Shire logo

Back to October 2006 SHIRE November 2006 Fowards to December 2006 SHIRE
News Index

St Mary's News

Shirehampton War Memorial

Imperial Smelting Corporation War Memorial

A memorial commemorating the sacrifice of 22 employees of the Imperial Smelting Corporation was until recently located at the former smelter site which is now owner by Rhodia in Avonmouth. Last year it was noticed that this memorial was showing signs of wear and unfortunately the materials did not make it possible to relocate it. Rhodia commissioned a new memorial plaque which as a long term solution was erected in the Memorial Corner at St Andrews Church, Avonmouth.

On 31st August this plaque was dedicated by the Arch Deacon of Bristol Ven Tim McClure in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Bristol and the Lady Mayoress.

Our photograph shows some of the 100 guests who attended reflected in the memorial. We have managed to trace the relatives of some of those on the memorial and would be pleased to trace any others.

Bob Chubb, Lay Minister, St Andrews, Avonmouth

The Great War 1914-18

I knew so much about my Dad, though nothing of his youth,
Until he spoke of world War One, and then I learned the truth,
Here was a very quiet man, and sometimes rather sad,
What memories he locked away, those visions that he had.

As a young lad in his prime of life, dispatched to fight a war,
The noise, the stench, and blinding lights, the havoc to endure,
Ageneration lost for e're, young men both friend and foe,
Who perished in the carnage, their future to forego.

The guns fall silent, darkness falls, then murmurs from the night,
There is no help, no healing hand, to aid them in their plight,
From shattered bodies strewn around, who knew their time had come,
In many tongues, they all cried out. Please help, I want my Mum!
The time he spent in prison camps, is hard to contemplate,

How to fight the trauma, and what would be his fate,
Would he survive another day, a hope beyond compare?
Did no one know, 'That I'm still here' or do they even care?
And then one day 'The Armistice', yet very few came home,

A cross those silent battlefields, their spirits always roam,
Those who survived will ne'er forget, who sacrificed their lives
So they could live and see again their mothers, children, wives.
The day has come; time to reflect, the reasons for a war,

A las, that oft repeated phrase, is, 'peace for evermore'
Have we not learned the lessons, as still these wars are fought?
So did they then, die needlessly, and was 'their all' for nought?

David J Fisher

This poem is a tribute to the memory of my Father, Frank Lake Fisher, 1896 - 1977. Pte 202705, 2/4th Battalion, Gloucester Regiment.  It is also a dedication to victims of all conflict.

St Peter's Hospice Christmas Bazaar

St Peter's Hospice Christmas Bazaar will be held at the Council House, College Green on Saturday 11th November 2006, 10am-3pm. Stalls and attractions will include books and videos, cakes and preserves, decorations and crafts, jewellery, raffles and refreshments. All profits go directly to St Peter's Hospice.

Christmas Cards

Charity Christmas cards are on sale at Victoria Methodist church, Whiteladies Road (opposite the Victoria Rooms) until December 16th. Opening hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm.

Do you know his face? His name?

This is the face of Beat Manager PC Gareth Davies, known locally as The Sheriff! Gareth has been in the area for a while now and is making a difference to our community. Early in the year Gareth received an award for his outstanding work in the community. Gareth can be contacted at Avonmouth Police Station on 945 4380.

Gareth is starting a surgery on Wednesday mornings from 8th November, 10-11am at Penpole Community Rooms on The Ridge so people can go along, have a cup of coffee, and talk to him about their concerns and see someone face to face.

Don't sit back and complain - meet your Beat Officer.

Help him to help you.

S White, Chair, Penpole Residents' Association

Police News from our Beat Manager

Fishing Club

The police are looking to start a fishing club for the teenagers of Shirehampton/Avonmouth. The aim of starting a club is to give the teenagers a hobby and with the view of obtaining numerous social skills, including integrating with people from different backgrounds of age, sex or race, which will enable these young people to become an integral part of the local community. The club will be meeting at The Royal Hotel, Avonmouth once an interest is shown, and will in no way interfere with the current fishing club that has been in post at Avonmouth for numerous years for the adults. This club is purely for the young persons of Shirehampton/Avonmouth. If you are interested in joining the fishing club, please contact either Tommy Sant at The Royal Hotel or PCs Davies or Gardener at Avonmouth Police Station, Tel: (0117) 945 4380 or (0117) 945 4636.

Beat Surgery

PC Davies will be starting his police beat surgery on Wednesday 8th November at the Penpole Community Centre on the Ridge, and every first Wednesday of the month from then on. Please feel free to pop into these surgeries and chat to your local beat manager, PC Davies, about any issues that affect you or your local community where you live. The tea and coffee provided by Sandra White is the cheapest around!

Parking in the village

Please be mindful about how and where you park your vehicle in the village. There have been many reports about drivers parking their private vehicles on double yellow lines, kerbs and bus stops.

If you are caught, please say thank-you for your fine!

Dispersal Order is having a positive effect

The Dispersal Order that was put in place in July this year is working. There has been a significant drop in youths/teenagers hanging around the normal hot spots over the last couple of months. I can report that there were a few incidents of public order, dealt with positively by the police, where offenders were arrested. The reason for this is that teenagers/youths have been arrested for not dispersing or not providing the police officer with names and addresses, which they must provide under the Public Order Act 1986.

My thanks to the parents for cooperating with the Order, which will remain in place until 6 November 2006.


There has been a lot of graffiti sprayed around Shirehampton village which is not a welcome sight. If you see a person with a can of spray walking around aimlessly looking at property, phone 0845 456 7000 and advise the control room of the location with a description of the male/female holding the spray can and, if possible, the direction he or she is walking. This action will assist in catching the culprit(s) and prevent any more unsightly marks.

Alcohol related incidents

There has been a significant decrease in the amount of police incidents relating to alcohol. This is partly because licensed premises in the Shirehampton/ Avonmouth area have tightened up the policy on serving under-age people (or serving to persons suspected of supplying the alcohol to them) and have been assisted by residents/parents reporting in the incidents involving alcohol and young people.

Off licences have adopted the under 21 policy in not serving or selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. Don't try it on and think you can get away with it. If PC Davies or his dedicated team of officers from Avonmouth catch the persons supplying the alcohol to young persons, they will be prosecuted, or fined on the spot! They have been warned, and they will be caught on CCTV.


There are still occasions where I or the officers from Avonmouth have to instruct young people to pick up their litter, mostly chip paper and cans of coke scattered around the High Street and 'The Green' areas of the villages of Avonmouth and Shirehampton.

Littering has remained high on the agenda for the 'Shirehampton Community Safety Forum' for this year, 2006, along with anti-social behaviour. Persons responsible for dropping the litter or causing and being identified for public order will be dealt with positively - a zero tolerance approach to police the villages will still be in place. They have been warned.

PC Gareth Davies (Beat Manager)

Shirehampton in Yesteryear

You may remember some articles we published a little while ago by Angela Thompson Smith about growing up in Shirehampton. These she has now turned into a book that is being published in America, where Angela has lived since 1982. Included in the book are her pieces on Harvest Festival, Guy Fawkes Night, Christmas customs, the annual pantomime, the ferry to Pill, the Roman ruins and the bus to Weston Sands, among others.


Beatrice Joyce Banwell

Dear Editor,

Beatrice Joyce Banwell 7th September 1928-19th August 2006

Peacefully released from her pain and suffering

On behalf of my family and myself I would like to thank friends and neighbours for cards and flowers received for my dear late with Joyce. She was involved with the Shirehampton public hall when it was faced with closure. She ran the Arthritis Care Club based at the hall. Although severely disabled herself, she attended arthritis clubs all over Bristol to lend her support and help.

We have lost a wonderful Lady.

Thank you all for being her friends.

Yours Truly,

Trevor Banwell (Widower) (Thank you for your kind donation. Ed).

John Seward Parsons

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of John, especially so soon after his wife Mary died. Our thoughts and condolences go to his family at this difficult time.

We have some very happy memories of John and Mary's input when we were compiling the 'Mouthful of Memories' book of Avonmouth oral history for the Avonmouth Genealogy Group's Millennium project. They were so supportive and encouraging. Both wrote up their separate memories of their early lives in Avonmouth and we spend a lovely evening at their home in Portbury, chatting over their reminiscences, which made great reading and were a real asset to the book.

We held several reunion parties at Avonmouth for all contributors to both 'Mouthful' books, and John and Mary were always present, meeting up with old friends and adding to the happy atmosphere. They were also forthcoming with their memories of Shirehampton Public Hall for that book, too, and again showed the same commitment and enthusiasm for the project.

Looking through the list of contributors to the Avonmouth books, it is quite startling to see how many have now died, and it makes us even more grateful that they allowed us glimpses into their lives to be recorded for posterity.

Sue and Judy, Avonmouth Genealogy Group

Audrey Budd

Audrey Budd passed peacefully away aged 88 years at the Wilfred Leonard Care Home in Congresbury. For many years Audrey and her husband, Norman, owned the Budd's Men's Outfitters Shop in the High Street. My Mum, Beaty Jenkins, worked for over forty years with them at the shop and continued when they retired, enjoying many happy times.

Sadly, Norman died aged 57 years. She later married Roy Rendell whom she met at the Shire Golf Club. She was a very smart and articulate lady right up to the end. She will be sadly missed

Sue Alford (nee Jenkins).

Can You Help?

The Book of Remembrance does not have information about some of the names listed. If you have memories or details of family members who served in the Armed Forces, Merchant Navy or Civilians caught in the Bristol Blitz that could be included in the book, please contact:

Steve Fell, 33 Pembroke Road, Shirehampton or contact St Mary's Church.

November at St Mary's

Saturday 11th November - 3.00pm - Our annual Memorial Service for all who have lost loved ones. Those of you for whom we have taken a service within the last year will have received invitations but all are welcome. Please come into church and fill in a form if you would like a loved one remembered in the prayers.

Sunday 12th November - Remembrance Day Service starting at St Mary's at 10.00am and moving to the War Memorial. Coffee afterwards at Shirehampton Cricket Club.6.00pm - Book of Common Prayer Evensong sung by St Peter's Pilning Special Choir - Preacher The Rev Canon Douglas Holt

Sunday 19th November - 6.30pm Deanery Confirmation at St Mary's

Saturday 25th November - 10.00am-12.00noon Festive Food Fayre - all your preserves, cakes and food gifts, plus festive teas in the afternoon 2.30pm-4.30pm.

And for your diary -Sunday 3rd December - 6.00pm - Advent Carol Service with the lighting of our Tree of Light bearing the memorial cards.

The Kingsweston Centre for pupils with Autism opens at Portway School

In September '06 Bristol City Council opened a specialist unit for 36 secondary aged pupils with Autism to be educated in inclusive facilities in the brand new, stunning Portway building.

For those who are not aware - Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder which affects a person or child's ability to understand the world and participate in opportunities accessible to most of us. It manifests itself specifically in difficulties with social communication, interaction and rigid thoughts and behaviours.

The inclusive unit boasts superb facilities for pupils including 6 large classrooms, light and dark sensory rooms, relaxation room, food technology and art room alongside an admin suite, staffroom and conference facilities. Pupils have access to state of the art technology with each pupil having their own computer on their desk.

More exciting still is the opportunity for pupils to be sensitively included into mainstream lessons when appropriate with specialist support from the Kingswesteron staff. All pupils can also benefit from the new facilities in the main school by using the specialist food technology rooms, science labs, gym and impressive music suite.

Since September these Kingsweston pupils are in the new Portway uniform working alongside their mainstream peers whilst still benefiting from the specialist teaching needed for them to flourish.

At the original Kingsweston School site there remains approximately 120 pupils from 3-19 with various special needs. In the very near future some of these pupils will move to the new Redland Green School and again within Shirehampton, builders are at work creating a similar unit to that at Portway at Shirehampton Primary School to cater for up to 24 pupils with autism from across the city.

It is worth congratulating ourselves - the residents of Shirehampton - that two of these stunning facilities are within our village and that the community here is at the forefront of developments bringing inclusive educational opportunities to the children of Bristol.

Jo Hill

Learning Director - Kingsweston Centre

The Great War, Remount Camp 1914-1918

Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities with Germany on the 4th August 1914, Lord Kitchener, as Secretary of State for War, visited Avonmouth to assess its potential as a port for use by the military. Realising its importance, it was scheduled as a military district and by the 5th August the military took over the dock and the station. It was to play an important part in the war effort.

As fields still surrounded the two villages of Shirehampton and Avonmouth, a Remount Depot was established at Shirehampton which would be in close proximity to the docks for the reception of horses brought in from North and South America. A long series of lines made up of huts spread down from Penpole across the village of Shirehampton almost to the river as quarters for men, horses, blacksmiths, shops, cookhouses, offices and fodder. In these early days, civilian staff were brought in to organize the camp, many of whom were race horse trainers, jockeys and veterinary surgeons, under the supervision of Army officers. The Commandant was Colonel Carter who remained in charge throughout the war.

By the February of 1915, each squadron, with the exception of one, had enlisted men. The Remount personnel consisted of a Commandant, Assistant Commandant, Adjutant, Riding Master, Medical Officer (3 per squadron) and five veterinary officers. The depot was divided into 10 squadrons, each able to accommodate 500 animals and 150 men. In addition, a veterinary hospital was established under the separate command of a Captain AVC and four veterinary officers, with accommodation for 600 animals. Many, after being landed at the docks, were driven in teams of about eight along the Shirehampton road to the camp, where they were usually held for some fourteen to twenty days, during which time they were broken in and made fit, after which they were dispatched to the field units in France.

One part of the Remount Camp was situated on low lying ground and in wet weather, a swamp. There was often sickness with the horses, and a number died. The Remount Depot erected a slaughter house in a wooden building along the main road from Shirehampton, but the stench from carcasses of dead horses was continuous. The roads were often untidy and unhealthy with horse manure, which, after a shower of rain, made roads slippery and dangerous; on a dry day with a breeze, thick dust, unpleasant to the taste.

The narrow village roads had to be kept cleaner with water carts used to spray disinfectant. It was a familiar sight to see the body of a dead horse. In 1915, some 339,000 horses were received with another 36,500 by train. The village was very congested, as convoys with troops bound for the docks had to go through the village as there was no Portway; others went by train.

In the September, King George and Queen Mary made a surprise visit to Bristol to see some of the wounded from the war fronts. On arrival in the City, they asked if they could see the Remount Depot at Shirehampton. They were conveyed to the village by train, where they were met by Colonel Carter and some of his staff, from where they were taken by car to the Remount lines.

After the war, because of a housing shortage, local people lived in the huts. The horses were sold to local farmers and tradesmen. The land occupied by the Remount was the property of the Kingsweston Estate, owned by Squire Napier Miles. One large hut remained for many years as a farm, and after the Second World War, as a Community Centre for people in the prefab estate near the Woodwell railway bridge.

Ralph A. Hack

The Remount Depot

Answer to last month's query about the Remount Depot

Geoffrey Pocock asked what happened after WW1 ended. G. Weatherhead of Severn Beach replies:

My Grandfather came down from the North of England and was Sergeant Major Farrier in the Remount and remained in Shirehampton after the War as he was granted the contract to dismantle the site buildings in West Town Lane. As far as I know it was turned back into grazing land and a large part of it was given to the people of the area by Squire Miles as Playing Fields and a while afterwards in the 20's some was sold off for housing, which meant my Father and Grandfather had to move their Blacksmiths Shop from West Town Road to Portview Road in Avonmouth.

One of the stories goes that when the Armistice was declared all the Blacksmiths threw their tools onto the roofs of the Forges and went down to the 'Hope & Anchor' Pub to celebrate!

The Remount Depot

At Avonmouth before the war, we moved into a new house at the beginning of Avonmouth Road. When my father and brothers started to dig the very long garden, they came across numerous heavy concrete slabs with large iron rings attached. My father said they were used in the First World War for tethering horses. In the photograph it looks as though it was taken from where our house stood, because through the trees it looks as though the house shown could be Burlington House, a Victorian residence that stands near the top of Barracks Lane, where I believe there was a nearby army camp.

I hope this information will solve the mystery of the depot.

Ivor Giltrow

Shirehampton Remembered

During the World Wars many people from the Shirehampton area lost their lives both in this country and in the far-flung corners of the world.

To commemorate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, a Book of Remembrance has been presented to St Mary's church in Shirehampton. It has been compiled locally using Commonwealth War Graves Commission data, the 1901 Census and details from Les Grey (Shirehampton).

Though not complete, the book does give information about the person's family/military details and their final resting place or memorial location and may be of interest to local families wishing to find out about relatives lost in both world wars.

The book is available for viewing by contacting St Mary's Church in Shirehampton.

Driver Urgently Needed

A driver is required to deliver Shire newspapers, can anyone help, please?Each month after the newspapers are sorted, drivers are asked to take the bundles of papers to each of the delivery people. Each driver is advised by telephone that the papers are ready for distribution and are asked to take the papers to the respective people as soon as possible.

It takes about an hour each month. If you can help, please telephone Pauline on 9826935.

Stay Safe This Christmas

As the festive season approaches, it is important people remember to stay safe, as well as enjoying themselves.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service has produced its own 12 Days of Christmas to provide simple fire safety advice to keep people safe at this time of year.

There is one message for each day of Christmas, and AF&RS hopes that by following these simple pieces of advice, Christmas and New Year will be a safe and happy time for all involved.

AF&RS's 12 Days of Christmas are:

  1. On the first day of Christmas, check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard
  2. On the second day of Christmas never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishing. Don't leave them burning unattended
  3. On the third day of Christmas make sure your family and guests staying over the festive period know what to do in an emergency. Make a fire escape plan
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas remember that decorations can burn easily - don't attach them to lights or heaters
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas don't overload electrical sockets. Take special care with Christmas lights
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas make sure you celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas remember most fires start in the kitchen. Never leave a cooker unattended
  8. On the eighth day of Christmas, if you plan to celebrate with fireworks, store them in a metal box, read the instructions and never go back to a lit firework. Keep a bucket of water nearby
  9. On the ninth day of Christmas remember to make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before going to bed
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas, check your battery in your smoke alarm. When you are buying batteries for Christmas presents, remember to get some for your smoke alarm as well. Use Christmas as a reminder to clean your smoke alarm and remove dust
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours - make sure they are fire safe.

If you have concerns about your fire safety over Christmas or at any other time of the year, please call for a free Home Fire Safety Visit. Firefighters will attend your home, check for any hazards, and will also fit free smoke alarms as needed, protecting you and your family in your home. Call free on 0800 1693 999.

Tea and Tots

The parent, baby and toddler group is open every Monday in term time in the church café area of St Mary's Church from 1.15-2.45pm.

Breast feeding and bottle feeding welcomed; baby changing faculties are available. The cost is 50p per family.

The Library Gets a Reading Garden

On Saturday 7th October, Shire Green's Environmental Group took on the task of turning the wilderness that was the library garden into an area which, when the spring and better weather comes, will be our 'Reading Garden'. After the mammoth job of removing miles of ivy, cutting back overhanging trees and removing dead branches, the ground was cleared and one hundred and fifty bulbs were planted. Our warmest thanks go to Ash Bearman and her team of volunteers: Vivien French, Barbara Franco and Ralph Hack, who worked so hard for us. Thanks also go to the Council's Clean and Green team who provide free green wheelie bins and safety gloves to community groups doing 'clean-ups', and to Alan Lloyd for taking photographs for us.

We do hope that you will all come and admire their work and use the garden as a quiet, restful retreat to look at a book, particularly once the bulbs are in bloom.

Shown here is a 'before' picture; in a future edition we hope to show an 'after' one. Ed.

Golden Anniversary

Thank you so much to all our family and friends for making it such a special day. A big thank you to Helen and Phil for organising so many lovely surprises!

Joyce and John Wicking

Thank you for your donation, Ed.

SCAF Fundraising Dinner Kings Weston House

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) held a Fundraising Dinner at Kings Weston House on Saturday 30 September. This was a very enjoyable occasion, and raised valuable funds to help SCAF with its community work for Shirehampton.

Considering we went into this with all the confidence of total novices, it was a remarkable success. John Hardy, from Kings Weston House, who is also one of SCAF's Trustees, gave a short talk about the house, which was well received. Dinner, which came next, was quite delicious. The sale of the raffle tickets went on whilst people were eating, and they resoponded generously.

The entertainment was provided by Three Mens Company, and was a mixture of music, songs and prose, all light hearted and entertaining. They are a local group, who provide their services to charities, free of charge. SCAF is most grateful for them. They made the evening.

The raffle followed. We had a large number of prizes, may donated by local businesses, some by city businesses, and some by ordinary members. Again, many thanks to all who contributed. It didn't seem as though anyone left without a prize. Thank you too to Liz Clifford, who worked really hard doing all the printing, and many other things, and to the Chair and the Trustees, who did odd jobs on the night, and finally to John Hardy, who provided the venue.

Will we do it next year? Should we? Watch this space.

Pat Roberts

Dawn's Head Shave

On 15th September 2006 I did a sponsored head shave to raise money for breast cancer.


Before                                                           After

I am pleased to let everyone know that the grand total raised was £1,200. I would like to say a big thank you to all my family and good friends, also to the shops and staff in the village for their support.

A very big thank you to Nick and Pauline for shaving my hair and colouring it free of charge.

All money donated will go to the Oncology Day Unit, Oncology Centre, Bristol, where my friend Julie is receiving her treatment.

Dawn Dunn

Guy Fawkes and Fireworks

Guy Fawkes Day is almost upon us and once again our thoughts turn to bonfires and fireworks, which seem to get bigger and noisier every year.

Here are a few points to bear in mind if having a 'do' in the garden at home: 1. Keep all fireworks in a lidded tin box away from children and bonfires 2. Keep all tapers and matches in a safe place 3. Do not try to relight a firework that has seemingly gone out 4. Never throw or allow to be thrown any fireworks 5. Never let children light fireworks 6. Never hold a firework to light it 7. Keep all pets indoors 8. Remember that anyone under the age of 16 years is not allowed by law to buy fireworks 9. Make sure at the end of the party that all fireworks and the bonfire is safe10. Have a bucket of water or sand handy.

Maybe it would be worth considering going to an organised firework display and let someone else do the worrying! Don't forget that every year there are accidents and injuries causing horrendous burns and disfigurements. Be happy, have fun, be safe!

St Mary's News

Hi Folks!

November, November, the 5th November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot,

And now for some news I hope you remember

If I've not forgotten the lot!

Do you know I reckon John Betjeman would be proud of me if he was alive today - on the other hand our late Poet Laureate is probably turning in his grave!!

Well, that is the ridiculous bit over so I had better get on and tell you what our 'beloved leader' Canon Christine wants you to know. Before I do, I had better confess I am just a small instrument at the command of our 'little Welsh power-house' she is the brains behind it all really!

On Friday 22nd October Shirehampton Primary School held their Harvest Festival Service in St Mary's and it was pleasing to welcome 170 children and approximately 30 parents and grandparents. I love to hear the children singing as they always seem to do so with such enthusiasm. Why is it when we get older we don't sing with such gusto?On the following Friday, the 29th September, you may have seen the Welsh flag flying over St Mary's because it was the wedding day of Sandra Fitzner and Dewi Thomas, who comes from Llanelli, South Wales. A certain Lady Priest with dark hair, a Welsh accent, and drives a Ford Ka, thought it might be appropriate! We wish Sandra and Dewi every happiness in their marriage in the future years which lie before them. Thanks must also go to Adam Smith who flew the flag from the pole for me as I had an early start at work that day.

On the previous Sunday, 24th September, after our Evening Holy Communion Service with Healing, we invoked our friends from the Methodist and Baptist Churches to a little ceremony to welcome Jo' Smallacombe as our new Youth Worker in the parish who is to work with Al Pike. I suspect that Jo' will have been thrown in 'at the deep end' as I understand Al has broken his leg in several places and will be somewhat incapacitated for some time to come. So we wish Jo' every success and Al a speedy recovery to his leg injury.

Our Harvest Supper was held in St Mary's on the evening of Saturday, 30th September, with Fanny Craddock - sorry Gill Sawyer - providing an absolutely fantastic meal. (Come to think of it that might be a good nickname for Gill - no I had better not as I've already called her in the past 'Mrs Bridges'). I dare not upset our Lay Minister as she will never let me taste her goodies again! After Supper we held a Silent Auction, when people made bids on a piece of paper for items they wished to purchase. I am pleased to say that this function raised over £1500 towards Church Funds.

At our Harvest Service next day Sister Annaliese preached at our 10am Holy Communion Service and accepted our Harvest Gifts which were donated to the Sisters of the Church, who will distribute the food to the hungry and homeless. She expressed her desire that her grateful thanks should be conveyed to everyone who had been so generous in making these gifts of food. They will definitely be put to good use! Also at that service was 'Kes' the Bernese Mountain Dog - who was pulling a Dog Cart with food and symbols of Harvest. Thank you to Jackie Thompson - his owner - for bringing him, as he is always a great favourite with the children! Sadly, during the early hours of Harvest Sunday morning, a member of our congregation - John Parsons - died unexpectedly. John has not been a member of our congregation very long but was a member of our Wednesday Lunch Club and also attended our Senior Citizens Spectacular in August. He was a brilliant artist and I am sure many of you will have seen his work on display at past Local Art Exhibitions. The night before he died I was able to bid and acquired a picture painted by him, at our Silent Auction, of The Buttery which is in the grounds of continued on next page

Blaise Castle estate. It is a wonderful example of his work and I am proud to display it on the wall of my dining room. We mourn his loss together with his family to whom we offer our prayers and sympathy. His funeral took place on Wednesday, 11th October, and the church was filled to capacity.

On Saturday, 7th October, we were hosts to the Morriston Orpheus Choir, a Welsh Male Voice Choir of 92 voices (I wonder who thought of inviting them to sing at St Mary's!!!). The sound they produced filled the church in a way I have never heard before. With our brilliant acoustics it was an ideal venue for such a concert. The quality of their sound sent a shiver down your spine! In between their singing we had two other guests to entertain us - Charlotte Newstead - a Soprano who graduated in Music at Bristol University and has performed at well known venues throughout the south-west, and Kenyi Wang. Kenyi is a first year 6th form pupil at Bristol Cathedral School and played the violin for us. His skill was as amazing to watch as was the sound he was able to produce. His final piece received rapturous applause from the audience and I am told he also is a very skilled organist. He is only 16 years of age and his name is one which I am sure will become famous in the future. This was a wonderful evening of entertainment and raised over £2,000 towards Church Funds. If you weren't there you missed a concert you will not hear the like of for many a year!

Many of you may have read in the Bristol Evening Post that Bishop Mike and his wife Anthea were seriously injured in a road traffic accident near Oxford. Bishop Mike suffered a broken scapula and Anthea suffered more serious injuries to the vertebrae in her neck. Both of them are making slow but steady progress from their injuries and we remember them both in our prayers for a full and speedy recovery. A 'Get Well' card signed by members of our congregation has been sent to them both.

An editor's note appeared in the September issue of 'Shire' stating that no report had been received about the meeting in St Mary's on Saturday, 16th September concerning the damage to our War Memorial. This was because it was after the 10th of the month, the deadline date for submitting articles for publication. I am given to understand that a report on this meeting will appear elsewhere in this edition of 'Shire'.

Now for some news on events in November. As briefly mentioned last month, on Saturday, 11th November, Canon Christine will again be leading a Memorial Service at 3pm for anyone who has lost a loved one recently or indeed at any time in the past. All are welcome to this short service when the names of loved ones are entered on to white memorial cards which are later collected in a basket at the west end of the church. These memorial cards are later hung on our Tree of Light on Advent Sunday and remain there throughout the Christmas period. If you still mourn the loss of a loved one then this service is definitely for you!

The next day is Remembrance Sunday when our 10am Service of Remembrance will commence in St Mary's led by the West Bristol Concert Band. After the laying of a Poppy Wreath in the church, the choir and congregation will process to the War Memorial for the remaining tribute and 2 minutes silence at 11am. 'Kes' the Bernese Mountain Dog will be there, with Jackie Thompson, pulling his Dog Cart containing a Poppy Wreath for laying at the War Memorial. After the tribute you are invited for refreshments in the Shirehampton Cricket Club Pavilion - to whom grateful thanks must go and to Don and Maureen Geddes. At 6pm that evening, Pilning Choir will lead a service of Sung Evensong in St Mary's and the Preacher will be Canon Douglas Holt from Bristol Cathedral. All are of course most welcome!

At 10am on Sunday, 19th November at our Holy Communion Service will be the first communion for those children who have been specially prepared to receive the sacrament. This will be a very special moment for them so come and given them your support. On the same evening at 6.30pm we will be hosting a Confirmation Service for candidates from across the Deanery. It is unlikely that Bishop Mile will have recovered from his injuries by this time, so at this moment I am unable to say who will be conducting the service.

Tuesday, 21st November will be a particularly exciting day, for it is the day when Canon Christine and Gill Sawyer will be going to York Minster. They will be attending Evensong at 5.15pm after which they will enjoy refreshments (what a change for Gill Sawyer who normally prepares them!) followed by the announcement of who is the winner of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company Competition for the most welcoming and forward looking parish church in England. As you all know, our church is one of the 12 finalists. So keep your fingers crossed. I am told a picture of our church will appear in the Insurance Company's Calendar for 2007. So our beloved Canon may even yet be a Page 3 Pin-up Girl! Special thanks must go to Gill Sawyer who prepared and submitted the booklet on our church life and activities.

Advent Sunday this year falls on the 3rd December. Kids Klub is at 8.30am, Holy Communion at 10am followed by our Advent Carol Service at 6pm. It is during this service that the lights on our Tree of Light on which the Memorial Cards are hung will be illuminated.

One other early notice for December is that at 7pm on Friday, 8th, the Rhema Theatre Group will be producing a play called 'The Letter' which is a new play on the life of St Paul. Further details will appear later so watch this space for more information nearer the time.

Well, that's all for this month.

'Bye for now!


Paint Being Put To A Good Use

What a refreshing change to see paint being put to a good use. I'm talking about a little corner of Shire. What a transformation! This building holds so many memories for me back in the 70's. If you haven't guessed where I mean, it's the scout hut at St Mary's Road. Credit to where it is due, whenever you drive past you can see the efforts put in by Grant Watkins, always at hard work. I'm sure the residents and passers-by are pleased with the hard work that Grant and Co have put in. However, the efforts of some idiots, painting and spraying graffiti in and around us, in our village are not appreciated in the same way.

Wayne Harvey, Shire.* Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping round the house. Don't forget your husbands.

Toby Stephens

It was good to see Toby Stephens on the television again. You may not have recognised him as the brooding Rochester in the BBC's recent adaptation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It is strange how an actor can project an image onto the screen. He appeared much taller and broader than he did when he came last January (with other family members) to unveil the plaque in Priory Road commemorating his father, Shirehampton boy Sir Robert Stephens. Toby's long hair extensions (which, apparently, kept falling out) must have had something to do with it!

I always associate the screen role of Rochester with the late Orson Welles, but Toby Stephens made an excellent job of the part, aided and abetted by marvellously evocative, dark, atmospheric cinematography. It was a delight to watch.


Shirehampton War Memorial

Following the article in September's issue, it is encouraging to hear that there have been some development in an effort to repair the memorial.

Canon Froude convened and hosted a meeting at St. Mary's Church on Saturday 16th September which was attended by about 50 people, including a representative from the City council whose department has some responsibility for the maintenance of monuments.

A wide variety of considered opinions were contributed by those attending and initial concern was expressed about the urgent repairs necessary to make the site ready for the Remembrance Service on 12th November. Christina Raddon, from the Council, stated that she was confident that something, even a temporary repair, could be arranged in time using a limited budget available for such eventualities.

The discussion then touched on the matter of a permanent replacement for the missing cross and the alternative materials and design that could be used both to maintain an appropriate aesthetic presence, but which would not provide further temptation. On the assumption that current photographs provide the only evidence of the original bronze crucifix and that this alone is insufficient to replicate it, the meeting offered numerous solutions for a replacement even proposing that a new cross might be less ornate, of a stronger, less valuable metal or even one made of stone. Such works might also be covered by the Council's budget.

The matter of the security afforded by the memorial's location then prompted comments about its history and the reason for its present position which logically led to some discussion about the possibility and merits for moving it to a safer place.

This meeting was concluded with a resolution to place in hand the necessary immediate repairs, with a further agreement that the subject warranted careful, more widespread consideration and discussion at a second public meeting prior to which more information can be sought, people can reflect privately on the available options and local opinion can be lobbied.

Canon Froude is making St. Mary's available for this meeting at noon on Saturday 25th November 2006. To ensure that the City Council officer is available, the meeting will be in two separate parts. The first half will hopefully determine the preferred design and material to be used for permanent repairs. The second part will be to discuss the feasibility of having the memorial moved to another spot in the locality that will improve its security but offer identical access and maintain its appearance and distinction.

This local monument has been severely damaged and needs our urgent attention now. Unless there is another party charged with its custody (and nobody can be found or has come forward yet) then it becomes our community responsibility. Moreover, any positive actions on our part, even if thwarted by outside intervention at a later date, can never be criticized or considered in vain. Seasonal pressures on us all may limit the duration of this meeting but it will still be a golden opportunity to give your point of view and vote on the available options (set out below) so please join this effort and highlight the date in your diaries now!

Summary of options for discussion.

Meeting - Part 1.

Attempt reinstatement of the broken column and replication of the cross.


Replace original design with a cross made of stainless steel or aluminium or other suitable materialor

Replace upper obelisk with one bearing a stone cross.

Meeting - Part 2.

Open discussion on the possibility of seeking a new location for the monument. (For example: The Green, St. Mary's Churchyard or other?).

What's it doing there?

Yes, I had to look twice, when I saw our fountain in Stranraer, while on holiday in Scotland in August! Has anyone else seen a 'duplicate' anywhere else?


Close Ranks

The old men march,
Their faces seamed by pity and experience,
Hat racks of medals shine on well-brushed coats,
And standards, proudly carried, dip and sway

In hands now grown unsteady.
A few, only a few, remember
Passchendaele, Gallipoli, The Somme.
If asked, they talk of patriotism, leaving home

For most of them the first time,
Emerging from their sunlit summer days
To poetry and terror. Some remain silent.
My father never spoke about his war.

The younger ones, if such they can be called,
Think of the one they named the Hitler war;
Rommel, the Desert Rats and Vera Lynn,
The concentration camps - here faces darken -

And light again for victory in The Mall.
What they share
Is the remembrance of comrades left behind.
Young men and women, loving and losing life.

Sometimes you hear them say
They wonder if those were the lucky ones
Who did not live to see a world so changed.
Then contradict themselves with tear-filled eyes.

Still they march,
And all the ghosts march with them.
Look in the face of one
And see a hundred.

Listen and you may hear
A century of footsteps marching by.

Gill Sheppard

Shire Greens & SCAF River Bank Clean Up

On Sunday 24 September a group of intrepid Shire Greens from Shire Community Action Forum (SCAF) got together for a River Bank Clean Up. We collected a vast array of rubbish from the usual (including a very large haul of plastic bottles) to the unusual including a car spoiler & various sizes & types of single shoes! A total of over 30 sacks of rubbish was recovered from our local River Bank and collected by BCC Clean & Green Team who supplied all the kit for the event. Many thanks and well done to everyone who took part in a magnificient clean up - what a great improvement!

If you would like to get involved with Shire Greens or SCAF please contact Ash Bearman on 0117 982 9963.

Letters to the Editor

Portway Praise

Dear Editor,

I recently went to a matinee of 'Blood Brothers' at the Hippodrome with two friends. When we realised that the auditorium was filling up with youngsters of secondary school age we wondered what we had let ourselves in for but were pleasantly surprised when all of the children quickly settled down with the minimum of noise and fuss.

A female teacher ushered a party of students past us, wearing Portway School badges on their blazers. The teacher pointed out the locality of the toilets to the students but the only person who pushed past us before the performance started, without a by your leave or thank you, was the teacher. Similarly, when the interval came the pupils all remained in their seats, very quiet and well behaved. Again it was the teacher who pushed past us without an 'excuse me' or 'thank you'. Well done to the pupils of Portway School. Maybe your teacher could learn some manners from you!

Yours sincerely,

Christine Chamberlain (Mrs)

War Memorial

Dear Sir,

In May/June/July of this year, my partner and I spent some very enjoyable days in Bristol, staying in Shirehampton with a close relative. She very kindly took us to visit some of the historical attractions of the city and on one such trip we stopped at the Shirehampton War Memorial. I had brought from New Zealand a few of the red poppies used at the Anzac and Remembrance Day Services in both New Zealand and Australia, and was able to place some among the tributes and flowers already in place. We were appalled to receive a copy of the article and photographs of the damaged Memorial published in your September edition. We applaud Councillor Murphy for his community spirit in offering to restore the Monument, and hope that the culprits will be found and dealt with accordingly.

Yours sincerely

Myffanwy Williams

A Very Large Hole

Cotswold residents were amazed recently to see the appearance of a very large pit near their houses on the riverside.

The enormous dig was necessary to get at a broken sewer which had been producing unwanted smells and drain blockages. Because the river bank has been built up to lift it above flood level, the hole had to be dug to a depth of six metres (approximately 20 feet) to reach the leaking pipe. Probably when the old sewer was laid it was only one metre deep.

Message in a Bottle

No, not the one thrown up on some far off seashore but the one in your fridge! It is for use by anyone who feels vulnerable while living at home, and contains vital details of any illness or allergy, and a contact number if you're taken ill.

Want to know more? Contact a Community Nurse or Emma Phillips, Tel: (0117) 984 1510.

Smart Work Foils Shirehampton Dognappers

It started out as a normal Saturday visit to the DIY store for Shirehampton dog owners Beverley Morrow and Arthur Goulding. But it quickly turned into a ghastly nightmare when they came out of the Avonmouth Focus branch to find that their eight year old Yorkie, Rosie, had been snatched out of their car. The window, which they had left slightly open to let in air, had been forced down and Rosie, along with other items from their car, had gone.

The Focus staff had already spotted a couple of people attempting to steal from the shop, and had had the presence of mind to take the registration number of their vehicle. The police were quickly alerted, and reacting with commendable promptness, the search was launched for Rosie and her abductors. The police helicopter was scrambled and details were circulated on the computer network. Fingerprints were taken from the car window.

There followed many anxious hours for Rosie's owners. 'It became a fraught waiting game, and a terrible night with no sleep', says Arthur.

Then at 8am the next morning a phone call came from the police: the car had been apprehended at Pembroke docks, West Wales, as it was about to board the 4am ferry to Ireland. A police camera, that photographed number-plates, had snapped the vehicle: Rosie was discovered on the back seat. The car occupants claimed they had bought the dog locally.

But now there was a problem. Unfortunately, the police modern scanner couldn't read Rosie's old implanted chip that would identify her real owners. Beverley and Arthur volunteered to travel to Pembroke to try to identify the dog. After 150 anxious miles, they arrived at Haverfordwest Police Station and from there were taken to Pembroke Dock's grim animal holding pens. In darkness at the end of a field, Beverley at first could see nothing. Then she called her beloved Rosie, and slowly, out of the gloom the terrier came, looking very bedraggled and forlorn. Beverley recognized her pet without hesitation.'It was a wonderful journey back', says Arthur, 'and the next day a visit to the vet proved the chip was there, and there was no doubt'.

The alleged dog-nappers are now facing charges in connection with the crime.

Both the Focus staff and the police deserve much thanks and congratulations for the way their efficient and prompt actions brought about a happy ending. Often vilified by motorists, police cameras showed their worth - without them, Rose would be in Ireland by now. The value of having a dog chipped is also shown.

The major lesson for all dog owners though is to realize that dog-napping can happen to any dog and to take special care at all times.

Morriston Orpheus Choir comes to St. Mary's Shirehampton

What an evening we had on Saturday 7th October when we had the pleasure of a concert by the Morriston Orpheus! It had been much looked forward to from the day the Vicar told the Leadership Team she had managed to secure a charity booking with them and how fortunate we had been to do so as this is a much sought-after choir. It seemed that the tension started mounting from that day onwards and there was certainly a huge frisson of excitement through the packed church before the concern began.

It was a wonderful evening of music and song, the voices reverberating around our church building and clearly heard right out into the village! The choir was joined by two soloists - Charlotte Newstead, who has visited us before and has a wonderful voice and Kenyi Wang - a 17 year old violinist - such a rare talent; we could see a glittering future.

The Morriston programme was so well-chosen and varied from classical pieces to the modern, including a splendid rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody and from British to worldwide music - African Trilogy being mentioned by many in the audience. And naturally the Welsh! The Massed choir voices closing with the Welsh National Anthem sent everyone into the night with a feeling of being at something exceptional - especially our Vicar as she hails from Swansea!

The talk after our service yesterday morning centred around Saturday night and we have received e-mails and phone calls complimenting the evening. Wonderfully it raised a large sum of money for church - our organ is currently being refurbished so this was a real blessing. We will have a superb organ to accompany the superb singing if ever they agree to a return performance!

Gill Sawyer

Christmas Lights

This year, thanks to the kindness of the people of Shirehampton who gave over £1,100 through the tins in the shops and to many other donations, both large and small, we have been able to buy or make some new lights and to refurbish quite a few older ones which had developed faults. So this year's display should be bigger and we hope better than last year.

We are grateful to all those who have supported us and hope everyone gets pleasure from the lights. They are your lights; you have paid for them with your donations. We also thank all those who have allowed us to put the lights up on their premises and to use their electricity to power them.