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The Mystery of the Ice House

Stop Press! Good News!

What's On in May

Letters to the Editor

St. Mary's News

Hall Heritage Heroes

The Mystery of the Ice House

Before the advent of the refrigerator, Ice Houses were built in the ground of estates, to store freshly killed animals to be preserved for as long as possible. Basically, a large hole in the ground was dug, and lined with stones, and a cover provided. Enough meat for 2 or 3 days was removed, and the rest stored in the Ice House until it was past use.

There is one in the grounds of Ashton Court, and another in the grounds of Kingsweston House. The grounds of Kingsweston House have 3 tenants/owners, Kingsweston School, the Police Welfare service and the park around Kingsweston House itself is in the ownership of Bristol City Council. The Ice House is in the park surrounding the Police welfare section.

They swear they don't own/rent it. Equally, the City Council swear they don't own it and yet, when it was recently in a state of serious/ dangerous disrepair, it suddenly got repaired! The Police swear they didn't fix it. The City Council say it's nothing to do with them.

Does anybody know who owns it? Was any local firm asked to repair it? Can anybody throw any light on this mystery?  PR

Stop Press! Good News!

As we go to press we have heard that PORTWAY COMMUNITY SCHOOL has been officially told by OFSTED that the school is coming out of Special Measures. We are delighted for them.


On Thursday March 16 Joseph Andrews and Wilfred Hastings left the Cubs to join the Scouts.

Joseph ndrews and Wilfred Hastings making their promises

Joseph and Wilfred join Grant Watkins (SL), Sean Edwards (ASL) and Pam Goddard (Akela)
on the Troop Bridge

What's On in May

  • The LIBRARY will be closed, re-opens on Wednesday, 3rd May
  • OPEN CHURCH DAY at St. Mary's from 12 noon until 5pm. Lunches and Cream Teas will be served.

MAY 2nd

  • Tuesday TEA JUNCTION at St. Mary's weekly 2pm, tea, chat and board games
  • CRAFTY GROUP at St. Mary's 2pm - 2.30pm.
  • Every Tuesday BINGO or a Speaker at the Tythe Barn weekly at 2pm.
  • ST. ANDREW'S ladies club at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth "Epitaphs" by Gil Thompson
  • SHIREHAMPTON MODEL RAILWAY weekly at the Public Hall 7.30pm

MAY 3rd Wednesday

  • BRIGHT HOUR (Women's Fellowship) at the Baptist Church - 2.30pm
  • A.U.S. ADVICE SESSIONS every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30 am - 11am at 115 High Street
  • ACTA COMMUNITY YOUTH THEATRE for 11-16 year olds weekly at the Public Hall 5pm - 6.30pm

MAY 4th Thursday

  • TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD 2pm - 4pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Talk "The RNLI" BY Mr Tony Price
  • SLIMMING WORLD every Thursday 5.30pm  and 7.30pm at Jim O'Neil House
  • BINGO or a speaker at Tythe Barn, High Street at 2pm
  • GRAINGER PLAYERS DRAMA CLUB at the Public Hall 7.30pm - 9.30pm every week
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB trains at Avonmouth RFC 6.30pm - 8.30pm every week

MAY 5th Friday

  • COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10am - 12 noon
  • FRIDAY FUN WEEKLY for Parents, Carers and Pre-School Children 9.30am - 11am at the Beachley Walk Centre
  • EVERGREENS every week at the Public Hall 2pm - 4pm
  • BINGO weekly at the Public Hall starting at 6.30pm
  • LAST DAY FOR ENTRY FORMS for the ART EXHIBITION to reach Mrs P. Phelan, 3 Oakhurst Road, Bristol BS9 3TQ

MAY 6th Saturday

  • COFFEE MORNING AND BRING AND BUY at the Methodist Church Hall 10am - 12 noon

MAY 7th Sunday

  • COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE (led by the Baptist Church) Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45pm - 5.30pm

MAY 8th Monday

  • SEE & KNOW for under 5's at St Mary's weekly 1.15pm - 2.45pm
  • 3 of Us BINGO St. Andrew's Church Hall weekly 1.45pm - 2.45pm
  • KEEP FIT weekly at Avonmouth COMMUNITY CENTRE 7.30pm - 8.30pm
  • BASIC LITERACY SKILLS COURSE at Lawrence Weston, weekly - Tel: 0117 013 8824 for details
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB trains St. Bernard's Primary School 6.30pm - 8.30pm every week

MAY 9th Tuesday

  • POLICE BOBBY VAN monthly visit to Shirehampton Green

MAY 10th Wednesday

  • COTSWOLD BOOK CLUB 7.30pm. Book for discussion "Untold Story" by ALAN BENNETT

MAY 13th Saturday

  • 191 St. Mary's Scout Group, Coffee Morning 10.30am - 12 noon at Scout HQ
  • STAMP FAIR & POSTCARDS at the Public Hall 10am - 4pm
  • CAR BOOT SALE 10am - 12 noon Shirehampton Primary School

MAY 16th Tuesday

  • ST. ANDREW'S LADIES CLUB meets at 7.30pm at St. Andrew's Church Hall, talk "World T.V. Makeup" by Gina Merrett Smith
  • PBA PENSIONERS meeting at the Club House, Nibley Road 1.30pm - 3.30pm

MAY 17th Wednesday

  • EVERGREENS OUTING to Dorchester Market and Weymouth
  • SHIRE STITCHERS meeting 7.30pm in the Public Hall

MAY 18th Thursday

  • TEA DANCE at the Public Hall 2.30pm - 4.30 pm Admission 2 John Hutton playing American Tea
  • CARERS GROUP meeting at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am - 12 noon
  • CARERS GROUP meeting at Ridingleaze House, Lawrence Weston 2pm

MAY 19th Friday

  • PILLOWLACE GROUP meets every Friday at the Public Hall 7pm - 9pm

MAY 21st Sunday

  • COTSWOLD SERVICE led by St. Mary's at the Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road, 4.45pm - 5.30pm

MAY 22nd Monday

  • SHIREHAMPTON LOCAL HISTORY GROUP meets in the Library 2.30pm

MAY 26th Friday

  • END OF TERM for all local schools
  • SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road 7.30pm - 10pm

MAY 27th Saturday - Tuesday MAY 30th

  • ANNUAL ART EXHIBITION AT THE PUBLIC HALL. Opening hours:-Saturday May 27th 1pm - 6pm Sunday May 28th 1pm - 6 pm Monday May 29th  10am - 6pm Tuesday May 30th 10am - 5pm


  • 'OPEN CHURCH' 12 noon - 5pm. Lunches and Cream Teas
  • THE LIBRARY will be closed


  • THE STROKE SUPPORT CLUB meets every Thursday afternoon at the P.B.A. CLUB 1.30pm - 4pm
  • PLAYGROUP at the Public Hall every week Mondays to Fridays 9.15am - 11.45am Mondays and Wednesdays only 12.30pm - 2.45pm
  • KIDS KLUB at St. Mary's - 9.30 most Sunday' sBreakfast and a short service. For information ring 0117 9077 026
  • KICK BOXING at the Public Hall every Thursday 5.15pm - 7.15pm
  • TWYFORD ART CLUB Monday and Wednesday 9.30am - 11.30am, Thursday 7pm - 9pm, all at the Public


City of Bristol - Basic Skills Classes

FREE, improve your English, Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Help with Maths, Contract Gill Lloyd on 3112 5530191

St. Mary's Scout Group

A coffee morning will be held at the Scout HQ, St Mary's Road on SATURDAY MAY 13 FROM 10.30 - 12 NOON. Weather permitting, the Shire Tea Gardens will be open, and we will be serving tea, coffee and delicious homemade cakes.  SEE YOU THERE

Severn Four Credit Union

There are drop-in sessions every Friday 9.30-2pm at 115, The High Street, Shirehampton.

Churches in Walk of Witness

The Good Friday Walk of Witness meets on The Green, The clergy and members of the four churches of Shirehampton, joined together on Good Friday to walk together through the village as a witness to their shared faith. The walk has taken place for a number of years, and this year the number taking part was very encouraging with every church represented and a variety of age groups sharing in the event.

Bradley Boy Returns

The ashes of Bob Clarke (Robin) are to return home to Shirehampton and rest in the memorial garden of St Mary's Church. The internment will take place on Wednesday 10th May 2006 at 12 noon at St Mary's Church. Bob's family would like to welcome anyone who may wish to attend. Bob's daughter Lynn would also wish to thank friends of Bob for their kind welcome when she and her family recently visited Shirehampton.

Mrs Lynn Graffham, Godalming, Surrey

New nature trail

Brackenwood's new nature trail will be opened on limited occasions during the Spring and Summer after its opening on 22nd April. The trail is being developed using an old long-neglected small quarry at the rear of Brackenwood's site. The winding track through mixed woodland and through conifers including our Christmas trees have been naturalised with plantings of snowdrops, primroses and a variety of native plant species.

The 60 metre long wildlife pool adds an extra dimension to the walk. The aim is to improve bird habitats and encourage butterflies and other insects to the wild flower planted areas. The trail is in its early stages but we hope we will be able to open this area 3 to 4 times a year during the Spring and Summer months.

Civil Partnership

From last December, a same sex couple has been able to gain legal recognition for their relationship.  This is called a "Civil Partnership". If you decide to form a Civil Partnership, your benefits and tax credits may be affected. If you don't form a Civil Partnership, but live together then this could also affect your benefits. Two people who can register a Civil Partnership must be

  • Of the same sex
  • 16 or over (with consent if under 18)
  • Not already married or in a civil partnership
  • Not closely related (e.g. parent, sister, niece, uncle)

With Civil Partnership you have the same rights as a married couple in areas like tax, social security, inheritance and workplace benefits. If you want to know how being in a civil partnership may affect your benefits, then contact Tony at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association.  He gives advice at the drop-in advice sessions on WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS BETWEEN 9.30 AM & 11.30 AM - NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY.

He will also 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 & Confidential Advice.We are situated at 115 High Street, Shirehampton. Tel: 0117 982-9399.

Primary Care Project

To all carers.  We have worked extremely hard to obtain the necessary funding to continue to provide this valuable support to Carers. However have recently been informed by Bristol North Primary Care Trust that they will no longer fund this project from April 2006.

Q: What does this mean for carers in this area?

A: You can continue to receive support from the Carers Centre, by contacting Carersline on 0117 965 2200, at our main office in Fishponds.

The carers groups at Avonmouth Medical Centre and Ridingleaze House, Lawrence Weston will continue on the third Thursday of each month (contact carersline for further details). If you feel unhappy about this decision and wish to offer your support and would like to talk to a member of staff about the loss of this outreach service, contact carersline: 0117 9652200 or email

Remember carers are valuable members of our society. According to the last census, there are over 6 million in this country, saving an estimated 56 billion pounds. Often in poor health and often at a time in their lives when they might hope to be taking things easy or being cared for, instead of sometimes caring in excess of 50 hours per week for a loved one and usually unpaid. I would also like to say a very fond farewell to everyone in this area and to say how much I have enjoyed the last five years.

Helen Mathias, Primary Care Project Manager

Clear out your shed for Lawrence Weston Community Farm

The Farm needs donations of old or unwanted tools, as well as a mower, chainsaw and strimmers - sorry no electrical ones but petrol ones. Gaile Morgan, Chairperson of the Farm said, 'All the gardening machinery and lots of tools belonging to the Farm were stolen late last year. Unfortunately when a claim was made we found out our insurance does not cover the Farm for theft of tools. It is upsetting when items are stolen but it is even more upsetting when you are told by your insurance company that they will not pay for the stolen items.

'The Farm wants people to help by checking to see if they have tools they can spare. Tools required are an angle grinder, an axe, bow saws, crowbars, cordless drill, hacksaw, hammers, hand tools, gardening shears, pick axe, saws, secateurs, sledge hammer and step ladders. All items have to be in safe working condition. Items could be collected if donors ask. The Farm is supported through funding from Bristol City Council. Fundraising efforts such as the Summer Fete, donations and membership fees help to pay for animal feed, hay, straw, etc. Anyone wanting to help by donating unwanted tools to the Farm can call the Farm on 0117 938 1128.

Lambs Named

The newborn lambs featured on the front page of our last issue have been named Toulouse and Talullah. There are two other newborn lambs called Rocky and Sammy and all four can be seem at Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Saltmarsh Drive.

What is a Grandparent?

Taken from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds.

  1. Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other people's
  2. A grandfather is a man grandmother.
  3. Grandparents don't have to do anything except be there when we come to see them.
  4. They are so old they shouldn't play hard or run.
  5. It is good if they drive us to the shops and have lots of pennies for us.
  6. When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.
  7. They show us and talk to us about the colour of the flowers and also why we shouldn't step on 'cracks'.
  8. They don't say 'Hurry up.'
  9. Usually grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes.
  10. They wear glasses and funny underwear.
  11. They can take their teeth and gums out.Grandparents don't have to be smart.
  12. They have to answer questions like 'Why isn't God married?' and 'How come dogs chase cats?'.
  13. When they read to us, they don't skip.
  14. They don't mind if we ask for the same story over again.
  15. Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don't have television, because they are the only grown-ups who like to spend time with us.
  16. They know we should have snack-time before bedtime and they say prayers with us every time, and kiss us even when we've acted bad.

Get 'on board' with ACTA!

A new term, a new co-ordinator and new activities for you to try.  On Board Community Arts is getting bigger and bigger, with a massive seven regular groups running in Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton and now Avonmouth. As well as these open sessions, we are now working in Henbury School, Shirehampton Primary School and Freshways Family Centre, among others.

With huge plans for community-wide projects in the Autumn and a week-long Youth Theatre festival in February 2007, we couldn't be busier! Read on to find out how you can join in

Youth Arts Showcase

On Wednesday 15 February over 150 of you turned out at the College in Lawrence Weston to see a whole range of performances by young people involved in On Board activities. Your comments after the show were so positive that those groups and more will be taking part in a whole week of Youth Theatre festivities at the same time next year!

Mandy and Firdaus present the Showcase
(Photo: Mark Simmons Photography)

A huge thank you and well done to all the participants from Kids Theatre Group, Shirehampton Youth Theatre, the Circus Group, Rock School and ACE Youth Theatre.

New co-ordinator

I started just over a month ago as part-time co-ordinator of On Board, just in time to see the showcase. I was so impressed with all the performances and the size of the audience, which showed how much the community supports these young people, that I feel really lucky to be working for you. I'm still getting to know the area and trying to meet as many groups as possible.

If I haven't met your community group yet and you think I should, please let me know. A new term of activities - Get On Board this Summer.

There are seven regular groups running during term-time around Kingsweston. To join, turn up to a rehearsal (listed below) or contact me at the ACTA office to get more details.If you can, join at the start of term to make sure you can be part of end of term performances.


  • Kids Theatre Group (Ages 7-11), Lawrence Weston College, 5-6.30
  • ACE Youth Theatre (Ages 11-18), Lawrence Weston College, 6.30-8
  • On Board Community Group (all ages), Lawrence Weston College, 6.30-8


  • Shirehampton Youth Theatre (11-18), Shirehampton Public Hall, 5-6.30
  • NEW Arts and Trapeze Group (11-18), Lawrence Weston College, 6.30-8


  • NEW Avonmouth Youth Theatre (11-18), Avonmouth Community Hall, 7.30-9


  • Rock School, Avon Club for Young People - please call ACTA to find out more

Next Performances

Audiences look out for our youth theatre's summer performance at the end of their Play in a Week project on Saturday 29 July at Lawrence Weston College. Don't miss On Board at Lawrence Weston Carnival on 8 July.

Mailing List

Join our mailing list and be kept informed of all our activities all year round. Contact Beccy at ACTA for a formACTAGladstone Street, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 3AYtel 0117 953 2448 fax 0117 953 2348

Beccy Thomas, On Board Co-ordinator

Letters to the Editor

William Ashburner Wheel

It was interesting to read Capt Hamish Grant's article about the ship's wheel off the 'William Ashburner'. As I mentioned in an earlier edition of your paper, the ship's wheel and bell resided in the 'Missions to Seaman' in Portivew Road, Avonmouth and later on at the 'Mission' when it transferred to the 'Merchant Navy Club' in Gloucester Road, just outside the Dock Gates.

The said items were salvaged from the vessel after she was beached under the Sedbury cliffs in Slime Road, Beachley in Feb/March 1950. As a schoolboy at that time I can remember going with Captain Nicholas Sinnott, the owner and master of 'William Ashburner' and my father over to Beachley on the Aust Ferry to salvage what they could, and climbing up onto the deck up a very long ladder as the vessel was 'high and dry' and had been declared a constructional total loss as her back was 'hogg'd' and extensive damage being considerable.

The wheel and bell were lent to the 'Mission' by Capt Sinnott and had pride of place. When the Mission closed in Avonmouth they were offered back to the Sinnott family and I retrieved them for Harry, who is the son of Capt Sinnot and still lives in Limerick. The said wheel and bell are still there.If your readers would like to know more about the Ashburners there is a book about them called 'The Ashburner Schooners' by Tim Latham, published by Rhino Publications.

It makes interesting reading for those interested in the sea and ships.

Regards - Garry Weatherhead, Severn Beach

Shirehampton Yearbook 2007

Dear Editor

The Shirehampton Yearbook 2007 will consist of around 144 pages printed in full colour throughout and it will include as much information about Shire and the community as it is possible to gather between now and November, when the first edition goes to press in time for Christmas orders.

I would like to make an appeal through the letters page of Shire for anyone wanting to provide information (relating to schools, churches, sports clubs, community associations, etc) to contact me through the website I have set up - (email: - or by mail to Sylvan Way, Sea Mills, Bristol BS9 2LG

Peter Hill

Riverbank Residents

Dear Editor

In response to the litter from a riverbank resident regarding the ever-present problem of dog mess, I feel compelled on behalf of responsible dog owners to respond. I fully understand the sentiments of the writer, but would challenge the claim that 'hardly any' dog owners pick up. As a regular dog walker and resident of the area, I'm aware there are offenders, but I also know of many people who do pick up after their dogs.

The problem affects us all - not just non-dog owners. Dog-lovers have children, we love the environment and value this lovely area we are privileged to live in as much, if not more, than anyone. As the letter from the dog wardens suggested, maybe persistent offenders should be warned that they risk being reported.

A polite request might work, or maybe try what I was forced to do, after removing mess from the path just outside my garden more than once, and put up a prominent notice to shame these people into responsible behaviour. At the end of the day, if we all want to continue to enjoy our lovely surroundings, whether with or without a dog, everyone needs to take responsibility.

I would just add that in an effort to prevent all us dog-lovers being lumped together as bad neighbours, I have often picked up dog mess left by others on the football pitches in the PBA grounds.

R Perkins

Marjorie Knight's Shop

Dear Editor

The photograph of Marjorie Knight's shop front in last month's "SHIRE' brought back memories of Barbara Hine, whose shop it was,  I think she named her dress shop after her sister. Having been given a surprise birthday or Christmas present purchased in her shop. I would sail into the shop, waving the bill and exchange it usually for the same design in another colour.

She was very good natured about these excursions and used to laugh. Even today I have several jumpers, all good as new which came from her dress shop.


Dear Editor

Yes, I remember Marjorie Knight's dress shop. She held fashion shows at the Public Hall and I did some modelling for her.There was a lovely purple velvet evening gown on her show. It had tiny sequins around the neck and wrists. I fell in love with it and she sold it to me at a reduced price. I wore it on many occasions to dances and functions.

Another thing I remember. She had a big wedding order for the bride, bridesmaids, two mothers outfits etc, but the wedding was cancelled so she put on a show for a quick sale. One of the mother's outfits was my size and as there was a wedding pending in my family I bought it. It is a pretty, silk, green, full skirt with a pleated jacket to match.

I wore it to various weddings and special occasions. The last time I wore it was to a celebration party for the end of the war. It is still hanging in a wardrobe in the spare room. That was many years ago as I will be 94 in June, but to me it brings back happy memories of bygone days. If you needed a wedding outfit or something special you went to Marjorie Knight's shop.

She would fit you out from top to toe, including hats.I cannot remember what happened to her when the shop closed so if there is anyone who knows about her life after that I would love to hear from her. Yours truly

Mrs P Jewell

Park and Ride

Dear Editor,

I was very concerned to hear that our local council is considering cutting the 902 Park & Ride service. This is a good, reliable service which is used by many people living in Shirehampton, Avonmouth and surrounding areas. My husband and I use the service daily and in fact purchased a season ticket for each of us, totalling 720 a year. Although we find this cost very expensive, we still think that it is worth it as we do not have to battle our way along the Portway in cars and into the Temple Meads district of town, which is where we work.

The local council may not be aware that the buses are used to capacity in the mornings and evenings and quite often there is standing room only by the time it reaches Roman Way. I truly believe that cutting this service would not be of any benefit to the people of Shirehampton and the queues on the Portway would be even longer as most people would have no option but to drive.

It seems a shame that the council is again having impact on our services in this area and, after we failed to save our local swimming pool, have decided to chip away anything good we have.I think that local residents should contact our council and oppose this cut as it not only affects Park & Ride users but people who regularly use the Portway as a commuter route.

And just to finish, I see that the bus stop on Woodwell Road has not yet been replaced as promised.

Local Park & Ride user

Sport in Shirehampton

Dear Sir

In your April edition I read with interest the comments of Andy Daniels bemoaning the lack of sporting facilities available in Shirehampton because of the loss of the local swimming pool and the Robin Cousins sports centre. Yet, quickly leafing through the pages of the same edition of 'Shire' I find mentioned the following:

Kyoto Shotokan Karate Club, Kick Boxing Club, Karate Club, St Mary's Scouts, Avonmouth Rugby Club, NSC Amateur Boxing Club, Kings Weston FC (5-a-side), Avonmouth Bowls Club and Shirehampton Golf Club. Not mentioned in your paper we also have two fine cricket clubs, namely Shirehampton CC and Twyford House CC both of whom run youth teams.

That would seem to me a pretty good selection for an active 30-year-old to choose from and also something to appeal to the not so active younger and older members of the community. So, let us think positively and take advantage of what is available for us and stop worrying about what we haven't got.

Yours faithfully, John P Patten

Recycling Centre to be Open Longer

From Monday 3rd April, Bristol City Council's main recycling centre in Avonmouth will operate extended opening hours, from 8am until 6.45pm every day of the week until Sunday 29th October 2006.The new opening hours will mean that the centre is open a further 22.5 hours a week making it easier for residents to recycle more.

People will now be able to take household waste to the centres after work, later on Saturday, or on Sunday afternoonThe recycling centre has recycling facilities for:

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Paper and magazines
  • Cardboard
  • Domestic fridges and freezers
  • Scrap metal and other domestic appliances
  • Used engine oil
  • Rubble and soil
  • Green waste from gardens
  • Wood waste
  • Car batteries and domestic batteries
  • Plastic bottles

There are also facilities for the disposal of:

  • General rubbish
  • Asbestos sheeting and guttering
  • Hazardous waste from households, including gas cylinders, fluorescent tubes, unwanted medicines, pesticides and other chemicals

More information and directions to the main recycling centres can be found at or telephone 0117 922 3838.

Harvest Festival

By Angela Thompson Smith.  Americans may have their Thanksgiving but we had our Harvest Festival. The sounds and smells of Harvest Festival will stay with me forever. Each time I smell the scent of apples it takes me back to Shirehampton Baptist Church sanctuary at this special time of year. Around the middle of September we would receive notes from Sunday School to start bringing in tins of food.

Mum complained that it was hard enough for her to feed us all on Dad's Smelting Works wages so we usually ended up taking in bags of apples, flowers and vegetables from our garden. This was usual for families that didn't have much but we were thankful for what we did have. In the weeks leading up to Harvest Festival the children of the church would comb the hedgerows, picking sprays of berries: hawthorn and rose hips, and yew.

We pulled ivy off tree trunks and trailers of honeysuckle gone to seed that we called Old Man's Beard. Michaelmas Daisies from local gardens added a touch of blue to the festive theme. Holly trees in the neighbourhood were pruned to provide sprigs of green with shiny red berries, but I don't ever remember mistletoe being brought into the church. Perhaps with its pagan significance it was not considered proper.

The day before Harvest Festival troops of children and their parents could be seen dropping off produce at the church and volunteers decorated the side windows and the area around the pulpit with a wealth of wonders. The smells began to waft and mingle; fresh picked apples and pears, green smells from the outdoors, the earthy smell of potatoes newly dug from the ground, all mingling into the fragrance that can only be called Harvest.

But the best was yet to come. Harvest Sunday was usually a warm, sunny day in my remembrance, although we could have had a few early storms. As we walked into the packed church, there, taking centre stage, was the biggest loaf of bread you could imagine. Golden brown, it usually took the shape of a sheaf of wheat surrounded by ears of grain. Actual wheat sheaves had been brought in, as well as bales of hay and all the produce filled the stage in front of the pulpit to overflowing. This tradition probably had its origins way back in pagan history, but today this was a Christian tradition.

The smells and sounds were overpowering and wonderful. There were cabbages, cauliflowers, potatoes, parsnips, swedes, loaves of homemade bread, jars of pickles and jams and bottled fruits, apples, plums and pears, jars of jam of every flavour, and even the occasional prize marrow. There were flowers, too, late blooming chrysanthemums from pale golden yellow to deep russet, the orange bell seeds of the honesty plant, and late blooming roses.

There were sprays of coloured leaves of every hue from probably every tree in Shirehampton woods. There were even boughs of horse chestnut complete with their wonderful green seed cases, and prickly bramble strands. Flanking this wealth of produce were stacked tins of fruit, vegetables, meats, and fish. We knew that the produce would be shared with the local poor but we prided ourselves that we had enough not to need the abundance in the church.

Dad had work - it didn't pay much but we didn't have to worry where our next meal was coming from. There were special hymns: we sang with gusto 'We plough the fields and scatter, the good seed on the land' and 'Come, ye thankful people, come.' The sermon was usually on the topics of abundance, charity and thankfulness. We left the church with a rosy glow, not only in our cheeks, but in our hearts.

Memorable May Events at St. Mary's

  • Monday 1st May (Bank Holiday) - 'Open Church'12 noon - 5.00pm. Lunches and cream teas
  • Friday 19th May - 7.30pm - St Mary's own 'Antiques Roadshow' starring Ray Brocklesby!. Evening begins with supper. Tickets 6 from the church office.
  • Monday 29th May (Bank Holiday) - 'Open Church'12 noon - 5.00pm. Lunches and cream teas

Smelters Beat Flu to Stage Another Belter!

NSC "Smelters" hosted its fourth open show of the season at The Manor Farm Sports Club Bristol, on Thursday 9th March. Said NSC Coach and matchmaker Garry Cave "We lost a few on the day due to the Flu pandemic that accompanies boxing shows, but despite this with the fantastic help of the supporting clubs we got 11 bouts on, with seven Smelters and four Empire boxers on the bill.

This one was the hardest ever for me to match, being mid week, Golden Ring and Pilgrims shows either side of ours, flu, injuries etc. I was worried it might all fall apart on the last day but thankfully all the clubs got at least some of their boys on. Bout of the night was the  final contest at welterweight between NSC'S Sam Mogg and Empire's Michael Waldron.

Mogg weathered the early two round barrage of punches and furious pace of the all action, aggressive hooking Waldron to score with his straight punch combinations in the last round to pip Waldron after both had received standing counts. A very big thank you to all the clubs that supported this show. Please don't hesitate to give us a ring if we can be of help with yours.

Also big thanks to Empire ABC for once again helping out with all their available boxers".

Results: Richard Bogey (Watchett) v Connor Murphy Watchett Skills BoutDalton Saunders (NSC) won RSC 2 v Jake Stevens (Tuderville)Tom Conners (NSC) lost pts v Tom Watkins Thames (Valley)Tom Harris Lydney (best sportsmen) lost pts Dexy Bater (Stacy) (best winner)Christine Stenner (NSC) won RSC 3 v Callum Clark (Stacy)Flaviuos McCarthy Empire won Ko 1st v Nicko Farson (Barnstaple)Will Jones (NSC) won pts v James Hobbs (Downend)Ashley Belcher (Empire) won Ret 2 v Louis Littleton (MYCON)Tommy Edwards (NSC) lost pts v Mark Davidson (Downend)Andy Mogg (NSC) lost RSC 2 v Duane Winters (Empire)Sam Mogg (NSC) won pts v Michael Waldron (Empire) Garry CaveNSC ABC Senior ABA Coach/Matchmaker

Memorial Gardens at St Mary's Church

The Memorial Gardens and Memorial Chapel at St Mary's are very special places where loved ones are commemorated and remembered. It's lovely to encounter families who have come to see the Memorial Book, light candles or leave flowers and prayers. Over the coming months we plan to improve both the old and new Memorial Gardens.

Some of you will have already seen the start we have made in the new garden with its slate chippings and carefully edged paving stones. In the old garden, among other things, we plan to improve the bin area, tidy the shrubbery and put a stone edging between the burial plots and the turf, enabling the grass to be maintained more easily.  We hope that these improvements will make the gardens look even more attractive and worthy of the memories they hold.

We plan to do the work in stages, so if you are passing, do stop and have a look. Any comments you have will be appreciated. With best wishes Canon Christine 985 5450.

Eileen & Adam O'Neill

Would like to thank all family and friends who celebrated with them on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary on Friday 17th March, 2006 (St Patrick's Day). 'We really enjoyed our "special" day. Thank you all so much for your good wishes, beautiful cards, flowers and kind donations.' 175.00 Lawrence Weston Community Transport; 175.00 RNLI; 50.00 'The Shire' and 25 The 'Local'. God Bless you all! Thank you for your generous donation to Shire - Ed.

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand

Eileen & Adam O'Neill

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Here we are in the merry merry month of May, but as I write these notes in early April it is a beautiful fine day but with a bitter wind blowing. Never mind, it is bound to get warmer very soon.Back on a very cold 25th March we had our Spring Fayre and I am please to report that during that 2 hour period from 10am until 12 noon we had a steady flow of customers which enabled people to have a look at our wares without being overcrowded.

"Mrs Sawyer's Kitchen Cupboard" again proved to be a favourite with Jams, Chutneys and Pickles etc,, going like 'hot cakes'. There were cakes as well - not hot ones - but ones which had cooled down!! Beryl White and band of helpers were also very busy serving refreshments - the cold weather I am sure enticed people to come into the church and indulge in a cup of tea or coffee in warm surroundings.

Canon Christine braved the cold winds encouraging people to come inside and see what we had to offer. I lost count of the number of cups of tea she drank. Anyway, due to everybody's efforts we raised the sum of 1200 for our much needed funds and this didn't include the Cream Teas served in the afternoon which pushed the final figure that little bit higher. Thank you to all of you who came and supported us - we very much value your custom!The next day was Mothering Sunday - which was also the baptism day for Alex Price - and the talk in the middle of the service was led by Duncan Jennings.

Duncan encouraged the young children present to assist him in the story of Moses and the Bullrushes. There was no shortage of volunteers! Two children held between them some coloured blue and green crepe paper to represent the River Nile. As Duncan explained, the Nile was much cleaner than the River Avon, although the waters did look rather choppy with the two children enthusiastically creating the movement of water! Others were holding Bullrushes whilst young Asa Schuman was in charge of the Basket.

It was a wonderful way of explaining the story of how baby Moses escaped what would have been certain death. It was Duncan's first time leading the Talk and you could see he hasn't lost his Headmaster's touch!!I am please to tell you that we are to have a new Youth Worker joining us in the parish next September. She is a young lady named Jo Smallcombe, who is currently completing her University Degree in Child Care/Education at Swansea.

She's got to be good if she studies and comes from Swansea even if she is not a native of the Principality!Sadly, this month I have to tell you that during March, after a short illness, we lost another faithful member of our congregation - Kath Ruddock. Kath was in her 80's and is the mother of Gill Sawyer. We shall miss her immensely as we did when her husband Tom died.

Tom as you may remember was our Verger and Kath up until shortly before her death was a regular at our Wednesday Lunch Club. We offer Gill our deepest sympathy and prayers but with the knowledge that Kath and Tom are now reunited. I was also saddened to read Mollie Young's (Brearley) letter in last months edition of "Shire" saying that Joan (Buck) and Janet (Minchin) had both died last December.

Both Janet and Joan lived in Coaley Road and I last saw them 12 months or so ago when they visited St. Mary's. You may remember me mentioning their visit in a previous St.. Mary's Newsletter. Janet's mother was a teacher at Shirehampton Junior School and was my Class Teacher when I transferred from the Infant School to the Junior School. If my memory serves me correctly I believe Joan was also a pupil at my old school - Bristol Central Commercial School, Redcross Street, Old Market.

If their families ever read this publication I offer them my deepest sympathy in their sad loss.Hopefully, this edition of "Shire" will reach you by the end of April, because I just wish to remind you again that on May 1st. - May Day - we are holding an Open Church Day from 12 noon until 5pm when Lunches and Cream Teas will be served at extremely moderate prices. Avoid the Bank Holiday traffic - come and enjoy yourselves at St. Mary's instead.On Friday 19th May the "Antiques Roadshow"  - the St. Mary's version of it - will be visiting us at 7.30pm that evening.

Ray Brocklesbury has kindly agreed to provide 12 antique items for you to guess their value. Three old pieces will also be available for Auction (Sorry, my missus is not one of them! Whoops! - she nearly killed me last month for daring to mention her Birthday, so if there is no Newsletter next month you know she has succeeded!!!!). Tickets are 6 which will include Supper - please bring your own wine if you wish to do so.

This should prove to be a very entertaining evening. All tickets need to be purchased in advance so that Gill Sawyer can cater for the number of people who will require food. Tickets will be available from the Church Office. On Sunday 21st. May, we shall be joined at our 10am Holy Communion Service by our friends from Shirehampton Methodist Church - we look forward very much to the opportunity of welcoming them. As with all our Services - we welcome anyone who would like to come and join us.

At lunch time we will again be holding a Sunday Food & Finance Lunch - during which time you will discover how the church is financed, where the money comes from and where it goes! If you have any queries on this subject here is an opportunity to ask those who know and can provide the answers. Please sign your name on the list at the west end of the church if you wish to stay to lunch in order to assist with catering.

On Monday 29th May, it is Spring Bank Holiday when we shall have another Church Open Day - with lunches and teas again served between 12 noon and 5pm. So if you missed the May Day Open Day - come and join us and if you didn't, come and join us again!! Advance booking on both these occasions will not be necessary - if we ain't got it - you can't have it. First come, first served!!! I'll see you at the front of the queue!'

Bye for now, C.M.E.

Poems sent in from Year 7 Portway School

The Sad 'I Am' poem was written with each member of the class contributing a different line. The diamond shaped poems have one syllable on the first line, then increase the number of syllables before once again reducing them back to one syllable for the last line.

Sad 'I Am' Poems

I am, or was, sad when ...
... I hear people are dying
... getting hit in the head with a golf club
... when I see my Mum cry
... my favourite pet dies. I always say 'Goodbye, hope you have a nice, fresh start in heaven with all the other pets'
.... I get shouted at
... England lose
... I hear a certain song, because it reminds me of people on holiday
... my parents broke up
... losing a treasure
... when I think about my girlfriend
... I bully someone
... I get bullied
... I see someone being bullied
... I walk through a cemetery
... my Nan died, because she was a kind, gentle, loving woman
... my sister starts crying
... life changes too much
... I see my cat's bowl
... I break up with my friends
... someone in my family dies
... we go back to school
... I look at my Great-Nan's picture
... I know I could have done better
... I leave my Mum
... my brother lies
... that spark runs out of your life and you eat, sleep or rest
... I feel alone and nobody's home
... the poor, old, homeless people beg for money
... that Chelsea won the Premiership
... relatives die
... my Mum or Dad shout
... I am in pain
... my friends sometimes argue - I can't stand it
... I see old things
... my dog died - ever so sad, I was.

death struck:
horror flood,
horrible death.
People died.
They died.
by Joseph Marshall

were screaming
scared of the flood.
"Help!" they cried.
Still they
by Jordon Kenyon

was destroyed
and terrorised.
People's lives ruined.
Eventful time.
New Orleans
by John Holmes

No noise.
People trapped,
people on roofs,
dead people
by Mitchell Jenkins

went to
look at the
children lost and
their parents grieving
looking for their
children, but ...
can't find
by Christopher Osbourne

went to
look at the
flood. People all
around me, in streets.
on top of
roofs or
by Christopher Osbourne

Hall Heritage Heroes

Many readers will remember the Public Hall's Centenary in 2004. As part of the celebrations we restored the Hall's clock, held an exhibition of its history and published a book by Judy Helme describing the varied activities that had taken place in the Hall over 100 years. The clock restoration, exhibition and book were all aided by a grant of 11,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We were delighted to learn just before Christmas that we had been nominated for a Heritage Heroes Award. The awards celebrate the achievements of bodies in the South West who have received Lottery funding in securing our heritage and opening it up for everyone to enjoy and learn about. We were included in the Built Heritage category, one of five. In due course we received an invitation to a ceremony at Ashton Court Mansion. The day began with some welcome publicity from Radio Bristol, who visited the Hall for a live spot in their breakfast programme.

Judy Helme, Jeanette Cossey and David Thomas later went to Ashton Court for a lunch which preceded the awards ceremony. As we waited for lunch, we looked at the small exhibition of all the nominees. There were about twenty, with four nominees in each category. At this point we realised that the quality of the competition was extremely high. We were also buttonholed by an Evening Post reporter and photographer, who were seeking out all the Bristol based groups who were represented at the Awards. A common feature of all the nominated projects was that they included a large element of volunteer involvement.

David Thomas, Chairman of the Public Hall Association, is presented with a Heritage Heroes certificate by Bob Bewley, Regional Director of English Heritage South West

We had learnt that we were nominated because the Heritage Lottery Fund had been impressed by the number of people who had contributed to our historical research and to the successful exhibition. All of the other projects had also clearly gained much from active support from volunteers. Once lunch was finished, we moved on to the presentation of the awards. The proceedings were modelled on the Oscars.

A guest presenter reviewed the projects in each category and finally opened the envelope and announced the winner. Relatively small projects from around Bristol won two of the first categories, for Bedminster Green, which won the Wildlife section, and Capturing Memories - Building for the future, which is based in Horfield. We were therefore not too surprised when the winner in our category was announced, and was a large project from Dorset. This was for the restoration of Nothe Fort at Weymouth.

I have visited this site, and I have to say that it was a very worthy winner. However, all was not lost, as every nominee received a certificate to mark their success in getting as far as the awards ceremony. Ours will be mounted in a prominent place in the Public Hall. The final business of the day was the announcement of an overall winner. This was the Horfield group, for their project to capture memories, good and bad, from residents of an estate which is being comprehensively redeveloped. This was presented to them by the Lord Mayor, who was clearly delighted to be making the presentation to a group from his own city. Although we were naturally disappointed not to receive an award, we had experienced a very enjoyable occasion. We were particularly pleased that the contributions to all those who had helped with the project were publicly recognised.   DLT

I.K. Brunel Down Under

Last October on a beautiful spring day in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia, we were strolling around the harbour looking at all the boats bobbing up and down in the sunshine when we came to a WW2 ship. It was the HMAS Castlemaine which had been a minesweeper operating in Indonesian waters during the war. It had been left to rot until it was rescued and restored and is now a museum.

We decided to have a look round it and you can imagine my utter surprise when I spied a fairly large display entitled 'The Ship That Would Not Die' and I immediately recognised the SS Great Britain. I could not believe it! Why? Reading all about it I could understand its relevance to Melbourne for it had made thirty-two voyages to Australia with immigrants. I wonder where all their descendants are today.

But I must say that it seemed totally appropriate that I should have seen this exhibition so near to Brunel's two hundredth birthday.

Shirehampton Public Hall Goes Forward with New Company

The meeting to dissolve the Association at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road on Tuesday the 21st of March 2006 went ahead with plenty of local people who were eligible to vote present.As per the Agenda which was published in the March edition of Shire the meeting voted in favour of the Association (registered charity number 1013520) dissolving, by a unanimous vote. Everyone agreed that becoming a Company by Limited Guarantee was the best way forward to secure the future of the Public Hall.

The committee will transfer all assets and liabilities to the new company which has the charity number 1112459 and has the same trustees as the previous association had and the same charitable objects. Being a Company by Limited Guarantee means that it has no shareholders and pays no dividends. All of its assets must be used for charitable purposes.

David Thomas, the Association Chairman said 'I am pleased this vote has been taken and will again reassure everyone that there is no threat to the Public Hall or any of the activities which take place in it. The conversion to a company has given us a structure which is much more suitable for holding a lease than the previous one. We believe that the Company structure will help us to ensure that the hall enters its second century of service to local residents on a firm basis.


Car Boot Sale Shirehampton Primary School

There will be a car boot sale at Shirehampton Primary School on Saturday, 13th May, from 10am-12 noon (sellers from 9am-12 noon). To book a pitch for 5 ring Shirehampton Primary School, St Mary's Walk, Shirehampton on 0117 903 1447.   Leave your telephone number and you will be contacted as soon as possible. Pitches may be available on the day for 5.50.

The Shirehampton Directory

The new Shirehampton Directory, sponsored by 'Shire', with updated information about local groups, clubs and organisations, will shortly be available from the library