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St Mary's News

Sir Robert Stephens

The 'Evergreens'

Library News

A Primary Care Centre for Shirehampton

Bristol North Primary Care Trust is planning a new primary care centre for Shirehampton to replace the current health centre building.  A drop-in meeting to explain more about the design will be held on 22 March. The new primary care centre should be ready by spring/early summer 2007.

The new centre will be nearly double the size of the existing centre and will bring a number of benefits and much needed improvements.  It will provide more consulting rooms, including an on-site pharmacy and will enable the centre to provide current services such as counselling, podiatry and baby clinics in a more spacious environment. 

The centre will be a better lace for staff to work in and for people to visit.  It will enable patients to have a better access to services.  Extra car parking and easier security are other added bonuses. Chris Born, Chief Executive at Bristol North PCT said: 'The building has been designed with people in mind, including better facilities for older patients and patients with disabilities. 

The reception area will also be more welcoming with more space. 'Plans were drawn up to replace Shirehampton health centre as people commented that it seemed overcrowded and extremely busy and there were not enough consulting rooms which meant that patients could not always get an appointment with a GP or healthcare [professional as quickly as they would like.

There was a very positive response from the local community to plans for the new centre.   People sad they wanted a new primary care centre with more services provided locally. Dr sue Green GP Partner, The Group Practice, Shirehampton Health Centre said: 'The doctors, nurses and staff of the Group Practice are very excited about the building of a new Primary Care Centre in Shirehampton. 

We have long outgrown the present building and the new building will give patients and staff alike a health centre fit for the needs of the 21st Century. Chris Born, Chief Executive of Bristol North Primary Care Trust added: 'We very much want to keep you up to date on this new facility for Shirehampton and to heat any concerns.

We are looking forward to producing a new building which can provide a better place for patient care and a wider range of local services. ''We are delighted to be developing a new Primary Care Centre in Shirehampton, building on our very close partnership with the Primary Care Trust.

Our experience of developing other Primary Care Centres in Bristol will help enable us to provide well designed, modern facilities for developing healthcare services to local people. ' Mark Nebel, Chief Executive, Bristol Infracare LIFT Ltd. There will be an open drop-in session running from 7pm to 8. 30pm at Shirehampton Public Hall on Tuesday 22nd March 2005, so that local people can come and hear more about the plans.

Some designs and artist impressions of the new Primary Care Centre will be on show and staff will be on hand to answer any questions. Further information on the project is available from Zed Moore, Primary Care Development Manager, Bristol North Primary Care Trust.  Telephone: 0117 900 2309 or Julie Hendry communications department on 0117 900 2549.

New Management for Portway School

Bristol City Council is appointing an Interim Executive Board to oversee the progress of Portway Community School out of Special measures. The IEB, which came into effect in February, will take on the role of governing the school and will be in place for a year.

The aim of the move is to accelerate the rate of improvement and ensure the school is out of special measures by December 2005, before its move to its new premises on the current site.  The school was placed in special measures in November 2003.

The decision to appoint an IEB has been taken with the school's governing body - confirmed by the Minister for School Standards - and is intended to strengthen community confidence and rapidly establish a sound base for the improvement of the school beyond special measures and into the future.

The Local Education Authority (LEA) School Progress Group, at its meeting in November, concluded that although the school was making satisfactory progress in some areas of the curriculum, it was not making sufficiently good progress overall. The LEA School Progress Review Group is comprised of the LEA Head of School Improvement, link LEA School Improvement Officer, headteacher, chair and vice-chair of governors.

The judgement is supported by recent feedback from HMI inspectors whop revisited the school last November. The Director of Education and Lifelong Learning Heather Tomlinson said: 'The LEA has responded swiftly and decisively in conjunction with the school and governing body in concerns that the school is not making sufficient progress.

'We recognise that despite the best efforts of the governors, governance needs to be strengthened to ensure that the school makes more rapid progress in line with the Post Inspection Plan. 'We have been working very closely with the school on securing improvement and the appointment of an IEB will enable the school to achieve the scale and speed of improvement that parents, pupils and the community have a right to expect.

'Portway is one of four secondary schools in Bristol currently benefiting from the first phase of a massive investment programme which will see the school move into brand new state-of-the-art buildings in January 2006 and I am confident that the school can look forward to a very bright future indeed.

The IEB will inc lude an ex-principal of the City of Bristol College, a former headteacher of an 11-18 comprehensive school from an other LEA, a member of the business community with strong financial expertise and an LEA officer. The current head of Portway, Steve Davis and the link School Improvement Officer will attend all IEB meetings.

A new management team comprising a headteacher and two deputy headteachers, took up post at Portway last September.  the new headteacher Steve Davies who came to Bristol from Caerphilly where he was a headteacher, took over from interim head Cledwyn Davies who was appointed following the departure of the previous head Neil Sykes, in December 2003.

GP Surgery Opening Times

With all the changes to the Out of Hours Service recently, we thought we should clarify when Shirehampton Health Centre is open. Basically, we are open from 8. 30am until 6. 30pm Monday to Friday, closing for an hour at lunch time between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

If you ring the surgery at any other time than the above, you will automatically be transferred to the Out of Hours Service. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO RING BEFORE 8. 30am unless you have a medical emergency.  The receptionist who takes the call will not be able to deal with appointments, prescriptions or queries - she is there only to transfer emergency calls to the on-call doctor.

On the Buses (again)

Many thanks GO, for your memories in 'The Shire'. It reminded me of my stint 'on the buses' in 53/54 but with a slight difference.  I was fed up with factory work and decided (wrongly as it turned out) that as girls loved guys in uniform, this would be the passport to my future. 

Although I was based at Weston (on-the -Sea) I ran the Bristol route (the old No 24) for quite some time, so am familiar with the company office/canteen on the Centre.  As you wrote, the Centre at that time was the main terminus but not just for the local buses but also those from the country and it would not be unusual to see up to 20 buses parked all around the perimeter and you could generally get a reliable connection to another part of the City after a leisurely stroll across to the relevant bus-stop (unless of course 'your driver' was on duty and pushed off early!)

It was also the Centre's heyday, as at that time, Park Street and adjacent areas were 'the place to shop' for Westonians and was one of the few times when girls would tap 'me up' for a freebie (free fare)! Yes lads, and it was I who, smilingly took your travel warrants for Bristol's Army Recruitment Centre, as you faced the prospects of your medical for National Service (a trip I would face myself shortly after). 

However, back to the article, never mind the burly shift-workers of Avonmouth crowding onto your bus, try the same with the Welsh miners that used to come to Weston on Campbell's steamers for a Sunday booze-up in the days when they had their 'Sunday Prohibition' (no Sunday drinking) I did a few runs to the Old Pier and I can assure you that, not only do I hold the record for most passengers on a 52 seater, I also hold it for the biggest 'tilt' as we hit the corner by the Marine Lake trying to get them back for the last boat.

My driver always hit that corner, I believe, on purpose to help the miners get their sea-legs!Finally, are there any ex RAF personnel (in Shire) that were stationed at Locking Camp in those days and, catching the late bus, used the 'second stop' to sneak through the fence when they were not in possession of their official 48hr pass?

Dave Fisher

What's in a Name?

Over 50 years ago when we got married, during the church service, I had to resist a temptation to call out 'Who?' For my bridegroom has always been called Peter' although his real names are Desmond Leslie.  Mind you he has a brother always known as Jim although his actual name is John. Nor can I claim that his is the only family with pet names.

My uncle called Arthur, was aged 50 when he sent for a copy of his birth certificate, only to discover he was not Arthur Edward as he thought, but only Edward.  Another nickname that stuck for life was his sister; my Aunt was called Evelyn.  When she was a little girl she was chubby, so her twin sister called her Dumpling' (shortened to Dump).

She grew up very slim and elegant, but within the family she remained Dump. 'Now we have grandchildren, some with unusual names, Belouis, Oscar and the latest one Beaujan (born this January).  Perhaps this latest one had a lucky escape, as his big brother suggested Rocket and Asterix.

Still if they ever meet Brooklyn and Romeo (with famous parents) they could all have a grouse together about their names.  On the other hand perhaps on 20 years times these names will all seem quite normal.  Who knows? Do you know any stories of unusual names?


Tea Dances RSV PROGRAM, SEA MILLS 1990-2005

January 18th 1990 myself and my wife, Charlie and Jen Whitehead held our first Tea Dance at Sea Mills Methodist Church Hall.  The cost to hire was 15 and we charged 50p entrance which included tea and biscuits.  We also held a draw which helped with our profits.

The music was on tape played on a portable music system, 15 dances were recorded on this tape and right from the start about 40-50 people were up dancing. In 1994 GWR Radio were very generous and donated 250 to us.  With this money we decided to have live music played.

This was very successful, so we sold our music system for 35 and the money went into our funds. In June we would always have a coach trip for 53 people to the seaside and there was a waiting list.  We would hold a raffle on board the coach which helped with the cost of the trip. We also have a Christmas Social held at Shirehampton Cricket Club.

This was very enjoyable with a good turn out with myself and some colleagues doing some entertaining with a good laugh.  We had a raffle too. As the years have gone by, I sadly lost my wife but I decided to carry on with the dances as I know that is what Jen would of wanted me to do.

The numbers have gone down as none of us are getting any younger.  To raise more funds we had a table top sale and the entrance cost has gone up to 2 now. The Greater Bristol Foundation which is a charitable Trust has twice awarded us with a very generous amount of money to carry on with the dances.

News got around that the Methodist Church were getting rid of the hall, this was not good news, as people have now found another Tea Dance to attend, so our numbers have gone down again.  the numbers do not go up as not so many people take up Ballroom Dancing bow.

In December 2004 we had our 200th dance which was a great achievement to us.  We have had some support with some groups from St Monica's Trust attending. We have two more dances booked for February 17th and March 17th.  We hope this will not be out last, but over the years we have had many a good laugh and at the age of 86 years this May, I think I have done well, and would like to thank all my friends and supporters over the years.

Charlie Whitehead, Sea Mills Tea Dance Organiser. Tel: 0117 9685828.

Wanted - Local people with a passion for Shirehampton Local History Club

Thanks to all those who contributed their time, memories and photos for ther Shirehampton Public Hall book and Centenary Exhibition.  The response we had was overwhelming and has not stopped.  Due to the success of these events, the Public Hall Association would like to find out if there is enough interest to start a local history group.

This group could continue the excellent work that has started with the book and look at historical facts for the whole of Shirehampton.

  • Does your family have a long history in Shire?
  • Do you belong to a club or team that has grown with the Shire Village?
  • Are you interested in any or all of the historical buildings in Shirehampton?
  • Would you like to find out more about the historical links with Avonmouth and Sea Mills?
  • Are you interested in the archaeology of the area, and what was here in Roman times?

If you are interested in helping to run this group, or just to be part of it, then please leave your details in the Library or the Public Hall. Depending on response a group may set up in the near future .  .  .  watch this space!

Shirehampton Library - 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 word searches available.

Money Advice

Lots of people get into debt these days, for lots of different reasons.  It can be for reasons which people have little or no control over, such as losing a job, becoming ill, a relationship breakdown or just not being able to budget. It can then lead to not being able to find the money to pay your main bills, such as food, electric, gas, rent and council tax.

Often people find it hard to juggle their money and end up 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.   And although they may feel the relief of paying a bill they owe to one creditor, another creditor then starts chasing them. Even if people are making payments, they find the debt never seems to reduce, as the payment they make is just paying off the interest.

Some people worry that they may be taken to court or that a bailiff may call round to take some of their furniture. Being in debt can be very humiliating and embarrassing, and can lead to stress and other health problems because of the worry.  It can cause arguments in families and parents find they are snappy with each other or even the children.

We here at the Avon University Settlement don't have a magic wand, which can make the debts disappear, but we can help you to take control of the situation and to be able to manage your finances. How we can help you is by looking at the whole problem with you.  We will:

  • Work exactly what you owe and to whom
  • Check you are getting all the income you should be getting
  • Help you work out all your regular essential expenses

When we have all this information we will agree with you how to ensure your creditors get a fair distribution of any spare money you have available.  Sometimes this can be as little as 1 per month.  And we ask for interest to be frozen.

Once this has happened you may feel the relief of not being in debt and YOU CAN GET BACK IN CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES AGAIN.  The Money Advice Service is part of the advice centre at the Avon (University Settlement) Community Association at 115 High Street, Shirehampton.

Tony, the advisor, can see you at the drop-in sessions on Wednesday and Thursday between 9. 30am and 11. 30am.

Vera Dix - 4th January 1920 - 25th January 2005

Eighty of Vera's 85 years were spent as a resident of Shirehampton and she had a wealth of knowledge about the history and development of the village during those years resulting from her involvement with various village organisations. St Mary's Church always featured largely in her life, starting with her attendance at Sunday School as a child, with her brother, Austin, followed by her confirmation, membership of the Youth Fellowship and for many years as a Sunday School teacher.

St Mary's Church was the veneue for her marriage to Tom Dix in 1940, her daughter Angela's christening in 1944 and Angela's confirmation and eventual marriage to Terry Bright in 1975. In recent years Vera interests have included her membership of the WI, the NHS Fellowship, supporting the guide movement and the local HQ in St Mary's Road and her singing and membership of the Shirehampton Ara Choir.

Anjie and Terry would like to thank all Vera's friends and relatives who sent messages of sympathy.  Thanks go to Canon Christine, for the way she conducted the service, to Tim Forder for his music and to Gill Sawyer for her support, both before and during the service, as well as to all those who attended Vera's memorial service on February 4th.

Cotswold Book Club News

The Cotswold Book Club, which meets in the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road, had a lively evening at their February meeting, when the chosen book was Witch Child by Celia Rees. Set in the 17th century amongst emigrating Puritans, who carry with them their fears and superstitions about witchcraft, the book succeeded in making the group discuss animatedly, sometimes with friendly disagreement, religion, superstition, male dominance, America's beginnings, treatment of Native Americans and much else.

The book choice for the meeting on March 16th is Zenner in Darkness by Helen Dunmore, whilst the one under the spotlight on April 13th is Headlong by Matthew Frayne.  If you would like to join in these exhilarating discussions, then phone Irene Miller on 982863 for details.

Wear your Easter Bonnet!

A new event at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road, is an Easter Parade during the Easter Weekend. At the time of going to press, details were not yet finalised, but it is likely to be an afternoon event on Saturday, March 26th. 

There will be small prizes for the best 'Easter Bonnets', in categories for children and adults. the details will be publicised via flyers in shops and in The Cotswold Community Newsletter, which is distributed throughout the Cotswold estate, or you can phone 9047319.

Preliminary Announcement

33rd Local Arts ExhibitionSaturday 28th May - Tuesday 31st May 2005

The above exhibition by Twyford House Art Club will be held in the Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton. Entry details to follow.

Penpole Luncheon Club

There are a few vacancies at the Penpole Luncheon Club for Senior Citizens.  Anyone interested in coming along, please contact Mrs Sandra White on 9381236. The Luncheon Club would also like to thank all the local businesses, who supported them with the Christmas raffle and throughout the year.

Peg's 90th Birthday Celebrations

Peggy Walker celebrated her birthday in style, with a family party on Sunday, 23rd January at the PBA Club, which ws enjoyed by everyone. This was followed by a party at Stow House, with her neighbours and friends on Tuesday, 25th (her actual birthday). Thanks to everyone for a wonderful time! (Thank you for your kind donation - Ed)

Easter Services Shirehampton Baptist Church

Maundy Thursday Service of Communion 7.45pm
Good Friday - March via the Churches starting on the Green at 10.00am
Easter Sunday morning worship 10.30am
Easter Sunday evening worship 6.30pm

Pensioner's Timepiece

The old clock ticking on the kitchen wall; Of the usual figures there's none at all;
Number I to XII, or minute divisions -We're long past such fussy provisions,
Hands that move with changeless speed
Point, when it suits, to what we need. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper -Always in our minds most upper.
There's also morning coffee break And afternoon tea, for dry throats' sake.
Needless to point to the 'wooden hill', Up which we climb, when all is still.
Tomorrow is another day; Come, gentle dreams, soothe long night away!

John Conniett

Check your change

Twice recently after shopping in supermarkets (neither time in Shirehampton) instead of immediately putting the change into my purse or pocket,.  I have checked the bill and counted out my change and found it to be wrong.  Oh they have been very good about and put it right.

What with collecting my shopping, remembering to pick up my loyalty card and pocketing the change I usually don't bother to check it.  Now with all these machines at checkouts, we assume they must be accurate.  However, mistakes sometimes do happen, so it is worthwhile checking the sum of the bill and making sure your change is correct.

St Mary's News

Hi folks, Here we are, almost into Spring! As I write these notes in early February, the plants and birds appear to be somewhat confused by the mild weather in progress - but wait until Easter and the bank holiday, when I'm sure we will all get caught out!

The Women's World Day of Prayer is being held in St Mary's this year, on Friday 4th March at 2pm.  Men are welcome to this service too! After the service, tea and cake will be served.  The service is deliberately timed to be early in the afternoon, so there will be no need to rush away in order to collect children from school.

On Saturday, 12th March we will are holding our Spring Fayre in church, from 10am until 12 noon.  Our churchwarden Gill Sawyer, has been working overtime in 'Miss Bridge's kitchen, producing masses of preserves and goodies.  So don't arrive late, or you may miss out and if you're lucky, you may just find something left on the gift stall - and there's no guarantee there will be anything left there either!

But, fear not, all may not be lost as at 7pm the same evening a fashion show is to be held in church.  I am assured the models are quite exquisite, from the young to the more mature (a polite way of saying the old 'uns).  Ladies, make sure you come along and bring your boyfriends and husbands with their wallets!

They may not enjoy it - but you certainly will! I would like to assure you that I am not the least sexist, but there is a hidden message here for menfolk, who may have forgotten that all-important bowls or darts match! Tickets cost 5 with wine and nibblers during the interval - all proceeds will go towards church funds.

On Sunday, 13th March, in adsdition to our 10am Holy Communion Service, we shall have a Taize Service at 7pm.  This is a quiet, reflective service of readings and music.  Come and experience something different from our usual services at St Mary's!The following Sunday, 20th March is Palm Sunday, when we recall Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and the streets before him were strewn with palm leaves.

Palm crosses will be distributed at our 10am Holy Communion Service. The week after Palm Sunday is know in the church calendar as Holy Week.  On the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Morning Prayer will be said on each day at 9am and on each evening Compline will be said at 8pm.

This is a service for the close of the day, before night falls upon us. Thursday is Maundy Thursday and you are asked to note that there will be no said Communion Service at 11am.  Instead you are all invited to join Can onChristine at 10. 30am in a service for the 'Blessing of the Oils' at Bristol Cathedral.

At 6. 30pm that evening there is a Holy Communion Service in St Mary's, which includes the washing of feet, followed by the Maundy Thursday Supper (but only for those who attend the service!) If you had any doubt about attending, this should surely change you mind!

The next day is Good Friday and at 10am is 'The Drama of the Cross', which is followed at 2pm by Shirehampton Area Choir singing Stainer's 'Crucifixion' - a beautiful devotion.  The following Sunday is, of course, Easter Day, when we celebrate Jesus having risen from the dead.

Canon Christine is holding a Sunrise service at 7am - yes 8am - at Shirehampton Park.  This will be a service of short readings, prayers and Easter hymns - followed by breakfast in church (again, for those who attend this service).  I'm afraid I can't guarantee eggs and bacon - something lighter, I suspect!

Easter Day Holy Communion is as usual at 10am. The next Sunday (3rd April) is the day when we hold our Annual Parochial Church Meeting.   This will be immediately after our 6pm service of Evening Prayer and is when we elect the next Parochial Church Council to run the church affairs for the next 12 months.

You may only vote at this meeting if you are on our Electoral Roll.  If you want to know more about the Electoral Roll, then please see Jan Saunders on any Sunday morning. Next day, Monday 4th April, there will be an 11am Holy Communion Service for the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary.

You may recall we had a Silent Auction and Supper back on January.  I am delighted to tell you this raised the grand sum of 500.

Just a week or so before preparing these notes, our church family lost another stalwart member - Vera Dix.  Vera was a member of St Mary's for many years and was also, until recently, a member of the Shirehampton Area Choir, until ill health prevented her from continuing. We extend our sympathy to he daughter, Angela and her son-in-law Terry, in their sad loss.

Finally, I am also delighted to tell you that a new stained glass window is to be installed at the west end of the church.  It is a Nativity scene, with Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus and is being given, in memory of the late Noel (Bill) and Gwen Willliams, by members of their family.  We are truly grateful for such a generous gift. The artwork, showing the design, will be on display in the church for you all to see!

Well, that's all for this month!

Bye for now, C.M.E.

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Sunday March 6th Mothering Sunday 11.00am - Visit of Mr Graham Slingo from Wesley College.

Holy Week and Easter:    Maundy Thursday - March 24th at 3. 30pm Service of Holy CommunionEaster Day    11.00am, Mr John Wine.     6. 30pm, United Service with Holy Communion, Rev David Alderman.

Women's World Day of Prayer

Women's World Day of Prayer service is to be held this year in St Mary's at 2pm on Friday 4th March, followed by tea and light refreshments.  This service is not restricted to women - men are very welcome to attend as well.

If you have ever been to one of these services - each year a different group of people devise the order of service - DO TRY TO COME - You will discover it is a very heartwarming experience.



Roger Frank Joseph Teague: We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone for their kindness and support at this very sad time and for the cards, flowers and donations to St Peter's Hospice.

The sum of 590 was raised at The Lamplighters, thanks to Leon and Sue. Thanks to all Roger's family and friends who attended the funeral service.  It was heartwarming to see so many there.

Barbara and son, Richard

Big Thank You to whom it concerns

On Thursday 10th February I was walking through St Mary's Church grounds when I had breathing problems and took a bad turn.

I would like to say a big thank-you to the kind gentleman and the young lady from Lloyd's Chemist who came to my aid by ringing for an ambulance and getting my daughter from where she works in the village. I am glad to report I am on the mend and cannot thank them both enough for taking the time to help.

Mrs Sheila Warn.

Dear Editor,

I am writing because I am so incensed with the wickedness of some people. My brother-in-law Gordon Furber died on the 26th January and was buried at Shirehampton Cemetery on the 7th February.  Less than a week later, when we visited on the Saturday morning, his grave had been vandalised.

Flowers had been pulled from the wreaths and the marker cross carelessly tossed behind some other graves. I cannot believe that an adult visiting their loved ones would ever do such a thing, and can only surmise that it had to be one of the unsupervised children that I have seen in the cemetery of late, or perhaps one of the people passing through who use the cemetery as a quick way to get to Springfield Avenue - although I find the latter hard to believe and I am more inclined to think it is a person, or persons, whose sole intent is to deliberately cause this damage regardless of, or because of, the distress it produces.

My sister, who is extremely fragile after losing her beloved husband was so upset and distressed that I hope that whoever did this terrible thing is brought to book for causing so much pain.  Perhaps it's about time the children who use the cemetery as a play area are challenged and asked to leave.  Could I ask that if anyone sees anything suspicious they report it to Canford Police, so that someone else does not have to suffer this sort of thing again.  It would be interesting to know if anyone else has had a similar experience at Shirehampton Cemetery?

Marilyn Green

The Lark Ascending

Dear Shire,Some time ago an attempt was made to have a plaque erected on the Public Hall to commemorate the first performance (world premiere) of 'The Lark Ascending' by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  The city council refused this request on the grounds that only famous people were commemorated by their blue plaques.

I think it is so important to remember our local heritage (cultural, historical and personal) that a plaque must be placed in a prominent position on the building. I suggest that local organisations offer to pay for the erection of such a plaque by the council, or, if that's not possible, organise the erection of a plaque themselves.

Gil Osman

New Canadian Credit Scam Warning

Bristol Trading Standards are warning people not to respond to a new loan fee scam originating in Canada.  If they do they could end up hundreds of pounds worse off. Advertisements appearing in the classified ads column of the local press in the Bristol region during the last month targeted those with poor credit ratings and offered loans with 'fast and easy approvals. '

The adverts have a freephone number to call.  Callers are told they can have the loan but they must pay a fee of hundreds of pounds in advance to cover insurance or other costs.  The fee must be paid by money order using Western Union or Money Gram.

The loan is never received. Penny Beynon, Senior Consumer Adviser for Bristol Trading Standards said: 'The criminals behind the scam prey on those who probably already have money problems.  We know of one Bristol resident who sent over 700 via Western Union to an address in Canada.

When he phoned to ask why the loan had not been paid into his account as promised, he was asked to send yet more money but he refused.  'Our advice is don't respond to any firm which requires an advance fee to secure a loan which has to be sent abroad or paid using systems like Western Union.

You're unlikely to get the loan and you won't see your money again. 'If you have lost money as a result of this scam contact the Trading Standards Service at your local Council or the police. '


We do apologise for our errors in last month's 'What's On' section.  We have been informed that the Cotswold Ladies Club and the Short Mat Bowls Club at Portway School no longer operate.  Please inform us if your club etc. closes down, so that we don't mislead our readers.

If anyone out there knows of a short mat bowls club not too far from Shirehampton please let 'Shire' know so that we can advertise the fact for local enthusiasts.

Thank you - Editor.

What do Teenagers Want?

Dear Editor

COME ON!! You Shire teenagers, I am sure that it is not all of you who drop litter and cause trouble around the village.  What would you like to see in the village besides Estate AGents etc.  - a book shop?Please parents get your teenagers looking at this and let them voice their opinions - let's face it - it's their village too!

Old Shire is now gone - I am sad to say - along with the car parking spaces and it is also a shame that apartments take over a large plot that could have housed a nice Iceland shop or something like that.

Long gone are the good old days when the Arcade was a good place to gaze around and spend time looking at odds and ends and chatting to friends. Oh yes - I get litter in my driveway during evenings living in Sea Mills.  It's a shame that the cuncil cut back on street cleaners like Bill Cooke who did a really good job - didn't he?

Although I now live in Sea Mills I still feel part of Shire and still care.

Kay Poole

BP Portait Award - 27th February - 26th March

The prestigious BP Portrait Award will come to Bristol for the first time this year.   The exhibition organised by the National Portait Gallery, in London will be on display at the Royal West of England Academy, Art Gallery in Clifton. The exhibition which consists of 54 portraits from the UK and abroad is held annually at the London based art gallery and with prize money totalling over 40,000 it is a highly competitive event.

The portraits on exhibition include people from all walks of life and of all ages and there is a huge variety in technique and style. The exhibition is selected from entries from national and international artists.  There were a record number of entries and the final exhibitors were selected from 955 entries.

BP sponsors the event and the first prize of 25,000 went to Stephen Shankland, the Scottish artist's piece entitled 'the Miracle' is a portrait of his wife and son.  H is son was born prematurely and though doctors thought he might not make it through the night, he was soon nicknamed 'the little miracle.

'Bristol based artist Vincent Brown has made a successful entry into the exhibition and the portrait of his father will be on show.  Vincent Brown has been painting since 1999 when he first found success at the RWAs Autumn Exhibition.  He had entered the BP Portrait Award several times but this is his first time he had been successful.

Vincent Brown said:'When I received the letter informing me that this painting had finally done it - I couldn't believe it. 'It was a great honour to finally show at the most prestigious exhibition for portrait artists. 'Fiona Swadling of the RWA said: 'It is very exciting that the South West will have the opportunity to see this really high calibre exhibition and we are really pleased that Bristol has its own successful entrant.'


Whilst I was responsible for the 'On the Buses' article in last month's issue, I completely deny the 'take-over' of 'Shire' implied by the addition of my initials to the articles entitled 'Our Village', 'Tupperware' and 'Coincidence'.   I had nothing to do with these articles.  Mystery writer own up! I am contacting my solicitor (joke!)


Sir Robert Stephens

Following the letter about Sir Robert Stephens, which appeared in the January issue of Shire, Bob Clarke (formerly of Bradley Crescent, now of Godalming, Surrey) writes: I knew him at the Settlement Youth Club Drama Group (Groveleaze).  I agree 'Ham' Harvey was a big influence on his becoming an actor.

The other major guidance came from dear Harry Grainger and the drama group. I remember him playing a lead role in '1066 and All That' he played the judge.  Others I recall were Elsie Nichols, Les Wilshire and Cliff Ball. In my opinion, those two men had a major influence on his career.

(Bob Clarke was cubmaster of the 191st Scout Group in the 1950s when his elder brother, Reg, was the Scoutmaster.  Ed)Further to the above, Gil Osman, of Walton Road, has asked the council to erect one of their blue plaques at 34 Priory Road, where Robert Stephens lived as a boy.

The owner of the property, Mr A.  Wilson, has given his permission for this and the suggestion has the support of the Bristol Old Vic and of local councillor Pat Roberts.

Charity Search News

Charity Search would like to thank all of those who supported their shop in Station Road in their recent Tsunami Appeal.  The amount raised was 77.87 which will be passed to the relevant charities.

Grainger Players Old Time Music Hall

Photos: Eric Verey

Tsunami Disaster Appeal

On Friday 21st January, children at Avon Primary School raised over 300 towards the Tsunami Disaster Appeal.  The money was raised through a Bring and Buy Sale at which children sold toys, cakes and books.  Several competitions, devised by the children themselves, were held and a raffle. 

Staff at the school are enormously proud of the ways in which the children showed that they cared for the well-being of others.  Avon Primary School has been working hard with its school community to agree a set of values, and high up on its list is 'Caring'.  'This is something the children did really well last Friday,' said Mrs Atkins, the Acting Head. The children pictured are just some of the lucky prize-winners.

The 'Evergreens'

The 'Evergreens' is one of the oldest organisations in Shire.  We think our readers will be interested to read about it and so we reprint here an edited extract from the book by local author Judy Helme who has very kindly allowed us to use it.  The original appears in her new book 'Shirehampton Public Hall 1904-2004'.

The 'Evergreens'Miss Rotha Clay, an early warden of the University Settlement and indefatigable worker for the needs of Shirehampton people, founded 'The Old Age Pensioners Club' in 1920. They met in a small clubhouse at the back of where Woolworths is now, but Barrow Hill farmhouse was then acquired and became the Club's headquarters until 1945, when Twyford House was purchased for adult work.

The Club moved there and became known as the 'Evergreens'.   Miss Clay died and Rosa Higgs and Fred Gould, the new Warden of the University Settlement, took over the running of the Evergreens.  When Miss Higgs died the group formed its own committee and moved to the Public Hall, as the room at Twyford House had become too small for the growing membership.

Mr and Mrs Lewis, and a committee, ran the Evergreens and Fred Gould was the Administrative Secretary.  During Fred Gould's time he would not allow the activities to include Bingo or Jumble Sales and alcohol was also banned.  Mr Lewis resigned as Chairman in 1972 and I Bartlett took over for a period.

In 1978 Mrs K Lewis joined her husband as Joint President and Audrey Harris took over Chairmanship, having previously been Vice Chairman. The Club met every Friday afternoon for entertainment and a cup of tea.  In July 1975 children from Shirehampton Infants' School entertained the Evergreens and at later meetings the Juniors, St Bernard's Juniors and Portway School children did the same.

In addition other activities were arranged such as regular coach trips, a holiday week and Christmas parties at which such guests as Mrs Anne Hewer, OBE, JP and the Lord Mayor and his lady were invited.  The meal was organised by the Ladies committee.  At the parties vouchers were distributed to qualifying members, which in 1978 for instance were worth 1. 50 to be spent in Gateway Supermarket (now Somerfield).

At varying times Mr and Mrs Chapman, Mr and Mrs Brewer, Mr and Mrs Croft and Mr Stinchcombe have taken on committee roles according to Olive Bees and Emmy Bell who have been members for 30 years.  By 1985 Harry Brooks was the Chairman.  It was in about 1994 Norman Sims, the present Chairman, took on the role from Chris Lewis. Emmy Bell and Olive Bees -'We joined at the same time about 30 years ago.

We were asked to do the teas 22 years ago, as a temporary measure and have been doing them ever since! Day trips and and 'lovely' holidays have always happened.  Some memorable holidays included Scotland and Ireland.   Trips are to places like Sidmouth, Torquay and Bournemouth. '

A typical programme of activities in the new Millennium included outings to various Welsh and English market towns and seaside resorts in Dorset, Devon and Somerset.  A favourite venue for the Christmas lunch seemed to be the Abbey Mill at Tintern but the members vote each year on where they want to hold this celebratory meal.

The Club continues to meet on a Friday afternoon but three years ago the meeting time was brought forward to 1pm to allow the new After School Club access at 3pm.  However, with the demise of this latter group the Evergreens reverted back to a 2pm start in September.

In this centenary year the Evergreens membership stands at about 40.  People are eligible to join from the age of 50, although most of the membership is much older and, whereas there used to be a lot of men involved, they have passed on and their widows have continued.

The entertainment programme now includes choirs and quizzes and Bingo are very popular with the membership.  There are fund raising events to defray the cost of outings and these latter are well patronised.  Financial help also comes from the John James Fund and the Summer Skittles League.

Regular raffles are also held to raise funds, with members bringing along an item 'to go on the table'.  There was a time when one lady used to donate a bottle of brandy every six weeks or so, a good win for the cost of a 6d (2. 5p) ticket!Norman Sims is assisted on the committee by Margaret Giles (Treasurer), Jean Potter (Secretary), Emmie Ball and Olive Bees who organise the catering.

At the first meeting in January each year a new committee is elected.  In fact the group is run very democratically with all members making decisions on what sort of entertainment and activities they want throughout the year and where they wish to go on trips.

Library News

To celebrate the Library Centenary on Friday the 4th March, we will be having displays of children's pictures of 'The Library of the Future,' photographs of 'The library and its members' and the History of the library with memories from ex staff and readers.

On the 'Big' day there will be a cake cutting ceremony at 10. 30am with free refreshments being served for the rest of the day. Children from St Bernard's will have stories of the 1900s told by Bristol's Children's Librarian in costume. Much of these celebrations have been made possible by the kind donation from 'The Shire' committee, for which we are extremely grateful. We hope that as many of you as possible will join us to help mark this special occasion and look forward to seeing many old and new faces.

Eileen, Marilyn and Lynn

A Play to Salute our Local Heroes

The documentary/drama 'Convoy' is finally being staged at the Redgrave Theatre in Clifton, with the first performance on the 22nd March 2005, this being a tribute to the Unsung Heroes of the Merchant Navy and the Bletchley Park Enigma Team - many of whom came from Bristol.

Since many of the seamen sailed from Avonmouth and bearing in mind that twenty-one merchantmen from Shirehampton were lost in the convoys, we think this play should be well supported as a reminder to the younger generation of life during the Second World War.

The youngest victim from Shirehampton was 15-year-old Arthur Beames and the oldest was William Homes aged sixty-six.  They range from deckboys to captains, the whole spectrum of the crew. The author himself lived in Bristol.  His family were 'blitzed' and suffered food shortages.

He observed if it had not been for the heroic deeds of the Merchant Navy - we would have starved!There will be two special matinees on Tuesday March 22nd and Wednesday March 32rd.  The play (3.00pm) will be preceded by a presentation (2.00pm) by Christine Large (current director of Bletchley Park) and Murlyn Hakon MBE, featuring the world's first computer-based Enigma machine.

To book please phone 0117 3157 601.  Please note all tickets are 10 with no concessions except for the special matinees (all tickets 7.50).

Recycling Consortium

Thanks to Helen Peake from Bristol's Recycling Consortium, Year 5 children at Avon Primary, Shirehampton have had an informative and exciting afternoon of musical instrument making.  The children were able to link their Science work, about how sounds are made, with their D&T project.  Many children met the challenge of designing a musical instrument that produced a series of different notes.

The Recycling Consortium will be revisiting Avon Primary over the coming months as part of the school's '3 Rs Project' which encourages children to REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE.

Rewards 4 Recyclables

Bristol residents could be lucky and win 200 just for putting out their black box for recycling next week and in the last week in March, as part of the 'Rewards 4 Recycling' incentive scheme.

Bristol City Council, together with GWR FMs Black Thunders, have already given away over 1,500 to eight lucky households who put out their box for collecting and will be giving away 200 a day to each of five lucky households from Monday 21.03.05. But you've got to be in it to win it!!

So please remember to put out your box by 7am on your usual collection day, if you wish to take part and listen to GWR FM from 7. 30am to see if the Black Thunders are in your area.  The purpose of this pilot scheme is to encourage Bristolians to take part and continue to take part in Bristol City Council's black box kerbside recycling scheme, which offers a weekly collection of the following recyclables.

Newspapers and magazines Yellow pages Glass bottles and jars Metal food and drinks cans, including aerosols Aluminium foil Engine oil Car and domestic batteries Textiles Shoes and spectacles. 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 or email:

Alternatively, check out our web site on: which has lots of useful information.

Mystery of the Ships Wheel

Thank you Gerry Weatherhead for ending the mystery of the ships wheel, I am very happy that it was recovered and given top the Sinnott family of Limerick. I had the privilege to sail under the command and leadership of Captain Nicholas Sinnott in 1947 as a deck hand on board the William Ashburner when I was a lad of sixteen.

Many a hard days work was performed during the three months that I sailed on that fine wooden schooner, to include many hours on that big wheel with the good captain looking over my shoulder at the compass and at the zigzag course I was making in the wake.

I was saddened when recently I read about the old vessel running aground in the Severn River in 1950 and was a total loss, a sad ending to a grand old lady of 74 years.

John Rogers
St Louis, Missouri