is dangerous due to the bend in Main Road and would be even more dangerous with the potential of 70 plus cars exiting this site maybe two or three times a day. Although it’s a good thing that brown field sites and not green belt are used, my suspicions are that this site has been deliberately allowed to run down for financial gain. The 36 homes would also be in addition to the 176 homes now being built on the Clements Gate Estate in the agreed Rochford District Council’s long term plans for Hawkwell and the district.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations

In 2013 Walton and Stanton's in Hockley put in for planning permission to convert their existing buildings into 10 flats with brightly coloured balconies, a small shop at the front, a workshop at the back and to increase the main building to 4 floors without a lift. This will become the first building in Hockley to be that high, setting a president for 4 story buildings to be allowed in our area. I objected for a number of reasons and the plans were turned down by Rochford District Council. Now after a long process, sadly the plans have been permitted on appeal.

Alan James – Vice Chair of Hockley and Hawkwell Residents Associations


Echo Article 25 Feb 2014 – Opposition grows to 37 new homes in Hawkwell

Villagers raised the alarm after plans for 37 homes off a busy country lane were submitted to Rochford District Council.  The brownfield site, at 90 Main Road, Hawkwell, was previously home to businesses Benchmark Doors and Auto-Plas International, but is now vacant.  Plans include demolishing the factories and building 37 homes in their place.  The site was allocated for homes in the 2006 Rochford District Local Plan, and will add to the 175 homes already being built in the village, on the neighbouring Clements Gate development.  Carol Dutton, 68, of nearby Thorpe Road, fears the impact the new homes and their associated cars will have on the surrounding roads.  She said: “The disruption when building is taking place is terrible.  “It totally disrupts the whole area and it is absolutely dreadful.  “As a community, we have had enough disruption with the 175 homes, and that hasn’t even finished yet.  “These new homes are going to be right next to the Clements Gate site and our road has already turned into a rat-run.  “We have been applying to Essex County Council to block the road and stop people using it as a through road, but had no luck so far.”  Developer Marden Homes has submitted the application to the council.  The plan includes a mixture of detached, semidetached and terraced properties, along with gardens, parking and a pumping station.  The developer has also said a large area of public open spacewill also be provided, as part of the scheme’s landscaping strategy.  Nearby residents were sent a letter by planning consultants Strutt & Parker, on behalf of Marden Homes, in January and the final application has now been validated by the council, ready for assessment by officers.  Ms Dutton added: “Ever since David Wilson Homes got planning permission for that many homes we’ve thought the development will not stop.  “There will be application after application and to be honest we are just waiting for what is coming next.”  Developer Marden Homes declined to comment when contacted by the Echo.


5 February 2015


We have had residents express concerns that since the flooding under the railway bridges in Rochford District, nothing has been done to warn drivers of this possible danger, particularly those they may not know the area.  I am informed that the drainage for these bridges has been cleared but unless they are regularly maintained there is nothing to stop this happening again in future.  There are 5 railway bridges in our area, Church Road. Spa Road, Rectory Road, Ironwell Lane and Hall Road that all have flooding issues.  It was suggested by Rochford District Council that I write to the parish councils to pursue this matter with the appropriate authorities.  I have therefore written to the 3 parish councils that have these bridges in their parishes and I believe they are now looking at these problems.  The improvements could take the form of depth indicators, metal signs or electronic signs and I sent them some examples of how this has been tackled in other areas.

Police Meetings

To help prevent crime the police would like everyone to sign up for Essex Community Messaging (ECM).  This is free and more information and how to take part can be found at: .  You may also be interested in a video from the Essex Police Federation about the police cut backs that can be found at: .  The next police meetings will be in March for Rochford and April for Hockley.  Anyone is welcome to attend particularly if you have an outstanding police issue.  Details on these meetings and other police matters can be found on the police website at: .  For meeting dates follow the links to your area and then events, they will also be on the Hawkwell Residents Association website when known.


Befrending Scheme My name is Karen Harper and I work for Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services.  I am trying to promote the Befriending Scheme that we are running in the Castle Point, Rayleigh & Rochford area.  The aim of the service is to provide companionship and emotional support to the residents of these areas from the ages from 18+.  It helps:

· to increase their confidence and self esteem,

· have someone to talk to on a regular basis,

· have someone to enjoy activities with,

· help to become involved with the local community

· give confidence and motivate to join new clubs.

I am looking for ways to promote this service and to find volunteers to spend a couple of hours a week befriending our Befriendees and also to let the possible Befriendees find out how to access our scheme.  All we look for from our volunteers is a couple of hours a week having a chat with a befriendee over a coffee. I have attached a leaflet to give you a bit more detail about what we do.

Karen Harper - Befriending Scheme PR
Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services Ltd
The Tyrells Centre, 39 Seamore Avenue, ,Thundersley
Essex, SS7 4EX

Tel: 01268 638416 Fax: 01268 638415 Mobile: 07517856121

Email:  Web:


Hullbridge Memories & History               Southend-on-Sea Video


Flooding Under Hockley Bridges

At the end of August we had a month’s rain fall in an hour.  A car was submerged nearly to the windows under the Church Road railway bridge.  A second car got stuck under the Spa Road railway bridge in water that reached the car roof and was about two metres deep.  The occupants including an adult and three children were lucky to escape with their lives thanks to three quick acting local passersby.  The long term forecast is we will experience more and more extreme weather in the future.   We believe these two bridges require an improved storm drain system to cope with future events that cut off the north of our village.  The Spa Road railway underpass already has an issue with wide vehicles passing each other, which ought to be addressed before future increases in house building hits our area.  We believe this could be overcome by installing a separate pedestrian underpass as they have done in Wickford, allowing for the road to be widened at this location without replacing the bridge.

Church Road Hockley Railway Bridge 24 August 2013

Spa Road Hockley Railway Bridge 24 August 2013

Watch Youtube Video


The Hockley & Hawkwell 55+ Social Centre

Preparing Lunch

In the Car Park behind Hockley Library is Hockley & Hawkwell's best kept secret - "The Hockley & Hawkwell 55+ Social Centre," where a warm welcome awaits you between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.  Established in 1989 by Hockley & Hawkwell Old People's Welfare Committee, it provides around sixty lunches, morning coffee and afternoon tea, daily for the older members of our community in modem comfortable surroundings.  Lunch costs £4.50 and transport is available for those who are unable to get to the Centre under their own steam, in its wheelchair and zimmer frame friendly minibus, for a small donation However, you don't have to have lunch in order to attend the afternoon activities - Monday, Whist - Tuesday, Bingo - Wednesday, various pastimes, such as Cards Thursday, Entertainment or a Speaker and Friday, Scrabble but you don't have to be over 55 to pop in at 10 am / noon, to sample freshly baked scones or cakes with tea or coffee for under £1.  When I first visited the Centre, a recently widowed lady told me how kind and supportive everyone was and how, having somewhere to go regularly, with such a warm atmosphere had helped her come to terms with the loss of her husband.  If you feel this facility might suit you, why not pop in for coffee one morning to check us out or ring 01702 206208 for more details.  The main reason for the Centre's success is a dedicated band of volunteers, who keep everything running smoothly.  However, sometimes they are over-stretched so if you feel that you could give up a couple of hours to help, please ring Carol Warren on 01702 202582.

Our minibus to pick you up


Echo Article 29 November 2012 – No, Boss, when we said the team needed a new winger...

Our feathery mascot - Josef Leverington with Memphis the hawk and team-mates

A Red-tailed hawk has become the latest signing at a community football club.  The three-month-old bird of prey, called Memphis, made
his debut for Hawkwell Athletics as their new mascot at the Hockley Community Centre, in Westminster Drive, on Saturday.  About 300 eager residents flocked to the hall to catch a glimpse of the new addition, the first official mascot for the club.  Youngsters from Hawkwell
Athletics' youth teams held the new bird.  Craig Leverington, club chairman, said: "Memphis is absolutely gorgeous and I'm sure everyone who came fell completely in love with him.  "It's such an exciting time for the club to have this opportunity and he's well suited to our club name and colours.  I'm sure he will find a happy home here."  Memphis has been supplied by the Imperial Bird of Prey Academy in Barleylands Road, Billericay.  For more information, visit: .


Echo Article 29 November 2012 – Sign up now and save

Shoppers can sign up for money-saving vouchers and discounts with the launch of a new website.  The award-winning Shop At My Local campaign is a partnership between Rochford District Council, Chambers of Trade for Rochford, Hockley and Rayleigh parish and town councils and the Federation of Small Businesses.  Already 442 businesses are part of the campaign which offers special deals.  For more information, go to: .


Belchamps Scout Activity Centre

Children’s Parties
Try something different for your next birthday; we have a wide range of activities for you to choose from, suitable from 6 years old.  Choose from bouncy castle, assault course, cork guns, pedal karts, climbing, crate stacking, archery, traversing wall.  Also rifle shooting from age 8 plus and for the older age range 10 years plus, 5 different high ropes elements to choose from.  All activities last one hour.  Add approximately 30 minutes to your party time if you are booking party food.  Our activity sessions are for groups of 8 or 12 depending on the activity.  If you have more than this number please book two activities per hour.  We take bookings Monday to Sunday 9am till 5pm.  Please make sure that you have at least one adult to every 3 children for under 8s parties and one adult for every 6 children if it’s for over 8s.  For £3.50 a head we provide a party box which contains A large sausage roll, a packet of crisps, box of raisins and a small cake. We cater for vegetarians also. The price per head includes a birthday cake and unlimited squash.  Or you can bring your own food and hire a grass area, hall or marquee.  Party bags can be provided at £2.50 per head.  Activities available include: Climbing, archery, rifle shooting, pedal karts, cork guns, traversing wall, assault course, bouncy castle, pole joust, the leap of faith, crate stacking, high ropes traversing element, high all aboard and Jacobs ladder.  Belchamps Scout Centre, Holyoak Lane, Hawkwell, SS5 4JD.                Tel: 01702 562690  Email:  Website: .


Old Cars to Cut Up

If any one has an old car that they would like to dispose of without cost, Hawkwell Fire Station needs it to practice cutting techniques on.  Please note that it is essential you have the logbook of any vehicle being donated.  To donate your vehicles please contact Dan Clary at Hawkwell Fire Station in Main Road.


Save £35 per year from sewerage 

If you home was built in the past 20 years or so, it has probably got a soakaway in the garden for the roof rain water.  Did you know that you can now save around £35 per year from you sewerage charge by informing Anglian Water?  They will back date the reduction on your bill but only for the tax year to April 2009.  To save around £35 for this tax year and all future tax years just freephone Anglian Water on 0800 91 222 91 with your request.


Wyvern Community Transport

Are you unable to access conventional transport due to either having restricted mobility, temporarily unable to access public transport, living in an area not served by public transport or where your transport needs are not met by existing timetables.  If you are a permanent resident of the our area then Wyvern Community Transport for Rochford District can help you.  The scheme utilises drivers and the vehicles provided to meet the special transport needs of residents of Rochford District.  To book the service phone 01702 544551 between 9.15am & 2.30pm (Mon - Thur) 9.15am & 12.00 (Fri).  Email:  A yearly membership fee of £5 is payable and £2.50 per journey up to 4 miles.  For journeys over 4 miles, 50p per mile is charged.  See: .


Self Defence

Britka Karate is a professional karate club based in the Southend on Sea area.  They run classes in Wado Ryu Karate for children from ages 5 up to adults.  They have been running karate classes successfully since 1991 and have classes for beginners and advanced students in the Leigh, Hadleigh, Hawkwell and Shoebury areas.  Chief Instructor of Britka karate is Sensei Russell Garrard 4th Dan.  For their website click on:  Britka Karate


Astronomy from Rawal Pindi Nursery

Weather permitting, free observing session at the Astronomy Resource Centre, Main Road, Hawkwell from 9pm.  Phone Royston Dean on 01702 206244.

Ashlea Simpson a Hawkwell lady living in the USA – Please see 'Good News' and 2011 update below 

Extracts from three emails we have received from Ashlea Simpson a Hawkwell lady living in Idaho USA.  Please Contact Us if you have any information that may help her: 

(1)  I am wondering whether you know how I might find out if my great-grandmother is buried at Hawkwell Church.  She was 84, I think, and her name was Sara Ann Simpson (or Sarah Anne possibly).  I used to stay with her at her home in Rochford during the 40's, and I remember going to see her on her deathbed (I lived in Brighton then).  I believe I was 7 years old when she died, so that would have been in 1946+/-.  I have a photograph of her standing by the front gate with the name of her home on the gate "ASH LEA".  If I were in England I could perhaps research this myself but I moved to the US in 1958.  I visited Rochford in 1978 and was floored by the changes - houses after houses, so many streetlights, etc. but her home was still standing then, as were the ones on either side.  Thank you for any information you may have to help me in finding her final resting place.  Ashlea

(2)  I believe my great-grandmother is not buried in the little church at Rochford (built, I believe, by King Canute of the Danes), which was across from the dirt road where she used to live (with the woods at the other end).  Her home had the name ASH LEA on the front gate.  Like a bungalow with a large front porch and just past her home, right next door, was a brick two-storey house.  They were both still standing in the late 1970's.  And I'm not certain whether her first name was Sara or Sarah and her middle name Ann or Anne.  I'm trying to remember her husband's name and it may have been Albert.  Where that dirt road met the main road (by a pub across from a farm and the "Canute" church, we would turn right onto the main road by the newsagent/tobacconist's shop and  the vicarage on the other side of the main road, and walk quite a way and then turn right again down a road to another churchyard - possibly Hawkwell Church?  This is going back 60+ years so I don't recall the names of the roads, unfortunately.  I will try to dig out some more information but not sure of my chances.  I think that buried somewhere here I may still have an Easter postcard mailed from my grandmother to my great-grandmother which may give a clue as to her address.  Ashlea

(3)  I have now found out my great-grandmother's husband's name was Christopher (not Albert).  Perhaps he is buried in the same churchyard as she is.  I unearthed a letter from my mother dated June 21, 1982, with lots of family info but nothing re the correct spelling of my great-grandmother's first two names. Ashlea

Good News

One of our local residents has now located Ashlea's great-grandmother's grave in Saint Mary's Churchyard in Hawkwell after reading our news item.  From a list of graves we found that three Simpson are buried there.  Sarah Ann Simpson died age 86 in 1947 is in grave 1149, John Thomas Simpson died age 53 in 2000 is in grave 2023 and Christopher Thomas Simpson died age 70 in 1925 is in grave 699 (U/K).  We sent Ashlea some photos of the churchyard and Sarah's and John's graves.  Unfortunately Sarah's husband Christopher's grave is unknown (U/K), which means it is in the graveyard but as it is unmarked (no grave stone) they cannot find it.  As John has the middle name Thomas I believe he may be a relative and as he died age only 53 in year 2000 there are probably more relatives living in the Rochford area.  If you have any information for Ashlea please let us know via Contact Us.  I have included extracts from Ashlea's emails of thanks below:

This is a wonderful surprise.  Only yesterday I was wondering if any records had been found about my great-grandmother and I also came across our previous emails.  It's sad that I had no knowledge of John Thomas Simpson as he died so recently and it would have been wonderful if I'd had the opportunity to meet him; he was born only 8 years after I was.  I have no idea whose son he was, which is a shame. Thank you so very, very much for including my inquiry in your news item, and please do convey to the resident who took the time to locate these graves my very deepest gratitude.  That was an extremely generous thing for them to do for a total stranger.  I have looked at all the wonderful photos you have been so very kind to send me.  I want to thank you or whoever took all these photos for me it was so very, very kind.  What a beautiful church - makes me so homesick.  I do remember going to visit the grave with my grandmother some short time after my great-grandmother was buried there.  I will treasure all of these and, of course, make prints of them.  Please be sure to thank everyone involved, including yourself, for finding out all this information and going the extra mile for me.  This has been like a journey back to a gentler time.  Ashlea

2011 Update

Extracts from four emails we have just received from Ashlea Simpson.  Please Contact Us if you have any more information for her:

1)  I am filled with guilt to bother you again, truly, but am wondering whether any of those churchyard records mentioned the home address of my great-grandparents Sarah Ann Simpson and Christopher Thomas Simpson.  For the life of me I can't remember the name of their road.  It was a dirt road with woods at one end and a main road at the other where, on the left, there was a pub and across from that there was an empty farm.  Between my great-grandparents' road and the pub there was an identical dirt road also ending at the woods at the far end.  I had friends there by the last name of French.  I do recall during the war a fair was held over by the farm in the
summertime and I recall hearing its loud music playing 'You Are My Sunshine'.  Also across the main road was a newsagents / sweet shop / tobacconists and a bit further down to the right a stone wall which I believe bordered a vicarage.   I would love to find their road / location on a map but am unable to.  If you can't find any address records, never mind - I just thought it was worth a shot.  Ashlea

2)  I had thought maybe there was a possibility of written records somewhere in the church or town as to the addresses of the deceased, but maybe not.  For some reason Albert Road is in my "mind" but it could be meaningless.  I think that old, old church in Rochford near the farm and across from the pub might have been St. Andrew's?  Not sure.  Don't know the name of the pub or the farm - but I do remember climbing over the stile at the farm and walking around in the fields.  Have been staring at Rochford maps till I'm cross-eyed but I think possibly those two dirt roads may now be long gone.  They were there in the late 70s along with all the homes still, but I think it had been paved.  Ashlea

3)  Thank you so much for this information.  Yes, I think it must have been Albert Road and, looking at the maps I have found online, I could see that the roads in that area were "unmade" and the community mostly rebuilt, I guess.  That must have started shortly after my very brief visit in the mid-seventies when my great-grandmother's bungalow was still standing, as well as the homes on either side.  At that time, I didn't bother looking for the name of the road because I knew where I was going.  Trying to recall images in ones mind from 65 years ago, though, isn't a piece of cake exactly.  So it probably was The Victory pub although I don't remember it as having so many windows in front in the 1940's.  But I could be wrong easily and definitely the old church across the road from the pub I used to see was built by King Canute of the Danes - I do remember that as well as going inside the church many times in the 1940's as a young child wandering around the churchyard and the farm nearby - so it has to be St. Andrew's.   Don't know if the empty farm with the stiles is still there, highly doubt it.  It is very kind of St Mary's Church to send what information they could find including the Burial Registration of my great-grandmother.  In view of the limited info kept back in those days, I'm sure no address would have been entered for Sarah's husband, Christopher Thomas Simpson, when he was buried in 1925, either.  So I will try to find out how, online, I can get in touch with the Census Bureau or whatever it's called in England.  Way back in time I believe most such records were at Somerset House but I'm sure that set-up is long since changed.  Ashlea

4)  That's terrific news I'm truly glad the Victory won't be converted into just another run-of-the-mill and meaningless blob of concrete with its only atmosphere being a screening room.  Long live the Victory!  And I'm really happy for the landlords.  It's shameful how they were going to be cast aside - just as the huge TV screen will one day be for the latest fad.  Ashlea

Extracts from an email to Ashlea from Pat a Hawkwell resident:

I have found on a site the following and wondered if sarah's name was ingram before marriage, and if they had a son called Joseph,who married a Lilian, who had a son called Stanley who married a Winifred if so, they have a family tree on ancestry going back to 1806 to Thomas and Charlotte.  I know through my own family tree searching it is hard to match the people as there seems to be lots with the same name, if these are your relatives, i'll look at it again for you and send you more info.  I also found Christopher Thomas Simpson of Mayblossom Ashingdon near Rochford died 15/12/1925 probate London 31 March to Sarah Ann widow effects £403 4s 10d could be the house was called Mayblossom?  I hope you didn't mind me emailing you good luck in your search.  Pat

Extract from Ashlea's reply: 

Of course I don't mind you emailing me.  Wow what a surprise !  Thank you so very, very much, Pat.  Actually, the name on the gate of my great-grandparents' place was Ash Lea but, yes,  Mayblossom certainly rings a loud bell.  It may have been the name of an attached property or, as you say, another place where they lived, such as Ashingdon.  Perhaps Sarah Ann moved to Ash Lea in Rochford after her husband, Christopher Thomas died in 1925.  Yes, Sarah's maiden name was Ingram or Ingraham.  Yes, they had a son Joseph - I loved him so very much, my grandmother's younger brother.  Joe is the only one of her siblings I met though she had several.  Her name was Phoebe Frances Simpson and she married George Wood.  Joe and Aunt Lil (she was deaf) lived in Dagenham when I knew them (he worked at Ford) and they had a son, young Joe, who died in the war, a sailor I believe.  Also I met Stanley, their second son, a really nice young man, so friendly.  Also they had two daughters, Doreen and Olive, and another son, Gerald.  I knew and loved them all so very much!!!  How odd, even to this day, once in a while I dream I am back in their house - weird, huh?   Especially if you bear in mind I left England back in 1958.  There was a well in the back garden of Ash Lea as well as a miniature house I used to go inside at the bottom of the garden.  Ashlea


Bees in Autumn

By David Blackwood our bee keeping committee member.

I have been asked to write something for the Hawkwell Residents Association website about bees. It is thought that I ought to know something about them as I have been keeping honeybees for many years and I am the honorary secretary of the Southend-on-Sea and District division of the Essex Beekeepers Association. Of course this is such a large subject that no one knows everything there is to know about bees.

By the time you read this Newsletter the beekeeping season will be practically over. All species of bees will have made their preparations for the coming winter. Yes I say species, because there are some approximately 230 different species and sub-species of bees in Britain. Ranging in size from very small 3-4mm solitary bees to the largest of queen bumblebees of nearly 2 inches (50cm).

The majority of bees that you will see in your garden are the bumblebees. These are round, furry insects that vary in size and colouration. A young mated queen comes out of hibernation from a hole in the soil in late January or early February, and this depends on the actual species of bumblebee and the weather. She looks around for a place to make her nest and as she is not capable of collecting nesting material herself like a bird does, so she looks elsewhere. Often she will choose a compost heap, a discarded bird’s nest or an old mouse’s nest, somewhere nice and cosy. She goes foraging to collect nectar and pollen for her own consumption and to take back to the nest. In the nest she constructs a heap of mixed pollen and nectar and lays eggs on it. This she covers with wax from her wax glands and with wax she also constructs a honey pot in which she stores nectar for a rainy day when she cannot get out to forage. After between 4-6 days the eggs hatch into larvae and they eat the food that mother has been placed underneath them. After another period during which they grow by shedding their ‘skin’ several times they spin a substantial cocoon of silk in an upright position. After about two weeks the adult workers begin to cut their way out of their cocoons using their mandibles. According to one source of information it takes about 5 weeks from an egg being laid to the emergence of an adult bumblebee from the pupal cocoon. Now the solitary existence of the queen is at an end and she has help with foraging and the looking after other larvae.

The colony develops with the queen foraging less as there are daughters to do this work Some species can build up to about 100 workers all working for the good of the colony. Later in the year eggs are laid that develop into males and future virgin queens. The males when they emerge from their cocoons spend about four days in the nest maturing and when they leave the nest it is considered that they never return to it. They patrol an area leaving a scent trail on vegetation and when a young virgin strays into their territory she is pounced upon and mating takes place on the ground or other flat surface. When young virgins emerge from their cocoons they mature and then go out to forage returning back to the nest at nightfall. 

These young virgins soon meet up with their male counterparts and mate. Once mated these queens continue to forage for pollen and nectar, which they break down internally into chemicals for storage in their fat bodies in preparation for hibernation during the winter.  The young mated queen then digs a small hole in the soil and lining it with a solution from her Dufoss gland and salvia settles down to ‘sleep’ through the winter. Her metabolism slows right down and because of the chemicals in her body that act as an antifreeze she is able to withstand very cold temperatures. When the weather warms up in the spring she comes out of hibernation and the life cycle starts all over again. 

There are 23 different bumblebees in Britain; of these 6 are cuckoo species whose queens take over a different bee species nest similar to the cuckoo bird. But it is the cuckoo queen that kills the rightful queen. The cuckoo queen does not lay eggs that develop into workers, only males and future queens. The workers of the rightful queen look after the usurper’s eggs and larvae.

There are six main species of bees that are found in your garden, and they are Bombus lapidarius (Large red tailed bumble bee, black with a brick red tail); B. terrestris (Buff tailed BB with yellow bands and buff tail); B. lucorum (Common white tailed BB yellow bands and white tail); B. hortorum (Common garden BB with three yellow bands and white tail); B. pratorum (Meadow BB yellow bands and red tail); and B. pascourum (Common Carder Bee dark or light brown BB). As I wrote in the beginning all of these species should have completed their life cycle by the time you read this article.



Did you know that if you are the only person aged 18 or over living in your property, you may be entitled to a 25% reduction in your Council Tax, see RDC Single Occupier Council Tax Information.  You will need to complete an application form, available from the Revenues & Benefits Office.  This information has been obtained from the Rochford District Council website.


Disclaimer:   The information on these pages is placed here in good faith.  We cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies that we are not aware of.  All articles and reports from other sources within this website will indicate their origin.  These articles and reports or those contained in links to third party sites within this website are not necessarily the views of Hawkwell Residents Association.  If you know of information such as phone numbers, postal or website addresses that have now changed or are no longer available please pass this onto us via the Contact Us page.