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St Mary's News

From Whitby, Ontario, CANADA

New Buses for Portway Park & Ride

Bristol City Council's latest Park & Ride have been getting its new buses from First from the middle of November onwards. Over the next few weeks buses will be delivered to the site until a fleet of seven serves the dedicated route from the Portway Park & Ride to the centre of Bristol. The dark green buses are instantly recognisable and will help to raise awareness of the Park & Ride and its regular bus service for local communities along the Portway. Each of the city's Park & Rides are now colour coded; Brislington Park & Ride's buses are all blue and Long Ashton's are dark red and silver.

All the new Portway buses will be low floor with no steps and extra wide gangways to make it as easy as possible for people with disabilities or passengers with pushchairs to use them. Other improvements have been made to the already popular service to help passengers.

The last bus will now leave the centre at 7.25pm, Monday to Friday. There will also be a new stop along the Portway at Riverleaze in response to requests from local residents. The city centre bus stop outside the White Lion pub has been moved to Rupert Street outside the Royal & Sun Alliance building. This location makes it easier for passengers to hail the bus and for the bus to pull in.

The buses will also contribute to reducing air pollution, as the engines are environmentally friendly and meet with the latest European legislations. The buses have also been fitted with the latest public transport technology. The council is planning to introduce smart cards and Real Time Information (RTI) on park and ride buses next year. All the new Portway buses have been fitted with the necessary technology needed to introduce smart cars and RTI in the future. From next spring onwards, passengers will be able to use smart cards to pay for tickets on any of the city's park and rides as well as in council parks. With the support of First, it may also be possible to roll out the scheme to other bus routes across the city.

And to make it easier for Christmas Shoppers: From this Thursday, November 14 until Christmas, buses will leave Broadmead (from stop outside House of Fraser) every 20 minutes until 9.20pm From this Sunday November 17 until Christmas, the Sunday bus service will leave the Park & Ride at 10am and the last bus back from Broadmead (from stop outside House of Fraser) will be at 5.20pm. The us frequency will be every 15 minutes.

And there is good news - the bus lane on the Portway leading up to the Bridge Valley Road junction is under construction and will hopefully be ready to use just before Christmas.

Christmas Greetings

"Best Wishes across the Miles to all our friends at Christmas". Grace & Ed Butchers, Toronto

BOB & HELEN BRANDT send love and best wishes for a Happy Christmas to old friends in Shire.

Merry Christmas to Aunty Glad and family, wish you were here with us. All our love from Trish, John, Julie-Anne, Phil, Sarah and Alex. By e-mail from Australia.

The Shirehampton Christmas Association

By the time that this edition of "SHIRE" is published, this year's display of Christmas lights will have been installed ready for the "big switch-on" on 2 December. The Committee would like to thank all those who have allowed us to place the lights above their shop fronts and have made it possible for us to connect the wires and timers to suitable electrical sockets, not always an easy task!

The Christmas Lights Association Committee                                       Photo: E Verey

This time there will be three times as many outside lights as there were last year, even so, we all wish we were able to provide more and bigger displays, but unfortunately that has not been possible. The ten lights that the Council gave us were a good start. We have spent another 1,500 on a variety of new lights ranging in price from about 120 for the small ones, to over 300 for the largest. Though these are expensive they are very well made and will last for many years so they are a good investment and can be quickly erected once the fittings are in place.

Unfortunately there are many gaps in the display which we hope to be able to fill over the next few years. Much of the frontage in the High Street is taken up by the premises of firms which are not locally owned and, with one or two exceptions, their headquarters have shown no interest at all in having any lights on their premises, even though the local management may be willing; so much of the High Street is without lights this year. We are sure that if readers of "SHIRE" feel strongly about it and speak to the local managers, their headquarters next year might be persuaded to improve their image locally by being more co-operative. During the coming year we hope to be able to invite Shire residents to support us with donations and by giving support for future fund-raising events so that we can buy more and bigger displays for next Christmas


The winners of the Bristol Quiz are Mrs S Hall, 13 Penpole Close and Mrs S Ross 14 Penpole Close 35.5 points each. Paula Payne, 2 Dentwood Grove, Coombe Dingle 34 points. The following did very well with over 30 points Hilary Rowett 33, David Hinksman 32,Mrs P Price 31, Patricia Hewitt 31.

Thank You

I would like to thank the Committee and Members of the Avonmouth Summer Skittles League for the generous donation given to Shire Evergreens Club. Norman G. Sims - Chairperson.

The Year of the Jubilee

Have you enjoyed this year's celebrations? Did you watch them on TV? Did you join the a street party? The other day a friend of mine told me that the Queen's Jubilee is actually next year! She did try to explain why but it was rather confusing! In January 2003, some of the local Baptist Churches are putting on a show called 'Year of Jubilee'. It uses mime, dance, dramatic reading and video clips to explore the biblical concept of 'Jubilee'. What is it all about? Well, you'll just have to attend to find out what the message of Jubilee really is. It is Good News.

The current dates are: Sunday 12 January 6.30pm at Westbury Baptist Church Saturday 25 January 7.30pm at Shire Public Hall More details to follow in the January edition of the 'Shire'. You are warmly invited to attend either of the performances. It could change your life!

Debz Strong.

Festive Fun at the Library

For Adults - Coffee Morning Friday 20th December 10.30am - 12 noon
For Children - Activity Morning Monday 23rd December 10.30am - 12 noon
Please book in advance - 50p per child

May we wish all our readers a Very Merry Christmas Eileen, Marilyn, Sandra and Jeanette

Merchant Navy News

Last month we let you know that Chris Inker - our local Hero! - would be sailing to the Middle East trouble spot again for Christmas this year and he is now on his way. As last year, you may like to send him - and his colleagues - a Christmas card (and maybe a photo) to remind him of Shire. His address is Chris Inker -Quartermaster, RFA Fort Rosalie, BFPO 441, Ships.

This month we have the photo we mentioned of the Ship's Wheel presented by Chris to the Shirehampton Workingman's Club - see below. I think you will agree that it is a fantastic memento.

The video is now available 'Freedom of the City of Bristol - 3rd September 2002' showing the complete ceremony to mark Merchant Navy Day and the Parade and presentation of the Freedom Scroll, including interviews with veterans can be obtained from: Bernard Hunter Photographic, 246 North Street, Ashton, Bristol BS3 1JD. Tel: 0117 9666066. Price 12.99 or 13.99 including postage. Other formats (NTSC or DVD). Please telephone. Cheques payable to 'Bernard Hunter'. All credit/debit cards accepted - ring with details. Shop open 9.00-17.30 Mon-Sat.

Christmas Greetings and Good Wishes Shire!

Administration Committee send Christmas Greetings and Best Wishes for the year 2003 to all our readers, with special thanks to our advertisers, distributors and contributors, for their help and support in the year 2002. This year our calendar brings Shirehampton bang up-to-date, as many of us as yet have not become accustomed to the buildings which have sprung up around us - but we have kept a memory of the past, the frontispiece of the Cockle Lady. The photograph was taken by the late Eileen West and sent to us by her daughter, Sue, to whom we send our thanks.

The modern day photos were taken by "SHIRE" photographer Eric Verey, who voluntarily serves us very well. We also wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the Library staff and thank them for the excellent help which they cheerfully continue to give us. Margaret Ellison continues with her valuable work in reading "SHIRE" onto tapes for the blind and partially sighted throughout the year. She gives a very dedicated service which is much appreciated by the users of the tapes. Hoping that you have all enjoyed our paper over the year and we wish you a HAPPY AND JOYFUL CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY AND PEACEFUL NEW YEAR.

Shirehampton Primary School Appeal

Outside play equipment (eg trikes, bikes, scooters, prams, climbing equipment. Required for use by reception children (4 years old).

Thank You

A sale was held on September 14th at the Methodist Church Hall. Thanks to all the people who helped and contributed. a cheque for 200 has been sent to the BRI Oncology Department.

P. Worlock, Old Quarry Road, Shirehampton

Carols on the Green

Our Master of Ceremonies for Carols on the Green Christmas Eve 2002 The REVD. PHILIP AUDEN arrived in Shirehampton in 1999 to work as Port Chaplain for Missions to Seamen (now Missions to Seafarers) from a parish on the Warwickshire/ Worcestershire borders and 7 years as Hospital Chaplain in Evesham. His time is spent visiting ships and welcoming, with others, seafarers visiting our local port at Avonmouth and the new Centre at Royal Portbury Dock. He is also Chaplain to the Bristol Branch of the Merchant Navy Association and the Sea Cadets, and at this time he extends to us all Every Blessing for Christmas.

Christmas greetings from:

Revd Canon Christine Froude - St. Mary's Church of England 9855450
Father Vincent Ryan - St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church 9833929
Revd David Alderman - Methodist Church 9731562
Revd Tim Baynes-Clark - Baptist Church 9828238

A new swimming pool for Shirehampton?

The City Council set up a Swimming Pools Working Group, which has recently reported. Its brief has been to develop a strategy for the development of pools throughout Bristol. The city has previously approved its recommendation that the strategy should include four community sports centres in the north east, north west, south east and south west of the City. The all party group is chaired by Cllr Pat Roberts. As far as Shirehampton is concerned there is both good news and bad news.

The good news is that the Working Group recommends that the north west Bristol development should be at Shirehampton, using the land of the existing pool, its car park and the adjoining former Portway Centre in St Bernards Road, Shirehampton was favoured partly because of the good bus services, giving access by the public transport, and it is also served by the Park and Ride bus service.

The bad news is that we understand from sources in the Avonmouth Labour Party that the Council Executive is set to overturn this recommendation, in favour of a pool at Henbury. If this is confirmed, it is likely to mean that Shirehampton will be left with no pool at all. This decision will be finalised at a meeting of the Executive on 3 December. You can make your views known at this meeting. Full council and executive meetings have a 'Public Form' section on the agenda for:
Making statement
Presenting a petition
Asking a question (for which a written answer is given)
At meetings of the full council 30 minutes is allocated for the Public Forum. At meetings of the cabinet and when executive members meet to take a decision, up to one hour is allocated for the Public Forum.

Christmas Message

Dear Editor,

I wish all my past supporters a blessed happy Christmas and a peaceful healthy new 2003. May I take this opportunity to thank all who have wished me well in my regained 'private' life. I treasure the many letters and messages I have received acknowledging my hard work and total commitment to the people of this area.

Celia Lukins, Portway, Shirehampton

Shire Fellowship

Thanks to John Ellis, who made the initial enquiries and set us on course, two small groups from the Shirehampton churches started visiting some of the homes for elderly people in October. We call ourselves 'Shire Fellowship'. Once a month we lead a short service followed by time to get to know one another over a cup of tea. We usually sing 3 hymns, have a short prayer, a Bible reading and a short time of reflection. We started with Penhill House, Bradley House, Jim O'Neil House and Shirehampton Nursing Homes.

We have been made very welcome and we look forward to our regular monthly visits. In December we will be singing carols, and our visits will extend also to the Orchards. We are looking for more people to join us either on a regular basis or, occasionally to cover for those who may be away.

If you are interested please contact Gill Bridge at St Mary's Shirehampton 9826771 or Val Flint-Johnson Methodist Church Shirehampton 9823228.

Tree of lights at St Mary's Church

On Saturday 9th November over 200 people attended our first Memorial service for those who wished to come together to remember loved ones that they have lost. It was a very moving occasion and a wonderful opportunity for me to speak again with so many families who I have met during the past year. The Remembrance Cards that were completed at the service will be placed on a Tree of Light which will be lit on Advent Sunday 1 December at our 10am service and will remain in Church over the Christmas season until Monday 6 January.

If you were not able to be at the service and would like to have a card in memory of someone you have loved placed on the tree, you are most welcome to attend the service on 1 December or come into church any morning between 10am and noon when cards will be available for you to complete.

Reverend Canon Christine Froude ,St Mary's Church, Shirehampton

Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme

Thursday, 12th December - Tea Dance - Sea Mills Methodist Church - 2.30pm - 4.30pm - Tickets 1. David Morey on organ.
Friday 20th December - Christmas Social Shirehampton Cricket Club - 7.30pm - 11pm Tickets including buffet 2.50. All past members very welcome. John Hutton on organ. Tickets - 0117 9685828.

Marian Read

On Wednesday 6 November the Shirehampton Methodist Church was packed when we met to celebrate the life of Marian Read. She was well know to many in the village. Many who had known here described her a 'lovely lady'. She had a strong Christian faith which seemed to grow rather than diminish as her health declined.

Welsh born daughter of a Methodist Minister, Marian lived in Shirehampton with her husband Philip. Marian met Phil in 1942 and they married in 1947 in Mountain Ash, where they had special permission for their marriage service to be in English. Marian supported her husband in his work in St Johns Ambulance and with the Normandy Veterans. She was a nurse and spent 10 years at the BRI as well as 2 years as a District Nurse.

The family, with Gordon and Kevin, their young sons, went at first to the Baptist Church where Marian took a leading role, chair of the Ladies Circle and leader of the Contact Club. When in later years, they rejoined the Methodist Church Marian worked tirelessly in her roles as President of the bright Hour and Church Steward.

She fought back valiantly after heart attacks 2 years ago, and it is a reflection of her determination that she would not allow her disability to keep her down. She returned to Bright Hour and Sunday Worship, doing as much as her health would allow her to do. The family and good friends helped both her and Phil to make the most of their life.

After breaking her hip on her 82nd birthday she was admitted to the BRI where she spent her last 3 weeks. She was able to see the whole family before she died when her heart finally failed. Many of us have special memories of Marian and we give thanks for her life. We will miss her.


This is to let the friends of Arthur McEwen, who lived in Vancouver Island, Canada, know that he passed away on 3rd November 2002, after a short illness. Reunited with his wife Betty who died two years ago. Many thanks.

Mrs Nancy Stringer (Betty's cousin), Wraxall, Bristol.

Acknowledgement Allan Johnson

Audrey Johnson and family wish to thank everyone who came to the service at Canford Crematorium on Thursday, 7th November and to express their appreciation and thanks for the cards and messages of sympathy which were received. Also, Audrey and family sincerely thank Canon Christine Froude for the beautiful and moving service and for her support at this very sad time.


Denis Handford who died on the 15th July 2002 Thank you to all those who attended the celebration of the life of Denis, which took place at St Mary's Church, Shirehampton, on the 19th July 2002. Many thanks to Canon Christine Froude for the lovely service and her help and support throughout.

The cards, letters and telephone calls expressing sympathy which we have received from numerous people has been deeply appreciated by all members of the family. Best wishes.

Pam Handford

St Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Here we are just a few weeks away from our Christmas Festivities. Children becoming more excited - Mums wondering if they have forgotten anything & Dads wondering where all the cash is coming from to pay for everything! However, please allow me to distract you for a while.

Back in October on the evening of Tuesday 22nd - Canon Christine, Sue Eynon & John bull were admitted to the Guild of Vergers (see report elsewhere). On Saturday 9th November Canon Christine conducted a Service of Remembrance for those people who had been bereaved during the past 12 months. After the Service those who attended were invited to stay and have a cup of tea which was very much appreciated. The next day was Remembrance Sunday. The Remembrance Day Service commenced in Church when a Poppy Wreath was placed beneath the West End Memorial Window.

At 10.30 am the congregation then left the Church to join the uniformed organisations at The War Memorial when a further Poppy Wreath was placed by a choir boy on the Memorial. After the 2 minutes silence at 11.00 am, those present were invited into Shirehampton Cricket Club for a very welcome cup of coffee.

On Sunday 17th November Canon Christine conducted a Service of Holy Communion at Bristol Cathedral to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the decision to ordain women into the Priesthood. There was no service at St Mary's on that day as we were invited to join Canon Christine at the Cathedral, but afterwards we enjoyed lunch together in the Church Centre.

At this point I had better now tell you what is going on at St Mary's in December. First of all we anticipate Clifton Renovations will have completed the re-ordering of the building by the 6th December - perhaps even earlier if their current schedule is maintained. Sunday 1st December is Advent Sunday when the first of the Advent Candles will be lit at the 10am Holy Communion Service. the remaining candles will be lit one at a time on each of the remaining 3 Sundays leading up to Christmas - the final are being lit on Christmas Day. At 6pm we are having our Advent Carol Service - if you missed it last year try not to miss it this time! On Saturday 7th December is our Gift Day. Canon Christine will be in Church from 10am until 2pm to receive your gift. Remember - if you are a tax payer you can put your name and address on your Gift Envelope and the Church is able to reclaim back the tax upon it which I believe is currently 28 pence in the pound. This year all money collected will be earmarked for the purchase of new chairs. Alternatively perhaps you would like to donate a chair. The cost is approximately 50 and it is hoped a sample chair may be available for anyone to see.

Sunday 8th December is the date of the Shirehampton Area Choir Concert which is at 2pm. Tim Forder our organist & choir master will be conducting it as usual. Admission is FREE but a collection will be taken - the proceeds of which is to be donated to charity - the name of which escapes me at the time I am writing these notes.

On Saturday 21st December - Christian Aid Carol Singers will be in the Churchyard. Please may I appeal for your generous support when you are shopping in the village. On that same morning children will be in the Church making Christingles. If you want to know exactly what they are - pop into the Church and one of the adult supervisors or even one of the children will explain it to you. The next day - Sunday 22nd December, at 10am, is The Christingle Service & Holy Communion - when the Christingles will be distributed. At 6pm we are having our Christmas Carol Service when the Church Choir will be supplemented by some members of our area choir. After this service I am reliably informed by Canon Christine we shall be given the opportunity to enjoy mince pies and mulled wine!

Tuesday 24th December is of course Christmas Eve, and at 4pm there is our Crib Service - mainly directed towards children, but enjoyed by adults also. Later that evening at 11.30pm is Midnight Mass - the first Mass of Christmas - at this moment in time you know that Christmas is really here! On Christmas Day there will be a Service of Holy Communion at 10am. Most of us will then go on to enjoy our Christmas Dinner with families and friends, but before we do, perhaps we should be offering to God our thanks for what we have and enjoy and remember those who have no families or friends to share warmth and comfort. Those who have lost love through bereavement or by the breakdown of relationships between families or friends. Without reconciliation and forgiveness Christmas will never be quite the same again for them. A Happy & Blessed Christmas to you all! Bye for now.


PS. Beryl White's Coffee Morning raised 304 for the Mercy Ships Appeal. Thank you to all of you who supported this event.

From the Very Reverend Horace Dammers

The Editor, 14 November 2002

Dear Editor,

'Shire' has kindly sent me copies of letters which are critical of my article last month. I am glad to have the opportunity to respond. First I must point out that at no point did I deny the stories of the Virgin Birth and the Empty Tomb. My article was not about my personal faith which I trust is as robust as that of any critics, but about the faith of those Christians, perhaps more than half of us, who cannot with integrity accept these stories as historically true.

Secondly in my article I tried to express my deep pastoral concern for these people whom I am sure God loves and wants us to make welcome in our worshipping communities. To this end I suggested that the churches might authorise a new creed to set alongside the historic ones. My own Church of England has done this successfully for our public worship. Alongside our much loved Book of Common Prayer which has served us so well for over three hundred years we have set first the Alternative Service Book and now the Book of Common Worship, to the great enrichment of our worship.

Thirdly I am convinced that the very important debate between conservative and liberal Christians has to be conducted not in a spirit of anger and misrepresentation but with love, listening to each other with mutual respect. I have to confess that ten years ago I was angry with those conservative Christians who nearly prevented the ordination of women to priesthood in my church, and am angry now with those who are trying to destroy Archbishop Williams for his liberal views. In the present disagreement between us however I wish to extend the right hand of reconciliation to my critics. I am confident of a positive response.

'Shire' is probably not the best place to continue the debate. I suggest that the local churches, or one of them, might like to organise an open public meeting on the nature of faith and what it involves.

Yours truly,

Horace Dammers

From Whitby, Ontario, CANADA

Dear Editor,

I was a pupil at Portway Secondary Modern Girl's School from 1954 through 1958 and over the past 40 some odd years nave often thought about those very formative years, teachers and the friends I made during that time.There was one girl in particular with whom I was very friendly, in fact for three years, we were almost inseparable and for obvious reasons, she came to my thought m ore often than any of the other girls in my class. Her name was Diane Thomas. However, after we both left school we completely lost touch never to see each other again. I went on to get married, have two children and in 1969 emigrated to Canada but wondered what had happened to Diane. Although I have returned to Shirehampton and Bristol many times over the years, it was always to visit family and there was never any time for "looking back."

Last year with the help of Marilyn Gorry, who came to Canada with two friends Sylvia and Edna to visit my sister Iris, I was able to obtain the e-mail address of my long lost friend Diane. I felt very nervous about writing to her at first, suppose she didn't remember me? Or simply did not want to be bothered. I wasn't quite sure how to word that first e-mail letter and sat in front of the computer for ages before I could get started. Needless to say, I was eventually able to put a letter together and nervously clicked the "Send" button. It took several days but then I got the "You've got mail" call from Diane!

E-mails flew back and forth for the next several months during which time we both got caught up on how our lives has played out. We had a good time recalling old school days and telling each other about our families. Then Diane told me that she and her husband were going to Florida for a holiday in late December. It just so happens that my husband Jim and I go to Florida for several months every winter to get away from the harsh Canadian weather. I gave Diane my telephone number in Florida and we arranged to meet. Diane and Roy were staying on the East Coast of Florida in West Palm Beach and we were on the West Coast in Palmetto so we chose a place approximately halfway between called Okechobee, a small town in central Florida.

On December 27th and after a period of 43 years we met for lunch! We had arranged to meet in the parking lot of a certain restaurant and Diane and Roy arrived first. As our car pulled in to the parking lot I could hardly wait to ge out! Diane jumped out of their car and we hugged each other, laughed, cried, hugged again nand both agreed that we recognised each other instantly. It was wonderful, it felt like we were 15 again. We spent the next three hours over lunch talking rather than eating, there was so much still to catch up on, fortunately it was a buffet style restaurant as we were talking so much that our food kept getting cold and we had to keep replacing it! Jim and Roy had lots of time to get acquainted and we all had a really super time. Diane had brought some old photos and I had brought some of my two grandsons. We took pictures of each other and of the four of us, but before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye.

Meeting up with Diane again and meeting her husband Roy was a wonderful experience ad we have kept in tough since then sending birthday cards and e-mails and are hopeful that we will meet again in the not too distant future.

As a footnote, I was visiting Shirehampton the year prior to Portway School being closed and purely by chance and for the first time since I left the school in 1958. I decided to drop in. It was 4pm and the students were leaving for the day. It seemed a good time. The Secretary, who was very interested that I was a "Portway Old Girl" gave me a tour of the school and oh boy! Did it bring back memories! But I was shocked by how run down and quite dirty it was and it seemed much smaller than I remembered it. (I had no idea at that time it was slated for closure). I was given a brochure on the school and an audio tape of the School Band. Later when I heard that it had been demolished, I was glad that I had taken the opportunity to visit my old school one last time.

Yours sincerely,

Phyllis Allison (nee Hawkesby) Whitby, Ontario, Canada