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Easter Parade Hats

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Easter Parade Hats

Hats on Parade at The Cotswold To the strains of Irving Berlin's 'Easter Parade' girls and boys and grown-ups too entered into all the fun putting on their Easter bonnets for the Cotswold Community Association's Easter Parade on Easter Monday.

Making Hats

The CCA hall in Dursley Road sparkled with colour as imaginative creations from flowers and ribbons made the old advertising slogan true: 'If you want to get ahead, get a hat!' There were prizes for children and adults, plus a special prize for the one father entering - awarded for bravery, as much as for the hat itself.

Wearing Hats

But really everyone was a winner, because everyone got such enjoyment from the morning. As well as the Easter Bonnet parade there was a 'Paint an egg' competition for the children, and mini-chocolate egg and spoon races for the children and mini chocolate egg and spoon races for the children and the adults.

And of course there were Easter refreshments for everyone. This was a first attempt for many years to run such an event on the Cotswold, and in light of its overwhelming success it is unlikely to be the last.

Orchard Planting Event

This event was organised by Shire Greens and the Community Action Forum on the Daisy Field on March 12th. This photo shows the volunteers who turned up to take part in the planting. (Photo: E Verey)

Shirehampton Townswomen's Guild Programme 2005-06

May 5 'Handy Household Hints & Tips' - Mrs J Drew
June 2 A History of Dance Bands - Mr T Merrett Smith
July 7 Social Afternoon Aug 4  No Meeting
Sept 1 'TV and Stage Make-up' - Mrs T Merrett Smith
Oct 6 'Dame Clara Butt' - Mrs S Keevill
Nov 3 'Backstage Secrets' - Mrs K Rawlings
Dec 1 The Childrens Hospice
Jan 5 Birthday Party
Feb 2 A Japanese Wedding - Mr Anton Bartok
Mar 2 Annual General Meeting

Visitors always welcome   Any enquiries? Contact Mrs A Parsons on 982 6004 or Mrs J Weare on 982 1855.

AnyBODY recognise ANYONE in this photograph?

Amongst the many photographs that came into my possession following my mum's death is this school photograph. Like the majority of her photographs there was nothing on it to say when, where and who! I believe it is a school photograph taken at Shirehampton Infants or Junior School.

It may be sometime in the 1950s or early 1960s given the age of my siblings. Is there anyone in Shirehampton who can identify someone in this photograph? Perhaps you recognise yourself or one of your children. It makes sense that there will be a Clarke in there somewhere - either Jill, Stephen or June. Unfortunately, we can't remember whom!

Please send your reply to the Shire as no doubt other readers will want to know if I have any success.

Yours sincerely, Rosemary A Clarke (Ms)

Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit

PENSION CREDIT Many people have still not claimed the new pension credit. Pension credit is a top-up amount on your state pension. From April 2005 the rates for pension credit have been increased, guaranteeing everyone aged 60 or over a contribution towards a weekly income of at least:

  • £109.45 for single people or
  • £167.05 for couples

You may be entitled to more than this if you are disabled yourself or you are looking after someone who's disabled or you have certain housing costs.  People aged 65 or over with modest savings or private/works pensions could qualify, even if their weekly income is up to:

  • £151 for single people
  • £211 for couples

Payment may also be backdated for up to a maximum of 12 months from the first date of entitlement.

COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT You could be missing out on extra money! Council Tax Benefit helps people on a low income pay their Council Tax bill. However, latest figures show that up to £1 billion is going unclaimed - up to £770 million of this by pensioners.  This means that pensioners could be missing out on an average Council Tax rebate of £426 a year, and some may be due 12 months arrears too.

If you're not sure whether you'll get Pension Credit or Council Tax Benefit or both, then contact Tony for advice at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association. This can be done by attending the drop-in advice sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am and 11.30am.

No appointment is necessary. He will check to see if you can get it and also will do a full benefit check. He can also help with applying for other benefits, filling in forms, help with any problems with debts, housing problems, employment advice and other legal matters.

Avon (University Settlement) Community Association offers FREE and confidential advice. We are situated at 115 High Street, Shirehampton, tel. 982 9399.

Darren West's 40th Birthday Celebrations

Darren would like to thank family and friends who helped him to celebrate his 40th birthday on Saturday 16th April at Bristol Manor Farm. You all helped raise on the evening an outstanding amount of £413,00 which as been donated to Cancer Research UK. Well done to you all and we hope you had a great evening.

Avonmouth Sea Cadets Ship to Shore

During the last three months the Unit have enrolled three new entries - J Lundon, D Monks and K Seaborne. The unit has been very active with a varied Sea Cadet programme that has included general training, and all the cadets have now gained their swimmers badge.

Cadets G Morgan, E Lear and H Capstick have gained promotion after completing advancement programmes. Over the weekend of March 19 Commanding Officer B Hillier took four Cadets to Portsmouth to take part in a boating exercise both power and pulling, and these activities can be used to gain qualifications.

Whilst in Portsmouth the cadets were accommodated on board HMS Bristol. Leading Cadets A Morgan and L Lewis have been to Devon to train for the South West area shooting team contingent, and all the cadets were invited to go target shooting at Flying Fox on Monday March 14.

Seven cadets assisted with the staffing at the Avonmouth Carers Day Activity. The unit entered the District Drill competition in the Ceremonial section. During the District weekend the Avonmouth cadets faced ten other units from Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset.

We currently have vacancies for seniors - 12 years and over. Interested? Parade nights are Monday and Thursday 6.45 to 8.45pm. Call in and see what we do.

Happy Birthday Amy

Lisa We would like to wish our lovely daughter Amy Lisa Thorne a very happy 16th birthday on the 17th May. We are all very proud of her and would like to wish her all the best for her first job and the future. Lots of love Mum, Dad, Ben and all her family.

Ship to Shore - TS Enterprise Calling all past members - young and old of Avonmouth Sea Cadets

On Monday May 9th the unit will have their annual Royal Naval inspection commencing at 7.30pm. This is a special event designed to show the unit and the cadets at their best, and naval dignitaries will be present during the evening to inspect the cadets and to present awards.

If you would like to attend please be in your seat on the main deck by 7.15pm. Refreshments will be served, and there will be a chance for an informal chat with the officers at the ending of the evening. See you there.

Race for Life

In aid of Cancer Research there will be a 'Race for Life' on Saturday May 14th on the Downs in Bristol. Register at or call 08705 134314 to enter. If you live locally and take part in this race, please let us know how you got on. We would like to print your story in a future edition of 'Shire'.

Fire ... Fire ... Fire ...

As I opened my front door I could see this gleaming red fire engine parked on the road and three handsome firemen with equipment at the ready, waiting to enter my house. Their equipment consisted of a small set of stepladders, a tool bag, some small white cardboard boxes and a briefcase.

Strange equipment to fight a fire you may think, but they had actually come to do the exact opposite, to try and ensure that I would never really need to call them. They had come at my invitation as part of the Fire Brigade's Home Fire Safety Visit Scheme.

This is a scheme whereby the Fire Brigade will visit your home and give advice on fire prevention, and also fix or replace existing smoke alarms, all free of charge. The visit entails a general discussion on likely fire hazards which exist in the home and ways to reduce the risk of a fire happening.

The surprising fact that I learnt was that the top of the list of causes of fire to have nowadays are candles and tea lights, due to the increased popularity of decorative and scented candles. I found the firemen very courteous and helpful and I now have 2 new guaranteed 10 year smoke alarms fitted in place of my old ones, so hopefully I shall not be worried by that mysterious beep in the middle of the night which used to tell me that the batteries needed changing.

I learnt about the Home Fire Safety Visit Scheme by attending a Carers Group meeting which is held in the Avonmouth Medical Centre on the 3rd Thursday of each month, from 10am till noon. This group is sponsored by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, and is open to all carers who would like to meet other carers and talk about mutual problems and concerns, and to get support and friendship which makes you feel that you are not alone and isolated.

It is surprising what help you can get from each other and from guest speakers such as the Fire Officer who came and gave us an interesting talk and told us about the Home Safety Visit Scheme. For anyone interested in having a Home Fire Safety Visit, which I can thoroughly recommend, all you need to do is ring the Community Fire Safety Desk on 0117 926 2061 and ask for extension 477, or you can visit the website at

By the way, the firemen brought their fire engine when they did my visit because they were still on call and available to respond immediately to any emergency that may arise.

E. Verey

Slimmers on the Move

Slimming World's popular Thursday night class at St Mary's Church Hall, Shirehampton has now moved to Jim O'Neill House, Shirehampton. Consultant Kelly said: 'We were sad to leave St Mary's as Slimming World have had a class there for at least 15 years, however as the hall is earmarked for other things in the near future, we have moved on.'

Classes at Jim O'Neill House will still be at 5.30pm and 7pm every Thursday - why not take advantage of our current special offer of half price joining fee. For more details ring Kelly 01275 844825 or 0775 184 6308.

New Books at Shirehampton Library

Tremayne, Peter Act of Mercy
Wickham, Madeleine A Desirable Residence
Willett, Marcia Looking Forward
Williams, Dee Annie of Albert Mews
Wodehouse, P. G. The Inimitable Jeeves
Wolff, Isabel Rescuing Rose
Woodman, Richard Distant Gunfire
Worboyes, Sally The Dinner Lady


Monday 10am-1pm and 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Saturday 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm


First Friday of the month 10.30am-12.30pm - story at 12pm.

Cotswold Plant Sale

There will be a plant sale in the Cotswold Community Hall, Dursley Road on Saturday 14th May at 10.30am. There will be large selection of plants from the Henleaze Garden Shop, which the shop is kindly allowing the CCA to sell at a discount. In addition, residents have an opportunity to sell their own surplus stock of seedlings.

If you would like to book a stall to sell your plants, phone 982 8683. There is a nominal charge for a stall of £3. Last year's sale was so successful that it was quickly sold out, and some people went home disappointed. This year there will be a bigger stock of plants, and there will be a strict rule that no one can buy before opening time.

The Plant Sale profits will be for the CCA's funds.

Book Club News

The Cotswold Book Club's programme for the rest of the year is now published.

18 May 'An American Boy' by Andrew Taylor (a Richard & Judy Book Club choice)
15 June 'The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw' by Sheila Hancock
13 July Summer Barbecue: favourite humour writers night
17 Aug 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan
14 Sept 'My Sister's Keeper' by Jodi Picoult (another Richard & Judy Book Club choice)
12 Oct 'The Rainbow' by D. H. Lawrence
9 Nov To be advised
7 Dec Christmas Play Reading with wine and eats

All meetings (except for the barbecue) are in the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road and everyone is welcome to take part. To join or get more details phone 982 8683.

Henbury Video

We hear that a video has been produced telling the history of Henbury, directed by Keith Sheather, promoted by friends of Blaise and Henbury Conservation Society. It is the story of Blaise and Henbury from Roman times until the present day. The video costs £15 and the DVD £20. Wonder whether one day there could be a similar production on Shirehampton!

Volunteers Needed

A volunteer is needed to deliver Shire Newspapers in Springfield Avenue (from Burnham Road to Portbury Grove), Grainger Court and Oaktree Court. If you can help with any of these please telephone Pauline on 982 6935. Thank you. In the meantime copies will be available from the Library.

University Settlement Football Team

Regarding the photograph of the University Settlement Football Team, property of Mrs Vera Verey, the person identified as Colin White is in fact George Ed. Milsom, my brother.

Sadly George was killed while serving with the Royal Navy in March 1945, age 19 years. My sister Billie and I both enjoy receiving the Shire, here in Florida and keeping up with the local news.

Josephine Parsons

Still Looking

The Grainger Players are still looking for a pianist for their show in November. Please if you can help contact Liz or Monica on 938 1332. The need for a pianist is most urgent.

100 Years of Shirehampton Library

Among the many letters which people sent to the Library congratulating them on their 100 years of supplying books to the community, I have asked if we could reprint two of them, which will interest our readers. If there had been sufficient space we would have included many more.

As a little girl my mum, Iris MacCallum, or Mrs Mac, as she was fondly known by many, worked as the cleaner at the library, of course she continued with this job until she reluctantly retired. However, my memories go back to when as a small girl my mum took me along to work with her, this would be usually an evening when the library was closed, or on a Sunday.

I was usually given the task of helping to polish the big wooden tables that in those days were in the centre of the library, this took quite a long time as we used wax polish, not the spray polish of today. As soon as that job was finished, I would say to mum that I would go upstairs to the children's library to polish the tables there, but I'm afraid not much polishing would be done as I would soon be distracted by the books and mum would come upstairs and catch me sat on the floor, polish and cloth abandoned, whilst I was engrossed in a book. of course she did not get cross.

I can also remember being given scrap paper and the Librarians date stamp and ink pad pretending to be the Librarian and feeling very grown up, so you can imagine my visits to the library with my mum were always a pleasure and never a chore.   

Penny Shaw

I was the Librarian at Shirehampton from 1992-1996 and I left jut before the extension into the children's area was completed to go and work in SWRLS based at the Central Library. As usual the building work took some time and we had the dubious privilege of offering a downsized version of the already small library service at Shire.

Regulars carried on coming in and we all looked forward the opening of the new children's area. The old children's library upstairs which had been used for 90 years was to become a community room and it's demise brought back memories for some very respectable members of the Shire newspaper committee who confessed to sliding down the banisters - that's before they added the anti-slide buttons - when they were much younger of course.

The extension was awaited with eager anticipation and the day the cement floor was laid was an exciting one for me. I was so pleased to see the new space I wanted to skip across it. I only took one step in before I realised the floor was still wet and turned back quickly! In the end my footprint did not matter.

For completely different reasons, which anyone familiar with council building projects will understand, the floor sank four inches and the whole job had to be done again! I can remember working with Marilyn, Pat and Vicky in the early 90's watching cable being laid down Station Road and wishing there was a connection to the library.

Now like all the branches Shire is fully linked to the People's Network and the Shire paper is on the internet. One highlight for me was organising the 90th anniversary celebrations for the library. We worked with Portway RAC to organise the writing of a community poem.

The poet Alyson Hallett was invited to compile "The Shirehampton Poem" with lines written by 50 different people front different schools and groups. The poem was performed in the Public Hall, prizes were also awarded for the short story competition judged by Geraldine Taylor, there were speeches and a buffet was served.

I remember Shire as a very friendly library in a village-like community with a lot of willing volunteers ready to help with housebound services and children's activities. Vandalism was rare and it was a pleasure to work there. The library committee met jointly with Sea Mills and took an active interest in new developments.

It seemed like a very neighbourly place especially as we had our own good neighbour Mr Higgs who not only kept an eye on my parking space but liked to offer us fresh eggs to take home.

Catherine Barclay

Catherine is currently studying MA Fine Art part-time at UWE and has been working as Temporary Schools Librarian at Bristol School Library Service.

Shirehampton Park Golf Club

Shirehampton Park Golf Club has just completed celebrating its one hundred years of existence. Among the many events that took place, like a Pro-Am Tournament, a celebration dinner and dance attended by the President of the English Golf Union, Paul Fisher, who presented the club with a special commemorative centenary plate, there was a book published on the history of the club entitled 'Golf in the Little Park'.

This hardback limited edition took some three and a half years to produce, having required a great deal of research due to all the club records having been destroyed in the club house fire of 1937. The golf club, like the cricket club, are so much a part of Shirehampton.

This history book gives an insight into the events and changes that took place over the years affecting the club, i.e. 2 World Wars, the Portway Construction, the American Army Camp, The National Trust etc. The social attitudes of the times and the well-known members and characters who lived in Shirehampton and the surrounding areas, like a Gloucestershire County and England cricketer who played with W.G. Grace.

The Royal and Ancients Golf Club of St Andrews and Bristol Central Library both have copies of the book in their archives and recently we have had enquiries from as far away as Ohio, USA. The book was printed by J W Arrowsmith of Bristol and has 234 pages and 124 illustrations, a few in colour.

There are still a few copies available should anyone be interested at £12 each or signed by the author for £13 (the extra £1 going to the Club Captain's Charity) plus postage and packing if required. Copies obtainable from the golf club or by phoning 0117 968 7502.

Congratulations to Avonmouth Old Boys Minis

On the 13 March 11 children from Avonmouth OB RFC competed in the St Brendans Mini/Junior Tournament held at the University Training Centre in Combe Dingle. This tournament was open for all clubs within the region and was for children between the ages of 6-12.

They were all entered into the Under 8s category even though the vast majority fell into the Under 7s. The tournament started at 11am and consisted of 5 games played throughout the day, eventually finishing at 4.00pm. Of the 5 games played, 3 were won, 1 was lost (thanks ref) and 1 was drawn.

I am pleased to say that we achieved more than was expected and received a shield for runner up position (the decision had to finally go on tries scored as both Avonmouth and St Mary's had the same points) which was outstanding and a lot of the children who competed were 2 years younger than their opponents.

I would like to extend my thanks to all the parents and friends who supported the children and also say how proud I am of the children who took part. Well done boys and girls, you should be proud of what you did. If you know someone who is interested in playing, then why not bring them along?

We train every Wednesday and normally play matches on Sundays.

Paul Harrison, Minis Coach

Welcome ...

Judy Helme has kindly consented to join 'Shire' Admin and become part of the rota of editors Judy Helme - a brief history Judy nee Forder was born in Fishpond but came to live in Lawrence Weston as a toddler and grew up there, attending Weston Park School and Portway Girls' School.

She is the eldest of three Forder children, the youngest being Tim, organist at St Mary's. On leaving Portway after taking O-levels she continued to take lessons in shorthand at evening class whilst working as a junior secretary at Rentokil Laboratories in Bristol. She didn't leave Rentokil until her first of two daughters was born, but still worked for the company from home.

When the girls were older Judy started working as a PA/Administrator for a transport company in Avonmouth and despite mergers and take-overs, she clocked up 26 years continuous service as 'part of the furniture'! When her daughters were studying for their degrees Judy decided if they could do it so could she, so embarked on a BA Hons with the Open University, graduating in 1999.

Having been a family historian for some 10 years at that time, the degree studies kick started the confidence to start writing and publishing local history books, and initiated the Avonmouth Genealogy Group's 'Histories for the Millennium' from which came the two 'Mouthful of Memories' books and the ongoing development of an Avonmouth Archive.

Judy is treasurer of this group. Her other interests and involvement in the local area include roles as Secretary of St Andrew's Church, Avonmouth, co-ordinator/teacher of the Sunday School/Seven-up Club, a member of the Estuary Wildlife Group, Hon Sec of the Avon University Settlement management council, a Foundation Governor of Avonmouth CE Primary School, a member of the Shirehampton Area Choir and she recently joined the editorial committee of 'Shire'.

Her other published histories include a history of Canon Frome in Herefordshire, birthplace of her husband Dick Helme, 'Quakers and Rakemakers' a privately produced 500-year history of the Forder family, 'In the Footsteps in Giants' a history of Lawrence Weston and the Hundred Years of Shirehampton Public Hall.

Judy has lived in Shirehampton for the past 32 years, loves the area and enjoys taking an active part in the community.

Did You Know?

The Library for its Centenary Celebrations had a telegram from the Queen, which reads as follows: Dear Mr Cox, I would like to thank you for conveying the loyal greetings of the Staff at Shirehampton Library sent to the Queen on the occasion of the Library's centenary, which is being marked on March 4th.

Her Majesty was grateful for the kind words and, in return, sends her best wishes to all those present for an enjoyable event on this most notable occasion. Yours sincerely, Christopher Geidt Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen. This telegram was a complete surprise to the Librarian and her staff, jolly good Mr. Cox for organising it.

New Bristol Directory of Services for Disabled Children

Parents and carers of disabled children in Bristol can now find out what services and help is available to them from a new citywide directory. The 'Find it Out: Bristol Directory of Services for Children with Additional Needs' has been compiled and edited by the Care Forum on behalf of Bristol City Council, Bristol North and Bristol South and West Primary Care Trust, Connexions West of England and The Childrens Trust.

It has been created to make it easier for parents and carers to support their child's transition from early years, through to school years, adolescence and beyond, by covering a range of subjects including:

  • Social services - what services are available and how to access them. For example, how parents and carers can arrange for their child's needs to be assessed by a social worker;
  • Health - which hospitals support children with additional needs, plus how to seek advice from a range of professionals such as paediatricians, clinical psychologists, and speech and language therapists;
  • Education - explains the different types of help available and where to go to get it. For example, if a parent or carer wants help while their child is at school, or later on, when the young person has left school and is looking for a job;
  • Information about local transport and how to get about - includes how to find out what financial help is available with transport costs;
  • What every parent, carer and disabled child should know about their rights;
  • Social and leisure activities in the local area
  • Information about local support groups, where parents and carers can meet others in a similar position Ian McDowall, Acting Divisional Director of Children's Services for Bristol City Council commented 'Every parent or carer who has a disabled child in Bristol will find this new directory useful and informative.

This is another example of how the city council, health and voluntary organisations are working more closely together and making a positive impact on children's services in the city.'

For copies of 'Find it Out' directory tel. the Referral and Information Assistant on tel. 0117 903 8250, also on Bristol City Council's website services.

Quick Link to Find It Out Directory: Go to the 'Disabled Children Service's page, the guide is under 'Other Information'. If you would like the information provided in a different format like Braille, large print, audio-tape or in a language other than English, contact the Disabled Children Service on tel. 0117 903 8250.

Sea Mills Tea Dance

Thursday May 12th at the Methodist Church Hall, 14.30 to 16.30. Cost £2. For further information contact D.L. Taylor, 2 Harbour Wall, Stoke Bishop.

Lawrence Weston Community Farm Needs You!

Lawrence Weston Community Farm has recently appointed a new Farm Coordinator. Alex Willis has come from Freightliners City Farm in Islington, London and has been appointed to develop the farm into a vibrant and exciting community project.

There are many exciting plans ahead for the farm including running Open College Network accredited programs in Animal Care, Horticulture and Health and Safety, building and eco friendly café and shop and an Animal Village. There will be innovative and educational activities for children and young people in the school holidays ranging from willow weaving to felt making and much more for all the communities in surrounding areas to enjoy.

Spring has sprung and summer is round the corner, so there are no excuses for cuddling up indoors anymore! Come to the farm and have a look around. There are pigs, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, rabbits and chickens all waiting to say 'oink, baa, bleat, quack, squawk, carrot please, and cock-a-doodle-do to you!

Any ideas for projects would be more than welcome and there is always plenty of work for any willing volunteers. If you would like any further information on the farm and the opportunities it may hold contact Alex on 0117 938 1128 or you can email:

Lawrence Weston Community Farm
Saltmarsh Drive, Bristol. BS11 0NJ. Tel. 0117 938 1128

Volunteers Needed

A volunteer is needed to deliver Shire Newspapers in Springfield Avenue (from Burnham Road to Portbury Grove), Grainger Court and Oaktree Court. If you can help with any of these please telephone Pauline on 982 6935. Thank you. In the meantime copies will be available from the Library.


We do apologise to our crossword puzzlers and the people who devised the puzzles in the February and March editions of Shire that gremlins misconstrued the grids. However, we are hoping that from now on all will be well.

Guided Walks in May

Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project, Tuesday May 17th Candles and Blossom, starts 6.30pm. Join tree expert Tony Tichen for a pleasant 2 hour evening stroll on the Downs. On this walk we'll be looking at trees in flower including majestic horse chestnuts and historic hawthorns. Flat terrain with some slight inclines.

No gates or stiles. For booking and meeting point details call Mandy Leivers on 0117 903 0609. Cost £3. Pirate Treasure Hunt, Monday May 30th, start 10am Follow our special Pirate Trail and discover the hidden treasure of the infamous pirate 'One Legged Leigh' - fun for all the family. Arrive any time between 10am and 2pm.

Disabled access from reserve office, park on North Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol. Please phone 0117 973 1645 to book and for further details. The cost per child is £2.

About the Searchlight on Bristol Programme

Back by popular demand, Bristol Libraries are holding their fifth annual festival of local history events during May 2005. Further information Please note that tickets for all events must be booked and paid for in advance at participating libraries, unless otherwise stated.

Ticket prices for most events will also include refreshments. Shirehampton Library - Thurs 12 May 7.30-9pm The Clifton Rocks Railway Ever popular Peter Davey recounts the rise and fall of a fascinating local engineering feat in the Avon Gorge, charting the ingenuity and determination of those who made it happen and recounting the stories of those who 'served on the line'.

Tickets £2.50 - adv booking essential - 0117 903 8570 Lawrence Weston Library - Mon 15 May 2.30-4pm The Southwells and De Cliffords 1635-1832 Celebrated local historian Ralph Hack tells the story of a notable local dynasty who once owned much of the land around what is now Lawrence Weston.

The presentation vividly recreates the people, times and happenings on their many diverse estates including Kingsweston, Sea Mills, Shirehampton and Down Patrick, County Down, Ireland. Tickets £1, adv booking essential - 0117 313 5696

Ronald Parsons

It was with much sadness that I read in last month's edition of 'Shire' of the death of John Parson's brother Ron in Australia. I knew Ron since I was a child. My first memory of him was as a member of St Mary's church choir where he sang bass in company with such men as the late Perey Cooper, the late Bob Gunstone, Vivian Stokes and Basil Roach (whose mother kept a little sweet shop at the Springfield Avenue end of Priory Road).

Those were the days when we could fill the back row with a good bass sound! Ron's parents were Stan and Connie Parsons, who ran the Lifeboat Inn, High Street. If my  memory is correct I believe Ron was a pupil at Cotham Grammar School and did part of his National Service with the army during the problems in Palestine.

On his return to 'civvy street' he joined the former Bristol Constabulary and was appointed Pc 81 'A' at the central division. He later passed his Advanced Driving Course and was given the position of driver to the Chief Constable - Norman Frost. It was during his early police service that I got know him really well, as he came to be a lodger with my mother and myself because he was not permitted as a police officer to live on 'licensed premises'.

This was around 1953 and he had considerable influence over me as a young teenager who had lost his father due to enemy action in World War II. When I left school in 1956 Ron actively encouraged me to consider a career in the police. I did so then for the next 33 years.

During my service as a Police Cadet Ron also acted as an Instructor on one of our Outward Bound courses. Despite my close friendship with him I was allowed no concessions and had to rough it with the rest of the lads. Ron had a walrus-type moustache which tended to make him look somewhat fierce, but behind that exterior was a man with a keen sense of humour and a staunch churchman.

Some years after he married, Ron decided to emigrate to Australia with his family. The last time I saw him was in 1959. He was a man I very much admired and was instrumental in guiding a rather unsure teenager towards manhood. I very much mourn his passing and offer my condolences to his brother John and his wife Pat and family in Australia.

Chris Eynon

Two Bank Holidays in May

Two Bank Holidays in May - one at the beginning on May 2nd and the other at the end, May 30th. If you don't want to go far ... try Blaise Castle House Museum. Step back in time and see the household items of our ancestors! Steeped in history and set in beautiful parkland, discover everyday  objects from times past including:

  • Model trains, dolls and toy soldiers
  • Victorian toilets and baths
  • Kitchen and laundry equipment
  • Sumptuous costumes and accessories
  • History of the Blaise Castle Estate
  • A Victorian school room

Visit the recently restored Victorian Picture Room, hung with paintings from the Museums' collections. Licensed for civil marriage ceremonies, the room is available for hire. Regular events are held at the Museum throughout the summer. Nearby is the popular children's adventure playground.

Collect a key to visit King's Weston Roman Villa in Lawrence Weston. Situated at Henbury Road, Henbury, Bristol BS10 7QS. Tel. 0117 950 6789. Open April-October Saturday-Wednesday 10am-5pm. FREE ADMISSION Incidentally, remember the Local Art Exhibition at the Public Hall, Fri May 28, Sat 29, Sun 30 and Mon 31 - the local talent is amazing - come and see it.

Thoughts ...

A frost this morning and I lie in bed,   with thoughts of rising in my head; And through my window now I see,   A heron perched high on the tree; Disdainful of the three gulls mobbing,   Wheeling around with peevish sobbing; While here am I without a care,   And breakfast porridge for my fayre. John Connett

Reading A Million Words

This is the photo of Katie in Year 7 of Shirehampton Junior School who is the first to reach the target of reading a million words. We mentioned this feat in the April edition of 'Shire' but did not have sufficient space to include this photo of her holding her prizes.

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

I hope you all had a good Easter - we certainly did at St Mary's During Holy Week and leading up to Good Friday we had a short Compline Service at 8.00 pm. This was well attended and appreciated very much by those present. Good Friday was a busy day - with a Service at 10.00 am followed by tea & hot cross buns.

Then there was the Stations of the Cross, followed by the Shirehampton Area Choir singing 'Stainer's Crucifixion'. Then came Easter Sunday. About 2 dozen of us joined Canon Christine for a 'Sunrise Service' at 7 am at Shirehampton Park near Park Gates. Unfortunately there was no sunshine - only light drizzle.

Never mind, the glorious display of daffodils provided a magnificent back cloth. The service lasted about 25 minutes, after which, we adjourned to Shirehampton Cricket Club. There we had a superb 'Five Star' full English breakfast! Maureen and Don Geddes and Pat Carter produced a first class meal - with a choice which couldn't be matched by the most expensive hotel - ie Porridge, Cereal, Grapefruit and Orange Segments, Fresh Orange Juice followed by Egg, Bacon, Sausage, Tomatoes, Beans, Mushrooms, Toast & Marmalade all washed down with an unending supply of tea and coffee.

Thank you, Maureen, Dan and Pat - I can't wait for next Easter Sunday!! Much of this was also due to the generosity of a certain Family Butcher who supplied the food free of charge. I know he is too modest to have his name mentioned here, but I can say he is handsome, middle aged, suave, witty, can often be seen riding a drop handle pedal cycle and has a lovely sister called Annie!! After the breakfast the main service - 10 am Holy Communion - took place in St Mary's.

When the Service was over Canon Christine judged the best decorated competition. The best children's entry was won by Scott Baxter and the best adult entry, by no one else than Mr & Mrs Goslin's 'dishy daughter' - Anne! Having revealed my nick-name for her to the whole of Shirehampton, I wonder if Anne will ever speak to me again!!

The other children had a 'chick hunt' in the churchyard. Hidden there were a number of fluffy chicks - which Canon Christine exchanged for a chocolate Easter Bunny. Many of you will have read in last month's 'Shire' the history of the old church and how the building of the new church occurred. Mention was made there of Mr Daw - the dentist - filming the fire and destruction of the old church.

I have seen this film twice during my life time and I know it includes some footage of the construction of the present building. Although rather grainy it is a very important part of our history. If anyone has any knowledge of its location would they please let me know. It would be wonderful to transfer it onto video tape or DVD rather than let it deteriorate in a cupboard and be lost for ever!

Over the past 6 weeks we have had a re-launch of our 'House Groups'. If you wish to join one of these groups, or you want further information then please speak to Canon Christine. On the Sunday after Easter (known as Low Sunday) we had a short evening service followed by our Annual Parochial Church Meeting, when Gill Sawyer and Derek Ford were re-elected as Churchwardens.

We are pleased to welcome them back into these most important positions. Maureen Geddes, Rose Watkins and June Miller did not stand for re-election to the Parochial Church Council this year and we thank them very much for their past service. At 2.30 pm on Sunday 1st may 2005, we shall be joining with our friends from the Methodist & Baptist Churches to 'Beat the Bounds' - an old custom of walking around the Parish boundary.

The walk will commence at St Mary's finishing at the Cotswold Community Association building in Dursley Road for refreshments. Please come and join us - just bring yourselves and some fine weather!! On Sunday 15th May - Pentecost - (also known as Whit Sunday) in addition to our usual Services we are holding an additional Service at 3 pm - 'Songs of Praise for Pentecost'.

Please let Gill Sawyer know your favourite hymn - first come - first served! All are welcome. Also at that Service will be a display of Bibles - in various styles to suit all tastes and ages - these will be available for purchase. To conclude the afternoon we shall have light refreshments at the west end of  Church.

Finally, on Sunday 22nd May (Trinity Sunday) - The Rev Trevor Hearn will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of his ordination to the ministry. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Trevor who will be celebrating our 10 am Holy Communion on that day.

Since Trevor retired from The Mission to Seaman he has not put his feet up. He can frequently be found deputising for Canon Christine when she is not available. Thank you Trevor we are indebted to you and enjoy having you around! Well, that's it for now! - 'Bye!'


Do you have a spare afternoon?

Since the refurbishment of St Mary's Church we are finding that many more people are coming into the building each afternoon between 2-4pm, Monday to Saturday. Sadly we cannot leave the building unattended. Do you have a spare afternoon you could offer each week on a regular basis, to be in church to keep an eye on what's happening and to be a reference point for those who come in and want to look around or sit quietly?

We need at least two people each day, so are you a married couple who could offer an afternoon or do you have a friend who would like to do this with you? If you are on your own then we should be able to pair you up with someone else. There will be an introductory session to explain how things will work to which you will be invited and subject to formalities we hope to open as soon as we have enough volunteers.

The church is one of the few buildings in the village that belongs to the people of Shirehampton. We would love to make it more available. Can you help us? Please either call into the church or phone for more information. Best wishes Canon Christine 985 5450 or the Church Office 907 7026


If you could use a summer of gentle exercise, fresh air, friendly competition and social events then bowls is for you. For further details and news about free trials please ring 0117 982 0446. Season starts April 2005.

In Memory ...

We were so sad to hear of the passing of our very dear friend Joy Pockett (nee Reddings). Everybody knew and loved Joy, she was a very well known character around Shire and will be sadly missed by all.

Her main love and past-time was her skittles, she played for the Jolly Rogers team of which she was a founder member. The one regret is that we could not be there to pay our respects. Joy will be sadly missed by us.

Maureen and Brian Swain, Q.L.D. Australia

New Member

We were very pleased to welcome Brian Blandford, the Chairman of the Cotswold Community to the monthly 'Shire' meeting in April. J.A.

Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,

As many of you will know, I was not selected by Avonmouth Labour Party to stand again as your Labour candidate in the forthcoming Bristol City Council elections. I am disappointed about this. I had looked forward to asking for your mandate for the third time.

I want to say how much I have enjoyed working with, and representing very many of you, with an amazingly varied series of problems and issues, with some successes, and a few failures. No-one will ever convince me people are not interested in politics. Certainly, the people I have represented in the last six years have been very interested, contacting me regularly about matters which affect their lives and environment, from grass cutting to playgrounds, planning issues, traffic management, the swimming pool, parking irregularities, nuisance neighbours, gangs of youths, housing problems, litter, and a whole variety of other matters.

Some I've solved, some not, but people have ben unfailingly polite and pleasant. It's been a pleasure to work with you and for you, and I will miss you all. With best wishes to you all, Pat Roberts Labour City Councillor, Avonmouth Ward 1999-2005

Swimming Baths

Dear Editor,

Some months ago my two daughters decided to take their children to Henbury Swimming Baths to see what it was like there. When they arrived at Henbury Swimming Baths with their three children (all aged under three) they found entry closed to them. Adults could still swim.

The reason? Not enough Life Guards on duty! So they returned home very disappointed. Whilst I agree safety is of the utmost importance, I do wonder how often this happens. Were my daughters just unfortunate or is this a regular occurrence.


I am sure that many of our readers are very disappointed about the prospect of the closure of Shirehampton Baths. It will mean that this facility - within walking distance for many locals and one of the longest standing sporting benefits of the village - will no longer be available, and the nearest baths will be Henbury, quite a bus ride or car ride away. Ed.

Dear Shire,

I'm hoping that you will publish this photo and that some of your readers can:

  • Identify the people
  • Recognise the location
  • Remember the date it was taken
  • Tell us the purpose of the gathering

My recently deceased brother Roger Teague is in the photo, aged about three years, 4th from the right at the rear. He's held by my Uncle, third from the right at the rear and my Aunt is on the left. My Aunt and Uncle were from West Bromwich so were probably visiting at the time.

The only other person that I can positively identify is Mrs. Mitchell who lived from many years next door to us at 11 Nibley Road. She is standing at the rear, 10th from the right, next to the man with the placard. I think the lady on the immediate left of the 'Vicar' is Mrs Gazzard who lived at approximately 22 Nibley Road, Shirehampton.

My brother was born in December, 1942, so from his approximate age in the photo, I think the occasion would be to celebrate the end of WWII. Any help would be appreciated. Please return the photo after use.


Les Teague
New South Wales

Proposed closure of Shirehampton Swimming Pool.

Dear Editor,

I would like to strongly support the feelings expressed by Mrs Thorne in the April 2005 issue of the Shire Newspaper regarding the proposed closure of the Shirehampton Pool which, without doubt, would bring about the loss of an ideally situated facility that has been enjoyed and appreciated for over 65 years by generations of both local people and many more from a large surrounding area, and to deprive us of such a longstandnig amenity would be an unforgivable dis-service to the whole community.

I am writing as one of many regular users of the pool and am certain that it makes a hugely significant contribution to the fitness, good health and well-being of everyone who uses it, and I'm afraid that it's loss would cause many people to give up swimming altogether. I therefore feel that the future of Shirehampton Swimming Pool should be seriously reconsidered by Bristol City Council and that some means can be found herevby it's retention could be assured so that everyone who uses it can continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Yours sincerely,

Mr M. G. Hunt

Wayside Memorial

Dear Sir,

I cannot believe the writer of Road Accident Victims could be so insensitive to write such a letter. To say that the Memorial put up by the family is a tacky eye-sore and that their bad taste is being inflicted on the rest of us is very wrong, I walk past the memorial most days whilst walking my dog and it does not offend me or anyone else I know.

In fact makes me spare a thought for the family and friends of the young man killed, I wonder does the writer feel the same about the memorial up at Cribbs Causeway for the twelve year old girl killed last month, shame on you. If relatives want to put flowers and mementos at the spot where a loved one has died, who are we to judge.

I hope the young man's family and friends continue to put flowers and photos at the spot and I am sure his young son will wish to do the same when he is older. If it helps them come to terms with their loss it can only be a good thing and I am sure it also makes drivers think about reducing their speed.

Mrs Fox, Shirehampton Resident

Dear Sir,

This letter is in reply to the letter in last month's 'Shire' with reference to my son's memorial on Shirehampton Road. No-one can imagine what the last 8 months have been like for myself and the rest of Paul's family and friends. To bury a child, whatever age they are, is the most devastating thing possible. Let alone for Paul's Grandparents, burying their Grandson.

I am very sorry that the author of the letter thinks that the ribbons, photos, flowers (artificial) and T-shirt are nothing more than litter, but could they for one minute put themselves in my position and just have a little respect for me and all of Paul's family. Does this person not realise how upset all of us were when we read the letter.

I have had at least 6 people approach me and say how nice the memorial is, that it is not too big and over the top, just right. I would like to assure the author that eventually a permanent memorial (council supplied, but paid for by myself) will be placed where Paul died. Paul made a very stupid mistake and has paid very dearly for it, his family will be paying for the rest of their lives. Just imagine burying your son on his 24th birthday, then think about the hurt you caused us all with your tacky and inappropriate letter.

Carol Broome (Paul's heartbroken mother) Penpole Avenue, Shirehampton

Dear Sir, RE: Article 'Road Accident Victims' April edition.

I have just read the above article in your magazine and have been left with a feeling of utter sadness and amazement at the lack of humanity that seems to be prevailing in our society. What sort of society do we live in that is more concerned about the appearance of a roadside than the devastation of losing a loved one.

Surely everyone has the basic right to grieve in whatever way makes them feel better. The roadside memorial in Shirehampton has been put there by a family and friends who have had their world torn apart by the death of a young man. They are good and decent people who would never wish to offend anyone.

Society should be supporting them at this tragic time, not adding to their grief by writing what I consider to be one of the most offensive, unfeeling pieces of "tacky" literature that I have ever read. I hope the author never has to suffer what this family has. Are their lives so sad that this is the only thing they feel worthy of comment. I suggest that they read a few more newspapers to acquaint themselves with the real world.

Mrs J.P. Smart

Thank you for your kind donation. Ed.

Dear Sir,

In response to the letter 'Road Accident Victims' (Shire - April 2005), in which the heartless writer of the letter described memorials for road accident victims as 'tacky and grubby', we would like to point out that these memorials are there to help relatives and friends of the victim to cope with the grieving process and should not be a matter of good or bad taste.

May we suggest that this person, who obviously has never lost anyone close to them in such a horrific way, should channel their energies into complaining about genuine 'litter' such as used needles and condoms in local parks that create a danger and real 'eye-sore', unlike these harmless memorials. Perhaps in future the thoughtless writer of the insensitive letter should avert their eyes when passing these memorials if they cause so much offence.

A mother.

Thank you for your kind donation to Shire

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter entitled 'Road Accident Victims'. I would like to say that the memorial we put up for our dear friend Paul at the top of Shirehampton Hill, near the War Memorial is not a "tacky eye-sore" and I feel sad that your think that way.

I am sure that it is really not doing that much harm is it? It is not near any major residential areas and it is not causing a disruption to anyone accessing where they live, so I don't see why you feel the need to complain about it - nobody else has!

May I suggest that you avert your eyes when you travel past this "tacky eye-sore", as you so call it, to avoid you any more misery. I am sorry that out "bad taste" has caused you so much grief, but as you can imagine his family and friends are still coming to terms with their loss, as are the other 600 people that attended his funeral, so they can do without pointless comments like this.

I feel very sorry for the people that feel the need to nick-pick at pointless things, their lives must be very empty is all I can say.

Miss L. Roberts, Shirehampton

Thank you for your donation - Ed.

To Shire Magazine,

I am writing in response to the letter in the last issue of 'Shire' about the local memorials that are regarded as 'tacky' and 'litter'. This is a memorial for someone that a large amount of Shirehampton residents knew and loved. The funeral was attended by hundreds of people, mostly from the local areas.

We feel very strongly that this memorial was classed as 'tacky' and 'litter that should be removed by the council'. This may not be to everyone's liking, but to those who understand it means a great deal. I am sure that this also applies to the other people around Bristol who have been affected by tragic accidents. Have the family and friends not suffered enough without strangers complaining?

After all they only have their memories left!

L and K

Dear Editor,

My family and I were appalled to read the letter from one of our members of the community 'SHIRE' criticising the families and friends who have lost someone very close to them in a road accident having road side memorials. We all grieve in our own ways and if this gives them some comfort, who are we to deny them this.

Far from thinking about them being tacky and looking like litter, out thoughts are for those coping with their loss. Caring members of the 'SHIRE' community.

T.F. and Family

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write with reference to the published letter 'Road Accident Victims' April 2005. I had to read the letter twice as I was appalled by its content. I lost a special and close friend at the young age of 29, in a road accident. He left behind 2 young children.

After reading the above mentioned letter, I struggle to understand how this person could be so heartless. How could they describe a memorial as a 'tacky eye-sore' and 'litter that the council should remove'? The 'grubby t-shirt' probably belonged to the person whose life was lost - How would the family feel after reading this?

A majority of us would have compassion and empathy when passing any memorial site, whether it is a bunch of flowers or a stone structure! One can only surmise that the person who wrote that insensitive and hurtful letter, has never had the misfortune of losing a loved one and therefore never had to be a 'grieving relative'.

Thank you for your time.

Regards, Emma Richardson

Dear Shire,

In response to the letter 'Road Accident Victims', how anyone can be so disrespectful to the victims and the relatives is beyond belief. The only thing that is 'tacky' is your comments regarding these shrines. The council obviously has more respect than you by leaving these shrines in place.

The next time you pass the shrine in Shirehampton on the hill, spare a thought for the little boy who lost his Dad. The 'tacky eye-sore' which you obviously think is 'bad taste' shows how much this young man's grieving relatives and friends love and miss him. If you don't want to see it there, Don't look!

Lyn Conner

Wayside Memorials

When travelling abroad, have you ever noticed small patches of garden full of planted flowers by the road side? Often these are in memory of victims of road accidents, and without doubt places of solace to the bereaved, like the flowers on top of Park Hill. But what about the rest of us? Shouldn't they act as reminders for us to slow down, to take more care and perhaps when we arrive home safely, to count our blessings. Ed.