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The Strange Case of the Disappearing Bus Shelter

It's an eerie feeling when you go to a place and find something that has been a part of it for as long as you can remember is suddenly not there. That's how it was when I went to catch a bus the other day from the Woodwell Road stop on the Portway. When I got to the stop, it and the shelter had disappeared.

Irrationally, I started looking doubly hard, not able to believe it had vanished. As though it wasn't big enough to be obvious, I still found myself peering around to see if it hadn't somehow got hidden round some corner. Or perhaps I was standing in the wrong place. But in the end it had to be admitted - it was undisputedly missing, absent beyond all reasonable doubt.

Where had it gone, and why? Some serious sleuthing was required. A call to FirstBus was the first step. That proved quite hard to make. The automated response service "If you want ..... press 1" and so on, produced an endless loop of the same message over and over, until one last desperate button press brought a human voice on the line.

"We're not responsible for the stops. The Council erect them. Here is the number of someone to ring at the Council. "Dark suspicions cloud my mind. "They've taken away our swimming pool, they're taking away the Sports Centre - and now they're even taking away our bus stop!

"But jumping to conclusions is always dangerous, so better have a word with the Council first before exploding with rage. I phone him, but he's out of the office. The one who answers that phone says he doesn't know about this case, but he suspects the shelter was damaged in a road accident and became unsafe.

He warns that it could take up to six months for the shelter to be replaced in that case. However, he will get his absent colleague to phone me in the morning. And true to his word his colleague phones first thing next day. The mystery is solved. There has been no accident, and the shelter has not been taken away in a cost-cutting measure.

In fact it is being upgraded, but the contractors have acted more quickly than the council anticipated, taking them by surprise so no temporary bus stop has been placed there. Hopefully then we are on our way to a new super-shelter as a Christmas present from the Council to the people of Shire.

But, says the spokesman sadly, it is unlikely to be until after Christmas. So, as they say, watch this space!

Christmas Lights

From the many comments that have come to members of the committee it seems that most people have enjoyed the Christmas lights this year and it is a great pleasure for us to know that is the case. However, we have discovered that putting the lights up is not the end of the matter as this year, particularly some of the oldest lights, are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

Some we have been able to fix, but others will have to wait until after Christmas when we can dismantle them and replace rope lights and so on, ready for next season. Sometimes when lights go off it is for no other reason than someone has either accidentally pulled out a plug so that the timer gets out of phase or a safety switch has tripped out.

All the lights are fully tested before they are put up but we have no way of telling how long it will be before a light is going to fail. However, the more lights we have up the less effect a failure of one or two will have on the whole display, so the more the merrier will continue to be our attitude as long as the village continues to support us so generously.

We are already making plans for new displays next Christmas and are looking for new sites.

Beat Manager Wins Award

Gareth holding his certificate with the Amlanis, and the winner of the ward with her trophy.

SHIRE congratulates PC Gareth Davies, our Beat Manager in Shirehampton, who was the runner-up in Bristol Police District's 2005 Amlani Diversity Award. The award was presented by Yashu and Chandra Amlani, to recognise contributions made by members of the Police service in Bristol to a diverse community.

Gareth was nominated by Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF), which works with a very wide range of partners, including statutory agencies, tenants associations, schools, churches, local community groups and individuals from the Shire community to address the priority issues around law & order in our community. Shirehampton is a crime hot spot within the Avonmouth Police sector.

Gareth has supported and greatly contributed to the work of SCAF's Community Safety Action Group, and in this role he has been working with the widest range of local people and community groups, with people from all sections of the community. Over the past year Gareth has had notable successes in the following areas:

•    Licensing enforcement – addressing problems in local pubs and off-licences.
•    Identifying individuals responsible for high levels of Anti social behaviour in Shire & Issue of ASBO's
•    Putting in place a Dispersal Order Area to address problems at Oaktree Court, The Ridge & on the Cotswold estate
•    Supporting the Neighbourhood Watch Network
•    Working with local residents & Neighbourhood Watch to support an appeal against a local trader without planning permission – whose shop was causing considerable problems to Shire residents
•    Arresting and apprehending criminals within Shire area
•    Decreased alcohol related incidents and problems on The Green in Shire
•    Working with a local Asian family, who run A & K Stores on the Cotswold Estate in Shire and were experiencing very serious levels of racially motivated abuse & criminal damage
•    Quickly and successfully moving on travellers who had illegally gained access & set up camp on the Daisy Field site, along the Portway
•    Supporting many local community groups by working with them to address their particular issues and problems e.g parking enforcement at a local garage; truancy issues with Portway Community School; litter & environmental health issues.

Gareth has increased the confidence of local people & groups by being able to achieve results on such a diverse range of local issues and problems. This has also built trust. He has impressed many people by his dedication and commitment – well beyond what could reasonably be expected - to all sections of the Shirehampton community.

Yashu and Chandra Amlani presented Gareth with a certificate in a ceremony at Trinity Rd Police Station on 12 December. He was supported by a group of Shirehampton residents and representatives of SCAF.

Gareth Davies with supporters from Shire and SCAF, and Inspector Mark Jackson of Avonmouth Police Station.


We meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm in St Andrews Church Hall, Avonmouth

Jan 3rd  Beetle Drive
Jan 17th  Brian Raybould 'Great Wall of China'
Feb 7th  Jean Drew' Just Potatoes'
Feb 21st  Peter Ruck 'Camera Club'
Mar 7th  Bring and Buy
Mar 31st  Mike Huggins 'Public Health'
Apr 6th  Cedric Platt 'Another Fine Mess'
Apr 18th  To be arranged
May 2nd  Gil Thompson 'Epitaphs'
May 16th  Gina Merrett Smith 'World TV Make-up'
June 5th  Summer Trip
June 20th  Carla Contract or 'Raj Ram Mahon Roy'
July 4th  Mrs Adams 'Living with the Boss'
July 18th  AGM with American Supper

Primary Care Centre Boost for Shirehampton

Work on planning the exciting new Primary Care Centre for Shirehampton has continued apace since we held a public drop-in meeting in March 2005. The project has received all the necessary approvals and we are hoping to sign the contract with the company who will build the Centre over the next few weeks.

Bristol North PCT has bought the church hall next to the existing health centre. This will be knocked down in the New Year and the space will be used to house the temporary accommodation, whilst the new building is being constructed. We hope to move into the temporary base by April 2006.

The temporary accommodation will be high quality, but it recognised that the space available will be reduced. However, this should not affect the high quality service you have come to expect from health centre staff. The new centre will probably take around twelve months to complete and we hope that the new centre will be open by September 2007.

During the building work we will keep the health centre users and local residents fully informed of progress. There will be opportunities for people to express their views and allow us to address their concerns about any aspect of the construction process or service provision.

We would like to set up a patient and public involvement group, which we would anticipate would meet regularly throughout the project. If you would be interested in joining this group or would like to find out more details please contact Jude Carey, Locality Support Officer, Bristol North PCT, King Square House, King Square, Bristol BS2 8EE. Tel: (0117) 9003407. Email:

Thank you

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people and businesses of Shirehampton who donated so generously to the Poppy Appeal this year. This year's total came to 2,793.

From the Poppy Appeal Organiser and the Management Committee of the Westbury-on-Trym Branch of the British Legion.

New books at Shirehampton Library for December

Bateman, Colin  Belfast Confidential
Francombe, John  Cover Up
Hoffman, Alice  The Ice Queen
Masterton, Graham  Manitou Blood
McNab, Andy  Aggressor
O'Flanagan, Sheila  How Will I Know
Tate, June  To Be A Lady

Doug Naysmith MP

Doug Naysmith holds surgeries every 2 weeks in venues around the constituency.If you have a problem pleas ring 950 2385 for an appointment.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Ed

The MS Society Bristol Branch once again wishes to thank Liz, Mon & the Grainger Players for their wonderful performance of 'Golden Oldies' and for the grand retiring collection totalling 122.50. The generosity of the Players and the Audience is so much appreciated.

2005 is the 50th Anniversary of the Bristol Branch and we continue to search for a cure, but meanwhile, people need help and the generous donations will go to help local people with MS with grants for mobility aids, respite care etc; and to research into the cause and eventual cure of this debilitating illness.

Thank you all so much.

Yours faithfully, Barrie & Marina Griffiths, MSS Bristol Branch

Dear Editor,

Not sure where to begin this letter. I live in Nibley Road and last night (Friday November 23rd) was like being in a riot zone. A gang of at least 20 teenagers gathered in the PBA drinking huge amounts of booze (lots of bags from Bargain Booze everywhere).

They did that for a couple of hours then around 9.30 all spilled into the street, smashing bottles, screaming, shouting and being aggressive, going into people's gardens, they were completely wasted. It was really scary. The police arrived and they suddenly sobered and ran in different directions so I guess none of them were caught.

I don't think any of it would have happened if they didn't get the booze in the first place!

Name and address supplied

Dear Editor,

My name is Tessa Good, and for the last 4 years I have put on a show at the PBA Club, its members entertaining themselves. I get them singing and dancing with a bit of comedy thrown in. It always goes down well and shows what a good community we have in Shire.

This year's show is on 10th December and is a sell-out.I hope to send you some photographs of this event to be included in your next issue.

Tessa Good

Dear Editor,

I was very shocked to see that there is a mobile phone mast up on St Mary's Church, and trying to look like a flag pole. I really thought that Canon Christine was concerned about the environment, how much was donated to the church funds to have this erected?

I can be honest in saying that I am sure what damage these masts can cause but there have been reports that indeed these things are believed to cause health issues. Once these things are proved, sad to say it's all too late. I don't live in Shirehampton but my three grandchildren do and it's the long term effect on people that worries me.

And in all fairness I seem to be hearing of many more people suffering strokes of late.

Yours sincerely, Mrs Kay Poole, Shirehampton Road, Sea Mills, Bristol.

Thank you

Babs, Doreen and family would like to thank everyone for the cards, messages of sympathy and kind donations in the sad loss of Bob and also to Canon Christine Froude for her kindness and conducting the lovely service.

Babs Matthews. Thank you very much for your kind donation to Shire - Ed

Dear Editor

During a recent telephone conversation with one of your colleagues, I explained that the Women's Institute is planning to open a new Shirehampton WI. Obviously we are very keen to promote this new WI, and to encourage women of all ages to come along and find out more about our organisation and the many opportunities that it can offer them. I was therefore very happy to hear that you would be able to include a feature on the WI in the January edition of the Shire.

I have enclosed some information about the WI and what it can offer, and would be grateful for as much exposure as you are able to give us for this new venture. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th January at the Shirehampton Public Hall at 1.30pm.

There will be more information about the WI available then, and you and your colleagues are welcome to come along and see us there. Using Shire to publicise our first meeting is the best way of getting our message across to the widest possible number of people in the village, and although we intend to promote with posters and some leafleting nearer the time, we really appreciate your help with getting this new venture off the ground.

If you have any queries about the information I have provided, or anything else about the WI, please do not hesitate to contact me. With best regards for a Happy Christmas and successful New Year.

Yours faithfully, Sally Nicol (Mrs)
WI Adviser On behalf of Avon Federation of WI'sWI House, 11 Station Road, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 2BH

Dear Editor

John Connett

Josie and Family would warmly like to thank relatives, neighbours and friends for the many cards, messages of sympathy and support during John's illness and passing. We are all very appreciative of the donations given in his memory to St Mary's Organ Appeal, amounting to 528.

We know John would have been touched immensely. Our thanks go to Canon Christine Froude for visiting John in hospital, for her loving touch shown to me on this sad occasion, and for making the service at Canford so comforting.

Josie Connett. Thank you very much for your donation - Editor

Dear Editor

Thank you for sending us a copy of Shire every month. We enjoy being kept in touch with the up-to-date news and letters that fill the paper about Shire village. It is also nice to see photographs of places and people we know very well.

We would like to wish all the staff of Shire and the Library a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, and to extend the same greeting to all our friends and acquaintances who know us. I am enclosing a photograph of a few friends, taken in about 1947, whilst living at Penpole Park Estate, which actually became a temporary home for Portway School.

As a matter of interest I was also educated in a hut that was my old home. As to the names in the photo, I cannot remember all of them - standing is Pat Wilson; ?; D. Stinchcombe; G. Grant; and yours truly with the bat. The two sitting are unknown.

Maureen and Brian Swain Queensland, Australia

New Food and Green Garden Waste Collection Services for Bristol

Bristol's rubbish revolution took a giant leap forward today, after Bristol City Council approved plans to expand recycling collections across the city. The decision was taken at the city council's cabinet meeting yesterday, 24th November 2005. From next year, residents across Bristol will be encouraged to take part in a weekly food waste collection.

Each household will be provided with a free kitchen caddy for food waste. They will also be given a larger lockable bin to put out alongside their recycling box on their recycling day. This means there will be no change to residents recycling day. The scheme will be rolled out in phases to 150,000 households to start with.

Further consultation will take place with residents who live in flats or terraces with limited storage. The cabinet also approved the introduction of an optional fortnightly green garden and cardboard collection service. A small annual charge will be required to receive this service.

This works out at around 1 per collection. As each area receives the new services, their main bin collection will change to fortnightly collections. The idea is that bins won't need emptying as often if people use the caddies and recycle property.

Councillor gary Hopkins, Executive member for Sustainable Environment and Neighbourhoods said, "I want to thank Bristol residents for all their help when we swapped to same day collections. Since June, the recycling rate has risen by a staggering 50%, saving us millions of pounds in landfill taxes.

This positive response has given us the confidence to expand our collections to include food waste, garden waste and cardboard. We carefully considered other authorities schemes, before we finalised the Bristol plan. We need to do this to protect the environment and people's pockets.

These changes have the potential to double the amount of waste we recycle by 2008 and help us to avoid hefty fines. I look forward to Bristol residents getting onboard with this scheme in the same way as they did with the changeover to same day collections. "All food, garden and cardboard waste will be recycled into compost.

At the moment this is sent away, however Bristol is now looking at developing local facilities for composting waste. Further details of these new collection services will be sent to residents next year.

Low-Cost Loans for Low-Income Homeowners

Bristol City Council has been working in partnership with Wessex Reinvestment Trust and nine other local authorities in the south west, to provide low interest rate loans for lower income homeowners who are living in properties that need to be repaired.

In the past Bristol City Council assisted homeowners to improve and modernise their properties using grants. However funding for this form of assistance has reduced in recent years. To replace this assistance, a new subsidised loan fund has been introduced to provide affordable solutions for people who are unable to access traditional forms of finance, to enable them to improve their home.

The loan fund has been developed with the Wessex Re-investment Trust Group who are a local Community Development Financial Institution who will be working in partnership with Bristol City Council. The scheme has only been operating since April 2005 following eighteen months of intensive development, but more than 27 clients in the Bristol area have already made applications for loan assistance.

The first loan-funded scheme has recently been completed in Bristol. Mr Rawlings from Shirehampton was delighted that his loan from Wessex has meant that he has been able to replace his roof covering, and at a fixed interest rate of only 3%, the repayments are easily affordable.

Mr Rawlings was very satisfied with the scheme and said he would recommend the scheme to other homeowners as "he could not have done the repair otherwise".Andrew Wallace, the loan's scheme's designer and Project Manager at Wessex Home Improvement Loans was equally pleased.

"Wessex does not seek to generate a private profit form this work" he said. "We are rather more interested in helping to improve the lives of people who might not otherwise be able to afford to have this sort of work done, and we very much value the partnership we have with Bristol City Council".

Anyone interested in finding out more about the scheme should contact Jan Hamilton on 0117 966 4599.

Library Opening Hours to be Restored

Bristol City Council are to restore temporary reductions in opening hours at some of the city's libraries over the next few weeks. The temporary closures followed an unexpected rise in costs which put pressure on the library service's budget.

In order to avoid an overspend, the council was forced to temporarily freeze recruitment and withdraw casual staffing cover and this led to changes in opening hours at some libraries. But resources have now been identified to enable library service to fill key staff vacancies, bring in additional casual staff and cover overtime working for at least the remainder of this financial year.

The move means that Avonmouth, Bedminister, Cheltenham Road, Fishponds, Hartcliffe, Hillfields, Knowle, Marksbury Road, Sea Mills, Stockwood and Trinity Road libraries will return to their usual opening hours from December 3rd.Thursday evening late opening until 7pm at Central Library will be restored on January 12th 2006.

Sunday opening at Redland will be restored once new staff are recruited on a date to be confirmed early in the New Year. Councillor Simon Cook, Bristol's Executive Member for Health Promotion and Leisure, said: "Good housekeeping and prudent use of existing budgets have enabled us to fully restore the opening hours of our libraries.

"We apologise to library users for any inconvenience and will work hard to ensure future financial planning is robust so that budget blips such as this are avoided. "In common with libraries throughout the UK, there may still be occasional unplanned short term closures or reductions in hours as a result of staff sickness and other unavoidable staff shortages that could not have been anticipated.

Where this does occur, information will be posted at libraries to advise users of any change to the service. For further information about libraries in Bristol visit You can use the council's online services to search the library catalogue, renew your books or suggest a book, CD, Video or DVD you think your local library should stock.

For information about all library opening hours visit

Ships that Save Lives

A visit to a ship docked in Avonmouth resulted in Geoff Shire's life being given a radical challenge that he's still working at more than two years later. But it was no ordinary ship, but the Anastasis, devoted to bringing healing to places that are otherwise within the sort of medical care we taken for granted.

Geoff made his visit as part of a group from this church, Shirehampton Baptist. He learnt that the Anastasis is one of three Mercy Ships. Much of the time the ship is in West Africa, to care for the most needy in some of the poorest counties of the world.

He was impressed with the work the doctors and nurses undertook in such cramped conditions, providing surgery for tumours, cleft lips, cataracts, and much more in places where such operation are either unavailable or unaffordable.  Mercy ships crews are also involved in community development projects, things like building clinics, healthcare teaching, and agriculture training.

Volunteers serving on the ship even pay crew fees to cover their accommodation and food costs. The ship is like a small town, with about 400 people. There are many nationalities represented, although everyone needs to be able to understand English.

There are a wide range of skills in use, from bookkeeper to cook, carpenter to security guard, librarian and school teachers. There are cabins for couples and families, but singles are in cabins of 4 to 6. Everyone lives in a very small space so needs to be long-suffering and sensitive to each other's needs.

Learning that engineers were needed to work on a ship in dry-dock, Geoff, who is an electronics engineer, signed up. Working in between contracts he has used his skills, to get involved in a wide variety of projects in the electrical and IT departments on the ship, everything from the installation of computer network cable to 120 Amp wiring for the engine oil heaters, lots of light fittings - and not forgetting the electronic controls for the sewage treatment plant.

Most recently he has been working on a new ship called Africa Mercy, currently in an Newcastle shipyard for a refit. Africa Mercy was a Danish train ferry; the train deck has been used to provide an accommodation deck for the crew, and a hospital deck with 6 operating theatres, CT and Xray scanners, wards with a total of 78 beds and plenty of space for all the ancillary support functions.

The Africa Mercy will cost about half what it take to run the Anastasis with more than double the operating capability. It is expected that it will be able to take over from the fifty-year old Anastasis in Ghana in the middle of 2006. Geoff hopes to go back to work on Africa Mercy early in the New Year, for a few weeks, to complete some of the installation work he has been involved with.

Geoff is clear about his motivation for getting so involved at no small sacrificial cost to himself and his family. He says "As I grow in the knowledge of how much Jesus loves me, I find I am motivated to love and care for others, particularly those who suffer so much and have such little access to help.

So although I can't do the medical stuff, I can help to provide the facilities so that others can do that sort of work. "Further information on the Mercy Ships can be found on the web at

Memories of Shirehampton in War Time

In 1939 I was living in Hull on Humberside with my father, my husband and our two children as well as my two sisters. Our mother who was not in good health, had been sent to Shirehampton to be in what we thought would be a safe place. A week before the war started, my father who was a captain of a merchant ship stationed in Hull and my husband who sailed with him, discovered that their ship was to be prepared for mine sweeping duties.

As they were frequently in and out of the docks they got to hear plenty of news of what was going on. Two days before war was declared my father decided that it was not safe for the family to remain in Hull. All soldiers on reserve had been called up, the schools were being closed and the children sent away to the country.

My children went to a Roman Catholic school and were were the last to go. My father said that he wanted us all out of Hull as he had vivid memories of the last war. As I had no money he paid all our fares and in return asked me to look after my two sisters.

We packed up all the things which we thought we would need and caught the 6.30pm train to Bristol. As we got to the station we found that the train was packed with soldiers who had been called up. It was the time of the black-out and so there were no lights.

You can imagine what it was like struggling with cases and two small children. I sat in the train corridor all night and eventually we arrived in Bristol the next morning. We caught the train to Shirehampton and met out mother in our aunts house in Dursley Road. Shirehampton was to become my home for the next 50 years.

I am still here at 84 years old and never thought that I would get to this age. Now I will tell you a little about the ups and downs of the war. Having landed in Shirehampton the next thing to do was to find a job. Myself and my two sisters went to the Labour Exchange and were sent to Spillers Flour Mills in Avonmouth docks.

I did not think I would get a job as married women were never allowed to work there. So the three of us landed outside the manager's office. My younger sister told me to go in first so off I went to see the manager. After taking all the particulars he asked if I was married.

"Sorry" he said, "we don't employ married women. Please send in your sisters." Both of my sisters went in and both got jobs. He then asked for me to come in again and he said that he had given it some thought and had decided to employ me - the first married woman to work there.

I told him that he would be glad of a few more like me if the war continued. It was a start and now that I had a job it was my place to find us somewhere to live. In Nibley Road they had started to build some new houses. I saw the builder and managed to get one of the first two houses built.

We all moved in and at last thought that we were settled. Life settled down and things were quiet for a couple of months. My mother died suddenly and so we had to find our father and my husband. I arranged for the burial myself but both our father and my husband managed to get to us at 6 o'clock on the Friday morning.

I persuaded my husband to get a job down here as I did not want to be on my own looking after us all. He got a job at Spillers where I was working and I thought that all would be well. As it turned out the Union rules made it impossible for husband and wife to work at the same job so I decided to leave as my husband was earning more money than me.

At that time my father decided to go back to Hull and persuaded my youngest sister to go with him. This being so I decided that we would have to look for cheaper accommodation. We could not afford the house in Nibley Road as well as the house my husband and I had left in Hull.

I did not know Shire very well and did not know where to start looking. We saw several places but could not find anything. I said to my husband that we would go home to Hull the next day if nothing turned up. I did not want to go back remembering the bombing in the 1914 war.

My husband told me to cheer up and we went for a drink. It was there that I met a lady and told her that we would have to go back to Hull if we could not find cheaper rooms. She told me that there were a couple of rooms for rent in Bradley Crescent. That was the start of many rooms in that street.

The bombing had begun and the sirens were sounding frequently. My husband had joined the A.R.P. fire watching. At that time we had no air raid shelter and would have to go into the cupboard under the stairs. One night we heard a bomb whizzing down, my husband kicked me in the middle of my back so that I ended up in the cupboard and then threw himself onto the children who were on the couch.

As it became a little quieter he ran into the street and found that nearly every other house had been hit with an incendiary bomb. He grabbed a ladder and some fire-fighting equipment and went into several houses putting out fires. Whilst going up the ladder at one house a woman threw out her curtains which were on fire and of course they landed on poor him.

After one or two air raids we has a communal air raid shelter built in spare ground opposite the Rising Sun. Those who used the shelter had their own bunks. I happened to have a bunk next to a lady who was very nervous and had two children.

We got talking and she asked if I would like a house of my own - the beginning of another move to house number two in Bradley Crescent. The sirens regularly went off at 6.30pm at this time. Everyone would gather up their bundles made up of army blankets which held all our valuables, rent book, insurance books and coupons as well as something for the kids to eat.

One night whilst running with my two children and bundle to the shelter they were bombing Bristol. We could see all the fires burning and bombs dropping. As I was running up the street I saw a neighbour coming out of the door. I told her to hurry up - the shrapnel was coming down and we had some way to go.

One neighbour said "Come in Missus", but I ran on keeping the kids as covered as possible. We had been in the shelter for a few minutes when there was the loudest bang you have ever heard - the women and children were screaming in panic. I yelled out to them to keep quiet and that it was only the lid falling off the barrel - we used an old barrel as a toilet.

I learnt afterwards that it was a stick of bombs which had come down - two people were killed in the Greyhound pub and lots of holes had been left where the bombs had landed. By this time I had another job as Shell Mex packing petrol for the troops, but they were coming back from Dunkirk and petrol was not needed.

I then started working for B.O.C.M. in the granary. The men were being called up and the women were taking their places at the workplace. One day I was working the 2 'til 10 shift - 6.30 came and the sirens went off so we all had to go to the shelters. I was working on the top floor and the quickest way down was through the spiral shute.

I got in, knocked myself out and found myself in a railway truck. A couple of days later the sirens went again in the middle of the afternoon. I had heard through the grapevine that the dockers would be down the shelters and so I rushed outside and saw hands of bananas.

I got a couple of hands for all the kids to eat at home. Whilst I was doing this the Germans were bombing Filton. All around me the shrapnel was flying about and the planes were dodging each other overhead. Back at work I was learning each job and as there were no men about the foreman gave me all the hard jobs to do.

After an argument I told him to stick his job and left. A few days later my husband came home from work and told me that the manager at Spillers wanted to see me. So off I went to his office and he asked me if I was willing to take on the job of opening a new canteen.

I told him that I had no experience of that sort of work but he said that all Yorkshire women were good cooks. I was taken into town and given a free hand in getting what was needed as well as a staff of six women to help me cook hot meals, cakes and pies. During this time bombs continued to fall on the docks and the factories.

The men on the A.R.P. took their jobs seriously and asked if any of us would like to learn shooting - some of us were willing to have a go. They also needed a volunteer to be sling on a stretcher from the top of the factory. You can guess who went - I was swung out and lowered to the ground.

The men gave me a good rub down with dishcloths and scrubbing brushes. They said that I was being checked for my cheek! Time went on and we were still having air raids but we were that used to them that we had got into the habit of ignoring them.

By this time I was having to cook meals for the men from different branches of Spillers which meant long and late hours and so I decided to leave and have a good rest. The novelty of being at home soon wore thin after a couple of weeks so I got another job at N.S.C. in Avonmouth boarding sulphuric acid into rail tanks.

None of the other women would tackle it. I stayed there until I was the only woman left - some six years. In the meantime I had moved house again in Bradley Crescent - the third one in 50 years. I hop I will have a few more years to enjoy my old age.

If a few of my old friends read this I hope they remember with me the hard times as well as the lucky times we spent together.

So 'ta ra' with love. Kit Sneed, Bradley Crescent

N.B. Many thanks to my dearest daughters and their husbands as I do not think that I would have got as far as this without their help

St Mary's News

Hi Folks! A Happy and Peaceful New Year to you all. I hope you all survived the gastronomic delights of Christmas without suffering any ill effects. Well, here we are - 2006! Just where did 2005 go? It only seems a week or two ago we had the Jessie May concert at St Mary's - but it was in fact back in October.

Thank you to you all who came and enjoyed the music provided by the Avon Fire Brigade Brass Band - your support was much appreciated. Richard Powell certainly did us all proud when he organised another fabulous Skittles Evening at Hallen Community Centre. The Buffet Supper was its usual high standard.

But now for the results which I know you just can't wait to read! Winner of the Top Men's Score and the Bernard Waller Trophy was Roy Miller. He certainly plays skittles much better than a certain football team plays at the Memorial Ground of which Roy is an ardent supporter!

The Top Ladies Scorer and winner of the Nan Waller Trophy was the Deputy Verger. Her of the red hair and black gown - who also for 39 years, when not in church, has deputised as my wife - one Jill Eynon!! Her father was a very keen skittler in Somerset, where they play on composite type alleys instead of wooden ones.

He must have secretly trained her on Scrumpy in her teenage days before I met her!The Knockout Competition (Ladies) was won by Sue Alford with incredible accuracy. Don't ever argue with her because she also has incredible accuracy with her handbag! Finally - the Men's Knock-out Competition was won by our Church Treasurer - Tony Sawyer.

Very accurate with his figures and very accurate with his skittles. If the truth were known he derived much greater pleasure counting the skittle pins he demolished, rather than coins in the collection! When are we having our next Skittles Evening Richard?The following day (Saturday 12th November) the Memorial Service for loved ones who have passed away over the years was led by Canon Christine.

The need for this type of service being apparent by the number of people who attended. Many memoriam cards were completed with the names of those we no longer see - to be hung on the Tree of Light on Advent Sunday.This was a busy weekend as the next day was Remembrance Sunday.

The Service commenced in Church with music by pupils from Portway School with their wind instruments. After the placing of a Poppy Wreath beneath the west end Memorial window, the congregation led by the choir, processed through the village to the war memorial at Shirehampton Park.

Also in the procession was a beautiful 17 month old dog pulling a dog cart containing the Poppy Cross to be laid at the War Memorial. He was adored by all the children and even came into the Cricket Club afterwards for refreshments with the rest of the people. He made short work of a bowl of water and any biscuits offered to him!

Thanks must go to Don and Maureen Geddes for the use of the Cricket Club facilities. Thanks also to Laurie Dando who made a DVD of the event, which was shown in church a week or so later.Advent Sunday was on the last Sunday in November and attracted approximately300 hundred people to the Evening Advent Carol Service.

It was at this service the Tree of Light was illuminated and the floodlights on the church were lit. They will remain on until after Christmas. At this point I must say we are all grateful to the Shire Village Traders for the Christmas lights throughout the High Street and elsewhere - Shirehampton really seems to have caught the 'Christmas Spirit' this year.

Many houses at the lower end of the village are also a blaze of light and colour - I'm glad I don't have to pay the electricity bills!Our Christmas Food Fayre was a resounding success. People were queuing outside the church at 9.30am, waiting for the doors to open at 10 o'clock.

I am pleased to report that we raised over 2,500. Gill Sawyer had produced over 1100 jars of jams, pickles and chutneys, not forgetting Christmas hampers, Dundee cakes and Christmas cakes. I can categorically deny she has made a bid on the stock market to take over Tesco's!

November also saw our eight confirmation candidates confirmed at St Mary's, Almondsbury. Bishop Mike preached the sermon and after the service refreshments were provided in the Old School House.Canon Christine's Gift Day and the proceeds from the Shirehampton Area Choir Christmas Concert will hopefully see the target figure for our Organ Fund reached.

So a great big thank you to the Area Choir, Tim Forder who conducted it, all of you who supported the event, those who made donations on the Gift Day and last but not least Gill Sawyer who provided the nibbles during the interval at the Church.Now to events in January.

Saturday 7th January will see our second Book, CD and Video Sale. Any unwanted Christmas gifts you are prepared to donated will I am sure receive a good home and the money received will be used to top up the Organ Fund. The sale is in church from 10am until 12 noon.On Sunday 8th January the Rev.

George Kovook, who is the Principal of Trinity Theological College, is to be our preacher at the 10am Holy Communion Service. An opportunity not to be missed as he is a most interesting man.At 1.00pm on Tuesday 10th January our Alpha Guest Lunch will be held in church.

If you have attended an Alpha Course and wish to bring a guest who may be interested or if your are interested in attending the next Alpha Course yourself then just let Canon Christine know you wish to come. This will assist in knowing how many to cater for. The next course commences at 1.00pm on Thursday 3rd February 2006.

Finally, St Mary's wishes to congratulate Nancy and Gil Brookes on their Golden Wedding Anniversary. They had a Blessing Service in St Mary's on Friday 9th December, 2005.Well, that's it for this month - wrap up and keep warm - will chat to you again in February.

Bye for now, C.M.E.

Sir Robert Stephens

The commemorative plaque in remembrance of Sir Robert Stephens is due to be erected on Wednesday 18th January, 2006. This will be on the wall of 34, Priory Road, where he grew up. His son Toby will be coming to Shirehampton for the unveiling.

Directory 2006

We hope to publish an up to date version of SHIREHAMPTON DIRECTORY next year. If your club, society, church or group would like to be included, please complete this form and return it via the Library addressed to "SHIRE". We should like to make it no only up to date, but to include a wide range of activities available in the Shirehampton area. Please help us.

Shirehampton Primary School

Class RW visited the library on 21st November 2005. We had a warm welcome from Eileen who explained about different kinds of books and read us a wonderful story! Then we had the chance to select a book to take home using our own library cards! (lots of us became members in preparation for the trip).

New WI to open in Shirehampton

If you are a woman looking to make friends, learn new things, have fun and open up a world of opportunities to enjoy crafts, arts, sports, the environment, and much, much more, then you should be joining the WI. The WI celebrated 90 years in Britain in 2005, but whilst most people have heard of the organisation, many mistakenly believe that you have to be of a 'certain age', or be interested in crafts or cooking to join.

In fact, neither of these can be farther from the truth. Women can join the WI from the age of 16 - and that is the only qualification required. The WI is a non-party political, non-sectarian organisation that is keen to welcome younger members. So why not have some 'me' time, make some new friends, expand your horizons and join the WI?

Members have the chance to make friends at the monthly meetings, to take an active part in their communities and to attend a wide variety of additional talks, events and trips arranged by their local Avon Federation. Through the National Federation (which often works in closely with other charities and organisations on issues that interest or affect its members), members may also get involved in questioning the government on issues that affect women, children and rural life.

For those interested in taking up a new hobby, wishing to take a short break, or to enjoy a leisurely activity, the WI's Denman College in Abingdon, Oxfordshire can offer it all. Here members can enjoy a wide range of course, running over 2, 3 or 4 nights, staying in the individually furnished rooms. The WI offers opportunities for all women on a wide range of interests.

Recent Avon Federation events have included creative writing, historical lectures, self-defence, antiques, rubber stamping, kite flying and forensic science. There have also been trips to Covent Garden, Blenheim Place, Portsmouth and Monet's Garden in France.So why not see what the WI can offer you?Avon Federation will be holding a meeting to start a new Shirehampton WI at 1.30pm on Tuesday 24th January at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road.

If you are interested in joining, please come along to the meeting or if you are unable to attend, contact the Avon Federation office on Tel: 0117 986 4782 or browse our website at and for more information.

We look forward to meeting you.

191 St Mary's Scout Troop

On Thursday December 1 Jack Hopkins, Jordan Price and Emerson Sharp were invested into the 191st Scout Troop, at the Scout Headquarters, St Mary's Road. The first picture is of the boys making their Scout promise, and the second picture - the boys standing on the Troop bridge in their neckerchiefs with Grant Watkins and Sea Edwards.The Troop wish parents and friends past and present of the 191 a prosperous New Year.

Freestyle Dance School Bristol by Paula McCann

Paula McCann 'Freestyle' dance school would like to thank the following companies and organisations who supported us in 2005: A&M Motors, Shire Newspaper, Helios, Costco, Morrisons, Boots Chemist Shire, Laserquest, Megabowl, Miles Arms, Elite Hairdressers, Avonmouth Tavern, Raceway Group, Bobbetts, Bits & Bobs, Co-op Shire, Sugar & Spice Hairdressers, Somerfield Shire, Paulines Hairdressers, Avonmouth Pharmacy, Paintball Adventures, Avon Ski Centre.

New dancers are always welcome to join us at Avonmouth Rugby Club on Tuesday evenings.

Cotswold Book Club Programme

The Cotswold Book club that meets monthly in the Cotswold Community Hall in Dursley Road has published its programme for 2006 with a variety of books, old and new to enjoy, discuss, or even argue over. The calendar until September reads:

Jan 18 - "Life of Pi" (Yan Martel): Feb 15 Jame Austen Night - discuss any book by her: "Sylvia Pankhurst" (Yvonne Harrison): April 12 " Small Island" (Angela Levi)" May 10 "Untold Story" (Alan Bennett): June 7 "Cider with Rosie" (Laurie Lee): July 5 "Pompeii: (Robert Harris): August 9 "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" (Michael Chabon): Sept 13 "Daniel Deronda" (George Elliott)

Cotswold Table Top Sale

Do you find yourself thinking in January of Christmas presents you got but didn't want, and those you wanted but didn't get? The Cotswold Community Association Table Top Sale on 21st of January at 2pm can help you solve both problems! If you want to sell anything (not just old Christmas presents of course) then book a table for 5 (phone 9140428 for details); If you want to buy something, simply turn up (no entrance charge). The CCA hall is in Dursley Road.

When the Shepherd met the Reindeer

The Christmas-time mix of Bible story, pantomime tales and family enjoyment, was all in evidence at the Cotswold Community Association Children's Christmas Fun-time last month. Not only did a big crowd of children and their parents come, but everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion with gusto.

Children had been invited to come dressed as something related to Christmas: someone from the nativity story, a pantomime character, or even a Christmas pudding. No one quite braved coming as that, but there was an imaginative and varied lot of characters, all worthy of a prize when the parade took place.

The nativity shepherd and the reindeer were amongst the prize winners. The afternoon also had a Christmas card-making table, and a balloon modelling table, plus games and eats. All was overseen by Mother Christmas and by a very modern fairy complete with jeans under her frilly skirt and wings, and a wand you would do well to keep clear of.

The children were enthusiastic and having such a good time that they seems not to want to leave when it was over. One of the helpers was delighted to get a card from one of the children with a message on the front saying "Please keep doing it - I like it" and, inside, a simple "Thank You".

This was another first for the CCA, but it's unlikely to be the last. Keep a look-out next December.

Books, Bears and Balloons

Thanks to a great scheme supported and funded by Starbucks Coffee Company and Reading is Fundamental UK, local children had the chance to enjoy stories, songs and rhymes as part of the 'All books for Children' initiative at the library. On each of three sessions, the children enjoyed stories and action rhymes and then got to choose a book to keep.

At the first session each child also received a book bag with stickers, leaflets, and a booklet for parents. At the second session we were visited by a Big Blue Bear, who was a great hit with everyone. For the third and final session we were joined by children from Avonmouth for a combined celebration of books.

Whilst the children were enjoying all the fun and frolics, the adults were kept extremely happy with complimentary Starbucks coffee and muffins. I am sure that all of those who came would like to say 'thank you' to the Childrens' Team for the stories and rhymes and a very special 'thank you' to Jess and her colleagues from Starbucks who gave their time, enthusiasm and energy to help make these such enjoyable events for all.

Old School Photograph

This photograph has been sent to Shire by Len Cowley.  It shows a class of Shirehampton Junior School in 1938.  Len regrets he cannot remember the names of his fellow pupils, and hopes that some of our readers will be able to help.   From pase experience with similar requests, he should not be disappointed.