Grim times for Ginger Pig

Wanstead will be denied the traditional Christmas Eve scene of people lined up at the Ginger Pig to take away turkeys after the butcher’s farm supplier was hit by avian influenza.

All turkeys, geese, ducks and chicken from the specialist farm – the Botterills – have been affected and the butcher will not be able to supply any of them this year. It’s believed that more than 800 turkeys were bought from the Wanstead shop last Christmas, so the financial impact will be significant.

Customers have been sent this message by the company which is hoping they will choose to opt for non-poultry Christmas dinners instead.

Day of the dead in Wanstead

Redbridge is hosting a novel arts event on Saturday in Wanstead inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead festival.

The free event will include arty activities in the library from 1-5pm followed by a grand costume parade after 5pm. Organisers say: “All adults and children are encouraged to come dressed to party. Why not channel your inner Frida Kahlo, or James Bond from Spectre? Or how about dressing as a colourful skeleton inspired by the films Coco and The Book of Life? Add some lights or glow sticks and you’re ready to go! There will be prizes for the best dressed.”

Tickets for some events are limited and can be booked via Eventbrite. More details are also available on the Vision website here.

Church pipe organ in Wanstead house faces its last Amen

You would never know it from the outside, but a house in Hereford Road has a full church organ in its front room, built lovingly by its owner who was for years a church organist in Wanstead.

Gordon Forster started building the organ in the late 70s, finished it in the 80s, and continued playing it until his death 10 years ago. His widow, Diana, is now downsizing which means the organ needs to find a new home.

Gordon’s son Joe, who grew up with his father making all sorts of musical instruments, is not optimistic that a new home will be found for the organ and suspects the best that can happen is the organ will be broken up and used for parts.

Gordon Forster pictured in 1980

Gordon was a radiographer by training who spent 60 years playing church organs. For many years he was the organist at the Congregational church – now the United Reformed Church – on Nightingale Lane and also played in other churches in the area.

The house on Hereford Rd. (Pic Peter Andrews.)

He built the organ after collecting parts from numerous dismantled organs in the area. Joe says: “Maybe there’s somebody around now who’s looking to do the same. It might be broken up for parts.”

Asked how his mother put up with his father taking over the front room, he says: “I don’t think you could have stopped him. He was very energetic. If he decided to do something – whoosh! – he’d be off. There was no stopping him.” He added: “She had her own interests too.”

The organ has 8ft pipes, pedals, a separate console (the keyboard), and a blower which Gordon built into the cellar.

In this video it is being played by Gordon’s friend, organist Eric Doig.

  • Joe would welcome contact from anyone wanting the organ – please get in touch via The house on Hereford Road is being sold through agents Peter Andrews – details can be seen here.
  • Thanks to Paul Lejeune for the tip.

Wanstead Fringe handwriting competition results

Here are the much-delayed winners of the first Wanstead Fringe Handwriting Competition in which Wanstead’s primary school children were invited to demonstrate their skills by writing out a Lewis Carroll poem.

The judges were the Wanstead Fringe’s Maura Wilson and designer Bryony MacQueen of Muriel&Me.

Maura Wilson said: “We were delighted by the care and attention all those who took part put into their entries. People sometimes say that children don’t learn to write properly nowadays but this has shown that not to be the case. Well done to the winners and to everyone who took part – and thank you to the teachers who encouraged the children to enter.”

Each winner receives a £100 prize for their school’s PTA, donated by Fringe sponsors Petty Son and Prestwich, whose managing director John Wagstaff said: “It’s wonderful to be a part of such a fantastic community congratulations to all those who entered and to the worthy winners.”

Three winners were chosen:

  • one for Early Years (Reception)
  • one for Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2), and
  • one for Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6).

The Early Years winner was Orson from Nightingale Primary School.

The Key Stage 1 winner was Edgar from Aldersbrook Primary.

And the Key Stage 2 winner was Xiangxi from Nightingale.

Congratulations to all the winners.