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News Index

32nd Anniversary of Shire News

What's On in February

Christmas Lights

Sign of the Times?

St. Mary's News

Post Office Review

What's on in Shire

Letters to the Editor

32nd Anniversary of Shire News

Yes "SHIRE" was started in February 1972 and we have reached No. 385, with a circulation of 5,000 per month and a 20 page issue the normal size. So congratulations to the community of Shirehampton for volunteering to deliver the copies to every local household, and supplying us with the copy throughout the years to fill up its pages.

Thanks to the local traders who advertise in the paper and make it all possible. All quite amazing.

Volunters Needed

Distributers needed for Old Quarry Road and one side of Bradley Crescent. MOST URGENT - a driver to help drop off bundles of the paper to the house deliverers.

Due to illness, four distributors are also urgently required for the Cotswold Estate.Will volunteers please ring Pauline Godwin on 982 6935 as soon as possible - any help would be much appreciated.

The Directory

Shire Newspaper is once again sponsoring an up to date list of all the clubs and societies which flourish in Shirehampton. Copies will be available shortly in the Library.

The Directory is also available on this web site. Click on Organisations at the bottom of this page.

Diamond Congratulations

Congratulations to Bert and Nora Mann of Churchdown Walk in the Cotwold Estate. They celebrated their Diamond Wedding on the 8th January; also Nora's 81st birthday.They had been married at our St. Mary's Church in 1944 on Nora's twenty first birthday. The bride wore a navy blue hat and suit.

Bert met his future wife when he visited The Miles pub for a pint; when he literally bumped into her. She was the beautiful barmaid. Nora lived in Pill and was escorted by her beau to the ferry. He worked on the tugs during the war and then spent time in Egypt driving armoured vehicles. He worked 39 years with the National Smelting Works.

Bert is now a regular member of the Stroke Club at the Port of Bristol Social Club.They spent their anniversary together sipping champagne, entertaining friends and neighbours.

Sent by Marion Brailey (neighbour)

What's On in February

February 1st Sunday baptist church service  at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm

February 2nd Monday each week "see & know' for under 5's at St Mary's Church Centre 1.15pm-2.45pm.
February 2nd Monday weekly sequence dance at the Public Hall 7.30pm-9.30pm.
February 2nd Monday each week 3 of Us bingo at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth 1.15pm-2.45pm.
February 2nd Monday free basic literary classes at Lawrence Weston. Tel: 9038824.

February 3rd Tuesday St Andrew's ladies meet 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth, to hear bernard Trapp on the Trans Siberian Railway.
February 3rd Tuesday weekly the Tea Junction at St Mary's. Tea, chat, board games at 3.30pm.
February 3rd Tuesday carers club at the Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-12noon.
February 3rd Tuesday every week Shirehampton Choir rehearsals for Lenten Concert in St Mary's 7pm-9pm. Ring 908-9861 for details.

February 4th & 6th Every Wednesday & Friday drop-in advice sessions at A.U.S. 115 High Street, 9.30am-11.30am.
February 4th Wednesday every week minor illness clinic for Group Practice Patients 10am-11am at the Health Centre.
February 4th Wednesday weekly at 2.30pm the bright hour at the Baptist Church, Station Road.
February 4th Wednesday each week bingo at the Tythe Barn 2pm-4pm.
February 4th Wednesday Arthritis care 7pm at Jim O'Neil House.
February 4th Wednesday weekly g.l.u.e. youth group for Secondary School Children 7pm-9pm. Contact Nick or Lucy 9382660.

February 5th Every Thursday rehearsals for 'The Songs That Won The War' 7.30pm-9.30pm at the Public Hall.
February 5th Thursday townswomen's Guild 2pm-4pm at the Methodist Church Hall.
February 5th Thursday Story time at St Mary's each week for pre-School children.
February 5th Thursday bingo (or a speaker) 2pm-4pm weekly at the Tythe Barn.

February 6th Friday each week friday fun at the Beachley Walk Centre for Mothers, Carers & Pre-School Children 9.30am-11.30pm.
February 6th Friday coffee morning at the library At 12noon Story Time  at the Library for Children.
February 6th Friday each week evergreens at the Public Hall 1pm-3pm.
February 6th Every Friday bingo at the Public Hall 6.30pm-8.30pm.

February 8th Sunday 10am communion service at St Mary's. A sign language interpreter will be attending.

February 15th Sunday church of england service at the Cotswold Community Centre at 4.45pm.

February 17th Tuesday St Andrew's ladies meet at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth to hear Ann McDougal on W.I.
February 17th Tuesday railway modellers 7.30pm at the Public Hall.

February 18th Wednesday shire stitchers at 7.30pm at the Public Hall.

February 27th Friday sequence dance at the Cotswold Centre 7.30pm-10pm.

Leap Into Action 2004

As part of the on going Avon and Somerset constabulary response to street crime "Action On Street Crime", February 2004 has been declared a month of action. This initiative will include many activities being run on all districts of the constabulary.

The final act for the month, intended to maximise the community participation in the project, will be a street cleaning operation called Leap into Action.

The concept is that local groups e.g. neighbourhood watches; community associations; social clubs; schools etc will be requested to identify local areas that need cleaning up, and over the weekend of 28th and 29th February 2004 clean their own neighbourhood. The emphasis of the project is local; that means local groups local problems local effort.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be co-ordinating the actions and mobilising the community groups where possible. We have access to a database of 5,200 neighbourhood watches Force wide covering 192,000 houses.

Shirehampton Community Action Forum is taking a lead in organising the clear up operation in Shire on the 28 & 29th February.BUT! - in order for it to be a success we need local residents from all over Shire to take part.

  • Please tell us which area/street etc YOU would like to see cleaned up?* Would your group like to clear up a certain area?
  • How many volunteers - all ages - will you have on each day?

For more info, please contact Ash Bearman at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road, BS11 9TU or Tel: 0117 982 9963 or e-mail


Keep Walking!

Lawrence Weston Walking Group, for details contact Sue Hale on 0117 9384636.

Evergreens Day Trips 2004

April 20th Cardiff
May 18th Weymouth
June 15th Tenby
July 20th Lynton, Lynmouth & Minehead
August 17th Seaton and Sidmouth
September 21st Swansea
October 19th Bullring (Birmingham)

Non-Evergreen members are welcome to book on the above trips Tel: 9823180.


There are still available some Medallions engraved on one side with the Shire Public Hall and on the other side with the George Inn as it was in 1903. Price 6.00 All enquiries to Norman- Tel: 982 3180.


Due to a production error, we failed to include an acknowledgement to Mr A.J. Nicholls MBHI for the pictures of the Public Hall clock in the January edition. The pictures are his copyright and they were reproduced with his permission.

We are sorry for this mistake.

Alice Ramsden 13/09/1908 - 15/12/2003

Alice Robson, Jim Ramsden and Family would like to thank all their friends and neighbours who were so kind and supportive in the weeks leading up to Alice Ramsden's death.

They would also like to thank Dr Rodgers and all at Avonmouth Medical Centre for their help and attention and Canon Christine Froude from St. Mary's who conducted the funeral service so sensitively.

Thank you everyone. (Thank you for your kind donations to Shire Funds)

Canon John Smith

It was with great sadness that we learned that Canon John Smith had died. He was the co-founder of 'shire' together with Fred Gould. Although he left the parish during its first year, he has always taken an interest in the publication and read it each month.

He followed its steps of progress along the way and was full of encouragement. His parting remark whenever we met over the years always was, "... well keep up the good work". We shall certainly try John.


Christmas Lights

Now that the lights have been taken down and plans are being made for next year it is a good time for us to thank  those many people who have helped make it possible. We had a total of about 2,900. Of this almost 800 came from the collecting tins in the shops and we are grateful to all those who contributed and to the shopkeepers who so readily cooperated by having the tins on their counters.

Shire newspaper donated a very welcome 1000 and the Co-operative Dividend Fund gave us 500. The Bristol Port Authority gave 100 and the Lamplighters Race Night and their prize-winning quiz team together raised 255. The cake stall at the Daisy Field day and a table top sale together brought in 170.

Individual donations totalled 75. The expenses included 450 for electrical equipment, 1125 for new lights, 300 for public liability insurance. The Christmas trees, cost 250 and assistance in putting up and dismantling trees And lights cost nearly 600.

Thanks go to Simon Cohen of "Fossils" for donating the barrels for the large Christmas trees to Dave Ford of Autoparts for giving us the red spray paint for the barrels, to Mr and Mrs Wright for power supply to the Christmas tree on the Green and to Nicky Rodaway who has very kindly provided storage for the lights and fixtures over the past year. Christmas trees were supplied by Bobbetts and by Flower World and Electricity by the Shire Traders.

It takes a lot of time and effort to organise the Christmas lights each year and the committee is always very pleased to welcome new and able-bodied members with fresh ideas. The annual General Meeting of the Christmas Lights Association will be held in the Methodist Church Hall at 7pm on Monday 23rd February and we shall be very pleased to meet anyone who is interested in joining us or in finding out more about what we do.

Please come along.


Well done Jenny Butler, alias Mrs Santa Claus, who collected a magnificent sum - 600.03p in the Co-op in Shirehampton where Jenny works.The Children's Hospice South West will benefit from this excellent sum.

Jenny regularly collects for good causes at Christmas time, thanks for your hard work.

Fire Service Training Station

As you go along St Andrew's Road, Avonmouth, on the way to the I.C.I., on a very sharp bend on the right you will see a large cream and green building. This is the new Fire Brigade Training Centre. It is purpose built and equipped under the Private Finance Initiative Scheme by Vosper & Thorneycroft (the Shipbuilders). It has been in use since April 2003 and was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh last November.

The Brigades from Avon, Somerset and Gloucester jointly provide the personnel, that is trainers and the people in training. Several different courses are organised. Firstly a basic training for new entrants to the service from the three areas. The course is open to men and women, the minimum age is 18, and there are 38 people on this course at the moment, the oldest is 41, and three of the trainees are women.

There is an interim of six months between the time of an application being received to being accepted on the course. There is a practical test, health check, a written paper and an interview. When the training, which lasts 12 weeks full time, has been completed, then the person joins a community fire station team and is safe to operate with experience crews, although they will still continue learning and developing their skills.

There is additional on-going training for station-based crews, also a range of courses in I.T., i.e., information technology, computer courses, first aid and management. Also on offer are a range of driving training, basic L.G.V.The building is very well equipped with a wide selection of classrooms of various sizes, a canteen, gymnasium, shower blocks and a locker room. Bedrooms on the top floor for trainees who live far away.

Outside there is a huge area for practising driving fire engines and an assortment of outline buildings, vehicles and tanks where fires can be simulated and experience in extinguishing then gained. It seems that every kind of emergency connected with fire has been catered for.At the moment this training centre is unique as it provides a joint venture by Avon, Somerset and Gloucester Brigades.

The maximum capacity that the centre could train at one time would be 180. The Fire Brigade has a 25 year contract in the scheme and will expand its training programme as it develops and firms become aware of the benefits in health and safety that its courses offer.

Playgroup Leader Retires

As some of you will already know I recently retired from Station Road Playgroup at the Public Hall, after being involved for 27 years, the last 20 years as manager.  I decided the time was right in my life for a complete change. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the playgroup and have had many happy and hilarious experiences with staff, parents and especially the children, who are now bringing their own children to playgroup.

The staff I have  worked with have been wonderful and I will miss them all. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the beautiful presents I have received on retiring, and a special thank you to Jean, Mary, Lorraine, and Nicky for all their help and friendship over the years. I would like to congratulate Nicky Carey on becoming Manager and hope she has as much as I have had.

It has been a pleasure and privilege to have looked after so many lovely children.

Barbara Wylde

Mji wa Neema Orphanage House of Hope

Anne Mitchell, was responsible for organising the Adult Literacy classes at Twyford House for many years, has now founded a charity to help an orphanage in Kenya.  In a small town, Naivasha, in Kenya there is a small orphanage for children whose parents have died of AIDS. Naivasha is by the beautiful Lake Naivasha renowned for its birds and hippos and it is there that I went to school during my childhood in Kenya.

At that time it was just a village with a few shops and a small hotel.Out of a population of 25.5 million, Kenya has over 2 million known cases of AIDS and 700 deaths per day from the disease. These figures are an underestimate because there are many people living out in the bush who are unknown to the authorities. Naivasha has an extremely high proportion of people with AIDS and, consequently, there are many orphans.

Two local people, Jill Simpson who has lived there all her life and has an MBE for nursing services to the local people, and Teresa Wahiro an African social worker felt that they had to do something to help at least some of these children. The local Roman Catholic Church gave us the use of a spare school building and we spent the first year altering and equipping it to become an orphanage. In February 2002 the first children arrived - 6 boys and 6 girls.

There are now 26 children and two babies being cared for. David and Cyrus had been wandering the streets for more than a week before they found their mother's body cast on a heap at the local mortuary. Michael, just two months old, had been deposited at a bus stop and Samuel, a chubby two year old, had been abandoned in a line of patients at the local hospital and was sitting patiently waiting for a mother who would never return.

The orphanage now employs a manageress, a house mother, two teachers and two women who help with the washing and cleaning. The philosophy of the orphanage is a determination not to rely on outside aid, but to strive for self-sufficiency and to equip all the children to be able to fend for themselves once they leave.

To this end they grow vegetables, breed rabbits for the pot and a group of the children recently did a sponsored walk and raised 280 - the children were between 4 and 9 years old. Local people in Naivasha contribute all they can, bringing in any spare vegetables, rice or maize flour they may have.

As a thank you for my childhood in a wonderful country and to support my school friend Jill, I have started a charity here to raise funds for the orphanage. With a little money we can do so much. It costs just 10 a week to feed a child.

Our immediate aim is to raise funds to make a separate dormitory for the boys with toilet facilities, to provide guttering on the building and a water tank to collect rain water for use in times of drought and to ensure that there are sufficient funds to feed and clothe the children.

If you feel you would like to help us, please contact Anne Mitchell at 4 Sage Close, Portishead (01275 8172153). You can also see more about the orphanage on

Magazine Box

Don't forget if you have finished your magazines, that there is a box in the Library, where you can drop them in, so that they can be passed on to someone else to enjoy looking at them.

Behind the Scenes

On a rather damp CHRISTMAS EVE it was decidedly misty, the 28th CAROLS ON THE GREEN took place outside, which only proves what a tough lot we are. David Alderman had 'flu, so Valerie Flint Johnson deputised for him and together with Canon Christine Froude and Tim Baines Clark MC'd the proceedings.

On behalf of Shire newspaper who has happily sponsored this tradition from its very beginning, we should like to thank those not in spotlight, but help make the proceeding possible. Thanks to Philip Sims, who came all the way over from Chepstow to conducted the combined bands of North West Bristol and Portway School, these musicians make the carols special.

We would like to thank Colin Chidegy who puts up the lights and assembles the sound system, and this year provided the platform for the speakers too. John Parsons who has been a co-helper in setting up the lights and sound for many years past, is now on the move to Pill temporarily, and so this year was part of the crowd.

There is a lady who lives on the Green and who lets us plug in to her electricity for the lights and sound, we are very grateful to her. There was the ususal good humoured crowd of several hundred, who remembered their lights and carol sheets from the middle of "SHIRE" and left the place tidy when they went home.

We shouted "Merry Christmas" to all those who could not join us on the Green. As one of the crowd, who has not been to the village for over 17 years, although they grew up here "I had forgotten what a warm community spirit thrives in Shirehampton".

Sign of the Times?

In January "Shire" it was announced that two voluntary organisations - Shirehampton Community Group and the local branch of the Womens' Institute were packing up, mainly because the members were getting older and no new members were coming forth.

This is very sad, because it is happening everywhere to many organisations run by volunteers. What are we going to do about? Will new organisations, attracting new people, spring up to take their place? Who will keep an eye on the Planning Department on behalf of the people who live in Shirehampton?

Bristol Library

Write a review for the website of one of the Top 100 Nations Favourite Books and get a chance to win a Book Token. Max 150 words. Details on website:

Library Service for the Housebound

If you know anyone who is incapacitated and can't get to the Library, but would appreciate books coming to them on a regular basis, mention their name and address at the Library. The Librarians will add the details to their Housebound visiting scheme.

Public Hall Balcony Seat Appeal

The Hall Association wishes to thank Shirehampton Community Group for their generous donation and others, including all the local businesses, clubs and residents who have contributed to the Balcony Seat Appeal. So far we have sold 61 seats and raised just over 1000. We only have to sell another 10 seats to reach our target so if you have been thinking about sponsoring a balcony seat, it only costs 14, now is the time to do it.

The hall and in particular the shows put on  by Grainger players give immense pleasure to many people. The players are dedicating their next show to the memory of Shirley James and it would be a fitting tribute to the hard work put in by Shirley for the hall to renovate the seats in time for what would have been her final production in June, in this centenary year of the hall.

If you would like to help please send your request to the Hall Administrator, Shirehampton Public Hall, 32 Station Rd, Shirehampton, BS11 9TU Tel: 982 9963.   Cheques should be made payable to Shire Hall.

Winter Driving

The British winter is unpredictable. Bad weather can strike suddenly so the best advice when severe weather hits is to stay off the road. If you must drive, make sure you are prepared for the conditions.During wintry weather conditions:

  • Ask yourself - is your journey absolutely essential?
  • Check the local and national weather forecasts.
  • Listen to local and national radio for travel information.
  • Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.
  • Make sure you are equipped with warm clothes, food, boots and a torch.
  • In snowy conditions, take a spade.
  • Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, and carry a screen scraper and de-icer.
  • Adjust your driving to the Conditions
  • Hail, heavy snow and rain reduce visibility.
  • Use dipped headlights and reduce your speed.Snow or ice
  • It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road.
  • Drive slowly, allowing extra room to slow down and stop.
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.
  • Manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration.
  • To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently.
  • If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.

If you get into trouble

Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call.On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone, because the breakdown/emergency services will be able to locate you easily.

If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location using the numbers on the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder.Abandoned vehicles can hold up rescue vehicles and snowploughs. To ensure that the road is cleared as quickly as possible, stay with your vehicle until help arrives.

If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you.

Vehicle condition

  • In winter it is even more important to check that your vehicle is well maintained and serviced.
  • Keep the lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow.
  • Keep your battery fully charged.
  • Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles.
  • Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order.
  • Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure.

From Winter Driving, Highways Agency


Here we are the second and the shortest month of the year, usually only 28 days, but this year it is a fourth year and a leap year (bissextile - have to look up the meaning of that). In early calendar it was the 12th month, primarily devoted in anticipation of the ceremonies of purification and the cult of the dead, derived from februare to purify.

Leap year day is February 29th is relatively modern. In the Julian calendar as in the litturigical calendar the extra day was inserted before the 24th. Anyway ladies, leap year day is on a Sunday, so it might help your cause if you gave your lad a good Sunday lunch before popping the question.

For fainter hearts there is still St. Valentines Day on February 14th.

Shirehampton Area Choir

I would like to thank everyone who came to the Shirehampton Area choir Christmas charity concert on 14th December and contributed to the two charities we were supporting. We raised a marvellous total of 552 to be split between the Childrens Hospice South West and the Myathenia Gravis Association.

The Choir will be performing a Lenten cantata "Penitence, Pardon and Peace" by J H Maunder on Good Friday, 9th April 2004. Rehearsals commenced on Tuesday 20th January and are held every Tuesday evening. It is not too late to join us and new members will be welcomed with open arms.

Tim Forde

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Once February has passed I always feel winter is well on the way out and spring is just around the corner. Hooray!Before we leave Christmas completely behind, I still have a few things to tell you. We received very many favourable comments on the illumination of the exterior of the church building - many people suggested it would be a wonderful thing to do all the year round. It would be but the cost would have to be weighed against other things which need doing. Anyway, it was lovely to know it was appreciated by so many.

It was lovely to see hordes of children in church before Christmas - Shirehampton Primary School held their Christmas Carol Service with us. It was also wonderful to welcome back Portway Community School and act as hosts for their Carol Concert & Service. We do enjoy having you!

The Shirehampton Area Choir Christmas Concert raised the sum of 552 which this year was donated to Childrens Hospice South West and the Myasthenia Gravis Association. Thank you to all who attended and gave so generously.As we were able to successfully sponsor the provision of oil-filled candles for our candlebearers, this meant we were able to use them at our Advent Carol Service.

Thank you to those folks who sponsored the purchase of the candles - they make St. Mary's look even more beautiful!The Crib Service and Carol Service were very well attended - a packed church on both occasions. It was good to see old faces, as well as new ones, we hope they enjoyed our services and will return again to join us on a Sunday.

Before leaving the subject of the Crib Service, I must tell you that Canon Christine dressed up as an Angel. She had  pair of golden wings that would put Concorde to shame! One member of our congregation, who must remain anonymous, said "Get those wings off her and she looks just like 'Mystic Meg'!!!"

Finally, before we leave Christmas behind completely, Canon Christine says she would like to thank everyone who sent her Christmas cards. Each one was very much appreciated.On a more depressing note I have to report that at 6.51pm precisely on New Years Day, 12-15 youths in number, went on the rampage through the Church Centre grounds, smashing windows in the building and then they ran away towards Bradley Crescent.

Any information concerning their identity would be much appreciated. It is very sad that this kind of behaviour has now almost become acceptable and people just shrug their shoulders when such things occur.Now for some details of our Spring Events. Why not beat the "February Blues" and beetle along to St. Mary's for a spot of lunch and a Beetle Drive on Thursday, 5th February 2004. Just turn up and enjoy yourself.

A retiring collection will be taken to cover expenses.On Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) 24th February - we are going to have a Pancake Party in Church from 10am until 12 noon. Come and join in the fun!At 7.00pm the next day (Ash Wednesday) 25th February, there will be a Service of Holy Communion - the beginning of the season of Lent, which will be followed by our first Lent Course. This year it will be "Movies at St. Mary's".

Come along and see Zeffirellis  award winning film - "Jesus of Nazareth" starring Robert Powell. The film will be in 6 parts ending on Wednesday 31st March 2004. A short discussion will take place after each episode. Come and join us - you are sure to enjoy it!On Saturday 28th February 2004 from 10am until 3.30pm there will be a "Quiet Day for Lent". This will be led by Rev. Howard Preskett - Assistant Principal of Trinity College - actually in Trinity College. All are welcome!Finally, I have some very sad news to report.

Canon John Smith, former Vicar of St. Mary's from 1958 until 1972 died quite suddenly on the 7th January. John was a much loved priest in our parish during those years and moved to St. Albans, Westbury Park at the end of his incumbency with us. I did have the pleasure of going around St. Mary's with him when our refurbishment was almost complete. He did so much enjoy that afternoon - with a quick peep into his former Vestry, so much more comfortable now than when he occupied it. He did express how much he thought our refurbishment would add to the life of St. Mary's.

We shall all miss him immensely and send our deepest sympathy to his wife Barbara and sons Andrew and Simon.Well, that's it for this month.

Bye for now,


Christmas Eve at St. Mary's

You could be forgiven for thinking that Bethlehem had arrived at Shirehampton as hosts of angels, flocks of shepherds and a palace full of wise men (and women!) made their way to St. Mary's for the Crib service. Baby Molly played the infant Jesus, ably assisted by her mum and dad (Nick and Lucie Broad) as Mary and Joseph.

Even the Angel Gabriel turned up ... although SOME say that it was Canon Christine! Thank you to all the mums, dads, carers and all the young people who took part. It was a wonderful start to Christmas, as the story, so simply yet wonderfully told by the children, and narrated by Luke Saunders, brought home, yet again, the true meaning of Christmas.

And if there is anyone out there who would like to audition for the part of Angel Gabriel next Christmas, I can lay my hands on an excellent pair of wings and halo!A peaceful and blessed New Year to you all.

Canon Christine

Photographs of the children taking part are available in church 10-12 noon Monday to Friday.

Shire News on Audio Tape

Just a reminder that each month that there is a tape of the news in "SHIRE" newspaper for those people who have vision difficulties. It can be borrowed from the Library, just ask at the desk.

We should like to thank Margaret Ellison who kindly records these tapes each month.

Cotswold Book Group

Book Author Date
Cannery Row John Steinbeck February 18th
The Fixed Period Anthony Trollope March 17th
The Wheel of Life Elizabeth Kubler Ross April 21st
The Horse Whisperer Nicholas Evans May 21st
Snow Falling on Cedars David Guttersen June 23rd

For further details ring Irene Miller on 9828683.

Portway Boys Rugby Team 1951-1952

After moving from England and retiring to Australia, we began sorting out years of accumulated memorabilia. We came across the torn, but otherwise well preserved photo of the first Portway Boys School Rugby Team. Memories came flooding back, right or wrong, of a time when life was very good to me, which incidentally at that time was not fully appreciated.

My reason for having the photo published is that it would be very interesting to learn the whereabouts of my fellow students and how they have fared through their adulthood. My name is Brian Swain of 1, o'dwer Court, Collingwood Park, QLD 4301, Australia. All replies would be welcome.

Brian Swain and his wife Maureen, nee Hurley, were in UK on holiday from December to the beginning of February. The photo is of Portway Boys Rugby Team 1951-1952.

Top row: Jefferies, ?, J. Edwards, S. Windows, ?, D. Evans. Second row: ?, R. Riddick, ?, B. Swain.
Front row: V. Crocker, A. Burt. Penpole Hut Boys only. The teacher on the left was a Mr K. Perry.

Portway School Reunion 1975-1977

Do you remember the days of 'high waist trousers' and platform shoes??Girls wearing navy blue knickers when doing gym.Having a bottle of 'Natch" between 20 of you before going to the school end of term disco.

Well if any of these have cleared the cobwebs of yester-year and you are wondering I wonder what..

This is exactly what has led to some of us in arranging a REUNION where you can meet old and maybe forgotten School buddies!!

VENUE:PBA Social Club, Nibley Road, Shirehampton
TIME: 7.45pm-LATE
ENTERTAINMENT: Live 70's Band/disco + Light Buffet
TICKETS: Cost 6.50 each and can be obtained from the following:

The Lamplighters Public House, Derek Northcott 07771 560392, Lorna Davies 0775 4761478, Kevin Mahoney (MO) 982 7321or if you prefer, by writing to me at:28 Priory Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TD E-Mail:

Go on! See the New Year in by reliving the past!

Hear from you all soon,

Kevin Mahoney (MO)

Post Office Review

Select Committee Will Give Bristol Citizens a Voice

Plans by the Post Office to review the future of its local branches throughout Bristol are to come under tough scrutiny thanks to the creation of a special city council select committee.The seven-member Post Office Closures Select Committee aims to hear evidence from MPs,post office workers, advice agencies and organisations representing older people and other sections of the community before making recommendations to the government and Post Office management.

The move follows a decision by Post Office Ltd to carry out a so-called Urban Reinvention Programme, considering the future role of its local branches across the country on an area-by-area basis. The Post Office's review is expected to be complete by the end of 2004.At its first public meeting on Friday, January 23rd 2003, the select committee heard the views of campaign group Post Watch, local MP Roger Berry and a number of other organisations.

At its second meeting on Thursday, February 20th the committee will hear evidence from Post Office Ltd and have invited the Sub-Postmasters' Federation to attend. The meeting starts at 6pm at The Council House. All interested members of the public are welcome to attend.

Further meeting may be called if the committee believes they are needed.Written evidence will also be invited from a wide range of organisations including the city's equality forums, other MPs, city council employees and trades unions.

To add your views to the debate write to Ian Scoot, Scrutiny Team, The Council; House, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR or email him on ian Councillor Albert "Spud" Murphy, chair of the new select committee, said "Post offices are often a vital resource for local people. Branch closures could have a significant impact on the local economy and on the quality of life of many local communities and citizens.

We want to ensure that the Post Office's planning takes these matters into account. The Select Committee will provide Bristol's citizens with a powerful voice and one which those taking the key decisions should not be able to ignore."Anyone requiring further information about the Select Committee should contact Ian Scott on 0117 922 2770.

Many Thanks from Bella Watkins

Bella Watkins would like to thank all her family and friends for cards, gifts and good wishes and for attending her surprise 90th Birthday Party on the 5th December at Yate.

Also, thanks to Alf and Irene for their special visit at the Young at Heart's Club. Bella adds special thanks too to those who visited her on the actual date of her birthday on 9th December.

(Thank you for your donation to SHIRE funds).

A Big Big Thank You!

I would like to express my thanks to all my fAmily, friends and neighbours for their support and kindness in words, cards, flowers etc, to help me overcome my recent illness.

Many thanks also to all my workmates at Waitrose and Elizabethan Skittle team, and last, but not least, a big THANKYOU to the Exmouth crowd for the weekend paid for me to enjoy when I'm feeling better-just what the Doctor ordered!

Thanks again

Veronica Burns (Harris) (Many thanks for your generous donation to SHIRE funds. Thank you)

Prize Winner

This is M.T. Sweetman of Shirehampton who was the winner of the large cuddly teddy bear that the award Winning Flower World raffled at Christmas.

The bear was presented by Michelle Wright, who works for Tina at Flower World. another raffle for a large white Valentine Bear will be taking place on Saturday, February 14th - tickets are available at the shop.  Greetings cards are now being stocked which include some fabulous Valentine cards.

What's on in Shire

Mondays February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd

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 February 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th

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 February 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

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.
"DROP-IN" ADVICE SESSIONS at A.U.S., Cottage, High Street, 9.30am-11.30am. Also every Thursday starting February 14th.
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 February 5th, 12th, 19th, 28th

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.
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 February 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th

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.
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 February 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

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

Sundays February 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th

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

Make a Recycling Resolution

Bristol's residents are being challenged to get into the recycling habit and really turn their city green. Over the next 12 months, every tonne of aluminium cans and foil recycled will count towards trees that will be planted locally in parks, gardens and woodland around the city.

Last year, the UK recycled nearly 40,000 tonnes of aluminium foils and cans, with Bristol residents recycling nearly 100 tonnes, or the equivalent of 6,000,000 cans.Recycling aluminium is a simple re-melt process, which saves up to 95% of the energy used to make it from the raw material, bauxite.

In fact, a recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for 3 hours.Ruth Meeke, Operation Manager at ALUPRO said: "'Get Recycling' couldn't be easier to take part in. Use your local aluminium can and foil recycling facilities. Every aluminium can and piece of foil will go towards planting broadleaf trees locally.

"The scheme also offers residents or community the opportunity to save cans for their own trees. 50kg of aluminium cans and/or foil can be sold at participating "Cash for Cans" centres between now and the end of June 2004 to receive a tree in return. For further details call ALUPRO on 0845 722 7722.

If you would like more information on this, or any other Bristol City Council recycling scheme, please contact our dedicated Recycling Helpline on (0117) 903 1221, e-mail or visit the council's website at

The attached photograph of the Alupro campaign being launched shows Bristol's Lord Mayor, Councillor Bill Martin along with representatives from SITA, Alupro and the council's recycling department.

Co-habitee Disputes

"My partner and I have split up. We've lived together for years-what's going to happen? The law surrounding unmarried couples is complex and often misunderstood. A common area of concern is about ownership and occupation of property.

It may be that the property you share is owned in the sole name of one or it may be owned jointly it can be owned as 'joints tenants' or as 'tenants in common'.   Although the term 'tenant' is used it has nothing to do with rented property. The main difference between the two types of joint ownership is what happens on the death of one of the owners.

If you own as 'joint tenants' on the death of one owner his or her share of the property will pass automatically to the other. If however the property is owned as 'tenants in common' you each have a share of the property which you can leave to whomever you wish.

Whilst it is common for married couples to be joint tenants, cohabitees and other people purchasing property jointly  will often decide to be tenants in common. Unlike a spouse a cohabitant does not have the right to occupy the home if solely owned by their partner. However it may be possible for the non owning partner to establish a beneficial interest and be able therefore to claim some of the financial value of the property.

Beneficial interest may be based on a direct financial contribution towards the purchase of the property including payment towards a deposit or regular and substantial contributions towards the monthly mortgage payments and/or based on the intentions of both of you when the home was bought. Indirect financial contributions e.g. payments towards household bills and other expenses are less likely to create a beneficial interest

A beneficial interest may also give rights to occupy the home in the case of a dispute but be aware that only the legal owner's consent is required to sell the property and it may therefore be necessary to take steps to protect the other partner's rights. The beneficial interest can be protected by the registration of the interest at the Land Registry. This is particularly important if the partner with the beneficial interest has moved out of the property.

Registration has the effect of warning any purchaser that there is someone who claims a financial stake in the property.Other areas of concern can relate to financial provision because subject to the provisions of the Child Support Act 1991 Cohabitants have no obligation to provide financial support for each other and to inheritance.

ohabitees have no entitlement in the event of intestacy. It is therefore essential that the unmarried couple consider whether to make provision for each other by making wills.

Barbara Jones

A Light Shining in the Darkness ...

I'm sure that you will all agree that one of the highlights in the village this Christmas has been the illumination of St. Mary's Church. Many people have commented on how stunning the visual effect has been floodlighting not just the exterior, but drawing attention to the wonderful building.

So often we hurry past in the dark, without a sideways glance, as I admit I often did when going to and from the surgery. As one person said "the lights are on at St. Mary's and it looks like someone is at home". And of course there is, because the church belongs to the whole village and everyone in the community is assured of a warm welcome.Wouldn't it be wonderful if the floodlights became a permanent fixture?

There must be many of you out there, both home and overseas, who have connections with St. Mary's - ex choir girls and boys, couples who met at St. Mary's Youth Group, those who went on to be married in church, Mother's Union members, children who attended Sunday School, Men's groups ... the list is endless.

The church is part of our village and a beautiful building of which we can all be proud. Will you consider making a donation towards the 2,750 needed to make the floodlighting permanent? Perhaps you would like to sponsor a light at a cost of 250 or alternatively make a contribution to the overall bill.

Amounts large and small will all be welcomed and may be sent to Mr Tony Sawyer, Casamia, Greenhill Plantation, Quarry Lane, Kingsweston, Bristol BS11 0QJ. Tel: 0117 9824043 (Cheques payable to "St. Mary's Floodlighting Appeal"), from whom further information can be obtained.

Why not give your support to a very special scheme that will bring pleasure to everyone who lives in, or travels through, or has connections with our village?

Dr. John Bush

Letters to the Editor

Portway School

Dear Editor,

As a proud ex-pupil from the 1930's - and I'm sure I will echo the thoughts of all my peers - that to read of the Head Master's resignation came as a horrible and unbelievable shock.Why? It seems that our cherished old school was failed by Government Inspectors and indeed that he faced criticism from parents over his ability to lead the school. Oh dear, oh dear. I wonder how Mr Heals, the Head Master of our time, would have responded to that ... not by resigning I think.But merely from all I glean from the media, the ever changing views of the constant changing educational ministers, lack of parental control in many cases, my sympathy must surely by for Mr Sykes and all teachers trying to cope in their thankless task of today.One parent spent 1,500 on extra lessons because of the teacher shortage, incredible and should be unnecessary, but then what are we trying to achieve for our young-ones?Probably old age and deafness does not help but to understand the announcers is not easy but the slurred pronunciation of teenagers, disappointing and certainly this, plus a little politeness would certainly, if taught somewhere along the way, be very beneficial in later achievements.I only know that leaving Portway at 14 and suffering 45 in a class did not stop the old Portway boys from controlling not only their own but many leading companies and become useful citizens.

Vic Wiltshire

Since the report was published, we understand that certain changes have taken place and we hope that this will lead to the beginning of a rise in standards. Ed

An acting Head Teacher has been appointed for Portway School and will commence on February 2nd.

Looking for Charlie Ford

Dear Editor,

I am researching my FORD family history and would be delighted to make contact with Mr Charles FORD of Shirehampton or his daughter Julie SMITH (or other family member). Charles FORD is the first cousin of my grandmother Sylvia Alethea BUTTERWORTH (nee FORD). Sylvia's father was Albert James FORD (killed WWI). Albert's brother was Charles William FORD b. 1886. Charles William FORD was the father of Charles FORD of Shirehampton. I know that Mr Charles FORD of Shirehampton is married to Dorothy. He was presented with Maundy money in 1999 and was involved with the scouts. He has at least one daughter Julie SMITH.I would be grateful if anyone can put me in touch with a member of this family.

Louise Argent

Dear Editor,

Could I, through your paper, thank the two people who kindly helped me to my feet and helped me home when I tripped and fell in Bradley Crescent on December 22nd. I did not know either of them personally but I would like to let them know that their kindness and concern was very much appreciated as I was badly shaken at the time.

Auriel James
Pembroke Road

Tracing J. Fleet's Descendants

Dear Editor,

A French diver recently located the wreck of a ship called the 'Henry R. James' which belonged to a Bristol Company of the same name. Apparently she sank off the French coast on 2nd July 1917 after being torpedoed or having struck a mine. Five of the crew came from Bristol, including the 2nd Mate, J. Fleet, whose address was Waverley House, Waverley Road, Shirehampton.The French diver is interested in contacting any of his descendants. If anyone has any information would they please contact D. Carey, 9 Wrington Crescent, Bishopsworth, Bristol BS13 7EW. Tel: 0117 978 1161.Hamish Grant, 18 Churchleaze.Thank youTo the residents of The Orchards. I am writing to thank you all for the beautiful flowers and gifts you kindly presented me with on the occasion of my retirement. I am leaving The Orchards after nearly thirteen years as the Warden. I have some very happy memories to take with me and will be sad to leave you all.


From Station Road Car Sales

Dear Editor,

When six years ago we transformed the old derelict filling station into what it is today at heavy cost to ourselves (800 for just one architect's drawing) and Bristol City Council to remove huge amounts of used needles and drug related material from the side toilet, obviously gaining planning at a huge cost. To quote from a local 'Observer' publication, "On an unannounced site visit I witnessed no cars parked illegally and on contacting Bristol City Council, I was informed that this site does have full planning". Obviously gaining planning at a huge cost, we honestly believed we were improving the area. We have fought through constant mindless vandalism - cars torched, daily theft (last week they stole our security camera), only to keep our small business afloat.My perimeter fence has been branded an eyesore within a conservation area, very sorry but this is how it came off the roll.May I thank the wonderful people from the locality and surrounding areas, who have phoned or called in to voice their support for us.

With regards

Mark James

Re: Car Sales

Dear Editor,

With reference to your letter of 9th December 2003, I have to tell you that I am not one of those who you say are "fed up with the activities of the car showroom in Station Road". I have lived nearby for three years now, and I personally know of no one who has expressed any complaint about any activities at the showroom. Quite the opposite. Station Road Car Sales has caused me no problems of any kind since I have lived here. Shirehampton needs more businesses, not less, and Station Road Car Sales has my full support in achieving this.

Name and address supplied.

St Mary's Lights

Dear Editor,

The people of Penpole and probably the whole of Shirehampton, would like to thank Canon Christine Froud and her helpers, for the wonderful way St Mary's Church was lit up over the Christmas Holidays. It has been commented that the Church has never looked so nice and must have taken a lot of thought and work to achieve.


Thank you,

V. Petterpp.
Chairperson of Penpole Tenants' Association