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News Index

Swimming in Shirehampton

The Great Shire Youth Litterthon

Letters to the Editor

Christmas Showtime

The Friends of Portway Christmas Appeal 2002

Shirehampton Community Action Forum - New Year Update

Our Apologies

We apologise for not always being able to include all the articles submitted to us through lack of space. When we are in the happy position of being over-subscribed with copy we then have a headache trying to get in as much as possible whilst maintaining the balance of the paper. Try as we might the differing lengths of the articles do not always make a 'good fit' so it's 'back to the drawing board'. Our aim is to have a balanced paper, one that appeals to the community as a whole. Please keep sending the copy, without you and our faithful advertisers there is no paper.

Volunteers Needed

Charity Search would like to wish all its supporters a Very Happy New Year and also to wish Debbie Vincent, who is leaving us and was manageress since the shop opened every success in her new venture. We are extremely grateful for the support you give to us, both by bringing in items for sale and by buying them but we wonder - could any of you assist a little more by helping in the shop? If you could spare a few hours to work as a volunteer we would be delighted to hear from you. Please ring us on 982 4060 to have a chat.

Swimming in Shirehampton

There have been various reports in the Press regarding swimming in Bristol and mentioned our local Pool. The facts are, that at a Community Council Meeting on Wednesday, 27th November, we learnt that although the Swimming Strategy Group recommended that our Pool be demolished and a new one accompanied with other sporting facilities should be built on the same site, taking the old Day Centre into the plan, Councillor Helen Holland had vetoed a Pool in Shirehampton in favour of a Pool in the new Henbury School rebuild. There was to be a meeting on Tuesday, 3rd December, at the Council House when she would confirm this and the demolition of the present Henbury Council Pool.

Although time was very limited, we we're able to get about 10 people to attend with Arthur Baker and Councillor Murphy speaking to try to get her to change her mind. Those there had the feeling that we were wasting our time, but felt that this was to be our first representation. In the few days that we had, a local petition  collected more than 500 signatures - a remarkable number in that short time and the few outlets we covered.

The catchment area for a local Pool is vast - Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, Sea Mills, Stoke Bishop, Shirehampton and even Pill and Ham Green, and a huge working community at Avonmouth too. The petition of pool users covered all these areas and Henleaze, Westbury-on-Trym, Bishopston, Backwell and Kingswood as well!! Also, twelve schools currently use Shirehampton Pool. However, Henbury School does require PFI funding and if that is not forthcoming then Shirehampton will have its Pool.

In the meantime, however, we intend to continue the fight and further meetings will take place to collate additional points and discuss ways to continue.


A.U.S. Advice Centre

The Advice Centre will be re-opening on Wednesday, January 8th 9.30-11.30. Sessions will in future be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays 9.30-11.30, note the change of days. Tel: (0117) 982 9399.

191st Scout Troop

On 18th October 2002, Lee Sullivan, Tom Daley and Chris Greener were invested into the 191st Scout Troop at the Scout Headquarters in St. Mary's Road.

Cotswold Community Association

Weekly Events:

Mondays Cotswold Ladies Club 2pm - 4.30pm
Tuesdays Bingo 6.45pm - 8.15pm
Fridays Keep Fit 10.30am - 12 noon
Last Friday of each month Dance 7.30pm - 10pm
First Sunday of each month Baptist Church Service 4.45pm
Third Sunday of each month St Mary's Church Service

Special Event: Table Top Sale - Saturday 18th January, 2003 at 2pm £3 per table in advance £5 on the day.

Hall Available For Hire. For details please contact Mr A. Radnedge 0117 982 2581.

A Thank You to a Kind Gentleman

On Saturday December 7th my purse and phone were stolen from the Methodist church. The thief 'hid' in the Health Centre. With the help of a very kind gentleman my purse and phone were returned, unfortunately the thief escaped with all my money. Because the Police took me off on a tour to see if we could find the thief I was unable to thank those who helped me. I would like to thank the gentleman who came to my assistance, and the Centre staff for their prompt action in calling the Police.

Val Flint-Johnson.

The Great Shire Youth Litterthon

On Wednesday 30th October on a very wet and cold wintry day, the Great Shire Youth Litterthon took place.

This was in response to a questionnaire completed by pupils at Portway School - which cited litter as a serious issue. The event also promoted environmental awareness - particularly recycling.

The event was organised by Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF), Portway Community School and BCC Youth Service. Thanks also to our local Councillors - Pat Roberts & Spud Murphy and Mr Neil Sykes, headmaster at Portway School for their support. The purpose of the event was to have a litter pick/fun day at the school during half - term week. The event was timed to coincide with Youth/Volunteering events happening of all over the country as part of the MADD/CSV "Make A Difference Day"

The pupils at the school were involved in many aspects of making the day a success - they came up with the event name, designed the posters, and appointed the team leaders that organised the litter pick.

The event began at 10am with hot soup & fresh bread rolls to fortify the crews! After a detailed Health & safety briefing all volunteers were kitted out with a very fetching plastic tabard with CSV Logo's, heavy duty protective gloves and hand-held litter pickers and bright blue collection sacks. Then Kevin & Anne (the Team Leaders) organised the crews into litter pick areas, put out and labelled the recycling boxes for collecting different materials e.g. plastics, aluminium cans. The Litter pick went on until 12, and resulted in a fantastic haul of 20 huge plastic sacks full of rubbish and recyclables. Lunch was followed by the opportunity for all the young volunteers to spend a couple of hours on the Avon Youth Association Bus.

A very big THANKYOU to everyone who took part - especially in such bad weather. Thanks also to BCC for the loan of the hand "pickers" and safety gloves and to Resourcesaver for the supply of recycling boxes and to Councillor Spud Murphy for covering the cost of a very welcome fishcake/sausage & chips lunch to all who took part. Thanks also to Avon Youth Association for supplying their Youth Bus & Staff free for the event

It is hoped that after the success of this event it will be the first of many…

For more information about this/future events or info about SCAF please contact Ash Bearman, @ Shirehampton Public Hall - 0117 982 9963

Letters to the Editor

"Memories of Shire"

Dear Editor,

We very much enjoy reading the 'SHIRE' newspaper. Thanks to our daughter's neighbour, Edna Sowerby, nee Harries, ex Bradley Cres (now also living in New Zealand), who kindly passes it on to us. It's a small world!

So much to talk about. Memories of growing up in the 1930s. Climbing Pen Pole. Gathering chestnuts and picking bluebells and violets for mum on Mother's Day. Saturdays to the Savoy or the "bug house" at Avonmouth. Also picnics down by the "Lamplighters", watching the ships being pulled by the tugs to Bristol Docks. We lived at Barrow Hill Cres opposite the ash path. From our bedroom window, my brother John and I could see the Portway, the railways and both sides of the river. We were lucky to have such views. Also such lovely neighbours Play mates Pat, Ron and Hilda Rumble. One could go on and on.

My sister, Margie now resides at "Jim O'Neil House", and I have a nephew that also now lives in Shire. Thanks so much for your delightful newspaper, brings back so may memories. Have a happy Christmas.

Yours faithfully

Ken R. Godfrey, Raglan, New Zealand.

Very Rev. A.H. Dammers

Dear Editor,

Thank you for inviting me to clear up any confusion that may have arisen from my letter in last month's Shire. I was responding to letters which in fact you were unable to publish because of the pressure of Christmas news. So attentive readers may have wondered what I was on about.

In next month's 'When I Survey' I hope to write about S. Paul's witness to Christ's resurrection in his first letter to the Christians at Corinth. (I Cor. 15)

Yours truly,

Very Rev. A.H. Dammers

The Grainger Players Christmas Showtime - November 2002

Dear Editor,

'A laugh a minute' is all we can say about Snow White and the Misfit Dwarfs  performed by The Grainger Players at the Public Hall on 29th November. We so enjoyed the evening which was well supported by the large number in the audience. During the second half of the evening the audience participated and joined in the Christmas singing and put everyone in the spirit of the season. We will not pick anybody out by name as all the cast gave us such a fantastic evening.

Thanks to the generosity of the audience £100 was raised for the Bristol branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society who continue to raise funds to help local sufferers with respite care, adaptations, equipment and Research into the cause and cure of this debilitating illness.

Bristol branch are now producing a quarterly newsletter and if anyone would like a copy, please ring Marina Griffiths on 9828747.

Thank you Shirl and the Grainger Players for your continued support and for the work you do for the community.

Yours sincerely,
Barrie and Marina Griffiths

Contact made through web site

In last month's SHIRE we printed a letter from Christine Wreford (née Ellis) trying to locate James Clinton. Christine subsequently looked on our web site at, and discovered that two years ago her one time best friend Barbara had left a message looking for her. They have now made contact with each other, thanks to Shire on the Web. We have also recently received this letter:

"I placed a letter on your find a friend web site on 28th November 2001. Well thanks to you and a guy called Rich (who read your site) I have found my friend Jenny, after thirty years. Over the years I had used the Evening Post, broadcasting it on Radio Bristol to name but a few with no luck. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and every one responsible. Keep up the great work. I think you should advertise your site as a lot of people living in Shire know nothing about you. Just an idea, thank you again." - Doreen Dorrington, Ontario, Canada.

If you want to contact old friends, missing family members, or anyone with a Shirehampton connection, why not try an announcement on our web site. Send your request by email to, or leave a note addressed to 'Shire on the Web' at the Library. Please ensure that you leave contact details, preferably an email address, or a phone number, so that people can reply to you.

To see who else is looking for someone, type in your web browser and then click the CONTACT button at the bottom of the page, followed by the 'Find a Friend' link. There are about 20 messages there. It could be that someone is looking for you.

If you do not have a computer, you can access Shire on the Web at the Public Library.

Methodist Youth Club 1965

A re-union is to be arranged for April/May 2003. Anyone interested please contact Maureen Vowles (nee Knight) tel: 9832958 or Barbara Ann (nee Coombes) tel: 9822685.

Shirehampton Community Group Meeting

Minutes of the Shirehampton Community Group Meeting held in the Public Hall on Wednesday 27 November 2002.

The meeting was chaired by John Callaghan who welcomed those present John introduced Kate Pollard who talked about the 'Shirehampton Greens', assisted by Arthur Barker a local resident. Kate explained that as a Community Worker she began developing 'Volunteering Shire' in the summer of 2001, a neighbourhood volunteering scheme also addressing issues such as lack of youth activities, lack of leisure activities etc, but with an environmental component. A grant was received by BCC Sustainable Neighbourhoods in early 2002 of which £1,000 has been used to research and raise more funding. At this time Arthur Baker outlined his proposal for a Shirehampton Community Park and gave a presentation to Shire Community Action Forum in March. Interested people have met as a group known as Shirehampton Greens. The Community Park 'Vision' is 'for a park which serves everyone in the community. The Daisy Field and the adjacent allotments are the starting point for this evolving project. Input from everyone in Shire will be invited and plans will be in keeping with the Council's designation of the site as a green open space.'

The BCC Parks and Landscape Manager approved, in principle, the community park in June 2002 and the Shirehampton Greens have been involved in the Park and Ride Team's Lamplighters Marsh Environmental Study which recommends a community orchard, marsh draining and pond creation, and an adventure playground all of which fall in line with park proposals. In September Churngold awarded £5,000 to the community park. In October it was agreed by the Park and Ride Team that a yearly 'Friends of Lamplighters March' development meeting take place to include and involve local people. On 9 December Richard Fletcher, a Community Park Project Worker will be in post.

Various comments and issues were raised at the meeting requiring clarification of the proposal. The Shirehampton Greens are keen to get the whole community involved, especially schools who would be asked to help design and use the wildlife pond/area. John thanked Kate and Arthur for their presentation.

Shirehampton Swimming Pool

John introduced Cllr Pat Roberts who updated the meeting on the latest proposals/decisions. Having recapped on the history of the strategy on providing upgraded pool facilities in Bristol, and explaining that none of Bristol's pools were of the required standard hence the falling usage, Pat told of the all party research group of which she was a member and how they had visited all the Bristol pools and many outside of the area to understand what was required and where. Information was gained from various sources and the first Citizens' Jury to be held in Bristol also reported back. It was discovered that 'stand alone' pools are doomed to failure and pools need to be located in sports complexes, which offer many other facilities. They also need to be in the heart of a community where people are shopping, dropping children off at school, visiting libraries etc.

A new 50 metre pool at Hengrove was recommended in February 2002 and other areas in the city for new pools include Horfield where it will be part of the existing but upgraded leisure centre, Bishopsworth and possibly Redcatch Road (depending on how Hengrove performs), Easton and for Bristol North West either Henbury or Shirehampton. The working party recommended Shirehampton as the most suitable and convenient site provided the Portway Day Centre ground was purchased, but Helen Holland has made the decision that it should be at Henbury School site where funding has been approved for expansion and upgrading and would allegedly cost £3m less than providing a modern facility in Shirehampton. A meeting will be held on Tuesday 3rd December in the Council House when the decision will be announced.

Many people at the meeting were very upset at the news and planned to make their feelings known to Helen Holland. It was felt there was a very strong case for keeping a pool in Shirehampton because of its proximity to the main shopping area and heart of the village, as well as several local schools who use the pool, and in particular Portway School, which is a sporting centre of excellence.

Section Reports

a) Planning and Environment

Lamplighters Marsh - a letter of thanks was received from John Knight thanking SCG for support on concerns over the Lamplighters Marsh siren. Park & Ride a meeting on 1st October to report on Wessex Ecological Consultancy paper concerning proposals to improve the area through active management. A draft plan was discussed and when all comments are recorded and reviewed a plan will be finalised and circulated. The first phase will be implemented in the new year.

Public Footpath (PROW 54) - a proposal to divert this path, to improve the viewpoints across the river and to provide disability access.

Development of Savoy Cinema/Bingo Hall - the application for 38 flats and car parking is going through the judicial process before work can start. Flats next to Alldays - it is understood from a conversation with Ms Tucker that the plan for 22 flats and 17 parking spaces has been approved despite objections from residents living nearby that there were not enough parking spaces. However, they do comply with Government and Local Plan regulations.

Proposed road safety improvement for Shirehampton - a long letter sent by SCG will be taken into consideration along with all other comments received by the Council. Proposals will be made available for public consultation in due course.

Red Cross Shop - the application for change of use to an off licence has apparently been turned down.

Avon Barrage - there is still no proposal submitted but understood that three or four developers wish to build houses at Chapel Pill Farm - the advice is to keep our eyes open. There is literature on a proposed Avon Water Park - details of which will be in 'Shire'.

Kingsweston House - there is some concern about highway access from Shirehampton Road to the house restricting public access to the site. Further information is being sought.

General & Highways

Report given by John Callaghan in the absence of John Parsons.

Still no response from the Council regarding the missing 'finger' signs at Park Gates. John has written regarding poor lighting at the lower end of Passage Leaze. No response.

Three non-working lights reported and repaired since the last meeting.

The council has been contacted about the rubbish alongside the bingo hall and some has been removed but a refuse bin is still there. Complaints about the problem of pedestrians crossing the Portway at Hung Road lights - what about the provision of controlled crossing here. There is a bridge nearby but not friendly to people with disability/mobility problems. Some feedback of views is required.

The issue of Park and Ride signs on the motorway to be taken up by John.

Any other business

It was reiterated that John Parsons is serving on the committee of the SCG for his final year and unless other volunteers come forward the group will have to close due to lack of section leaders. This is the only local group that addresses planning issues and concerns over lighting and roads etc. in the village so if it is to continue volunteers must come forward now.

Donations at the last meeting totalled £8.58.

Date of next meeting Wednesday 29 January 2003.

The Mystery Cows

One night my Nan was baby sitting for me. She took me to bed and read me a story, and then we said goodnight. The next morning my Dad said: "I heard cows mooing last night." We both looked at each other and gasped "NO". We then opened the front door and could not believe our eyes. There were about 15 cows in the field next to our house. A couple of days later we were told that they had wandered out of their own field, which was five miles away, so the farmer had to come and collect them.

Mitchell Underwood - aged 7 3/4

Under-Stage Storage at the Public Hall

The Public Hall has just opened a new storage area under the stage. The work was funded by a grant from Bristol City Council. The existing area under the stage has been excavated to give enough height for people to move around easily, and access has been improved with a new stairway to the lower level. It is reached through a trapdoor at the front of the stage.

Our picture shows Kate Pollard, the Hall's Community Development Worker, opening the door to the new storage area. Kate has done a large amount of work liaising with the engineer and the builders. It was very difficult to find a design which met with the requirements of users, but was also practicable given the constraints of the   building. The building work was done by local builder Rob Armstrong.

The opening was on 29th November. This was a sad day for the Hall, because it also marked the end of Kate's period as Community Development Worker. Hall Association Chairman David Thomas presented Kate with a framed picture of the Hall to mark her very successful time in Shirehampton. Kate is now retiring and taking a well earned holiday to visit family in New Zealand. However, she will be back for a small amount of time each week in the Spring. She will be organising introduction to the internet classes with UK Online, which will be held in the Hall.

Shirehampton Craft Exhibition 2002

Picture a grey, wet November day (not difficult) and then imagine yourself entering our light and airy public hall to be greeted by a riot of colour and textures that would immediately brighten the darkest day, and you have this year's Craft Exhibition.

The eye was immediately drawn to the stage and a flurry of autumn leaves cascading to the floor, or at least that's what it felt like, they were so realistic in Janet Thomas' beautifully worked quilt. Autumn passed into Christmas with trees decorated with glass tree hangers or decorations made from dried fruits and seeds all executed by our young people - 178th Guides and 120th Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. The 191st Dixon Cubs displayed super decorated boxes depicting seasonal scenes and all this amidst an array of Christmas stockings that would excite the imagination of any child, more tree hangers in wire and beads, or plaster again made by the youngsters. Santas joined company with two Nativity scenes and an Advent Circle proclaimed the coming festivities.

With so many different skills on offer it's impossible to recount them all but they included a model of the clipper 'Priestess,' rugs, soft sculpture dolls, sugar flowers, delicately worked cross stitch pictures, pressed flower and Pergamano cards, crocheted blankets and a baby's shawl, a 1960s cocktail dress, fridge magnets, friendship sticks and jotter pads, cards and book marks. The latter four items were designed and made by 120th Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, 191st Dixon Cubs - these young people certainly worked hard.

Our old favourites the quilts, patchwork and wall hangings were up to their usual high quality of colour and design. The local lace-makers came up trumps again and the lace orchid was quite an eye catcher. Dick Helme's woodwork is another old faithful with several bowls and turned items available for sale and pieces of furniture that would grace the most elegant home. His piece de resistance this year was a 'love seat' made in oak and caused much comment and interest and obviously love was in the air because Roger Teague exhibited his garden furniture including a 'love nest' of two seats joined by a small table. Its sturdiness would challenge the worst elements. There was quite an ethnic feel to the pottery, with African figures and a raku glazed water jug. These were exhibited among the marquetry. Intarsia pictures, a matchstick model of a church and a child's smocked dress and the colour co-ordination of the whole demonstrated the care with which the entire exhibition was put together.

Photo: E Verey

Being Jubilee Year we were treated to a sumptuously dressed 'Royal' doll and commemorative cushions and St Mary's Church was well represented by the kneelers made by local people and the new Paschal Candle holder made by Dick Helme. How fitting that the parish should use local craftspeople to enhance its worship.

It was good to see Joanna Pickett at her spinning wheels, a tradition that we'd surely miss, and Pat Davison who demonstrated a variety of crafts such as encaustic (painting with moulded coloured wax), decoupage, stamping and tea bag folding. Before you reach for the Typhoo let me make it clear that this Victorian craft was used by nannies to keep their little darlings amused and consisted of folding into intricate designs, the pretty paper bags in which tea was delivered.

It would be no good producing all these marvellous crafts if they weren't displayed in a way that set them off and this is really an art in itself. Our Public Hall lends itself so well to this kind of exhibition but it takes an artistic eye to decide what should go where to best advantage. Well done to all the helpers and especially Ed and Gail Amphlett, who together have produced yet another stunningly successful Shirehampton Craft Exhibition.

Thank you one and all JH

For more pictures from the Exhibition Click Here

'Save the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves'

We have all heard the phrase 'save the pennies...' before but how many of us have actually sat down and thought that just even a little put by regularly can really add up?

Credit Unions are becoming the next 'big thing' in financial services - and this is because they work as financial co-operatives within the community, which means they are owned and managed by their members, and more importantly community led. They also allow local peoples' money to remain in the local economy resulting eventually in a more prosperous community.

Credit unions put people first and are local and personal. They encourage the value of voluntary and community development. In helping to encourage local economic regeneration they can help to address issues such as financial exclusion, which often leads to social exclusion and can empower individuals and local communities to take control of their financial services and personal financial destiny.

Based in areas known as common bonds, you can join a credit union providing you live or work within the common bond. And the good news is there is one already operating in our area! Severn Four Credit Union covers Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton, Sea Mills and Avonmouth and promotes the 'save to borrow' ethos.

Save with Severn Four Credit Union for thirteen weeks consecutively and you will be eligible to apply for a loan double the amount of your shares. When you repay a credit union loan the repayment schedule also pays a small proportion of money back into your shares, which means your savings are continually growing.

There are various ways to pay into your credit union, either by standing order, payroll deduction or visit a collection point where you can also speak to a representative of the organisation. Savings are called shares in credit unions because members' savings are pooled together in order to produce a surplus of funds to loan out to other existing members in the form of low cost loans. For example, a £300 loan from Severn Four Credit Union, repaid over one year will cost you £6.13 per week inclusive of interest. (Total interest is £18.70).

ARE CREDIT UNIONS LEGAL? Credit unions have to comply with the Credit Unions Act 1979. They are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and are audited annually. They have Fidelity Bond Insurance to cover against theft and fraud and also have a supervisory committee which keeps a track on the day-to-day running. Free Life Insurance on savings and loans is provided and paid for by Severn Four Credit Union. So, maybe it's time to join the 'money revolution' and see what everyone is talking about.

NEW COLLECTION POINT to be opened in Shirehampton at the Public Hall on Tuesday, 14th January at 10am-10.30am following on every Tuesday thereafter.

For further details about Severn Four Credit Union services and current collection points contact: Jane Windle-Hartshorn or Jan Clark (0117 904 2285) Severn Four Credit Union Ltd 112 Barrowmead Drive Lawrence Weston Bristol BS11 0JN e-mail:

Happy New Year from Avon Primary School

The children and staff, parents and friends of Avon Primary spent the last few weeks of last term in the usual busy round of concerts, parties and celebrations. Towards the end of November the pre-Christmas Bazaar was held, raising £515 for school funds and also a generous donation to Children in Need. Many thanks should go to all staff, parents and friends who helped, particularly Mrs Rose and party; and ex-pupil Nick Worthy who assisted Father Christmas to arrive in fine style of pony and trap!

The Infant and Junior Concerts were very well received and were performed to the usual high standard, focussing our attention on the Christmas story through two different versions of musical Nativity plays, music from recorders and drums and light-hearted Christmas songs. The collections taken will be donated to the NSPCC, which is the school's chosen charity for this academic year.

In addition to this the school musicians entertained the Portway Ladies Club, the PBA Retirement Association and local elderly homes. At the school's Gift Service the children brought gifts to be distributed to local elderly folk. Canon Christine Froude from St. Mary's Church assisted and gave the Blessing.

Headmaster, Duncan Jennings said, "Avon Primary School continues to place an appropriate emphasis on its fine musical tradition and giving the opportunity for all children to participate. At Christmas there is no better time for us to think of others, try to serve the community and work together with it. A great deal of hard work by our dedicated staff has enabled us to continue this tradition, despite the enormous demands placed on our schools at present."

Mrs Avis Cox

Sadly, last term one of the team of dinner ladies, Mrs Avis Cox, died after six months of illness. Her quiet, kind manner was so appreciated by the infant children and colleagues alike over the many years she worked at Avon Primary. A plaque has been placed in a special border, with plants donated by the children and parents, in memory of Avis, during a special ceremony led by Canon Christine Froude and attended by her husband and sons. A donation was also made to Cancer Research.

The Memorial Stone

The Memorial Stone, with Stonemason Mr David Ashwell on the Left

Have you seen the new Memorial Stone in the Garden of Remembrance at St Mary's? Soon it will bear the names of those whose ashes have been laid to rest in the lovely peaceful area. The garden is available for the loved ones of anyone who lives in Shirehampton or has connections with the area. The cost of internment is £125 and this includes an entry in the Memorial book in the Church where flowers can also be left. In addition the fee includes the engraving on the memorial stone of the name of the deceased person. Regretfully we cannot engrave names on the stone unless the remains are interred in the Garden but we are always happy to include names in the Memorial book for which there is a fee of £15. If you would like any more information about the Garden of Remembrance please contact me on 9855450.

With best wishes Canon Christine Froude

Proposed Avon Barrage

Readers will know about this proposal, as Brian Blandford wrote about it in a recent edition. Unsurprisingly, the people of Pill are very concerned as well, as the houses to be built to fund the barrage will be in their village. Councillor Pat Roberts, and Councillor Glyn Duck (North Somerset), have arranged a public meeting to discuss this, at St. Katherine's school in Pill. The provisional date is Wednesday 29th January at 7.30pm.

The Church of England Guild of Vergers

'What is a Verger and why do we need them?' some of you may ask. The office of Verger is an ancient one and the Verger's duties have developed over many centuries combining tasks which in earlier times were often carried out by several individuals. The title 'Verger' derives from the rod or verge (Latin Verga) which Vergers still carry in procession and which was originally needed to clear a path for the clergy.

Today's Vergers continue to have an important ceremonial role, management responsibility and care of people and a variety of other duties besides, including the behind-the-scenes management of worship and care of the vestments, plate and other valuable objects.

At a practical level Vergers will often bear the immediate responsibility for the care and security of the building, and particularly in many Parish Churches the presence of a Verger guarantees that the building can remain open outside service times as a place of prayer and of Christian witness to the local community.

Sadly earlier this year our Verger for many years - Tom Ruddock - died. Despite failing health he battled on bravely with his duties until shortly before his death. It then became necessary to appoint a successor. John Bull our Deputy Verger then took on the role of Verger and Jill Eynon was appointed Deputy Verger.

L to R Jill Eynon, Canon Christine, John Bull

Tuesday 22nd October 2002 was the date set aside for their formal admission into the Guild. Membership is open to all who carry out the duties of a Verger and associate membership is also available to other interested persons. It was thought what a wonderful idea it  would be to admit Canon Christine as an Associate Member. So at 7pm on that day John and Jill were admitted to the Guild as Full Members and Canon Christine as an associate member. This Order of Admission was in conjunction with a Service of Holy Communion conducted by Canon Christine. The Order of Admission was conducted by the Guild's Branch Chaplain - Colin Maggs who also preached the sermon. After the Service light refreshments were served to all present.


St Mary's News

Hi Folks!

A Happy New Year to you all - and it's a Happy New year for St Mary's too!

Following the completion of the re-ordering work at the west end of the Church building last month,  made us all realise how shabby the interior decoration looked. We were aware it was poor, but the new work has emphasised the fact. Anyway, the Parochial Church Council has grasped the nettle and agreed upon a programme whereby the complete Church is to be redecorated. The last time any work was done, was when we redecorated the Chancel and Sanctuary in time for the Church's 50th anniversary in 1980 - and this was done by ourselves! It is almost 40 years since it was give a complete redecoration. Anyway scaffolders will be coming in on 13th January, 2003 to erect their scaffolding - which will take about 4 days. We have been assured we will still be able to use the building for Services on Sunday and for Thursday Holy Communion as normal. The completion of the redecoration will be in time for the first Wedding Service of the year on Saturday 12th April 2003. During the time all this work is taking place we shall still be open each morning for tea and coffee using our new facilities at the west end of the Church. Finally, on this subject - I expect many of you are delighted once again to find the Churchyard path open between High Street and Pembroke Road - especially those who have wonky knees etc!!

On Saturday 7th December, 2002 - Canon Christine was present in the Church when we had our annual Gift Day. The appeal this year was for money towards the cost of new chairs. Each new chair for the Church will cost approximately £60. A sample chair was present for everyone to see and try. But what does this foretell? Longer sermons - because we can now sit in comfort or louder snores because we are too comfortable and have dropped off to sleep! Anyway, the appeal raised around £4,000 and with the re-claiming of the tax this will bring the total figure to around £6,000 which means we are just about half way already towards complete replacement of all our chairs. Canon Christine would like to express her very sincere thanks for everyone's generosity.

Whilst on the subject of funds our Christmas Fayre raised a total of £1800 which is very commendable considering it only covered a 2 hour period from 10 am until 12 noon. This money is to be used towards our 'wants' & 'needs' in the refurbished west end of the Church. Whilst on the subject of the Christmas Fayre, at the time of writing, there are a number of photographs of children, with Father Christmas, waiting to be collected from the back of the Church. If you haven't had yours, then this is where you will find it.

On Advent Sunday (1st December) we lit up a Christmas Tree referred to as a Tree of Light. On this tree, which is illuminated by small white lights, were hung over 300 small cards bearing the names of loved ones who have died over past years - an appropriate way of remembering those who can no longer be present with us at Christmas time. But this was not the only tree - we also had a traditional Christmas Tree with coloured lights - decorated most attractively again by Beryl and George White. For them, this is the time when they bring sandwiches into Church and have a picnic - because it is  a full day's work to decorate the tree and clear up afterwards - so many thanks again Beryl and George!

We also had a new Crib on display - superbly made by Ray Smith. Made in traditional fashion with a thatched roof, it took Ray many hours of patience to construct. I am reliably told he has used his skills so many times of late for the Church that he has now nick-named his workshop 'The Chapel'!! Many thanks Ray - your patience has been rewarded by the pleasure it has brought to so many. The figures in the Crib were expertly knitted and sewn together by Sheila Bubb who spent many hours making them. Sheila is a dear old lady and member of our congregation - she must be at least 35 years of age (again!) Don't hit me Sheila - I'm only joking - honest!

On Sunday 8th December 2002, we were privileged to dedicate our new Paschal Candle given in memory of Dot Knight by her daughter Maureen. Dot was a stalwart member of St Mary's for many years and also caretaker of the Church Centre. It was really a double celebration because at the same service Dot's great grandchild - Niamh was baptised - so it was a pleasure to have so many of her family with us that day. Many thanks Maureen for such a wonderful gift - it will be there for many generations to appreciate in the future.

On that same Sunday - during the afternoon - we had our annual Christmas Concert performed by the Shirehampton Area Choir. this concert raised just over £300 which was donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association. This is a terrible disease whereby all the nerve endings die and you virtually become imprisoned inside a non-functioning body. Thank you to all those who contributed that day.

Finally the Skittles Evening - held again at The Hallen Community Centre. The highest ladies' score went to Lilian Simmons - who recently sprained her ankle on holiday - there was certainly nothing wrong with her right arm that night! Highest men's score went to Tony Sawyer - our Church Treasurer. I think he thought he was knocking over piles of money and could keep what he knocked over! In the 'Knockout Competition' the highest score for the ladies went to Joy Webber - what can I say - nothing other than her skill was brilliant! Winner of the men's knock was Andrew Eynon - trained by me on a diet of Guinness & Bass, which meant he was able to see 18 pins instead of 9 after a while! Thanks again must go to Nan & Bernard Waller who arranged the evening and the refreshments. Bernard told me that when he first organised a Skittles Evening there were just 27 participants - this one totalled 68 - so it goes to show what a popular event this has become. Thank you both once again.

Well, that's it for this month - hopefully the article on the St Mary's Vergers will appear in this month's edition of Shire - apparently there was insufficient space last month. Also last month there was a printing error which referred to my wife as Sue and not Jill. Now everyone wants to meet my new wife and what have I done with the old one? Well, the old one is still here - I can't get a good price for her - so she'll have to stay!! So come on 'Shire Printers' make it a New Year Resolution to proof read the articles!

Bye for now


(We do our best! We are sorry that your wife was renamed! Ed.)

St Mary's Church Centre

Some of you may have heard that we have been approached by the NHS who wish to purchase the site of the Church Centre. They plan to build a New Primary Care Trust Building to replace Shirehampton Health Centre as well as offering additional facilities to people in the area. The land owned by St Mary's is adjacent to the existing health centre and although the NHS have been looking at other possible locations this is their preferred site. Nothing will be happening immediately as obviously the sale is subject to an agreed price being reached as well as planning permission being sought and public consultations taking place. However St Mary's PCC have given their agreement in principle to selling, and negotiations are taking place. We will keep you informed of developments as they occur.

The Rev. Canon Christine Froude.

Christmas Showtime

Photo: E Verey

The latest offering from the Grainger Players could have been advertised with that well-known phrase "Buy one, get one free" because that is what we really had - two shows for the price of one. The first part was billed as "Snow White and the Misfit Dwarfs", and told us the story of Snow White with one slight variation on what we normally expect, the biggest diversion being caused by two "aliens from outer space", who did their hilarious best to help the proceedings along, finally getting Prince Charming to come to the rescue. All the characters played their parts well, the costumes and outfits were really colourful and impressive, and the scenery just fitted the action perfectly.

The second half of this Christmas Showtime was given over to songs and fun, with plenty of seasonal song for the audience to join in, helped by the innovation of having the words projected onto a screen. There were several solos and whole cast numbers, with comedy being supplied by tow characters call Fric and Frak and someone who had a distinct resemblance to the producer trying to keep them in order. Again all the costumes were very colourful and the whole evening had a definite Christmas feeling about it and was a very enjoyable way to get us in the mood for the festivities ahead.

There is always a serious side to these shows of course, with proceeds being donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the exact figure raised will be reported elsewhere. Thanks to all the cast, the pianist, back room staff, all the unseen helpers and of course the producer for another enjoyable evening's entertainment.


Portway Community School

Autumn Term PE Department Success Stories

Year 7 & 8 boys and girls Cross Country teams reached Bristol Schools' finals.
Claire Rowbotham (Year 7) 1st Junior Girl in Cross Country finals, Simon Knight (Year 8) 2nd Junior Boy.
Claire Rowbotham, Simon Knight and Elisha Greenslade (Year 10) selected for Avon Schools' Cross Country Squad from Bristol Schools' Championships.

Danny Williams reaches final trial for Bristol Schools' Rugby team and attends Bristol Shoguns Academy, also coaches Year 7 rugby team.
Simon Knight, George Brimson and Scott Bamford sign associated schoolboy forms with Bristol Rovers F.C.
Year 9 football team reach 3rd round of National Ketchup Cup.
Year 7 Netball team reach final of Bristol Schools' Netball Competition v. St. Bernadettes.

Year 7 boys Rugby team reach semi-final of Bristol Schools' Competition v. Whitfield School.

The Friends of Portway Christmas Appeal 2002

We know that readers will be pleased to hear that our Annual Christmas Appeal, culminating with a Fair held at the school on Saturday, 23rd November, has once again proved successful. Seasonal music provided by the School Band heralded the arrival of Santa Claus who formally opened the Fair and scores of children, parents and grandparents filled the hall, each one seeking a Christmas bargain. Many children quickly made a beeline to Father Christmas and submitted their Christmas orders.

As the organisers and promoters, the Friends of Portway are acutely aware of the wide support the event needs and receives to guarantee its success. The head teacher, colleagues, students, musicians and the caretaker, all gave of their valuable time. In addition a multitude of Shirehampton people supported the event as customers and everyone enjoyed it.

Also, many companies, organisations and individuals provided generous donations, raffle prizes and personal help. We now take great pleasure in  recording publicly our sincere thanks to all of the following:
Asda Walmart, Autoparts, Avonmouth Workmen's Club, Bobbetts Fruiterers, Boots the Chemist, Bristol Port Company, Bristol Shoguns, Bristol City Football Club, Britannia Zinc, Co-op Supermarket, Roy Dacombe, Maisie Drake, Elizabeth Anne Flowers, Flowerworld, The George Inn, Hawkins newsagent, The Lamplighters Inn, Marjorie Macartney, Maynews, Gabrielle Murtagh, Jean Nurse, Andrew Pinn Optometrist, Portway School Music Department, Rodaways Estate Agents, Sea Mills Post Office, Dave Sealy, Pat & Denys from Shindigs, Cheryl & Kelvin Smith, Somerfield Supermarket, 'Shire' Community Newspaper, Shire Hardware, Shirehampton Village Bakery, the staff at Taylors, Tesco Golden Hill, Pete & Dianne West, W & B Butchers and Bristol Zoological Gardens.

From the Committee of The Friends of Portway Community School.

(Next year's Fair will be held on Saturday, 22nd November 2003).

Advertising on the Web

Did you know that you can advertise your business on the Internet on SHIRE's own website, A simple one page advert, which can include colour and pictures, costs only £15 in the first year, and £10 for each year afterwards. The site is visited by about 400 people every month. If your business already has its own web site, we can put in a link for £10 for a whole year.

To visit Shire on the Web, just type in the address window of your computer's browser. The adverts are in the section marked 'Businesses', in the menu at the bottom of the page. To advertise, please email, or ring Arjuna Krishna-Das on 0117982 0690.


The Group will be holding an A.G.M. on 8th January, 2003, at Avonmouth Community Centre. Everybody concerned about our local environment and interested in our fascinating wildlife is welcome to come along. The meeting starts at 7pm.

Shirehampton Community Action Forum - New Year Update

Happy New Year!

The Full Forum held its ninth Meeting on the 28th November, and the action groups continue to work on a wide number of issues as outlined below….

1. Community Safety

· Community Safety Audit - researching new funding sources
· RadioNet for the High Street
· Still monitoring opportunities to apply for Youth Inclusion Programme for Shire
· Overview of current crime situation & latest crime figures

2. Housing

· 20th November saw the Fourth Ridge Residents Meeting - informal drop-in session for residents to talk directly to reps from BCC Area Housing Office, Housing Associations, Police and Local Councillors.
· Next Shire Residents Meeting is planned for late January - it will be held as usual at Penpole Tenants Association (60 The Ridge) but it will be open to all Shire residents - posters will be circulated two weeks before the event.

3. Youth Support

· Youth Questionnaire completed and full report available - further street surveys are planned by Baptist Church Youth Workers Team in the near future
· Youth café. Still hoping to open early this year.
· Working with Portway School & Police on Truancy issues
· Events sub group that organised "The Great Shire Youth Litterthon" is looking to put on another event - in partnership with Portway School - in early Spring
· Found funding to support Shire Health Centre's Health Visitor's Team set up parenting courses

4. Chairs/Development Action Group

· Memorandum and Articles of Association have been agreed as well as additional rules. These have been ratified by the Full Forum.
· The group is delighted that currently 7 people from the local community/working in Shire have come forward to be Trustees. Anyone else interested - please contact Ash directly - we are still looking for a Treasurer……....
· Working on producing a comprehensive Business Plan - that will include a 3/5 year funding strategy - in the meantime a few select funding applications have been made

5 Environment/"Shire Greens"

· Welcome to Richard Fletcher, the new Community Park Project Development Worker who started on 9th December (part time), he is based at the Public Hall, and can be contacted on 982 9963.

If you would like more information about the Forum, or the work of any of the action groups please contact Ash Bearman, Community Development Officer at Shire Public Hall on 982 9963