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WHAT'S ON IN SHIRE?

Letters to the Editor

St Mary's News

WELL DONE! Portway Community School

The Headmaster, Mr David Hebden, has very kindly provided Shire with a copy of the letter sent to pupils from the Ofsted Inspection Team following the decision to bring the school out of special Measures. We are pleased to print the letter in full and we are sure that all of Shirehampton will join us in congratulating the whole school and in wishing it well in the future.

17 March 2006

Dear Pupils

We really enjoyed meeting you and the staff. What a difference from my last visit - new buildings and a new Headteacher! You told us that you felt much happier than before. We saw that it was true. Your Headteacher has made a very good start. He has tackled the poor behaviour and bullying that have worried you and your parents for so long.

Around the school and in most lessons, you behaved well. You tried very hard and enjoyed learning in lessons which were taught well. However, where you found the work uninteresting, a few of you did not behave well and that spoilt the lesson. You have been fed up with the frequent changes in teachers and Headteachers. No one likes too much change! Many of your staff have tried very hard to make things better.

It has not been easy. Everyone has made an effort to support temporary and new staff. There is some really good teaching but there is too much which is not good enough. We have told your Headteacher that all lessons should be taught well and that staff should help you develop good learning habits. Your staff know that standards are not high enough and they are right. In some subjects you achieve much better than in others.

We have told your staff that they must improve standards and ensure that you achieve well in all subjects. It is very important that Year 11 pupils get the GCSE results they deserve. Your Headteacher knows what should be done and has talked this through with the staff. They are already taking action to make things better. We think they are on the right track and have said that there is the 'capacity to improve'.

But we have given your school a 'Notice to Improve' because things are not right and you deserve better. This means that we want to see big improvements in a year's time when we will inspect the school again. We hope that when we come you will tell us what is better and how you, as well as the staff, have made it happen! Very best wishes from all the Inspection Team.

Brenda Cusdin HMI

READY FOR TAKE OFF ....

Two blackbird chicks, a day before flying the nest. A scene from a Shirehampton garden this Spring.

GREEN SHIREHAMPTON

We may no longer have a swimming pool, a sports centre or a bingo hall, but Shirehampton still has wonderful green spaces all around. Lamplighters Marsh, the Daisy Field, Penpole Woods, Shirehampton Park, King's Weston Down and the Golf Course make up a green surround to our village. They are open all hours, cost nothing to use and provide the opportunity for all kinds of leisure activities.

Dog walkers, families with children, runners, bird watchers and golfers are all to be seen enjoying the fresh air and getting healthy exercise. If team games are your thing, football and cricket can be played or watched on the pitches near Portway School.On a fine spring day not long ago I saw primroses, daffodils, wood anemones, violets and celandines amongst the trees and a pair of Jays flashed through the branches.

Let's value the things we do have and appreciate the benefits of nature and fresh air for a healthy lifestyle.

J.T.

WHAT'S ON IN SHIRE?

JUNE 1st Thursday

SHIREHAMPTON'S TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD 2pm-4pm at the Methodist Church Hall Talk - "Back Stage Secrets" part 2 by Kay Rawlings
KICK BOXING at the Public Hall weekly at 5.15-7.15pm
STOKE SUPPORT Every Thursday at the P.B.A. Club, Nibley Road, 1.30-4pm
SLIMMING WORLD every Thursday 5.30pm and 7pm at Jim O'Neil House
BINGO or a speaker at Tythe Barn 2pm every week
GRAINGER PLAYERS DRAMA CLUB at the Public Hall 7.30-9.30pm
KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB trains at Avonmouth RFC 6.30 -8.30 pm

JUNE 2nd Friday

COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10 am - 12 noon
FRIDAY FUN weekly for Parents, Carers and Pre-School Children 9.3011am at Beachley Walk Centre
EVERGREENS every week at the Public Hall 2-4pmBINGO at the Public Hall weekly starting at 6.30pm
PILLOW LACE GROUP every Friday 7-9pm at the Public Hall
SHIREHAMPTON AMATEUR RADIO CLUB each week at T.S. Enterprise 7.30-10pm

JUNE 3rd Saturday

STAMP & POSTCARD FAIR at the Public Hall 10am-4pm
COFFEE MORNING AND BRING AND BUY at the Methodist Church Hall 10am-12 noon
AVONSIDE DISTRICT GUIDING SUMMER FAIR, St Mary's Church 9.30am-11.30am

JUNE 4th Sunday

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

JUNE 5th Monday

BEGINNING OF TERM 6 for all local Schools
SEE AND KNOW for Under 5s at St. Mary's weekly 1.15-2.45pm
3 OF US BINGO  at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30-8.30pm
BASIC LITERACY SKILLS COURSE at Lawrence Weston weekly - tel 0117 9138824 for details
KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB trains at St. Bernard's Primary School, each week 6.30-8.30 pm

JUNE 6th Tuesday

TEA JUNCTION at St. Mary's weekly 2pm-tea, chat, board games
CRAFTY GROUP at St. Mary's 2-2.30pm every Tuesday
BINGO or a Speaker at the Tythe Barn High Street, weekly at 2pm.
ST. ANDREW'S Ladies Club at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth SUMMER TRIP
SHIREHAMPTON MODEL RAILWAY CLUB weekly at the Public Hall at 7.30pm

JUNE 7th Wednesday

BRIGHT HOUR (Women's Fellowship) at the Baptist Church -  2.30pm
A.U.S. ADVICE SESSIONS every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30-11am at 115 High Street
ACTA COMMUNITY YOUTH THEATRE for 11-16 year olds weekly at the Public Hall 5-6.30pm
COTSWOLD BOOK CLUB 7.30pm. Book for discussion "Cider with Rosie" by Laurie Lee phone 982 8683 for details
KEEP FIT, Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road, 10.30-11.30am for those with some movement experience

JUNE 13th Tuesday

POLICE BOBBY VAN monthly visit to Shirehampton Green
EVERGREENS OUTING TO TORQUAY & PAIGNTON

JUNE 14th Wednesday

WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP 7.30-9.30pm at the Public Hall
KEEP FIT, Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road, 10.30- 11.30am for those with some movement experience

JUNE 18th Sunday

COTSWOLD SERVICE led by St. Mary's 4.45-5.30pm

JUNE 20th Tuesday

P.B.A. PENSIONERS meet at the Club House, Nibley Road 1.30-3.30 pm
St Andrew's Ladies meet 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church to hear Carla Contract of Raj Ram Mahon Roy

JUNE 21st Wednesday

SHIRE STITCHERS at 7.30pm at the Public Hall
KEEP FIT, Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road, 10.30am-11.30am for those with some movement experience

JUNE 22nd Thursday

CARERS GROUP meets at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-12 noon
CARERS GROUP meets at Ridingleaze House, Lawrence Weston at 2pm

JUNE 26th Monday

LOCAL HISTORY GROUP meet in the Library at 2.30pm

JUNE 28th Wednesday

WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP at the Public Hall 7.30-9.30pm
KEEP FIT, Cotswold Centre, Dursley Road, 10.30am-11.30am for those with some movement experience

JUNE 30th Friday

SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road, 7.30-10pm

ADDITIONAL LOCAL ACTIVITIES

PLAYGROUP at the Public Hall every week MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS 9.15am - 11.45am. Monday and Wednesdays only 12.30-2.45pm
SHIREHAMPTON CHOIR REHEARSE Tuesday weekly 7.30-9pm at St Mary's
KIDS KLUB at St Mary's 9.30am most Sundays.  Breakfast and a short service. For information ring 0117 9077026
SEA CADETS Mondays and Thursdays each week (12-18 years) and Juniors (10-12 years) Thursday 6.45-8.45pm at T.S. Enterprise, Station Road
DIABETES U.K. Voluntary Group 4th Thursday of each month 7.30pm at Penpole Tenants Association Hall, Twyford
ART CLUB Monday and Wednesday 9.30am - 11.30am Thursday 7-9pm all at the Public Hall

CITY OF BRISTOL BASIC SKILLS CLASSES

FREE, Improve you English, Computers and Communication, Art and Communication, Help with Maths. CONTACT Gill Lloyd on 3112 5530

GUIDING SUMMER FAIR

Avonside District Guiding are raising money to carry out essential maintenance on the District Headquarters in St Mary's Road Shirehampton. We are holding a Summer Fair at St Mary's Church on Saturday 3rd June from 9.30am. There will be stalls and competitions for all ages and refreshments served. Prizes have kindly been donated by many businesses in the village and other local companies (Bristol Rovers, Bristol Zoo etc), so come along and see what you can win!

SHIRE BY POST

Because of the recent increase in postal charges we are sorry that it has been necessary to increase the annual subscription for SHIRE BY POST, from £5 to £6 per annum. The new rates will apply when subscriptions fall due for renewal.

PLANNING INFORMATION GOES ONLINE

All planning applications made in the city can now be viewed online with Bristol City Council's new Public Access for Planning. The new online facility means that anyone with access to the internet can get details about planning applications in the Bristol area without having to make a trip to the planning office. Users of the site will also be able to view associated documents such as plans, photos and elevations drawings; lodge their support objections; view the case officers' report and decision; and find out about consultation deadlines.

Public Access for Planning can be found on the city council's website at: www.bristol-city.gov.uk/planning. The system is easy to navigate and users can search by date of application, address of the property concerned or application reference number. Local area maps. Ward details and weekly lists of validated and decided applications are also available.For those without computers, the city's 27 libraries offer free access to the internet.

Applications can still be viewed in person by visiting the council's Planning Services' reception at Brunel House, St. George's, Bristol. The City Council receives approximately 100 domestic and commercial planning applications each week with some individual applications generating up to 1,000 comments from members of the public. The Planning Services last year exceeded all government performance targets.

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY?

Sadly we all suffer bereavement and for everyone the experience is different. Each of us grieves in our own way. Grieving is not an illness, but unless it is allowed to follow its course, it may bring the risk of emotional and/or physical disorder. Grieving is a natural process, usually painful and with no set time limits. It often lasts longer than many people expect.

Many people come through safely, often with the help and support of family and friends, but some experience difficulties and may need particular support to move on and through. There is an organisation called Cruse which provides someone to support bereaved people while they find the strength to and courage to begin the transition to a normal life again.

Cruse can help by ...

  • An answerphone service to record your calls to them at any time
  • Telephone support and enquiries during office hours 10am - 2pm
  • One to one bereavement support at their premises in Central Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Portishead or at home if you are unable to travel
  • Small group support and informal drop-in centres.

To make an appointment telephone 0117 926 4045 10am - 2pm weekdays

Cruse also offers . . .

  • Training Courses for volunteer Counsellors
  • Short courses and talks to professionals and other groups on bereavement
  • Books and leaflets on bereavement

Support from Cruse Bereavement Care is confidential and free, although if you are in a position to make a donation towards the running costs it would be greatly appreciated.

REPORT FROM PC GARETH DAVIES ... Your Beat Manager

This month we print selected extracts from Gareth Davies's report and in future we hope to include other extracts from this very full and helpful document.

VIOLENCE/NUISANCE/DAMAGE

There seems to have been an increase in the number of violent/nuisance/damage type incidents that have been reported to the police over the last 3-5 months in Avonmouth and Shirehampton, which is causing concern. There is a link to alcohol/drugs abuse in a lot of cases that can be linked to these reports.

A USEFUL GUIDE TO PARENTS TO POSSIBLE DRUG ABUSE

My advice and guidance to members of the public and to parents who have teenagers who live in the Shirehampton/Avonmouth wards of this district are as follows: Are you worried and concerned that your child/children may be suffering from the effects of drug abuse/alcohol? Below are a few tips and guidelines that may assist you:

1. Take an interest in the times when your loved ones are going out and arriving in daily. Are they irritable, do they appear to be drunk or on drugs, are their eyes glazed, but their breath is not smelling of alcohol?

2. Have their attitudes changed - angry, aggressive towards you, more than before they went out or over a short period of time living at your house? Have they all of a sudden come into a large amount of money? Have their living standards risen with this new-found wealth - new clothing, property/clothing that has mysteriously appeared on them or in their bedrooms, phone  numbers lying around on scraps of paper, that is normally stored on their mobile phones?

3. Note the comings and goings, with persons not normally associated with your loved ones at your doorstep, items going missing from your household such as CDs, tapes, DVDs, electrical items, their personal possessions (playstations), money from your handbag, trouser pockets, etc.

4. If you can say 'yes' to 'all' of these pointers, or a 'vast' majority of them, it's a good sign that they may be in some way connected to drugs or alcohol. Please let us know, we can help!

5. We as a police force have multi-agency contacts who will have the experience to help you and your loved ones recover from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

6. We want to know and work along with you and your family, before it's too late!

This information will be in the utmost confidence, don't suffer alone - let someone know!

BURGLARIES

Over the past 5-7 months the burglaries have gone up in the villages of Avonmouth and Shirehampton, predominantly Avonmouth. There have been in the past 12 months 97 reported burglaries covering the two villages. The majority of the reported burglaries have been at the Avonmouth Industrial Estate. The majority of property stolen at these burglaries has been computers, hard drives and electrical items.

The timing of the burglaries occurring has been late evenings/early mornings; the daytime burglaries appeared to be mostly at the weekends. Ladders on some of the occasions have been used due to the high entry points for some of those burglaries being reported. Robin Cousins Sports Centre has been the target on a number of occasions. These premises have also been subjected to various 'graffiti' and nuisance behaviour (abandoned and burnt out motor cycles and cars) and gatherings for teenagers most evenings.

The Portway School has been the subject of burglaries over the past couple of months, again, computer equipment being the property targeted.There is a crime prevention van currently being utilised by this district to offer advice and equipment, the current location for the crime prevention van being Pembroke Road, Shirehampton. Feel free to speak to the officers who are running the clinic in that area if you have concerns relating to home security.

Next month we hope to include the parts of the report which consider tips on crime prevention with special reference to thefts from houses and gardens

Letters to the Editor

LET'S COUNT OUR BLESSINGS

Dear Shire,

I am a Shirehampton resident and have for a number of years been regular swimmer and gym user. I have followed the debate in the Shire on the closure of Robin Cousins and the swimming pool. Many letters read as though Robin Cousins, which had a limited number of fitness equipment, was infrequently used and accommodated in a frequently vandalised building, accessed by a poorly lit road under a motorway had been scrapped and not replaced by a greater variety and number of fitness equipment in a new building only 10 minutes away. In my view it was a similar picture for the swimming pool.

If some residents would have preferred to have old equipment provided in poor conditions that would obviously have been their choice. I am delighted with the provision at Henbury Leisure Centre and use it far more frequently. Yes, I am a car driver, so don't have the problem of using public transport to get to Henbury. I acknowledge there are residents who do not have a car but the number 43 bus stops almost outside Henbury Leisure Centre.

As for the argument that people never had to use a vehicle so having to do so is not fair, how many of those people ever walked to Robin Cousins? How many quibble about going to Cribbs Causeway to shop or to go to the cinema? I have often heard or read of Shirehampton residents moaning that there is nothing in Shirehampton. I was pleased to see the letter from John Patten in the May issue stating there seemed to me a selection of sporting activities available.

Simply doing a mental walk through Shirehampton I note I and other residents have access to a number of venues and activities in the following: the Public Hall; Baptist Church Hall; Methodist Church Hall; St Mary's Church; Penpole Residents Association Centre; Tythe Barn; a guide hut; a scout hut; Beachley Walk Centre; Cotswold Community Centre and PBA Club. In addition we have a library, several schools, a health centre, two banks, a post office, several pubs, two takeaways, a café, a restaurant, a range of shops and services such as hairdressers, more than one bus service and a train service.

Last, but not lease, there are many other activities and venues close by in Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston.If Shirehampton was as bad as some residents make out, why do they stay and why is it such a popular place for people to move into? Come on - let's all celebrate what we have available and support them rather than just bemoaning what has been lost and what others have that we don't have.

Yours faithfully,

Rosemary A Clarke (Ms)

THANK YOU

Dear Editor:

May we take this opportunity to thank Rev. Dr Andrew Schuman and Canon Christine for all the kindness shown to Eddie and myself for the sad loss of our little dog Gizmo. But most of all it is Andy himself we have to thank for all his kindness. He did a wonderful service for us to say goodbye and sprinkle Gizmo's ashes into the Garden of Remembrance.

Also Eddie and I would like to thank all the wonderful people of Shirehampton for their kind words and support for all the lovely cards we received. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

God bless you all.Margaret and Eddie Shaw, and kisses from Tobi

Thank you for your kind donation to Shire - Ed.

LITTER

Dear Shire,

I have become increasingly aware of and concerned about the way that some very inconsiderate people leave litter in our local woods and open spaces.An example of this is in woods close to the Woodland Car Park at Kings Weston where, after the Easter weekend I found what amounted to the remains of a party strewn about amongst the trees.

A dozen or more empty lager cans, bottles (some broken), two used foil barbecues, numerous wrappings and the top of a plastic sauce bottle. What a mess!!One wonders what sort of people do this and why they never seem to consider actually taking their rubbish home with them. The above is just one example. I regularly find and pick up empty lager, beer or cider cans at Kings Weston and Blaise Estate.

Maybe some big notices should be put up in and around the woods and open spaces - TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME - the same as I see regularly in car parks and lay byes. Catching the culprits is not easy but prevention is better than cure so education and commonsense is probably the best approach. To those inconsiderate people I say, please take your letter home - don't spoil what is a beautiful woodland for the sake of a few cans of drink.

Take home your empties - recycle them and leave the woodland as you found it.

David Hinksman, Avonmouth

Dogs

Dear Editor,

With reference to the letter from R Perkins in your May edition. I agree completely with the comments.What is the point though of warning penalty notices if no action appears to be taken? Shouldn't the Dog Warden team occasionally be patrolling the riverbank area to warn those dog walkers who are seen not to collect the dog mess?

Although some of the anti-social offenders are local and regular, others are from outside the area and arrive in cars, leave the mess and go away again not caring less about the environment and decent behaviour.

A.V. Goulding

WINDOWS ON THE PAST

Following the article in the April 'Shire' many readers have been moved to write in with their recollections and we publish a selection below. Thank you to all who sent letters - even if we had too little space to print all of them.

Shops in Station Road

Dear Editor,

Your request for information regarding the two shops in Station Road caused my memory to recall what must have been the 1930s. Mr Sanford in those days had the milk round when door-to-door deliveries were made from a can inside of which hung a standard measure - probably a pint or half pint. That day's order was then poured into the customer's own jug. I knew his store only because as a child I had to go there on an errand, but I was not a regular caller, although I walked past there on my way to school.

Marjorie Knights was a ladies wool and lingerie shop, and the one further along towards the library was a hairdressers, the back room of which contained mens and boys sections. I read 'Shire' each month on the internet, so some of those old buildings such as the Savoy and the Baths have a special place in my recollections of those early days. The Library reminds me of those 'Just William' adventure books by Richmal Crompton.

Kind regards to you all, John Mitchell. New Zealand

Re: the shop fronts in Station Road.

Dear Editor,

Having reached my 14th birthday in November of 1942 when the school I was attending broke up for the Christmas holiday I had a job waiting for me at Sanfords Stores, so, as the school finished for the Christmas break on the Friday I started work at the shop on the following Monday. I was there for three years and was paid 17s 6d for a five and a half day working week. I had to write every item on the till roll in the cash till and add it all up for every sale.

Coupons for rationed sweets and on some foods had to be taken and everything had to be weighed out before being put into paper bags for the customer. In those days the shop was known as Sanfords Dairies and, as you went in the door there was one counter on each side of the shop, one where all the sweets and cigarettes were sold from, with all the foodstuffs being sold from behind the other.

Large tins of biscuits were piled on the floor in front of the counter for folk to choose from which we had to weigh out - no packets of things in those days! When the American soldiers were billeted in huts nearby and started coming into the shop they were surprised to find that we could not sell sweets to them because they were all rationed and they did not have the necessary coupons.

The milk was bottled at the back of the shop and there was a bottle washing machine which was used by a Mrs Collins to wash all the milk bottles so that they could be re-used. Mr Sanford delivered the milk, some in bottles but some he used to ladle direct into the customers jugs from large churns. My younger brother Ronald worked with him for some time after he left school.

The Sanfords had one son and a daughter but Mrs Sanford suffered badly with asthma and her sister often came to stay and help her. The shop next door 'Marjory Knight' was a ladies clothing shop. I was born in Shirehampton and my sister passes her 'Shire' paper to me when we meet.

Mrs Hilda Russell (nee Rumble)

Re: The picture of Sandfords and Marjorie Knights

Dear Editor

I remember Sandfords very well, not so much the shop but the large wooden building in the back. In those days we had a wireless which was powered by an accumulator battery and you had to take it there to be charged. You would haul the heavy battery up there and he would chalk your name on it and tell you when  to call back for it. What a Godsend when Father bought a wireless powered by main electricity.

They were not known as radios in those days.The other shop, Marjorie Knights, was the place where all the young ladies of fashion bought their clothes. There were no such places as The Mall and the Galleries then. My two sisters, Mary and Bridget would shop there and also at another dress shop. Bon Marche, in Bradley Crescent.

Now I use PJ's the Barbers shop in Station Road but around the time of Sandford's and Marjorie Knight's that shop was called The Grotto. I do believe it was then only a ladies hairdressers. The males of the village went to Bowells in the High Street for this short back and sides. As a child after having your hair cut you could be given a couple of glass marbles or a clay bubble pipe.

Mr George Burke, Lawrence Weston

Re: Marjorie Knight

Dear Editor

I remember Marjorie Knight, she was a very elegant lady.  The shop was big, you could see right into it. There was a lovely chair for customers to sit while you were shown the garments.There were only a few items in the windows but they were always the latest fashion and top quality. We had clothing coupons then, it took a while to save enough to buy a dress.

I remember the Summer Fair in the Public Hall. She had been invited to open it. There was always a raffle and this year she had all the prizes in the front right hand window of her shop. One of the prizes was a doll dressed all in pink. Every time I went by I would stand and look at the doll. On the afternoon Marjorie opened the fair and the raffle was drawn. My grandmother won and I went up with her to get the doll. Oh what a super day

Carole Clarke (Aldworth)

Re: The photo of Marjorie Knight's dress shop

Dear Editor

It was a delight to me as I was in my teens when it became known to me. I still have a picture of several of the dresses that I bought there in about 1930-36. The other shop I remember but cannot recall what it sold. I think it may have been  electrical. I left Portway School in 1934, was born in Shirehampton and my mother was one of the Bleaker family. I would love to hear from anyone who may remember me, or who remembers the Cummings family.

Marjorie was a  good friend of mine but I lost touch with her during the war.Sylvia Tiley (Nee Small)

Re: Article in April's Shire 'A Window on the Past

Dear Editor

'Sandford's Stores was started by Cyril Sandford as a dairy shop and he also did a milk round.My grandmother, Mrs Dorothy Lambourne (nee Sandford) was Cyril's sister, and she owned Sandfords Emporium in Portview Road, Avonmouth.

The shop was household on one side, and groceries the other. She also did sweets and tobacco. When she was bombed out in about 1942 she moved the shop in with Cyril on Station Road, doing away with the household side. My father, Bernard Lambourne, helped his mother in the shop when on leave with the army. He is not sure of the exact date, but believes the shop closed in the late 1950s, as this was when his mother became poor in health.

The shop was part of a small rank: Cinema; Sandfords (Grocer/Dairy); Marjorie (Ladies Fashion); Eastmans (Butchers); Churchills (Hairdresser/Barber). Just as a family interest Ralph Sandford, Cyril and Dorothy's brother, owned Sandfords Cycle Shop on the High Street and the garage at the rear, which faced the Rising Sun pub.

Anita Lambourne

NEWS FROM AVON (UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT)

Retirement

This year sees the retirement of our long-standing Chairman, John Miller, from the Management Council. John joined the Avon University Settlement (AUS) in the early sixties, as a volunteer, when it was situated in Twyford House. At that time Twyford House Centre was a flourishing neighbourhood home for 'education and fellowship', providing adult education courses as well as special groups for activities ranging from bridge and badminton to yoga.

The Settlement ran a Citizens Advise Service and the Evergreens, a club for older residents (over 65) as it still does to-day, though older now includes the over 50's!John soon joined the Council running Twyford House and by 1969 was a joint Secretary. In 1971 AUS moved to its present home, Ilex Cottage at 115 High Street. John continued as Secretary of the Council till 1986 when he became Chairman, a position he held till last year.

In 1997 he took over the running of the Lunch Club at Beachley Walk. During his period in office he and Margaret Hedges, by then Secretary of the Council oversaw many changes at the Cottage, but the core work of AUS continues to this day with the provision of the Advice Service, as much needed now as then, and the Evergreens, now located in the Public Hall.

We would like to thank John for the hours of work that he has devoted to keeping the Settlement running. As we all know the paperwork required now by the various organisations that 'police' our activities is endless and we are sure that John will be happy to be relieved of that burden. We would like to give John our best wishes for a long and happy retirement from the Council.

Margaret Hedges

Sadly this year we have lost our long-serving Secretary and friend Margaret Hedges whose diligent work in the past has been of the higheset value. She is sadly missed and we extend our sympathies to her husband, Joe and family.

INTERESTED?

The long-running Lunch Club at Beachley Walk is in need of a person to take on as organiser in the near future. A very satisfying and interesting role for someone with a few hours to spare on Wednesdays. Ensuring that this social group continues and is enjoyed by members in a pleasurable atmosphere.  No special experience required. Give John Miller a ring on 01454 202023 or just drop in at Beachley Walk (early learning centre) on a Wednesday, after 10am.

Cotswold Book Club

The Cotswold Book Club took advantage of a visit in May from Nick Hornby to Bristol to have an evening away from their usual vigorous discussion nights. They went to hear the author reading to a packed audience from his work, and take the opportunity to quiz the prolific writer. June is back to normal, when the book up for discussion is Laurie Lee's 'Cider with Rosie'.

The date is Wednesday 7th June, 7.30pm.Then July is the event looked forward to with anticipation every year: the summer BBQ - but this year it is different. Instead of a barbie in a member's house the group is having an evening out at the Lamplighters on Wednesday 5th July. Tables are booked for outside (inside if its rains) and, as the buffet is enjoyed, so the group will be bringing their party pieces of poetry or short prose extracts that they particularly like.

If you would like to go to either of these evenings phone 982 8683. Venues for the regular meetings now change from month to month, so to phone first is important.

Cotswold Garden Competition

Entries are coming in for the 'Cotswold in Bloom' Garden Competition, but there is still time to enter. The competition is open to everyone living between the Portway and the riverbank, and there are four sections: Best Front Garden; Best Back Garden; Best Container Display; and Best Wild Flower Garden. There are two prizes in each section. If you would like to enter, ring 904 7319 for details.

Putting on the Easter style

There were plenty of stylish hat designs to be seen at the Cotswold Community Association Easter Parade, now in its second year. Much of the headgear was 'out of this world' - or perhaps one might say 'outlandish'! A lot of effort went into trying to impress the judges in both the adult and childrens' sections. But the Easter Bank Holiday morning event wasn't so much about winning prizes as everyone having a lot of fun. Whether it was balloon modelling, Easter Egg painting or the 'Dad's Singalong', laughter and enjoyment was everywhere.

Group Practice Patient Survey Results

At the end of last year, many of our patients kindly agreed to complete a Patient Satisfaction survey. The questionnaire was part of a national requirement, completed anonymously and centred on the more subjective issues of the surgery rather than clinical practice. So there were questions relating to ease of contacting the Practice and making appointments, comfort of the building, the attitude of the GP during the consultation and other similar questions. The results were compiled by an external company and from these, we have formulated an action plan to address the areas where improvements can be made. Here are just a few of them:

Telephone Access - It will be no surprise to hear that our telephone system is deemed to be inadequate! We scored a meagre 13% against the national average of 47% and it simply confirmed what we all know - we need a new one. Hopefully, we will not have to wait too much longer - a totally  new system will be installed in the temporary accommodation when we move in September, which will be transferred to the new building on its completion.

Appointment Satisfaction (Score 43%: national average 56%)This related mostly to the date and time of the appointment - we are aware that we are not able to offer enough appointments in the early evening for those who work. There were a few comments about not being open on Saturdays - this is the result of the new GP contract which only covers Practice services from 8am until 6.30pm weekdays. We are, however, in the process of reviewing the GP surgery times and are looking to spread appointments more evenly across the day. This will hopefully increase evening appointments. There is unfortunately a problem with space (9 GPs into 4 consulting rooms doesn't go!) and it may be some time before we can instigate this fully.

See Doctor within 48 hours (Score 35: national average 49%)Government directives state that if you need to see a doctor (and this means any doctor - not the one you would prefer to see) within 48 hours, we should be able to offer you an appointment. We have always managed this by trying to establish your clinical need and balance this with appointment availability. We do, however, strongly believe in continuity of care and encourage patients to see the same doctor for the same problem. This is why we have instigated a method of 'triaging' by the receptionists - when they ask you what the problem is, they are simply trying to establish the best appointment for you, i.e. which GP, face-to-face or telephone consultation, nurse rather than GP, etc. We continue to work hard to get the balance right.

Comfort of Waiting Room Scoring 32% against the national average of 55% will come as no surprise. As I write this (12th May), I have just been told that the contracts of the new building have now been signed! We know the existing building is not up to scratch - we have to work in it. We are all really excited at the prospect of our new Primary Care Centre and we had a very successful first meeting of our Patient Involvement Group this week. So watch this space!

Information Provided We were 11% below the national average for this issue. We are aware that the current building does not lend itself to good presentation of information, although we do try to use the display boards in the waiting area to good effect. We are shortly going to put out a questionnaire to patients asking you to tell us how you would prefer to access information, be this about various medical conditions, prevention and lifestyle changes, our services or local community support groups.

You may be happy with leaflets and posters or prefer a livelier approach such as information videos/DVDs playing in the waiting room or in a private room nearby. Please take the time to complete one so that in the new building we can ensure your views are considered. The above are just a few of the issues that came out of the report. If you would like to see the full report which was discussed by our team and a patient representative from the PCT, please let me know and I will happily provide you with a copy.

Carole Brooke, Practice Manager 0117 916 2225

Fair Philately

I suppose that life has changed considerably over the last sixty years. I often think 'Would I have started collecting stamps if I was a child today?' Probably not, for not only is there TV (that dates me!) but there also videos, computers, DVDs, CDs, mobile phones and ... the list is endless and all apparently more attractive to children than tatty bits of paper with their designs half obliterated by a Post Office intent on doing all it can to stamp out stamps! But stamp collecting, or to give it a posher title 'philately', is education for it certainly taught me about where countries are; their products; their important personalities and their politics!

My wife was also impressed whilst watching the last Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that I could identify almost all of the countries from their flags and I can also tell her where they were, their dependency status and, in many cases, their populations! I can't really claim that the populations resulted from philately though!Sadly however, the 'King of Hobbies' (or is it the 'Hobby of Kings') has seen a decline - at least as far as the younger generation is concerned. This has been compensated by more and more women having greater disposable income and with some rekindling their childhood hobby.

Older people, of course, are living longer with more cash to spend than just a few years ago and philately seems to provide just what they are looking for.Collecting stamps can be as time consuming and cash consuming as one allows it to be - it need not be either, for many collectors restrict themselves to a winter season and one can start collecting by sticking solely to the stamps which come on mail delivered through one's front door. This would give a truly personal collection and be completely free - although fairly soon one may wish to purchase a stockbook in which to present ones stamps.

As you grow philatelically you may expand your collection into other countries or groups of countries (I must admit that I have a liking for the stamps and postal history of Russia from their first stamps until ten years after the revolution) or you may just wish to stay with your own country and start to collect it in greater depth. Remember Stanley Gibbons publish a five volume set of catalogues just for Great Britain. Fear not though, there are simplified catalogues!

All collections can be enhanced by postal history which is simply covers bearing stamps with postal markings and kept as entries. Such covers may be used to demonstrate postal rates either inland or abroad or they may be postal markings indicating the route the particular cover travelled. In this category first flight covers are popular; these are exactly what they say they are - covers franked correctly and travelling on the first flight from A to B.

As you may anticipate the range is tremendous. Personally I go a little further and collect crashed and salvaged mail - covers which have been in an aircrash or a sinking and then retrieved and sent on to the addressee, often with extra explanatory markings such as 'DELAYED DUE TO FLIGHT INTERRUPTION' - a common American understatement!

Thematic collecting (that is collecting stamps showing a theme) was frowned on not that many years ago, but it is now a fully respectable branch of philately and many collectors have their particular country collections as well as one or two thematic collections. The advantage of this is that there will always be cheaper stamps being produced which can be slotted into the themes of their choice.

The range of themes is endless, with of course the more popular ones being Birds, Aircraft, Railways and Ships. Choose your own theme but don't be as restrictive as one of my customers who only collected clowns portrayed on stamps and then only if they were looking to the lift! Possibly a political motive here!Perhaps I have whetted your appetite for philately in one form or another, if so why not visit your local stamp fair?

The five or so dealers regularly at Shirehampton all represent a different slant on the subject and between them they have vast knowledge, but more to the point, they are not afraid to share it. In fact, all would be delighted to meet you. Be warned however, philately can become an obsession and as such should probably carry a health warning!

At stamp fairs, apart from stamps and covers, you are able to purchase stamp catalogues; albums (for stamps and covers); hinges; mounts and most other items associated with our hobby. Postcards and postcard albums are also available for postcard collecting has really taken off and now seems to be inextricably connected to philately.

Collections of postcards can be based on cards of your locality or, of course, on a huge range of themes (ships, railways, aircraft, nudes - in fact anything from adverts to zebras!) Unfortunately, if cards of Shirehampton are of interest you will not find them cheap, but they will be cheaper away from home.

If I still have your attention, you are possibly semi-hooked already, so why not take the next step and see what we actually get up to? Fairs are held in the Public Hall and frequently on the second Saturday of the month. You can always check with either of the telephone numbers below.

Kevin Noble - 0117 902 1134. Roger Truman - 01373 836703.

Park Farm Cottage, Whatley, Frome BA11 3JU

Forthcoming Fair Dates for 2006: June 3rd; July 8th; August 12th; September 9th; October 14th; November 11th; December 2nd.

BOB'S GYM - SLIP

BOB'S GYM HAS NOT "GONE", contrary to the extremely erroneous remark made by the NSC ABC as a lever to fight their cause concerning the lack of facilities in the area for youngsters, via their article in April's edition of the "Shire".True, the Old Bus Depot has been sold out to developers by the Bristol City Council; who, in their wisdom, believe this to be more in people's interests than in retaining a well-used sports facility, promoting a healthy lifestyle for all ages and, just as importantly, physical ability, as is in keeping with the Government's guidelines. However, we are doing our utmost to remain here.

May we fervently request that, in future, those who contribute articles get their facts right before putting them forward to print. This one has done us no favours at all, after all the gym is our livelihood, goodness knows what untold damage this one has done to our business.We would also very much appreciate a written apology from the Boxing Club to be issued in the "Shire".

To date, none has been forthcoming since our phone call to them. Ironically, it was suggested years ago that the Club approach the Council about allowing them to use the other bit of the Bus Depot, what a fabulous boxing gym that would have made!

Yours faithfully, Jayne Warren

90th Birthday Celebration

Almost sixty years ago, Cora Griffiths (our Mum), moved from Nibley Road to a brand new prefab in Hadrian Close, Stoke Bishop where she lived happily with her family. In recent years many of her neighbours moved away and the garden was becoming too much for her. When offered a flat at Stow House, she jumped at the chance and returned to Nibley Road to take up residence at Stow House.

On 15th April, Cora celebrated her 90th Birthday. Her sons, Roger and Barrie and their wives, Pauline and Marina, organised a Party for her at Stow House. The arrangement was for all the family and friends to drop in during the day; some of the family were on holiday but just about everybody else turned up. Approximately 60 guests attended on a beautiful sunny day - Her brother Gerald and wife Joyce McCoulloch were a joy for Cora to see.

Nephews, nieces and cousins, some of who hadn't seen each other for 30 years or more, came to give Cora Happy Birthday wishes. The Party was a surprise for Cora and thanks must go to Joan Cormack, Warden at Stow House, for her continued support and help to Mum since she moved to her flat; she has been fantastic!

Cora's immediate family, two sons with their wives, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren (totalling 21 in number) were a reminder to Cora of how much she is loved.Thanks to everyone who came and made Cora's Birthday so special.

Barrie Griffiths

Congratulations Dennis Warn on Your Retirement

To a fabulous husband, father and grandfather who lives in Dursley Road, Shirehampton. We all wish you well and hope you enjoy your early retirement this month from Walkers Crisps in Portbury, where you have worked for the past twenty years.Barney the dog will certainly be slimmer now with all the extra walks he will have and Sheila, your long suffering wife, will finally get many jobs around the house finished!

We love you lots and lots  You really are the best!

The Warn Mobxxx

A HISTORY TEACHER AT PORTWAY ASKS ...

Hello, I'm teaching WW2 at the moment and I'd like to get the children to realise how first hand the war was in Shire and the surrounding area. Could you please put a request in Shire for any Veterans, or older people, who would be interested in telling some of their experiences of the war to contact me at the school:- Richard Williams Portway School Tel: 3532600Call after 3pm please.

Many thanks, Rich Williams

Edgar (Ed) Cooper

Betty would like to thank family and friends for cards and kindness shown to her at the sad loss of her husband, Ed and also to say thanks for donations to the Stroke Foundation. A special thank you to Rev. Christine for a lovely service.

Thank you all. Betty Cooper

Thank you for your kind donation to Shire funds - Ed.

APOLOGIES to Mrs Cooper for the inadvertent omission of this letter from the April issue.

Shirehampton Notes & Queries

SHIRE's own website, www.shire.org.uk, recently began a Notes and Queries section. It gives readers the opportunity to ask any questions about the village and for other readers to answer. One of the website's visitors suggested that readers of SHIRE newspaper would also be interested.Notes and Queries is your opportunity to ask other readers questions about Shirehampton.

If you have a question, or an answer to a question which is already here, please contact us. You can write to SHIRE, c/o the Public Library, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 OUH, or email editor@shire.org.uk. Please include your name and address or email address and location.

Here are the first three Queries: Row Houses: Does anyone have any pictures of the old Row Houses that were situated in Lower High Street next to Meadow Grove, they were demolished in the early 1950's and the bungalows built in their place. They were called 'The Bank'. I lived there from 1932 until 1937.John Rogers, St. Louis, USA

Prefab Photos: Hi there, I used to live in the prefabs at Old Barrow Hill. I lived there from the age of six until I was 21, and I was wondering if you have any photos or news on the prefabs, I would love to have any info or news. Thanks and regards. Diane Pople (nee Oram), Cornwall

Penpole Point Seat: Hello from Canada. Love your Web site. I grew up in Shirehampton in the fifties and spent many a summer day at the top of Penpole point. There was a very unusual seat at the top. I think it was green, made of iron. I was wondering if it was still there? And does anyone know anything about it? Is it some kind of monument? And when was it put there. I lived at 25 Chelwood Road. My name was Doreen Cooper. If anyone remembers me I would love to hear from them. Doreen Dorrington, Ontario Canada lewissiwel@sympatico.ca

Please send us any answers to these queries, or any new questions you would like someone to consider. We will put responses on the website, and print them in the paper.If you have not yet visited Shire on the Web at www.shire.org.uk, why not pay us a visit. You will find a searchable archive of SHIRE going back to 1999, as well as lots of information about the village. It also includes an on-line version of the recently published Directory of local organisations.

If you have any suggestions on how to make the website even better, and would like to contribute to its development, we would be delighted to hear from you. Send an email to editor@shire.org.uk.

DLT

MUSIC GRANT

Shirehampton Primary School was lucky enough to receive a music grant for £410 from the  Rosemary Bugden Charitable Trust. The Trust was established by the late Rosemary Bugden and one of the purposes is the promotion and support of music education.An application was made by Miss Evans back in October and the school was notified of their successful bid in January.

The award is very gratefully received and will be spent on new xylophones and glockenspiels which will greatly enhance class music lessons. The children are very enthusiastic about their music lessons and particularly enjoy playing instruments so will benefit a great deal from this grant.

St Mary's News

Hi Folks! Here we are in June and not a minute too soon! I've even become a Poet and didn't really know it! I can hear the roar in my ears as you all cry 'Cut out the rubbish and get on with it you doddering old fool'. Sorry, but I had to have me moment of glory!I am delighted to report that on May Day our Lunches and Cream Teas raised a sum in excess of £460.

Every pound we raise goes into ensuring we keep ourselves solvent, but more of that later.On Easter Sunday it was a beautiful morning for our Sunrise Service on Shirehampton Park. About 25 of us were present for this short service which was led by Canon Christine and Rev. Dr Andy Schuman. We were delighted to welcome a gentleman and his wife and son who were out on an early Sunday morning walk.

Afterwards we all adjourned to Shirehampton Cricket Club where Don and Maureen Geddes and Pat Carter provided us with a full English Breakfast. My gosh - didn't that go down well! Our grateful thanks to them for cooking such a wonderful breakfast and also to 'Tubs' our local Butcher who very generously donated the ingredients. Thanks 'Tubs' you are welcome to come and sit next to me in the Choir any Sunday for another breakfast like that!

Just bring a sausage to eat during the sermon!This month we are all very sorry to say farewell to the Rev. Tim Banes-Clarke, our Baptist Minister in Shirehampton. Tim's last Sunday with us was on the 21st May and he leaves us to live in France. We wish him well in his new life abroad and thank him for the very good relationship we had with him in the parish.

Very rarely did he ever miss a Service. A big man with a big heart - we shall all miss you Tim, as will the people of Shirehampton. We hope you will keep in touch with us because we shan't forget you!On Sunday 30th April St Mary's held their Annual Parochial Church Meeting where new church council members are elected.

This is nothing like the local Council elections, but a very low key affair where members are elected to run the church business for the next 12 months under the guidance of Canon Christine. Three members from the last Council have stood down - Nick Broad, Gill Sawyer and Julie Smith. Nick is often working away from Bristol and felt he could not attend the Meetings; Gill Sawyer has stood down as Churchwarden because she needs more time to devote to her duties now she is a Lay Minister and Julie Smith now steps into her shoes as Churchwarden.

We would like to thank them all for their past duties and welcome Julie back in her new role. We welcome Roger Derrick, George Goulding and Neil Porter as new members of the Church Council. At this meeting copies of the Annual Report from April 2005-March 2006 were available to all Electoral Roll Members and any other person with an interest in the running of St Mary's. This was a booklet produced by Gill Sawyer which was a mammoth task on its own.

The booklet contained the Vicar's Annual Report and the Accounts which were open for any questions at the Meeting.It is very pleasing to report that attendance at St Mary's continues to grow. The average Sunday attendance over the last 52 weeks now totals 157. This would not be possible without the untiring efforts of Canon Christine in her pastoral care of the parishioners in Shirehampton.

It truly never ceases to amaze me what she has achieved in 4 and a half years as our spiritual leader. In the background of course has been Gill Sawyer, without whose support many of the achievements at St Mary's would never have been realised. Two very remarkable ladies!Canon Christine through her report wishes to express her grateful thanks, too, for the support, care, love and kindness which she and her family are shown by so many people.

She wants people to know how much this is appreciated by David and herself and maintains that she could not achieve any of what she has done without all that you do for her!During the month of April, a well known and respected member of the parish died - Vic Pople. Vic, as you will no doubt remember, served on the City Council as a Labour Councillor and also served the City as Lord Mayor.

His funeral took place at St Mary's on the 27th April and was attended by the Deputy Lord Mayor - Councillor Royston Griffey and his Secretary Mr David Clark. Over 150 people were in attendance to pay their last respects to a man who in his lifetime devoted so much of his time assisting others in the community. He is a figure who will go down in local history as having served his City well! We extend our sympathy to Colin and other members of his family in their sad loss.

On Saturday 17th June is the Queen's Official Birthday and St Mary's will be celebrating her 80 years from 10am until 12 noon with a special Birthday Cake. Children and adults are invited to join in a Royal Themed Fancy Dress Competition. Adults will be able to take part in a Quiz on the Queen's life and children can come along and design a Birthday Card for the Queen.

The winning design will be sent to her. We hope to see you there on this celebration day.On Sunday 18th June Special Prayers of Thanksgiving for the Queen will be said at our 10am Holy Communion Service.At 7.30pm on Saturday 24th June we will be hosts to the Avon & Somerset Police Choir. This is always a very fine event and not to be missed - it also enables me to see old comrades I've not seen for a very long time.

This is another of our fundraising events and tickets for the concert are £6, during the interval you will be given wine and nibbles to whet your appetite. Tickets must be purchased in advance to assist with catering. There will be no tickets available on the door.Now here is some advance news for your diary for July. Our Patronal Festival Weekend will be on Saturday and Sunday 8/9th July.

On Saturday 8th July we shall be holding our Summer Fayre from 10am until 12 noon when our resident 'Mrs Bridges', alias Gill Sawyer, will no doubt have her usual array of home produced 'goodies' on sale. Should you have the misfortune to miss that then you can always come and sample another of our Cream Teas from 2pm until 4.30pm and be entertained with music from the Bristol Citadel Salvation Army Band.

The Band will be playing outside in the churchyard but inside the church should it unfortunately turn out to be wet. You can also delight yourself by admiring the flowers at our Flower Festival. Just think - if you come, you can increase church funds; increase the size of your waistline; be entertained with some fine music and then take some gentle exercise whilst you walk around and admire the flowers. The gentle walk will take your mind off the increased waistline!

Sunday is not only our Patronal Festival Day, but is also Sea Sunday and we hope to welcome members of our local Sea Cadet Corp to our 10am Holy Communion Service.At 8pm on the same day we shall hold a Service of Compline in the church. This is a very quiet service at the end of the day and lasts for about 20 minutes - we would be pleased to see you should you decide to come along.

Finally, I am delighted to announce the arrival of my Granddaughter, Lily Amy, on the 19th April. Both Mum and Daughter are doing well. For the doting mums, she weighed in at 8lbs 11ozs. Babies are lovely, but they make a lot of noise at one end and have no sense of responsibility at the other end. My Grandson Danny cannot understand why she is not interested in 'playing trains' yet!

So it does mean that Grandad will have to be the substitute for another few years yet! Don't tell anyone else, but I enjoy it really! Well, that's all the news for another month, hopefully I shall have some more exciting things to tell you about in July.

'Bye for now - C.M.E.

CONGRATULATIONS

Portway Community School raised £450 for the Teenage Cancer Trust as a result of a non-uniform day. The Teenage Cancer Trust was selected by the School Council. The next non-uniform day will be in aid of a childrens' ward at a local hospital.

Lower High Street Cottage

This sad little cottage in Lower High Street is looking even more decrepit now that some old sheds have recently been pulled down by the side of it. Quite apart from the fact that it was once no doubt a very good home for a family it is now such a picture of neglect that it gives a very unfortunate impression of the village to first time visitors and most people feel that if it can't be restored it should be demolished even if only to create a little green space with some shrubs or flowers.  It would be helpful if there was more information about its history, who owns it now and what if anything is proposed to do about it.

Can any of our readers help? Ed'

Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June'

June at St Mary's Shirehampton

Saturday 17th June - 10.00am - 12.00 noon A celebration of the Queen's 80th Birthday with birthday cake! Join in the Royal Themed Fancy Dress Competition for children and adults. Adults can take part in a quiz on the Queen's life and children can come along and design a birthday card for the Queen. The winning design to be sent to her. Hope to see you.

Saturday 24th June - 7.30pm - Avon & Somerset Police Choir Tickets for the concert cost £6 in aid of church funds. In the interval you will be given wine and nibbles.

And advance notice for your diary ...Patronal Festival Weekend 8th/9th July with our Summer Fayre, cream teas, flower festival, Salvation Army Band and more!

Avon Primary School at a Tudor House

Year 3 at Avon Primary School had a wonderful morning at Red Lodge, Park Row. Whilst there, the children enjoyed learning about the history of the Tudor House, handled original artefacts, and dressed up as Tudor Lords and Ladies. One lucky child (back row on left of picture) had the chance to dress up as Queen ELizabeth.

Children from the school also participated in a wonderful Science week held at St Katherine's School in Pill.

Johnny Ball's Planetarium was set up in the school hall and the children learnt about the stars and planets. They were also 'entertained' by Sir Isaac Newton who told them about light and area as well as force and gravity. In the rocket building session children worked in pairs to build a rocket which then took off. Our winners were Jessica and Danielle whose rocket travelled across the road and landed in a neighbouring farmer's field. Our thanks goes to St Katherine's school who provided Avon Primary with some fantastic learning experiences outside our curriculum