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News Index

A History of the Public Hall

What's On in March

St Mary's News

When I Survey

Letters to the Editor

New Health Centre in Shirehampton

By the time this goes to print, the public consultation meeting about the proposed new health centre in Shirehampton will have taken place. We hope to bring you a full report on the meeting in the next issue of The Shire. Meanwhile, if you would like to see the plans, and the two different style options for the proposed new building, then call into the Health Centre where a display is available for you to look at.

The new building will replace the current Shirehampton Health Centre. The Primary Care Trust is intending to acquire the church hall and land next door to the current centre (with the church's blessing, of course), demolish the current health centre and church hall and rebuild the facility on the current but larger site.

During development, temporary health centre buildings will be erected on the site so it will be business as usual.We are aiming to complete the building and open the new centre by Autumn 2006.Why do we need a new Primary Care Centre?There are a number of problems with the current centre:

  • It is overcrowded
  • It is extremely busy
  • The building is inadequate for the range of services that we need to provide
  • We have no room to expand and provide new services in the future
  • Patients can not get appointments with their GP or other health care staff as quick as they would like to because there are not enough consultation rooms
  • Car parking is limited

What will the new centre mean? The new centre will bring a number of benefits and much needed improvements. These include:

  • We will be able to provide better access to services
  • With more consultation rooms we will have more flexiblity to schedule appointments when patients need them
  • There will be better access to other services such as counselling, psychology, podiatry and cancer services
  • The new building will be designed with improved access for patients with disabilities and older people will find visits to the centre much easier
  • Services will be provided in a much better environment and facilities for visitors will be greatly improved. There will be a bigger waiting area, which is desperately needed
  • Behind the scenes administration will be more efficient and patient friendly
  • The health centre will be double the size

For further details about this project, please contact Andrew Hughes, Locality Manager for Bristol North Primary Care Trust, telephone 0117 900 3415 or email

A History of the Public Hall

It will not have gone unnoticed that 2004 marks the centenary of the opening of our pubic hall. We have already commemorated the laying of the foundation stone, and you will have read in previous issues of 'Shire' that an archive is being put together on the history of the hall. A recent exhibition prompted some readers to submit their memories and donate photographs.

David Thomas has applied for a Heritage grant to renovate the clock, but to enhance the application it is proposed to produce a book on the hall, hopefully for publication and launch before Christmas this year. However, one of the conditions of the application is that we can't make a start on the project until funding is confirmed. The reason for this article is to prepare you, because behind the bricks and mortar are all the human stories and when we have the go-ahead for the book I will be appealing for memories of the hall.

Perhaps you were or are involved in a user group and can give an account of its activities, or maybe you remember the fun you had at the Bernwell dances. We want to know about shows, concerts, celebration parties, private or public events, whether funny or sad, they all add to the story.So now is the time to search the dusty corners of your attics for photographs, and your minds for memories, so that when you read in 'Shire' that it's all systems go you will be able to let us have your contributions. Time will be at a premium to meet the proposed deadline - so watch this space!

Judy Helme

Shirehampton Public Hall

Station Road, ShirehamptonStation Road Playgroup and Shire After School Club - daily during term timeTwyford Art Club - Mondays and Wednesdays 9.30-11.30am; Thursdays 7pm-9pmGrainger Players - Thursdays 7-9pmBingo - Fridays 6.30-8.30pmPillow Lace Group - Fridays 7-9pmModel Railway Club - Tuesdays 7.30-9.30pmEvergreens Club - Fridays 1-3pmFor details of all the above activities please contact The Administrator - Public Hall - on 9829963Community Education - Help with Basic SkillsImprove your English, Writing and Spelling, Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Help with Maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 9038824

UK OnLine Computer Classes

Beginners on Computers; Introduction to Email and the Internet; Digital Imaging for Returners or Beginners. Tel. 9829963 for detailsPublic Hall - Reminiscence MeetingsJeanette Cossey and the Public Hall Committee would like to thank all the people who have contributed photos or reminiscences of earlier times in the life of the Hall for our Centenary Year displays which you will all be warmly invited to visit later on this year.

Meanwhile, please may I draw Shire readers' attention to another two Saturday Reminiscence Sessions at which we hope to collect more of your memories - and old photos! We are running these concurrently with UK on Line Digital Imaging Workshops, so that we can reproduce your photos for displays.

Details are under 'UK on Line Courses' elsewhere in this edition. You can ring me on 9776744 or Jeanette at the Hall on 982 9963 for more information. We are looking forward to meeting you!Kate Pollard

Shirehampton Methodist Church

On Sunday March 28th Mrs Caroline Armitage is giving a talk, illustrated with slides, on the Great Wood Camp at Over Stowey, Bridgwater.This project is run by Scripture Union which gives young people spiritual guidance to equip them for later life.

The camp has been subject to considerable improvements which will be fully described in her talk. At the conclusion of the talk tea will be served.Caroline's husband Martin will lead the evening service at 6.30 pm for all who can stay.

Further Good News

The free Advice Service is now up and running again. If you have any concerns with benefits or other matters, pop in and see Tony, any Wednesday or Thursday 09.30 to 11.30 at 155 High Street. Operated by Avon (University Settlement) CA. No appointment necessary.

Penpole Tenants Association- Table Top Sale

The Penpole Tenants Association are holding a TABLE TOP SALE on Saturday 20th March at Tythe Barn, High Street from 10am.Tables are £5 each. To book contact Sandra White on 938 1236.

Shirehampton Directory

The new Shirehampton Directory, with names and contacts for many of our organisations, has been printed. Copies of this useful booklet are available at the Shirehampton Library.

Shirehampton Library Opening Hours

Monday, Wednesday and Friday - 10.00 to 1.00 and 2.00 to 4.00
Saturday10.00 to 1.00 and 2.00 to 4.00
Coffee Morning and Story time, 1st Friday of the Month - 10.30 to 12.30 (Story at 12.00)

What do we have??

Of course we have books. From board books for babies to large print for those whose eyesight is not quite what it used to be.We also have story tapes for children, books on tape for adults and jigsaws. Free internet access (book in advance)We can get videos and CDs from other branches for you.

Other Activities Include:Summer Reading Scheme, Craft Activities - during school holidays, Entertainer - during Summer holidays, Colouring sheets and wordsearches available.

Driving Hazards


  • Watch out for fog - it drifts rapidly and is often patchy.
  • In foggy conditions, drive very slowly using dipped headlights.
  • Use fog-lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves.
  • Don't hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close.
  • Don't speed up suddenly, even if it seems to be clearing. You can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.

Winter sun

  • Dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous. Keep a pair of sunglasses handy.


  • In wet weather stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads. This is because your tyres have less grip on the road.

In wet weather

  • You should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase your ability to see and plan ahead.
  • If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means the water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
  • The rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen.

Flooded roads

  • Don't attempt to cross if the water seems to deep.
  • Drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch - this will stop you from stalling.
  • Avoid the deepest water, usually near the kerb.
  • Remember - test your brakes when you are through the flood before you drive at normal speed.

Hoisted by my Own Petard

When the children were young, every Christmas I would make them open their presents one by one, so I could make a list of who sent what, and then make them write "thank you" letters accordingly. However, now they are grown up and have left the nest, the presents are fewer, and I felt I could remember the senders without a list.

Now I am left looking at a very glamorous stole, where did it come from, lost the Christmas tag. A few discreet enquiries have not yet revealed the sender. Someone must think I am very ungracious!

What's On in March

March 1st - Monday to Friday every week

SHIREHAMPTON AFTER SCHOOL CLUB during term time at Public Hall
Station Road PLAYGROUP at the Public Hall 9.15am - 11.45am

March 1st - Monday and every week

COTSWOLD LADIES CLUB 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.
OVER 50s SWIMMING in Shirehampton Baths 3pm
AVONMOUTH RUGBY FOR GIRLS (13-16) 6pm at Barracks Lane
KYOTO SHOTOKAN Karate Dojo Club at St Bernard's School 7.15pm
AVONMOUTH LADIES HOCKEY club training 7.30pm - 8.30pm Gordano School
Portishead 'SEE & KNOW' for under 5's at St Mary's Church 1.15pm - 2.45pm
SEQUENCE DANCE at the Public Hall 7.30pm - 9.30pm
3 of us BINGO at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth, 1.15pm - 2.45pm
FREE BASIC LITERACY CLASSES at Lawrence Weston Tel 9038824

Monday and Thursday every week

SEA CADETS 7pm - 9.30pm at the unit in Station Road

Monday and Friday every week

JUDO at the Church Centre 6.30pm

March 2nd - Tuesday

St Andrews LADIES CLUB meet at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall Avonmouth to hear Merle Summer on 'Travels with my teddy bear'
CARERS CLUB at the Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am - 12 noon

Tuesday and Wednesday every week

TOT STOP for Mothers with toddlers and babies 9.30am - 11.15am at the Baptist Church Hall

Tuesday and every week

SEQUENCE DANCING at the Baptist Church Hall 8.15pm - 10.15pm
SOFT PLAY at Robin Cousins for under 5s 1.30pm - 3pm.
AVONMOUTH MINI HOCKEY 6 - 7pm at Bristol and West Sports Club, Portway. For further details 9828039
SHORT MAT BOWLS CLUB 7pm - 10pm at Portway School
PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB meeting at 7.30pm - 9.30pm at Shirehampton Baths.
KARATE at Church Centre 7pm - 8pm
AVONMOUTH RUGBY Seniors at Rugby Club 7pm
TAE KWON DO 6pm at Robin Cousins Sports Centre.
STOP SMOKING GROUP meets at Lawrence Weston Clinic. For details ring Mike Davies 9823205
SHIRE BADGERS SET ages 6-11years 7pm at Beachley Walk Centre. New members welcome.
SHIREHAMPTON AREA CHOIR rehearsal in St Mary's Church at 7.30pm
MODERN DANCE (6 - 16 years old) 4.30pm at the Public Hall.
BINGO at the Cotswold Community Centre 6.45pm - 8.15pm
TEA JUNCTION at St Mary's - tea, chat & board games at 3.30pm

March 3rd - Wednesday

ARTHRITIS CARE 7pm at Jim O'Neil House

Every Wednesday and Friday

DROP IN ADVICE SESSIONS at the A.U.S. Cottage 115, High Street, 9.30am - 11.30am

Wednesday and every week

PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB at Bristol North Pool (County standard)
WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP (Alternate weeks) 7.30pm - 9.00pm St Bernard's Hall
PORTWAY CENTRE CHOIR PRACTICE 7.00pm - 8.30pm at St Mary's Church Hall
NETBALL CLUB 7-9pm Manor Farm, Portway. Ring 9070269
MINOR ILLNESS CLINIC for the Group Practice patients 10am - 11am at the Health Centre.
'THE BRIGHT HOUR' at the Baptist Church, Station Road 2:30
BINGO at the Tythe Barn 2pm - 4pm
G.L.U.E. YOUTH GROUP for Secondary School pupils 7pm - 9pm. Contact Nick or Lucy tel 938266

March 4th - Thursday

TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD 2pm - 4pm at the Methodist Church Hall

Thursday and every week

AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB Seniors practice 7pm
AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB Practice for Juniors & Colts 6pm - ring 9852426 for details
SLIMMING WORLD 5.30pm - 7.30pm Rear Hall Church Centre.
STROKE SUPPORT meets in the afternoon at the PBA Club, Nibley Road. For further details tel. 9684207
SOFT PLAY for under 5 years at Robin Cousins 1.45pm - 3.30pm
LINE DANCING TUITION 2pm - 3.30pm approx. Open invitation to come along to Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road.
REHEARSALS for 'THE SONGS THAT WON THE WAR' Grainger Players production 7.30pm - 9.30pm at the Public Hall
STORYTIME at St Mary's for pre-school children at 2pm
BINGO or a SPEAKER 2pm - 4pm at the Tythe Barn

March 5th - Friday

Monthly COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10.30am - 12 noon.
STORYTIME for children at the Library. 12:00

Friday and every week

AVONMOUTH RUGBY Colts and Juniors training at Rugby Club 6pm
PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB meets 7.30pm -10pm at Henbury Baths
EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 1pm - 3pm
KEEP FIT at Cotswold Centre 10.30am - 12 noon
PILLOW LACE CLUB 7 - 9pm at Public Hall
ARMY CADET FORCE 7.30pm - 9pm
COFFEE AND TEA in the Baptist Church Hall Coffee Lounge 10am - 12 noon
TAE KWON DO 6pm in the Portway Community School
AMATEUR RADIO CLUB Sea Cadets HQ Station Road 7.30 - 9.30pm
BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30pm - 8.30pm
THE SHED, a club for youth ages 8 - 12 years 6.30pm - 7.45 pm at Shirehampton Baptist Church
FRIDAY FUN at the Beachley Walk Centre for Mothers, Carers and pre-school children 9.30am - 11.30am

March 6th - Saturday

COFFEE MORNING AND BRING AND BUY at the Methodist Church Hall organized by the Womenís Bright Hou
PORTWAY SCHOOL 1975-77 REUNION P.B.A. Club, Nibley Road, 7.45pm - till late.Saturday and every week
JUNIOR FOOTBALL 9am - 11am, 7-14 years at Robin Cousins Sports Centre.
AVONMOUTH HOCKEY CLUB matches most Saturdays - ring 9828039

March 7th - Sunday

BAPTIST CHURCH SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm

Sunday and every week

AVONMOUTH RUGBY training sessions at Barracks Lane
PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB Henbury School pool 2pm - 4pm

March 14th - Sunday

10am COMMUNION SERVICE at St Mary's Church - a sign language interpreter will be attending.

March 16th - Tuesday

St Andrew's LADIES CLUB meet at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall Avonmouth for a Charity Bring and Buy Auction.
RAILWAY MODELLERS 7.30pm at the Public Hall

March 17th - Wednesday

COTWOLD BOOK CLUB discuss 'The Fixed Period' by Anthony Trollope. Ring 9828683 for details.
SHIRE STITCHERS meet at the Public Hall 7.30pm

March 21st - Sunday

CHURCH OF ENGLAND SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm

March 26th - Friday

SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre 7.30pm - 10pm

March 27th - Saturday

STAMP FAIR at the Public Hall 10am ñ 4pmMarch 30th - Tuesday
St Andrew's LADIES CLUB meet 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall to hear Mr. Bowden on 'The Normandy Campaign'

32nd Local Art Exhibition 29th May - 1st June 2004

PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT This year's Exhibition is being staged by Twyford Art Club as part of Shirehampton Public Hall's Centenary Celebrations. Entry details to follow.

Exhibition of Betty Marten Paintings at Clevedon

An Exhibition of Paintings by Betty Marten will be held from March 1st until 31st at The Toll House Gallery, Clevedon Pier. The Gallery is open every day, 10am-5pm. The paintings include landscapes, flowers, scenes of Spain and abstracts. The works are in oils, pastels, watercolour and pen.

Using the Post Code

Learning from my experience - I sent a letter enclosing a cheque to my son in Bath by post. No great deal, enquiries after a week, and then a fortnight later, confirmed that it had not reached its destination. So I stopped the cheque at the bank (no charge as it was lost in the post).

At least three weeks later the Post Office returned to me, the envelope opened, my letter and the cheque, as I had only written half the postcode of the Bath address!Perhaps in readiness for next Christmas when I contact relations and old friends with annual cards, I should start checking now that I have their postcodes.


The Portbury Stroke Club

The Portbury Stroke Club has recently celebrated its 21st birthday. It was founded way back in 1982 by Ken Royall and held its first meetings in Portway Old Boys, but moved to its present venue at the Port of Bristol Social Club in Nibley Road in 1988.

Men and women who have suffered from stroke meet in a relaxed and friendly environment to enjoy a game of skittles, play bingo, scrabble and dominoes or just come for a chat and company, at the same time giving their carers a well earned break. Some come in their own transport; others are picked up by volunteer drivers.

Refreshments are provided and, in the warmer months, outings are also arranged to various hostelries in the South West. Our members cover a wide age range: some are quite young; two have recently celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversaries!

If you are interestsed in becoming a volunteer or wish to obtain more information about this Club, or others in the Bristol district, all of which are run by the Bristol and Area Stroke Foundation, please ring 0117 964 7657.

Primary School - Chinese New Year Party

The Nursery and Reception classes at Shirehampton Primary School celebrated Chinese New Year with class parties. The Nursery children enjoyed tasting prawn crackers, dressing up and performing a lion dance to music they had composed themselves.

The Reception classes spent a week enjoying a variety of activities, including trying Chinese food and using chopsticks, making dragon masks and puppets, trying on costumes and moving like the animals in the Chinese New Year Story. They also listened to Chinese music and made lucky red envelopes.

Class 5 Evacuated to North Devon

Pupils in Class 5, Avon Primary School, were treated to a memorable history lesson when Shirehampton residents Mavis Oliver and Valerie Strange visited the school to talk about their experiences during World War II. As children both ladies had been evacuated to North Devon and their memories gave an extra dimension to the childrens' learning.

Class 5, who have been busy learning about how WW II affected children in the local area, have been busy investigating evacuation, rationing, air raid shelters, Morse code, and the Blitz. The whole class have been enthusiastic about the topic, with many children bringing photographs, ration cards and treasured mementoes belonging to Grandparents.

'Shire Born and Bred'

John Randall 6th January 1920 - 9th January 2004

John Randall was born above his father's butchers shop at 8 High Street, Shirehampton in January 1920 and lived his whole life - save for the war years, which he spent in Egypt - in the village he loved. It seems fitting then that, 84 years and 3 days later, he made his final journey through the High Street and passed for the last time under the window of his childhood bedroom.

Shirehampton changed and grew immensely during John's lifetime and he always had a take to tell about the village he remembered - whether it was being taken to look at the ruins of the church the morning after it had been destroyed by fire; or picnics on Penpole Point, looking out over the farmland which would soon become Lawrence Weston.One of his favourite stories concerned the opening of the Savoy Cinema when he was still a young boy.

Full of excitement to see what the first picture would be in Shire's own cinema - no more trips to Avonmouth! - he had cycled down to check the notice and was snapped by a photographer from the Bristol Evening World - his very own claim to fame. Now, of course, the Savoy is entering a new phase of its own and acts as a reminder of how life moves on but memories remain.

Janet, David and Jill would like to thank all John's friends and relatives who sent kind messages or attended the funeral at St Mary's. Special thanks, as always, go to Canon Christine for conducting the service so sensitively and for capturing perfectly the essence of a much loved Dad, Grandad, Brother and Friend.

John kept the following poem in his kitchen and it sums up perfectly his attitude to life:

Take Care of Yourself

Look after yourself, they say to me. Take care of yourself, please do.
Now that the years are catching you up,Take it easy - it's best for you.
Take care of myself - for what? I say.For a doting and senile old age?

So I'll sit around in my chair all day,Weak in body, my mind in a daze?
That's not for me, I'll just carry onAnd fill every day to the brim.
Take risks now and then, keep stretching myself;
Enjoy life, keep spreading my wings.Much better this way, to live to the end,
To savour the good things of life,Than to carefully measure each step that I take,
For the sake of extending my life.

(Many thanks for the donation to SHIRE funds).

Obituary - Chris Hind Age 51 years

Died 12th December 2003 Chris came to live in Shirehampton from the age of 6 weeks with his parents Doreen and Frank. He formed many friendships over the years and always enjoyed living in the Village.Chris worked at Astra Zeneca, Severnside for 24 years and was a loyal Bristol Rovers supporter.

He took great joy in his role as grandad to his 2 granddaughters Morgan and Poppy and most recently to his long awaited grandson Rhys.His wife Debbie and daughters Rebecca and Emma would like to thank all of their friends and family for the love and support they have received over the past few weeks and also to everyone including Astra Zeneca and Capita-TV Licensing who have donated monies in lieu of flowers which raised £600.

This will be donated to the Shirehampton Christmas Lights appeal in memory of Chris.In MemoriamIn memory of Samuel Blake who passed away on 11th December after a long illness. Mandy and family would like to thank family and friends for the flowers and donations made to St. Peter's Hospice in memory of Samuel who passed away after suffering a long illness.

(Apologies from 'Shire' for delay in printing).

Obituary - Irene Williams

At the end of January we said goodbye to a faithful member of our Methodist Church, Mrs Irene Williams. She had had a long life and died peacefully at home. Mrs. Williams was organist for many years at the Church, supported by her son Rowland who is our Senior Steward.

We miss her quiet conscientious service to our church community.VFJHow ThoughtfulHaving just come home after Canon John Smith's funeral one of the many thoughts which struck me was that John, six years ago, when his heart problem began, sat down and wrote out instructions for his own funeral service.

So it was all as he planned. Like making a will the first time, it takes a bit of doing. Yet when you think that death of a member is a time of great trauma for a family, and what a help it must be to know that the service is to be just what the person would have.


Shirehampton Gains Travel Counsellor With Royal Seal of Approval

One to one travel advice is now only a phone call away for holidaymakers and business travellers in Shirehampton thanks to the appointment of Nicola Smart as a Personal Travel Counsellor for the area.Nicola joins the Travel Counsellors team of more than 350 ABTA bonded home workers offering a personalised service for all types of holidays in addition to exert advice on specialist areas such as tailor-made holidays, cruises and business travel.

Travel Counsellors is proud to be the UK's first Travel Agency to have received the Queens Award for Enterprise, presented earlier this year. The Award was conferred on the company in recognition of its innovative delivery of a personalised consultancy service to travel customers.

Using the very latest technology and working with all the leading tour operators, Nicola can advise, plan and book the holiday or business travel arrangements that meet your every requirement.Nicola said 'I am very excited about working in my local area again. I started my career in travel working in James and Hodder Travel in Shirehampton and later moved to their Avonmouth branch.

Most recently I have been working in the BBC Bristol travel office helping members of their staff with their business and filming related travel. When the BBC office relocated I decided to become a Travel Counsellor so here I am, back in the village! Travel Counsellors is very much a personal travel service offering independent advice.

With my experience and training I hope to be able to make sure both holidaymakers and business travellers get the best possible choice and service to match their individual travel requirements.

For more information or to discuss your travel plans you can contact Nicola on 0117 3307113, Fax 0117 3307113, email or log on to

I look forward to helping you ...

The Pavements of Shire (continued ...)

'I do wish they'd finish the pavements off,'Said old Mrs Waters through a slight winter cough.Young Mr Pace nodded vigorous assent,For he was a courteous and civilised gent.'It doesn't make sense,' replied he with a frown,'To lay this attractive brickwork down,Then leave it unfinished. It does look so odd.'He gave an emphatic, significant nodAt the place by the church, where the new brickwork ended.'It's all such a shame, for what's done looks quite splendid.The part outside Somerfield's marvellous now,But what of the Co-op? Goodness know howThey decided which pavement to do or to leave!''You're right!' Mrs Waters replied. 'I do grieveTo see all, as it were, up in the air.To tell you the truth, I don't think it's fairFor The George to 'ave a nice bit of pavement outside,While the shops direct opposite us 'ave to bideTheir time while they waits for it all to be done.I'm sure you agree on this matter, my son.''I do! Yes, I do!' exclaimed young Mr Pace(He warmed to his subject, which showed in his face).'And likewise the shops on the opposite sideTo the Co-op, where they once made the old High Street wide.'Mrs Waters jumped in with, 'I don't understand.They've made such a good job in Pembroke Road, andThe pavement there doesn't finish half way alongThe old stone church wall - someone's got it wrong.'Course it's much better now it's been all made one-way.It' safer for old 'uns like me, I must say,And mothers with kiddies, and pushchairs as well(Like that mother of two next to me - Mrs Bell).'Course I've said it before and I'll say it again:All them chewing gum marks is a right nasty stainOn our lovely brick pavements. Some folks just don't care.If I was around at the time, they wouldn't dareTo spit it all out on the path, believe me!I'd give 'em a taste of my walking stick - see!'She waved the said 'weapon' up over her headAnd Mr Pace laughed at her gesture. He said:'I'd like to be there, when you meet with a yob.But one thing's for certain, we can't do the job.All we can do, I suppose, is just wait!Now I must be off home, or else I'll be late. NAMSOEarly Memories of Shire Infants SchoolWe lay down on our old camp beds To have our 'little rest'.I loved my one-third pint of milk; The buttered brown bread best!Miss Wannell was our teacher (Old lady, twenty-three).There was nowhere but her classroom That we would rather be.The toilets were the outside type; All right when it was hot;But winter made those seats so cold For such a tiny tot!The headmistress would not take notice Of my loud objection.She dragged me, screaming from the classroom For the doc's injection.Miss Gaught, this fearsome lady, Reigned with such an iron rule.She spanked the bully's bare backside In front of the whole school!I hated my twin brother, for In Christmas panto week.He was a Babe in the wood and I A bird with a cardboard beak!


St Mary's News

Hi folks!

March is here and so is early spring and the beginning of lighter evenings once again. It's wonderful to see the greenery in the hedgerows appearing and the first few buds on the trees to appreciate what a beautiful world we live in.But, I digress - it's news you want - not nature study!

Those of you who attended the Beetle Drive recently will know how competitive this game can be. In addition to all the good fun the sum of £110 was raised for the Roof Repair Fund.On Friday evening, 23rd January, we had our French Theme Evening. There were many 'Allo 'Allo characters - several Renées, several Michelles, several Officer Crabtrees - but only one 'Granny' alias Pat Carter.

Pat looked very authentic - if she had an iron bedstead with flashing knobs on it, you would have thought she was the real thing! David Froude, complete with moustache, appeared as a very convincing Inspector Clouseau - his hat and mackintosh were identical to those worn in the films. Yes - you may have guessed by now - Canon Christine along as 'The Pink Panther' in a very authentic looking costume.

Gill Sawyer again provided excellent cuisine - all with a French theme. Thanks Gill, it was all super! Once again, the frills and frolics raised over £550 towards the Roof Fund. Thank you to all who attended and put so much effort into dressing up.On Saturday 6th March we will be holding a St Davids Springtime Fayre in church from 10 am until 12.00 noon.Crafts, gifts, cakes, preserves and much more will be available for sale.

Come along and give us your support - we shall be pleased to see you!As from Monday 8th March 2004 you will be able to buy Easter cards from the church. These are 'home grown' like our Christmas cards which proved so popular. They will be available in packs of five, price £1.50 from Gill Sawyer at the Church office.

For anyone who may be interested, Bishop Mike (Bishop of Bristol) is hosting a service in Bristol Cathedral at 11am on Saturday 13th March to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England. This is also a time for all of us to reflect on how fortunate we are to have Canon Christine as our spiritual leader. It is due to her hard work and effort that St Mary's has become a 'growing church' once more!

Now I have some news of a service in early April - given to you now in case 'Shire' is published late! On Sunday 4th April 2004 Bishop Mike (Bishop of Bristol) will be joining us at our 10.00 am Holy Communion which is also Palm Sunday. At that service he will dedicate our new Memorial Chapel in the north aisle and also dedicate the refurbishment of our Lady Chapel which has been completed in memory of our late Verger, John Ruddock. So come in and see for yourselves these quiet and peaceful parts of St Mary's - so important to many of our visitors.

For the information of anyone who may be hard of hearing - Jayne Powell - our sign language interpreter - will be 'signing' the Holy Communion Service on Sunday 14th March.Now that the better weather is with us it is time to think about our 'Open Gardens' days, which proved so popular last Summer. We intend to repeat this idea again this year - so get weeding and planting! (which includes 'yours truly').Those of you who have visited St Mary's recently will have noticed our new Altar frontals.

A gold coloured one was used over the Christmas period and will be also used for Baptisms and at Easter time. The second new frontal has wave patterns on it together with fishes and a fishing net - this will remain in use until Lent. There are yet more to come - the generous gift of an anonymous donor.

Last month you may recall an article written by Dr John Bush suggesting that contributions should be made to a fund to enable St Mary's to be floodlit at other times throughout the year. Well, I am pleased to report that several contributions have already been made - thank you to those who have contributed towards this scheme and to say that our Church Treasurer Tony Sawyer will be pleased to receive further donations.

We now have two new residential buildings in our village - Austen House in the High Street and The Savoy in Station Road. We would like to invite any new residents to St Mary's Church - you can be assured you will receive a warm welcome from us all.Finally, a message from our Church Wardens - Gill Sawyer writes - Derek Ford and I, as Church Wardens, would like you to know that Canon Christine has changed her day off to MONDAY.

We are most concerned that she has this day completely free from any church business. You may not know that vicars only have one day off a week, what you will know is that Canon Christine works tirelessly for the parish and always responds to any request. Please help us by not asking her to do anything on Mondays or contacting her that day.

The church office will be happy to take any messages or offer help - just telephone 907 7026.

'Bye for now'!


When I Survey

An increasing number of readers are old. Let us be honest and say that we are 'old' in preference to 'elderly' or senior citizens.' More of the younger ones than ever before will become old in due course unless we destroy ourselves by global war or global warming. I myself retired in 1987 so have been old for some time.

A reflection on old age is therefore not out of place.Being old is often tiresome. You can no longer do many of the things you used to do and still want to do. You may have awkward lapses of memory. You are likely to suffer ill health, perhaps aches and pains. Frustration may lead you to unaccustomed bouts of irritability. Your friends and relations die, perhaps those near And dear to you.

But there are many compensations, many blessings to count. On the whole people are kind to you and respect you. You have time to reflect, perhaps if so minded to pray. The very words 'Our Father in Heaven' for example conjure up an image of the One whose nature and whose name is love, the creator of the stars, of the human family, of the birds and fishes, rivers and mountains; the father of our Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again for us; the holy spirit of universal love. If you are a Jew or Muslim or other faith your vision will be somewhat different.

But I believe that it will be of the same God. For there is no other.So I pray that you may grow old gracefully or, if you are already old, adorn your age with cheerfulness.

A.H. Dammers

An Unexpected letter

Recently we received a package from Denmark addressed to the Methodist Church. In it was the photo shown and the remnants of an orange balloon.Do you remember our balloon release last year commemorating John Wesley's 300th birthday?

This balloon with its prayer attached found its way across the sea and landed in a field near Viborg in Denmark. Heine Kirial Hylleburg, who returned the balloon, was too late to be included in our competition but we will be sending a token of our appreciation to him.


Time Off and Holidays - The Legal Position

If as a worker you do not know your exact entitlement, the first place to look is in your written contract of employment, if you have one.This contract can be a free standing document or part of its terms could be found in an employee handbook.

It may be combined with a statement of terms and conditions of employment which an employer must give an employee within one month of starting work.There is no legal obligation to actually provide a written contract however, but only a statement of basic terms and conditions.

Annual leave is now covered by the Working Time Regulations 1998 if there is no other better provision from an employer. Every worker is entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks annual leave. This means 20 working days. Note however that this includes our 8 annual bank holidays.

Sick Leave and Holiday Pay

The law makes provision for annual leave to be taken even if the worker is away on long-term sick leave.For instance. Jim is 56, in August 2003 he suffered a serious heart attack on holiday. He has been away on long-term sick leave since then. He has received his pay to the end of August, then reduced to Statutory Sick Pay. He doesn't know when the doctor will sign him off. He is still entitled to his annual leave.

This is important because it means that once leave is granted he is entitled to holiday pay up to the limit of entitlement to annual leave which he has whilst absent. He must however give notice of his requirement to take leave. The Working Time Regulations 1998 set out rules about how much notice must be given in order to obtain that.

In all cases concerning annual leave there are do's and don'ts.Check the contract of employment and follow the requirements for giving notice to take leave. If there are no rules in the contract of any work rules then refer to the Regulations and take legal advice if you are unsure.

If you are an employer then it is always good practice to run a holiday chart and make sure that - (i) Everybody's leave is set out on the chart and any changes. (ii) That one person is responsible for organising holidays. (iii) That the contract of employment lays down rules about how many people can be away at any one time - so as to avoid high levels of absence which would prevent the business running at all.

Obviously there has to be a balance in these things and the key to this is giving sufficient notice to take holidays.

Off Work Long Term Sick?

The employee should be prompt in keeping the employer informed as to what is happening and obtain and supply a regular sick note.The employer should not assume that it is safe to dismiss a person who is away on long-term sick leave. It is not. Such an assumption can give rise to a substantial claim for compensation for unfair dismissal if badly handled.

The rule is to keep in touch with the employee and if there is doubt about whether the employee can return to work, in what capacity he or she can return to work, or whether a return to work is possible at all, to obtain a medical report after an examination (with the necessary consents from the employee) before proceeding.

Apart from anything else a medical report and advice from a doctor may enable the employer to plan short-term cover during someone's absence.

Even if it is eventually decided to dismiss an employee who has been away on long-term sick leave it should be noted that normally an employee will be entitled to the requisite amount of notice either under the contract or otherwise the minimum notice provisions under the law.

Chris Brown

Letters to the Editor

Poppy Appeal

Dear Editor

I am writing to thank the people of Shirehampton for their generosity for the poppy appeal, as we raised £1,806.98.I would like to say a big thank you to all the shops and 4 public houses for their help in reaching this total, also Steve Simmons. The total from Westbury and District was over £14,000 - a record.Thanks once again.

Philip Read
British Legion and Normandy Veterans Association

Station Road Car Sales

Dear Editor,

I have lived and work in Shirehampton since 1978. I read with dismay the letter printed in January edition of 'Shire' from Councillor Pat Roberts re Station Road Car Sales.I would guess that the car sales business has been operating at this site now for about 5 years.

As most readers would know, the site was previously a petrol filling station which eventually ceased trading. As I recall, it quickly became a vandalised eyesore. I am sure that a huge clean up operation would have been necessary before the car sales commenced business.Whilst agreeing that we must all adhere to local planning laws, it would seem reasonable to assume that any business taking over a redundant filling station forecourt, would be vehicle related.

As a local resident I do not want to see our local High Street slip into decline, and welcome new businesses bringing life back to empty premises.A quote from Councillor Roberts letter states 'For those of you who are fed up with the activities of the care showroom in Station Road'.

I haven't met anyone so far who seems 'fed up' with the car sales operation, but if they are out there, I have a sneaky suspicion that perhaps they may feel that they will never need to avail themselves of the car sales wares. This is clearly unfair, do the non-drinkers amongst us demand the closure of local pubs and wine stores? Do the vegetarians in our midst make life difficult for our local butcher?

Councillor Roberts goes on 'A number of people have complained to me about cars parked illegally outside the premises displaying For Sale notices'. What irony! The whole of Station Road and the High Street is littered on a daily basis, with illegal and sometimes dangerously parked vehicles. The offenders are both shoppers and local traders.

In my opinion, this car sales operation is very low key, ie, no car repairs being carried out, no lorries delivering goods, no queues of customers (illegally parked!).Come on Shire people, give them a break. This seems to be a couple of hard working chaps trying to earn themselves a living, and hopefully giving employment to others.

Think on this, the location of this business must surely mean that they are mainly selling cars to locals, they certainly wouldn't get much passing trade. At the heart of most vibrant communities there is usually a busy and active commercial 'High Street'. I am sure the majority of Shire residents would not want ours to go the way of many, and die.

I have no connection whatsoever with Station Road Car Sales. I do not know the owners or employees, and have never purchased a car from them.

(Name and address supplied)

Request for Memories of 'the Old Days' in Shire

Dear Editor,

During a recent discussion with a few friends we agreed that these days there appears to be a lack of communication within families. With the internet, hectic social life, lack of time, etc, we do not get a chance to share the great tales which have happened whilst we were growing up.

I spend a great deal of time enjoying the tales from long ago with the great 'old folk' of Shire - remembrances of the hard times during the war years, the great comradeship of the Dock's folk, the changing face of the area, etc. It's a sad thing, but within a few years without these stores being shared, they will be forgotten forever.

We thought it would be great if all these many local folk put pen to paper to share their great experiences with us - maybe through the pages of 'SHIRE' - I particularly find the war years very fascinating and would like to hear more.Mark JamesWell, you have written this request at a most appropriate time! Soon will be the 60th Anniversary of D Day on 10th May, 1940.

No doubt we shall hear and see many reminders of this time on TV - but how did we fare in Shire? We would like to hear from readers who were engaged in any way with the invasion, or events as passed on by their parents or friends. Let us know what life was like when the troops from the U.S. Army were stationed locally and how we lived with the food rationing.

Has anyone a record of the rations available during wartime? We should like to hear of life in Shire 1939-1945 - if possible to be included in the May edition of SHIRE, ie, by 15th April.

Other local remembrances are also required for future editions.

Please address replies to SHIRE Newspaper, c/o The Library, Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9TU.