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News Index

What's On in November

100 years young!

Mr Goodman, Historian

St. Mary's News

The 'Shire Spots'

'Shire' Baffs

Letters to the Editor

Ship to Shore

TS Enterprise - Avonmouth Sea Cadets

On Friday October 8th TS Enterprise - Avonmouth Sea Cadets held a dance at the Port of Bristol Club, Nibley Road to celebrate 200 years since Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. The music was supplied by Footloose - a live band that had everyone dancing from early in the evening until the end, and still wanting more.

A tombola was held and this enabled everyone to have a chance at winning a prize. The prime spot of the evening was the display by our cadets. The cadets presented the Piling of the Drums and a Club and Cutlass routine. The current display team mainly comprises of new entries, and they have spent the last couple of weeks perfecting an historical event.

Well done to all that took part. The raffle was held during the band's second break, and the unit wishes to thank all the local business in the village that contributed to this. The evening raised 496, and this will be used towards the purchase of a safety boat so ensuring the cadets can sail in the docks during the summer of 2006.

The cadets thank everyone for attending, the PBA staff for all their help and the ladies and one gentleman who spent time on Saturday afternoon trimming up the dance floor. Watch this space for another fun filled TS Enterprise event, and get your tickets early!

What's On in November

NOVEMBER 1st Tuesday ST ANDREW'S LADIES CLUB at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth, in House Quiz. Every Tuesday CRAFT GROUP at St Mary's 2pm-3.30pm. Shirehampton MODEL RAILWAY weekly 7.30pm at the Public Hall. TEA JUNCTION at St Mary's weekly 2pm, tea, chat, board games BINGO or speaker at Tythe Barn, High Street, weekly at 2pm BEETLE DRIVE in St Mary's 1pm tell Gil Sawyer, or sign the list if you want to come

NOVEMBER 2nd Wednesday TERM 2 starts for ALL LOCAL SCHOOLS Every Wednesday and Thursday ADVICE SESSIONS at A.U.S. 115 High Street 9.30am-11.30am BRIGHT HOUR (Women's Fellowship) at the Baptist Church 2.30pm ARTHRITIS CARE at Jim O'Neil House 7pm

NOVEMBER 3rd Thursday SLIMMING WORLD every Thursday 5.30pm and 7pm at Jim O'Neil House BINGO or a speaker at the Tythe Barn weekly 2pm. TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD 2pm-4pm at Methodist Church Hall, 'Backstage Secrets' by Mrs K. Rawlings.

NOVEMBER 4th Friday COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10am-12 noon FRIDAY FUN for parents, carers and pre-school children 9.30am-11am at the Beachley Walk Centre every week. EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 2pm-4pm weekly BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30-8.30pm weekly.

NOVEMBER 5th Saturday COFFEE MORNING and Christmas Fayre at the Methodist Church Hall 10am-12 noon.

NOVEMBER 6th Sunday COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE (led by the Baptist Church) at the Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45pm-5.30pm

NOVEMBER 7th Monday SEE & KNOW for under 5s at St Mary's weekly 1.15-2.45pm. 3 OF US BINGO St Andrew's Church Hall weekly 1.45-2.45pm. BASIC LITERARY SKILLS COURSE at Lawrence Weston weekly. Tel: 0117 913 8824. KEEP FIT weekly at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30-8.30pm - admission 1.

NOVEMBER 8th Tuesday EVERGREENS OUTING to Swindon POLICE BOBBY VAN monthly visit to Shirehampton Green.

NOVEMBER 9th Wednesday BOOK CLUB at the Cotswold Centre.

NOVEMBER 10th Thursday SHIREHAMPTON TEA DANCE at the Public Hall 2.30pm-4.30pm. Entry 2 including tea and biscuits.

NOVEMBER 10th, 11th and 12th Thursday, Friday and Saturday GRAINGER PLAYERS in the Public Hall 'GOLDEN OLDIES' 7.30pm-10pm Tickets 3 Thursday 3.50 Friday and Saturday from Elizabeth Ann Florist, High Street.

NOVEMBER 11th Friday PLAQUE to be unveiled at 34 Priory Road, commemorating the birth of the well know actor Sir Robert Stephens.


NOVEMBER 13th Remembrance Sunday 10am Service at St Mary's before procession to the War Memorial. 6pm Sung Evensong at St Mary's

NOVEMBER 15th Tuesday St Andrew's LADIES CLUB 7.30pm at St andrew's Church Hall. PBA Pensioners meet in the Club House, Nibley Rd

NOVEMBER 16th Wednesday SHIRE STITCHERS 7.30 at the Public Hall. BRIGHT HOUR Women's Fellowship at the Baptist Church 2.30pm

NOVEMBER 17th Thursday CARERS at the Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-12 noon CARERS AT LAWRENCE WESTON at Ridingleaze House 2pm-4pm.

NOVEMBER 19th Saturday PANAMA JAZZ BAND at St Mary's, tickets 6 including wine and nibbles.

NOVEMBER 20th Sunday COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE led by St Mary's 4.45pm-5.30pm

NOVEMBER 25th Friday SEQUENCE DANCE in the Cotswold Centre 7.30pm-10pm.


NOVEMBER 20th Sunday 130th ANNIVERSARY of the Methodist Church. Service 11am Rev Sandra Heap; 6.30pm Rev David Alderman.

WHOOPS PLEASE NOTE: The gremlins have got into the What's On the last two months, ARTHRITIS CARE, on the first Wednesday of the month is a monthly meeting, not a weekly one and the Carers meeting on the third Thursday of the month at Avonmouth Medical Centre and Lawrence Weston.   Apologies to Tea Dance, date was not given last month and to Railway Exhibition over times.

Shirehampton Public Hall ACTIVITIES 2005

  • Station Road Playgroup term time only Mondays to Fridays 9.15-11.45am
  • Mondays and Wednesdays 1-3pm Karate Club
  • Tuesdays 7-9pm Acta Community Youth Theatre for 11-16 year olds
  • Wednesdays 5-6.30pm Model Railway Club
  • Wednesdays 7.30-9.30pm Shire Stitchers Patchwork and Quilting Group 3rd
  • Wednesday monthly 7.15-9.15pm Grainger Players Drama Club
  • Thursdays 7.30-9.30pm Evergreens Senior Citizens Club
  • Fridays 2.00-4.00pm Bingo
  • Fridays 6.30-8.30pm Twyford Art Club
  • Mondays and Wednesdays 9.30-11.30am
  • Thursdays 7.00-9.00pm CLASSES Vickie Hall School of Dance
  • Mondays 4-8pm - Contact Vickie Hall on 01275 818197 LINE DANCING
  • Mondays 8pm-11pm City of Bristol CLASSES Help with Basic Skills FREE * Improve Your English * Computers and Communication * Art and Communication * Help with Maths Contact Gill Lloyd on 0117 903 8824

Calling All Carers!

There are 6 million carers in the UK, people who unpaid look after friends and family who cannot cope alone due to ill health, disability, addiction or frailty. This group of people save the health and Social Services 57 billion a year because they do the caring at home.

Carers registers For many years nationally and locally carers organisations have been lobbying for carers registers to be created and we have been working with your local health centres to help them produce these. Part of the reason for this is so that the primary care team (doctors, nurses, receptionists at the health centre etc.) can be more aware that you are a carer and your caring responsibilities and also to help them to improve the services they offer you.

We are working with the health centres locally to help produce this, so now we need your to help us, next time you contact or visit your health centre, ask if they have a carers registered and if your details and the person you care for are on this.

Flu vaccinations reminder Another issue we have campaigned locally and nationally for years is for carers to have flu vaccinations. Last year BNPCT & BSWPCT gave carers under the age of 60 who provide substantial care, a 'flu vaccination free of charge, as a preventative measure This year the Department of Health nationally has included carers in the groups eligible for a flu vaccine (at G.P.'s discretion).

You may be eligible, if you are in receipt of carers allowance, the person you support is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance or if you are providing practical support which is essential on a daily basis or your care would need to be replaced by other services within 24 hours if you become ill with the flu.

So if you haven't booked yours, contact your health centre now. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and HSA want to highlight the great work done by your GP surgery HSA Carer Aware Awards are the chance for carers who think their GP surgery offers support to carers and are a great opportunity to say thank you for the support they have given.

The winning surgery and the nominating carer will win 50 of Marks and Spencer vouchers each. If you would like to enter your surgery, write including your name, address, telephone number and your GP surgeries details to The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Freepost LON2278, London EC3B 3PS (closing date 3.12.05).

Helen Mathias - Project Manager Princess Royal Trust for Carers
Carole Brooke - Practice Manager Shirehampton Health Centre

Flu Immunisation Campaign due for November

The Group Practice has now had confirmed dates for delivery of their 'flu vaccine and invitation letters will be sent out in October to all those patients who are eligible to receive a vaccination. Because of this delay, it is important that you attend on one of the days offered to ensure adequate protection. We may not be able to offer further sessions after the dates listed.

Shirehampton Health Centre
Saturday 5th November 9.00am - 10.30am
Saturday 12th November 9.00am - 10.30am
Thursday 17th November 5.00pm - 6.00pm
Capel Road Surgery
Friday 11th November 2.00pm - 3.00pm
Friday 18th November 2.00pm - 3.00pm

Home visits are made only to those patients who are housebound. There is good evidence that immunisation of those at highest risk reduces hospital admissions and cuts down the time off work. To continue the policy started in 2000 by the Department of Health we have been advised to immunise everyone aged 65 years and over.

Patients with the following indications are also advised to be immunised. If you think you fall into one of these categories but do not receive a letter by the end of October, please telephone reception to enquire.

  • Chronic respiratory disease - including asthma
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Chronic renal disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus

With over 3,000 patients falling into the above categories, we ask you NOT to telephone the Health Centre unless it is for a Home Visit. Thank you for your co-operation we look forward to seeing you on one of the dates above.

100 years young!

On the 5th November Mrs Kathleen Jones will be 100! Up until she was 98 she was living independently at home, but being partially sighted and becoming frailer has meant that she has had to move into residential care. Kath, as she likes to be called, is a real character! She enjoys her glass of sherry, the company of all around her and male company.

She also loves sunbathing and is always the life and soul of a party. Her very cutting sense of humour and impeccable presentation makes her impossible to forget. She puts a smile on the faces of all she meets. She is also a very caring and loving lady, especially towards children and animals.

She very much favours the home's cat, Coco. She is a very strong person mentally and physically. She has had a hip operation and a Temporary Ischaemic Attack within the last two months and is fully recovered from both. On the 5th November Bradley House will be celebrating this milestone with a Bang! The Home will be fully decorated to commemorate this event with a full buffet and drinks will be offered to some 60 guests.

A firework display will be launched in the large garden. For further details please telephone Elisabeth Laycock on 0117 923 5641 or alternatively email Happy 90th Birthday! Mrs Phyllis Scanlan from all the family.

Thank you for your kind donation to Shire Funds. Ed.

Mr Goodman, Historian

Dear Editor, I have just joined your Shire website and enjoying going down memory lane. I know lots of the faces, names and places and am finding it a real treat. Looking back at the July 2005 issue, which I have only just seen, thanks to your back issues, you were asking  if anyone new the name of any of the teaching staff at Portway Secondary Modern Boys' School, taken in 1950.

Most of the staff were named. The photograph shows the staff just prior to the school moving up to the army huts on Penpole. I went to this school from 1955-1960 from the age of 11 until leaving the school at 15 and a half. I am sure that the gentleman far right in the back row is Mr Wellings who was a woodwork teacher in the next hut to Mr William Goodman the gentleman 7th from the left who is also in the back row.

Mr William Goodman, who was a very nice man, taught me woodwork, I went on to be an apprentice carpenter and joiner and cabinet maker. Several years ago while researching through the old Evening Posts at the Central Library I came across an article in the May 16th 1961 issues, approximately one years after I had left the school, in a column known as "Blackboys Diary" about Mr William Goodman which was extremely interesting.

I paid the library at the time for a copy of this. I am attaching a copy for you that may be of interest to all your readers who knew this man. I hope you find a use for this. I lived at 4 Chelwood Road for about 23 and a half years of my life, Mum still lives there and is now 85 years of age.

Kind regards - Martin Tovey

Historian's Chance of a Lifetime!

Mr William Goodman, of Clifton, Britain's leading authority on the development of Russian timber technology and no less knowledgeable on the history of woodworking tools, is now planning in details how to exploit what he describes as "the chance of a lifetime.

"For in September, he is to begin a tour lasting several months, of Italy, Sicily, Greece and Egypt to "go the rounds of museums, art galleries, churches, looking for any pictures of carpenters' tools." Mr Goodman, who is writing a history of woodworking tools (and has been for a considerable time now), has been awarded a Leverhulm Research Grant for 1961 and it is this which will finance his extended tour.

He received it for his work in connection with the history of the carpenters' plane and brace. Rather obscure "I shall be searching for evidence of the early forms of Roman and possibly Green planes and trying to trace the route by which the carpenters' brace reached Western Europe from the Middle East, possibly in the wake of the Crusaders, early in the 15th century," he told me today.

By clearing up these "two obscure points" Mr Goodman, woodwork master at Portway Secondary Boys' School before his retirement will be able to complete his history which he hopes later to publish in book form. Extracts have already appeared in a technical magazine.

When not working on his book he is immersed in Russian publication on timber technology which he translates for Timber Development Association Ltd., Relax with golf He began the study of Russian on the day the Soviet Union entered the last war and he confesses, the language took a deal of mastering.

"But I had time to do it and now I correspond with three people in Moscow who are able to help me with my researches. I have never been to Russia, but I hope to one day." To his credit also he has another book, a study of a Russian pioneer of teaching methods, published in this country a dozen years ago.

Mr Goodman, who played cricket for Brislington before the war, is chairman of the match and handicap committee of Shirehampton Golf Club. "Golf is a relaxation after so much research work and the problems of translation," he says understandably.

St. Mary's News

Hi folks! Light the blue touch paper and stand well back for here we are into November! My sky-rocket days are over and I'm now reduced to being no more than a damp squib! Shame! Shame! I hear you cry - just stop moaning and get on with the news. Yeah okay! - So here we go.

The Book & Records Sale on the Saturday of our Harvest Weekend was a great success and raised over 500. In fact it was so successful we intend to have another one in the New Year - just watch this space for details! Our Barn Dance/Harvest Supper in the Church Centre was a "full house" - regrettably the last on in this building.

But have no fear - there will definitely be another one next year. The church looked the best ever on Harvest Festival Sunday - beautiful flower stands, pot plants in the Chancel, with two sheaves of corn by the choir stalls, which Gill Sawyer very kindly purchased for us.

The last time we had sheaves of corn was when my late father-in-law was still farming in Somerset. The total number of Euoraid boxes returned was in fact 185, together with other bags of produce and donations towards the cost of transport. Thank you all very much, this was a magnificent achievement.

I would also like to offer our grateful thanks to "Stage Electrics" who very kindly allowed Nick Broad to use their company van to transport the Euroaid boxes to the Distribution Depot. Nick also recently installed our Back projector and screen in the chancel.

Nick Broad of Stage Electrics with Euro Aid boxes donated for Harvest Festival

You should have seen him erecting and climbing up the scaffolding - just like a monkey. Watching him was amazing and you were left in no doubt about Darwin's theory on the evolution of man!! (Although I must admit I didn't see him eating any coconuts when he was up there). Thanks Nick for a great job - we really do appreciate your handiwork.

Sunday, 2nd October saw St. Mary's full of the Holy Clowns which was great fun, as well as putting a religious meaning with their antics. I'm sure we shall see them again at sometime in the future! As I briefly mentioned last month, Gill Sawyer was licensed as a Lay Minister (Reader) by the Bishop of Bristol in Bristol Cathedral on Saturday 8th October.

There was a good crowd from St. Mary's at the Service to give her our support. We are all very pleased and proud of her. After the licensing a celebration Buffet Supper was held in St. Mary's. A celebration cake was made by Pat Davidson and the catering expertly done by Pam Crawford and Julie Smith.

During the celebrations Gill was presented with a Home Communion Set, which contains a small chalice etc. for taking Holy Communion to the sick and infirm. We know she will make frequent use of this in her ministry. The first service - "Kids Klub" on Sunday, 9th October went of exceedingly well with 53 adults and children attending. A wonderful response when you consider that just a few years ago that figure was higher than the Sunday average for our main Holy Communion Service. It is of great credit to Canon Christine that since she has been with us Sunday attendances have trebled.

If you are on the verge of not knowing whether to come to St. Mary's - just come - you will be received by Canon Christine with open arms. I think she is so popular that a "Fan Club" may be in the offing - as a couple of young girls in possession of a digital camera, wanted to know when they could take a picture of her in her robes.

Now to November - again another reminder of our Memorial Service at 3pm on Saturday 12th November - for anyone who has lost a loved one in the past 12 months, or indeed at anytime. If their funeral has taken place at St. Mary's, or has been conducted by the Rev. Andy or Canon Christine then a letter of invitation will be sent out. If you haven't received a letter for any reason then you are of course most welcome, as indeed is anyone. Please complete one of the paper slips at the back of the Church if you wish the name of a departed loved one to be mentioned in the prayers.

Sunday, 13th November is Remembrance Sunday. Our 10am Service will commence in Church before we process to the War Memorial for the Act of Remembrance. Refreshments in Shirehampton Cricket Club will be available at the conclusion of proceedings.

At 6.00pm there will be a service of sung Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer. The singing will be led by the Bristol Cathedral Girls Choir. They are magnificent - I have heard them on several occasions at Bristol Cathedral. Everyone is welcome to come and join in this act of worship.

At 7.30pm on Saturday, 19th November the "Panama Jazz Band" will be replacing "The Concert Party", who were to have appeared - but cannot do so due to ill health by some of the members. This function is in St. Mary's - tickets are 6 which includes "Wine & Nibbles". All proceeds are to go to the Organ Refurbishment Fund. At 6.30pm on Sunday, 20th November a Deanery Confirmation Service is to be conducted at Almondsbury Parish Church. There are a number from St. Mary's being confirmed at that Service - please come and give them your support.

On Sat 26th Nov from 10am until 12 noon we are holding our Annual Christmas Fayre in Church. Father Christmas will be there as will be loads of "Festive Food". Here is your chance to expand your waistlines and hopefully lighten your purses - so don't miss it! The very next day - believe it or not - is Advent Sunday which means that Christmas is just around the corner.

At 6pm is our Advent Carol Service and is also the occasion when we light up our "Tree of Light". This is a Christmas Tree with white lights on it and Memoriam Cards with the names of loved ones written upon them. These Memoriam Cards will be available at the back of the Church and also at the Memorial Service mentioned earlier.

St. Mary's Parochial Church Council would very much like to thank "SHIRE" for the very generous donation of 500 from the Community Fund, which is to be used for parking spaces for the disabled in the Churchyard. These will be created near to the main gates when we lose parking spaces when the Church Centre is disposed of for the redevelopment of the Health Centre.

As each month passes it appears I have the sad duty of telling your that another of our congregation has passed away. We have recently mourned the passing of Irene Thackeray who died on Saturday, 17th September. Irene was for many years a Teacher at "The House in the Garden School", Kingsweston, for children with learning difficulties.

It was in that capacity that Gill Sawyer first knew Irene - more than 30 years ago. Irene was one of our House Group members and also a volunteer helper on our regular coffee morning rota. We shall very much miss the company of this very gentle lady.

Finally another member of congregation - Dot Ford - has had to move from "Penhill" Residential Home because she now requires more intensive care, to a Nursing Home in Portishead. We wish here well in her new environment and hope she settles in okay. We look forward to seeing her back at St. Mary's as and when she is able to visit us. Well, that's it again for this month.

Bye for now. C.M.E.

The 'Shire Spots'

For those readers who have read the history of Shirehampton Public Hall, or who were around at the time, you will know how much spirits were lifted during the War, by locally produced entertainment at the Public Hall. The 'Shire Spots" was one such local group who performed during the early war years and consisted of 16-18 year olds, the leading light and inspiration for the 'Spots' being Ula Gilbert (now Rigg).

Names from L to R: 4. Eunice Greenway (nee Grandison) 5. Freddie Bradford 6. Ula Rigg (nee Gilbert) 7. Dennis Oldland 8. Barbara Winters 9. Ray Mellor 10. John Hutton

From these beginnings Ula's career took her into the world of the theatrical arts as an actress and director. She studied under the late Greta Colson at the Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in London and qualified in the late 1950s as a teacher of speech and drama, teaching in private and public sectors of education for 25 years.

A pioneer of spoken English in Further Education she was awarded the Fellowship of the English Speaking Board in 1975 and was an examiner for that Board for 14 years and the Poetry Society for 8 years. In addition Ula was a founder member of the two-year course in Speech and Drama at Weston College, Weston-super-Mare, which is now a well-established BTEC National Diploma course in the Performing Arts.

Ula was an adjudicator for the Bristol Amateur Drama Rose Bowl Awards and an Associate member/Adjudicator of the British Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech for 23 years. She also lectured in Dialects to different organisations throughout the West Country using scripted and original work in Verse, Prose and Song.

She is now enjoying a well earned retirement but has kindly donated some photographs of the 'Shire Spots' to the Shirehampton archive. If anyone wishes to learn more about Shirehampton, there's the local history group and of course copies of the History of the Public Hall still on sale in local shop, St Mary's church or the Hall itself.

'England Expects'

The Battle of Trafalgar - 21st October 1805 Fought between the British and a combined fleet of French and Spanish ships off Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coast the battle is still remembered today on its 200th anniversary as the greatest victory of the Royal Navy and one which established its superiority and influence for decades to come.

The battle progressed largely according to Nelson's plan. At 11.35, Nelson sent throughout the fleet the famous flag signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty" he then attacked the French line in two columns, leading one column in Victory, while Admiral Collingwood, in Royal Sovereign led the other column.

As the battle opened, the French and Spanish were in a ragged line headed north as the two British columns approached from the west at almost a right angle. Nelson himself led the north column from Victory  while one of his subordinates, Collingwood , led the south column, flying the flag on the Royal Sovereign.

Just before the south column engaged the allied forces, Collingwood said to his officers: "Now gentlemen, let us do something today, which the world may talk of hereafter." Because the winds were very light during the battle, all the ships were moving extremely slowly and the lead British ships were under fire from several of the enemy for almost an hour before their own guns would bear.

At 12.45, Victory cut the enemy line between Villeneuve's flagship Bucentaure and Redoubtable Meanwhile,  Royal Sovereign had already engaged with the Spanish Santa Anna. A general melee ensued and during that fight Victory locked masts with the French Redoubtable.

The captain of Redoubtable had trained his crew to use their muskets to fire on enemy officers on the quarterdeck. A musket bullet fired from the mizzentop of the Redoubtable struck Nelson in the left shoulder, and passed through his body lodging in his spine.

Nelson was carried below decks and died at about 1630, as the battle that would make him a legend was ending in favour of the British. The British captured 22 vessels of the Franco-Spanish fleet and lost not one. As Nelson lay dying, he ordered the fleet to anchor as a storm was predicted.

However, when the storm blew up many of the severely damaged ships sank or ran aground and a few were recaptured by the French and Spanish prisoners overcoming the small prize crews or by ships sallying out from Cadiz. Lord Nelson's last prayer On the morning of 21st October 1805, with the combined fleets of French and Spain in sight, Nelson wrote the subsequent prayer.

'May the great God, whom I worship, grant to my country and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious victory and may no misconduct, in any one, tarnish it; and may humanity after victory be the predominant feature in the British fleet.

For myself individually, I commit my life to Him who made me and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend'. Amen. Amen. Amen. Compiled by Norman Date Merchant Navy Association, Bristol.

Our thanks to Captain Hamish Grant for sending in this article - Ed.

A Few Degrees Under

I have a rather sorry tale to tell
Of a day, some weeks back, when I felt unwell
Enough to cause me to stop and wonder
Why was I just a few degrees under
And what if the complaint I have is
Suffixed by an 'osis', or an 'itis'
I managed to make a doctor's appointment
(Phone early to avoid disappointment)
And so, full of apprehension, I strode
To our Health Centre in Pembroke Road
The receptionist told me I would have to wait
For the patients call lamp to illuminate
Then, if my plaque was the correct number and shade
To proceed to the room that had been displayed
The doctor waited, with computer screen buzzing
And medical files piled up by the dozen
Said he "I haven't seen you for well over a year
Not since your last very bad bout of diarrhoea"
To that I agreed, then said "Surely
You'll be able to say why I feel so poorly"
With that he put on a white rubber glove
To probe where? Below the waist, or above?
Should I be bending over, or standing up straight?
But I had to do neither I'm pleased to relate
As he quickly put my fears to rest
"I just want to examine your throat and chest
And then to ensure you get good measure
I'll also check your pulse and blood pressure"
"Then, when you've got yourself dressed
Go to the treatment room to have a blood test
They'll draw out the blood with a little syringe
So, please be brave and try not to cringe"
Nurse said "I'll try not to cause too much pain
As I search on your arm for a well defined vein
The blood that we get will go in a phial
To Southmead, with the results back in a while"
It was all done so quickly, a week went by
And I really needed to know if I would soon die
And so I returned, with some trepidation
To learn about my situation
And would the forthcoming diagnosis
Condemn me to large medicinal doses?
The doctor smiles. " Your results are back
And relax, you're just a hypochondriac!!"           

Malcolm Jones

Aussie Author
Chanter Reed born Bristol UK, and educated at Portway High School.

He left school at fifteen and joined the Port of Bristol Authority as a junior clerk. He has also been a Coal Miner, worked in the Railways Department of the Port of Bristol. Studied photography at the West of England College of Art. Was a commercial photographer in the Publicity Department of a national building company. Joined a North Somerset Newspaper as Chief Press Photographer.

Was Press Photographer to Butlin's Holiday Camps. Emigrated to Australia in 1968 with wife Margaret, a son and daughter. After the company he came to Brisbane to work for closed, he started a small printing company, was almost wiped out in the Brisbane Floods.

Has acted and directed in over fifty plays and musicals until retiring in 1993. Since that time Chanter has acted in seven short films, written two plays, and at present completing his third novel in the Thaddeus Browne series. Resides North of Brisbane. P.S. Ex Shirehampton boy now Australian author recently visited the area again and kindly donated a copy of each of his 3 books The Edward Conspiracy, The Stones of Thaxos, Genesis to the library.

'Shire' Baffs

Close the baths they may, but memories remain. Having spent most Saturday mornings at the bath as a 9/10 year old. The most poignant memory for me is the long room, sun shining through the ceiling and views of lads stood on benches either side, belting out continuous choruses of "Mares eat oats and Does eat oats and little Lambs eat ivy!" Sharing a hot oxo afterwards on the way out.

Despite spending a lot of time at the baths my aquatic ability was minimal. In later years at the annual; Pen Pole Scouts district swimming gala my ability was to be tested. Local scouting groups participated, points were awarded for each event, so it was important to enter every race to try and accumulate as many points as possible.

Fortunately we at 191st St Marys were always blessed with good swimmers. Except for one year! On this particular occasion the the senior scouts relay team were short of two members for the honour of the "mob" myself and Ray Fennell a swimmer of similar ability were "coaxed" to join Ken Davies and Ken Saunders who were excellent swimmers.

It was decided I would lead off. Ken Davies could then make up the expected half length that I would trail by. Ray attempts to keep us in hailing distance, whilst Ken Saunders would strike for home. The moment was upon us, I did notice that the '126 Sea Mills' has co-opted Johnny Weismuller to race against me! anyway the two Kens went into the deep end, Ray and I the shallow end.

"On your marks." Too late now! I stepped onto a cold wet towel draped over the pool edge only to realise I'd never entered the water head first before in my life! "Get set" the command! I did my best to copy previous competitors , crouch forward, arms held back behind, toes over towel, then the dreaded blast on the whistle, in I went, miraculously I managed to stay afloat for the necessary length, allowing Ken Davies to make up the deficit I'd created.

Ray followed, his entry into the water ensured the spectators seated at the side were well and truly soaked! Ray also justified his selection by completing his length! Leaving Ken Saunders the chance of glory, as I seem to recall Ken glided effortlessly through the water to give us a magnificent victory. Alas no medal, but boy, what memories! Of over 50 years ago.

'Bradley Bob'

An accident waiting to happen I and other residents of Shirehampton are becoming increasingly concerned about the horrific speeds that the police cars proceed through the High Street. Not only is is a narrow High Street it is also very busy both traffic and pedestrian wise with a high proportion of elderly who are not so good on their legs.

I sincerely hope that I am wrong but it would appear that is only a matter of time before there is a fatality as a result. The other two services the ambulance and the fire brigade, although in an equal hurry to reach their destination, appear to adopt a much more responsible approach to their task, even though it is these two services and the the police who are most likely to save lives.

The two main areas for concern would appeal to be outside the butchers where there are narrow sloping pavements and approaching the pedestrian crossing outside of the George public house where police frequently approach it at seemingly excessive speed. So to the police PLEASE, PLEASE listen to your own advice to the general public regarding speed, i.e. 'speed kills' before it is too late.

R. Lee

Grace Woods - Olympic Swimmer

Mrs Verona Limbrick, who is sent copies of 'Shire' by her sister in law, tells us about Grace Woods who trained in Shirehampton Baths for the Helsinki Olympic Games. Mrs Limbrick thinks that Grace would be about 74 now. Verona Limbrick (nee Twist) trained with Grace, although she was a keen swimmer, she didn't swim well enough to go with Grace to Helsinki.

It seems that the girls swam everyday before school, so that when they arrived in school with dripping hair, they were promptly ushered into the Headmistress's study to dry off.

Wantage Olive Guinn

Although I am well and truly settled in the lovely county of Devon, I have never forgotten Avonmouth and Bristol and the days of my youth. I wonder if there are any "Shire" readers who share my memories of Avonmouth School, being taught my Mr Lightfoot - a lovely man, Mrs Gillette and, I seem to recall, a Miss Wall too.

Perhaps some of my contemporaries may still remember me - I was Olive Webb. I became a Navy wife and, in consequence travelled quite extensively so lost touch with my roots in a way. It would be wonderful to hear from anyone who recalls those far off days. Olive Guinn (Mrs Guinn attended Avonmouth School in the 1930s - any responses can be passed on and/or published in 'Shire'. - Ed).

Woman of the Year

Slimming World groups all over the country have been voting for their group woman of the year. Shirehampton's Slimming World groups held at Jim O'Neil house every Thursday at 5.30pm and 7pm, chose a member for each group. Local mum Sam Watts was the winner for the earlier group.

Sam is a busy mum who has lost almost 3 stone in 4 months and is well on her way to her target weight, Sam says that not having to give up her little treats like her favourite 'Iced Gems' and being able to eat to satisfy her appetite, any time of the day or night has made losing weight easy.

Winner for the later group was another local busy mum, Sadie Matthews, Sadie has lost 3 stone since January and is now at her target weight, Sadie says she now has the energy to keep up with her young child, and not having to count calories or units and still being able to have a  social lift and lose weight have been the key factors not only to losing her weight but being able to keep it off.

For more details of your local groups ring Kelly 01275 844825 and who knows, next year's woman or man of the year could be you!

Thank you

Andrew, Christine and Peter would like to thank friends, relatives and neighbours for their cards, letters and kind donations in excess of 400 in lieu of flowers. This sum is being sent to Phyl's niece, Enid, for use in her TB clinic for children in Palia, India. Thanks also to staff at Penhill Residential Home and to Reverend Canon Christine Froude for her kindness and support.

Andrew Denyard

Volunteer Wanted

A volunteer is wanted please to deliver Shire Newspapers to houses on the Portway between Hung Road and Woodwell Road on the village side of the Portway. The newspapers are delivered to your door each month for you to distribute. If you can help, please telephone Pauline on 9826935.

Thank you.

Shirehampton Evergreens

The members and committee of Shirehampton Evergreens would like to say thank you to the committee and members of the Avonmouth Summer Skittle Teams for the generous donation to our club funds. N. Sims (Chairperson). The Evergreens Senior Citizens Club meet on Fridays at the Public Hall, 2pm to 4pm not 1pm to 3pm.


Sadly we have heard that on October 20th the final decision to close the Robin Cousins Sports Centre was made.

Shelley says 'Hi' to her former friends of Portway School

Shelley Bainbridge and her husband Mark from Cumbria visited her parents Marion and John Brailey of Church Down Walk, Shirehampton to compete in the Bristol Half Marathon. Her sister Tammy and Brother Craig, both parents and loads of nephews and nieces were in the cheer party to encourage them.

They ran for the Breast Cancer Charity. Shelley's husband is a hill farmer in Cumbria who attended Lancaster University and became a social worker so has a busy life. To keep fit Shelley takes part in several half marathons each year. She managed to get into the London Marathon when she was forty.

Shelley cycled from John O' Groats to Lands End last year. She chooses a different charity each time. Good wishes from Shelley to all the Bristol people who remember her.

Marion Brailey

Staff Shortages at Bristol Libraries

Due to staff shortages in the Public Libraries of Bristol as a whole, certain measures are being organised to meet the present situation. That is the reason why Shirehampton Library was closed on Saturday, October 15th from 10am until 1pm.

Readers Choice

What a good idea! The Library has put up a board with the titles and authors of books which people have enjoyed reading. What a wonderful book list full of personal recommendations. Volunteers Needed Urgently needed some people to help keep local history and information up to date. Please see a member of Shirehampton Library Staff if you can help, it involves cutting extracts from "SHIRE" and filing them into folders

A Tribute

We were saddened to hear that John Connett, who lived on the Portway had died. He was born in Knowle and came to live in Shirehampton in 1957. He worked at Spillers for 40 years. John Connett was a very talented man, he wrote poetry, which "Shire" was delighted to print over many years and with his woodwork he was a regular contributor to the annual Craft Exhibition at the Public Hall. He will be missed and our sympathy goes to his family.

Calling All Young People in Shirehampton, Sea Mills and Lawrence Weston

Are you interested in acting, dancing, singing, having fun, meeting new people and making new friends? 4 Making up and performing your own new plays? 4 Are you aged between 11-16? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, we would love to meet you!!!!! Acta Community Theatre is running youth groups in your area: Shirehampton Youth Theatre meets on Wednesdays 5-6.

30pm at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road. ACE Youth Theatre meets on Mondays 6.30-8pm at City of Bristol College, Broadlands Drive, Lawrence Weston. All sessions are free! No auditions! No experience necessary! Just come along and get involved. If you are interested please call Acta on 0117 9532448, and leave a message for Karen or Neil.

FREE courses at Shirehampton Public Hall

Computers and Communication

  • For people who want to learn to use a computer and brush up their writing skills at the same time Maths Workshops
  • For people who want to improve their Maths for work, home or to help their children Reading, Writing and Spelling Workshops
  • For people who do not feel confident about their reading, writing and spelling and would like a chance improve National Qualifications in English and Maths * Opportunity to take one of the new qualifications - equivalent to GCSE - in English or Maths
  • For people who need a GCSE qualification for work or further study
  • Free assessment and guidance
  • Online test - result given immediately Start at any time.

For more information or how to join telephone Gill or Helen on 0117 312 5530.

Prizes Galore!

After a while out of top competition your local leading award winning 'Flower World' team decided if they still had the touch and flair to win at a top level. So they decided to enter the competitions at the Interflora meeting in Taunton on Sunday September 18th.

The florists entered were Tina Harpley, Caron Beail, Tina Lloyd and Saturday girl Lucy Redler. All florists were under the supervision of Tina Harpley. The theme for the day for the junior florists was a planted secret garden and to decorate a bottle of champagne for presentation.

The theme for the senior florists was a themed planted sports display for a sports convention. Tina Harpley did a two tier planted display which consisted of different types of green plants in the top and bottom, on the joining stand in the middle were attached two badminton rackets with the shuttlecocks wired together hanging from the top container.

It gained 4th place. She also entered the competition for a Caribbean Wedding Bouquet using proteas, pineapples, palm leaves and safari mix foliage to make the item look very tropical, for which she gained 4th place, missing 3rd place by just one point. Tina Lloyd came first in both the junior competitions.

She worked very hard on her garden, making a lovely little stone wall with an arch going across the middle of the container and growing all the grass from seed, miniature rose bushes, conifers and a variegated ivy climbing over the wall. For her champagne bottle she used green cymbidium orchids, ivy leaves, bear grass and demotes flowing over the bottle attached to a twisted piece of willow that the bottle slotted into.

Lucy came 2nd in the garden competition making a little wire arch with a stony path going underneath it, leading to a little pond with stones all around it and a little bench at the end of the path. Caron Beail came 3rd in the garden competition using a little waterfall in the middle, a stone path leading to an old tree with a little swing hanging from it and a little ladder to climb the tree with. So all in all we all had a very good day - with lots of prizes!

Elderly warned after cash thefts

Two women are believed to be targeting elderly people in Bristol who are carrying large quantities of cash. Police say there has been a spate of thefts from High Street, Shirehampton, including one lady who had 180 taken from her handbag. Officers are warning people to keep their bags safe.

The two women are described as white and in their 20s. One is stocky with bleached-blonde hair, the other has long dark hair in a ponytail. A police spokesman said people should take basic precautions such as zipping up their bags. Anyone who has information on the thefts - or may know the women - is asked the contact the police.

Letters to the Editor

Guides at Camp Site

Dear Sir Please find enclosed a photo of our Guides at Huish Woods Scout campsite, Taunton, taken this August. As you can see in the picture they are standing by the dining shelters that we bought with the money that the 'Shire' gave us last year. We are very grateful for the grant and the shelters we bought are brilliant.

They enable the Guides to stand up under them to cook and with plenty of room to put their picnic tables that they use for meal times. Before we have struggled when it rained to make sure that they cooked and ate in the dry, now we have no worries at all. Many thanks again.

Pat Davidson (Mrs) - Guide Guider 178th Bristol (Shirehampton) Guide Unit

Swimming Baths

Dear Editor, I was sorry to see that the swimming baths at Shire were to close and well remember with other girls from Portway School our training and taking of the Royal Life Saving Bronze Medal, we were all so pleased and proud to achieve this.

My father had promised me a season ticket, I think it was 13/6d in old money if I learned to swim, I did this on the last day of my holiday and spent many happy times at the baths, cycling from Sea Mills. No padlocks need then. The photo of the staff of Portway Girls School also brought back memories of happy school days. I left in 1950 so recall being taught by many of the teachers in the photo, they were a wonderful staff and I was sad when I left.

Yours sincerely Pat Pullinger (nee Jenkins)


Dear Editor, Many thanks for finding the room for the school group photo. I received my copy of Shire by post this morning and upon reading it I realised I had made a very important error in naming Sir Robert Stephens as John (Far right in the second row). My apologies, I should have known better.

Kind regards John Parsons

Riverside Development

Dear Editor, The article in October issue concerning the development of the Riverside Jubilee Site is of great concern to the residents. No one, not even the council are concerned about some residents driving over grassed areas and parking cars on the Riverside. This can be a danger to children, old folk and some pets. The grassed areas in Cerney Lane and Evenlode are being ruined by this action. The Riverside is a park area which is in danger of being ruined. Next we'll have travellers!


Ray Morr

Dear Sir, Thank you most sincerely for publishing my letter in your September issue of 'Shire on the Web'. It is most appreciated. So far I have had the good fortune to have been contact by two people and am in email contact with them. I have noticed that, unfortunately, my website and email address have been misprinted in the newspaper. They should have read The iinet has two small i's. I apologise for being a nuisance.

Regards Ray Morr

Swimming Baths

Dear Editor, I believe I am one of many who were saddened by the news that Shirehampton Swimming Pool is to close. This held many happy memories for me. Firstly learning to swim at an early age in the small pool and then progressing to the "Big pool" where I enjoyed the sport of swimming so much I joined Portway Swimming Club.

Whilst a pupil at Portway School I was elated when I became a member of the school swim team, as the years progressed I seemed to spend as much time in the pool as in the classroom, so much so that Mum as convinced I would develop webbed feet!

Every morning before school, at lunchtime and after school hours were spent perfecting the strokes and increasing the times, trying to knock seconds off personal bests. My life then seemed to revolve around swimming. My Dad would keep pace with me by walking up and down on the poolside with his trusty stopwatch always with words of encouragement.

Then Tuesday evenings it was in the pool again with my friends at Portway Swimming Club, it was a friendly competitive environment for any youngster to develop their own personal skills support by enthusiastic caring adults. Friday nights we travelled to Henbury pool for yet another training session.

We travelled far and wide across Bristol to swimming galas or meets with other clubs and the atmosphere was always electric with the buzz of the imminent competition. It was during these formative years that I became quite "good" at the art of swimming and progressed to having my own trainer.

Swim times became hard training sessions with a set swim schedule to be completed every time, I loved it! Except for the continuous wet, long hair, the cap always managed to come off at the end of a swim. I gained so many qualifications at Shirehampton pool as did many others in Life Saving, Personal Survival and Amateur Swimming Association Certificates.

Three of the girls that I swam with regularly made up the medley team at galas were Gillian Rowles (backcrawl) Dawn Hooper (butterfly) Barbara Mills (breaststroke) and myself freestyle. Having the opportunity to swim against Olympic swimmer Linda Amos was a daunting but oh so exciting prospect.

I remember being a bit over awed by her standing on the blocks next to me with those Olympic rings emblazoned across her swim costume. I gave her my best and yes she beat me, she was halfway down the pool before I even touched the water!! Miss Clements and Mrs Jones were the Physical Education teachers at Portway Girls School (before we merged with the boys to become comprehensive).

They also took us for swimming. I remember one occasion travelling by train with the school team to Cardiff to swim at the Empire pool, at the time I was the youngest competitor to represent England at that meet. What a thrill and a great memory.

Water is such a great medium, for some years I was privileged to work with children with special needs and for some of these young people floating in the water was the one and only time they could experience total physical independence. Our communities more senior members also benefit from good health through exercise in this environment as well as the social aspect.

How many will be able to access the resources to visit Henbury Leisure Centre? It is unfortunate that in this day and age of so many sports being water orientated, canoeing, wind surfing etc. that we should lose yet another pool. I know with my own family I felt it was important for them to learn from an early age to swim and they themselves are reaping the benefits with their own children in family fun in Water sports.

I imagine there are a few more out there like me who feel the past eroding away and saddened at the prospect of Shire pool being lost.

Janet Witcombe (nee Kays) Homefield Close, Winscombe, North Somerset

So How Was It For You?

A couple of months have passed since Shirehampton swimmers hauled themselves out of their pool for the last time and plunged into the new one at Henbury. So what are the reactions to the transition? Here is a personal view. Firstly, there is a matter of distance for Shirehampton people.

What used to be a walk is now either a car ride or bus trip away. If you travel by bus, because of the one-way system, the return bus stop is quite a distance away - not pleasant on a rainy afternoon. But then if you take your car, you may well find (as some already have) there is nowhere to park, as the spaces allotted to swimmers are ludicrously few.

One woman taking her grandson to the baths, having motored round looking for somewhere to leave her car, was told at the pool reception that the limited car park size was a deliberate choice by the planners to encourage people to use their cars less.

If that reply is the truth, then the planners have shown some bizarre thinking. 'Move the pool three miles from Shirehampton and make them walk'. Are they sadists? Next you get to reception, and if you're an older swimmer you arrive in some confusion. Does your sports card entitle you to a senior citizen discount or not?

Some tried to find this out beforehand and got different answers depending who they asked. Some were given the impression the full discount only applied to those on benefit, except when attending the 'Over 50s' session. Others were under the impression they indeed would get the full concessionary discount, but needed a new card.

So here is some good news: those over 60 with a Sports Card get the full concessionary rate (1.60) at all sessions. Now we have got into the 'Changing Village'. At first it is a bit of a shock to find that men, women and children all use the same area, and the same showers.

However, once you adjust and realise there are individual cubicles, it has to be admitted that the facilities are a vast improvement over those in Shirehampton, especially in the latter years of maintenance neglect. The locker facilities (coin operated, 1 returnable) are also an improvement, though the keys need to be more robustly attached to the wrist-bands, some of them already having come adrift.

At last, we're in the pool itself. 25 metres square, there should be more room but because the pool replaces three previous pools, increased numbers mean there does not seem to be any more space than before. The over 50s session seems particularly chaotic, with no lane discipline, the board at the end indicating clockwise swimming is cheerfully ignored by people who have obeyed rules all their life and now want the anarchic freedom of swimming where they like.

An odd thing that has been commented on by a number is how shallow the pool seems. Apart from the deep end itself, it is possible for people of merely medium height to walk the length of the pool. Indeed, at the shallow (very shallow) end, one could practically kneel and still maintain one's head above water.

Is this because of the pool's pride and joy, the moveable floor? One swimmer maintains that they were told that the shallowness for the over 50s session was because it reduce the number of lifeguards needed. Can this be true? Overall, it has to be admitted, it is a good, modern pool though not without curious shortcomings.

It is fairly certain there are former regular swimmers who no longer swim, others who swim less, because it is more of an outgoing to get there and one anticipates that the number who are now going will gradually fall away as the novelty wears off. It will take a fair amount of dedication to keep going.

Ralph Hack's article in last month's Shire noted that the Park Road site was considered ideal because it was central for Shirehampton, Avonmouth, Sea Mills, Stoke Bishop and Coombe Dingle. Henbury is not so ideal. Now it is your turn. Have you used the new pool? How was it for you? Tell Shire your experience of the new facilities.