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What's On In January

Further Travels

Christmas Lights

Public Hall Clock

St Mary's News

What's On In Shire

Avon Primary School Netball Team

Avon Primary School Netball team has been enjoying the success of winning two High Five netball tournaments held at Portway Community School in November. In the first competition the team beat 3 other schools in the area to gain first place without conceding a single goal.

The second tournament saw Avon playing teams from across Bristol who also held first place in their local competitions. In this group they won each match before being held to a draw against Bishop Road Primary, resulting in first place being shared between the schools.

Avon Netball team were extremely proud to receive their winners trophy and certificates.

Miss C. Foote and Mrs Hills.

It's Good News

For those wanting advice, whether on benefits or other matters, your free local service will soon be back in business. From Wednesday February 4th the drop-in service provided by Avon (University Settlement) Community Association will again be available at 115 High Street. And from then on, two days a week, Wednesday & Thursday from 9.30 hrs to 11.30 hrs.

What's On In January

JANUARY 1st Thursday NEW YEAR'S DAY Public Holiday. The Library will be closed.

JANUARY 2nd Friday COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10.30 a.m. - 12 noon
JANUARY 2nd Friday weekly EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
JANUARY 2nd Every Friday BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30 p.m. - 8.30 p.m.

JANUARY 4th Sunday BAPTIST CHURCH SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45 p.m.

JANUARY 5th Monday each week "SEE & KNOW" for under 5's at St. Mary's Church Centre 1.15 p.m. - 2.45 p.m.
JANUARY 5th Monday weekly SEQUENCE DANCE 7.15 p.m. - 9.15 p.m. at the Public Hall
JANUARY 5th Mondays weekly 3 of Us BINGO at St. Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth 1.15 p.m. - 2.45 p.m.
JANUARY 5th Monday FREE BASIC LITERACY CLASSES at Lawrence Weston. Tel 9038824 for details.

JANUARY 6th Tuesday weekly THE TEA JUNCTION at St. Mary's, Tea, Chat, Board Games 3.30 p.m.
JANUARY 6th St Andrew's Ladies Club meets at St. Andrew's CHURCH Hall, for a Beetle Drive at 7.30 p.m.
JANUARY 6th Tuesday CARERS CLUB at the Avonmouth Medical Centre 10 a.m. - 12 noon.

JANUARY 7th Wednesday weekly at 2.30 p.m. THE BRIGHT HOUR at the Baptist Church, Station Road.
JANUARY 7th Wednesday every week BINGO at the Tythe Barn 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
JANUARY 7th Wednesday ARTHRITIS CARE 7 p.m. at the Jim O'Neil House
JANUARY 7th Wednesday weekly G.L.U.E. YOUTH GROUP for Secondary School children 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. CONTACT Nick or Lucy 9382660.

JANUARY 8th Thursday STORY TIME at St. Mary's each week for pre-school children 2 p.m.
JANUARY 8th Thursday SHIREHAMPTON'S TOWNSWOMEN'S  GUILD 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall
JANUARY 8th Thursday weekly BINGO or a SPEAKER 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Tythe Barn.

JANUARY 9th Friday weekly FRIDAY FUN at the Beachley Walk Centre for Mothers, Carers and Pre-School Children 9.30 a.m. - 11.30 a.m.

JANUARY 11th Sunday 10 a.m. COMMUNION SERVICE at St. Mary's a SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER will be in attending.

JANUARY 15th Thursday TEA DANCE at the Methodist Church Hall, Sea Mills 2.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. Admission 1 David Storey at the organ.

JANUARY 18th Sunday Church of England SERVICE at the Cotswold Community Centre at 4.45 p.m.

JANUARY 20th Tuesday RAILWAY MODELLERS meet at 7.30 p.m. at the Public Hall.
JANUARY 20th Tuesday St. Andrew's LADIES CLUB meets at 7.30 p.m. in St. Andrew's Church Hall to hear Sergeant Pete Sweet talk about the Police Helicopter.

JANUARY 21st Wednesday WOMEN'S INSTITUTE 7.30 p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall.

JANUARY 30th Friday SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre 7.30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Mistakes

We apologise for a number of mistakes in the last issue, we do try but sometimes the gremlins are too clever for us!

School Term Dates

School begins on Monday 5th January 2004Half term is from 16th February - 20th FebruaryTerm ends on Friday 2nd April 2004School begins on Monday 19th April 2004Half term is from 31st May - 4th JuneTerm ends on Friday 16th July.

Shirehampton WI

It is with regret we have to announce that the W.I. held their last meeting on December 17th 2003.

M.L. Oliver (President)

St Andrew's Ladies' Club Programme

6th Jan Beetle Drive
20th Jan Sgt Pete Sweet, talk on Policehelicopter at work
3rd Feb Bernard Trapp, Trans Siberian Railway
17th Feb Ann McDougal, W.I.
2nd March Merle Summer, Travels with my Teddy Bear
16th March Charity Bring and Buy Auction
30th March Mr Bowden, Normandy Campaign Please note the extra meeting in March
6th April No Club meeting
20th April Sue Dainton, Body Shop

Meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth at 7.30 pm

Dear Editor

We were very interested to read the letter from John Mitchell in New Zealand. If he is in touch with you again could you let him know that my sister still lives in his old house, 36 Park Road, which my father, Pat Brearley, bought from Mr M (Fred) and subsequently sold to my sister Ann and her husband, Norman.

Ann and Norman drove Fred to Southampton to take the ship to New Zealand to join John and his family in about 1963. Tell him the old shaped hedge only disappeared a couple of months ago when Ann decided to make the front garden more manageable.

We would love to hear from him, he will know Ann's address. I'm Mollie Young and live at 8 Trinder Road, Easton in Gordano, BS20 0LX.

Regards, Mollie

What's On

If any of the entries in 'WHAT'S ON IN SHIRE' are wrong please let us know so that they can be amended.Would secretaries of clubs please let us know of their future programmes so that they can be included in our 'What's On'.

Ada Jane French

It is with deep regret that I announce the death of my mother, Ada Jane French (formerly Wilkinson) born Ada Jane Brooks of No. 7 Bradley Crescent. Her death on 11th November only months from making her 100th was on her father's birthday with whom she is now buried, as was her wish.

Unfortunately our beloved daughter Marilyn died on the 2nd February and although suffering from cancer supported both me and mum throughout her illness from 1998. November '99 she was in New Zealand visiting my brother Raymond thinking she had overcome breast cancer with Radio and Chemotherapy when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Being a non-smoker I was shocked.

Thanks to the support of St. Peter's Hospice I have only in the last 3 months become completely house bound. My once weekly days of enjoying different craftwork with Elizabeth our volunteer helper and teacher enhanced life enormously. If only I had done likewise earlier for companionship rather than sit in a smokey Bingo Hall for entertainment! who knows what I may have accomplished!.

However I have 12 lovely Grandchildren, 4 Great Grandchildren (2 being delightful twin girls) and so many happy memories of childhood in Shire and Severn Beach where I was born.I awoke at 3am today in a clear frame of mind thinking the Service I had arranged at St. Mary's for mum might have been better attended if I had not been very ill at the time and able to let friends know.

My youngest daughter Kate has been caring for me and for 2 months was in and out of Southmead as well as  trying to support mum after a heart attack. Up till then mum was absolutely blooming in health.On having to list the Sister and Parents of mum in the grave I was bemused by the fact that Grandad was 72 when he died in '47 and Gran 71 in '35!  so there were 'toy boys" then!!!

New Year's Greetings to all who remember me as Eileen Wilkinson.

Eileen TreziseTel: (9508790). Thank you for your generous donation. Ed.

Good Afternoon!

I wondered if you would like to print the attached photograph from the Junior Section of the Shirehampton Park Golf Club. The photograph shows the inaugral winners of the 'Mike Cleverley Salver', presented to the Junior Section by the current Club Captain, Mike Cleverely.

Left to right: Isaac Kim, Danielle Luff and Club Captain Mike Cleverley

This will be an annual competition played for by the Junior Members - of which we have a full membership of seventy local boys and girls.

For anyone interested in becoming a playing member at the Golf Club, we do have a number of current vacancies for Lady and Gentlemen Members, and there will be a limited number of vacancies for Junior Members in April, 2004. Details can be obtained by telephoning the Managing Secretary at the Club, Mr. Adrian Hobbs, on 9822083.

Vincent A. Gorny (Director).

Further Travels

Casablanca, Fez, Rabat and Marrakesh, what romantic sounding names they are. 'Casablanca' with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and 'Play it again Sam'. There is a bar called 'Rick's Bar' in a hotel in Casablanca where the waiters wear a trench coat and fedora, the film was actually shot in Hollywood.

I wonder how many of you remember it or 'The Road to Morocco' with Bob Hope and was it Dorothy Lamour? Well I was briefly in both Casablanca and Rabat a couple or so months ago, both of them very large cities and like cities everywhere there were good parts and poor parts.

The Ait Benhaddon Casbah, with swollen river in the foreground

There is an enormous modern mosque in Casablanca with part of it built over the sea with a glass floor to see the waters underneath. The area outside it is huge and will accommodate many thousands of people. It was in Casablanca during World War Two that Churchill met with Franklin Roosevelt.

Rabat is unique in Morocco in that no hustlers are allowed on the streets. It was in Rabat that I met a beautiful, charming teenage girl on her way to school with her friends, we had quite a little conversation - in French (!) - as we went down the road to the railway station and I discovered that it was her birthday.

We parted with a hug and good wishes each to the other.In Fez we went to the Souks which covered many acres, and by the end I felt as if I had walked every square inch of them. The alleys are quite narrow so there is no transport for people, goods are carried on donkeys which have thick material strapped over their backs, and shouts of 'Balak' - 'Mind you backs, donkeys coming' reverberate round the souk.

The donkeys have priority, and on one wall at a crossroads, or should it be 'crossalleys' there was a one way arrow that applied to the donkey traffic. The souks are divided into areas of commodities so that there is fruit in one area for instance, slippers in another, leather goods in another, and believe me I'll never forget the smell of the tannery, and so on.

There are communal bakeries where the inhabitants take the bread they have made to be baked, quite young children can be seen balancing the trays on their heads. Going through a door in one alley, which I must say did not look too promising, we found ourselves in a restaurant with richly carved and decorated cedar wood from floor to ceiling. The food was delicious too.

I had long had a yen to go to Marrakesh. Why? A mixture of reasons I guess. Anyhow there I was, absolutely entranced by the red of the buildings, the Atlas mountains in the background and the throngs of people in the square called the Djemaa El Fna where later in the day the whole town seemed to be eating out.

The subtropical Majorelle Gardens are beautiful, they are so tranquil, truly a haven of peace; they are now owned and maintained by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and must give pleasure to many.We went up the Atlas Mountains en route for Ouarzazate, after a very short while it started to pour with rain so that it wasn't easy to see the Berber villages that we were passing.

Finally after zig-zagging up the mountains for several hours we came to a bridge that had been partially washed away. Queues formed at each end, some vehicles turned down a pretty ropey looking track but our coach driver decided that he could make it over the bridge which was actually under water. We made it! But the cases in the bottom of the coach got wet so it shows that the water was quite deep!

On we went hoping to go to a casbah which meant crossing a stream on stepping stones, yes you've guessed, the stream was a whirling torrent! No casbah. Nothing daunted the leader said there was another one we could go to, as it was by this time getting dark I think a number of people were getting less enthusiastic about it, (me included) there were rumblings of dissent! However, when we did arrive at the casbah and tumbled wearily out of the coach I think we all agreed that it had been worth it.

Next day the sun was shining, the sky was blue, it was perfect. After a stop off at a fossil factory, and passing the studios where such films as 'Lawrence of Arabia' was made we sallied forth on the return journey. We were looking forward to seeing some spectacular views and we did until we went round the other side of the mountains into thick fog.

I'm glad that we had such a good driver because there were some very steep drops and quite a few vehicles coming in the opposite direction. Then it was back to our hotel in Marrakesh to pack for home.

Christmas Lights

Even before this year's lights are taken down we have started planning for next year. This year we were able to put up Christmas Trees in the brackets above many of the shops for the first time for many years and one of the things we are trying to do for next year is to get rid of gaps where there are no lights at all.

These gaps have proved very difficult to close. Last year we wrote to the managers and to the Head Offices of William Hill, Natwest Bank, Woolworths, Shoe Fayre, Blockbuster, Lloyds Bank, Boots, the Co-op, Somerfield and Lloyds Chemists, but we had not even an acknowledgement from any of them. We wrote again this year with hardly any better result. the exception was Somerfields who this year were very helpful.

Since we are all volunteers who do this in their spare time we were not able to do any more to encourage co-operation, and as a result these stores again have no lights. Now on Tuesday December 2nd the Lights Committee met in the High Street for a photo opportunity arranged by the Co-operative Community Dividend group. We were photographed against the lights with Tony Garland, the manager of the Shirehampton Co-op, holding a plaque showing that the Dividend Group had made a donation towards the lights. Many people haven't heard of this group and what they do.

If you have a Co-op dividend card, every time you buy something in the shop you earn a small dividend which is paid out at the end of the year. When anyone shops in the co-op without a card the dividend due goes into the Community development fund. Over a year many thousands of pounds go into this fund and every year a Committee invites organisations with strong community connections to apply for grants from this fund.

This year as we reported in an earlier edition of Shire our application was successful and we were granted 500 towards the Christmas lights.We have just heard from several sources that some people have been complaining it is most unfair that, having made a generous donation, the Shirehampton Co-op has no Christmas lights on the store.

The fact is that the lights were offered two years running but we had absolutely no answer at all from Head Office to our letters. We do not know why we were not given the courtesy of a reply, but sadly such things happen more and more these days when you write to big organisations. However from various sources we think that the answer may lie several years in the past when the shop did put lights up on the flat roof only to have them vandalised by young people climbing on the roof at night.

Understandably the management, concerned about being sued had anyone been hurt, decided that enough was enough and that they would not in future have any more to do with Christmas lights. We quite sympathise with their decision. However the grant of 500 had nothing at all to do with this branch of the Co-op.

Even so after the photo shoot last week we had the chance to talk at length to Tony Garland and we hope that through the good offices of the Community development fund we may all be able to work out a plan for next year.

All the Committee hope that this year's bigger display has been well received and in the next edition of Shire we hope to be able to thank all the many people who have helped us throughout the year.

Christmas Lights - An Appreciation

What a vast difference there was to Shirehampton this year with all the trees and lights, it really did look festive and pretty.

The Christmas Lights Committee is to be congratulated on their efforts and the results of their labours as are the traders, without whose co-operation much of it would have been impossible, and those people who supported the committee with donations in the collection boxes on the shop counters.

It's also nice to see the houses that have also entered into the spirit of Christmas with some very splendid displays.

Congratulations to one and all!

Library News

We hope all our readers had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. We look forward to seeing and assisting you in 2004.

Eileen, Marilyn, Lyn and Liz

Station Road Car Sales

For those of you who are fed up with the activities of the car showroom in Station Road, here is some news about what the council has been doing about the situation.

A number of people have complained to me about the cars with 'For Sale' notices parked on the street as if the whole area is a car showroom. This breaks the car parking regulations on the road, but as soon as a parking attendant shows up all the offending cars are suddenly driven away. They reappear when the parking attendant goes away.

The irony is that this car sales site did NOT have planning permission.People have been very angry about this problem so I asked a number of pointed questions about this at the last council meeting. Council officers have assured me:

  • That a small team of car parking attendants would target this car showroom's blatant disregard of the parking regulations
  • That planning permission for car sales on the site would  be granted but with STRICT conditions limiting the number of cars on site (granted 3.12.03)
  • Breaching the strict conditions will result in fines. The fines increase dramatically if they are ignored.
  • A condition of any new planning permission would be that the owner will have to build a proper boundary wall.

The council could have refused planning permission altogether but the legal process to force the site to close down would take forever. So at last something is being done about this car showroom's blatant disregard of the double yellow lines. But we need to keep an eye on this.

Let me know what you think and I will take this case further with the council if the improvements aren't maintained.

Pat Roberts, City Councillor (Labour), Avonmouth Ward.

PS: Crossing the Portway. A minor point, but it has irritated many people, the traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossing on the Portway and Woodwell Road has had the waiting time shortened.

It should now go green when you press the button. Try it and let me know.

Retired & Senior Volunteer Programme

Tea dance, Sea Mills Methodist Church, Thursday, January 15th 04, 2.30 to 4.30. David Storey on the organ. Entrance fee 1.

CLIC

May we thank all our customers and what must be the best group of volunteers ever, anywhere, for their continued support of CLIC.Nice one girls!Happy New Year to everyone.

Best wishes, Beccie and Sue.

Obituary

Ruby Marlow Curtis (Dickens) 1st August 1916 - 11th November 2003Marilyn and Tony would like to thank family, friends, neighbours and Marilyn's colleagues for their cards, messages of condolence and flowers.It was a great comfort to us to receive so many.

Thank you to everyone who attended the funeral at Canford. Thank you also for the donations that have been sent to St Peter's Hospice.Our thanks to Richard, David and Joan of Stenner and Hill for their support and guidance.Our special thanks to Rev Canon Christine Froude for her support, her prayers and kind words.

Our mother will be missed greatly by her family and friends, but what we will miss and always remember was her lovely smile.

Marilyn Gorry. Thank you for your donation to 'Shire' funds. Ed.

To Shire News

On visiting my sister for a pre Christmas Greetings, I noticed how lovely the CLIC shop window is looking. How wonderful the staff who are volunteers give up their spare time to achieve this lovely sight.

The manager must be very proud of the volunteers. Well done.

Mrs Greenaway (OAP) Ipswich.

Public Hall Clock

You have probably noticed that for the last few months the clock at the Public Hall appears to have stopped. In fact it is keeping excellent time, it's just that the hands have stopped going round! The basic mechanism is working, and the bells are ringing on the hour and every quarter, but there is a fault in the drive to the public clock faces, and some of the hands have seized up.

The Public Hall Clock            Photo: A.J.Nicholls

The Public Hall is celebrating its centenary this year. The clock was installed when the building was erected, so it is also a hundred years old. It was built by Kemp Brothers of Union Street, Bristol. This firm is still in Union Street, but is now a jewellers shop. It no longer builds or maintains public clocks.There has been a series of problems with the clock over recent years. We believe that some work was done between 10 and 15 years ago, funded with the assistance of Avon (University Settlement) Community Association.

Further problems arose in 1995, when a hand fell off one of the faces and there were faults in the clock mechanism. These were addressed by a large amount of voluntary work by David Tudor of the Public Hall Committee, but there was also some expenditure. In 1997 there was an electrical fault repaired, but there was a further electrical fault in 1999. David Tudor has also carried out a large amount of routine maintenance work.

The Public Hall Association wish to mark the Hall centenary with appeals for a number of items. Shire has already had details of the proposed refurbishment of the balcony seats. However, the biggest project is the restoration of the clock. They hope to restore it to full working order, in a state which will give many years of trouble-free running.

The Clock Mechanism         Photo: A.J.Nicholls

The Association has commissioned a report from a specialist horological engineer. He says that the clock is a substantial, well built and historical machine, which is capable of giving many more years of useful service to the local community. However, it needs a major restoration if these years of future service are to be achieved. The total cost of restoration will be about 10,000. The Hall Association cannot raise all of this money from a single source. However, they have already been promised 1,000 from the Community Awards advertised recently in SHIRE.

The Association is applying to grant giving bodies for a large grant to cover the major part of the cost. However, they are more likely to succeed if they can show that there is strong local support for the project. They would therefore welcome donations.

Please send any contributions to Jeanette Cossey at the Hall, marked 'Clock Fund Appeal'.In conjunction with the work on the clock, the Association hopes to involve local people in the history of the clock and the building. They are looking for people who have memories of the Hall, and photographs, programmes and so on of events which took place there.

They got off to a good start in November. Jeanette Cossey organised a session, attended by 20 people, many of whom brought along their own memories of the Hall. One lady had attended school there in 1918, when it was used as an overflow for the National School (now the Snooker Club).

If you have any memories of the Hall, please contact Jeanette Cossey at the Hall, on 0117 982 9963.

Wedding Anniversaries

After a family discussion on this subject, there were several diverse views. We found the following list useful. Perhaps others would find the following list useful:

Years Anniversary
1 Paper
2 Cotton
3 Leather
4 Silk
5 Wood
6 Iron
7 Bronze
8 Electric
9 Ceramic
10 Tin
11 Steel
12 Linen
13 Lace
14 Ivory
15 Crystal
20 China
25 Silver
30 Pearl
35 Coral
40 Ruby
45 Sapphire
50 Golden
55 Jade
60 Diamond

240,000 Boost for Local Rail Passengers

Thousands of passengers who use the local rail service from Bristol Temple Meads via Shirehampton to Severn Beach are to benefit from a 240,000 funding commitment. The announcement comes as passenger numbers are at an all time high, since comparable records began in 1981.

The extra money is part of an interim agreement between Bristol City Council and Wessex Trains, which has been set up to meet a funding shortfall on the line, until the new Greater Western franchise is let in 2006. Although the council's current contract expires in March 2004, it has agreed to provide an additional 120,000 a year over 2 years, to maintain the weekday hourly frequency.

Without council support, off-peak services would be cut by half and passengers would have to wait two hours between trains.Performance targets for the operator will be added into the new agreement, which they must meet in order to receive the full amount of support.

The targets are linked to reliability and punctuality and, if met, will provide more benefits for passengers. Supporting the Severn beach line is part of the council's integrated Local Transport Plan, to encourage travel by alternative means to the car. The service also meets the council's objectives for socially inclusive transport.

Anne White, Executive member for the Environment, Transport and Leisure commented: 'We know the service is popular and our further funding for two years will ensure customers continue to benefit from hourly weekday services.We hope the new performance targets which have been agreed with Wessex trains will further improve the service for passengers and encourage even more people to travel by train'.The new contract for the Severn Beach line train service will start from 1st April 2004.

'History of the Public Hall' Project

On behalf of the hall Association I would like to thank everyone who came along to the 'History' Afternoon at the Public Hall.It was a very enjoyable occasion with past residents from as far afield as Surrey attending and meeting up with old friends. We even had one lady, now in her nineties who could remember her school days in the hall.

As a result of the event more items have been donated to our collection. However there are still plenty of gaps in our history including the renowned Bernwell Dances and their bands, so if you have any stories relating to the hall or photographs you can loan we would love you to get in touch.

We would also welcome your suggestions about how we proceed and what you would like to happen in 2004. An exhibition over a couple of days, a reunion of some kind and a book are some of the suggestions.

If you are interested or willing to help us with this project please contact Jeanette Cossey, Hall Administrator Shirehampton Public Hall Tel 9829963.The history file along with the collection of photographs of Prince Edwards' visit will be in the library for public viewing the week commencing Monday January 12th.

St Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Happy New Year to you all. I expect for the majority of us it's waistlines fatter & purses thinner and we all have to face reality once more now that all the festivities are over.Before we put Christmas behind us, I must say a big thank you to Nick Broad for providing us with the lights to illuminate the exterior of the church building - we received many favourable comments.

Having said that I cannot miss also congratulating all our shop traders who did so much to make our village look so attractive this year - a complete turn around from the recent past.Our Xmas Food Fayre raised over 2,000 - much of it due to our Church Warden Gill Sawyer burning the midnight oil and even 3am oil! Without her hard efforts the Fayre would never have been the success it turned out to be.

Thank you Gill! The sale of our 'home produced' Christmas cards also raised over 650 - another of Gill Sawyer's 'cottage industries'.I am delighted to tell you that all the new oil candles for our eight candelabras have been fully subscribed. Thank you to those people who have given them in memory of loved ones. At the same time thanks must also be given to everyone who has given gifts of cash or individual items recently - your generosity is almost beyond belief.

Our 'Welcome Corner' at the west end of the church now has a new set of 'corner pattern chairs' and a table. This was purchased with money from the profits at the Harvest Supper/Barn Dance. The seats are blue in colour to match the other seats in the worship area and are very comfortable to sit in.By the time you read these notes the new Memorial Chapel will be almost complete. An altar table has been very kindly given, but may not be in place until mid January. Very many thanks are due to the lady donor!

Bishop Mike (Bishop of Bristol) paid his first visit to St Mary's in November when he conducted our Confirmation Service. We had confirmation candidates from Sea Mills, Henbury, Stoke Bishop, Henleaze, Westbury-on-Trym, Almonsbury and other churches in the Bristol West Deanery. Every seat we could muster was taken - we estimate the congregation totalled somewhere around 430 people.

Our Skittles Evening was again a resounding success. A good fun evening - which raised the sum of 157 which was donated to the Centre for the Deaf. Thanks once again to Nan & Bernard Waller who organised the event. Now for the bad new - Nan & Bernard feel that due to ill health and advancing years they are now going to give up organising any future Skittles Evenings. 'Oh no!' I hear you saying.

But now for the good news - Richard and Jane Powell have very kindly agreed to take over the mantle from Nan & Bernard - so there will be future Skittles Evenings after all! 'Hooray' I hear from the enthusiastic supporters (including yours truly). Thank you Richard and Jane - you've got some high standards to keep up with. Before leaving the subject of the deaf, may I also remind you Jane regularly, each month, 'signs' the morning service for the deaf and hard of hearing. Look on the Notice Board for the dates.

Now the juicy bits - the results of the Skittles Evening. Highest Ladies Score - Jane Powell (that name seems very familiar - there could be a fiddle somewhere here - as husband Richard keeps the scores on the Score Board - talk about keeping things within the family! Highest Men's Score - David Froude (husband of Canon Christine), much extra praying obviously achieves results!!!)

Finally, the Knock Out Competition - Ladies' Winner - Veronica Fowler and Men's Winner - Derek Ford. Congratulations to all the winners.Our Christmas Tree was again decorated by Beryl and George White - thank you both once again for making it look so attractive.

Food and Fellowship Lunch. Left to right: Helpers Jill Eynon, Gill Sawyer and Beryl White

Our ladies who do the cooking or work in our kitchen to produce the Wednesday lunch (Food & Fellowship) have now been equipped with new white coats, aprons and hats. This is not just to make them look pretty - because they already are! As a small charge is made for these meals, the kitchen staff are obliged to comply with Health & Safety Executive regulations. A visit could be made at anytime by Enforcement Officers and any breach could lead to the provision of such meals being closed down. The coats, aprons and hats were given by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

A new 'Alpha Course' is starting on Tuesday 27th January 2004 at 1pm and will run for 10 weeks. Anyone interested in attending is asked to speak to Gill Sawyer at the Church Office (Tel. No. 0117 907 7026).There are new exciting things planned for the New Year - keep yourself up to date by reading the Notice Board in the Welcome Corner or the Notice Board in the churchyard which faces the High Street.

There are many un-sung heroes who work quietly away in St Mary's without or with very little recognition.These are the folks who 'beaver away' every week keeping the church looking 'bright and beautiful and welcoming' for our congregation and visitors. If you don't believe me - pop in and see for yourself - the mundane tasks performed by them are equally as important as the more high profile jobs you hear about. At this point I must mention Tom Gosling who is a wizard restoring tired looking woodwork. Tom has recently restored the long wooden Memorial Plaque which has now been erected on the north wall of the newly created Memorial Chapel.

Other evidence of his handy work are the Vergers Desk, the Church Warden Seats, the Sedilla in the Sanctuary and the Lectern in the Memorial Chapel. Tom quietly pops in, working on woodwork for which he has great affection and then disappears again as quietly as he arrived. Thank you Tom, your skills are much appreciated by us all.

The availability of tea & coffee in the church between 10am & 12 noon has resulted in the church becoming a regular venue for some folk - we are always pleased to welcome them. The number of visitors in 2003 numbered well over five & half thousand, which includes the days we were closed during redecoration.Well that's all for this month.

Bye for now, C.M.E.

What's On In Shire

Mondays January 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th

  • COTSWOLD LADIES CLUB meets weekly at the Cotswold Centre, 2pm-4pm. New members welcome
  • WOMEN'S BRIGHT HOUR at the Methodist Church Hall, 2.30pm for an interesting series of talks and demonstrations.
  • PLAYGROUP Station Road Playgroup at the Public Hall, 9.15am-11.45am.
  • OVER 50'S SWIMMING in Shirehampton Baths, 3pm.
  • JUDO at the Church Centre, 6.30pm.
  • SEA CADETS 7pm-9.30pm.
  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY FOR GIRLS (13-16) 6pm at Barracks Lane.
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN Karate Doje Club train at St Bernards School, 7.15pm.
  • AVONMOUTH LADIES HOCKEY Club training 7.30pm-8.30pm, Gordano School, Portishead.
  • SEQUENCE DANCE at Public Hall, 7.30pm.
  • ST MARYS Toddler Group, Monday afternoons only each week, 1-3pm.
  • SHIREHAMPTON AFTER SCHOOL CLUB during term time at Public Hall, Monday-Fridays.

Tuesdays January 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th

  • TANG-SOO-DO at the Public Hall (10 upwards), 7pm-9pm.
  • FIRST AID FOR CADETS organised by St John Ambulance at Beachley Walk Centre, Badgers, 6pm-7.45pm.
  • SEQUENCE DANCING at the Baptist Church Hall, dancing 8.15-10.15pm.
  • PLAYGROUP Station Road Playgroup at the Public Hall, 9.15-11.45am.
  • TOT STOP for mothers with toddlers and babies, 9.30-11.15am at the Baptist Church Hall.
  • SOFT PLAY at Robin Cousins for under 5s, 1.30-3pm.
  • AVONMOUTH Mini Hockey 6-7pm at Bristol and West Sports Club, Portway - for further details 9828039.
  • SHORT MAT BOWLS CLUB 7-10pm at Portway School.
  • PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB Meeting at 7.30-9.30pm at Shirehampton Baths.
  • KARATE at Church Centre, 7-8pm.
  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY Seniors at Rugby Club, 7pm.
  • TAE KWON DO 6.00pm at Robin Cousins Sports Centre.
  • SHIREHAMPTON CHOIR rehearsals for Concert, 7.30pm at St Mary's Church.
  • STOP SMOKING GROUP meets at Lawrence Weston Clinic. For details ring Mike Davies 9823205.
  • SHIRE BADGERS SET ages 6-11 years, 7pm at Beachley Walk Centre. New members welcome.
  • MODERN DANCE (6-16 years old) 4.30pm at the Public Hall.
  • SHIREHAMPTON AFTER SCHOOL CLUB during term time at Public Hall.
  • PENPOLE TENANTS Association Luncheon Club, 11.30am, 60 The Ridge.BINGO at Cotswold Community Centre, 6.45-8.15pm.

Wednesdays January 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th

  • PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB at Bristol North Pool (County Standard)
  • (Alternate) WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP 7.30-9.00pm, St Bernard's Hall.
  • BAPTIST WOMEN'S BRIGHT HOUR 2.30-3.45pm at the Baptist Church Hall.
  • PORTWAY CENTRE CHOIR PRACTICE 7.00-8.30pm at the Baptist Church Hall.
  • PLAYGROUP Station Road Playgroup at the Public Hall, 9.15-11.45m.
  • TOT STOP for mothers with toddlers and babies, 9.30-11.15am at the Baptist Church Hall.
  • NETBALL CLUB 7-9pm, Manor Farm, Portway. Ring 9070269.
  • SHIREHAMPTON AFTER SCHOOL CLUB during term time at Public Hall.

Thursdays January 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th

  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB Seniors practice, 7pm.
  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB practice for Juniors and Colts, 6pm. Ring 9852426 for details.
  • SLIMMING WORLD 5.30-7.30pm, Rear Hall Church Centre.
  • (Alternate) PORTWAY LADIES CLUB 7.30-9.30pm, Tythe Barn, High Street.
  • STROKE SUPPORT meets each week in the afternoons at the PBA Club, Nibley Road. For further details telephone 9684207.
  • SEA CADETS 7-9.30pm at the unit in Station Road.
  • PLAYGROUP Station Road Playgroup at the Public Hall, 9.15-11.45am.
  • SOFT PLAY for under 5 years at Robin Cousins, 1.45-3.30pm.
  • LINE DANCING TUITION 2-3.30pm approx. Open invitation to come along to Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road.
  • GRAINGER PLAYERS 7.30pm at Public Hall.
  • SHIREHAMPTON AFTER SCHOOL CLUB during term time at Public Hall.

Fridays January 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th

  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY Colts and Juniors training at Rugby Club, 6.00pm.
  • PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB meets 7.30-10pm at Henbury Baths.
  • JUDO at the Church Centre, 6.30pm.PLAYGROUP Station Road Playgroup at the Public Hall, 9.15-11.45am.
  • SHIREHAMPTON RED CROSS First Aid Cadets, Methodist Church Hall, Penpole Avenue, 6-9pm.
  • EVERGREENS 2-4pm at the Public Hall during term time.
  • KEEP FIT at Cotswold Community Centre, 10.30am-12 noon.
  • PILLOW LACE CLUB 7-9pm at Public Hall.
  • ARMY CADET FORCE 7.30-9pm.
  • COFFEE & TEA available in the Baptist Church Hall Coffee Lounge, 10-12 noon.
  • TAE KWON DO 6pm in the Portway Community School gym.
  • BINGO at Tythe Barn, High Street, 6.30pm.BINGO at the Public Hall at 7pm.
  • AMATEUR RADIO CLUB Sea Cadets HQ, Station Road, 7.30-9.30pm.
  • FRIDAY FUN  at Beachley Walk Community Centre for parents/carers with pre-school children. Every Friday 9.30-11.30am.
  • SHIREHAMPTON AFTER SCHOOL CLUB during term time at Public Hall.

Saturdays January 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st

  • JUNIOR FOOTBALL 9-11am, 7-14 years at Robin Cousins Sports Centre.
  • AVONMOUTH HOCKEY CLUB matches most Saturdays. Ring 9828039.

Sundays January 4th, 11h, 18th and 25th

  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY Training sessions at Barracks Lane at 10am.
  • PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB Henbury School Pool, 3-4pm.

Passports

Christmas is over, the papers are full of tempting advertisements for spending our holidays, so perhaps now is the time to check our passports. Many, most? countries these days require an expiry date six months beyond the end of our stay in their country.

The passport office includes the unused time in assessing the new expiry date so that you do not lose any time. If your passport has been lost or has strayed the number to ring is 0870 521 0410 for the Passport Adviceline.

Copy

On page two of 'SHIRE' we ask that copy should be into the library by the 10th of the month. Let me explain.

We have two deadlines to keep from the typesetters:

* get all the copy to them by the 14th
* fetch the typeset copy a few days later
* lay it out on the 'blanks', paste, read and correct
* back to the typesetters for printing.

As you can see, for 'SHIRE' to be delivered to our team of volunteer counters and delivers by the end of the month requires some split-second timing and sometimes some splitting headaches!   Of course, without your contribution there would be no 'SHIRE', so please get it to us in time.

If there is something urgent which is late - give us a ring to see what the position is.

Minutes of the Shirehampton Community Group Meeting

Held in the Public Hall on Wednesday 26 Novemnber 2003. There were 15 people present. The meeting was chaired by John Parsons who welcomed those present.

Outstanding matters

John said the Road Closed signs put up when Station Road was closed had now been removed, although it was mentioned that a Diversion Sign was still in place in Pembroke Road.Swimming pool - John and Val Jenkins had received responses to their enquiries about the future of Shire Pool. The upshot is that Henbury School will be rebuilt and incorporate a pool with public access, and Shire and Henbury pools will close. However, all this is dependent on the necessary funding.Speeding vehicles down Park Hill - concerns were raised about this and John said that area is included in the traffic calming measures that were gradually being completed albeit in a piecemeal fashion.

Future of the Group

John then referred to the letter he had written in 'Shire' regarding the imminent closure of the Shirehampton Community Group if no one came forward to fill some of the committee posts. No one had come forward therefore the purpose of this meeting was to decide whether it would close, at least for the time being. He went on to explain a little of the history of the group and the fact that we had been in this position before with a community group closing. However, ten years ago the current group was set up thus resurrecting a community voice, and this could well happen again in the future if it was felt necessary. Much had been achieved by SCG over the past ten years, in relation to various planning issues.

Some discussion followed on SCAF, Shirehampton Community Action Forum, and its status as a registered charity putting it in a position to apply for grants. Its business-like approach and liaison with multi-agencies, gives SCAF authority, resources and influence enabling it to make a difference to the community. John proposed that the Shirehampton Community Group cease to exist as of today due to lack of support and leadership. This was reluctantly accepted. He distributed a financial statement showing a balance of 176.03 and again it was agreed that this be donated to the Public Hall Association towards the refurbishment of the seats in the balcony.

John then presented Judy Helme with a pot plant as a 'thank you' for her six years as Minutes Secretary. From the floor there was a vote of thanks to John for his ten years of very dedicated service and commitment. Present at the meeting were two representatives of the Area Housing Committee, which covers several local communities. New members are required especially to represent Shirehampton and anyone interested was invited to the next meeting on 11th December, 6.45pm at the Penpole Tenants' meeting room on The Ridge.

There being no other business the final meeting of Shirehampton Community Group closed at 8.00pm.

Shirehampton Community Group

As reported in last month's SHIRE the group met again in November following a poor turn out at the Annual General Meeting in September. This time fifteen people were there and following a brief outline of the history of the group, which was formed in 1993 a couple of years after the demise of the former Shirehampton Community Association, John Parsons informed the meeting there had been no positive response to the appeal for anyone to come forward to help continue the Group. It was therefore reluctantly proposed and agreed that the group discontinue.

The remaining funds amounting to 176.03 were to be sent to the appeal for the restoration of the gallery seats in the Public Hall, and a cheque was signed at the meeting. Thanks were expressed to those who had faithfully attended meetings over the years and particularly to John Callaghan who had been closely involved with matters affecting planning applications, to Judy Helme for her taking of the minutes and John Parsons as secretary and treasurer.

So ends another era in the public life of Shirehampton. Over the years committees come and go and no doubt sometime in the years to come there may well be a new start with a new group of people who are willing and able to take a closer look at such things as planning applications and street development in the village. There is already formed the new Shirehampton Community Action Forum which has a different agenda from the Community Group but nevertheless has a keen interest in promoting the advancement of social welfare, community safety, housing, health, education and the environment etc. and generally improving the conditions of life for those in the neighbourhood.

This forum is already up and running and may even be able to embody some of the work formerly carried out by the Community Group. May I encourage you to support the forum whenever you see the opportunity, whether it is by supporting fun days or helping plant hedges or trees to improve our community parklands, or even responding to a questionnaire!I have been happy to be involved with the Community Group since its formation in 1993 and would take this opportunity of thanking and wishing all its supporters well as the move in to a new year.

Sincerely, John Parsons.

P.S. Should a street light not be functioning correctly near your home please ring Bristol 922 3838 giving the location and number stenciled on the lamp post-the Council reckon to sort the problem out within 10 working days.

Friends of Portway Christmas Extravaganza 2003

The Committee of the Friends of Portway Community School would like to thank all the following retailers, companies and individuals for the valuable support with this year's Christmas Appeal which has enabled the Friends to make almost 1,000 which will all be used to help the school.A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Deborah Morgan and Stuart Jarvis for their part in this year's events and their contribution as newcomers to the Friends was quite exceptional.

We also thank Mrs.Britton, Maisie Drake, W&B Butchers, Hawkins Newsagents, Jean Nurse, Maynews Newsagents, Rodaway's Estate Agents, Flowerworld, The Co-op, Somerfields Supermarket, Bobbetts Fruiterers, Bristol Rovers, Boots The Chemist, Sea Mills Post Office, Shindigs Party Shop, PJ's Barber Shop, Tesco Golden Hill, Andrew Pinn Optometrist, Shire Village Bakery, Peter Sparling, Victoria Wine, Bargain Booze, The Lamplighters, Longcroft Building Services, Autoparts, Viridor Waste Management, First Choice Glaziers, M F I, The 'Shire', Simon Derrick and fellow musicians, Peter West and Marjorie McCartney.

If we have omitted to mention anyone please accept our apologies. It is the intention to thank all the above by individual letter since we make no assumptions about the level of support rendered and value all help very much indeed.

The following members of the Committee also deserve mention for their major contributions to the success of this appeal and we are pleased to publicly thank Susan Kiernan, Roger Derrick, Mary Derrick, Dianne Hayward, Dave Sealy and Angela Stewart.

The Committee of the Friends of Portway Community School.

Mama Bear's Day Nursery

After a year of negotiations Mama Bear's Day Nursery finally purchased the former Youth Centre in Grove Leaze from Bristol City Council two weeks ago. Councillor Roberts and Ash Bearman, both of whom we worked closely with in gaining the support of local residents and preventing the property from falling into the hands of private residential developers, suggested that we make contact as the story will be of interest to your readers.

Part of the Bristol Early Years Childcare Partnership (EYCP), Mama Bear's Day Nursery is a new Bristol based provider of nursery and childcare services from 3 months to 11 years.Avonmouth has the highest requirement of all the Bristol wards for childcare places.

According to EYCP figures (2001 Audit), the ward has 2,538 children under the age of 16 with only 24 childcare places currently. A further 549 places are required. In outline, we will be providing daycare for 68 children between the ages of three months and five years. Of these, 34 will be 'assisted' for local residents living in target areas looking to get back to work under the Neighbourhood Nursery Initiative.

We will also be providing 48 pre-school, after school and holiday places for children from five years to 12. During term time we will drop children off at local schools and collect them. All sessions include meals prepared on the premises. Additionally we will create over 25 full and part-time jobs, with on-going training and personal development, for local residents.

Childcare is important because it frees parents and guardians of children to return to work, to train for work or to study. It acts as a bridge between the home and school, giving local children access to high quality learning, play and social resources in a safe and secure environment. It therefore contributes to the local economy, culture and social fabric of an area.

The Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative is a key part of the National Childcare Strategy to create new day care places in disadvantaged areas of the country where many families cannot now access childcare.

The Youth Centre in Grove Leaze with its 440 sq m buildings will make an ideal nursery/after-school club. The large sports hall and stage would give us an unique opportunity to offer a curriculum rich in physical activity and drama; the large room behind is ideal to run an ICT suite, with parents able to access the facilities for training, job research and applications.

The property is easy to access for local residents, has a wide pavement to the front and is situated close to the new Avonmouth park and ride.The property is currently undergoing extensive refurbishments and renovations and we plan to open in April 2004. Opening times will be Monday to Friday, 51 weeks of the year from 7.30am to 7.00pm.

If this is of interest to your readers we would welcome the opportunity to meet you to give you more details, hopefully with a view to running a feature in early 2004 ahead of our opening date.

Tony Driffield

The Wise Willow

The oak stood tall, unyielding, Looking mighty strong.
Beside it stood a willow tree, Its branches drooping long.
They often talked together, The oak spoke of its worth.
The willow listened and smiled Though, not aloud in mirth.
Suddenly, a great storm arose,The wind raged through the night.
When the sun came in the morning, The oak was a pathetic sight.
There beside the pond It lay uprooted on the land.
"Tell me old friend willow,""Why do you still stand?"
The willow answered gently,"For I knew how to bend,"
"you, old friend, stood too firm""and it's brought about your end."

Shirley James.

The Grainger Players

A tribute to Shirley James "Songs that Won the War"

Shirley 'Shirl' had talked about a 60th war show to commemorate the D Day landings but sadly she is not here to produce one.The Grainger Players are going to do their very best to carry out her wishes, and with your valuable support we are hopeful the show will be a success.

We would like you to come and join us in an evening of songs and laughter on the following dates.Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th June 2004. Tickets can be pre booked at Liz's Flower Shop, 27a High Street, Shirehampton. Tel 0117 9381332.

We would also like people to come and join us on Thursday evenings 7.30 to 9.30pm commencing on the 8th January 2004 at Shirehampton Public Hall Station Road, Shirehampton.

We will continue to support our charity M.S.The Grainger Players would also like to thank all of you for supporting our last show 'Humpty Dumpty. It was heart-warming to see all ages from children to a dear old lady of 103 years.

The Grainger Players.

The Grainger Players - Humpty Dumpty November 2003

We write of the above performance with delight! The Grainger Players; as always, delighted the audience with their singing and comedy.Shirley James who wrote this pantomime didn't live to see it performed but we were sure she must have been looking down on her friends and colleagues who would have lived up to Shirl's expectations.

The evening, although tinged with sadness at the loss of Shirl, emanated great jollity and it is our hope that the Grainger Players will continue to help keep the community spirit going.

The Players do require more people to join them and everyone will be welcome - there are many things you can do even if you feel unable to be on the stage; (help with props, teas and wardrobe). Beryl Forrest who always said she would never be part of the act gave a wonderful performance as Blackheart after being encouraged to 'have a go'!

And finally - Shirl always supported Multiple Sclerosis - and the Grainger Players continue to do so. We thank all of the Players and the Audience for their continued support - the retiring collections raised the grand sum of 118.

Barrie & Marina Griffiths, Bristol branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society

178th Brownies Go Wild!

The 178th Brownies enjoyed their pack holiday to Brent Knoll in Somerset over the weekend 31st October to 2nd November 2003. Eleven girls and four leaders all took part in the animal theme weekend. The sixes were called Zebras, Lions and Giraffes and the leaders all had animal names as well.

During the pack holiday the Brownies were able to work towards several badges, including 'Friend to Animals' and 'Out and About". They went for walks around the local countryside; made animal masks and wrote stories and poems about animals. The highlight of the weekend was Saturday's trip to Animal Farm, in nearby Berrow.

The Brownies were able to cuddle some of the animals including rabbits, rats and guinea pigs. Within the 25 acres they could feed the llamas, donkeys and horses to name a few. The monster playbarn was their final challenging adventure, where they summoned up the courage to ride down the big vertical 'death' slide!

The brownies all thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to the next pack holiday.

Jennifer Provis, Assistant Guider