LOUGHTON: Inventors, authors and football manager on blue plaque list

A blue plaque for Thomas Willingale at St John's Church, Church Lane, Loughton

A blue plaque for Thomas Willingale at St John's Church, Church Lane, Loughton

First published in Epping Forest East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

THE inventor of the crash helmet is about to join six authors, one England football team manager and a film producer in being commemorated with a heritage plaque.

Sir Hugh Cairns will add to Loughton’s list of 30 famous names, which includes Ron Greenwood, who managed England’s football squad between 1977 and 1982, and George Pearson, a producer of silent films and headmaster of Staples Road Junior School until 1913.

All are remembered with blue heritage plaques, which celebrates the town’s heroes and distinguished residents, such as Thomas Willingale, who helped save the forest from being sold off in the 1800s, and Everard Richard Calthrop, engineer and pioneer of the parachute, who lived in Clays Lane.

Sir Hugh’s plaque is awaiting a final sign-off to be installed at his former home in Whitakers Way.

The Australian-born Oxford graduate was also a distinguished neurosurgeon whose research, that lead to his introduction of crash helmets, started after he was profoundly affected by treating Larwence of Arabia for head injuries from a motorcycle crash from which he eventually died.

Two more plaques will be proposed at a meeting on October 12.

Comedy actor Ken Campbell, who lived in Baldwin’s Hill and died in 2008, will be remembered to many as the ‘Elf of Epping Forest’.

He and Alexander Colvin, curator of Loughton and the first to be awarded the Military Cross for his exploits in World War I, who lived in both High Beech Road and King’s Hill, will have plaques proposed for them.

Cllr Chris Pond, who has been at the centre of proposing blue plaques in Loughton, said: “They make our town more interesting for people who see the plaques.

“They demonstrate what a proud history we have here and even if people don’t recognise the name, they think ‘Who was he?’, and go away, interested to find out about it.”

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