The remarkable legacy of Penn teenager Alexander Jansons

Picture: Alexander Jansons Myocarditis UK

THIS YEAR marks ten years since 18 year old Alexander Jansons collapsed and died near his home in Beacon Hill, Penn. 

Although a fit young man with no known ailments, it transpired Alex died from a rare heart condition called Myocarditis.

His death stunned his family, the community and his many young friends, and a fund was soon started in his name to help medical researchers discover more about a condition which claims, on average, the life of one young person a week in the UK.

The fund aimed to raise at least £80,000 a year towards the research. Now, a decade later, it is achieving spectacular success. 

Today a registered charity called Alexander Jansons Myocarditis UK is helping fund research around the world to discover causes, prevention and  hopefully, cures. Last year it received a single anonymous donation of £100,000. In addition it provides support and information to sufferers and their families.

It’s a terrific example of how something positive can emerge from tragedy.  You can find out more on

Local news 

The Hopkirks’ lovely home for sale

Picture: Savills

Parsonage Farm, the Penn home of former international rally driver Paddy Hopkirk MBE, who died last year aged 89, and his wife Jenny is up for sale. Offers are invited for the Grade 2 listed home in the region of £4.75m.

Noel Gallagher to  play Penn Fest

Noel Gallagher. Picture: Wikipedia

Penn Fest has announced that its headline acts for the Penn Street festival this summer will be Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on Friday 21 July and the rock band Bastille on Saturday 22 July.

Crime up – There was a 50 per cent increase in reported crime in the Chalfonts area, which includes Penn, in November compared to October.  Police figures show 136 crimes were reported compared to 90 in October.

Farewell JeffreyThe Rev Jeffrey Pierce, who was the first non-stipendiary (unpaid) minister at Holy Trinity, Penn, has died at the age of 93. He was priest-in-charge between 1993 and 1997 following a long managerial career with Glaxo Pharmaceuticals.  He later went on to assist at Penn Street Church.

Recycle bins – The parish council is considering whether to install recycling bins to deal specifically with bottles, cans and other waste on Tylers Green Common.

Parking bays – A £52,000 scheme to build parking bays outside Ashley Drive recreation ground may be delayed as the council seeks to save money. The painting of double yellow lines on the corners of Ashley Drive and New Road and additional yellow lines near Tylers Green First and Middle Schools is expected to be completed by the spring.

Jogging offPhil Duffy has retired after two spells as chairman of the Penn Seven and Fun Run organising committee. This year’s event is planned for Saturday 10 June and volunteers are being sought to help organise.  Contact Chris Sadler on if you can help. Last year’s fun run raised £3,500 for Buckinghamshire Mind.

Dementia care – St Margaret’s, Tylers Green, is looking to set up a regular support group for dementia sufferers and their carers, meeting in the parish rooms. 

Infilling opposed – Parish councillors are objecting to a plan to build a three bedroom house at the rear of 46 New Road, Tylers Green, saying it is an over-development with poor access arrangements. 

Scouts post – By the end of the year Penn and Tylers Green Scout Group had raised £725 for Thames Valley Air Ambulance thanks to donations made to thank them for delivering Christmas cards free of charge in the local area. You can still donate on their Just Giving page

Mind the gap

PLANNERS from housebuilders Taylor Wimpey and the council begin the new year still locked in talks to resolve issues surrounding plans to build over 600 homes in the Gomm Valley, between Cock Lane and Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green.

There were hundreds of objections when the plans were revealed last summer, and each of those objections are being pored over to see if they can be overcome.

One of the issues is the size of the gap between the edge of Tylers Green at Ashwells, Cock Lane and, what in effect will become the beginning of High Wycombe further down Cock Lane.

At the moment Taylor Wimpey is proposing an area about the size of two football pitches to be left as open space with a few hedges and trees thrown in. Opponents say that amount of space is trifling and should be much wider so that people passing from one community to the other will be aware  they are going from one distinct area to another.

Others say what the heck. It’s already impossible to say where Tylers Green ends and Hazlemere starts, for instance, and no-one’s complaining. 

All this matters though, as house builders have discovered up the road at Tralee Farm, off the Amersham Road. 

The farm and its surrounding land is the last bit of green space separating Hazlemere from Holmer Green and developers want to build hundreds of homes on it.

Last month, after four years of argy bargy, a Government planning inspector called in to decide ruled that one of the developers be refused permission to build over 100 houses on part of the site. 

There are complex issues involved but basically the inspector said the council had said in its Local Plan it wanted a gap between communities and this last physical separation between Hazlemere and Holmer Green should be maintained. She also refused Inland Homes costs against the council. 

It won’t stop developers having a go at building on part of the site with a new application, but at least, for the foreseeable future, the gap remains. 

Sixty years since the big winter freeze

Skating on Widmer Pond on the common was a daily occurrence in January and February 1963.

PENN AND Tylers Green suffered one of its worst winters 60 years ago.  It started snowing on Boxing Day, 1962 and the grass wasn’t seen again until 8 March, 1963.

Throughout that time the temperature was barely above freezing. Snow persisted but then partially thawed in the weak mid-day sun before freezing again, making roads and paths hazardous.

Many people suffered frozen water pipes, including on the recently completed Deer Park estate in and around Ashley Drive, and milk deliveries were reduced to every other day, often by hand-drawn sledge.

Here’s looking at you kid

Image: Daily Telegraph

THE stattos have been busy analysing some of the latest stuff to come out of the 2021 Census and it shows that here in Buckinghamshire, as everywhere else of course, society is ever changing. 

We’re getting older for a start: the average age in the county is 42, compared with 40 in the country as a whole.  There are more females than males (around 51 per cent to 49 per cent)  and more of us: the population of Buckinghamshire has risen by nearly ten per cent since the last Census in 2011 to 553,078 – that’s a population rise 50 per cent higher than the average increase in England and Wales.

Out of every 1,000 people in Bucks, 166 were born outside the UK, with Pakistan the most common country of birth. Next to English (spoken as a first language by 92 per cent of the local population)  the second most spoken tongue in the county is Polish, followed by Urdu.  

Out of every 1,000 people, a third (342) identified themselves as non-religious, lower than the national average of 372.

Twenty six per cent of those completing the Census said they were living in a single-person household, that’s lower than the national average of 30 per cent; and 8.7 per cent of households involve someone living with a partner from a different ethnic origin. 

Finally we’re not as overcrowded as perhaps we think we are. The stattos divided England and Wales  into imaginary football pitches. If the population was then divided up equally there would be 3.1 people living on each pitch. In Buckinghamshire it would be 2.5.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

HERE in Penn and Tylers Green the figures show that we are a little older (and wiser?) than the average. 

A quarter of the population in the Penn area is over 65, while just over a fifth are in the same age bracket in Tylers Green (the average age in Tylers Green is 45 and in the Penn area  48).  Nine out of ten of us were born in the UK and 73 per cent of us are in a single family household (it’s 62 per cent in central High Wycombe).

Nothing to declare…well, not much anyway

ON THE face of it our local MPs have been careful not to be seen as extravagant in these trying times when  you look at the register of interests  they declared to Parliament last year.

Penn’s MP Sarah Green declared honorary membership of the National Liberal Club as a free perk and, under the section “family members engaged in lobbying the public sector on behalf of a third party” noted that her partner, Daniel Paterson, is a self employed political consultant. 

Tylers Green MP Steve Baker declared accepting the services of media consultants for the Covid Recovery Group, of which he is deputy chairman, and for the relaunch of the Conservative Way Forward group, of which he is chairman.

He also received £700 worth of tickets and hospitality from the English Football League to see the Wycombe Wanderers play off match in May; and £2,000 from a private individual, Christopher Harborne, for a ticket to the Conservative summer party in the Victoria and Albert Museum.   In addition, he declared a year’s worth of social media software from a company called Arwen AI, valued at £29.99 a month.

Joy Morrissey: nothing to declare

Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey is, seemingly, the most parsimonious of the lot. She was one of a handful of MPs to declare absolutely nothing at all. 

Regional news

Medics pressurised – Buckinghamshire NHS Trust declared a “critical incident” over the new year holiday due to “severe and sustained operational pressure”. The trust said the emergency department at Stoke Mandeville Hospital was under “significant pressure” with patients experiencing “very long” waits.

Bin payers – More than 26,000 households in the Wycombe area have agreed to pay the £50 charge for the collection of green waste bins, adding more than £1.3m to Bucks Council’s coffers.

Rail boss dies Adrian Shooter, who launched Chiltern Railways in 1996 and turned it into one of the best railway companies in the country, has died at the age of 74 after battling motor neurone disease. Last year he was present at the unveiling of a statue in his honour at Marylebone Station. 

Selling the family silver – Slough Council is selling £600m worth of its property and land in order to pay off part of its £760m debt. Government officials, who continue to oversee its financial recovery, warn that more council assets may have to be sold. 

Green Belt victoryPortman Homes lost its planning appeal against a council decision to reject an application to build 450 houses on Green Belt land in Beaconsfield. 

What do you think of it so far?

Picture: Slough Observer

A Maidenhead man who collects different coloured wheelie bins and rubbish bins is on the look-out for a purple wheelie bin after being told one was spotted in this area.  Alexander Smoljanovic, who has been collecting for 15 years, has over 100 wheelie bins and 300 smaller bins in his back garden.

Viaduct designed to change colour…

Picture: HS2

While work continues to build a massive railway viaduct for HS2 near Wendover, the company has released an impression of what it will look like when finally completed in three or four years time.

Designers say it was inspired by bridges on the TGV network in France, and  will “sit nicely” within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty landscape.   It will be made of pale concrete and weathered steel that will age to a russet brown. They say historic field boundaries and hedgerows will be restored and trees planted around the viaduct.

Meanwhile, the giant tunnelling machines boring their way under the Chilterns between Denham and Great Missenden have reached their deepest point, 600 metres below Gore Hill on the Amersham to Beaconsfield Road. 

It will still be another few weeks before they reach the Amersham ventilation shaft on the Hazlemere Road and another year before they reach the northern end of the tunnel at South Heath, near Great Missenden.

Penn and Tylers Green in the second Elizabethan era

Here, we conclude our look at some of the changes in the village, some significant, others less so, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. This month, the final years of her reign.


A grocery store returned to Penn in the form of Londis in School Road.

Articulated lorry “wedged” in St Paul’s Hill after driver follows Sat Nav instructions.

The video rental shop in King’s Ride closed down.


Penn telephone exchange adapted to take superfast Broadband.

Chiltern Railways introduce a 20 minute Marylebone to Beaconsfield service.


Widmer Pond bankside, above, redesigned to prevent erosion.

Village hall first public building in the village to incorporate solar panel heating.

Village celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a Big Ben replica on the common and a relay race from the Olympic Stadium to the village hall.


After 140 years Earl Howe banned pheasant shooting on the Penn estate.

Holy Trinity, Penn, celebrated its 800th anniversary.

Village schools get wi-fi coverage.


Arrangements finalised for the Chiltern Society to manage and maintain Penn Jubilee Wood, earlier earmarked as a potential landfill waste site.

Peggy Hales, a helper at Tylers Green First School who demonstrated the importance of keeping fit by performing a somersault in the classroom at the age of 96, died aged 101.


Picture: Bucks Free Press

Penn School, above, the trust run school for children with hearing and communication difficulties, went into administration and closed after running into financial difficulties.

Supt Yvette Hitch became the first female police commander of the local area.


Open air cinema on the back common

The village celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday with a party and a rock concert on the front common, an open air cinema on the back common (pictured above) and a big exhibition in the village hall. 

Village campaign to save Gleeson’s, our last remaining  butchers from closure was successful. Plans by his landlords for changes that would have made the business unsustainable, were defeated.

Laser scans reveal Roman activity in Penn’s Common Wood.


Village’s first defibrillator placed outside the village hall.

First drone coverage of Penn and Tylers Green posted on Youtube.

After 47 years, TV cook Mary Berry and her husband Paul Hunnings, left the village.


Penn’s famous Cottage Bookshop, regularly visited in his youth by author Sir Terry Pratchett, closed its doors.

The football club’s first team has to play home matches outside the village for the first time as it faces a planning battle to instal necessary floodlights.

A series of events in the village, pictured above, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War


Tour de France organisers base UK version of the event in Penn House grounds.

Penn and Tylers Green Football Club win a planning appeal to erect floodlights.

Approval for biggest housing development in Tylers Green for 50 years – 100 plus houses at Ashwells.


The  coronavirus pandemic caused the widespread cancellation of village social events and closure of community buildings.

The first double yellow lines painted in the village, to ease parking congestion by Tylers Green First School.


A new total Covid lockdown causes churches to close; schools to teach online and pubs to serve takeaways.

The Liberal Democrats won the Chesham and Amersham by-election, which includes Penn, in a surprise victory in what was thought to be discontentment with intensive housing developments and the HS2 high speed railway.


Plans announced to convert the former Penn School into a luxury hotel.

Builders Taylor Wimpey submit plans to build over 600 homes in the Gomm Valley, between Cock Lane and Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green

Village celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, just weeks before Her Majesty’s death. 

You can contact this blog at It is next due to be updated on 1 February.