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What's on in April

Bristol's Rubbish Revolution

St Mary's News

Council Closes Housing Office

Photograph and Plaque

Letters to the Editor

Golf Club's New Captain

New life in Spring-time

Spring has dragged its feet a bit this year, but just as SHIRE is about to go to press it's beginning to step out with a more confident stride. The wind has swung round from the frigid north and east to the balmy south and west, it's warming up - and new life, which is what Easter is all about, is suddenly beginning to erupt around us.

Wonderful!  Bravely showing the way, even before this welcome change in temperature, is this sheep at Lawrence Weston Community Farm in Saltmarsh Drive. It has given birth to two lambs, amidst much excitement. The photo gives us the privilege of peeking at the magic moment immediately after birth.  Radio Bristol has been running a competition to name the lambs. At the time of going to print, we don't know the result.  The Farm is sure to be a popular place for Shire families this Easter. Alex Willis, Farm co-ordinator says: 'We have two new lambs at the farm. There are more on the way so please come along to the farm and see them. They are beautiful.'

The Farm also has a special Easter event for all children: the Easter Crafty Club. This includes:

  • April 4: 10am and 1.30pm Batik Workshop
  • April 6: 10am Paint a Pot
  • April 7: 10am and 1.30pm Felting & Weaving
  • April 11th: 10am Paint a Pot
  • April 12th: 10am Mask Making
  • April 14th: 10am and 1pm Cow, Birds and Duck Painting

The cost is £3.00 per workshop payable in advance. To book telephone 0117 938 1128.

Churches walk together

On Good Friday, a day which is at the heart of all Christian denominations, the four Shirehampton Churches will be making a Procession of Witness around the village.  Beginning at Shirehampton Green at 10am, the group will walk to the Methodist Church, then on to St Mary's where there will be Hot Cross Buns and a drink, then on to St Bernard's followed by the Baptist Church and finally back to the Green.  The group will grow along the way as people join at the various churches.  At the stopping points there will be a hymn, reading and prayer.  Everyone, whether a member of one of the churches or not, is welcome to join the walk at any point.

What's on in April

April 1st Saturday

Coffee Morning and Bring and Buy at the Methodist Church Hall 10 am-12 noon

April 2nd Sunday

   Cotswold Church Service (led by the Baptist Church) Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45 pm-5.30 pm

April 3rd Monday

See and Know for Under 5s at St Mary's weekly 1.15 pm-2.45pm
3 of Us Bingo St Andrew's Church Church Hall Weekly 1.45-2.45 pm
Keep Fit weekly at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30-8.30 pm
Basic Literary Skills Course at Lawrence Weston weekly - Tel 0117 9138824 for details
Kyoto Shotokan Karate club trains at St Bernard's Primary School 6.30-8.30 pm

April 4th Tuesday

Tea Junction at St Mary's weekly 2pm: tea, chat, board games
Crafty Group at St Mary's 2-3.30 pm every Tuesday
Bingo or a Speaker at the Tythe Barn, High Street, weekly at 2 pm
St Andrew's Ladies Club at 7.30 pm at St Andrew's Church Hall Avonmouth. Talk by Cedric Platt "Another Fine Mess"
Shirehampton Model Railway weekly at Public Hall 7.30 pm

April 5th Wednesday

Bright Hour (Women's Fellowship) at Baptist Church 2.30 pm
A.U.S. Advice Sessions every Wednesday & Thursday 9.30-11 am at 115 High Street
Acta Community Youth THEATRE for 11-16 year olds weekly at the Public Hall 5-6.30 pm

April 6th Thursday

Tea Dance at the Public Hall 2.30-4.30 pm. Admission £2 includes tea & biscuits
Townswomen's Guild 2-4 pm at the Methodist Church Hall 2-4 pm. Talk "Fire in the Hoe" by David Hayward
Slimming World every Thursday 5.30 pm and 7.00 pm at Jim O'Neil House
Bingo or a speaker at Tythe Barn 2 pmGrainger Players Drama Club at the Public Hall 7.30-9.30 pm
Kyoto Shotokan Karate Club trains at Avonmouth RFC 6.30-8.30 pm

April 7th Friday

Coffee Morning at the Library 10 am-12 noon
Friday Fun weekly for Parents, Carers and Pre-School children 9.30-11 am at Beachley Walk Centre
Evergreens every week at the Public Hall 2-4 pmBingo at the Public Hall weekly starting at 6.30 pm

April 8th Saturday

Stamp & Post Card Fair at the Public Hall 10am - 4 pm

April 11th Tuesday

Police Bobby Van monthly visit to Shirehampton Green
Evergreens Outing to Wells and Clarks Village

April 12th Wednesday

Cotswold Book Club 7.30 pm. "Small Island" by Angela Levi - phone 982 8683 for venue

April 14th Good Friday

The Library will closed: open again Wednesday 19th April
United Churches Procession of Witness: meet at 10am on Shirehampton Green

April 16th Easter Sunday

See list of church services elsewhere in Shire
No Cotswold service

April 17th Easter Monday

Easter Parade at Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 11 am. £1.50 per family

April 18th

Term 5 begins for all local schools
St Andrew's Ladies Club at 7.30 pm at St Andrew's Church Hall Avonmouth. Talk on "Tips, Wrinkles and Gadgets"

April 19th Wednesday

Shire Stitchers meet 7.30 pm in the Public Hall
PBA Pensioners meet at the Club House, Nibley Road 1.30-3 pm

April 20th Thursday

Tea Dance at the Public Hall 2.30-4.30 pm. Admission £2 includes tea & biscuit
Carers' Group meets at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10 am-12 noon
Carers' Group meets at Ridingleaze House, Lawrence Weston 2 pm

April 24th Monday

Shirehampton Local History Group meets in the Library 2.30 pm

April 28th Friday

Sequence Dance at the Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road 7.30-10 pm
Additional Local Activities
Playgroup at the Public Hall every week Monday-Friday 9.15-11.45 am; Mondays and Wednesdays only 12.30-2.45 pm
Kids Klub at St Mary's 8.30-9.30 am most Sundays. Breakfast and a short service. For information ring 0117 9077026
Kick Boxing at the Public Hall every Thursday 5.15-7.15 pm
Pillowlace Group every Friday at Public Hall 7-9 pmIf your club or society would like its meetings included in "What's On", please let us know via the Library, preferably by the 10th of the month, and we will do our best to print the information.

Activities at the Public Hall

  • Station Road Playgroup term time only Mon-Fri 9.15-11 am; Mon & Weds only 12.30-2.45 pm
  • Karate Club Tuesdays 7-9 pmActa Youth Centre Wednesdays 5-6.30 pm
  • Shire Stitchers Group Monthly, 3rd Wednesday 7-9 pm
  • Kick Boxing Thursdays 5.15-7.15 pmEvergreens Club Fridays 2-4 pm
  • Pillowlace Group Fridays 7-9 pm
  • Twyford Art Club Monday & Wednesday 9.30-11.30 am; Thursdays 7-9 pm
  • Women's Fellowship 2nd & 4th Wednesday 7.30-9.30 pm
  • Model Railway Club Wednesdays 7.30-9.30 pm
  • Grainger Players 7.30-9.30 pm
  • Bingo Club 6.30-8.30 pm
  • Tea Dances Fortnightly Thursdays 2.30-4.30 pm
  • For details of all the above activities contact the Administrator at the Hall on 9829963
  • Vickie Hall School of Dance Mondays 4-8 pm. Tel 01275 818197
  • City of Bristol Basic Skills Classes - FREE: improve your English; Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Help with Maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 3112 5530

Shire Stitchers' Guild

DATES 2006:Wednesdays unless otherwise stated19 April, 17 May, 21 June, 19 July, 16 August, 20 September, 18 October, 15 November, Saturday 16 December, 17 January 2007

Scout Coffee morning

On Saturday February 11th, the 191st St. Mary's Scout Troop held a Coffee and Cake morning at the Headquarters in St. Mary's Road.  The Group would like to thank everyone for making it such a successful event, £80 was raised towards replacing the tents. The Group is planning another similar event later in the Spring when the Shire Tea Gardens will be open - SO WATCH THIS SPACE

Grant Watkins - Scout Leader

Safe Driving for Life

On Sunday the 5th February, a fun day was held at Avonmouth Rugby Club in conjunction with Trio Driving School.  Fully qualified instructors accompanied children between 12 and 16 to give them the chance to drive a car around a makeshift road circuit, allowing them to understand the early parts of driving.  The day was well received by the parents and the young drivers alike.

Trio Driving School would like to thank Paul Sollers and Avonmouth Rugby Club for their help, co-operation and for the use of their Car Park.  A fee of £2 per head was charged and refreshments were available to try to raise some money for the Junior Section of the Club.  We will be looking to run one of these Fun Days every month again to try to make youngsters aware of the importance of "Safe Driving" and to try to raise a small amount to help the Juniors of the Rugby Club.

Everybody is welcome to attend our future Fun Days.  For more information call either Paul Sollers 0117 982 9093 at the Rugby Club or Gary Taylor on 0800 783 3589

Primary Care Centre Boost for Shirehampton

Work on planning an 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 over the next few weeks we are hoping to sign the contract with the company who will build the centre.

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 July 2006.The temporary accommodation will be high quality, but it is 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 12months to complete and we hope that the new centre will be open by September 2007.During the building work we will keep you informed of progress. There will be opportunities for you to express your views and allow us to address your concerns about any aspect of the construction process or services.

Join our public involvement groupWe 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. Telephone: 0117 900 3407; email:jude.carey@bristolnorth-pct.nhs.uk

Do you have regular repeat medication from your doctor?

Is your medication condition stable?If your answer is YES to both of the above, then you may be eligible to start a new system called Batch Repeat Prescribing. Your prescription will be issued for a pre-determined length of time and you just need to go to your designated pharmacy to collect it. Not only does this reduce the workload at the surgery but also saves time for you. Boots and Lloyds in Shirehampton and the Avonmouth Pharmacy have all agreed to be involved in this new system.

If you think you may be interested in this, please contact your surgery (avoiding first thing in the morning) and ask to speak to the prescription clerk who will be happy to provide you with further details.

  • Shirehampton Group Practice (Dr Taylor & Partners) 0117 916 2226 Option 3
  • Dr Sharples at Shirehampton Health Centre 0117 916 2219
  • Avonmouth Medical Centre   0117 982 4322

Our apologies to the Health Centre that when we gave this information last month it was headed 'Do you have regular repeat MEDITATION from your doctor?' Must have something to do with the Health Centre taking over St Mary's Hall for their extension. - Ed.

Postage Increases

On April 3rd a first class stamp will be 32 pence and a second class stamp will be 23 pence. In August a further charge is envisaged when the post will be charged by its size as well as its weight.

The Wreck Lines

Penned by Chris Davis of Lower Shirehampton, 8th December 1870 for six pence, given him by his brother William, who doubtless put it to a suitable purpose.

Sailors surely will remember   
The eighth evening of December
The hurricane's resistless might   
Gave many a watery grave that night.

Amid the tempests awful roar   
A little craft was blown ashore
That fearful night with little hopes   
The crew was driven to the ropes

While yet the angry billows roar   
All safe at last they reach the shore
At Avonmouth  hard times they found   
Just off the Rifle Practice Ground

At a farm house that stands close by   
They shelter for the night apply
The farmer comes, unbars the door   
And at the crew began to roar

He nobly offers them his barn
Straw for a bed to keep them warm
A cup of cider cold as ice   
He thought they had good appetites

A sovereign for a cup of tea   
By those poor sailors of the sea
Was offered him but all in vain -   
The old chap's off to bed again!

I did not think throughout the Marsh   
To find a farmer half so harsh
Sorry to say there had been found   
Such an old chap on England's ground

No doubt you'd like to know his name   
But it is wiser hiding shame
So, as it is, do let it be   
No more at present from me

Another house they chanced to find   
Where they were treated more than kind
They're taken in and gladly share   
Their benefactor's homely fare

Lifeboat to the Rescue

Captain Hamish Grant writes:  Kevin McGlone, the landlord of the 'Lifeboat Inn' on Shirehampton High Street has kindly offered the large steering wheel from the schooner 'William Ashburner' which ran aground on Chapel Rock in 1950 on a permanent loan to the Merchant Navy Association's Heritage Museum at Dock Cottage.

The Association has coveted it for some time because of its local interest, so it should be the centre of attention, along with the foghorn and smoke helmet bellows which we believe came from the same vessel. The bar in the lounge of the 'Lifeboat' was modelled on the lifeboat from the Bristol Steam Navigation ship 'Echo' which plied the waters of the Bristol Channel for many years.

Jean is voted the best ...

In the first ever Bristol Community Newsletter Awards for Excellence, Jean Archer, who chairs the Shire Committee, was chosen by the judges as 'Best Volunteer'.  She had impressed the judges with the length of consistent service she has given our newspaper.  Jean was presented with her prize at a ceremony at the Central Library on February 28th, in front of representatives of all nineteen community papers that had entered.

Jean Archer receives her 'Bst Volunteer' award from local broadcaster Richard Wyatt

Shire entered five of the eight categories, but Jean's prize was our sole award.  From a perusal of the news letters and papers, which had been on public display at the library for the previous fortnight, it was plain that the universally high standard gave the judges a difficult choice and every one of the entrants was commended at the ceremony.  If the event is run again next year, then, who knows?

It may well be that the article you write, or the picture that you take will clinch another newspaper "Oscar" for us.

All the winners of the Bristol Community Newsletter awards

Better Late Than Never- Jean's report on an exciting night out

To start with, I was late getting out to the Central Library for the Bristol Community Newsletter Awards.After a bit of a tussle with a parking meter, which took my money and was reluctant to issue my ticket, I arrived to find the place swarming with police cars and policemen. Just wondered whether some notable personality was present (Jean, there was - you!  Editor) or perhaps a bomb scare. Neither was the case - just a fire alarm had gone off, though I couldn't see or smell smoke; probably a false alarm.Rushed through the library to the coffee shop at the far end and met Brian Blandford, who said we had got the wrong time, and it was all over by 7pm, not starting then as we supposed.Suddenly, out of the blue there was this man from TV's Points West saying I had got an award - a lovely Bristol Blue Glass paper weight (known in our family as a 'sticky foot') and a certificate because I was the longest serving volunteer. You could have knocked me down with a feather. And I thought of all the people who had made it possible, readers and traders especially.It was interesting to look at the other newsletters in the contest. We seemed to be the longest-running and the only independent publication. Most of the others were subsidised by short-term grants. Some were very colourful and we looked at them a bit enviously. Who knows, perhaps one day we might be able to afford colour, and better quality paper. However, survival is the name of the game - or should we say, living within our budget!What a boost to morale: a paperweight and a certificate'.Jean Archer* All the winners of the Bristol Community Newsletter awards

School Terms

Term 5 April 18th - Friday May 26th
Term 6  Monday June 5th - Tuesday 25th July

In view of the present rule that parents could be fined for taking  their children on holiday during school term time, perhaps parents will find the above dates of school terms useful.

Another Mouthful of Memories

A reprint of 'Another Mouthful of Memories' - an oral history of Avonmouth is now available at £10 a copy. For details call Judy on 0117 983 8249 (office hours) or Sue on 0117 982 2606.

The National Smelting Co. Amateur Boxing Club (NSC ABC)

Has seen a big rise in membership over the last few months.  Club Coach Garry Cave said, "We've been inundated with new beginners wishing to take up boxing, Some nights we've seen as many as 40 training down the gym.  The club has outgrown its gym, which is a small wooden hut, based at the King George's Trust Playing Fields.  We've had so many turning up, we've had to split them into two groups, one out running with me over the Avonmouth Bridge in all weathers, whilst Chris Moon, our Assistant Coach, puts them through their paces in the gym.

What's really needed is a bigger Gym with two Boxing Rings, it would be a real shame if we couldn't expand, the kids have less and less to do around here with the closing of the Sports Centre, no swimming pool and now Bob's Gym has gone.  You hear all the time about youngsters getting into trouble, messing about with drink and drugs, but if facilities keep shutting down, things are just going to get worse.  We keep these kids off the streets three  nights a week and help stop them getting into trouble, but we're going to have to start turning some away if we can't get a bigger place soon.

We've tried for a lottery grant for a new bigger gym on top of the Avonmouth Rugby Club's extension but all we got was a rejection letter.  Sometimes I feel we're in the wrong area to get any help. Avonmouth Rugby Club has been brilliant with us: when we did not have anywhere to go they offered us the chance to base ourselves here.  Paul Sollas has been a real diamond at helping us out, they've even approached the RFU on our behalf for help with our new gym plans.

We're not a rich club and all the money raised gets spent on kitting out the Boxers and taking them away to shows.  We've had 54 bouts so far this season, winning 29, and travelled all across England and Wales for bouts. We only charge £2 per week for three two hour sessions.  We supply all their kit and equipment, pay for their travel and we even took them away on a Boxing Training Camp, all paid for out of the subs and the money raised from the 5 boxing shows we host a year.

We've tried all sorts of things to get a bigger place.  We even looked into renting an industrial unit, but we couldn't afford one. We could open up more nights, but Chris and me are already run ragged with the coaching at the gym and all the shows we travel to.  If we had a couple of more coaches that would be a big help, but it's a massive commitment, with no pay and you need a very understanding partner when you're out most nights till all hours driving back from shows.  I don't know how our wives put up with it.  I hope something happens soon because I'd hate to think we missed coaching the next Ricky Hatton or Amir Kahn because we were too packed out.

"If you would like to help out the NSC in some way then please contact Club Coach Garry Cave on 01454 898 549.  The NSC host two more shows this season at Manor Farm, both Thursdays, the 9th March and the 6th April.

Bristol's Rubbish Revolution

Bristol City Council today released information about the new weekly kitchen, garden and cardboard waste kerbside collection services due to be introduced across the city in the summer. The services will be available to all households that receive the black box kerbside collection service.

The new services will help residents recycle more - saving them from the increased taxes that will be imposed by the Government on Bristol if it keeps on burying waste in environmentally-damaging landfill sites at current levels.

The new services will include

  • Free weekly kitchen (food) waste collections
  • Each household will be provided with a large 'animal-proof' food waste bin to be kept outside their home. This will store raw and cooked food waste and be emptied by the Council's contractors every week.
  • Householders will also receive a handy 5-litre kitchen caddy to keep in the house to collect any waste before transferring it to the new outside bin..
  • Free weekly cardboard collections. Most types of cardboard will be able to be put out next to the food waste bin for collection..
  • Weekly garden waste collections

Bristol resident holding kitchen caddy in front of green and black bin, black box and kerbside caddy

For a small annual charge of approximately £29, householders can enjoy a weekly garden waste collection for their grass, cuttings, leaves, twigs and weeds. Everyone who wants to benefit from this service will require a green wheelie bin from the Council which will cost approximately £21.

People wanting to make their own compost can also buy a compost bin at a reduced rate and obtain free advice from the Council. Alternatively, garden waste can be taken to the city's main recycling centres at Kings Weston Lane, Avonmouth and Days Road, St. Philips - which will be open longer hours later this year, including all day on Saturday and Sunday.

When the new services are introduced, residents' collections from their black wheelie bins will change from weekly to fortnightly. Surveys reveal that 77% of doorstep waste can be recycled and does not need to be put into black wheelie bins and then onto landfill. If residents use the new and existing services properly, there will be a dramatic drop in the amount of rubbish in black wheelie bins - and a massive increase in recycling and composting.

All kitchen, garden and cardboard waste collected through these new services will be taken to an 'in-vessel' composter that mechanically mixes and aerates the waste until it has rotted down. The compost will then be made available for horticultural use.

Councillor Gary Hopkins, Executive Member for Sustainable Environment and Neighbourhoods, said "The message is there are new services on the way, but people should be acting now. We still need more people to use their black box. There's still a wide range of items that can be recycled through this scheme and I would remind everyone to use it and if they still haven't got one, order it today!"To order your black box, call Customer Services on 0117 922 3838. For more information about reducing waste, recycling and composting go to www..bristol-city.gov.uk/recycling or telephone 0117 922 3838.

St Mary's News

Hi Folks! At last Easter approaches, fresh Spring green appearing on the trees and hedgerows, Daffodils and everything coming back into life after the cold weather of Winter. It is almost like a new beginning!Well, before  I go into futher raptures about the arrival of Spring I must go back and tell you what went on at St Mary's in February. Canon Christine, Jill Eynon and John Bull and myself on St. Valentines Day attended St. Mary Redcliffe Church for the Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Vergers and Lunch.

This was preceded by a service of Holy Communion conducted by Canon Christine. We sat in the Choir Stalls and were fortunate to have an Organist to play the hymns for us. What a wonderful instrument this is! I shouldn't like to have to pay the bill for the overhaul of an organ that size - ours is costing us an arm and a leg. It was an enjoyable service and great to meet old friends who had come from South Wales and the former Avon area after the A.G.M. was over.

The Lent Quiet Day at Trinity College, Stoke Bishop was enjoyed by everyone and the Leader - Stuart Taylor gave the candidates very much to think about.The Bristol Male Voice Concert was an absolute treat - and dare I say it - on a par with any Welsh Male Voice Choir. There was a large attendance to enjoy their variety of singing which included Classical, Opera, Music from the Shows and Religious pieces of music too. We have now had an approach from the female equivalent - the Bristol Ladies Choir - so watch this space in the future.

On the 25th February our Verger - John Bull - married Doreen Green in a quiet family ceremony at St Mary's. We wish them both every happiness and that they will love each other for "heifer and heifer"!!! Amen!On Shrove Tuesday pancakes were served in the Church followed by Pancake Races on the church path in the Churchyard. Winner of the Adult Races were Roger Derrick, Doreen Bull and Helen Raybould.

Taking part in the Childrens' Races were Asa and Thea Schuman and Danny Eynon. There was also a Lent Quiz in which people were invited to participate. All received their prizes from Canon Christine the following Sunday at the morning Communion Service. At the same time prizes were also presented to the Winners of the Lent Quiz. Winners on that occasion were - Duncan Jennings, Pam Handford and Betty Tite.

The following day was of course Ash Wednesday. In the evening we held a service of Holy Communion followed by a simple supper which was enjoyed by 64 people and prepared yet again by Gill Sawyer.The Womens World Day of Prayer was held in the Methodist Church and was very well attended - the Service having been devised by The Women of South Africa.Well, now onto some news for the month of April!

The 1st April will be special for two members of our congregation -  Joan and Pat Comer who will be celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary. We offer them both our hearty congratulations and wish them many further years of happiness together. We ll done Pat - 30 years in the Port Authority Police has obviously hardened you up enduring those in-shore sea breezes because you look remarkably fit and well - or is it really due to Joans's tender loving care!!!

As Easter approaches I had better tell you what will be going on at St Mary's. On Palm Sunday we shall have our usual Holy Communion service at 10 am but at 8.30 pm and on each evening up until the Wednesday a short service of Compline will be said. You are invited to come and take part in this very quiet and reflective act of devotion.

On Maundy Thursday at 10.30 am there is a service at Bristol Cathedral for the Blessing of the Oils which many of our congregation have attended in the past. All are of course welcome at this service. This will be followed by a service at St. Mary's at 6.30 pm - a Holy Communion plus the washing of feet (optional!). This service will also be followed by a Supper. If you attend this Service and the Supper would you please put you name on the list at the back of the church in order to assist Gill Sawyer with the catering. Thank you!

The next day - Good Friday - there will be a Family Service around the Cross at 10 am and at 1pm a further service referred to a The Stations of the Cross. This will immediately precede the singing of St Luke's Passion by the Shirehampton Area Choir at 2 pm.On Easter Day there will be a Sunrise Service at 7 am on Shirehampton Park followed by Breakfast at Shirehampton Cricket Club - courtesy of Maureen and Don Geddes.

This will be followed by our Easter Day Holy Communion Service at 10 am.On Sunday 30th April after a short service of Evening Prayer we shall be holding our Annual Parish Church Meeting when members are elected to form the new Parochial Church Council. They will be responsible for running the church affairs for the next 12 months. This is an opportunity for you to elect those members you want to serve your church.

The very next day is the May Day Bank Holiday. This will be an Open Church Day from 12 noon until 5pm when Lunches and Cream Teas will be served at very reasonable prices. A good chance to meet your friends at St. Mary's and enjoy our hospitality - we shall be pleased to see you!Finally, I have some very good news to tell you. We have been given a bequest from the late Irene Thackeray's estate.

It was quite a large sum of money and we thought it would be a wonderful idea to purchase a silver-gilt Ciborium in her memory for use at our Communion Services. This would then match the silver-gilt Chalice we use every Sunday.Well, that's it for this month!

Bye for now, C.M.E.

Portway School's New Head

Portway School has a new Head Teacher, David Hebden.  Mr. Hebden was born and educated in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.  He attended the local comprehensive school and went on to Birmingham University to read music. After graduating, he decided to reject an offer from the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and after trying his hand as a Level Crossing Keeper and Hospital Porter, he went into teaching.

He has taught in Guildford, Didcot, King's Lynn, Rochester,  Walton on Thames, Coventry and Derby before joining Portway School in mid-January. Over the years, he kept his musical interests, originally as a performer, but later as a conductor.  He co-founded the Musical Youth Company of Oxford and has conducted over 70 musicals and operas in a wide variety of theatries, as well as abroad and on radio.

His interest in Music Hall resulted in him producing a show at the Edinburgh Festival and he once appeared as Vasek in the opera "The Bartered Bride" conducted by Fraser Goulding, ex-Head of Music from Portway.Portway School will be Mr. Hebden's fourth Headship.  His other three were all schools in difficulties which are now flourishing.

He has moved house to North Somerset and says he is thoroughly enjoying working with staff and students at the school, who have made him very welcome.  He says everyone at Portway wants to make it the first choice school for local facilities and he can see no reason why it can't be done.

Charity Search News

Hopefully by the time this is printed we will have our shop open again. Thank you to customers and volunteers for your continued support.Leon at the Lamplighters is very kindly holding a RACE NIGHT for us on Friday 21st April.All are welcome; if you haven't been before, come along and join us. It's a fun night out - 8 till late.

Lorraine & Mary

Thank you for your kind donation to Shire funds - Editor

Council Closes Housing Office

The City Council's Housing Office in Meadow Grove closed on 17 March.  This follows the recent closure of other council-owned facilities in Shirehampton, including the Swimming Pool and Robin Cousins Sports Centre.

A council statement said:The council has clear plans to modernise the housing service following a 2005 decision by tenants for homes to remain owned and managed by the council.In order to honour this commitment to tenants the council has to make ten per cent savings in the cost of runing day-to-day housing services in the region of £1.9 million.

The plans, which include replacing 15 housing offices with eight customer services points, are based on a review which found that:- many offices are underused - staff are expected to be knowledgeable about too wide a range of subjects - rent is not often paid at the office as there are so many more convenient ways to pay, including on-line and at pay points- many expensive services are being offered by all 15 offices.

These could be delivered by central or wider area teams and still comfortably meet demand.The council is confident that it can save money AND improve the service by:- organising existing staff - trained housing officers - into specialist teams for professional advice and services according to their experience and strengths- introducing a professionally staffed central telephone service for repairs and, at a later date, for other housing issues- introducing an estate management service to deal with neighbourhood issues such as nuisance, anti-social behaviour and abandoned cars, with back up from specialist central teams- introducing more online facilities, more text facilities and making the most of new technology such as wireless broadband and e-mail to keep teams out where they are needed- increasing home visits.

The nearest Customer Services Point for Shirehampton residents will be located at Ridingleaze in Lawrence Weston.  Here you will be able to talk face-to-face to council officers.For more information please call 0117 9224973 or have a look at the council's website on www.bristol-city.gov.uk/housing

Guided Walks in Shirehampton and Avonmouth

In June there are going to be two guided walks. The first '"Shire" is lush' on Wednesday June 21st, 10am-11.30am and the second 'Down the Mouth' in Avonmouth the following Wednesday, June 28th. Admission to each walk is £5 per person. To quote from the booklet about Shirehampton - "A visit to this ancient village on the Avon's banks.

See remains of a Benedictine Abbey - including a mediaeval tithe barn, 17th and 18th century houses, Bristol's own garden suburb and a public hall built by the last squire of Kings Weston estate. Refreshments optional (£1) extra will be served at St Mary's Church afterwards. Details and application forms available from the Library."Both walks will be led by Dr Sarah Whittingham, an independent architectural historian.

She lectures on architectural history at the Unviersity of Bristol, gives lectures for various organisations and regularly leads popular tours of university buildings and other parts of the city. Sarah has recently gained her PhD from Bristol University. She is a Bristolian, having been born and bred in West Dene, Stoke Bishop and is the younger daughter of Stanley Whittingham who used to be at the smelting works at Avonmouth.

Sarah has written extensively on university buildings and Victorian and Edwardian architects. Currently she is writing a book on Sir George Oatley, one of Bristol's most important architects, which will be published this year by the Redcliffe Press.

New Shirehampton WI - New Opportunities: For You

Did you miss our last meeting? Then put this date in your diary now:Tuesday 25th April. 2pm till 4pmShirehampton Public Hall, Station Road.The WI is open to women of all ages, and alongside the monthly meetings (which have speakers, demonstations and social time), there are also opportunities to further your knowledge, interests and skills. It needn't be just in craft or cookery. How about sport and leisure, music and the arts, or the environment and campaigning? You could even take a course at the WI's own college.

Forthcoming events within the Avon Federation area include: an afternoon of Country Dances; talks on Buttons and the History of the old colour-works in Wick; a Silk Ribbon Embroidery day school and a Murder Mystery Evening. There are also regular walks and various Federation competitions for those interested in Quizzes, skittles, darts etc.

Although the WI is non party-political and non-sectarian, the organisation has a long history of campaigning. Current campaigns include:Children's Diets, Care of our Environment, Chemicals and Health and Farmgate Milk Prices.So, whether you want to take part in a little or a lot, there is something for you at the WI.

For more information, please contact our Avon Federation office: Tel 0117 9864782 or browse our websites: at www.womens-institute.co.uk and www.avonfwi.org.uk.  And remember that date! We look forward to seeing you.

Looking For a Venue?

Cotswold Community Centre in Dursley Road, Shirehampton, is an ideal small hall (maximum capacity 90 seated) with kitchen facilities, suitable for a variety of events, social, educational, or recreational. At the moment it is underused, and it may be there is a group out there just waiting for the kind of facility we can offer.For example, because of personal involvement, I have met a number of people who have problems with their hearing that can make belonging to ordinary organisations difficult, so why not form a club of your own?

It doesn't have to be called a "Hard of Hearing Club": give it a name of your choosing, and decide what activities you would like to take place in it, e.g., lip-reading class, card games, bridge or any other game. You might like to meet just to talk about your own experience of how hearing-loss affects your life.I would be willing to help start the club. But I would want to hand over to a club leader from the group itself once it was up and running. I was once a social worker with deaf people and have a daughter who is profoundly deaf.

Other activities could benefit from the Cotswold facilities such as a yoga club or a Mother & Toddler group. But there has to be some one ready to run these activites.Of course, the hall is also available for one-off events, such as birthday parties.

If you are interested in these or any other possible activities at the Cotswold Community Centre, please ring Irene Miller on 0117 9828683.There is an hourly charge for use of the hall.

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Saturday May 6th 10.00 a.m.-noon "MAY FAYRE" Refreshments Various Stalls includes "Collectables Stall"ALL WELCOMEShirehampton Pool.

Photograph and Plaque

Just before Shirehampton Pool closed I was asked by Ruth Portingale to help rescue a group  photograph taken on the day of the opening in 1935 and the plaque that was inside on the wall by the pool. Ruth, along with many other residents of Shirehampton, were concerned that if they were not removed before the closure, the building would be demolished, the items would be lost and some part of history for the village again would disappear.

I first went to see the staff, they were just as concerned and thought the photograph and the plaque should be removed and keep somewhere safe. My suggestion to everyone concerned was, I should take the photograph, I would have it copied, and the original I would give to the Bristol Records' Office. The copy to be placed in the original frame, the plaque removed, and both items taken to the Library.

This has been achieved.The photograph is in the Library for all to see and a copy has been given to Ralph Hack. I would like to thank the staff at the pool; Martin Webb, Facilities Manager for Shirehampton Pool; Cynthia Martin, Assistant Library Manager for Bristol North; Geoff Williams, Property Services; Alan Cossy for the copy of the photograph; Shirehampton Studio for the new mount for the frame; and Art Original who replaced the back and the hanging cord of the frame.

Without their help I could not have achieved this.The plaque is safe in the library staff room. Ruth and I would like it eventually to be returned to the site and secured to a wall of the new construction, whatever that might be. We will just have to wait and see.

Marilyn GorryShirehampton Library

The photo can be seen at the library, together with identification of those pictured.

Father Christmas Memories

By Angela Thompson Smith.  This may sound irreverent but I remember Christmas at Shirehampton Baptist Church not for the Christmas services but for the appearance of Father Christmas.

On the day of the Sunday School Christmas Party Mum would pick out small china plates, bowls, and spoons for Alan and me. According to instructions, sent home the previous Sunday, she would attach a piece of coloured wool onto each piece so that we would bring the same ones home! We dressed in our winter Sunday clothes which for me were a tartan plaid dress with a home-knit wool cardigan. Alan wore short trousers, even in winter, with long socks up to his knees and a warm woolly sweater, that had been knitted by Mum. We knew that there would be an afternoon feast waiting for us at the Sunday School.

The party was held in the old, tar paper and plywood Sunday School hut, at the back of the Baptist Church, on Station Road. It was heated by a black pot-bellied, coal burning stove that seemed huge to me as a child. Cradle Roll posters and pictures of Christ knocking at the door, holding a lantern, decorated the walls.

Before the Christmas Party began, we played games: Orange and Lemons, ring a ring o' roses and The farmer's in the dell. This not only sharpened our appetites but burned off a lot of energy, so, that by the time we sat at the folding tables, we were relatively quiet and ready to eat. What a feast! Jelly and blancmange, custards, cakes and puddings all made by the mums and church staff. There was milky, sweet tea, as well as a watery orange drink. We ate as if we hadn't eaten for months, although our mums had given us a good dinner before we left home.

Next came the part that I liked. A Christmas tree sat in one corner of the room and we were all shepherded to sit cross legged on the wood floor and listen to a story while the adults cleared away the party debris. The older kids were drafted in too, to help sweep the floor and take down the tables. It was getting quite dark by now as the afternoon wore on. Then, a hush came over the room as the lights were dimmed. We all sat cross legged around the Christmas tree and were told to listen! We were listening for Father Christmas' bell. At first there was nothing and a few of us started to fidget. I was never good at sitting. Then . . . ting, ting, ting!

Seemingly coming from a long way away came the sound of a hand bell. We gasped and whispered to each other. "He's coming!" The ringing came closer and closer and one of the mums would get up and open the door. In a rush of cold air in came, Father Christmas with a large sack over his shoulder.I remember the magical feeling that would come over me: a bit scared as this large man entered with a hearty "Ho, ho, ho" and anticipation of what he would bring me! Father Christmas would stride to a chair, put out for him by one of the staff who acted deferentially, as if he really was Father Christmas."

Sit here, Father Christmas, so all the children can see you."One by one our names were read out and we all received a present. He asked us if we had been good, which of course we said we had. Who was going to risk not getting a present? I often wondered who paid for all the gifts as we all got something nice: a painting set, a colouring book, or a game.

When all the presents had been given out. Father Christmas would explain that he still had a lot of work to do and had to be going. With another "Ho, ho, ho" and another draft of cold air, he was gone. The lights came on, we got our coats and scarves and party plates and the little ones started looking for their mums and dads who were coming to get them. We were often  given sweets to take home with us. Alan and I usually walked home, back to Meadow Grove, glowing and full with Christmas happiness, jelly, pudding and cake.

Please help us to save Portway Swimming Club!

Do you have children between the ages of five and fifteen, with plenty of energy, but not much to do? Then why not bring them along to use up some of their energy in learning a skill which could, literally, save their lives?

Portway Swimming Club enjoys exclusive use of the super new swimming pool at Henbury Leisure Centre on Tuesday and Friday evenings, and we are looking for more young swimmers to swell our ranks. We also need volunteer lifeguards and teachers, so are appealing to readers of The Shire to help us keep local youngsters active and happy.

Portway Swimming Club has been in existence for many years, keeping the youngsters of Shirehampton and the surrounding areas fit and occupied and teaching them a skill for life. Some of our swimmers are the children - even grandchildren - of former members. Through the years the Club has had its ups and downs, but this Spring sees us at crisis point. With the closure of the old Shirehampton and Henbury Pools last summer we lost a significant number of our swimmers. This was because we could not let people know when the autumn term would start, where they would be swimming or at what time the sessions would be held.

We now swim at the new Henbury Leisure Centre Pool and would be very happy to welcome more young swimmers to join us. From the five-year-old who can just about swim ten metres to the fifteen-year-old who swims well, but who would like to improve on technique, we have graded classes to suit. Our termly fees are similar to those for a ten-week course of swimming lessons run by the loca authority, but our sessions last between 40-60 minutes each, depending on the skill and strength of each group, Swimmers are welcome to come along for a 'taster' session, to see if they'd like to join our friendly group of youngsters. Contact Sara Dutson on 07836 665 935 for futher details or come along on a Friday night, at 7.30pm and have a swim.

We desperately need more adult help during our training sessions. If you hold a swimming teacher's certificate and have an evening or two free each week please let us know. If you are a qualified lifeguard (or are willing to do the training course, sponsored by the Club) and can give one or two evenings a week, we'd love to hear from you. Everyone helping with the Club does so on a voluntary basis, and we do it because we firmly believe that swimming is one of the most important skills a child can learn. Each year, there are stories in the newspapers of children drowning because they could not swim even a few yards after falling into deep water. If every eleven-year-old left primary school able to swim 100 metres these horror stories would be greatly reduced in number.

Please help us to help local youngsters!

Betula O'Neill, for Portway SC

Letters to the Editor

The right impression

Dear Editor, Cold you give me a brief history with regard to 61 Lower High Street, Shirehampton.As a child I can remember once being told that it was one of the oldest properties in Shire (at this juncture I have to say I am now 43). If this is the case, who now owns it? Why has it been allowed to get in the appalling state that is is in?

Surely many people like myself can think that anyone visiting our village must be horrified at the first impression that this property gives and what on earth may lie ahead.I'm proud to be a villager in Shire and it would be nice to think as villagers we give the right impression to others.

M. Hallier

Memory Lane

Dear Editor, I'm just enjoying a trip down 'Memory Lane' and remember so well the youth club in the 'Old School.'  Sunday nights after church we enjoyed variety of interesting speakers. I'm sure a few people remember the summer evenings at Evensong when you could tell that  the Shirehampton Cricket Club was playing at home. You could just spot white trousers 'neath the cassock of Rev Griffiths. The sermon was always a little shorter on those Sundays.Also Thursday evenings when we could enjoy all sorts of activities with the exception of billiards (or was it snooker). If the girls went within 10 yards of that table Ted Thomas was charging down the room to send us scattering. He was absolutely terrified that we would dig a hole in the green baize. Was it Vivien who entertained us at the piano? My most vivid memory was 'Jesu Joy of Men's Desiring' and when I hear it even today (about 55 years - ouch - later) I'm back in the Old School standing around a rather ancient piano. I don't remember that it was ever in need of tuning, old as it was. As some of us were still at school, pretty clothes were a luxury but it didn't stop us trying to learn to dance. At some point we were even allowed to cook some simple 'supper' of beans on toast.My regret is that I wasn't able to join in the reunion a few years ago. I wonder will another be arranged one day?Have you already printed stories of Long's Ice Cream Parlour/Dairy at the bottom of Park Hill? I recall the Saturday evenings when Paddy (Long) and a few pals were allowed to take the near empty container of ice cream into the orchard. It also got me into trouble when I was allowed to walk to Mr Long's to buy two cornets. Hot summer evening, ice cream starting to melt and you've got to keep if from running down the cone into your hands have you not? On arriving home with one and a half ice creams, then insisting that the melted on was my sister's, resulted in a 'smacked bottom and early bed.'The 1950s or thereabouts group of 120th Guides meet up once a year, on the third Tuesday of June. Sadly Captain Jenkins (Nora Smith) died a couple of years ago and she joined us until about five years ago. What a wonderful example of Guiding she was. If there are any guides from 120th (you're never an 'ex Guide') out there who would like to get in touch, my details are given later. Joan (Buck) who master-minded our reunions died in December and her best friend from earliest school days, Janet (Minchin) passed away on Christmas Eve.Memories abound and aren't we lucky to have so many. I know we tend to look at the past through rose tinted glasses sometimes but 'what the heck.' Mollie Young (Brearley) email mollie.young@denholm-barwil.com 8 Trinder Road, Easton in Gordano, BS20 0LX.Thank you for your donation to Shire funds - Editor

Hill, Leigh and Hawkins

Dear Editor, Very interesting letter from Mr Hinkman. I was brought up in the building industry and used to visit Hill Leigh and Hawkins whenever my father went there. He was a director with his brother of Stride Bros Ltd and if a good quality timber came in they would telephone him to go and have a look. So I would go whilst father gave his views. He was a skilled carpenter by trade and a builder by knowledge. "Yes, I will have that lot he would say and have you any good Gliksten doors? They were good days and when I took over the business I only had to ring up for 1000 feet of skirting or architrave, the spindle would be changed (because we had a special design) and delivered the next day. Sadly Mr Leigh's son was killed in an air accident.

Yours faithfully, Leslie Stride

Reply to SCAF

David Thomas, Chairman of Shirehampton Community Action Forum, has received the following reply to his letter to Cllr Simon Cook, pubished in our February edition:

Dear Dr Thomas

Thank you for your letter of 10 January and the opportunity to respond to the Forum and in the pages of SHIRE. As your letter points out, the list of the community facilities which have closed goes back five years, and most have happened under previous administrations. Indeed the closure of the Swimming Pool which happened during our term in office was formulated under a previous administration.

So I take it that your comments to me are not in the spirit of a party political attack on the current administation, but rather a general concern with the impact of closures on the Shirehampton community. Similarly I am not going to try to score party political points against my predecessors.

Of course we would all prefer to have access to services on our doorsteps. When Sirehampton pool was about to close, I received several letters saying that without this easy local access local people - including local schools - would not travel to the new pools but would give up swimming, and  obviously this was a concern. The fact is, though, that since the closure of Shirehampton and two other older pools in north Bristol in 2005, the number of individual people going swimming has gone up by a remarkable 60%.

I have seen a letter from a local teacher who had opposed the closure of Shirehampton but who had changed their mind having seen the excellent new facilities at Henbury and Horfield pools.  Without the willingness to countenance change, these improvements would not be affordable. Losing old facilities is like losing old friends but it's also fair to point out that some new friends are moving in.

The community facilities at the rebuilt Portway School will be an excellent boost to the community. I firmly believe that bringing school and community facilities together is not only cost effective but is also better educationally and socially. Schools should be active participants in community life.

You and your colleagues in Shirehampton have made sure that your concerns about your area have been registered and I am certain that your local needs will be taken very seriously in any area of strategic review that the Council has to engage in. I'm sure you will accept that it is the duty of the Council to promote change and renewal against stagnation and decay.

Yours sincerely

Simon Cook, Executive Member for Health Promotion and Leisure

Shire community falling apart

As an active 30yr old, I am somewhat dismayed at the number of facilities and amenities available to the residents of Shirehampton and the surrounding areas. In recent years Shirehampton has lost two Sporting facilities; the Swimming Pool and Robin Cousins Sports Centre.

There are no sporting amenities available for local residents to make use of, without travelling further afield  I find this particularly concerning for the children of this community, many of whom are already classed as obese. Closure of these facilities will only make matters worse. As I have access to private transportation, I recently visited the new sporting facilities at Horfield.

Local residents have access to a Swimming Pool, Badminton, Squash &, Sports Hall facilities but may be located too far for residents of Shirehampton without transportation.  I am highlighting this lack of sporting facilities, so Bristol City Council/local investors can take appropriate action to gain funding to build a similar facility in Shirehampton.I urge you to act now before the community falls apart!!

Andy Daniels, Resident of Shirehampton

Dear Editor,

May we, through the courtesy of your columns, express our sorrow at the news of the death of Mr John Daniels. He was a friend of ours from school days. John was always cheerful companion, a good runner and fine footballer whom we, his friends, believed capable of representative standard. His chosen engineering career took him to sea with Elders and Fyffes where some of us were pleased to renew memories with the appropriate celebratory toasts when we were fortunate enough to meet up. John was a truly good man and he will be missed by his many friends. Our thoughts go to his family.

Yours sincerely, Peter and June Cottman, South Dunedin, New Zealandemail: glenvan@xtra.co.nz

Dear Editor,

With reference to the item "Memories of Shirehampton in war time" by Kit Sneed in the February edition of "Shire" my sister and I would like to point out that our mother Kit Sneed passed away some time ago.Her memories written down was discovered by Dr David Thomas when clearing out Twyford House and sought our permission to publish them in "Shire".

Moira Laver and Beryl Stockham

Many thanks for your kind donation to Shire Funds.

Dear Editor,

Many of your readers may be saddened to hear of the death of Eileen Harris nee Murphy, widow of Jim and mother of Jim and Ken.Eileen lived  for many years in Avonmouth, where she was a stalwart of the Girls Brigade. In middle years she studied hard and qualified as a teacher. She and Jim later moved to Coombe Dingle and she became very interested in Lawn Bowls.

She was a frequent visitor to Shirehampton, often walking there from her home. throughout her life she retained a deep interest in the Church.Ken moved to Spain with his family, and Eileen eventually joined them, spending her declining years with them.Eileen passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday 4th February after a long illness.

Gill Williamson

In memory of Lillie

Bob Derrick, formerly of Nibley Road, would like to thank everyone who sent flowers, cards and donations in memory of wife Lillie who died in December.Bob was for many years a crane driver for the P.B.A and would welcome visits from former colleagues, friends and neighbours at the Westbury Nursing home, Falcondale Road, where he is now living.Many thanks for the kind donation to Shire funds- Editor

Obituary - Bob Woodward 'Bob' (L.G.)

Woodward died suddenly in the B.R.I. on February 17th. Bristol born and bred, on leaving school, Bob took up an apprenticeship in carpentry. Later on in his twenties, he went to Ruskin College, Oxford, where he met his future wife, Liz. Having graduated and married, he eventually returned to Bristol and became the organiser of Adult Education, firstly in Lawrence Weston, and then in 1975 in Twyford House, Shirehampton, where he succeeded Ken Perry. While here, the Adult Literacy Scheme was started.

He played an active part in local affairs, he sat on the A.U.S. Committee and was part of 'Shire' Administration, being one of the Editors on the rota.When the Adult Education centres at Twyford and Stoke Lodge were amalgamated, Bob's office was transferred to Stoke Lodge. After a while he moved to organise Adult Education the other side of Bristol, where he remained until he took early retirement.

Bob lived in Portishead, for many years, was a J.P. and a Governor of local schools. The last few years he has been Treasurer for the charity Mji va Neema, House of Hope, Aids Orphanages in Kenya.To those of us who were privileged to know him, Bob was not only very kind, but very encouraging when problems arose. Our sympathy goes to his wife Liz, and to their children, Jane and James.

Shire Primary School Meets the Yellow Woods Challenge

On Thursday 5th January 2006, we were visited by "Kirk" the Woodland Creature who had come to tell us we had won second place in the challenge given to Bristol schools to see who could recycle the most Yellow Pages in a given time.

In order to complete the challenge, we were all asked to recycle as many copies of the Yellow Page as we could and ask an adult at home to sign the cover which we ripped off and took into school as proof that we had done out bit to help the environment.

We managed to recycle at least seven hundred copies of the Yellow Pages and won £300 for our school!  We are asking our School Council to discuss how to best spend the prize money.  The Council is a body of pupils from each year (one to six) who are elected by their peers to represent the pupils' views and interests to the school's staff and senior management team.

Golf Club's New Captain

Mike Bailey, is the captain of Shirehampton Park Golf Club as from 1st April 2006.  Mike, 61, is a stores manager for a local company in Avonmouth. Although born in North London, Mike moved to Bristol in 1973 with his wife Susan and has been a resident of Shirehampton Village for the past 33 years.

He played as a centre half for the company side BCME AFC in the suburban league. Finally taking up golf at 46 he became a member of Shirehampton Park some 12 years ago and now playing to a 10 handicap.

He says: "Becoming a member of Shire golf club would have always been my first choice, as any new member will tell you that having a round with the muggers on a Saturday or Sunday will not take you long before you settle into the social side".

The course, sitting over the River Avon has some of the best views around, with some very challenging par 3s and with the new green staff in place; the members have already seen improvements on the greens and tees.

Having a good social side, Mike believes, will assist him in raising money for his nominated charity, the Jessie May Trust. This trust is a local charity that cares for terminally ill children. Besides giving 24 hour home nursing assistance and hospital visits this also includes giving parents welcome breaks.

Every year the club holds an AM/AM golfing day event which raises over £7000. Mike is looking forward to working with the AM/AM committee, including Steve Dixon the new steward of the club and Mel Griffiths the nominated vice captain for this year.

Karen Rix the new Club Secretary and her assistant Sue Thomas have already been a great help in preparing Mike for his year in office.Mike would like to express his thanks to all the members and sponsors, who have already wished him well and pledged their support, in his year of office.

TV Starring Role for the Public Hall

People passing the Public Hall last month needed to do a double take at what they were seeing. For it looked as though the building had been sold and been taken over by a new religious organisation, the "Church of the New Spirit".

Not only that, it looked as though some major disaster had taken place there, for a fire engine and ambulance were in attendance. However, all was well - at least in real life. For the Hall, for the third time in its history, was starring in the BBC hospital soap "Casualty". Thankfully the Public Hall survived the "fire" and in a few days was returned to its workday life as the village's well-used multi-purpose venue.

The visit of the drama's cast and crew provided a bit of excitement for the PBA as well, for the Casualty team parked their vehicles in the sports ground car park, which gave the regular morning dog walkers a chance to do a bit of rubber-necking to see if they could spot any celebrities having their breakfast.

We don't know when the episode featuring the Hall will be transmitted, but we have every confidence that our venerable old building will be performing impeccably.

Spot any stars? The vehicles of the Casualty cast and crew parked at the PBA last month during filming at the Public Hall

Garden Competition for Cotswold Residents

A brand new event for Shirehampton's Cotswold estate is set to make a colourful splash this summer.The Cotswold Community Association is organising "Cotswold in Bloom", a garden competition that gives every garden-lover a chance to take part even, if he or she only grows a window box of annuals.  There will be four categories:

  • Best Front Garden
  • Best Back Garden
  • Best Wildflower Garden
  • Best Container Display (e.g., window box, hanging basket, patio pots)

The competition is open to all residents who live on the riverside of the Portway between Wellington Mews and Valerian Close.The judging by independent judges will take place during the first week in July (by prior arrangement with the entrants) and the winners will be announced at a fun-and-eats evening at the Cotswold Community Hall, Dursley Road on Saturday 7th July 2006 at 7.30 pm.

The two prizes in each category will be Gardening Vouchers worth £10 and £5.Entrance is £1 for each category, and a maximum of two categories may be entered.If you live in the Cotswold area of Shirehampton, ring 9047319 to ask for an entry form. And if you don't live in our riverside Paradise, never mind, take a walk in the summer and admire all the colour on show: who knows, if the event is a hit, perhaps the whole of Shirehampton will want to have a competition next year.

Are you interested in Lawn Bowls?

Avonmouth Bowling Club, Barracks Lane, welcomes new members wishing to learn to bowl.  We are a mixed, friendly club, licensed and hold social activities throughout the year. Come along and meet us on one of our Thursday Coffee Mornings 10am to 12 and have a chat or contact  A. Milsom on Bristol 9822117.

Many thanks for your kind donation to Shire funds - Editor

AHOY THERE! TS Enterprise - Avonmouth Sea Cadets

With spring fast approaching the cadets and staff are working towards the forthcoming Royal Naval Presentation to be held in May. The cadets are gaining useful qualifications and therefore promotion points.Cadets Capstick, H and Lear E have been promoted to Able Cadets, and Cadets Lever, S, Lundon J, and Densley, H are now Ordinary Cadets.

We have two new entries Curtis, D and Clarke, B and are willing to take in more boys and girls between the ages of 10 - 12 years for Juniors, and 12 years and over for Seniors. We have been established for over 63 years and need to add to our numbers as our older cadets are leaving to go to college.

Five cadets have acquired places to sail on the Tall Ship - TS Royalist in June and the unit would appreciate any persons/companies to sponsor them for all or part of the fee - any donation big or small would be very welcome. These young people will sail across the Channel and have the experience of climbing to the yardarms, and no doubt lots of pictures will be taken as the ship pulls into ports. Here and abroad, she is a great favourite with tourists.

The Ganges Association continues to give their very valuable support to the unit. Recently they held a skittles match and the proceeds of £100 were given to the unit funds. We are always pleased to receive any donations to assist with the running of the unit and for training purposes.

We are not a pre-service organization and although we uphold all that is good with the Royal Navy we welcome any young person that would like to make something of themselves and who wish to try all sorts of activities that are confidence building.Parade nights are seniors - Monday - 6.45pm to 8.45pm, and seniors and juniors - Thursdays - 6.45pm - 8.45pm. We meet at the River Station, Station Road (near the Lamplighter's Public House)

SEE YOU THERE.

Lunch Club restarts at Lawrence Weston Community Farm

A grant awarded by the Harry Smith Charity has enabled the Farm to restart its Tuesday Lunch Club. The money awarded will pay for a cook who has been recruited. The first one will be held on Tuesday 7th March at 12.30.Gaile Morgan, Chairperson of the Farm said, "When running, the Lunch Club held at the Farm was well attended, catering for about 20 people a week.

Its closure was a severe loss to the individuals who attended. A grant from the Harry Smith Charity has enabled Lawrence Weston Community Farm to recruit a cook and restart the Lunch Club. We are extremely grateful to the Harry Smith Charity for their support."The building at the Farm in which the lunch club is held is fully accessible. The Lunch Club offers low cost healthy meals to everyone whether they are older, disabled, a young parent or child.

The Farm is supported through funding from Bristol City Council. Fundraising efforts such as the Summer Fête, donations and membership fees help to pay for animal feed, hay, straw, etc.Anyone wanting to obtain further information about the Lunch Club can call the farm on 0117 9381128.

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is a key benefit available for people who care for a disabled adult or child.  Putting in a claim for Carer's Allowance may lead to an increase in other benefits, such as Pension Credit, Housing and Council Tax benefit.

You can claim Carer's Allowance if: You are aged 16 or over, AND you spend 35 hours or more a week caring for a child or adult, AND the child or adult gets Attendance Allowance, or the middle or higher care rate of Disability Living Allowance, AND you earn no more than £82 a week (2005/2006) net from any paid work that you do.  Some care costs and work expenses can be deducted in working out this net figure.

People aged 65 and over can claim Carer's Allowance.  If you want to apply for a Carer's Allowance, then contact Tony at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association  He gives advice at the drop-in advice sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am and 11.30pm. No appointment necessary. He also will do a full benefit check. He can also help with applying for other welfare benefits, filling in forms, help with any problems with debts, housing problems, employment advice and other legal matters.

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

RSPB OPEN DAY

Brackenwood Plant & Garden Centre will host an RSPB Open Day on Saturday 22nd April from 10am-4pm.This will be the first viewing of the partially completed Nature Trail within the 12 acre site.  The RSPB will conduct Guided Tours with groups around the woodland and conifer areas at regular intervals throughout the day, to listen to and identify as many different species of birds as possible.  Last year at Brackenwood 36 different species were recognised during the walks on the Garden Centre site.

The mixed plantings of conifers and deciduous trees and shrubs (in areas not normally open to the public) along with two wildlife pools encourage a large diversity of bird life.  Everything from Woodpeckers, Long Tailed Tits, Tree Creepers, Moorhens, Buzzards and even a Hobby.  Brackenwood have created quiet areas where visitors can listen and learn under the guidance of Mike Johnson and Assistants from the RSPB.Don't miss this unique occasion to enjoy the wildlife of Abbots Leigh at a time of year when the birds are very active.

New membership forms for the RSPB will be available on the day.  Please wear strong shoes.

Robin Cousins: encouraging response

Following our article in last month's Shire relating the possibility of rescuing the Robin Cousins Sports Centre from oblivion, there has been an encouraging response from local groups. The article outlined SCAF's proposal that the Centre could be made available as a venue for various activities that are already  happening but lacking a permanent base. Those who have shown an interest include youth groups and sports groups among others.

This has encouraged SCAF to approach the Council, who own both the Centre and the land, to explore the possibility with them. We hope everyone in Shirehampton will back this effort by SCAF to try and reclaim this valuable resource for the village.

Cotswold Easter Parade

On Easter Monday 17 April, starting at 11am, there is an Easter Parade at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road. Children and adults are welcome. As well as prizes for the best Easter Bonnetts, there arte activities such as egg painting, games and balloon modelling.

Refreshments (including Easter cakes) will be available and fun for everyone is assured. Admission £1.50 per family.  

A Window on the Past

Old shop fronts revealed during the redevelopment of the building next to the Savoy in Station Rd. Does anyone remember either of these two shops?