Seats & Benches in Selsdon Wood

There are plenty of places to take a rest in Selsdon Wood. The map above shows the locations of 45 benches (numbered),  six of which are dedicated, and 24 dedicated seats with backs (denoted by letters). The dedications are on metal plaques except where "carved" is specified in the list below.

Dedicated Seats

Seats in Fileds 1-3

A. Seat to right of the car park entrance  DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MISS MARGARET HORN


C. Seat at top (SE) side of Field 1 Left of Greenhill Way FRIENDS of SELSDON WOOD est 2007 (carved)

D. Seat on NE side of Field 2 - this seat fell into disrepair and had to be removed. The dedication plaque was moved to the adjacent seat E,


                                also now dedicated IN MEMORY OF MURRAY SILVERSTONE AND TO “THE GIFT OF LIFE”


G.Seat at top (SE) side of Field 3  IN MEMORY OF ENID PARKER 1934 - 2017  LOVING WIFE, MOTHER & GRANDMOTHER WHO       

                                                       ENJOYED THIS BEAUTIFUL SCENERY ON MANY AN OCCASION

H. Seat at top (SE) side of Field 3 Centre JAN STUPES MARTIN 1963-2014 (carved)


                                                                         6th March 1969 - 17th March 2014

Seats around the Great Field

I. Seat at West end, NW side  DONATED IN 2018 by FRIENDS of SELSDON WOOD

J.  First seat by Centenary Plantation PRESENTED BY THE CROYDON CENTRE  NATIONAL TRUST 1983 (carved) restored by Jim Dunning 2021

K.  Second seat by Centenary Plantation  PRESENTED IN 2018 by THE CROYDON CENTRE NATIONAL TRUST

L  Abandoned seat by bomb crater ex Clive Little seat - replaced by N

M. First seat backing Steven’s Larch  IN LOVING MEMORY OF SARAH PURVIS 1970-1992 This was destroyed but replaced by Croydon Council     

N. Second seat backing Steven’s Larch  CLIVE LITTLE 10.7.1935 – 7.11.1989 DONATED IN 2018 by FSW Replacement for vandalised seat L     

O. Third seat backing Steven's Larch  MICHAEL BOYD  18.09.36 – 09.12.14 RIP MY DARLING

P.  Second seat backing Stevens Walk ERIC SAINES 1901 – 1987 A LOVER OF SELSDON WOODS

Q.  First seat backing Stevens Walk NICOLA JANE BAILEY

Seats in David's Crook


S.  Seat in S corner  TO NICKI WE WHO SHARED YOUR LIFE ARE RICH FOR YOUR BEAUTY, PEACE AND LOVE ARE OURS FOREVER                                                                                                                                

Seats in woodland

T. Junction The  Wend & Bluebell Grove IN MEMORY OF VERA MAY CANNON (BORN COOPER) 

                                                                 WHO NEVER FORGOT THE BLUEBELLS 1910-2010


                                                                  A QUET PLACE TO SIT AND REMEMBER HAPPY TIMES

V. Near dog leg in Courtwood Grove IN LOVING MEMORY OF JANET NIGHTINGALE 13.8.1934 - 10.11.2018 

                                       AND DAVID MALINS 11.6.1933 - 7.11.2021 THEY WORKED TO PRESERVE OUR WOOD

                                             They were founder members of the Friends of Selsdon Wood in 2007. 

                                               We are grateful for all they did and we shall miss them. FSW 2021


Dedicated Benches

6. Bench on NE side of Field 2 (installed 2013) c. - Heather Creamer * Reach for the stars (carved)

23. Bench in Great Field backing Steven's Walk p. - IN MEMORY OF G G LEWIS WHO LOVED IT HERE 

                                                 and added in 2020               ALSO IN MEMORY OF JEANE LEWIS 

                                                                                                   NOW RESTING TOGETHER

27. Bench in Broad Walk (installed 2021) - IN LOVING MEMORY OF BRIAN ROY PITKIN 

                                                                    WHO LOVED WILDFLOWERS AND NATURE 

                                                                                FOREVER IN MY HEART 

                                                                                12.11.1945 - 31.8.2021


39. Bench at the junction of The Wend and Noakes Way (installed 2015) - ROB SOWTER A TRUE WOODSMAN (carved)

44. Bench at the junction of Broad Walk and Addignton Border DONATED IN 2021 by FRIENDS OF SELSDON WOOD

45. Bench in Court Wood Grove - IN LOVING MEMORY OF SISTERS SALLY TOZER 1931-2020 and MARY KILPACK 1924-2018 

                                                                                  A SPECIAL PLACE IN ALL OUR HEARTS

Details of the dedicated seats and benches are given below in alphabetical order of the names of those to whom they are dedicated. We would be very interested to know more about those commemorated. Do please get in touch if you knew them.

If you are interested in placing a commemorative bench or seat  please contact us for further information. FSW can install seats & benches made by High Weald Furniture Ltd. These are built for security, durability & strength from green oak. As the Council has decided that there are already enough seats and benches we can only install new seats where they  are replacements for existing ones that have deteriorated but there are several of these throughout Selsdon Wood.

The Friends have installed 16 seats and benches in 6 years.

The file below provides a summary of the location and condition of the 43 benches.
Bench list 26.5.20.pdf Bench list 26.5.20.pdf
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Type : pdf
Nicola Jane Bailey

This bench, shown in April backed with Blackthorn blossom, is in the Great Field backing Steven's Walk.

We have no biographical details for Nicola. Do please get in touch if you can supply some.

Janet Bickerstaff  1934 - 2015

The bench dedicated to Janet Bickerstaff is at the junction of Avis Grove and Beech Grove. The bench was presented by FSW and bears an additional plaque to the effect. Janet was a founder member of the committee of the FSW and remained active from its inception in 2008 until 2015. The tribute below was written by her husband John Bickerstaff.

This was Janet

Born at Epsom, Surrey on the 7th February 1934 to Ethel and Cecil Lightfoot.

Educated at the Sutton Public Day School and later at Miss Hoster’s School to learn typing and shorthand.

Janet did not enjoy shorthand but loved working with figures, probably because her mother was a book keeper and her father an accountant. She became secretary to the financial director of the John Brown and saw cheques for millions - these being payment for the QE2. Later (40 years) Janet took a cruise on the QE2, travelling as a passenger just before the ship completed 40 years of service and made her last voyage to Dubai to serve as a floating hotel .

Janet loved gardening and created one of the most attractive private gardens in Croydon that took some 30 years to complete. It remains a wonderful place to enjoy.

For many years she organised holidays for her friends who worked for May and Baker and once her group (7 girls and one man - husband of one of the party) followed John Julius Norwich, who was filming for the BBC, some of the Turkish ruins (including Kusadasi).

Another regular M & B event was Thursday nights at the Spaghetti House, near Oxford Street. This was ideal for the girls to buy up bargains before eating.

Her work for John Brown meant she travelled to London Victoria by steam train. It was usual in those days to get into the same carriage each day and to get to know fellow travellers. One of these was John (Bickerstaff). The telegraph crossword was worked on as the train chuffed on to London (who held hands under the newspaper!).

The friendship became a marriage that took place in Canterbury on the 12th of May 1976 and a change of name to Bickerstaff. After a change of business workplace for John they moved to Croydon in 1982 living in a bungalow near Selsdon Wood. Soon after this move Janet undertook a Project for the Open University - this was part of their Changing Countryside course. The title was ‘History and Management of Selsdon Woods' (note the Selsdon Wood is owned by the National Trust but managed by the London Borough of Croydon). More recently Janet became a member of the Friends of Selsdon Wood - a group formed to do some of the things the Croydon Borough cannot afford to do.

Janet was a member of the Selsdon Flower Club and for some years won Certificates of Merit and Diplomas for her flower arrangements . Then she became the clubs’ treasurer. Visits to National Trust gardens and those of the RHS just had to be frequent and the inevitable cream teas.

Whilst the personal computer was in its early stage of development Janet and John joined the Independent PET user group whose numbers increased to over 5000. Duties Janet took up for ICPUG included Show Organiser. These shows were mostly held at Earls Court and Olympia. Janet undertook testing of software programmes and wrote regularly for the Amiga User International magazine. Continuing her writing she become co-editor of the 6 issues per year magazine of the local computer club, having been made an honorary member for her years of service.

Janet was a member of the Ladies PROBUS Club of Croydon South and John a member of the Mens PROBUS Club of Croydon South where they met and made many friends..

In 2013 she had a (right) knee replacement because of arthritis (Janet believed this was because it was her gardening digging knee). This made walking easier but prevented her from kneeling to do weeding. A gardener for the heavy work was then found to make life easier.

For many years Janet enjoyed overseas holidays which included annual trips to Dallas and touring the southern states with Betty Clay – a friend met whilst working on the show stands for IPUG. Other adventures included a visit to the Canadian Rockies extended to Vancouver Island where her cousin Frank Humphrey resides.

Janet will be especially remembered for her smiles, her gardening, her love of Donkeys and her ability to write on any subject. Her proof reading amazed us all.

Fly away now but hover for a while.

Janet's project on the 'History and Management of Selsdon Woods' may be downloaded from this link.

Michael J Boyd 18.09.36 - 09.12.14

Vera May Cannon (born Cooper) 1910 – 2010

The seat dedicated to the memory of Vera Cannon is at the intersection of The Wend and Bluebell Grove. The photo on the left (taken on Boxing Day 2015) shows her son Harold sitting on the seat with FSW Chair, Heather Govier & Bella.

Vera May Cannon Biography & Tribute - by her son Harold Cannon

Vera’s journey began a long time ago on a farm in Africa. Her Father, Harold Cooper, was born and brought up in Liverpool where he qualified as an architect at Liverpool University. Vera’s Grandfather had gone to Africa to fight in the South African War and Harold joined him there some time later. There he became attached to Intelligence and befriended the Captain of a train of Ox Wagons which regularly travelled between the Eastern Cape coast and the Interior. At the end of the war Harold returned to Liverpool and looked after his unwell Mother until she passed on, returning to Africa to marry one of seven daughters of the Ox wagon train Captain, descendants of the 1820 British settlers to the Cape. 

Harold and Ida settled in Johannesburg where Vera and her brother Edgar were born and brought up. Many of her early years were on a farm at Mereton, South of the thriving Gold Reef town. It was a colonial existence with England always regarded as ’home’. Vera loved England so and was captivated on her first visit in 1927 when they toured Great Britain and the continent. They came to stay at an establishment at Farleigh Common run by the Prues who had been in service and on retirement opened their home to paying guests. The family stayed initially at the Prues' whilst they visited relatives living in Purley but liked it so much that they made it their home base during the year, in between tours. It was during their stays there that Vera discovered Selsdon Wood and the beautiful bluebells that she never ever forgot. 

Vera returned to Johannesburg with the family and worked in a lawyer’s office there. Her first car was a Baby Austin, given to her on the strict condition that she maintain it entirely herself (servicing and all). 

Vera married a Londoner, Ernest Cannon, in Johannesburg. The whole family moved to the Eastern Cape later where they opened a Filling station and Garage in East London on the busy route to the Transkei. Her son’s earliest years were to be in a basket perched on the Reception desk and many customers would come in especially to peek at developments. When the business was sold the entire family moved to the country close to the village of Gonubie, North of East London where they were to remain for many years and where her Father died in 1959.

Vera returned to England in 1961 with her husband and son, repeating the grand tour of earlier years and revisiting her beautiful Selsdon Wood at bluebell time. A few precious blooms were carried away to be pressed and cherished over the years. 

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Vera’s son Harold moved to London to live and work. There were several visits for Vera and Ernest to the United Kingdom during that time, always involving enjoyed visits to Selsdon Wood and very often in the Spring. Her son moved back to Africa in 1975 and Vera’s husband passed on in East London in 1986. She was never to visit Selsdon Wood again, but always, always spoke of the wonderful Wood she had known since she was a teenager and of the beautiful bluebells that had captivated her imagination over all the years since. Vera forgot many things in her last years but never ever did she forget those bluebells in Selsdon Wood.

Vera passed on just 19 days short of her 100th birthday in 2010 in East London. Within a year her son, Harold, had returned to the United Kingdom and her ashes were brought back home to her beloved England then. On the initial leg of the flight the aircraft somehow unusually diverted on an unfamiliar flight path down the Vaal river before turning North again to Johannesburg. How strange we thought, until we realised, we were flying directly over Mereton and the African farm Vera had grown up on as a child. She was saying good bye to Africa for the last time before heading for home. 

…Like a giant carpet laid out before,

Bluebells fill the forest floor.

Rays of sunlight pierce the trees,

To cascade over bluebells in the breeze.

Time stops still as you stop and stare,

The fragrant scent of bluebells in the air

With silent chimes from bells so blue,

This gift from nature to me and you.

The reign of bluebells so short and sweet

With only a whisper they settle to sleep

Be sure to see such a beautiful sight

Before the bluebells bow and say goodnight.

[extract from ‘Bluebells’ - Thomas Chisholm]

Heather Creamer d-2012
This bench was installed on the NE side of Field 2 in the spring of 2013 by friends of Heather Creamer after her death the previous December. They planted crocuses around the bench as a tribute to her (shown above in March 2015). We know no biographical details for Heather. Do please get in touch if you can supply some.

Diane Defries
This seat was installed in Field 3 on 30th September 2021 by a FSW team. The seat replaced an old rotten bench in that position. I have contacted the family to ask for information about Diane.
Millie Dinnick
Tribute daffodils have been planted next to this seat and flowers in a jar are often left beside it. However we know nothing about Millie Dinnick or when her bench was placed there at the top of Field 2 backing the Jubilee Plantation. Do please get in touch if you have any information.
Friends of Selsdon Wood - 3 seats and  4 benches

On 7th August 2013 the Friends of Selsdon Wood installed a new seat (C on the map) at the top of Green Hill, donated to commemorate the establishment of the FSW in 2007.

The photo above shows the workers - John, Cyril and David immediately after the installation and the photo to the right shows the bench in spring 2015 after weathering.

During the month of April 2015 five new benches were installed in the wood by the FSW. Two were to replace old benches that were rotten and three were dedicated benches in new locations. The replacement benches were sited at the junction of the Gorses paths & The Wend - bench 36  see right top - and at the intersection of Court Wood Grove & Beech Way - bench 34 see right lower. (The photographs were taken in 2021 after some weathering.) Both bore the plaque shown above.

The dedicated benches to commemorate woodsman Rob Sowter and to the memory of Janet Bickerstaff (a founder member of the FSW) were presented by the FSW, and the fifth installation was a bench for G G Lewis presented by his friends and family. Detail of all the commemorative benches is given below under the respective names.

Many thanks to David Malins who organised the project, to Alan Bushnell and his son John who did most of the heavy digging, to Ashley Green (Leader of 17th Purley Scouts), his son Nathan & friend Ken Jackson (Leader of 1st Selsdon & Addington Scouts) who assisted with the installation and to Tim Lloyd who fitted the plaques
The FSW installed 2 further seats in May 2018 - both in Great Field, one backing Vale Meadow (seat I - below left) and the other backing Steven's Larch (seat N below right). The latter also has the Clive Little plaque attached as it is a replacement for the old seat dedicated to him which was moved and damaged - see the section below on Clive Little.
In 2020 we saw that, in their Annual Review, the Vanguard Way Trust had made reference to a promise by FSW to install a seat on the Vanguard Way. We had no memory of such a promise but we did know that there was a need for a resting place at the top of the steep pull from Vale Border up the Addington Boarder to Broad Walk. Wheels turned a little slowly because of the pandemic but in September 2021 we installed this bench at the junction (shown as bench 44 on the map).
Miss Margaret Horne
The two benches in Green Hill (Field 1) dedicated to Miss Margaret Horn are probably the oldest dedicated benches in Selsdon Wood. One is at the top south eastern corner (top photos) and the other at the bottom of the field by the car park (bottom photos). The name is misspelled on the plaques (see the tribute below) and should be Horne.
In 2015 We were contacted by two nieces of Margaret Horne - Jenny Wheatley and Carole Horne who supplied the following tribute.

The benches in Selsdon Wood (or The Bird Sanctuary, as we always knew it) are dedicated to my Aunt, Margaret Horne (unfortunately her surname was wasn't spelt correctly on the plaques - I don't know why it was never corrected!). The benches were instated by my father Peter Horne (Margaret's brother) and her family as the wood was much loved and much frequented by all the Horne family over three generations. Auntie Margaret never married. She lived at the bottom of Farleigh Road with my grandparents and cared for them before she herself died at the premature age of 55 on 30th July 1975. The family moved to Selsdon around the 1930's, but have now all moved away. Margaret was a lovely lady, who died far too young and I have many happy memories of the fun we had having picnics in the wood.
The seat at the top of the field had fallen into serious disrepair - see below - and was restored in 2022 by FSW member Jim Dunning - see right.
Marjorie Howard 1921-1990
We do not know anything about Marjorie Howard. Please get in touch if you can tell us anything about her.

Originally there were 2 seats at this location. However seat D - dedicated to Murray Silverstone - became so decrepit that we had to remove it. We then affixed the plaque to the adjacent remaining seat so that this one - seat E - is now dedicated to Marjorie Howard and Murray Silverstone.

Phyllis and Frank Langford
This seat, dedicated to Phyllis and Frank Langford was donated by their family and installed by FSW in May 2019. It is located at the intersection of Bluebell Grove with The Wend.
Geoffrey Graham Lewis 1944-2014

This bench dedicated to G G Lewis was installed in the Great Field by the FSW in the spring of 2015. It was funded by friends and family of Mr Lewis who died the previous year and had enjoyed walking in the wood with his dog.

The tribute below is by his daughter Anna Lewis.

In 2020,  after the death of Jeanne, his widow, an additional plaque was added reading



Geoffrey Lewis was born in Sidcup on November 5th 1944. Educated at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, he was the first member of his family to go to University and one of the first intake of students at the University of East Anglia where he was awarded a degree in English Literature. However his first love was Drama and the theatre and after a year teaching at John Ruskin Grammar School in Shirley he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He graduated from RADA in 1971 and after serving his apprenticeship in repertory theatres around the country and working for the BBC, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford. He then returned to London theatre but became increasingly disillusioned with theatrical life and decided to return to teaching. In 1975 he rejoined the staff of the then John Ruskin High School in Shirley. In 1977 he married Jeanne, a fellow teacher, with whom he had two children, Anna and Oliver. In 1983 became head of English at Shirley High School where he remained until his retirement in 2009.

Geoff was a kind and caring man who loved his family and his dogs. His passion and hobby was listening to classical music and he amassed a considerable collection of recorded music, attended concerts in London whenever he could and was a faithful committee member of West Wickham Recorded Music Society. He loved travel, particularly Italy and all things Italian and continued to enjoy and keep abreast of developments in the theatre. He also enjoyed walking, both in the local countryside and abroad. He regularly walked his dogs in Selsdon Woods and never failed to comment on how much he loved being there.

Sadly Geoff was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia in 2013 and died very suddenly of a heart attack in February 2014. We don’t feel we had long enough to say goodbye to him and miss him desperately but we know he loved these woods and are glad that his memory is preserved here.

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

The photograph below shows Geoff as Eunuch (Centre) in Anthony & Cleopatra (BBC,1974)   

Clive Little 10.7.1935 - 7.11.1989

This seat dedicated to Clive Little was originally in the Great Field with its back to Steven's Larch. 

This seat was moved by vandals into Steven's Larch and damaged in 2017. The FSW replaced it in 2018 with a new seat further along Great Field backing Steven's Larch and moved the plaque to the new seat.
On The death of Clive's wife in 2018 the family contacted us to ask if they could place a new plaque to commemorate both of them - see photos below. The original plaques were moved to the back of the seat.
They also supplied the following obituary: 
Clive lived adjacent to the bird sanctuary for many years on Cascades, Forestdale.  He met Francis in 1984 and they lived together till he sadly died in a car accident in November 1989. Francis remained at the same address and continued to enjoy the woods until her death in December 2018.    

Jan Stupes Martin 1963-2014

This seat was built and installed by friends and family on 22/8/15.

We have no further information about Jan.

National Trust

These two seats in Great Field backing the Centenary Plantation were presented by the Croydon Centre National Trust in 1983 and both have the same inscription. They are excellently placed as the one lower down the hill is in sunshine and the upper one in giving a suitable sitting place whatever the weather.

By 2017 the seats had started to rot and one became unusable. The FSW approached the NT to ask if they would fund a replacement which they agreed to do. The seat higher up the hill was replaced in May 2018 with a new sturdy seat bearing an inscribed plaque - see the photos below taken on 15/5/18. 
The original seat was initially due to be scrapped but a member of FSW, Jim Dunning, said he would like to have a go at restoring it. This he superbly did and the refurbished seat was set at the junction of Smith Grove and Bluebell Grove.

When the other NT seat became unusable in 2021 Jim again took on the task of restoring it, this time using some sections of another broken seat which had been beside the crater in Steven's Larch. The restored seat was returned to its place beside the Centenary Plantation at the end of July 2021. The paved base had become very overgrown and was cleared first, exposing two anchor chains to prevent the seat being moved or stolen. One of these was reconnected and extra bolts were put on the back.
Exposed paved base and extra bolt fitted to each back leg of the seat.

This seat dedicated to Nicki is close to the southernmost corner of David's Crook. No surname is given and we know nothing about Nicki or when the bench was placed here. Please get in touch if you can supply any information.

Janet Nightingale 1934 - 2018
David Malins 1933 -2021

This seat, originally dedicated to Janet Nightingale, a founder member of the FSW, was donated by her family and installed by FSW in May 2019. It is located at close to the bend in Court Wood Grove. 

David Malins, her partner, had expressed the wish that on his death a plaque bearing an inscription that he specified should be added to the same seat - see right. 

The FSW wished to mark their passing with a message from us and so a third plaque was attached to the front of the seat - see bottom right. 

Both plaques were attached on the day of David's funeral (16/12/21) by Jim Dunning - see below.

See below for photographs and tributes to Janet and David (to come).

Janet Nightingale 1934 - 2018


Janet was born on the 13th of August 1934, and at the age of 2 months sailed out to India with her parents. Her father had a job with India Railways in Delhi. In 1936 she was joined by her brother Tim. So they were marooned out there during the war.

Her junior schooling was at Aukland House, up in the hills, in Simla (now Shimla). Every March a School Train toured India, picked up the pupils, and took them to Kalka. There they boarded the narrow gauge train that is often shown on television. In December, after 9 months school they returned home in Delhi for 3 months. 

In 1947 they sailed back to England and Janet went to St Hilda's boarding school. In 1951, at 17, she left school and worked in a library until in 1954 she entered Teacher Training college in Bristol. 

In 1957, at 23, Janet started teaching juniors in Exeter. Then in 1960 she found a job South London and in 1972 Janet moved to Selsdon, again teaching juniors at Monks Hill Primary school, until she retired in 1994.

Janet's teaching career included several exchanges and leaves of absence:

1 year in New Zealand (her Grandfather had been a vicar out there).

5 years in South Africa.

1 year in Kenya, where she also met her cousins whose parents had emigrated there. Her uncle had been Governor of the Sudan.

Janet became a member of IVC (Inter Varsity Club). She took part in canoeing, tennis, badminton and birdwatching. 

In 1991 Janet moved to Brookscroft, and David Malins joined her for the next 27 years. She claims this was a very happy time, particularly due to their mutual love of natural history.

Janet was a member of the local RSPB, where she organised teas. She was a founder member of Friends of Selsdon Wood, and helped tirelessly on Work & Open Days, and brought her natural history expertise to many FSW walks.

Janet was involved with local affairs – a director of Brookscroft Management and Brookscroft Woodlands. 

Janet worked at keeping in touch with her friends, she valued their friendship. Many brought more meaning to her trips, which including birdwatching, in this country and abroad. She died on the 10th November 2018, after a long battle with cancer.

84 years packed with adventure and interest.

David Malins 1933 -2021
David's Work for FSW

I am still awaiting a life history and photograph  from the family but the work David did for FSW can be reported.

Leaflets & Posters
For some years David was responsible for the production and circulation of all leaflets and posters. 
He produced and laminated the information posters displayed at each of the 9 entrances to Selsdon Wood. He kept a record of what was displayed at each site and carried out regular updating and rotation. 
He was instrumental in the installation of the  dispensing boxes for leaflets at the 4 main entrances and the production and ordering of all leaflets including maps, the red and green walks and the introduction to the FSW with membership form.
Membership & Recruitment
David was also  Membership Officer, maintaining the membership list and manning a recruitment stall at each Open Day.
Nesting Boxes
David kept a record of the locations of all the nesting boxes. This is available on the Nesting Boxes page of the website.
Project Management
David contributed to the planning and recording of several of the Projects shown on the Projects page of the website.

Enid Parker 1934 - 2017
This seat, dedicated to Enid Parker was donated by her family and installed by FSW in May 2018. It is located at the top of Great Hill (Field 3) and is a lovely cool place to rest on  a hot day.

The photos show Enid and Ken piggyback in the 1950s and  Enid in 2015

ENID PARKER 29 December 1934 – 26 June 2017

Our Mother, Enid Parker, lived in the Selsdon area for over 50 years. 

She was born Enid Maud Turner, in Kingston upon Thames, on December 29th, 1934. Her mother passed away when Enid was five, and she spent her childhood moving between family in north and south London. Her marital home in Dulverton Road in Selsdon was her first settled home. She moved there with her husband Ken in 1960, and it was there they began to raise their two children, Stephen and Jane. 

Fond memories were formed of a Selsdon of old - families would run into friends on Addington Road as they shopped at Sainsburys, Dewhurst, the Co-op and Woolworths. The Village Club was a fixture then, as it still is now. Children played all over, cycling to Littleheath Woods and Selsdon Recreation Ground (the rec). 

Enid's family moved to Greville Avenue, right next to the rec, in 1974, and her kitchen had views over looking the Bird Sanctuary. She and Ken enjoyed walking in the Bird Sanctuary (now Selsdon Wood), and also ventured further afield to walk parts of the London Loop and the Pennine Way. In the mid 1980s, Enid and Ken moved to Sanderstead, but they would continue to shop and socialise in Selsdon for the following three decades. 

Enid spent most of her working career at Croydon School of Art, 25 years in all, starting as a secretary and rising to the position of School Registrar. With retirement came the opportunity to travel, and she and Ken embarked on cruises and adventures across the globe – highlights included travelling down the Amazon River, and meeting her sister's family in Australia. She also enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren – three of whom live in New York, and two in Dublin. 

From 2012, she dedicated herself to caring for Ken as his Alzheimer’s Disease slowly progressed. She also continued to involve herself in the Bowls club in which she had been active for twenty years.

Enid leaves behind a husband, son, daughter, son-in-law, and five grandchildren.

Brian Roy Pitkin 1945-2021
The bench dedicated to Brian Pitkin was donated by his wife, Linda, and installed in November 2021.
Linda supplied these photos and biographica tribute.

Below is Brian's photograph of Herb Paris in Selsdon Wood.

Brian Roy Pitkin 1945-2021

Brian was born on 12th November 1945 in Upper Basildon, Berkshire, where his father Owen was a scientist working during World War II on Operation PLUTO – the brainchild of Lord Mountbatten. This was a pipeline laid under the English Channel to provide Allied Forces in northern Europe with much-needed oil. Brian was only just four years old when his father tragically died in a car crash in 1949. The family (Brian, his mother Eve, and his three sisters, who have all died before him), then had to move back to Streatham, to live with Brian’s grandmother, where they had lived before the war. He went to Archbishop Tenison's School, Lambeth, London, and he joined the Scouts, which he much enjoyed and attained the Queen's Scout Award.

From early on, Brian had a strong interest in natural history, pursuing butterflies as a young lad, and his love of the natural world was evident in his whole life. That led to a 41 year career with the Natural History Museum, from 1964, working in Entomology Department (insects), first on thrips (also known as thunder flies) tiny flower-living insects, then on springtails, and later flies. Brian had a number of insect species named after him, including one that rejoices in the name of Bhattithrips pitkini. He published many very useful scientific research papers, and gained his PhD in the course of his work at the Museum, before becoming Systems and Data Manager (managing computers and databasing) in the last few years of his career there. One of Brian’s finest qualities was that he was always doing work to make others work easier.

In the 1960’s and 70’s the Natural History Museum had a great social scene, with many young people working there. Brian met his future wife Linda there and they married in 1970. They lived in Thornton Heath, before moving to South Croydon in 1981.

From time to time Brian made fieldwork and research visits abroad for the Museum, including Trinidad, East Africa, the USA, Brazil, and Sulawesi in Indonesia to participate in Project Wallace. It was during the East Africa trip in 1974 that Brian first became interested in in the undersea world, when he found an opportunity to go snorkelling there. On returning home, he joined the Thornton Heath branch of The British Sub-Aqua Club, learning how to dive, and a few years later, he convinced his wife Linda to learn too. Brian soon became the Diving Officer and virtually ran the small club. Brian and Linda enjoyed scuba diving in chilly and often murky British seas, as well as in clear tropical seas around the world, visiting many far-flung and remote places, with Indonesia being among the favourites. They had the most wonderful adventures, and opportunities to get nose to nose with marine life, anything from a shrimp to a whale shark. He was very actively involved with The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) and had a huge input over the years in different roles: Newsletter Editor, Chairman, and in more recent years, Webmaster and President. He was a very accomplished underwater photographer, but his greatest achievements were what he gave of himself. As Chairman for many years, Brian was the welcoming, helpful, friendly face of the Society. In diving and in underwater photography, all along he was befriending and encouraging others, particularly newcomers; and he is remembered with love and appreciation for that.

After retirement from the Natural History Museum in 2006, Brian continued for some years as a Scientific Associate, working from home on a web-based project he had started earlier: The Leaf and Stem Mines of British Flies and other Insects

Brian became very much interested in plants for themselves, not just as insect hosts, and enjoyed recording and photographing British wild flowers. He had a particular fondness for Herb-paris (Paris quadrifolia) in Selsdon Wood, as well as other plants there, and he and Linda enjoyed many happy walks there.

In 2008, Brian joined the Surrey Botanical Society, along with Linda. They were keen attendees of the Society’s many field meetings in the Surrey countryside, and Brian regularly produced distribution maps to aid botanical recording, and later managed the Society's website and Facebook group.

In late 2020, Brian became severely ill with Lewy Body dementia and sadly died on 31st August 2021, aged 75. Online tributes to Brian Pitkin have been set up: and

Brian is remembered for his kindness, patience, helpfulness and friendship, and he had a great sense of humour and fun. He is sorely missed by all who knew him.

Sarah Purvis 1970-1992

The seat dedicated to Sarah Purvis is beneath one of the loveliest trees in the wood - a great Oak on the Steven's Larch side of the Great Field.

The tribute and photograph below were supplied in 2015 by Sarah's parents, George and Valerie Purvis in response to our request for information about her.

Sarah Purvis was the youngest daughter of George and Valerie Purvis. As a family we moved to Selsdon, when Sarah was 3 years old in 1973. Our house was on the new Wimpy development with a beautiful view of Selsdon Wood which we soon explored and loved.

Sarah attended the playgroup which was in Dulverton Road and then moved to the old Selsdon Hall based at the far end of the then car park.

From here she transferred first to Gilbert Scott infant school and then to the junior school. We spent many happy hours in Selsdon Wood during this time of her life. She often went there for picnics in the top field with her Grandma, sister and cousins where they played forty-forty (hide and seek) in the surrounding trees.

During her primary years Sarah began to learn to play the piano and clarinet She became a Brownie  of the 1st. Addington pack and followed on to become a Guide. She had horse riding lessons and enjoyed walking a friends’ dog in Selsdon Wood. She liked to cycle along the lower path to her Grandma's house on Forestdale. Her favourite activity on snowy days was to go tobogganing in Selsdon Woods using a tea tray. Sarah enjoyed the fun things of life, school was something she had to do.

We moved to our present house in 1980 and at 11 years of age Sarah transferred to Monks Hill High School, now The Quest Academy. She joined the school orchestra as a member of the clarinet section. She learnt to play the percussion instruments and played in The Croydon Schools Orchestra percussion section. She enjoyed cookery lessons and was becoming a good cook. She learnt to speak both French and German. She achieved 5 O Levels.

At 16 years of age Sarah went to Carshalton College where she studied for a two year B Tec. Diploma in Travel & Tourism. This led to her working in the travel industry and she very much enjoyed the opportunities for travel it afforded her. 

Sarah was always at her happiest when she was free to do what she wanted. She was a lively individual, with a good imagination and she was always kind and helpful.

The older she became the more restricted she felt, she found it difficult to adhere to the constraints being an adult put on her and she ended her life at 21 years of age.

We chose to remember Sarah in Selsdon Wood because it was a place she had always known, a place of happy memories and a place of peace and beauty. It is easily accessible and we see the changing colours and the lovely view everyday from our house.        

In the July 2016 the seat was moved by vandals and broken in the process. FSW looked at it and decided that it was beyond our capabilities to repair as much of the wood seemed rotten. We asked Croydon Council to take a look at it and they removed it from the site for inspection. They too decided that it was beyond repair and offered to replace it with a different refurbished seat and to reset the old plaque in the new seat. The replacement seat was set in place on 24th October 2016 when this photo was taken. The original plaque has been set in the back (see above).
Replacement Seat
Eric Charles Saines 1901-1987
This bench, shown in Winter backed with ivy covered trees, is in the Great Field backing Steven's Walk. It has been there since 1987.

It fell into disrepair and was refurbished by Jim Dunning in December 2021 - see photo right.

This tribute was written by Eric's daughter-in-law.

My father-in-law Eric Charles Saines was born 24 June 1901 in Frith Road, Croydon; he was the son of Charles Saines, who was at one time the Croydon Town Police Sergeant and his mother, Annie Margaret Saines was one of the victims of the Croydon Typhoid Outbreak in 1937.
He married Elsie Rivers in 1933 at Christ Church, Sumner Road, Croydon, and they started married life in Sundridge Road (now Greville Avenue) Selsdon, later moving to Birdwood Close in 1941, then in 1977 to Ashen Vale; where he lived until he died in July 1987. Eric worked as an Insurance Clerk for the North British Insurance Company in Croydon; during World War II he was part of the Selsdon Home Guard; he was a founder member and one of the first Chairmen of the Selsdon Village Club, when it was originally based over Bailey’s Garage. He loved gardening and had an allotment, on the area where Sainsburys now stands, and he also loved cycling; regularly going for long cycle rides around the Kent and Surrey countryside.
He and Elsie had two sons – Michael and Martyn and three grandchildren. Both he and Elsie loved to walk in “the Bird Sanctuary”, as it was then known by everyone; every day, without fail, they would walk there with the various dogs they owned over the years. They both loved the Bird Sanctuary very much, which they could also see from their home in Birdwood Close.
Eric died in Croydon General Hospital on 11 July 1987; Elsie, who continued her daily walks in the Bird Sanctuary, died in February 1992.

The photos below show Eric with the Selsdon Home Guard. Elsie said the marching group were in Katharine Street - however it doesn't look like Katharine Street - more the lower half of George Street or North End (near Allders). Eric can be seen third from left - behind the second man saluting. All are looking very smart with knife-edge creases in their trousers. The parade may have been around VE day.

In the second photo Eric is seated third from right. The Home Guard headquarters was in one of two old houses that used to stand in the Addington Road - one was on the site where Aldi is now and the other is where the Aldi car park and what was The Good Neighbour (The Stag) pub stood. One of these houses was used for the Selsdon Boys' Club and the other for the Home Guard. The two houses were pulled down in about the early 1950s, We kids used to hurry by them as they were very dark and derelict and everyone said that witches lived in them and would grab you when you went by - so we used to run very fast as you can imagine.

When my in-laws moved to Selsdon in 1933 Elsie thought it would be a good place to go as there were no pubs in the village. However, when Eric joined the Home Guard they set up their own bar in the Home Guard house (
see all the beer on the table). This was the forerunner of the Village Club, which was set up over Bailey's Garage eventually.  Hence the reason Eric was a founder member of the Village Club! Mind you to thwart Elsie, Eric did cycle or walk down to the Cricketers in Addington Village or The Harrow at Farleigh on a Sunday or a summer evening - never a man to miss out on his beer!!

Patricia Saines 8/3/15

 Murray Silverstone

We had known nothing about this bench on the north-east side of Field 2. However, in May 2019 we were delighted to receive a message from Murray Silverstone's grandson in America who tells the story of the bench below. 

Originally there were 2 seats at this location - see top photo. However seat D - dedicated to Murray Silverstone - became so decrepit that we had to remove it. We then affixed the plaque to the adjacent remaining seat so that this one - seat E - is now dedicated to Marjorie Howard and Murray Silverstone - see bottom photo.

19/5/19 - This week marked the 50th anniversary of the passing of my maternal grandfather Murray Silverstone May 17, 1969. Less than a year later our family moved to London and the spring of 1970, Murray's widow, my  grandmother Dorothy Silverstone, came for a visit. We spent one weekend at Selsdon Park where my grandmother gave us a pre "birds and the bees" talk on a certain bench (see below), telling her 8, 7 and 3 year old grandchildren her story of "immaculate conception". Following her being told she could not have any more children she was sitting on purportedly the same bench at Selsdon Park in Spring 1938 (32 years earlier) with my grandfather when she "felt a flutter" which turned out to be our mother - born in September 1938. My parents, who are now both deceased, decided to memorialise the occasion by joining Friends of Selsdon Wood in 1972 and dedicating the subject bench D "In Memory of Murray Silverstone and the Gift of Life". Now 47 years from that dedication, I was pleased to discover this week from your website that the bench and the plaque endures!  

There was no connection between my grandfather, (who was managing director of United Artists in 1938 in London) and Marjorie Howard whose bench is shackled to his. 

John Darer, Stamford USA

The links below feature my grandparents   Grandparents engagement photo from the 1920s.  Murray Silverstone  when president of 20th Century Fox.   My grandmother with her 3 daughters, my mother being the little one in this 1944 photo (age 6).  1938 photo of my grand parents with Samuel Goldwyn, Oscar Deutsch (film theatres) and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. (in back) at Waterloo Station.   My grandfather with Mary Pickford centre and with Fairbanks Pickford, Chaplin, Alexander Korda and Fairbanks.

Ron Smith (1929 - 2017) – a lover of Selsdon Wood

We are very sad to report that a well-known visitor to Selsdon Wood, Ron Smith, died in the summer of 2017. A seat dedicated to him was placed in David's Crook in May 2018. The seat is surrounded by Hawthorn, which looks and smells lovely at this time of year - see photo below.

His family writes: 

Ronald Smith was known to many as the man who lived opposite the main gate in the red brick house that he built. He started building his house in 1955, just after the war. Materials were still rationed, therefore it took him 8 years to complete the property. During his time living opposite the Selsdon Wood (The Bird Sanctuary as we knew it) he watched the small holdings around be demolished and Ashen Vale, Selsdon Vale and Kersey Drive be built. Many people would recognise him with his bright yellow hat and sash which he wore for visibility after a report of an old man being snared in the woods for three days. He also carried a whistle to call for help. Before retirement he was a metal and woodwork teacher in Brixton, working with children with learning difficulties. He will be missed by his 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren

The photos below shows the bench in May 2018, the dedication plaque, Ron in his characteristic yellow hat (thanks to Andy Hart for this) and in our wood at bluebell time (thanks to his son Garreth).

Rob Sowter d-2014
Rob Sowter was the woodsman who created and maintained the strip of coppice running along the eastern side of The Wend. He was well known to the Friends who saw him regularly and he also worked with us to run a couple of charcoal burns in 2011 and 2013, and he taught us all we know about charcoal making and coppicing.

Rob sadly died of cancer in 2014 and in spring 2015, with the blessing of Rob's brother, the FSW installed a tribute bench at the corner of Th
e Wend and Noakes Way facing the last section of coppice that he had worked on the previous autumn. We shall sit there to watch the birds, enjoy the tranquillity and remember him.

Thanks to David, Ted and Neale for the photos.
The photograph below was taken in 2017 by Ernie Thomason and posted on the FSW Facebook page where he wrote:
"One of the wooden bench dedicated to a good friend and as mentioned true woodsman Rob Sowter."

Sally Tozer & Mary  Kilpack

Sally and Mary lived in a bungalow on Forestdale which backed onto Selsdon Woods. They moved there in 1987, made many friends whilst living there and enjoyed the woods especially when the bluebells were flowering.

Sally was the youngest of four, three sisters and one brother, she was born in 1931.

Despite being left disabled after getting polio in her early twenties, she had three children, two boys and a girl. She had eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren before she passed in August 2020. 

She led a very full life and enjoyed her family, her pets and her independence. She loved driving her car which was adapted for a wheelchair when she became less mobile in her later years.

Mary was next youngest, born in 1924, she never married but was a wonderful aunt and great aunt to the family and was more like a second mum and nan, as she came to live with Sally and the family after their mother passed away around 1973.

Mary was at Bletchley House during the Second World War, working as a Secretary.

After the war she worked as the Directors secretary at Whitbread until she retired, this was around the time they moved to the bungalow.

She loved to walk in Selsdon woods with their German Shepherd dog Zeb. She also walked the family's dogs there when she looked after them and loved to take her great nephews and niece there too. 

In later years we (family) would take Sally and Mary to the woods in their wheelchairs to enjoy the bluebells and spend time in their lovely garden at the bungalow. We have so many happy memories of Sally and Mary and the home they loved so much.

Philippa Copeman - daughter to Sally

Sally Tozer

Mary Kilpack

This bench was installed in Court Wood Grove on 30th September 2021 by a FSW team.