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News Index

34th Anniversary

Avonmouth Sea Cadets need you!

Letters to the Editor

Ghostly goings-on in Shire

St. Mary's News

What's on in February

A Gleaming New School for Portway

Portway Community School has moved into its brand new state-of-the-art, purpose-built building, a very modern, airy one. It has been built on the playing field of the previous one, the old buildings are being demolished and the area will be grassed over.

Sign above the main entrance

At the beginning of January I went with representatives of other organizations to look round this beautiful new school. We were welcomed by Acting head teacher Frank Toner and shown round in two groups. You will have seen reports on local television and in the local press, so what were my impressions? Having got through the remote controlled entrance I found myself in a light and airy area, quite wide and running the length of the school. To one side there were substantial looking lockers and were told that the (and here I come to a slight difficulty - pupils, scholars, youngsters, children, which is correct these days? I'll call them students - for who could be anything other than a student in these encouraging surroundings) can put their books etc and coats in them. I did wonder what happened when it was wet. In the practical classrooms there was some block shelving inside the classroom door for coats etc.

The Sports Hall

In the fine new gym, or sports hall I should properly call it, there was a very purposeful and obviously enjoyable lesson in progress, and you know, there wasn't a hole burnt in the middle of it! It was the old gym in the about-to-be demolished building that was broken into and set fire to. This new sports hall must have very imaginable court game marked out on the floor.

The Library

What else? In no particular order as they say - learning support units, modern equipment for the modern age, lifts at each end of the building - key-holders only, a natural ventilation system. 'Yummy' school dinners are cooked on the premises in those spanking new kitchens, healthy ingredients only: and everywhere spaciousness and light. There are paved and grass sitting out areas and superb new tennis courts.

The Music Room                                     Photos: Eric Verey

Now, all you young people at Portway, we at 'Shire' would simply love to print poems, articles, photos and reports of your activities, so how about it?

If I were of school age I'm sure I would go to school with a spring in my step, eager to learn - oh, if only I were!

School gym set ablaze by vandals

Vandals broke into Portwayl School and set fire to the gym in the old building, burning a hole in the floor. Firefighters were called to the school after smoke was spotted coming from the building. They found signs of a break-in and an exercise mat in flames on the floor of the gym. An Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said fire investigation officers were liaising with police over the cause of the blaze. Anyone with information is asked to contact Avon and Somerset Police.

30th Anniversary for the Band

The North West Bristol Band began 30 years ago, and the first place it used for rehearsals was Shirehampton's Public Hall. Mr. Philip Sims has been its conductor and Director ever since it started. Congratulations to Mr. Sims and all members of the Band and our thanks for playing for Carols on the Green on Christmas Eve for all the many years past.

34th Anniversary

As "SHIRE" was started in February 1972, this is the 34th Anniversary of the publication. We think we may be the oldest amateur community paper in the area! We owe it to the traders who support us, our readers who send us in copy and to our volunteers who take part in the distribution. "SHIRE" is in every sense the product of community effort.

Last Parade for Shirehampton Army Cadets

For the last 4 and a half years Shirehampton Detachment of Bristol Army Cadet Force have been parading in various parts of Portway Community School.

Cadets on exercise at Yoxter Training Centre

Now tucked away at the bottom end of the school premises, walk down a dark footpath into a cold, dingy portakabin and you'll find some of the most hard working, enthusiastic and committed young people in Shirehampton. These 20 boys and girls aged 12-18 have put in 100% effort to attend Tuesday parade nights to be taught by Adult Instructors in many different subjects including Map & Compass, Fieldcraft, Skill at Arms and First Aid.

But unfortunately, as of Tuesday 13th December 2005 these cadets have been made homeless as Portway Community School is being re-developed and the little portakabin, which was once home to them, will soon be demolished.

We are desperate to keep these cadets on parade so are looking for any portakabins or plots of land or community/social halls which we could make our new home in 2006.

Although currently based in Shirehampton, we are also looking in Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston and Sea Mills.

If you know of anywhere we can rent please call Sgt. Andrew Candler 07970 045933 and help those young people that are looking for anew home to continue their training. Thank you.

Just a few of the cadets at Shirehampton

Fundraising concert to continue into its 10th year

The Avon Fire Brigade Band have supported the Jessie May Trust with an annual autumn concert since 1996, and the success of this years performance means the music won't stop playing.

The concert held at St. Mary's Church, Shirehampton in October was the bands annual fundraiser for the Bristol based charity which provides respite and nursing care at home for children with a terminal illness. The concert wind band performed a very broad spectrum of musical styles, and set feet tapping for charity with some magical pieces from Andrew Lloyd Webber and the audience were delighted by the sound of guest soloists Jean Kelly and Anthony Young.

Local resident Jean Lewis initiated the partnership between the Jessie May Trust and the Avon Fire Brigade Band nearly 10 years ago. Jean says "I was caring for my granddaughter Lucy who was ill with late infantile battens disease and my daughter played clarinet in the band. I asked the band if they would help by performing a concert to raise money for the charity who provided nursing at home for Lucy'. Sadly in 2000, Lucy passed away aged 12 years, but the concert has continued to raise money for the special charity and would like to continue to do so.

Last year, the Avon Fire Brigade Band celebrated its 50th anniversary, and bandmaster, Richard Matthews says, "band members come from all walks of life and are not required to be fire service personnel. The band rehearses on Monday evenings, and always welcomes new brass, woodwind and percussion players with different levels of musical experience.'

Next autumn sees the 10 year anniversary of the partnership between Avon Fire Brigade Band and the Jessie May Trust, and all involved are hoping to make a record profit to continue to make a difference for the 72 families on the Jessie May caseload who are currently supported by the Trust in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

To find out more about the Jessie May Trust contact Amy Kingston, Community and Events Fundraiser on 0117 961 6840 or see their website , or if you are interested in joining the band, please contact the secretary on 01454 880696 or visit

Avonmouth Sea Cadets need you!

We are looking for new members of staff in the area to give their time to your local sea cadet unit. Avonmouth Sea Cadets have been established for 63 years and in that time have given valued experiences to young people in the area, you may yourself have had great times in the unit!

Do you have hidden talents and abilities that we could find useful for your local young people.

If so please contact your local unit on 0117 982 3938 on parade nights Monday or Thursday 7pm-9pm.


Please would the writer of the "Bag Lady" article printed in the January "Shire", please contact us via the Library, or by telephone, as we have a request from someone who would like to get in touch with her.

Belated Birthday Greetings

We hear that Marilyn celebrated her 65th birthday on January 21st, we all wish MANY HAPPY RETURNS of her birthday, apologies for being a bit alte. Readers will be pleased to know that she is not retiring and that the Library committee has extended her contract for a further 5 years.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor

You kindly published a letter I had written without the photo I referred to about Bristol City Swimming Club. The reason I had sent it in was it showed how many children were using the baths in 1972, when the photo was taken. I had a phone call from a friend in Adelaide who had read my letter and asked where the photo was. I accept you were pressed for space but I would not like to lose this photo. Also it was of interest with the closing of Shirehampton Baths.

Yours sincerely, Sheila Bulb (Mrs). Walton Road, Shirehampton.

Editor : Thank you for your donation to Shire Funds.

The Flag Pole

Dear Editor,

Prior to her letter in last month's Shire newspaper Mrs Poole wrote to me, and in order to clarify the situation, I append a copy of the Parochial Council's response.

Canon Christine..

Dear Mrs Poole

Thank you for getting in touch with me. The new flag pole does contain a mobile phone mast. Over the course of the last three years there has been a public consultation process locally that took into account all of the views that were expressed. This was a legal requirement and we also wanted to take seriously the need to consult the local community. You may remember the article and my picture in the Evening Post!

In the absence of objections the PCC requested planning permission from the local authority as well as obtaining the Diocesan legal faculty. I believe the Diocese referred to the national church to ensure that their policy was observed.

I hope this reassures you that the proper public procedures were followed prior to any action being taken and contracts signed. The new flag pole is visually more appealing, there is something special about a gold topknot!

With best wishes

Canon Christine
Derek Ford, Churchwarden
Gill Sawyer, Churchwarden and Lay Minister

Dear Shire

Shirehampton Community Action Forum is very concerned about the steady loss of community facilities in Shire. I attach a copy of a letter we have sent to the Council's cabinet member for Health Promotion and Leisure. We would welcome support from local residents who share our concerns.

We will send Shire a copy of Cllr Cook's reply when we receive it.

Yours sincerely

David Thomas, Chairman of SCAF

Dear Cllr Cook

Shirehampton Community Action Forum met today and asked me to write to you to express our deep concern and disappointment over the number of community buildings and facilities that have been lost to our community in the last few years.

Shirehampton is on the outskirts of Bristol, and as such does not get any of the investment and resources afforded to more central neighbourhoods. We also fall outside the neighbourhood renewal areas - although we are neighbours to Lawrence Weston.

  • In the past 5 years we have lost the following community buildings and facilities:
  • Groveleaze Youth Club
  • Twyford House (Community Eduication Building)
  • Bingo Hall
  • Portway Centre (Special needs day care centre)
  • Swimming pool
  • Robin Cousins Sports Centre

We understand that the Meadow Grove Housing Office is also likely to close in the near future. We have lost all these amenities and facilities, and no new ones have been built or converted in their place. All that we do see in Shire is the continual 'filling in' with more houses/flats and other residential developments. These just bring more people, more cars and no facilities/amenities to this expanding community.

The majority of these buildings were owned by the Council - who in selling them off have received vast amounts of money - none of which has been returned to the community in the form of new facilities - which we believe it should have done under the '106 monies' agreement.

As a Council we are constantly hearing Councillors and Officers paying lip service to the importance of building and supporting thriving communities across the city of Bristol and investing in better facilities and amenities. This is the case in the Neighbourhood Renewal areas where vast sums have been invested, and which, from many of the latest evaluations have made little or no difference. Will the community of Shirehampton have to wait until we are in the top 10 most deprived/disadvantaged areas (as part of Avonmouth Ward we are just outside this) before we see any investment whatsoever? What state will our community be in by this time?

The loss of the swimming pool and Robin Councils Sports Centre are also in complete contradiction to the Council's 'commitment' to investment and promotion of healthy living, and encouraging sport and exercise. We have not just lost one swimming pool but effectively three within our wider areas; to be replaced by one on a school site with limited public access. It is also very difficult for people to get to without a car, as public transport to the site is very limited.

As a community organization we would like an explanation as to why Shirehampton has had to suffer all of these losses, and why there has apparently been absolutely no re-investment in our community to offset the lost facilities

Yours sincerely

Dr D L Thomas, Chairman

1955 Girls Swimming Team

Dear Editor

Today I stumbled across some items from October 1990 and October/November 2000 regarding the 1955 girls swimming team. I would like to fill in the missing links of Carol (my mother sadly died in 1975 aged 32) and Maureen Coneybeer (now Wood alive and well living in Canada).

I will be forwarding details of your articles which I am sure she will be interested in. Many thanks.

Andy Dyson

Dear Shire

May I take this opportunity to thank the kind person who allowed their dog to foul outside of the church on Christmas Eve morning. I'm sure hundreds of people, including myself, were overjoyed at traipsing the foul-smelling substance through the village and their homes.

Seriously, this appears to be happening throughout the village far too frequently of late. Perhaps if people who spot the perpetrators have a polite word in their ear, then maybe we can at least curb this nuisance a little.

N Bushell, Passage Leaze

Dear Editor

We didn't the parents and carers of Portway School get a lovely Christmas surprise? A letter telling them that once again the school is without leadership. Whatever is happening at Portway? Despite being declared a 'Community School' and 'Sports College' both supposedly associated with excellence, it is spiraling ever deeper into a sad and sorry demise. There have been numerous changes of head teacher and management, a pattern which pupils who had joined from Shirehampton Primary were already far too familiar with. Few staff stay more than a year and the average teaching experience of staff at the school must be one of the lowest in the area. The maths department has recovered to some degree from several years of short-term contracts and supply teachers, and now the English department seems to be suffering the same affliction. Other departments have also suffered similar difficulties.

Portway used to have a full orchestra, sorry two full orchestras (had had to compete to be in the symphony orchestra) and put on an array of open days, sports days and drama productions to be envied by schools everywhere. Sadly, this year's offering of a Christmas concert was ill rehearsed, and tired, the lack of parental support and low numbers of staff in attendance doing nothing at all to encourage these youngsters, who to their credit gave their best and must surely have felt pretty downhearted at the end of it. The whole event reflected the apathy that is spreading across Portway like some flesh-eating disease.

The school boasts of a 'pastoral' care system . . . I wonder if the pupils there today would stand any chance of being able to challenge this in a court of law. That is, of course, if any of the pupils cursed as they have been are likely to achieve the five 'Cs' that will see them on the road to greatness. The school has a poor standard of support and inclusion for youngsters with special needs; they failed my daughter and are failing my son. I have heard many reports of fights where staff have failed to intervene, and even requests from younger students to older students they trust to escort them for fear of being beaten up. Even the arrival of the police officers and behaviour managers have done little to improve behaviour. Perhaps one of the most baffling matters of all is how Portway ever became a partner to Ashton Park school and lost its Post 16 provision. Most of us were most shocked at this, as we believed it had been reprieved, at least temporarily.

When the plans for PFI were drawn up we were told there would be full consultation and opportunities for involvement for parents and carers at all stages, yet all we get are letters telling us this or that is changing, for example a new cashless system in the dinner hall. I'm not saying these things are not for the better, but where it the partnership we were promised, where is the consultation. Some of us do not see the school as a babysitting service; we truly want to be involved in our children's education. My son says the school has 'broken' him and that he now just wants to 'do his time and get out'. This is a lad who was once proud of the school, and had great aspirations of continuing his education there until leaving for university. God help him and the other Year 11 pupils at Portway this year, for heaven knows the school is not capable of offering them relevant support and guidance at this critical time.

I would like to see an urgent open meeting about the future of the school, and more specifically the coping strategies until July 2006, when thankfully my son leaves and I can bid the school farewell.

Disgruntled parent

Name and address supplied

Dear Editor

Could you please find space in your Shire paper to insert the following of a 'local boy'.

We sadly announce the death of Victor Whiteley, a local lad born and raised in Shirehampton. He later went to work for Elders and Fyffs - the banana importers at Avonmouth. During the war he served in the navy and on the Russian convoys. He married Edwina, daughter of Eva and Jack Newman, the well known local butcher.

Sadly Edwina died many years ago. They moved to Southampton with Elders and Fyffs. Although he lived in Southampton he always thought of Shirehampton as his home, with many happy memories.

Vic leaves a son, John who emigrated to Australia with a wife and two children, also his daughter who lives in London.

His funeral was in Bristol on January 3rd.

Trevor Newman


Dear Editor

I am writing in response to the letter in last month's 'Shire' regarding the communication mast in the flagpole on St. Mary's Church. I live within 500 yards of the church as the crow flies and do not own a mobile phone but have no objection. I am sure using a mobile phone must be much more dangerous than any radiation emitting from a mast on top of a building.

I understand that these masts are only needed because of the increasing use of mobile phones - even children seem to have them! I hope the writer of the letter nor her family own one otherwise complaining about something only needed to provide you with a service seems rather hypocritical. May I add that Canon Christine is concerned about everything and especially in our community - she has done absolute wonders and works endlessly for the good of the people of Shirehampton. You couldn't have a more caring person.

Yours sincerely

Leslie Linsley

The Orchards, Shirehampton

My First Job

Dear Shire

In these days of quite long breaks from work at Christmas for many people, I am prompted to recall how things were at the start of my own working life.

I started work at Hill, Leigh & Co. as a clerk when I was 16 in 1963. It was April and my interview, arranged by the Youth Employment Office, was with Mr. Kelle. The pay was four pounds per week, and for this I worked 8.30a.m. - 5p.m. Monday to Friday. Two weeks paid holiday a year plus Public Holidays as long as they fell during the week. The great difference in those days was that if Boxing Day for instance fell on a Saturday, you did not have the following Monday off in lieu. This meant in some years that you worked either side of the Christmas weekend, and there was in those days, no holiday on New Year's Day.

The office I worked in was very basic - a tall bench like desk with a high stool - necessary to reach it. My main task was to look after the stock book, no computer in those days, every intake and dispatch was recorded by hand. I took orders direct from customers and representatives. Malcolm Hack was my immediate boss and beyond him Bob Smith, a company director, very strict but equally generous. He used to give me ten shillings (50p) when I was going on holiday. One of my other duties was to deliver Christmas presents to local customers, who were considered important by the company. I had a B.S.A. Bantom - a small two stroke motorcycle, quite big for me because I was quite a puny 16 year old. Me and my motorcycle were put to good use, delivering to various places on the docks and St. Andrew's Road. I remember particularly going to Jefferies and seeing Mr. Johnson, always Mr. and treated with great care and courtesy - that was the way in 1963. Bob Smith was for many years associated with the Avonmouth Skittles League, and my journeys for him often included pubs to deliver envelopes or packages. It only occurred to me many years later that this had nothing to do with work.

When I started work Mr. Leigh had his office close to where I was, and he often came to see what was going on. He was the Managing Director and therefore regarded with extra respect. In the office there was a typist/telephonist called Kay Franks and in a separate office John Twine, who was mainly responsible for wages. Outside in the yard Bill Prest was foreman and Jim, his nephew I think, was second in command. In the sawmill Jim Carey was the machinist and Bill Mockridge the sawyer. The company had lorries, three of them and I remember drivers like Roy Gough and Jim Foreman.

On occasions I was called upon to help out in the mill or with loading in emergencies when somebody wanted a delivery very quickly. I got on quite well with everybody and did enjoy the variety of work.

I worked for Hill, Leigh & Co. for just over five years. My pay had risen in easy stages to 14.50 a week by the time I was 21. One day I saw an advertisement in the Evening Post - Rolls Royce needed clerks. I went for it and immediately my pay was more than doubled. Hill, Leigh became part of my past, but has lived long in my memory. Even now I come across people who remember me and my time in the timber trade. Is there anyone else out there who can recall 1963 at Hill, Leigh?

David Hinkman, Green Lane, Avonmouth.

Penpole Luncheon Club

Dear Shire

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cheque of 250.00. It was a great boost to our funds for the luncheon club.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your help throughout the year. It is so very much appreciated by our elderly members.

Thank you once again

Penpole Luncheon Club


Dear Shire

May I take this opportunity to thank the kind person who allowed their dog to foul outside of the church on Christmas Eve morning. I'm sure hundreds of people, including myself, were overjoyed at traipsing the foul-smelling substance through the village and their homes.

Seriously, this appears to be happening throughout the village far too frequently of late. Perhaps if people who spot the perpetrators have a polite word in their ear, then maybe we can at least curb this nuisance a little.

N Bushell, Passage Leaze

Dear Editor

I am writing in response to an article I read in your January Shire Edition regarding young people and their undesirable behaviour. My sympathies go out to the residents of Nibley Road, it must have been quite frightening an ordeal on the night of November 23rd 2005 to have experienced almost riotous behaviour from such a large group of young people. Young people in large groups come across as scary and unapproachable particularly when they themselves are experiencing chemical changes within their own bodies due to wanting to experience what we as adults are allowed to experience without question, (Beer). I am by no means siding with the young people or their disruptive behaviour, my concern is 'who is working with these young people?' 'Where in the Shire is there a safe place these young people can hang-out and have fun and be educated on issues such as the effects of drug and alcohol, sexual health and issues relevant to anti-social behaviour etc. Are the parents of the Shirehampton locality lobbying Bristol City Council about provision to meet the needs of their teenagers? Are the residents of Shirehampton willing to make a stand and fight for the rights of young people to have an accessible youth provision that may help to stamp out anti-social behaviour within our neighbourhood? It's easy to pass the buck and blame and a lot harder to make a stand and take responsibility to ensure our tomorrow. Our tomorrow is in the hands of these young people of today; our today is in our hands and is it not up to us as a community to ensure our tomorrow? I say; stand up for these young people and fight for them to have a safe environment where thay can hang out, be indirectly educated and have an opportunity to be off the streets. If we as a community don't fight for the young people of today who is going to fight for them? Who is going to fight for us when we become the older adult population and they become the younger adult population?

Yours sincerely

Miss S Blake, Barrow Hill Crescent, Shirehampton

Carols on the Green


A record crowd gathered on the Green on Christmas Eve. The weather was mild and it was dry underfoot. Due to the improved street lighting in the High Street, double lights on very tall standards, it meant we only needed one square spotlight to light up the area, so hurrah for the Corporation.


Brian Blandford was the MC urging us all to sing with might and main, and even more importantly together. MR Philip Sims and the Band of the West Bristol Music Centre, augmented by members of the Portway School Band. All gathered gusto as the evening proceeded. Yes we actually sang all the carols on the printed sheet, that must have been another record. There were also a group who sang descant at times. Well done to everyone who helped to continue this village tradition. As a postscript, one enterprising lady hopped up onto the rostrum to remind us all to wish 'Merry Christmas' to the rest of Shirehampton.

Chess Club for Shirehampton?

Once upon a time there used to be a very active chess club in Shirehampton. Based in Twyford House, it had teams in the Bristol & District Chess League. But at present Shirehampton chess players have to go further afield if they want to play club chess.

However, that could change if there is enough interest. If anyone who would like to see a new local chess club please ring 904 7319 or email - players of all standards and ages are welcome.

Initially the new club would meet monthly. There would be some setting-up costs (boards and pieces) and a small monthly subscription. The location would likely be in the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road.

If the venture proved successful, then the club may meet more frequently, and even try to mount a team to play other Bristol clubs.

Thank you Chris Hearn

A very big thank you to Chris Hearn for doing an excellent job in trying to keep the streets of Shire clean and tidy.

Your efforts are really appreciated by the members of Shirehampton Community Action Forum.

Christmas Lights Association

The Fifth AGM will be held in the George Inn by kind permission of the landlord on Thursday February 9th at 7.30pm. All are very welcome.


On Saturday 12th November 2005 Adam O'Driscoll, who was a former pupil of Portway School, graduated after completing his HNC.

The ceremony took place at Bristol Cathedral and was watched by his mum, dad and family.

They would like to say congratulations and well done!

Co-op raffle

The Co-op raffle raised 687.22, which has been divided as 300 Shelter and 300 Christmas lights with the rest to 'Shire' newspaper.


The raffle tickets were drawn by Sandra White. Congratulations to Michelle Jarrett who won first prize. The Christmas Eve collection by Jenny for Childrens Hospice raised 688.58.

A big 'thank you' to all our customers who supported us.

A Galland, Manager of Shirehampton Co-op

A Big thank you

On behalf of 'Shire' I would like to thank the Co-op Raffle organizers for their most generous donation to the paper's funds. We are quite overwhelmed. I don't think we have ever had such a big financial gift in the publication's 34 year existence.

Freedom Programme

New free help is at hand for women in Bristol who are involved in violent and abusive relationships. The 'Freedom Programme' aims to help victims of domestic violence take control of their lives by gaining a greater understanding of their experiences, developing their self-confidence and boosting their social skills.

Launched in Birkenhead five years ago, the Freedom Programme, which consists of twelve 90-minute sessions, is being sponsored by Safer Bristol Partnership in conjunction with Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum, Surestart, Barnado's, Social Services and Bristol North NHS Primary Care Trust.

Courses based at venues in Knowle West, Lockleaze, Southmead and Lawrence Weston got under way in September and are being run by trained representatives from a range of organizations including Knowle West Health Association, the Better Together Project, Surestart and Barnado's.

Not only has the course helped women recover, it has also proved very effective at preventing abusive behaviour happening in the first place. Pat Craven, who developed the programme based around group sessions led by two trained staff, said: "In most instances, women who have experienced abuse have little or no understanding of what has happened to them. To them it feels like a painful confusing mess for which they are largely to blame."

"I also aim to reduce isolation and encourage the women to make friends, often for the first time in years. Women are introduced to local college and go to classes in groups. The aim is to help them achieve economic independence."


A unique survey of domestic life in Bristol has revealed that on one day in March this year, at least 171 people were supported by organizations in the city after being subjected to physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse.

For more information about the Freedom Programme contact:

Medina,Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum Co-ordinator - 0117 925 0680 or Debbie - 0117 377 2614, Ruth - 0117 916 2200, Kte - 07821 633 785.

The Bristol Domestic Abuse Free Helpline is: 0800 6949 999.

Ghostly goings-on in Shire

With its long history it would be strange if there weren't some hints of hauntings in Shirehampton. And the ghosts walked in the Cotswold Book Club special Christmas event last December. Though it has to be said they were imported ones from that master of spooky stories, Charles Dickens.

Meeting by candlelight, the members read round (with suitable visual and audio effects) Dickens' railway mystery 'The Signalman'. Even our railway line (which runs close to the hall) obliged with the rattle of the last train on its way to Temple Meads at the appropriate moment. It was just as well the members had all been fortified beforehand with wine and eats. Everyone survived the evening without harm, which is more than can be said for the poor Signalman in Dickens' yarn.

The next Book Club meeting is on Wednesday 15th February at 7.30pm, when we will talk about any Jane Austin book. For details phone 982 8683.

The Grainger Players Dance on

Friday 24th March 2006 Music by "Starlight Roadshow" At the P.B.A. Club Nibley Road, Shirehampton Tickets 4 from "Elizabeth Ann" 27A High St. Shirehampton

The Great Reading Adventure

Around the World in Eighty Days

The Great Reading Adventure encourages everyone in the South West to read Jules Verne's fast paced classic, Around the World in Eighty Days. A great read, and a great choice for 2006, the year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of a man who opened up the world with his innovations in transport; Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

From 5th January 2006 thousands of copies of the book, along with a special children's adaptation, will be available in schools and colleges, and to collect for free at designated distribution points. There is also a free illustrated readers' guide.

See for further details.

The Library is taking part in the Great Adventure and loan copies of the book are available.

The Great Reading Adventure is a collaborative project initiated by Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. It is part of the Brunel 200 programme -

Media partners: BBC, Bristol Evening Post, Swindon Advertiser, GWR, Bath Chronicle and Venue.

Fantastic Response To Health Centre Coffee Morning

What a great bunch of people the patients of Shirehampton Group Practice are! We hope that all who attended the Charity Coffee Morning held on Wednesday 14th December enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed organising it. This year our chosen charity is BRACE, who raise funds to help with research into the health of the elderly. It is a great charity and well established. A representative from BRACE was able to join us on the day and expressed her gratitude for the work put in to arrange it all.

For a small cost, all-comers were treated to a tea or coffee with a lovely piece of home-made cake to go with it. Then they could spend some time trying to decide which cakes to buy to take home. The staff of the Health Centre, including GPs and members of the nursing team, all enjoyed popping in and having a quick chat with some of our patients.

We had so many contributions for our raffle that we were able to sell some of them and increase our takings. Wonderful prizes from pretty smellies through to whole picnic hampers were donated and well received by those lucky enough to win a prize. All in all, the morning raised a brilliant 271. In addition, we had a Christmas Card Board where members of staff could put up one Christmas card to all of their colleagues and donate the amount saved in not having to purchase loads of cards to the charity. This, together with a generous donation by the Partners of the Group Practice, has resulted in a total donation of 541.55. A wonderful result and many thanks to all of you for your support.

Finally, on behalf of all the staff of the Group Practice, I would like to thank you for your very generous gifts of biscuits, sweets, wine and other goodies over the Christmas period. Needless to say, we are all now on diets!

Carole Brooke, Practice Manager


Could John White of Plympton, Plymouth, whose letter was published in the September issue of 'Shire', please let us have his address as we have a letter for him from one of our readers. 'Shire', The Library, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TU. Thank you, Ed.

Life's Numbers

Once upon a time it was enough to remember the number of your home in the road, your telephone number and your car registration number if you had one. Then was added postal code numbers, more recently bank pin numbers have to be memorised.

Whatever will they think of next - could it be identity numbers?

Incidentally can anyone, who lived through the war remember their identity number, for me the letters come to mind, but the numbers are lost. However I understand that for those who served in the forces, their numbers are forever etched in their memory.


We would like to send our sincere thanks for the kindness shown to us over the Christmas period. The children of Shirehampton Primary School that sang carols to us so beautifully and as always were so well behaved. The Churches of St. Mary's and The Methodist for their support throughout the year, to Canon Christine, Reverend David, Gill, Claire, Hazel and Neil who give so much of their precious time - thank you.

To Pat and the Avonmouth 5th Brownie Pack for their wonderful gifts; they mean so much and are so thoughtfully organized. We really do have a lovely community that can be often taken for granted.

A heartful thank you to you all and a peaceful 2006.

The Residents & Staff of Penhill.

A Retirement from "Shire"

Margaret Ellison has decided that the time has come for her to retire from "Shire" Administrative Council. Margaret came to the paper 10 years ago after a career in the Secretarial side of Southmead Hospital. During her ten years with "Shire" she has been part of the rota of editors, and also for many years recorded the tape each month for those whose sight is impaired or who have reading difficulties. As many of us are aware Margaret is many talented.As an artist she is a regular contributor to the annual Art Exhibition in the Public Hall and her needlework also features each year in the annual local Craft Exhibition.

We are grateful for all her help with "Shire", and wish her well in the future. J.A.

Services in March

March 1st Wednesday St. David's Day Holy Communion 7p.m. in St. Mary's followed by a simple supper.

March 3rd Friday World WOMEN'S DAY OF PRAYER service at the Methodist Church at 2.30p.m.

Comment on Shirehampton's Christmas Lights

A Christmas visitor to the village, took his offspring on a tour of Bristol. On their return his verdict was that Shirehampton had the best Christmas lights they had seen. So a big thank you to all those who in anyway helped to light up the village at Christmas.

Smoke alarms save lives

The majority of deaths in house fires happen between 10pm and 8am. The noise of a smoke alarm can alert you even while you sleep. It can provide that vital early warning if things go wrong by sensing smoke at the earliest stages of a fire.

Firemen Greg and Bob of Red Watch fit a smoke alarm

Avon Fire & Rescue Service carries out free Home Fire Safety Visits, during which free smoke alarms will be fitted in your home. If you would like a firefighter to carry out a Home Fire Safety Visit in your home please call Avon Fire & Rescue Service's freephone number: 0800 1693 999. During their visit Avon Fire & Rescue Service will also be able to give you advice on fire safety around the home and what to do in the event of a fire.

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks

I am delighted to report that the proceeds from the Shirehampton Area Choir Christmas Concert and our Annual Gift Day has enabled us to reach our target figure of 25,000 for the Organ Fund. This means we can now go ahead and make a definite date for the overhaul of the Organ. We anticipate this will be around October time when the main "Wedding Season" is over. The work is estimated to take 6 to 8 weeks to complete - so hopefully it will be back in use for Christmas.

It is a pleasure to record that both Carol services for Shirehampton Primary School were full to capacity with children, mums, dads, grandparents, aunts & uncles etc. attending.It would have been extremely difficult to fit any more in the building.

At our Christmas Eve Crib service the church again was absolutely packed - a conservative estimate was at least 400 parents and children attended - together with 2 donkeys and our Bernese Mountain dog friend, who this time was pulling a festive decorated dog cart. All three animals were a great hit with the children and the animals appeared to enjoy all the attention they received too. Many of the children came dressed as characters from the Nativity. We had an abundance of Shepherds - apparently "Asda" had a special line of "Shepherds outfits"!! It was wonderful to see the excitement and anticipation on the children's' faces that Christmas was almost here.

But before that Crib Service we had a Christmas Eve Wedding Service at 12 noon when Liz Curthoys and Raymond Dunn were married. What a romantic time to choose for a wedding. Even Liz's black Persian cat attended and was sat in the West Porch no need for a black cardboard cat for good luck when the real thing was sat in the porch! We wish them both every happiness and hope they enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon in Egypt.

All the Christmas Services and functions were very well attended, including our New Year's Day Holy Communion which was at 3p.m. instead of 10a.m. - to allow folks to get over the New Year's Eve festivities.

Our DVD and Book Sale on Saturday 7th January was another success with just over 320 raised toward church funds. Thank you to all our customers who bought items or refreshments on that day. So many people found bargains that this is likely to be a regular event.

Before going on to say about events in February and March, I was saddened to read in the letters section a letter from a lady correspondent who is "shocked" to see that our new flag pole on the west end of the church building was doubling as a mobile phone mast. The second paragraph castigating Canon Christine was both rude and unnecessary. It is very upsetting when all the correct procedures and consultation processes were mentioned by me in previous editions of St. Mary's News and there was absolutely no way this was being concealed from anyone. I believe Canon Christine may respond to this letter elsewhere in this month's edition of "Shire".

Now, on happier issues I can record that at 1p.m. on Tuesday, 7th February we shall be holding a Lunch & Beetle drive in church. This is good fun for all - and there is no charge. A retiring collection will be made for any person wishing to make a donation. If you wish to come, just sign your name on the list at the back of the church, this will assist with the catering arrangements.

On Saturday 18th February at 7.30p.m. we are delighted to be the hosts to Filton Male Voice Choir. They will really produce some first class singing - if their past performances are anything to go by! Tickets for this event are 6 and Wine & Nibbles will be served during the interval. Please come!

Tuesday 28th February is Shrove Tuesday better known to some as "Pancake Day". I won't bore you with the origin of "Pancake Day" other than to say it was using up food prior to Lent when a period of fasting was the custom. From 10a.m. until 12 noon there will be a party and pancake races on the church path in the churchyard. Here is a good opportunity for you to come and have some fun.

The next day is of course Ash Wednesday, which is also St. David's Day - 1st March. There will be a Holy Communion Service at 7p.m. followed by a single supper which should end somewhere around 9p.m. All are welcome! As it is also St. David's Day, I am sure we shall see a certain Welsh Canon wearing a Daffodil or Leek in her lapel and smiling from ear to ear. Just sing one verse of "A land of my Fathers" and you're guaranteed of a kiss and a hug! Me - ? - I'm learning the verses so I get extra hugs and kisses.

On Friday 3rd March the Women's World Day of Prayer is being held in Shirehampton Methodist Church. At the time of writing these notes I was unaware of the time of the afternoon Service - but I anticipate this will be 2 or 2.30p.m. Please note that men are also very welcome to attend.

Well, that's it again for this move!

Bye for now.


Public Swimming Baths

Interesting to note that recently certain national newspapers featured the closure of public swimming baths countrywide and mentioning Bristol in particular where 5 baths are scheduled to be closed. Our interest in the months past has been our local Shirehampton Baths. If perhaps objections were raised on a national scale, would it still be too late to save our local baths from permanent closure?

Tea Dance Dates 2006

Tea Dances are all held at the Public Hall from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Admission is 2.00 including tea and biscuits.

February 9th Dave Morey playing.
February 23rd John Hutton playing.
March 9th John Hutton playing.
March 23rd John Hutton playing.
April 6th Dave Morey playing.
April 20th John Hutton playing.
May 18th John Hutton playing. American Tea.

Tree-mendous recycling achievement by local schools

Dunmail Primary Scool and Shirehampton Primary School are both celebrating their shar of the top prizes in the Bristol Yellow Woods Challenge - the schools environmental competition run by Yellow Pages, working with the Woodland Trust and Bristol City Council.

Youngsters at Dunmail Primary School collected 131 old Yellow Pages directories for recycling, achieving the best recycling rate of two per pupil in the Bristol area. They have been rewarded for their efforts with the 'Gold Oak' certificate and a cheque for 300.

As runners-up in the local competition, Shirehampton Primary School won 200 and the 'Silver Birch' certificate, together with a bonus prize of 100 for collecting 785 Yellow Pages, the most directories in total.

Henleaze Junior School came in third in the recycling competition, receiving 100 and the 'Bronze Beech' certificate.

All participating schools will now join around 1,800 others in the Yellow Woods Challenge 2006 UK Finals, where schools can win cash prizes of up to 2,000.

For every pound awarded to schools, Yellow Pages gives a matching pound to the Woodland Trust's 'Tree For All' campaign, which aims to plant a tree for every child in the UK. In support of this, native tree saplings have been awarded to the top three winning schools and ST. Matthias and Dr. Bells Primary School, Holymead Infant School and St. Bernadette Primary School for achieving 4th, 5th and 6th place in the local Yellow Woods Challenge.

Councillor Gary Hopkins, Executive Member of Sustainable Environment and Neighbourhoods at Bristol City Council, said: "I'd like to thank all the schoolchildren, teachers and communities that took part on our first Yellow Woods Challenge and made it such a success. Fourteen schools took part and collected a total of 3,487 old Yellow Pages directories which have been recycled into animal bedding by Excel. The scheme has played an essential part in the schoolchildren's awareness of the importance of recycling."

Richard Duggleby, head of external relations with Yell, the publisher of Yellow Pages, said: "This is a tremendous achievement by schools in Bristol and shows how interested children are in recycling and looking after the environment. We couldn't run the Challenge without the local authority and recycling company and I thank them for their continued support and commitment."

Tribute from an advertiser

To the Editor Shire Magazine.  Many thanks for your good work.  Shire Mag. is most enjoyable to read and my ad. Always looks clear and set out well.

E. Pritchard

Make Wednesday a Special Day

Would you like to have a pleasant day and at the same time help others to do the same? Why not come along to the Wednesday Lunch Club and lend a hand. Where an enjoyable meal is served to members in a good social atmosphere. A warm welcome is assured. Give John Miller a ring on 01454 202023 to find out more, or just come along to Beachley Walk Centre on a Wednesday morning (after 10am) and see if it's for you.

What's on in February

February 1st, Wednesday

A.U.S. ADVICE SESSION every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30a.m. - 11a.m. at 115, High Street.

February 2nd, Thursday

ALPHA COURSE starts at St. Mary's Townswomen's Guild 2p.m. - 4p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall, "Japanese Wedding" talk by Mr. Anton Baton.
SLIMMING WORLD every Thursday 5.30p.m. and 7p.m. at Jim O'Neil House.
BINGO or a speaker at Tythe Barn 2p.m.

February 3rd, Friday

COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10a.m. - 12 noon.
FRIDAY FUN weekly for Parents, Carers and Pre-School Children, 9.30a.m. - 11a.m. at Beachley Walk Centre.
EVERGREENS every week at the Public Hall 2 - 4p.m.
BINGO AT THE Public Hall weekly, starting at 6.30p.m.

February 4th, Saturday

COFFEE MORNING & BRING & BUY at the Methodist Church Hall 10a.m. - 12 noon.

February 5th, Sunday

COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE at the Cotswold Community Centre led by the Baptist Church 4.15p.m. - 5.30p.m.

February 6th Monday

SEE & KNOW for Under 5's at St. Mary's every week 1.15 - 2.45p.m.
3 of US BINGO at St. Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth weekly 1.45 - 2.45p.m.
BASIC LITERACY SKILLS COURSE every week at Lawrence Weston. Tel: 0117 913 8824 for details.
KEEP FIT at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30 - 8.30p.m.

February 7th, Tuesday

St. Andrew's LADIES CLUB at St. Andrew's Church Hall at 7.30p.m. "Just Potatoes" talk by Jean Drew.
Every Tuesday CRAFTY GROUP at St. Mary's 2p.m. - 3.30p.m.
TEA JUNCTION at St. Mary's every week - tea, chat, board games.
BINGO or a SPEAKER at the Tythe Barn, High Street weekly at 2p.m.
BEETLE DRIVE at St. Mary's 1p.m. - tell Gill Sawyer or sign the list if you want to come. Weekly.
KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE DOJO CLUB train every week at St. Bernard's School at 7.15p.m.

February 9th, Thursday

TEA DANCE at the Public Hall 2.30 - 4.30p.m. Admission 2.

February 10th, Friday


February 14th, Tuesday


February 15th, Wednesday

The BOOK CLUB meets at 7.30p.m. at the Cotswold Centre, JANE AUSTEN NIGHT, discuss any book by this writer.

February 16th, Thursday

CARERS meet at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10a.m. - 12 noon.
CARERS meet at Lawrence Weston at Ridingleaze House 2p.m. - 4p.m.

February 19th, Sunday

SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre led by St. Mary's Church 4.15 - 5.30p.m.

February 20th, Monday

LOCAL HISTORY GROUP meets in the Library at 2p.m.

February 21st, Tuesday

St. Andrew's LADIES CLUB meets at St. Andrew's Church Hall at 7.30p.m. "Camera Club" with Peter Ruck.
P.B.A. PENSIONERS meet at the Club House in Nibley Road 1.30 - 2.30p.m.

February 22nd, Wednesday

SHIRE STITCHERS meet at the Public Hall at 7.30p.m.

February 23rd, Thursday

TEA DANCE at the Public Hall 2.30 - 4.30p.m. Amission 2. John Hutton playing.

February 24th, Friday

SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre 7.30 - 10p.m.



Would Ed White of Plympton, whose letter was published in the September issue of 'Shire', please let us have his address as we have a letter for him from one of our readers. 'Shire', The Library, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TU.

Bristol Shiplovers' Society

Founded 1931. Headquarters. Holy Trinity Curch Hall, Hotwells Road, Bristol.

Enquiries: Secretary - Lt. Cdr. FD Tolfree RD RNR (0117 986 3669)


Talks and /or Slide Shows - 2006 Subject - Speaker

19th Jan "Tankers" - Video - Commentary Capt. J.A. Scott.
2nd Feb "Salvage Operations" - Capt. John Nixon, Salvage Consultant.
16th Feb "From Lisbon to Buenos Aires and points in between" Video - Alec Le Bas.
2nd Mar "The Royal Australian Navy" - Capt. M>P. Folkes, R.A.N. Naval Advisor, Australia House.
16th Mar "The Yangtse Incident" - Lt. Cdr. G.J. Shore R.N.
6th Apr "Scale Model Pilot Vessels and Others" - Mike Mahew, Modeller

Visitors Very Welcome - 2.00 per head. All meetings commence at 7p.m. for 7.30p.m. Membership: Open to all with an interest in ships and the sea.

Thank you for your kind donation to Shire. Editor.