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Back to December 2006 SHIRE January 2007 Fowards to February 2007 SHIRE
News Index

New Academy Plans for Portway School

St Mary's Starts Saving!

Half Hour Train Campaign

Christmas Lights

M.A.T.E.S. & Co.

PC Gareth Davies Reports

Letters to the Editor

St. Mary's News


New Academy Plans for Portway School

Bristol City Council may soon decide whether to make Portway School, only recently re-built through the Private Finance Initiative scheme, into an Academy. Under government plans for turning secondary schools around by making some of them into 'Academies' it is now possible for local authorities to invite sponsorship from individuals or organizations and for each 2 million donated by the sponsor the government will add a much larger sum for the necessary buildings. For the sponsors it will be an opportunity to influence how the secondary school, independent but publically funded is run.

Bristol already has the City Academy and a new one is being planned for the Withywood area under the sponsorship of the Society of Merchant Venturers. Bristol city council stresses that a decision about Portway School is a 'long way' from being reached and will not comment further unless and until a sponsor has been found and all plans are finalised.

At Portway School 27% Of all pupils achieved five or more grades A* to C in 2006, up from 21% in 2005.

Stop Press

SHIRE has learnt that the Home Office has announced that it is cutting Bristol's funding allocation for PCSOs from 132 to 90. It is not yet clear if this will affect the planned deployment of PCSOs to Shirehampton. The Safer Bristol Partnership is raising its concern and outrage in a letter to the Home Office and Tony McNulty, Minister for Police and Security.

The Community Safety Group of Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) is very concerned about these cuts in a service which has not yet started. SCAF has asked our MP Doug Naysmith to put pressure on the Home Office to reverse the cuts.

'Shire' warmly welcomes Val Jenkins who has kindly provided us with a brief CV.

Val Jenkins age 70 - working background - a strange mixture of health and marketing. I was a nurse before my marriage, but then helped by husband in his advertising business. Since coming to Bristol from London in the early seventies, I have worked at both the universities - in the Child Health Department at BU & in Marketing at UWE. Since my retirement five years ago, I have been a member of the Bristol Women's Forum and SCAF.

New Books at Shirehampton Library

Dobbs Michael First Lady
Frost Scott Never Fear
Kellerman Jonathan Gone
Patterson James Judge and Jury
Picoult Jodi The Tenth Circle
Pitman Jenny The Vendetta
Sandford John Dead Watch
Scarrow Simon The Eagle in the Sand
Shreve Anita A Wedding in December
Swindells Madge Hot Ice

John Joyner 1933-2006

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to friends and neighbours for their kind generosity in donating to the Babes Appeal (South West) in Memory of John Joyner.

I would also like to say a special thanks to Margaret Giles and Catherine Brown for their help and support.

Jan Joyner

Thank you for your generous donation (Editor)

Distributing 'SHIRE'

May I take this opportunity to thank all our Drivers and Distributors for their continued help and support. Many of them may be unknown to you and only know of them when your cope of Shire lands on your doormat. Without these stalwarts the paper could not function and would have to close. This in turn would be a great loss to many people, as our monthly edition is not only distributed to the local area but is sent far and wide to places as far away as Canada and Australia. We believe we are the longest running local newspaper in Bristol! We have been in existence since 1972 and some of our founder members are still serving this community.

The process starts when the papers are delivered from the printers, usually over the first few days of the month. I am then advised and arrange with the counters to count and bundle the newspapers ready for distribution. When this is completed the drivers are telephoned and asked to take the papers to the distributors who then deliver the papers to your door. All this takes place in a matter of days. Sometimes your paper is a bit late, this is due to some of our drivers being shift workers and hopefully does not often happen. Many of our delivery Ladies and Gentlemen are elderly, but this does not stop them. They are there for us in all winds and weathers and to them we say an extra Big Thank You.

If your visit the Public Hall and see large bundles of papers ready for distribution, please, do not touch as all papers are counted - the right number of each distributor. If you live locally your paper will come to your door, copies are also available at the Library and Post Office.

There are currently 3 roads that do not receive papers as no volunteers have been forthcoming. The roads are Chelwood Road, Corston Walk, Grainger Court, Oak Treet Court and the first part of St Bernards Road. If you can help in any of these roads please call me on 0117 9826935.

Please tell us what you like (and dislike) about the paper, your views and comments are welcome. We are always pleased to receive any letters/items of interest.

May I take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Pauline (Distribution)

Shire Parents' 'Thumbs-up' for their School

Parents of children attending Shirehampton Primary have given the school a big 'thumbs-up' according to an Ofsted report just published. 'Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the school', says reporting inspector David Clegg. He goes on to say that parents typically comment that there is a 'lovely atmosphere' and that 'pupils enjoy school and have a great deal of confidence in their teachers and other adults'. Pupils were full of praise too, particularly their work on a very successful anti-bullying project - 'the bullying stops completely' they said. 'We pride ourselves on our commitment to help children develop as lively, caring and inquisitive individuals', says headteacher, Anne Travis.

'Ofsted gave us high marks for this aspect of our work. 'It's very pleasing when you hear the children themselves say that adults really listen to them in school. This helps build their confidence and creates a positive atmosphere for learning. 'The inspector is right when he says the school is particularly good at helping our pupils become well behaved and thoughtful children. I'm very happy that our anti-bullying strategies are working effectively and that our school council is so good about making positive suggestions.' 'Although we are a large primary school we try to keep a friendly 'village' feel in Shirehampton,' says chair of governors, Pauline Lewellin.

'This is good for local parents who want to see their children develop into sensible and mature young people, from nursery to the point they leave us in Year 6. 'Although it's a tough job trying to meet national expectations, we're not complacent about driving up standards. Many of our children first start school below average and we work hard to help them progress well during their time with us.' 'Ofsted's view is just a snapshot of where we are now', says Anne Travis. 'They haven't really appreciated the strategies we already have in place to take the school forward. 'Teaching is accepted as being generally lively and well presented, but we are doing more to ensure classroom tasks are completely focused to each child's needs. Again this is something our pupils have told us themselves and we are already seeing good results. 'We have an excellent team of staff, parents and governors to make sure we push on and continue raising standards in the coming years.

St Mary's Starts Saving!

St Mary's church is launching a Severn Four Credit Union collection point where people will be able to save every week. The collection point will offer people in Shirehampton the chance to save locally and ethically - and to enjoy tea, coffee and chat at the same time!

The lunch event will be from 11-12am, Saturday 27th January at the church. There will be information available on saving and borrowing locally with the credit unit. There will also be tea and coffee.

After the launch, the collection point will be open every Friday morning from 10.30-11.30am, starting Friday 2nd February. It will be run by a team of volunteers from the church.

Canon Christine and her husband David, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of St Mary's new role as a Collection Point for Severn Four Credit Union

Adults who join the credit union can apply for low cost loans after 8 weeks of regular saving. All member with live accounts receive an annual dividend - last year this was 3%. Children can get into the habit of saving with the 'Money Munchers' saving scheme.

Severn Four Credit Union is a not-for-profit, community organization offering an easy way to save and borrow money. Members' savings are used as a pool from which to make loans to other members. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth. Severn Four Credit Union is an ethical, local choice of financial service provider, which is owned and controlled by its members.

Reduce waste, Reduce poverty, RECYCLE

Now that we are all in recycling mode, how about bringing your old mobile phones, printer cartridges and PDA's along to St. Marys. We are now a collection point for these items and all funds raised will be used by Actionaid to provide education, clean water supplies, shelter and healthcare to support some of the World's poorest communities.

SO, don't throw it away, throw it our way!

Best wishes and thanks, Canon Christine

Please note that we cannot recycle Epson inkjet cartridges.

Another Big Thank you from Mary

I would like to thank Nicky and all my colleagues from Station Road Playgroup for the surprise party they put on for me. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, thank you all very much.

I loved working with you all and as you know, retired very reluctantly, due to health reasons.

I shall miss you all very much and will cherish many happy memories of my time with you, especially of all the children who have passed through the playgroup over the years.

I wish you every success in the future.

Kind regards,Mary Howell

Thank you for your kind contribution (Editor)

Bristol Shiplovers' Society Founded 1931

Chairman: Captain C. Smith

HEADQUARTERS Holy Trinity Church Hall, Hotwells Road, Bristol

ENQUIRIES Secretary - Lt CDR FD Tolfree RD RNR (0117 9863669)Talks and/or Slide Shows2007 Meetings held at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Hotwells Road, Bristol18th January 'The Cunard Line' Video and commentary by Commodore Ronald Warwick OBE. Retired master of 'Queen Mary 2' (in 2006).1st February 'Piracy in the Far East'. Rev Philip Auden, Chaplain; Mission to Seafarers, Royal Portbury.15th February 'Deep Sea Fishing'. Tim Mowat, Organiser the 'Mission to Seafarers'.1st March 'Pilotage. Art, or Science?'. Captain Tony Anderton, Bristol Channel Pilot.15th March 'The End of the Line' Video and Commentary.12th April 'The Transition of Venus and the Night Sky'. Patricia Brown, Bristol Astronomical Society.

Visitors very welcome - 2.50 per head

All meetings commence at 7.15pm for 7.30pm.

Membership: open to all with an interest in ships and the sea.

E-mail: website:

News from Norfolk

Bob Brandt, who used to live in Station Road, and has since retired to Norfolk, has had 2 paintings hung in the Mall Gallery, London, one in Oil Painter and another in the Marine Artist's Exhibition. 'Congratulations Bob' who was always a regular contributor to the annual local Art Exhibition in the Public Hall for many years. We should add that his wife Helen Brandt was the organizer of the Art Exhibition here very successfully for a considerable time.

Helen and Bob were both associated with 'Shire' newspaper, which was just one of their many local interests. If among your Christmas Cards you have news of former residents of the village and could pass it on to us via the Library, we would be very pleased to print it.


In November this year, 2006, the Dispersal Order ended for the village. In general it was successful, with numerous arrests and persons reported for offences including public order, littering, thefts:Earlier on in the year, before the dispersal was put in place, numerous reports were coming in that youths/teenagers in the village and from other neighbouring villages were gathering at various junctions within the village.

Barrowhill Cresent with Furlong Road was causing concern to the residents regarding public disorder and noise outside their addresses. This was dealt with very positively by the beat manager and the officers from Avonmouth and there are very few causes for concern now in this area because of the positive Zero tolerance patrolling by all officers from Avonmouth police station. PC Davies has made several visits to the complainants offering them reassurance; he then began to clean up the area with multi stop checks and high visibility policing. A large collection of name and addresses was obtained from the youths. Anti social behavior tickets were filled in and submitted for further action. These actions have worked to date, PC Davies will continue to carry out high visibility policing in the area to maintain public reassurance in these reported areas of concern around the village.

There is still concern for certain areas of Avonmouth village, with the village having taken a battering during Halloween and Bonfire night. There are still crimes from these nights which are being investigated by officers from the station. The incidents which are still being investigated are, throwing 'Stink bombs' into moving and parked buses and spraying individuals with all sorts of very smelly, noxious type substances. This to the offenders is a prank, but to the aggrieved party, when he or she is rubbishing their eyes and face, is not too pleasant and you also need to consider the clothing the aggrieved party is wearing which has to be thrown away as it can't be washed or repaired. This will be closely monitored next year and Zero tolerance will be in place for these types of incident.

A huge thank you to all the shops which rejected all teenagers and youths and turned them away from their store when they tried to purchase eggs and flour. This practice and working relationship with the police will continue into the new year.

Beat Surgeries

PC Davies has started his surgeries in the village; he will be conducting the surgeries on the second Wednesday of each month. The two surgeries held so far have been successful, with 20-25 residents attending the hour-long session each time. This is your chance to meet your beat manager and ask him about your various concerns/troubles. The next surgery will be held in January at The Cotswold end of the village between 10am and 11am. Please attend and bring a friend!

Shirehampton Public Hall 1904-2004

By Judy Helme

This fascinating book about the history of the hall is now available at only 4.99

Get your copy by contacting

Or phone 0117 9829963

Smelters 'Little' Belters

The NSC ABC Bristol hosted its second open show of the season at Manor Farm FC on Thursday the 2rd November.

Results: Junior Jordan Stephens NSC won pts V Connor Murphy Watchett ABC skills bout

Junior John McDonough NSC won pts V Joe Baker The Stable ABCJunior Tyler Davies NSC won pts V Harvey Bailey The Stable ABCJunior Josh Connolly NSC won pts V Ginger Josh The Stable ABCJunior Tom Connors NSC won pts V Adam Winfield Sturminster Newton ABCJunior Luke Horthon NSC won pts V Sam Burridge The Stable ABCJunior Dalton Saunders NSC won RSC 3 V Bradley Burk Cleeve ABCYouth Callum Harper Watchett won pts V Mathew Burk Cleeve ABCJunior Brad Collingbourne NSC won pts V Liam Pentony The Stable ABCJunior Patrick Connors NSC lost pts V Peter Nurdin Sturminster Newton ABCYouth Tom Mc

Donagh NSC won pts V Mark Blades The Stable ABCYouth Marcus Royal NSC lost pts V Danny Duffin Kingswood ABCSenior Lewis Collingbourne NSC Won Ret 3 V Lee Horn Empire ABCSenior Sam Mogg NSC won pts V Jack Nicholson Kingswood ABCGarry Cave

NSC ABCLawrence Weston Community Farm Lunch Club

After a lovely summer break, the Lunch Club at Lawrence Weston Community Farm is back in action. Come along for a delicious healthy dinner! Main Course, pudding and a cup of tea for only 2.50. If you would like more information contact the farm on 0117 938 1128 or email:

(Avonmouth and Shirehampton beat)

With the introduction of the neighbourhood Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), the way forward into tackling crime in your area is by holding 'Street meetings'. You, the residents, will have your say as to how you want your area patrolled/policed, and what concerns you or your community have:The first PCSO has arrived at Avonmouth; he has been tasked for Lawrence Weston with PC Kimberley.

Our PCSO will hopefully arrive within the first quarter of the new year; when he or she arrives I will update the community.

The Neighbourhood Watch works. Your property and neighbourhood are constantly being watched by your neighbours; this will lead to a quicker response by the police to your area.

This has worked recently by the Neighbourhood Watch in the Pembroke Road area of Shirehampton having contacted us regarding vehicle crime. The Inspector was able to allocate officers and overtime to police in that area which has led to a fall in reported crimes there. However, there has been an increase in other areas of the village which do not have a Watch in place.

There are various benefits in being part of a Watch, please consider them and think about joining up your road/street. Any information you need on joining Neighbourhood Watch, you can either find via the link below, or by contacting Wendy Hull the Administrator for the District or myself on-line via the links on the beat page or by ringing 0845 4567000.

PC Gareth Davies

Does anyone remember the name Percy Toplis? Better known as the Monocled Mutineer he led the army and the policy a merry dance before he was finally gunned down in the Lake District after the alleged murder of a taxi driver in Salisbury.

We are very grateful to Michael Davies of Long Ashton who read the article about the Remount Depot in 'Shire' and kindly sent us this information.

For a while Toplis was posted to the Remount Section at Shirehampton. It was rumoured that he sold horses from the army's stock in the surrounding area but this has never been substantiated. What was proved, however, was that Toplis was a leading member of the notorious Redskins, a 'freelance' group of crooks within the British army who systematically appropriated and disposed of petrol supplies at the Avonmouth depot of the RASC.

Toplis appeared to work within the Redskins yet independently as well. His particular customer base was the taxi drivers of Bath and Bristol who were desperate for petrol over and above the strict ration allotted to them. His activities in this field spread as far afield as Salisbury and Southampton.

During Toplis' military career he had popped up in several regiments which he just as regularly deserted. He was a very plausible trickster and impersonated officers in order to conduct his scams. Women were particularly susceptible to his charms and several rued the day they were taken in by him. His reputation was sealed when, during the Etaples 'rebellion' in 1917, he came out of hiding as a deserter in the sand dunes behind the military base and led other mutineers over the four days of his insurrection which, to this day, is a scarcely known incident in the Great War. Even at this time Toplis dressed up as an officer with a chestful of medals and infiltrated officers messes in order to find out what the plans were to put down the insurrection. His use of a monocle in many of these escapades earned him the inevitable soubriquet of 'the monocled mutineer'.

His downfall came in 1920, when, it is thought; he tried to steal a taxi in Salisbury and, discovered in the act, he shot the taxi driver dead with a revolver. The subsequent due and cry took him to the Highlands where he wounded two men who tried to apprehend him and then down to the Lake District's Ullswater town of Penrith. Here, Toplis was ambushed by two armed policemen. On a shouted request to give himself up, he drew his gun and tried to run but was shot dead.

Should any reader be interested in learning more about Percy Toplic, Michael Davies recommends the book 'The Monocled Muninteer' by Allison and Fairlie, Quartet 1978.

Half Hour Train Campaign

In February, Bristol City Council will decide their budget for 2007/8. Currently the Council do not put any money towards local rail services. We want the Council to subsidise a half-hourly service from Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth. This would increase passenger demand, reduce congestion and deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to the city as a whole. We will campaign for this until the Council finalises its budget on the 27th February 2007.

The Cost: A subsidy of approximately 450,000 according to Keith Walton, Severnside Community Rail Partnership.

This figure is significantly less than the 1.5 million spent by Bristol City Council in match funding for the Transport Innovation Fund, to be used for research and development studies. The subsidy would deliver a practical improvement in public transport provision.

The Case:

  • Congestion costs Bristol over 1 million a week, according to Bristol businesses. (Bristol Local Transport Plan Update 2002).* Road accidents cost Bristol over 1.8 million each week. (Bristol Local Transport Plan Update 2002).
  • In Birmingham, services are a minimum of half-hourly. Over 50% of people commute into the city by public transport (11% in Bristol). 20% of the total number of people commuting into the city travel by rail, compared to 1.6% in Bristol.
  • There is enormous support for a half-hourly service. Over 3000 people signed our petition asking for a half-hourly service earlier this year. 16 organisations signed our open letter calling for more frequent local rail services.
  • The Final Joint Local Transport Plan (written by the four local authorities including Bristol City Council) proposed a half hourly service for 2006-11.

Extensive local rail network infrastructure already exists in Bristol - it is an enormous potential asset that is currently wasted because of lack of political will.

Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) are fighting for a half-hourly service because it is a good starting point for improving the local rail network as a whole. If Bristol City Council are serious about local rail, they need to make a financial contribution that will show central government where they stand.

How you can help1. Write to your councillor to tell them to support the campaign.2. Lobby the Cabinet Meeting of Bristol City Council at the Council House, College Green on Thursday 11 January from 5.30pm.3. To find out more contact FOSBR c/o 17 Belmont Road, Bristol BS6 5

AW. Tel: 0117 942 3978/942 8637.4. Email: Website:

Ruby F. Biggs - 8th Dec 1919-4th Nov 2006

On behalf of myself and my sister Jane we would like to thank all good friends, neighbours and relative for their kind thoughts by cards, letters and messages of sympathy on the sad loss of our mother.

All donations received have gone to Parkinsons Disease Society.

Once again, many thanks.

Ben Biggs and Mrs J. Geater

Thank you for your kind donation (Editor)

Christmas Lights

This year's display was the largest yet and so far we have to say it has been the most challenging. When we inspected the fittings in the summer we found that many of the rope lights had failed. So we bought heavier duty lights and replaced all the suspect ones with new thicker and brighter rope lights and also took the opportunity to buy several new lights. Since they can cost up to 500 each we also made a number ourselves at much less expense. The result was that we now have a good stock of sound and we hope reliable lights for the next few years.

You may have noticed that sometimes particular lights are not lit when they should be. Usually this is simply because someone forgets and accidentally turns them off. Then when they are switched back on again they often don't light up because the earth trip has not been re-set.

All the lights are linked to timers which are all set to come on at the same time every day, but if a plug is pulled out and later pushed in again the timer is no longer set the same as all the rest. But sadly this year we have found that some of the eighty or so timers that we use have started to fail or to run fast or slow and this has caused a lot of headaches for Roger Cooper and Cedric Rich has have spent a lot of time most days going from one display to another sorting out and in many cases replacing aging timers. We have replaced faulty timers with more expensive ones in the belief that these will last longer and give less trouble, but it does mean that we have less in future to spend on new lights.

Only a few days after the lights were up we had a sudden gale which blew down our big tree on the Green and badly damaged the tree on the flat roof of the George, but Lee, Ahley, Roger and Cedric were quickly on the scene to repair the damage. All the other displays came through with flying colours.

The extra expense on the lights this year has only been possible because of the generosity of the people of Shire. Over the year you have given us just over 1200 through the tins in some of the shops. Pam Rich and Thelma Tillett empty the tins every two months and each time there is more or less the same amount of money in them which shows that for you Lights are not just for Christmas and that even in the heat of summer you generously put small change into the boxes to help us make a good show at the end of the year. Thank you Shire. Our only other sources of funding are a grant of 700 this year from 'Shire' newspaper and a number of individual gifts from local people perhaps marking a sad or joyful family occasion by a donation, or perhaps just because they want to help a good cause. Now that costs of insurance and replacement materials and fittings are rising every year we have to generate about 2000 every year. This year because of the extra expense of repairing older lights we actually spent 700 more than we received and so have very little in reserve for other emergencies. But the other problem is that there are only a very few of us with the interest and time to give over the year to planning and constructing and repairing ready for the next display. One of us may well have moved from the area by next year and one is in failing health and able to do less physical work, which really leaves only one minding the store as it were. So if you are still active, interested and able to give up a few hours every now and then and would like to get in touch with our Secretary, Geraldine Cooper (tel. 9826627) we should very much like to meet you.

By the time this is printed the lights will be coming down and put in store for their annual inspection and refurbishment. From your kind comments and your generous support it seems that you like having the lights over Christmas and we hope that we can do our bit to see that they go on giving pleasure from year to year. MM

M.A.T.E.S. & Co.

We hear a lot these days about problems of bullying and other anti social behaviour in schools. This article is written by Joy Webb who explains the remarkable work she has been doing in our local school.

M.A.T.E.S. & Co (Making Anti-bullying Totally Effective in Schools & Communities) is essentially an anti-bullying group that uses dance, drama, original scripts and a system of playground monitors to assist staff bring about fair play, friendship & conflict resolution during playtime. It has been created and set up by myself (Joy Webb) in Shirehampton Primary School where I am currently employed as a Learning Mentor. Membership has grown from 15 pupils (in 2003) to currently 106 participants.

M.A.T.E.S. use dance and drama and original scripts to explore issues and feelings related to bullying. It provides ways and techniques that enable pupils to increase their confidence, self-esteem and capacity to get along with others. It is for those who are being bullied AND those who have wasted too much time being a bully. It provides a place where everyone can confront their demons, whatever they are, and learn how to get along. It is an ideal tool for a whole school target approach to bullying.

M.A.T.E.S. & Co is a system that addresses anti-bullying not, annually or termly but daily. Bullying is a daily occurrence, on a large or small scale and pupils need help daily to find the best way to resolve conflicts and those disagreements that frequently happen even to the best of friends, as well as the more serious situations where individuals find themselves constantly picked on.

M.A.T.E.S. presents a learning curve for both pupils and educators. One of the reasons pupils become de-sensitised to bullying at a certain level is because when they have previously asked for help they have been told: 'don't tell tales', 'play somewhere else', 'take no notice', 'stop being silly', etc. OR when the bully has been confronted they have been shouted at and/or given a detention, threatened with their parents having to come into the school, all the usual punitive methods and although we must have sanctions and consequences in place, we also need to balance them against the amount of sensitivity with which we approach our handling of situations when dealing with bullying behaviours. There are steps we can take to help pupils/victims of bullies to sort things out, clear the air, have their feelings known and understood and - move on.

The methods which work best in M.A.T.E.S. are mediation, arbitration and restorative justice - putting right the wrongs. It's pretty painless and has provided the pupils at Shirehampton Primary School with a life line that has given them the confidence to report when things are not going well without fear of recrimination.

M.A.T.E.S. can help the whole school focus on the importance of being kind and getting on well together, supporting a whole school target system. M.A.T.E.S. has its own Personal action plans for those who need to focus on particular areas of behavioural difficulty; a reward system of certificates and M.A.T.E.S. prizes for recognizing the successful effort someone is putting into changing their ways; a non-judgemental approach to problem solving which includes learning to face whatever consequences are ahead of you and being supported throughout where necessary.

In Shirehampton Primary School, Bristol, where it all began, M.A.T.E.S. has become a force to be reckoned with, attracting a diversity of pupils, many who join, stay in the group and provide a stable backbone. There are currently 106 members who meet at lunchtimes in small, organized, mixed year groups. They participate in anti-bullying workshops attached to their current scripts and learn techniques which help them diffuse arguments or potential bullying incidents and encourage each other towards fair play in their actions. All scripts and anti-bullying lesson plans are written by me and are available for purchase in the Resources area of the M.A.T.E.S. website.

At Shirehampton Primary School there is a list of daily selected KS2 'Play-M.A.T.E.S. Monitors', who take turns each break and lunch time, to be present in the KS1 playground and ensure peaceful, fun and fair play among younger pupils; keeping an eye on known trouble spots; assisting pupils who may not have anyone to play with; reporting any otherwise unseen incidences that need adult intervention. As a method of Peer intervention this has worked superbly and allows pupils who do not wish to be part of the drama group to play their part in M.A.T.E.S. In KS2 playground there are 'befriending monitors' who offer to play with lone pupils thus ensuring that no-one is excluded from play.

The drama workshops currently run at lunchtimes (although, starting in January 2007, there will also be a M.A.T.E.S. Theatre group run from the Shirehampton Public Halls on Tuesday evenings from 4pm-6pm) - more info about that after Christmas though. There is a M.A.T.E.S. presentation, usually 45 minutes to an hour, each term.

Changing your thinking and/or behaviour and responses is a very difficult thing to do. I have been nothing short of impressed by the efforts of some M.A.T.E.S. pupils struggling through some real hardships and emotional see-saws but, desperately trying to turn things around for themselves, one way or another; looking for validation, acceptance and belonging in their life. Those guys ROCK THE MOST!!

Changing may be hard but doing something nice is quite easy. Easier than people think and it is a sure way of enjoying that feel good factor and rebuilding your self-esteem. We can all do this. And, in this hostile, 'talk to the hand', 'Am I bothered'? society, we need all the kindness we can get. Hence, there is a list of 'Kool kind deeds' on the website, with actions we can all take to make our communities more peaceful, enjoyable and friendly. Doing something good for others is not a new idea or fad; some people have always thought this way because it's Christian; because it's humane; because it makes them feel good; or just because; and their world seems a better place for it. There's something to be said for such basic principles.

2 M.A.T.E.S working things thru'

M.A.T.E.S. and Co is all about doing the right thing, being the bigger person, being the person who acts fairly, being the cheerful one on a gloomy day. We can ALL be that. Let's spend 2007 and thereafter at least trying.

My vision is to see M.A.T.E.S. & Co operating in as many Schools, Community and Youth groups as possible, working to make our world a better place, starting now! The time has come, as we say in M.A.T.E.S. to 'Stop talking - Start acting'.

Joy Webb

Learning Mentor at Shirehampton Primary School and Director of M.A.T.E.S. & Co

PC Gareth Davies Reports

Beware of Deception Burglars

There has been an increase in distraction type burglaries in the village, mainly involving the elderly. There are a couple of males tricking their way into residential homes by stating they are there to wither check on the victim's water, electricity or gas or are collecting for various charity organisations. Once inside the victim's property, the offenders work fast in keeping the victim in one area of their house whilst the offenders go through the victim's house looking for ready cash or jewellery.

The descriptions are a young male about 16-17 years of age in company with an older male in his 40-50s and they look like a father and son team. They have Irish accents and short black hair are are very tidily dressed and very pleasant to speak to.

What can residents do about it?

  • Don't store large amounts of money around the house.
  • Keep the door chain secure and locked.
  • Don't let anyone into the address who doesn't carry an identity card. Verify that identity of not sure.
  • Neighbours - keep an eye on each other.
  • Inform your warden straight away of any suspicious incidents.
  • Don't advertise that fact that you're away.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Don't set patterns when drawing your money out of the Post Office or bank. Change your timings.

Criminal damage/Vehicle crime

Over the past couple of months, there has been a significant increase in vehicle crime and damage caused to various vehicles in the village. the offenders are stealing anything that is left on show - "Tom Toms," radio cassettes/CD players and items of shopping.

Reports have arrived at the Police throughout the last couple of months regarding several vehicles having been damaged or entered by unknown offenders. Having now viewed the evidence of all the various incidents and through intelligence being reported to the office, the net is closing fast on the offenders.

The station will leave no stone unturned to identify the offenders and as soon as the offenders are arrested, you the public will be informed.

What can you do?

Do not leave any valuables on show. Take your satellite navigation system with you are the end of your day. Don't leave shopping on show in your vehicles. Adopt a clean car policy whenever you leave your house!The damage to motor vehicles being caused is windows being smashed, vehicles tyres being slashed and vehicles having their paintwork scratched.

The way the offenders are entering vehicles to steal are by smashing the passenger door windows, or by bending the door frames out.

It is not doubt the same youths who were stopped by PC Davies and other officers from Avonmouth Police Station about two months ago.

PC Davies changed his shift pattern around to coincide with the damage/thefts; he will also be working plain clothed on odd occasions.

Letters to the Editor

Can You Help?

Dear Editor,

I am wondering whether any 'Shire' reader this letter may be able to help me. Living in a small North Hertfordshire village I am writing a book about the 30 men who appear on the Pirton WW1 Memorial.

One of the men, Lance-corporal William Thomas Hill of the 2nd/8th Lancashire Fusiliers, also appears on the Shirehampton Memorial. His association with Shirehampton was obviously strong although, strangely enough, I have so far been unable to find his link with my own village.

Lance Corporal Hill, 3007763, 2nd/8th Lancashire Fusiliers was killed on 9th October 1917 and is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial. He was 30 years old.

Born in (or around) 1888 he was the son of James and Eliza Hill who, at the time of his birth, lived at Bodelwyddan in Wiltshire. Three years later the family were living in Shirehampton; the parents together with William, James a year younger and another young son listed as Keneth, but the census scribe had a poor hand! James, William's father, worked on the railway as a watchman, but may well have worked in other jobs.

I know virtually nothing from the time he was born then until the time of his death, although I hope some information may come to me through the Fusiliers' regimental museum. William did marry and at the time of his death, his wife Florence Rachel was living in Peckham, London. One may assume, though it is no certainty, James had lived in Peckham, too. By 1917 his parents, James and Eliza, were living at 2 Avon View Cottage, Pembroke Road in Shirehampton.

The Shirehampton War Memorial proudly bears William's name; I hope I may find out why he is featured on the Pirton Memorial. There is no evidence that his wife had an association with the North Hertfordshire village. Whether his parents lived out their lives in Shirehampton might be revealed by burial records. They were both born in 1956 and so may well have lived into the 1930's.

If any reader is able to let me know of any information about William or, indeed, his family I will be extremely grateful. I would certainly wish to relate as full a story of Lance-Corporal Hill as the other 29 men or our village memorial.


Derek Jarrett, Sawford Cottage, Great Green, Pirton, Nr Hitchin, Herts SG5 3QD

Dear Editors,

I had been following the discussion about the War Memorial and what can be done about it. I grew up in Shirehampton, Park Hill in fact, and I can well remember how well it was tended. In those days we used to often ride our tricycles past the Memorial. For many years the ground was kept tidy by a little lady who wheeled her pram from the Sea Mills Westbury area. She would have in it all the necessary tools including a lawn mower. I always understood that she did this sacrificial work in memory of her brother who was killed in the first World War. When she died no one took it on.

C.L. Stride

Something Olde, Something New

Grainger Players November 2006

We write to say how much we enjoyed the performance by the Grainger Players. Each time we see a performance by the Players, we think it can't get any better, but on every occasion they pull out all the stops and give us a fantastic evening.

It was such a shame that this time, the Players couldn't hold their usual Friday night performance as a Group who play Bingo at the Hall, were unable to give up that night. So the performances this year could only take place on Thursday 9th and Saturday 11th November. However, on the Saturday night, the Hall was packed and as always the Players held a retiring collection in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Bristol Branch. Thanks to the generosity of the Players and the Audience the amount raised totalled 104.00. Thank you all, so much!The singing was beautiful, costumes amazing and the comedy, really funny! The Producers of the Something Olde, Something New, are Liz Hurd and Monica Doul (two ladies who along with the Cast, strive to keep the Community together in Southampton), and having taken over from Shirley James who many of you will remember and whose wish was to keep the community spirit going in Shire.

It was nice to see some new faces; the Grainger Players are always looking for more people to join them who rehearse at the Public Hall on Thursday nights.

Finally, we wish Liz every happiness in her retirement and look forward to seeing the performance by the Grainger Players in May 2007.

Yours faithfully,

Barrie & Marina Griffiths

MS Society, Bristol Branch

Dear Editor,

As we all know, our lovely village green is triangular. The road which is a bus route (517) goes round the village Green. The bus has to stop outside Woolworths. There is a hairdresser's shop facing the east side of the Green, also accommodating a chiropodist's surgery. Customers for the hairdressers and patients for the surgery are often elderly, sometimes disabled. The disabled have had a dispensation to park their cars outside the shop and others arriving by car have to be set down there. Suddenly there is a problem. The bus can no longer turn round the end of the Green facing Park Hill. Why? Because it is too long and threatens to demolish those cars which already have two wheels on the pavement. The driver blows his horn, the traffic piles up (not helped by roadworks on Park Hill), desperate ladies rush out from the driers with curlers flying, the chiropody patients hobble out barefoot, the professionals bewail their loss of customers and patients, the driver shouts, the general public join in, all is chaos. A familiar scenario? Well, not quite, but it could be.

Would someone from the Council care to take a bus and see the fun? While we all welcome the improved services to other far-flung areas of Bristol, could someone explain why we need such huge vehicles in our peaceful village, when they seldom seem to carry more than a handful of people? Do they go to some seething area of Bristol we don't know about? We need to know.

Yours sincerely,

Worried resident

(Name and address supplied)

Disability Benefits

  • Do you have walking difficulties?
  • Do you have difficulties getting into the bath or with dressing/undressing?
  • Do you have problems with preparing a meal?
  • Do you suffer from arthritis, back pain or something similar?
  • Do you have mental health problem?

If you answer yes to any of the above questions, you may qualify for a disability benefit called Disability Living Allowance, or Attendance Allowance, if aged 65 or over.

If you want to see if you can claim for a disability benefit, then contact Tony for advice, at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association. This can be done by attending the drop-in advice sessions on:TUESDAYS & WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS between 9.30am and 11.30am - NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY.


He will do a full benefit entitlement check. He can also help with applying for other benefits, filling in forms, help with any problems with debts, housing problems, employment advice and other legal matters.

Avon (University Settlement) Community Association offers FREE and Confidential Advice. We are situated at 115 High Street, Shirehampton. (Tel. 982-9399)Council Tax Benefit/Reduction

You could be missing out on extra money!

Council Tax Benefit

Council Tax Benefit helps people on a low income pay their Council Tax bill.

Council benefit disability reduction is a relief from council tax available to some people with disabilities who need to set aside a room in their homes because of their disability:If you're not sure whether you'll get help with reducing your Council Tax, then contact Tony for advice, at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association. This can be done by attending the drop-in advice sessions on:TUESDAYS & WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYSbetween 9.30am and 11.30am NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARYPLEASE NOT TUESDAYS ARE ONLY FOR PEOPLE 55 AND OVER AND THEIR CARERSHe will check to see if you can get it and also will do a full benefit check. He can also help with applying for other benefits, filling in forms, help with any problems with debts, housing problems, employment advice and other legal matters.

Avon (University Settlement) Community Association offers FREE and Confidential Advice.

We are situated at 115 High Street, Shirehampton. (Tel. 982-9399).

Shirehampton AFC 100 years ago

This picture shows the Shirehampton AFC team in 1907-08. The club were winners of the Clevedon League, Clevedon Charity Cup, Bristol & District Tournament Cup, and other competitions.

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

A very Happy and Peaceful New Year to you all!Well, during the past few weeks St. Mary's has not been standing still, but I must say how delighted we were to come Second in the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company's Competition for the most 'forward thinking & welcoming parish church in the UK' which I am sure you all read about in the December issue of 'Shire'. We are all extremely proud of our beloved Leader - Canon Christine and our Lay Minister Extraordinaire - Gill Sawyer - who prepared the entry. I am sure both of them are too modest to claim that it was just because of them that we won but was also due to the excellent supporting team we have at St. Mary's. The 750 Prize Money was also most welcome.

Back in November we were the hosts for a Confirmation Service led by Bishop Peter Firth - the former Bishop of Malmesbury - during which time he confirmed his oldest candidate ever - Gladys Dando - whom I am sure won't mind if I mention she is a remarkable lady who is 91 years young. So that just goes to prove you are never too old to consider Confirmation! The service was very moving for everyone including our guests from the other churches in the Bristol West Deanery. I must also mention here very grateful thanks to 'Laurie' from the Shirehampton Lodge Hotel for the use of the hotel's facilities to host the Reception after the Confirmation Service - there were just too many visitors to hold the Reception at the back of the Church on this occasion.

On Saturday 25th November - we held our Christmas Festive Food Fayre at the back of the church and Father Christmas was also present in his Grotto. I am delighted to record that we made over 2,000 on that day, which included the Cream Teas in the afternoon. In passing I must also mention that Father Christmas has a twin brother who attends St. Mary's - he is clean shaven, exactly the same height and build and is also our Church Treasurer - we are indeed very fortunate to have two such willing volunteers prepared to give up their time for us!Also back in November we had a Choral Evensong at St. Mary's - the music was provided by the Pilning Special Choir and much enjoyed by all, as it is a service which is only held in our church on very rare occasions. Thanks must go to Jonathan Edwardes their Director of Music for a truly wonderful service of choral music, which I am not ashamed to admit is my favourite type of church music.

On the first Sunday in December it was Advent Sunday and during the evening we held our Advent Carol Service. It was during this Service that our Tree of Light was illuminated, it having been decorated with the Memorial Cards completed with the names of loved ones we no longer see. We were pleased to see 260 people at that service.

Early in December we held our Annual Gift Day Appeal when anyone who felt they would like to donate towards the cost of purchasing a new piano for the church could do so. We had an absolutely magnificent response and raised more then 4,000. Our own Musical Director and Organist - Tim Forder's eyes - lit up at the prospect of being asked to go out and find a Piano at that price! This will be a very useful instrument to have an again allow St. Mary's to be used for Cultural Purposes as well as Worship. With a Baby Grand Piano or whatever is purchased, there is always the possibility we could then engage the services of a Concert Pianist to hold Concerts in the church with its wonderful acoustics. So watch this space all you music lovers!!On Sunday afternoon the 10th December the Shirehampton Area Choir performed their Annual Christmas Concert in the Church with the proceeds from the ticket sales going to Dementia Care. I am pleased to report that over 600 was raised and if everyone who is a Tax Payer completed a Gift Aid Declaration then this could be increased to somewhere near 800. Anyway, grateful thanks to all of you who supported this even. I am sure all the Choir Members and Tim Forder our Musical Director appreciate your generosity.

Also back in December the Rhema Players presented a play in St. Mary's called 'The Letter' - which portrayed the life of the Apostle - St. Paul. There were only 3 actors playing a variety of different roles and with the minimum amount of 'props' they were truly amazing at what they were able to portray. The play was written by the young man who played the part of St. Paul and was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who saw it. You missed a treat if you were not there. (The Wine and Nibbles during the Interval were a great delight as well!).

Now to some news for January - on Saturday 13th we shall be holding another of our Book, CD & DVD Sales. This sale will be open from 10am until 12 noon and has proved popular in the past, hence the reason for repeating it.

On Saturday, 27th January 2007 will see the launch of The Severn Four Credit Union (SFCU) which is a scheme to assist people from falling into the trap of spiraling debt. After those who have volunteered to assist in the scheme have received training, the official launch is to be held between 11am and 12 noon on Saturday, 27th January 2007, in St. Mary's Church. On Tuesday, 9th January - from 1pm until 3pm there will be an Alpha Guest Lunch for those who would like to know more about the next Alpha Course. Please sign the list in the church or let Gill Sawyer know if you intend coming which will assist her in the catering arrangements. The next Alpha course begins on Tuesday 23rd January at 2.30pm.

On Thursday, 18th January from 1pm until 3pm we shall be holding another Bettle Drive in the church. On Friday, 2nd February 2007 - we are going to have a 'Colour me Beautiful' Evening starting with a 'Gill Sawyer Supper' - (not to be missed in any event!).

After supper we shall have a lady present who will tell you which colours suit you best as an individual. This is for men as well as women and should be very good entertainment as well as instructional. Don't miss out on this social event - tickets will cost 6 and will be available from Gill Sawyer at the church office.

On Sunday 4th February, Bishop Lee - the Bishop of Swindon - will be present at our 10am Holy Communion Service. He has been very much involved with Bishop Mike - Bishop of Bristol - on the need for growth in our churches and it would surprise me if this is not mentioned by him when he visits us. I am sure when he visits St. Mary's he will see we are well on the way of what is expected from a growing church. As Canon Christine will tell you, that to stand still and do nothing is equivalent to going backwards. Please come to this service, after which, you will have the opportunity to meet Bishop Lee who is to lead our Parish Weekend at Glastonbury in May 2007.

Well, that's it again for this month - it'll soon be February and then a little bit later we can all look forward to Spring - not that I am wishing my life away - its just that I prefer the warmer weather!'Bye for now!


Bristol Stories

Bristol Stories is a creative digital storytelling project initiated by Watershed in collaboration with Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives Service, involving the public in the development of content for the new Museum of Bristol.

Bristol Stories aims to enable diverse individuals and communities to tell their many stories of Bristol and to show how the experiences of Bristol people today are making tomorrow's history. Digital stories are produced in workshops where participants learn how to tell their story in a direct and engaging way, with voice, sound, photos, images and objects, using video editing software to create a short film. Sharing these powerful and personal stories with others in the workshop, and then with a wider audience online, is part of the magic of the process.

The project currently features 73 stories, which can be viewed online at If you are interested in participating in one of our workshops, contact Aikaterini Gegisian, Bristol Stories Co-ordinator at

Tea Dances in Shirehampton

The City Council is actively developing what is titled The Older People Strategy which is intended to improve the quality of life for the elderly residents of Bristol. Clearly this is a most welcome initiative but one must remember that it deals with only part of the problem. Whilst improved amenities and advice on benefits can be offered there remains a need for the message to reach the individual and it is here that the community must play its part.

Many social groups are already doing this work but the fact that there is a need for the Older People Strategy indicates that there is more that could be done.

Which brings me to the question of reviving the Tea Dances in Shirehampton? It would only make a small contribution to the overall need but it would serve to entice a number of older people to relieve their past for a while dancing, or even just listening, to the music which they will remember. Also the atmosphere tends to create a welcoming environment where individual newcomers quickly feel at ease.

The tea dances in Lawrence Weston and Sea Mills (until the hall was demolished!) were introduced and supported by RSVP (the Retired and Senior Programme) but run by small groups of local residents. The task has not been over demanding and, should a few Shirehampton residents consider taking up the challenge, all the help they need would be available. My telephone number is 0117 9684644 and I would be pleased to hear from anyone interested.

George Kebby

Organiser RSVP

Gardens to Bloom at Lawrence Weston Community Farm

Planting bluebells for next spring was the perfect way to celebrate recent grants award to Lawrence Weston Community Farm to develop gardening activities for local people at the farm.

A drift of bluebells is what pupils from Weston Park Primary and Bluebell Valley Nursery are hoping for as they planted over 500 bulbs between them in woodland at the farm. The bulbs are British native species which is being crowded out of woodlands by the more vigorous Spanish variety.

Money from the Lottery Awards for All and the Cooperative will make lots more gardening projects with schools and local people possible at the farm including growing fruit, veg and herbs, planting fruit trees and soft fruit and creating beautiful flower beds.

If you want to learn more about gardening, a regular gardening group will meet on Thursdays at the farm or you can volunteer at any time during the week to suit you.'Whether you have lots of little gardening experience there will be lots happening in the farm's gardens to get involved in. We hope to run some activities for children and give people ideas about what they can do at home in their garden or in containers.' Kerry Rowe - Lawrence Weston Farm Education Coordinator.

Don't forget the farm also has well rotted manure for sale - just what your roses need at this time of year.

For more information about the work of the farm call Kerry Education Coordinator on 0117 9381128.