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St Mary's News


Monday 21st May 2001 marked a proud landmark in the life of the Bristol & District Branch of the Merchant Navy Association. For this was the day on which the culmination of four years of fund-raising and sheer hard work by the members was rewarded by the unveiling of the memorial in this historic maritime city. Sited on Welsh Back, near Bristol Bridge and within the oldest part of the city docks, the memorial was designed by the well known artist and sculptor, David Backhouse and stands on land gifted to the branch by the City Council.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal had gracefully accepted our invitation to unveil the Memorial and was greeted by our Chairman, Harry Higgins prior to the start of the ceremony. Our Chaplain, the Revd. Philip Auden, who is also the Chaplain to the Missions to Seafarers at Royal Portbury Dock, spoke the opening prayers. Following this and appropriate hymns the address was given by the Revd. Robert Grimley, Dean of Bristol Cathedral. Her Royal Highness then unveiled the memorial in front of the assembled crowd of over four hundred people. One minute's silence was observed followed by the sounding of the OLast Post'. Her Royal Highness then moved amongst the veterans and guests, talking to those merchantmen who had seen service during the war on the oceans of the world, including the North Atlantic, Arctic and Mediterranean. Also introduced to HRH were many relatives of those members of the merchant fleet who has lost their lives at sea and for whom this memorial is especially poignant.

Such was the interest shown by HRH that the formalities overran by thirty minutes and we were all delighted that HRH had so enjoyed the occasion. The Memorial will now stand in perpetuity and will be a lasting tribute to those merchant seamen who 'go down to the sea in ships' some never to return.

Norman Date
Merchant Navy Association (Bristol & District)

'SHIRE' Official address:

The Library, Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9TU.

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Portway awarded 'sports mark' 2001

Portway Community School, Shirehampton, Bristol has been awarded the prestigious Sportsmark award by Sport England for the quality of their physical education and sports programme, and is designated as Actively Working Towards Sportsmark Gold. The coveted Sportsmark and Sportsmark Gold awards are made to schools throughout England that can show a commitment to developing sport to a high level in partnership with their local community. Naturally, out of 406 applications for the 2001 award, 46 schools were awarded Sportsmark Gold and 325 achieved Sportsmark stares. Rob Wright, head of PE was thrilled with the award:- 'This is a tremendous achievement for Portway. I am delighted that Sport England has recognised our achievements in providing a progressive, well-balanced physical education programme, and extending it to excellence in sporting provision, particularly the links we have made in local sports clubs and Primary Schools'.

For more information contact Rob Wright at Portway on 0117 9828442. (For more information on the Sportsmark Award Scheme, please call the Sport England press office on 020 7273 1591.

Portway Community School is still anxiously awaiting the decision to be made by the DFEE as to whether the school is to be granted 'SPORTS COLLEGE' status, which the school hopes will enhance the sporting opportunities for the local community of Shirehampton.

Portway says goodbye to Nigel Astley

It is with grateful thanks that Portway Community School bids farewell to Headteacher Nigel Astley, who, after 7 years service is moving on to the Headship of Henbury School in September 2001. Portway has seen many changes, both major and minor, during the 7 years that Mr Astley has been Headteacher. Notable land marks have been the granting of Community School Status, the move into one site, with new buildings in 1997, two successful Ofsted Inspections in 1995 and 1999 and a wide range of awards, most recently being the Award of Sportsmark. The fact that Portway School is over-subscribed and full each year group, bears testimony to the success that all at Portway work so hard to achieve. We thank Mr Astley for all that he has done for Portway and the local community, and wish him will for his future.

Nice Thought

We hear from a mutual friend that Eddie and Hilda on the occasion of their recent Diamond Wedding, when asked what they would like as presents, said that instead of gifts for themselves, at their party they would be passing a collecting can around, so that their guest if they wished could make a donation to the local Stroke Support Club.

Thank You

Many thanks to the volunteers who have come forward to deliver 'Shire' to roads which have not been covered lately. Our faith in Shirehampton community spirit has now been restored!


The Musicians of the Portway Community School are, this month celebrating the 21st Anniversary of their traditional Summer Music School, which this year will be held at Grenville College, Bideford, to be followed by an important concert in Clifton Cathedral on Thursday 19th July at 7pm. The Summer Music School will involve some 120 Portway Musicians, past and present, working on an intensive schedule of new music for a week. The traditional look back to 1977 is memorable for those who have, and still do attend the course. The memories go back to Kingswood School, Bath, the Theological College in Westbury-on-Trym, Wick Court, Warminster School, Wycliffe College, Sidcot School and now Grenville College. The all time record must go to John Berry, the former Director of Music at Portway, who will have attended all 25 concerts; Fraser Goulding (Guest Conductor) who will have attended 24, and Nicola Berry (Director of Music who will have attended 23 courses.

Date for your diary

All are invited to the Concert in Clifton Cathedral on Thursday 19th July at 7pm.

There are many musicians whose attendance goes into double figures; and many for whom the Summer Music School holds significant nostalgia - eg - musical couples Andy and Tracy Champion and Matthew and Louise Steel, who met on previous music schools, and who are now married with families. (This will be Thomas and Natalie Champion's 6th Summer School and Abigail Steel's first!)

If you are a former Portway musician, do relive some musical memories by visiting the Summer School, on their Open Day at Grenville on Sunday, 15th July from 3.00pm, and coming to the concert in Clifton Cathedral where, amongst a secret programme, all bands will perform a specially commissioned work, written by local Composer and Conductor Eric Wetherell.

P.C. Gareth Davies Receives Alistair May Award

Alistair May was a serving Police Officer with Southmead Police when he died in 1955 following a tragic rock climbing accident. Later, in his memory, the May family presented a Memorial Trophy to be awarded annually to the Officer in the Southmead District Area who has contributed the most in work or charity activities, on and off duty, during the year.

For his hard work in this regard during the year 2000, the Alistair May Memorial Trophy has been awarded to P.C. Gareth Davies of Avonmouth Police, our local Shirehampton Beat Manager.

The Shire team add our congratulations and best wishes.

Our Local Police  --- Shirehampton CA 141 Beat

Sergeant             Mark Runacres         0117 945 4369
Beat Managers    PC Gareth Davies, PC Martin Willis    0117 945 4350                                
B Group              PC Hunter, WPC Spiernburg, PC Daley, PC Grange, (Front Office Avonmouth, 0117 945 4369)
Inspector            Ewan Jones
Deputy                 Sgt Blackburn

EMERGENCY CALLS   999                MAIN NO:  01275 818181

Stop press - Christian Aid

Christian Aid Week in May raised locally around 1,100. Many thanks to all those who helped and subscribed.



This year's concert will be held on Saturday, 21st July in St. Mary's Church at 7.30 p.m. Admission is FREE but there will be a collection to raise funds for the alterations planned in the Church.

Some of the items we are performing this year are: OFeeling Groovy', 'Tonight', 'Any Dream Will Do', 'Won't You Play a Simple Melody?', 'Beautiful Dreamer', and the Andy Williams favourite 'May Each Day of the Week'. As always, there will be a few songs, including some fun. Once again, this year, work permitting, Adam Stone from Nailsea will be our soloist. Those who came last year will remember him, with his hair cropped for a film he was about the start. He had also made a recording which was on sale, and he finished on the famous 'Nessun Dorma', which filled the Church and rounded off a splendid evening.

Put the date on your calendars and I will look forward to seeing a full house on the 21st.

Derek Harvey


Cllr. Pat Roberts says: I've got the Youth Bus in Shirehampton High Street every Monday night from 7.15 p.m.-9.45 p.m., initially for 8 weeks from 14th May, but will try and get it continued after that period. Groveleaze Youth Club remains closed, simply because the City Council has found it impossible to recruit a Youth Leader at the present time. We will try again later.


In staging this year's exhibition Twyford Art Club wished to dedicate it to the memory of the late Philip Squire and publish their tribute to him. Philip's family have been closely associated with it and Pat has generously donated his watercolour 'Bluebell Lane' which is to be awarded annually to the Artist of an outdoor scene chosen by fellow exhibitors in line with the Harry Walton Award for a floral painting. Francis and Judith Squire produced the posters and catalogue which included examples of Philip's art. The Club's chairman, John Case after welcoming exhibitors and their guests thanked Ruth Harding, Exhibition Secretary for mounting the exhibition and invited Dr. John Andrews as a close friend and associate of Philip to formally open it.

Dr. Andrews spoke warmly and with feeling of Philip referring to the many tributes which have already been made some of which have appeared in 'Shire' news and spoke of the helping hand Philip extended privately and discreetly of which he had personal knowledge. He drew attention to the absence of the Portway Group whose contribution to past exhibitions was of significant interest and highlighted that there was now only one Artist who had exhibited in all 29 Exhibitions Mr Len (Jack) Doyle. Whilst not an Artist himself he knew what he liked and he liked this exhibition which he had seen go from strength to strength with ever improving standards and that it must go on.

For the record the first exhibition was held May 28th-June 1st, 1973 with 96 entries. The 29th exhibition May 27th-30th, 2001 with 174 entries. The Philip Squire Award made to Ron Thorpe and the Harry Walton Award to Shelley Eynon (second year in succession).

Some of the pictures in the exhibition are shown below.


On Friday 18th May a group of Shire Stitchers visited Quilts UK. This annual exhibition of quilts at Malvern Show Ground is the event of the year for quilters. This is where all the talent is exhibited and prizes awarded for artistic achievement and hard work. For us it was an opportunity for a day out with friends and a picnic on a glorious day. There was the added excitement of seeing some of our member's work exhibited and a wonderful surprise when we found that one of our Founder members Gail Amphlett had won not one but two prizes.

Gail exhibited a large bed quilt that she had designed and made for her son. Christopher wanted a quilt but was adamant that it should not have anything flowery in it. Gail chose to use wonderful swirling designs based on traditional Celtic motifs and incorporated Christopher's initials to make it a truly personal work of art. Celtic patterns are very intricate and complicated so this was not a job to be dashed off in a hurry, in fact it took 10 years from start to finish so I hope Christopher has not been shivering in bed in the meantime. The two prizes for hand applique and hand quilting were richly deserved, Well Done Gail!

If you want to see this wonderful work of art make a date in your diary now for the Annual Craft Exhibition at the Public Hall during the last week in October.

Janet Thomas


As regular readers of Shire must be aware, we are always on the look out for volunteers to deliver the paper, so we are very pleased to welcome Mrs Joyce Barnes, who has lived in Shirehampton for many years. She is over 80, but still willing to help. She has also been an active member of Shirehampton Methodist Church for many years.

Remember, if you do not receive Shire through your door, it is probably because we need a volunteer for your street.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor


I feel that we should thank the management and staff of the Co-op for all the hard work which they put in during the refurbishment of the store. However busy they were, it was never too much trouble to stop and help the customer.

Many thanks, Hazel Thorne (a grateful customer). (Other people have made similar remarks about their customer care thank you Co-op management and staff. Editor).

Searching for Hughie Jones' Family

Dear Editor

I am writing in the hope that you can include some information in your paper which could help me find members of my family who used to live in Shirehampton in the 1970's.

My name is Hughie Jones, I am aged 70 and live in a home for people with learning difficulties. I hope someone will be able to help me find my family who I have lost contact with over the years.

My father, Mr K.T. Jones, used to live at 62 Meadow Grove, Shirehampton in 1970. I have a brother, Raymond Jones, but I don't know where he lives. Also two sisters, Mrs J.P. French, she used to live at 53, Pembroke Road, then moved to 8, Burnham Road, Shirehampton, in 1972. My other sister was Mrs C.L. Henley who used to live at 59, Station Road, Filton, in 1972. If there are any family members who would like to have contact with me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Yours hopefully

(signed p.p. Hugh Jones)

Please contact Home Manager, David Rogers. Tel: 01934 418465. Address: 88 Walliscote Road, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1EE.

Dear Editor

As a member of RALLY, I write with regard to the 'Avonmouth' Park and Ride Scheme. Several members of the communities from Shirehampton and Avonmouth formed RALLY earlier this year concerning a campaign against the chosen area of the Park and Ride Scheme, that it was unsuitable and in a residential area. We are not against Park and Ride Schemes in principle, just the area that has been chosen and all we want is the for the Council to reconsider other areas, that were looked at. (We believe to be 4 additional areas, that the Council to date have refused to reveal). Despite the project being given the go-ahead on 28th February, a number of complaints are at present being investigated. Complaints include failure to consult the local communities in the proper manner, a complaint against one of the local Councillors that was on the Planning Committee, failing to declare an interest, failure to acknowledge the petition presented, and several other issues have also been raised besides.

It is also important that the residents of Shirehampton are also informed of the following information that came to light on 28th February:

1. Only 278 car parking spaces will be provided in phase one of the project (as they the Council do not own the additional land they need to make the Park and Ride Scheme into a 538 space car park).

2. If the 278 space car park overflows into the residential area and car users using the Park and Ride park their cars on the Portway, Barrow Hill Road, Groveleaze, West Town Road etc. then restrictive parking in the area will be considered. This was a worry raised by one of the Councillors on the Planning Committee that day. IF the Council did bring in restrictive parking to the area that means we could not park outside our homes during the day.

3. Notices have already appeared in the Bristol Evening Post concerning that change in traffic from speed down to 30 m.p.h. and lane adjustment on the Portway from Hung Road to Avonmouth Roundabout are effective from 31st May for the next 18 months. However I do not believe the Council have informed local community groups of this action yet and they have not informed RALLY. In the original paperwork passing the scheme the Council are meant to keep organisations informed.

4. If the restrictive lanes on the Portway (one bus lane each way and one traffic lane each way) fail to cope with traffic flow then an option is mentioned in the Report submitted to the Planning Committee that day. Under the title 'Key Issues' subtitled (B) 'Have the traffic and transport issues been satisfied' part ii 'could traffic lanes be retained' it is stated 'this is technically possible', but this would mean the removal of the grass/tree areas on the effected areas of Portway to widen Portway (on both sides) and the removal of parking bays/bus lay-bys, thus the pavements would be directly next to the road. This part of the report also states. ' This would result in a significantly greater impact on residential properties, as the road would be much closer.' The University of the West of England, Faculty of Applied Sciences have already expressed concern about the scheme with increased pollution and environmental issues not being monitored. Even our own MP Doug Naysmith admits there is a pollution problem in the area. But did you know that the pollution levels for our area are on a par with Broadmead and our air quality is worse.

Bristol City Council will increase traffic levels to the area increasing traffic volume on the M5 bridge in order to encourage 'Commuters' to use the Park and Ride. These are 'Commuters' that would not usually travel across the bridge to get to work. This would increase noise and pollution further. It is interesting to note that the Long Ashton Park and Ride is not a popular choice and I've lost count the number of Park and Ride buses from Long Ashton I've seen that are empty.

The Council have ignored traffic surveys that we have carried out that show and prove the traffic flow is going the wrong way. From the morning to throughout the day more traffic, almost double is travelling into Avonmouth, then late afternoon from 4 p.m. onwards this changes with more traffic going into the city, the traffic trend changes with people going home. It also showed that a large number of HGV and delivery vehicles used the Portway. How can a Park and Ride benefit those people? It won't. It is also important for residents who live along the Portway and roads leading off the Portway have their houses checked concerning the depth of foundations. AT one meeting a builder mentioned those houses only have 18 inches of foundation which would mean the houses would need to be underpinned. If this is the case I'd urge residents to get their homes checked and if necessary seek advice. With an increase in noise and vibration due to increased traffic stopping and starting outside their homes it could have a knock-on effect with the structure of houses. The Avonmouth Park and Ride is a wide subject to cover and if you signed the petition form the scheme to move away from the residential area and the effects it will cause then please display a 'Stop Avonmouth Park and Ride Now' poster in your window. You can call 9826066 for your poster and if you can offer us voluntary help too with with our campaign. What we really need is a bus service that will benefit the communities of Shirehampton, Avonmouth and run into the industrial estates of Avonmouth and beyond which is sorely lacking. Yes it would run along the Portway, because this is something people have expressed a need for. But I would also recommend the use of the train too. From Severn Beach to Temple Meads it's cheaper than the bus, you can get a return fare before 9.00 a.m. although not as regular as the bus, it is a lot less stressful.

Yours faithfully

Kathryn C. O'Neill

Dear Editor,

This memorial in which your readers can take great pride, was created with the help of everyone who donated at fund-raising events throughout the area over the past four years, one of the largest benefactors was the Bristol Port Company.

The Princess Royal, once she had performed the unveiling ceremony, was introduced to the veterans who are watching the wreath laying in the enclosed photograph. She made one of them very proud, Mr C. Brain, a resident of Shirehampton who is standing at the extreme right of the picture. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for bravery in the Second World War after he helped to scuttle a ship in the harbour at Malta which was on fire and threatening to blow up the surrounding area. He was later honoured with the Freedom of Barry, South Wales. The stylish seating in the other photograph (see page 2) is provided to enhance the appearance of the memorial complex. The seven alder trees and the bronze compass remind us that Bristol Seafarers sailed over the seven seas and in all directions around the world over the ages. Many thanks to you and the staff of OShire' for all your kind assistance in helping the above Association in our campaign, without your help it would have taken that much longer to reach the target of 100,000. Please accept the enclosed photos as a token of our gratitude.

Best wishes,

Yours aye,

Hamish Grant

(Captain H. H. Grant, Treasurer of the Bristol Branch of the Merchant Navy Association.)

Dear Editor,

I have had comments from people around who have either 4x4 vehicles or people carriers that they now have great difficulty in taking items to the Civic Amenity Site at Lawrence Weston due to the barrier which was installed last year. The height of the barrier is I believe 5ft 9ins which will allow a normal car to pass. The reason for this restriction was to stop commercial tipping. However it does appear (if you go down Penpole Lane for instance) to have increased the amount of household items dumped around the village. I took this up with the Environmental Dept. and received a lengthy 'reason' but not much help!

It may be useful to remind readers that you can telephone 922 3838 - wait till the voice messages finish and speak to an operator to make an appointment to have large waste collected (maximum about a three piece suite) free.

However, if you are inconvenienced by not being able to access the site why not contact the officer concerned at the Environmental Dept., - Philip Norcott, or write to the Health & Environmental Services Executive at the Council House.

Bob Chubb


Many thanks to Mrs Cooper for distributing 'SHIRE' in Nibley Road, and we send good wishes to here for the future.

We are fortunate in having a volunteer to replace her, which we very much welcome.

New National Anthem for England

The time is right I believe, to add greater National pride to the feeling of English people. We should follow the pattern of Scotland and Wales by having a new English national anthem.

Our traditional anthem could be retained for royal occasions involving the Queen but the new anthem would be played at major national sporting events, or on other occasions important to the English people.

We need something new apart from the traditional songs, which are somewhat outdated. For example the time honoured OJerusalem' evokes the atmosphere of OLast night of the Proms' and will never lose that image. OLand of Hope and Glory' has acquired political connotations when in many respects are remote from national pride. The much worn ORed Flag' is as limp and dull as an old cloth cap.

England needs a new and dynamic anthem to express our national pride. Who can fail to be stirred by Sibelius tone poem OFinlandia'? England needs a composition with body and spirit like this because England is worth it. I suggest that a national competition to compose a suitable piece of music should be set up by the next Government.

Let the people of England decide the winner in a televised national programme. If you see merit in this idea, please support my campaign and make it a reality.

R. Smith

St Mary's News

Hi folks!

New Priest for St Mary's

Our churchwardens have received a letter from the Bishop of Bristol confirming the appointment of the new Priest-in-Charge of our parish. She is the Reverend Canon Christine Froude who is at present Locum Chaplain at the Bristol Royal Children's Hospital for Sick Children and St Michael's Hospital. She will continue to be Honorary Canon of Bristol Cathedral, West Deanery Treasurer and Dean of Women's Ministry. Her licensing will take place at St Mary's Church by the Bishop of Bristol at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 18th September. The Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council members all had the opportunity to meet Reverend Canon Froude and her husband when she came for interview with the Churchwardens and an informal meeting with the P.C.C. She impressed us all with her warmth and obvious interest in our Church and parish and it was widely felt that she would be an excellent person to take St Mary's Church forward. We are of course enormously grateful to Rev. Tony Wheeler and Very Reverend Horace Dammers for all their support in our in our interregnum and know that they too will be looking forward to September and Rev. Canon Froude's arrival with us.

Patronal Festival - Sat 30th June & Sunday 1st & Monday 2nd July, 2001 Our Patronal Festival will follow a similar pattern to previous years:

Saturday - the Church will be open from 10am until 4.00pm. flowers will be in abundance and the Shirehampton Missal will be on display. At 2.15pm our Organiser and Choirmaster Tim Forder, will be giving a organ recital accompanied this year by Mr Albert Price on the flute. Light refreshments will be available throughout the day. Sunday - 10am Holy Communion - with particular reference to St Mary our Patron Saint.

Monday - the Church will be open as usual between 10am and 12noon. At 7.30pm the Bristol Citadel Salvation Army Brass Band will be paying a return visit to St mary's with a concert of light music and usually some choral numbers as well. Don't miss this very popular annual event - admission is free!

A retiring collection is normally taken and this is given to the Salvation Army to be used as they think best.

Since my comments about Roy OJogger' Miller's dismal performance on the Skittle Alley last month, I understand he has been seen jogging around Shire with a piece of paper in his hand, allegedly an arrest warrant for libel, with my name on it! I can assure you that any court action will be vigorously contested!

Bye for now


Danielle wins Art Competition for Shirehampton Primary

One of the youngest pupils at Shirehampton Primary School was the well deserving winner of an Art Competition organised by Eagle Radio and Big W. Danielle Foster, aged 3, is a pupil in the nursery class. She entered a Mother's Day Art Competition and was awarded first prize. She won a prize for herself, plus 150 for the school to be spent on art equipment. Well done Danielle!

Early last year, I wrote in 'Shire' about my plan to walk the Great Wall of China for a charity challenge. I have now been asked to finish the story by telling you how the plans worked out.

Let me first say that 'I DID IT'. Along with about 60 other intrepid souls (all much younger than me), I set off on November12 for the experience of a lifetime. We flew direct to Beijing and there boarded a coach for a 3 hour drive to our first overnight stop. We had been warned about this place, known as 'The Barracks', and were expecting a somewhat lower standard of accommodation. This didn't quite prepare us for what we found. I suppose on reflection that the rooms were acceptable but very basic. The problem was the temperature. We had expected temperatures of about 100C during the day and about freezing at night. In the event it turned out to be about 100c colder than that. Overnight it was so cold that it was difficult to get any sleep. We were wearing all the clothes we could reasonably put on but since there was no heat in the buildings at all, it was impossible to get warm enough. Hot water was only available for about 2 hours in the morning and again for 2 hours in the evening but in those temperatures, we didn't hang about very long before getting dressed for the day. The weather was dry and the skies clear, so walking was a real joy, the wall is a magnificent spectacle and the surrounding countryside is beautiful especially with the light covering of snow. The distances we walked - averaging about 10-12 miles each day for 5 days - were not too daunting, but the steps were more of a challenge than we had anticipated. About 80% of the distance was represented by the steps, a total, we were told, of about 40000. They were of varying standard, some in good repair, others in need of attention. Some were about 3 inches high, some 10 inches and some more like 24 inches. Flights went up at 30 to 60 degrees and the longest was just under 1600 steps. Going up put great strain on the thighs and on the lungs while going down really stressed the joints especially the knees. Some of the walkers had great difficulty, having to be assisted off the wall on the second day but most completed the whole distance. Fortunately, the accommodation after the first two nights was of a much higher standard and the food throughout was quite good in general. The local people were very friendly and seemed delighted that we had chosen to visit their country.

I took the opportunity to extend my visit to see some of the sights of China including Beijing Zoo, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Xian and the terracotta warriors, Guilin and Hong Kong. Altogether it was a really memorable trip which I am happy to describe to any local groups which might be interested.

I would like to thank all those who supported me through sponsorship. The total raised for MERCY SHIPS for medical and relief work in third world countries has now passed 8500. Perhaps it is not surprising that I have been asked whether I would like to do it again. The answer remains a definite MAYBE!!!