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News Index

Our Night at the Oscars!

What's on in April

Community Unites in Opposition to Allotment Housing

Shire Stitchers

Letters to the Editor


St. Mary's News

Wind Power Planned for Avonmouth

Our Night at the Oscars!

(Well, almost)

IMAGINE the scene at the recent Oscars ceremony.  The big build-up.  The tension rising.  The golden envelope is opened with the name of the winner breathlessly announced to rapturous applause.  'The Queen- Helen Mirren!' Her name is called out again, but there is no reply.  Then someone says quietly-'she went home early.'

It wasn't quite like that at the recent Bristol Community Newsletter Awards, which is a sort of Oscar ceremony for papers like ours, but it did truly happen that our own Queen (or, to be more accurate; Chair) of 'Shire' Jean Archer and her fellow committee member, Brian Blandford, had left the event at the Bristol Paintworks Gallery early, convinced that the 'Shire' was going to be empty handed that night as the categories the paper had entered itself for had been won by other Bristol newsletters.

They had had a long day and a horrendous drive through crawl-hour traffic to get to the Bath Road venue.  (Don't feel too sorry for them though, there was a large buffet waiting for them when they did make it!) So all in all, having shown willing, it seemed reasonable to slip away, unnoticed and unadorned with gongs.

But, the next day a phone call.  It seems that the chairman of Judges, Simon Caplan had given a paean of praise to 'Shire' and the fine job it does and was awarding it his Judge's Special Award but when the name was called out…well, the rest you know, except that we were invited to pick up our Bristol Blue Glass paperweight (much more practical than an Oscars statuette) and accompanying certificate from the unglamorous Greenway Centre Unit 11 in Southmead, with an invitation to a later photo opportunity with Simon Caplan.

Simon Caplan presenting Jean Archer with the award

As we almost missed last year's awards through being late, missing this year's awards by leaving early balances things out.  So next year we should get it right.  Except that we still have to produce a good enough paper to win-and that, dear reader, depends to some extent on you sending us those great articles and pictures.  Our paper is only as good as it is because of the material that you send us.

This year's Award is your Award.  Well done all of you!

Forum Award

'Shire' won a Judge's Award in the Bristol Community Newsletter Forum competition.  Jean Archer, Chairman of 'Shire' collected the award from the judge who nominated the paper - Simon Caplan, who is head of Corporate Communications for Bristol City Council.  When asked why he had chosen 'Shire' Simon said he was impressed with the great number of people involved and also that the community had independently published the paper themselves.

We explained that Shirehampton was a very vibrant community for it was originally a village.  His one criticism was that we could perhaps incorporate what he called 'hard news' more often.  Mr Caplan said this was the firts time he had taken part in the awards and as he has been a professional journalist for a number of years we appreciated his remarks and also the fact that we, as amateurs, met with his approval.

It was mentioned at the awards ceremony that Community Newsletters were the grass roots of democracy.

Volunteer Wanted

A volunteer is wanted to deliver 'Shire' papers to the house in Kingsweston Avenue.  The papers are delivered to your door each month for you to take around.  This should not take you more than an hour each month.  If anyone can help, please telephone Pauline on (0117) 9826935.  Thank you.

What's on in April

Sunday April 1st

PALM SUNDAY at St Mary's 10am HOLY COMMUNION 8pm Compline COTSWOLD SERVICE at Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45pm-5.30pm led by the Baptist Church.

Monday April 2nd

SEE AND KNOW for under 5s at St Mary's weekly 1.15-2.45pm

3 of US BINGO weekly at St Andrew's Church Hall.  Avonmouth 1.15 - 2.45 pm

KEEP FIT weekly at the Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30-8.30pm

BASIC LITERARY SKILLS weekly at Lawrence Weston - tel 0117 913 8824 for details

KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB trains at St Bernard's School weekly 6.30 – 8.30 pm

DROP-IN ADVICE CENTRE AUS Community Association at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth weekly.  9.30-11.30 am Sponsored by St Andrew's Church

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday April 2nd, 3rd,4th

Each evening at St Mary's Service of Compline.

Tuesday, April 3rd

St ANDREW'S LADIES 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth, Bring and Buy Auction.

TEA JUNCTION weekly at St Mary's 2pm – tea, chat, board games

CRAFTY GROUP weekly at St Mary's 2 pm – 2.30 pm

BINGO or a speaker weekly at 2 pm, the Tythe Barn, High Street

SHIREHAMPTON MODEL RAILWAY CLUB weekly at the Public Hall, 7.30 pm

SHIREHAMPTON AREA CHOIR REHEARSAL every Tuesday 7.30-9pm at St Mary's

Wednesday April 4th

BRIGHT HOUR (Women's Fellowship) Baptist Church 2.30pm

A.U.S.  Advice Sessions every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30 – 11am at 115 High Street

ACTA COMMUNITY YOUTH THEATRE for 11 – 16's weekly at the Public Hall 5 pm – 6.30 pm

KEEP FIT weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30 am – 11.30 am for those with some movement experience.


Thursday April 5th MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE LIBRARY WILL BE CLOSED and will re-open on Wednesday April 11th.

COTSWOLD BOOK CLUB 7.30pm.  Ring 9047319 for venue.

SHIREHAMPTON TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD 2-4 pm at the Methodist Church Hall AGM

KICK BOXING weekly at the Public Hall 5.15 pm – 7.15 pm

STROKE SUPPORT every Thursday at the PBA Club, Nibley Road 1.30 – 4 pm

SLIMMMING WORLD weekly 5.30pm and 7 pm at Jim O'Neill House

BINGO or a speaker at the Tythe Barn 2 pm every week

GRAINGER PLAYERS DRAMA CLUB weekly at the Public Hall 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm

KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB train at Avonmouth RFC weekly 6.30 - 8.30 pm

KEEP FIT with sports balls and Yoga.  eac Thursday 6.30-7.30pm at Rock Community Centre, Ridingleaze, Lawrence Weston

Friday April 6th – GOOD FRIDAY Public Holiday

WALK OF WITNESS starts 10.15am on the Green then the walk will continue to all the various churches in the village and finish at 11.45am on the Green, Family Service 10am at St Mary's.


EASTER SUNDAY SUNRISE SERVICE 7am, organised by St Mary's at Shirehampton Park.

April 9th – EASTER MONDAY Public Holiday

EASTER PARADE at the Cotswold Centre starting 10.30am

April 10th Tuesday

BOBBY VAN ON THE GREEN (Mobile Police Advice Centre).


April 11th Wednesday

WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP at the Public Hall

Friday April 13th

FRIDAY FUN weekly for Parents, Carers, and pre-school children 9.30 am – 11 am at the Beachley Walk Centre

EVERGREENS weekly at the Public Hall 2 – 4 pm

BINGO weekly at the Public Hall starting 6.30 pm

PILLOW LACE GROUP every Friday 7 – 9 pm at the Public Hall

SHIREHAMPTON AMATEUR RADIO CLUB weekly at T.S.  Enterprise 7.30 – 10 pm

KEEP FIT weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30 am – 11.30 am

Saturday April 14th

STAMP AND POSTCARD FAIR at the Public Hall 10am-4pm.

Sunday April 15th

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

Monday April 16th

LOCAL HISTORY GROUP in the Library at 2.30pm.

Tuesday April 17th

St Andrew's LADIES at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hal;p at 7.30pm 'AUST FRRY' speaker Tim Ryan

PBA PENSIONERS meet at the Clubhouse, Nibley Road 1.30pm-3.30pm.

Wednesday April 18th


KEEP FIT at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30am-11.30am for those with some movement experience.

Thursday April 19th


CARERS GROUP meets at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-noon.

Thursday April 26th

DIABETES UK Penpole Tenants Association Hall 7.30pm

Friday April 27th

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


PLAYGROUP at the Public Hall every week 9.15-11 .45am Monday to Friday; 12.30 - 2.45pm Monday to Wednesday only

KIDS KLUB at St Mary's 8.3Oam most Sunday mornings.  Breakfast and a short service.  For information Tel: 907 7026

SEA CADETS Mondays and Thursdays each week 12-18 years old; Juniors (10 - 12 years old) Thursday 6.45 - 8.45pm at T S Enterprise, Station Road

ART CLUB Public Hall, Monday and Wednesday 9.3Oam - 1 1.3Oam; Thursday 7 - 9pm


Improve your English; Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Help with your Maths.  Contact Gill Lloyd on 31125530.

Reading Group

Come along to Shirehampton Reading Group held on the second Wednesday of the month.  The next meeting is Wednesday 11th April.  It's a totally informal session, just come along and join the discussion – tell us about books you've read recently and swap recommendations.

Please Note

The library will be closed on Thursday April 5th and will re-open on Wednesday April 11th.

Community Unites in Opposition to Allotment Housing

CONCERNED residents in Shirehampton have been disappointed that a proposed development on allotment land, next to the river Avon, are to be re-submitted for public consultation.

Jephson Housing Association had planned to submit a planning application to build 53 low cost houses and flats in August 2005, but after meeting over 200 local residents and councillors at a meeting to show their plans, it was clear that there were many concerns and no planning application was submitted.

The plans involved using Myrtle Drive entry into Jubilee allotments, and creating a high density mixed social housing.  One of the many concerns was the close proximity to the River Avon, and the visual impact that it would have on the river bank, loss of yet another local amenity and that it would destroy the character of the close knit community.

There were also concerns about the extra traffic that it would generate and the proximity to the elderly residents of Stow House.  Wildlife concerns were also raised.

Cotswold Community Action Group spokeswoman, Sylvia Cooper, said "Local residents are aghast that Jephson Housing Association plan to present new plans for a development.  After huge opposition at a meeting in September 2005, any plans for development on this allotment land should be rejected.  The allotment adjoining it, Myrtle Hall, is full, and has a waiting list for tenants who wish to lease a plot, due to huge demand after the Council publicised the health benefits of having an allotment.  Time has now come to re-open Jubilee Allotments for the waiting tenants eager to lease a plot".

Fellow campaigner Paul Wilkes said, "The debate is over on climate change and rising sea levels.  The Council have clear information that this whole river will be susceptible to flooding, given a high spring tide with a storm surge, let alone if sea levels continue to rise." To allow a development to be built this close to the river would be negligent.

He urged there should be a citywide debate, to protect the natural beauty of this particular historic part of the river, the only stretch of the river free from traffic.

On February 1st, a drop-in session was held by Jephson Housing Association to view their latest plans for the allotment site.

Although approximately 31% of the total area is planned to be kept for planting and landscaping, residents were concerned that the proposed new plans for 32 houses and flats did not alter the fact that building a development of this wildlife network site next to the River Avon would totally change the character of the area, and that wildlife would possibly disappear during building work and would not return afterwards.  None of their plans had taken into consideration the rising sea levels, despite the site being in the front line of any possible future flooding.

The wellbeing of the elderly residents of Stow House was also not considered, with plans for large three storey dormer-type houses planned in front of their mainly bungalow-height residence.  Concerns were also raised about the extra traffic that the development would create, and the fact that it would all be channelled through the small Myrtle Drive cul-de-sac.

Development Manager for Jephson Housing association, Neil Blackbeard, said the development of 32 houses and flats would consist of:

  • 4 x 2 bedroom 4 person (possible 3rd bedroom – 5th person in roof) houses
  • 3 x 2 bedroom 4 person houses
  • 3 x 3 bedroom 5 person (possible 4th bedroom – 6th person in roof) houses
  • 6 x 3 bedroom 5 person houses
  • 3 x 3 bedroom 5 person (possible 4th bedroom – 6th person in roof) houses
  • 1 x 3 bedroom 5 person houses
  • 12 x 2 bedroom 3 person houses

He admitted that assuming maximum occupancy, 185 people could reside in the small 0.754 hectares allotment site.

For anyone with objections to the plans for the development and concerns about losing yet another amenity in Shirehampton, there is an e-petition started on the Bristol Council website.  To sign it, please visit

Paul Wilkes

Gwen Cook 17th November 1928 – 14th January 2007

Gwen was a founder member of the pillow lace club that started off at Twyford House.  When their teacher June died, Gwen took over the role of supporting new members.  Twyford House closed and Gwen, with her links to the public hall, arranged for the group to continue there.

A fond memory of Gwen is seeing her walking to the group carrying her lace pillow in one hand and a bag of refreshments in the other.  Homemade Easter biscuits and mince pies were her treats for us.

Gwen enjoyed a wide range of craft activities but she said that her love was lace making.  She was very generous; a lot of people receive bookmarks, lace cloths and paper weights for that special occasion or as a thank you gift.

Gwen passed on to us beginners her love and skill of lace making.  She had patience, was a friend, encourager and teacher, although she would modestly say, she was no teacher, but liked to help.

If anyone was stuck, she would willingly give advice between Fridays.  We all enjoyed Lace day outings that she organised.

Gwen was committed to her community and interested in everything; she had principles and would speak out.

As we worked at our lace, conversation never flagged with her community anecdotes and knowledge of Shirehampton, Gwen appeared to know everyone.

Doreen, Rose, Freda, Margaret, Claire, Lydia, Pat and Lyn will miss her friendship, knowledge, enthusiasm and presence particularly "Putting the world to right on a Friday night"

In Memory of Eric Verey

We were very sorry to hear of the death of Eric in Southmead Hospital on March 1st.  Eric was a Bristolian from the other side of Bristol, I believe St.  Georges.  He married Vera, who was Shirehampton born and bred, and for many years they lived on the Portway.  Sadly Vera died about a year ago.

Eric was our intrepid photographer for 'Shire' for over 20 years, he not only produced good photos, which we could reproduce in print and always on time, he also provided the paper with very well written prose to go with them.

For several years he also liased with the printer, and more recently assembled his photos in the production of the annual calendar, which we give to all those people associated with the 'Shire' as a 'thank you' for their efforts.

Due to his recent ill health, he has not been able to attend our monthly meetings but we shall miss him and his quiet words of wisdom and all his help.

Our sympathy is with his son Christopher and his family.

Ronald 'Nobby' Holbrook 1921-2007

We write as Dad's children, there are five of us, two still living in Shirehampton and the other three not far away.  We have our own special memories but this is about you remembering him.

Dad moved to St.  Mary's Road as a boy, this remained the family home for Dad and his sisters Doris, Phyllis and Joan, until each of them married.  As a youth he was involved with the local football teams and attended Portway Boys School.  After serving with the Royal Navy he came back to St Mary's Road with his wife Linda and new baby daughter, living with his parents until new housing had been built in Lawrence Weston.

The neighbours of St Mary's Road were often remembered with affection as they took such an interest in Dad and his growing family for years.

Avonmouth Dock, where he joined his father (from whom he inherited the name 'Nobby') was to be a large part of his life, the youngest man on record to be employed.

The work was hard and the way in which work was 'allocated' would be unrecognisable in the workplace today, as men stood in 'the pen' and were 'picked' by the employers who stood on a raised platform, not picked; no work.

However, the dock provided for a growing family of five children for many years.  The unique camaraderie and respect between anyone 'on the dock', remains with them all their life.

Being a 'Shire boy' also provided Dad with a great number of friends and acquaintances.  If you saw him in the High Street there was always a chat and a laugh, he was never one to pull away from debate.  He enjoyed his lunches in 'The George' and kept going with these outings and socialising until the last year or so.

Mancroft Avenue was the family home for over 50 years and it was there that Dad became the first patient for the new GP Dr Archer, who on our mother's authority said that this handsome young doctor caused quite a stir among the housewives!

After losing his wife Linda he spent the last seven years at Stow House making the most of the 'winter of his life.'

All of these places, all of these people, were his life, they brought him contentment and happiness, he never spent time wishing for something else.

So any of you who grew up with Dad or worked with him or laughed with him, shook his hand, said a kind word, it was all part of life as a 'Shire boy' and we know he would want to say "Thank you Shire, it was good wasn't it."

Wonderful April at Shirehampton Methodist

We invite you to our Home Mission Anniversary on Palm Sunday April 1st 200

  • 4.00pm Revd Philip Auden (Chaplain at PBA)
  • 5.00pm Afternoon tea
  • 6.00pm Evening worship- Revd Phillp Auden/Revd David Alderman

Organist: Alywyn Powell

A warm welcome is extended to all Our Easter services are as follows:

Maundy Thursday 3.00pm Communion service

Good Friday 10.30am

A short service followed by the Walk of Witness

Easter Day 6.30pm Revd

David Alderman

Shirehampton Townswomen's Guild Programme 2007-2008

  • Apr 5th The Jessie May Trust  Amy Kington
  • May 3rd Wine and cheese tasting - Waitrose
  • June 7th A volunteer at Bristol zoo - Ceri Addis
  • July 5th Strawberry tea
  • Aug No meeting
  • Sept 6th The Isles of Scilly -Alan Clarke
  • Oct 4th Beastly Bristol -J Lea Jones
  • Nov 1st St Peter's Hospice
  • Dec 6th Gadgets of yesteryear Cyril Routley


  • Jan 3rd Birthday party
  • Feb 5th Television Tales -Tim Hooper
  • Mar 6th AGM - Margaret Adams and friends

Shire Stitchers

If you enjoy sewing, quilting and patchwork, and want to take part in a local group, maybe you would like to join Shire Stitchers.  We meet at the Public Hall on the third Wednesday of each month at 7.15pm.  It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or an expert.  Some of our members are experienced and others are just starting out.  Some months, we have a speaker, other meetings are led by a member who has ideas to share, and other times we have a sociable evening to get on with our own projects.  You may have seen some of our efforts exhibited at the annual Craft Exhibition in the autumn.

New members are always welcome, and you can come as a guest to try us out before committing yourself!

If you want to find out more, give Janet a ring on 0117 982 2941.

Pillow Lace Group Friday Nights 7pm – 9pm The Public Hall

Have you seen Lace exhibited at the craft exhibition? Or Doreen demonstrating the art? Or ever wondered how lace is made or thought it too intricate but would be interested in having a go? Come along on a Friday nights and be introduced to it.  It takes your mind off things, so it's relaxing and the equipment you need is loaned from the club until you decide it's not for you.  This is a self-help group, we learn from each other, have fun and welcome new members.

Just come along or phone Rosemary on 982 7015 or Lyn on 982 5017 for further information.

Spring has Sprung at Lawrence Weston Farm

To celebrate St David's Day on 1 March, the Farm was delighted to welcome into the world two little black Herdwick lambs, very cute, and one is all black with white ears. With the Easter school holidays upon us, why not take the kids along to the farm to meet the newcomers and enjoy the general ambience of nature in springtime?

Music Event Helps Dementia Care Trust

The Cotswold Community Association 'Spring Song' event on Saturday 28th April is to donate its profits to the Dementia Care Trust.

This charity, which has a local day centre in Lawrence Weston, fulfils an urgent need, giving support to families coping with the problems of Dementia.  It does this through counselling, day care services, a carers support luncheon club, and through providing home support workers who can giver a carer a needed break.

Recently the charity has experienced financial problems, necessitating a merger with another local charity-Brunelcare.  The merger will enable DCT''s special Dementia care to continue in the wider context of the long established larger charity.  However, the need for the continued financial support is as strong as ever.

Coming to the concert at the CCA, Dursley Road, on 28th April is one way to help DCT, as also to enjoy a splendid programme of music, performed by music duo Auriol Britton and Philip Blandford.

The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at £3, which can be obtained by phoning (0117) 9047319.

DCT can be contacted at their office, Kinglsey house, Greenbank Road, Bristol BS5 6HE.  Tel: (0117) 9525325.

Nursery Entry - Shirehampton Primary School

Children who were born between September 2003 and August 2004 can now be registered for a September 2007 place at Shirehampton Primary School's nursery.  Sessions will be mornings or afternoons and classes are taught by fully qualified teachers.

For further information or to register your child, please call (0117) 9031447 or call into the office at the school on St.  Mary's Walk.

Penpole Luncheon Club – Vacancies

This club has become a very popular venue for our elderly residents from Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Sea Mills.  People usually have a long wait before spaces become available, but there are now four vacancies so if anyone is interested, please contact Mrs S White on 938 1236 who will be delighted to give you full details.  It is a nice opportunity to meet people and get out of your homes for a little while, and have a change of scenery.  You have a drink on arrival, a two-course meal and a game of bingo….  a pleasant way to fill a few hours

Letters to the Editor

Looking for Moses

Dear Editor

My name is Helen and I live in Victoria, Australia.  I came across an article someone had written about their visit here, it was very good.  It was called "My boomerang did come back".  I was "googling" Shirehampton, trying to find info on my G,G,G,G, grandfather Moses Kilminster.  He was born in your town in 1774 and married Mary (?).  He died in Bristol, 1840.  There was an article in your paper that states that Moses owned "The George Inn" in the early 1800s.  I am trying to find anything on him and his wife.  Also his son George, b1835, who married Elizabeth Hillier in 1844.  I'm sure I will be a distant cousin to some of you!!!

I will keep checking your paper for some answers (hopefully).

Thank you for your time,

Regards, Helen Semmens


Dear Editor

We look forward to receiving our regular 'Shire' and enjoy reading it.

Wondering if you can make use of the following limericks, as requested in the February issue.

With all good wishes

Mrs M Coombs

There was a young boy from Shire

To be Prime Minister he did aspire,

To London he went,

Stormed Parliament

And forced Tony Blair to retire.

There was a young girl from Shire

To join the circus was her only desire,

But she felt like a clown

Every time she fell down,

Trying somersaults on the high wire.

There was a young man from Shire

Whose car kept bursting a tyre,

He said if this doesn't stop

On the bus I will hop

And chuck me Rolls Royce on the fire.

Does anyone know?

Dear Editor

Several former Shirehampton residents now living abroad would like to know when the street Meadow Grove was built.  Any reader of Shire knowing the date, please let the editor know.

John Rogers

St Louis, USA

Jubilee Allotments Development

The March edition of the Shire contained an article on the proposed development of the Jubilee allotments.

In 1995, the Shirehampton Community Group was unsuccessful in their objection to the development of the Jubilee allotments within the Bristol Local Plan.  The Inspector's Report of March 1997 into the Local Plan states approximately ten houses were allocated for Jubilee allotments.  Present day objectors might therefore question why there are plans for twenty houses and twelve flats, when this significantly exceeds the number of dwellings in the City Council's evidence to the Local Plan Inspector.  The article states that other allotments, yet the City Council have closed part of the Statutory allotment next to the Portway, for a planned extension of the Park and Ride.

The article refers to the new Local Plan.  This was proposed in 2003, but overtaken by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act in 2004, so it never came to fruition.  However the City Council are considering proposals in the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West, to build 28,000 homes within Bristol from 2006 to 2026, so more land will be under pressure to be developed.  Despite premiums paid by developers, the City Council's advisors- Roger Tym & Partners- forecast that the associated infrastructure across the South West will be under funded by at least £1 Billion; Bristol ratepayers will meet part of that money.

Yours faithfully

J.  Knight

Springfield Park

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to request the use of Springfield Park on Springfield Avenue solely for Shirehampton School.

Firstly, I believe that this park is misused by many people in the local community.  It is often found in an appalling state.  The park fence is damaged and the grass is overgrown.  Moreover, cans, glass and dogs' mess can always be found.

Despite the fact that there are signs prohibiting dogs, everyone knows that many dog owners let their dogs run free and fail to clean up their mess.  Not only can dog's mess potentially lead to blindness, there is also the risk of children being attacked by uncontrollable dogs.  All of these problems provide a huge concern for me as a P.E teacher taking training sessions and matches on a weekly basis.

Secondly I believe that the pupils of Shirehampton Primary School deserve better.  We only have one concrete playground for the whole school.  We frequently visit other schools in the local area with big, well-kept playing fields.  All we are asking is for a small piece of land which the school would look after and make great use of.

Football, tag rugby and athletics events could all take place here and more people would benefit as a result.  As it stands, the park is not well used because parents are reluctant to let their children play there because of the dangers described above.

Don't you think it's about time this changed? I understand that some members of the community might argue that this is a public park for everyone's use/ In response to this, I would argue that there are many other green areas for walking and playing which are far more suitable.  Furthermore we are only asking for ownership of the field (small football pitch size), not the children's play area at one end of the park.

I believe that most people would be pleased that the park was used by up to 400 children in a really productive way.  As you can see, I feel really strongly that the Shirehampton School deserves Springfield Park.  Please consider my request seriously, the sporting future of our children is at stake.

Many thanks for your co-operation.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Knight.

St Andrew's Ladies Club

Meet at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.  All welcome.

Programme March to September

  • March 6th Mary Carpenter - Carla Contractor
  • March 20th Bristol Fashion - Cedric Platt
  • April 2nd Bring & Buy auction
  • April 17th Aust Ferry - Tim Ryan
  • May 1st Surprise Talk - Susan Marshfield
  • May 15th This is my life - Peggy Scott
  • June 5th Summer Outing
  • June 19th Hanging Baskets - Edith
  • July 3rd Bingo charity Night
  • July 17th AGM & Bring and Share Supper
  • August Closed
  • Sept 4th Quiz

Local Seaman Retires

The Merchant Navy Association (Bristol & District Branch) has been pleased to take into its safe keeping 12 medals presented to them by Christophe Inker, a Shirehampton seaman who was a member of the Association and retired on 29th January.  Chris left school at the age of 15 to work for a short time on PBA dredgers, but in 1963 signed on to the Elders and Fyffe's ship 'Matina' in Avonmouth.  He served in the deck department on various ships for the next 23 years, including the Shell tanker Hanetia' running between Singapore and Vietnam – his first experience of being in a war zone.

In 1986 Chris joined the Royal Fleet auxiliary as a quartermaster, his first ship being the 'Fort Grange', a fleet support vessel for British Forces.  Other ships on which he served included 'Resource', 'Olmeda', 'Regent', 'Tidespring', 'Grey Rover' and 'Fort Austin'.  He had the honour of being the last quartermaster signed on in that capacity in the RFA, when they tried to re-designate his status, he insisted on keeping the original job description because he was proud to be a Quartermaster.

Chris has had an interesting life, travelling around the world many times and despite the dangers was pleased to have the opportunity of serving in a war situation.  Along with the twelve medals mentioned above, the Railway and Maritime Trade Union presented Chris with a long service medal in 2003 to mark his 40 years in the merchant service.  During that time, Chris spent many hours on the bridge at the helm, concentrating on holding his vessel on a parallel course with the naval vessels being replenished.

The medals awarded to Chris are as follows:

  • Iran/Iraq War – after joining the RFA, helping refuel the Royal Navy.
  • First Gulf War – (Iraq/Turkey Operation Safe Haven), following the war serving on support ships running between Iraq and the Turkish border.
  • Arab Emirates – a thank-you for serving with the support network during the Gulf War.
  • Kuwaiti Medal – a thank-you from Kuwait for efforts in the Gulf War.
  • UN Medal and Bosnia War – Chris was in Bosnia for six months at a time on 'Resource'.
  • UN NATO Medal – for service on NATO operations in the former Yugoslavia, taking over from UN.
  • Afghan War – following 9/22, involved in carrying troops.
  • Second Gulf War – serving on support ships.
  • Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal – for service during the Golden Jubilee year.
  • Voluntary Service Medal – helping out during the Vietnam War when working for Shell.
  • Maritime Service Medal – for service in the RFA.
  • General Service Medal – for service outside of the RFA.

These medals and other memorabilia and artefacts (steering wheel, ship's bells, shields, etc) will be kept at the Dock cottage Museum and can be admired by the general public on Doors Open Day, which this year will be Saturday 8th September.

The editorial committee of 'Shire' would like to wish Chris a long, healthy and happy retirement.

Avon Primary children remember the Slave Trade


Class 3 at Avon Primary School have been taking part in some exciting activities as part of Abolition 200.  The children looked at how Bristol was involved in the slave trade and at how racism can still affect children today.  The highlight of the project was an art workshop with Bristol artist Gloria Ojulari Sule.  The children love 'slopping on glue and tissue paper' and had a wonderfully creative experience.

Thinking Day Celebrations

This month the local girl guides celebrated Thinking Day at St.  Mary's Church.  Thinking Day is an annual event that falls on the anniversary of the joint birthdays of our founders, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell.  It is a time when all Guides take time of think about other members of the association in other countries across the world and celebrate membership in one of the largest global organisations.  This year, all Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and senior section groups in the district got together and each put on a 5 minute presentation representing guiding in another country.  A lot of effort and planning went into this to make props, displays and costumes such as the 5th brownies who all wore leopard skins to represent Africa.  We also had the 103rd Brownies showing us a Maori stick dance from New Zealand and everyone tried to join in singing 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' in French with the 120th Rainbows.  The 178th Guides chose Switzerland following their trip there last summer.

In addition, we had a further surprise celebration.  Pat Davidson of Shirehampton has been involved in local guiding for several decades, including running the 178th Guides and unfortunately has to retire in March.  We had been planning a farewell celebration since October unknown to Pat, though it was hard keeping it a secret especially when she got suspicious! The young leaders put on a sketch about their experiences of camping over the years with Pat.  They also presented Pat with presents and a card that all units had created and signed to show appreciation of everything she has done for local guiding.  To add to this, the County Commissioner also attended to present Pat with a very special award from the county to show recognition.

Everyone enjoyed themselves and we ended the day with food and cake.

Girl Guiding in the district is fun and enjoyed by all members.  We have a varied programme and take part in many activities such as crafts, camping, games and outdoor pursuits.  There are opportunities to be involved for all girls aged 5-25.  We also rely on the work and dedication from our leaders to keep guiding going and would welcome help if you can spare a couple of hours a week.  For more information about becoming involved please contact Helena Green, 07966187443 or


I have just replaced a street dustbin on the lamp-post from which it was torn and thrown into the Churchyard last night.

Five or six men of the church have spent the last three or four Saturday mornings putting new window panes back in the Old Schools in Station Road.  This job never ends: as fast as the windows are put back they are broken again.  Now the men are fixing wire frames over the windows to give some protection against vandalism.

This is just my own experience in this parish of Shirehampton.  Speak to other people and you find that they all have some story of hooliganism to tell, not of something which happened months ago, but quite recently.

All over the country it is the same story: the newspapers are full of the damage caused to phone boxes and public conveniences.

We know what a part of the trouble is.  There is not a sufficiently large police force to patrol our streets adequately, and much of the policeman's work is concerned with traffic offences.

For nine years I lived on a housing estate in the Bristol area which was originally supposed to have a bad reputation, but never in the whole of that time did I encounter the kind of vandalism that seems to be apparent in Shirehampton and for which there appears to be no cure.

I am not concerned with merely shouting slogans like "Bring back the birch" etc.  This is a lot of nonsense.  It's no use talking about punishment until you catch the criminal.

Ninety per cent of the hooliganism in this parish would stop if the idiots concerned knew pretty surely that they would get caught.

There is a remedy.  It is in YOUR hands.  You, who pay for much of the damage indirectly, through your rates and taxes.  Keep your eyes open.  Don't pass by on the other side: report any hooliganism you see to the police, immediately!

The ordinary citizen can quite easily do a job here that the local police force would, I'm sure, be thankful to see done.  If they are understaffed, that is not their fault.  They are entitled to all the help and co-operation that a reasonable citizen should be expected to give in the circumstances.

"Couldn't care less" citizenship first tolerates and allows this kind of hooliganism and eventually encourages it.  Let just one or two vandals be caught in our own area and the picture would change rapidly.  Word would get around: "watch out … people are keeping their eyes open".  And there is a good chance that the situation would change.  For perhaps it is true that the vandal has a respect most of all for the "eleventh" commandment – "Thou shalt not be found out"!

John Smith

This article was printed in the 'Shire – Contact' Parish News in March 1966.  The writer was John Smith M.A.  the vicar of St Mary.  It would appear that little has changed in the last 40 years.

Anthony Mitchell

Fundraising Dinner 17 November 2007

At last the meeting of Shirehampton Community Action Forum, it was agreed to repeat last years successful dinner to raise funds for the organisation.  As very amateur organisers we were pleased how well it went, and how much people enjoyed it.  We have chosen a later date, which as far as we can tell doesn't clash with anything else going on in Shirehampton.  The menu isn't decided yet, and we are seeking entertainment, trying to find something different, which also doesn't charge.  Three Mens Company, who were excellent entertained us last year, but we felt it inappropriate to use them again.  Although, if this becomes an annual feature we could have them another year.  Any suggestions gratefully received.  It will again be at Kingsweston house, with thanks to John Hardy.  There will be a raffle so any donations of raffle prizes will also be gratefully received.  Please put the 17th November in your diaries now.  We will come back to you with further details when tickets are available etc.

Pat Roberts, Vice Chair, Shirehampton Community Action Forum.

Ship to Shore TS Enterprise

During the months of December and January, progress has been steady at the unit.  On December 18, a presentation evening was held with guests Captain Hamish Grant, Cliff Hodge, representative Ganges Association, and Mr Sidwell from the North Somerset Freemasons.  Donations were received from the Ganges Association, the North Somerset Freemasons and Gloucester RNA which will be used to provide essential unit facilities.  Father Christmas made a welcome appearance, and each cadet had a small gift.  Also in December, a representative from the world Rowing Championships came to the unit to consult with the cadets reference their attendance at the Dorney Lake event leading to the Olympics.  The cadets were invited to involve themselves on one day with the international stars.  Their opinion was considered valuable for the future application for international funding for these events.

A District Weekend was held at the Weston unit with seven of our cadets in attendance.  Qualifications gained ranged from First Aid, engineering to Seamanship.

The January programme was varied and interesting.  Qualification training has commenced in Cook/Steward, Seamanship and General Advancement.  At present the unit has seven cadets working towards their Leading Hand Promotion.  The unit was entered into the District Drill and Piping Competition.

On Saturday January 20, the unit, on behalf of Mr Stevens of Bristol Rowing Club, played host t competitors for the Heads of the River Rowing Race.  The rowers came from various parts of the country and it was a spectacular sight to see the boats launched from the Lamplighters' slipway.

During the month of February, two cadets will go to the Weymouth Boat Station for a week's course RYA Power Boat Qualification using a variety of boats including high speed ribs.

On Thursday February 15, a group of cadets were invited to tour HMS Ledbury as guests of the Royal Navy when she was docked in Bristol.

It is hoped before Easter that seven cadets will complete their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

The unit wishes to thank Awards for All for the sponsorship towards the heating.  First Bus in conjunction with Business in the Community have painted the hall and stairs in the Tower, and painted the floor on the main desk.  The paint was supplied by B & Q.  Park Furnishers have agreed to supply secure floor covering in the Tower.

The winter period has been very busy with all the opportunities for the youth of the village to progress with confidence and capability.

Parade nights are Monday and Thursday: Seniors - Monday and Thursday 6.45-8.45pm; Juniors – Thursday 6.45-8.45pm

Interested? Come and see what we do.  Summer nights are boating sessions in the City Docks.  See you there.

Ship to Shore – T.S.  Enterprise

Between February 22nd and 24th the Sea cadet unit suffered a break-in.  The wire behind the boat shed was cut, copper piping feeding the central heating was ripped out, 500 gallons of heating oil was siphoned off and our electric supply was damaged.

This was a bitter blow as the heating was only recently installed and commissioned.  The unit is 'cooler' than of late, but we are still open on Mondays and Thursdays.  Please dress warmly and give us a visit.

R Watkins (Admin Officer)

Computers - How much do you know?

Commencing on the 3rd April a taster session followed by 7 weeks will commence at Bank Leaze School, Corbett Close, Lawrence Weston.  The sessions will take place on Tuesdays 9.30-11am from 24th April through to 12th June, following the taster on 3rd April.  Contact Suzanne on 9030072, or Donna 9235353 to book a place.  Support and crèche available.

The End of an Era

This photograph shows Mabel Creber's last concert – The Bu 1949/50 at Shirehampton Methodist Ha some of the people involved.  Reading left to right:

Mike Antill, Tryna Cook, Pam Pointing, Margaret and Michael Smith, David West, Leon White, David McNab, Pete King, Mavis Champness and Bryle Randall.

Shirehampton Model Railway Club

We would like to let every one know that your local railway modelling club is still in existence and now in its fourteenth year.

The club meetings are on a Wednesday evening from 7.30pm until 10pm at the public hall, we ourselves have our own club room.

We like to think of ourselves as a small easy group of like minded people who get together to enjoy our hobby.

We have an exhibition 00 gauge layout it is based on Coaley Junction the prototype is a station on the Bristol to Birimingham main line, if you would like more information and some pictures of the layout and the prototype please visit our website as there is also a small freelance N gauge layout under construction.

This year we are hoping to start another exhibition layout in 00 gauge though this is still in the planning stages at the moment.

The club has a two road 00 gauge test track and a single road N gauge test track.  This month we will be upgrading our test tracks to accept the new finer scale models from the ready made market.

In October 2005 the club held its first exhibition at the Shire Hall.  This was a great success,we held another in October 2006.  This also turned out to be even better than the first so we have decided to hold another this year.  This years exhibition date has been brought forward and will be held on Saturday September the 22nd.

Each year we have commissioned from West Wales Wagon Works a limited edition private owner wagon in 00 gauge with the name of a local Bristol trader in (2005 a 7 plank in the livery of W.  Vincent Bristol harbour) and in (2006 a 7 plank in the livery of Whitwell Cole @ co of Bristol) The club has sold out of both wagons so if you wish to obtain one of these (less than 200 made) they can be purchased from West Wales Wagon Works.  See their website (

There will be one produced for this years show, we will let you know the name of the local trader next month.

New members are always welcome whatever your scale or region so come along and see what we get up to, or have a look at our website  Or contact the secretary, Tony Davis on 0117 9827875.  You can also email Tony at

Tythe Barn Club Given Notice to Quit

The Tythe Barn Senior Citizens Club in the High Street has been given notice to quit the Tythe Barn, in the High St, by the landlord, Bristol Charities.  We understand that they must leave by 31st August this year.  They are the only occupant.  This is yet another community facility being lost to local people.

The former Bristol Association of Senior Social Clubs (BASSC) operated a number of clubs around the city, but owned the freehold of only one building, the Tythe Barn.  In June 2002, the members of BASSC agreed to wind the association up and transfer assets to Bristol Charities.  The value of the gift was £175,000.

The Tythe Barn has been relatively underutilised in recent years.  The Senior Citizens Club are currently the only occupants, and meet on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.  However, when Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) recently enquired about holding youth activities in the building at other times, Bristol Charities did not enter into meaningful discussions with them.

The Tythe Barn is a grade II listed building .It was built in the 15th century by the Benedictine monks from Cormeilles, as part of the Priory.  One part of it is now a private house and the remainder is the meeting room used by the club.  After the second world war, the Army Cadet Force (who are currently looking for premises in Shirehampton) used it for a time.

Do any of our readers know how the former BASSC acquired the Tythe Barn in the first place? Did they purchase it, or receive it as a gift? If it was a gift or a bequest, were there any stipulations on what the building could be used for?

There is a serious danger that the historic Tythe Barn will no longer be available for local people.  Why cannot Bristol Charities seek to develop additional uses for the building, to generate more revenue for its maintenance and provide space for other local activities at the times that the Senior Citizens Club is not using it?

New Portway Park and Ride Contract for Bristol 'early bird' Workers

Commuters in Bristol are to benefit from an improved park and ride service at Portway Park and Ride thanks to the award of a new five year contract for the provision of bus services to serve the scheme.

Flights Hallmark have been awarded a contract to provide bus services for the city's Portway Park and Ride by Bristol city Council – and have been awarded a similar deal to deliver services for the city's Long Aston site by operators Park and Ride Limited, who run the site under an agreement with the city council.

Under the deal, Flights Hallmark will provide a new bus fleet and introduce services from 6.15am – something Bristol's employers have been asking for and which will particularly meet the need of the city's extensive health service sector.

Flights Hallmark, part of the Rotala Group, won the contract for Portway against three other competitors.  The contract – worth in the region of £600,000 a year, was awarded against a range of criteria, including price and quality.  The company operates bus contracts in Birmingham, Surrey and Staffordshire and provides airport bus services at Gatwick and Heathrow.

The Portway site, off the A4 near Avonmouth, serves commuters coming to the city from Gloucestershire, the Midlands and Wales and is the city's newest scheme.  Use of the site continues to grow and last year topped 235,000 passenger journeys.

Councillor Dennis Brown, Bristol's Executive Members for Transport, said: "This new contract will deliver some significant improvements to the services we provide directly and indirectly through these two Park and Ride sites.  In particular, we believe that the services from 6.15am will encourage more commuters to leave their car on the edge of the city and complete their journey by bus, reducing congestion and pollution – and their own stress too."

Under the new contract, the inbound morning Park and Ride services will run every 15 minutes from 6.15am to 7.00am, then every 10 minutes during the peak period, from 7.00am to 9.30am as currently.

Smile…Clippings from Church Newspapers

The church is starting a New Young Mother's Group.  Anyone desiring to be a new young mother is to meet with the priest in his office!

The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.

Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions.  She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Father John's sermons.

Get a Free Smoke Alarm

People living in the Shirehampton area are being offered the chance to have smoke alarms fitted in their homes by Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) completely free of charge.

Over the last 12 months, local firefighters have been out and about visiting homes in the region to provide safety advice and install the lifesaving devices free of charge to anyone in the community.  They are now inviting more residents in Shirehampton to sign up to a Home fire Safety Visit (HFSV) which can be arranged by phone, via the Internet or through an SMS text message.

A spokesperson for Avon Fire & Rescue Service told The Shire "Fires can be devastating, not just to life, but also to property and possessions.  They can spread so quickly if they are left unnoticed.  However, a smoke alarm can give you and your family an early warning sign that you could be in trouble.

"Our firefighters, or members of the Community Safety Team, carry out the visits at a time convenient to the caller and in their own home.  During the visit they will run through all aspects of fire safety and will also fit free smoke alarms with a 10-year battery life.  The use and maintenance of the alarms will also be explained."

AF&RS's Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Kevin Pearson, launched the scheme.  He said: "Many people are at risk from fire in the home, from families with young children to older people living alone.  A fire can break out for many reasons, because people leave cooking unattended or fall asleep while smoking, because of an electrical fault in an item of household equipment, or because candles haven't been used safely.

"Unfortunately, we attend house fires every year where a smoke alarm could have provided the occupiers with an early warning that they were in danger.  Even more upsetting is that in some cases a smoke alarm could have saved lives.  Our free Home Fire Safety Visits provide people with easy tips on how to stay safe from fire in the home and what to do if a fire does break out."

The safety advice includes basic tips such as:

  • Don't overload plug sockets
  • Make sure candles are placed in the correct holders, away from furnishings
  • Do not leave cooking unattended
  • Check the batteries in your smoke alarm and vacuum them to ensure dust is not blocking the sensor
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows the escape route from your house, as well as where keys for windows and doors are kept.

Home Fire Safety Visits can be booked in one of three ways:

  • By calling freephone 0800 1693 999
  • By visiting Avon Fire & Rescue Service's website at
  • Or by texting 07781 482 627 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Bus Service 517/8

An article appeared in the March issue of the 'Shire' regarding the number of buses serving the Cotswold estate compared to the Shirehampton Green.  Brian Blandford wrote to South Gloucestershire Bus Company on behalf of CCA and has not received a reply from them but the City Council Senior Public Transport Planner, Dave Pullen, has responded as follows: '…Services 517/8 were amended in April 2006, at which time it proved possible to increase the frequency on the core section of the route between Parkway Station and Shirehampton Green while still maintaining the former hourly frequencies to both Dursley Road and Avonmouth.  …any further enhancement to the service would involve the deployment of additional resources (vehicles/drivers), which could only be achieved at additional cost to the council.

Regrettably the Council's available budget for providing supported services is currently fully committed.  As a consequence, it would not be possible to further enhance service 518 at this time without reducing service levels in other parts of the city.  Your request for a more frequent service has been noted however, and will be considered when the service is next reviewed…'

Police Put Bike Club Back on the Right Track

Young people in Avonmouth are riding high again after police donated some new bikes to replace ones lost in a fire.

In September 2006 the storage facilities for the Lawrence Weston BMX Club were set on fire, causing around £10,000 of damage.  The club lost all their bikes and helmets in the fire and also saw the hard work done by the volunteers and young people over the last six years disappear.

Police in Avonmouth have worked with the club on many occasions, supporting their efforts to combat anti-social behaviour in the area and engage young people in positive use of their spare time, for example, sport, music and art.

Following the fire, police from Avonmouth donated 15 new bikes and helmets to help get the club back on its feet.  The club has now taken possession of the new bikes and has thanked the police for giving their support.

Nick Pepper, Lawrence Weston BMX Club, said, "Due to the support from the local businesses and residents and the donation of bikes from the police, it means that the club can continue working with local youngsters and will be up and running as usual in March.  This positive partnership between young people and the police can only help to combat anti-social behaviour from young people."

Inspector Mark Jackson, Avonmouth Police Station, said the club was an excellent resource for the community.  "The BMX Club has done a fantastic job over the years in engaging youngsters, not just in the sport of BMX, but also in music and art.  The work they have done in combating anti-social behaviour has been very helpful to the police here.

"As well as the enforcement side of tackling anti-social behaviour, we need to support initiatives and schemes like the Lawrence Weston BMX Club to ensure a long-term answer to the anti-social behaviour problem.  Hopefully, with their new bikes and the other donations and help they have received, the club can rebuild and continue with the success they have had so far."

Open Access to More Countryside

With the better weather (hopefully) and longer hours of daylight, now is the time to get those walking boots on and enjoy the countryside with all its sights, sounds and smells! The new Right of Access was completed in October 2005 giving rights to walk freely across mapped 'access land' without sticking to paths.  The public has 'open access' to around 7% of the countryside in England and includes most activities carried out on foot – walking, sightseeing, bird-watching, climbing and running.  There are some common sense restrictions which limit where people can walk or take dogs.

The land on which the new right of access applies has been mapped under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) and includes mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land.  Some landowners may dedicate areas for permanent open access and the Forestry Commission, for instance, plans to dedicate 700 square miles.  There will be certain places even within these dedicated areas that are excluded.  To find out more about the new right of access, maps, 'excepted land', 'closures and restrictions' and information for dog owners, visit  We are so lucky to have some marvellous and diverse countryside in the UK and now an even greater opportunity to enjoy it.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary Latest News Bulletin

Police have issued photographs of three motorcycles they have seized following the execution of a search warrant in Lawrence Weston.

The search took place at an address in Corbett Close on Tuesday February 13.  The motorcycles seized, which are believed to have been stolen - were all off-road machiones.

The vheicles are: a red and white Honda CR250 R1 Motorcross Motorcycle, manufactured in 2001; an orange KTM 125cc Motocross Motorcycle, manufactured in 2002; and an orange child's KTM 50cc motorcycle.

Police are keen trace the owners of the motorcycles or anyone who may know the owners.

They have asked anyoner with information to contact the economic crime team at police headquarters on 0845 4567000.  Anyone who can help should contact us through our secure Crimestoppers contact form at:

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

You do not have to give your name and you could receive a reward.

Pets Shine at the Cotswold

THE FIRST ever Cotswold Pet Show at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road, was an outstanding success with 17 dogs, one cat, and one horse bringing their owners along to share in the fun.

The judges, Vet Pippa Wallace and show organiser Bobbie Perkins, had a hard job deciding on winners when every pet shone as the perfect companion.  But using as criteria not just how the pets looked, but also what the owners showed in their knowledge and care of the animals the eventual winners were:

Under 14 owners:

Adelaide Fisher with Rocky, a cocker spaniel

Charlotte Hancock with Kinder, a standard poodle (reserve)

15 and over:

Peter Phillips with Cocoa, a flat coat retriever

David Hall with Prince, a black and white cat

An equine entrant at the Cotswold Pet Show

Winner Adelaide Fisher with Rocky

Local boy offered Scholarship to Millfield School

Luke Krupa, who lives in Shirehampton and is a pupil at Portway School, has been offered a Golf Scholarship at the prestigious Millfield School in Somerset.  Luke, who has played golf for many years, is a member of Shirehampton Park Golf Club and currently has a handicap of 2.9.  He has won various competitions at the club.  Last year he became the joint holder of the course record, and has several times won the Shire Open.  He has also won the Doug Evans trophy for recording the six lowest combined scores of the year.  Playing at such a high standard has won Luke third place in the England Schools National Under 16s team.  He also played in the County Under 16s competition and this year has been selected for the County Under 18s team.

His family are extremely proud of Luke and his achievements, and are delighted that his talents have been recognised by such a famous school as Millfield.  The opportunities for developing his talent at Millfield are outstanding, and if he can take up the scholarship, his golfing career is likely to be transformed.  Unfortunately, the scholarship, which is the largest the school can offer, will not cover all the costs, and the family are hoping that some of those who appreciate Luke's great gifts will feel able to help him with sponsorship.

Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR)

You will recall the article in the March edition (page 8) regarding the improvements to Shirehampton's rail link thanks to the efforts of FOSBR.  If you share a desire to relieve road congestion by keeping local railways running and would like to become an active member of FOSBR please ring 0117 942 8637, or e-mail: or Terry.miller@ukonline,  Meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month in the Railway Staff Club, Station Approach, Temple Meads, commencing at 17.30 and ending at 19.20 to fit in with the Severn Beach train times.  On Saturday 14th April, representatives of political parties standing in the May local election will be outlining their transport policies and answering questions.  An Advance Notice – on Monday 28 May (Bank Holiday) members will meet at Severn Beach Station at 14.00 for a short walk and history talk with the Severnside Ramblers, stopping for a cup of tea at the Severn Bridge Visitors' Centre and a stroll back to the station (about 2 ½ miles in total).  Suitable for less able walkers and plenty of seating on the way.  The 13.00 train from Temple Meads will get you there.

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Here we are into April already- just where does time go? By the time you read these notes Easter will upon us.  Unfortunately I have to begin with some rather sombre news as both February and March have seen an abundance of funerals in the parish.  Some of the funerals have been at St.  Mary's whilst others have been at Canford Crematorium.  Pastoral visits before and after the funerals and also to the sick at home and in hospital have taken up a vast amount of their time-so if you couldn't reach any of them very easily, this was the reason why.

The first person I have to mention is Doris Woodruff- a regular member of our congregation and also one of our volunteer Coffee Ladies.  Sadly Doris died after bravely fighting against an illness which has haunted her for some considerable time.  She never ever complained and was always cheerful and ready to listen to other peoples' troubles despite her own sickness.  I know all the young children will miss her when we have our various Fayres, as Doris was the lady who did the face painting for them-usually of animals.  She will be missed sadly by all of us particularly Arnie, her husband, and members of her family.  Arnie's loss is also our loss and our thoughts and prayers are with him.

Another member of our congregation to pass away was Gill Bridge, who at one time was the manager for our former Church Centre Building.  Gill had been ill for some time and for the last few years had been a resident in Westbury-On-Trym Nursing Home in Falcondale Road.

Many of your know 'Annie' who is 'Tubs the Butcher's' sister and her husband Ivor Bees.  Sadly Ivor died after battling against a long illness.  Although Annie and Ivor live in St.  Anne's mention had to be made of him because both of them are so well known to the residents of Shirehampton.  Even in the latter stage of his illness Ivor could often be found seated on a chair near to the Cold Meat Counter keeping an eye on things and having a laugh and joke with customers as they came into the shop.  His smiling face will be sadly missed-but it is pleasing to report that Annie is back in the shop serving again at weekends-And Annie, our thoughts and prayers are with you in your sad loss.

Another person who will be well known to you is Eric Verey whose photographs have appeared for many years in 'Shire'.  Sadly Eric died in hospital after a bout of pneumonia.  He only recently became an invited member of our Food & Fellowship Lunch Club on a Wednesday and it was my privilege to chat to him and reminisce about days long since past.  Eric latterly worshipped at Bristol Cathedral, but I remember him as a server and Crucifer when I joined the choir in 1949-a position he held for 25 years at St.  Mary's.  Eric was a quiet man and I for one shall very much miss his company.

The last person I have to mention whose funeral took place at St.  Mary's, is that of Peter Stojsavljevic who lived in Nibley Road.

Peter was not a member of our congregation but his wife Eileen can often be seen in our congregation.  Peter I believe was a Serbian by birth and a member of the Greek Orthodox faith.  A familiar figure around the parish who will be sadly missed.  His funeral took place in St.  Mary's led by a Greek Orthodox priest-the ceremony being quite different from that which we have in the Anglican Church.  To Eileen we offer our deepest sympathy and prayers at this sad time and it is hoped that the members of St, Mary's can offer her solace and comfort in her loss.

Now it is time to move on and reflect on what has gone on at St.  Mary's since I last wrote to you all.

On Monday 19th February, we were pleased to host a number of people from the Local History Group who were given a guided tour of St.  Mary's by our Lay minister- Gill Sawyer, which I am given to understand was very much enjoyed by them all.

The very next day was Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)-with Pancakes being served in the Church and Pancake Races held on the churchyard path.  The west end of the church was absolutely packed with people, including many toddlers and their parents.  We lost count of how many Pancakes we served, but for those who were working and could not participate, some Pancakes were delivered to both the staff of the Health Centre and the Co-op who were very appreciative.  Donations that morning totalled £78 which all goes to assist church funds- so thanks for those who came and supported the event.

The following day was Ash Wednesday and after an Evening Communion Service we enjoyed a meal together and afterwards a retiring collection raised the sum of £280 which is to be given to a Children's Hospice in South Africa where children are suffering or have been infected since birth with AIDS.

During the afternoon of Saturday 24th February, the Guides, Brownies and Rainbows held the 'Thinking Day Service.' It was also the day when Pat Davidson retired as a Guider and was followed by Tea afterwards at the west end of the church.  I can't see Pat sitting back and doing nothing as she is too active- I am sure she will come back to work with youngsters in one way or another!

Thanks must go to Father Ryan and the members of St.  Bernards Roman Catholic Church for hosting the Womens World Day Prayer Service this year.  It was very much appreciated.

On Sunday 15th April, we shall be holding a short service of Evening prayer at 6pm followed afterwards at 6.30pm by our Annual Parochial Church Meeting when the Accounts, the work of the church over the past year, plans for future and the election of a new Parochial Church Council will take place.  If you are on our Electoral Roll then you have the right to elect those church members you want to run St.  Mary's for the next 12 months.

Our Parish Weekend at Glastonbury is now fully booked up-and as previously mentioned in last months edition of 'Shire' is to be led by Bishop Lee of Swindon.  If you missed it this year then consider 2008 when our Parish Weekend will be held at Lee Abbey which is set in beautiful countryside and overlooking the coast and located between Porlock and Lynton.

On Monday 7th May (May Day Bank Holiday) we are again holding an 'Open Church Day' when St.  Mary's will be open from 12 noon until 5pm and serving lunches and Teas at very moderate prices.  If you are at a loose end on that day, come along and enjoy some good company and an excellent meal.  All proceeds again will go to supporting church funds.

Many of you over the past month will have noticed a different face wearing a 'dog collar' around the parish and in St.  Mary's-well it is the face of the Rev.  Sheila Fisher who is a curate at a church at Cam near Dursley in Gloucestershire.  Sheila has been with us as part of her post ordination training to see how we do things at St.  Mary's-so we do hope she has benefited from her time with us and enjoyed the experience.  By the time you read this she may have returned to her own parish, but if she is still about please make yourself known to her, she is a very easy lady to talk to!

Twice recently, when the churchyard gates have been left open for the hearse to arrive for a funeral, motorists have been using the churchyard path as a short cut from the High Street to Pembroke Road at an unreasonable speed! May I remind all motorists that it is primarily a footpath and use as a short cut is prohibited at all times! It is quite likely that a young child or elderly person will appear from the west door who could suffer serious injury or even worse a fatality.  This is very much a Health & Safety issue and must not be allowed to continue.

Anyone observing such incidents is asked to record the Registration Number of the offending vehicle and inform any member of the church staff so that appropriate measures can be taken!

Finally, on Saturday evening 10th March we had an Evening Soiree of Music together with a supper during the interval.  Tim Forder- our Organist and Choirmaster had very kindly agreed to provide us with music on our new Grand Piano and on the recently refurbished organ.  Unknown to Tim was a secret plan by Canon Christine to hire a frock coat and tails to wear during his performance.  He was completely bemused by this, but certainly looked the part together with his white waistcoat and bow tie.  His choice of music was excellent and for several pieces he was joined on the piano for a duet with Albert Price.  It was wonderful to hear the Organ in its refurbished state with several well known pieces of Organ music.  A surprise artiste who almost stole the show was 10 year old Caty Seino-who is one of our Church Choir members, with her playing of three pieces of classical music on the Piano.  She gave an absolutely faultless performance without the aid of any printed music.  She apparently started to learn the Piano when she was three years old and is a very talented young lady with a bright future.  She looked very pretty and dainty in her pink dress and shoes, which again was another surprise waiting for her before she gave her performance.  This was, yet again, a superb evenings' entertainment with a four course supper to go with it!

'Bye for now.

C.M.E, March 2007

Wind Power Planned for Avonmouth

A proposal from Bristol City Council to use wind turbines to produce a quarter of its energy needs is progressing well.  If successful the innovative scheme would not only give a plentiful supply of clean, green power, but would save the council thousands of pounds in rising energy costs.

The proposal is for two wind turbines which could be sited in industrial land at Avonmouth next to the Seabank power station.  Consultations on the scheme are due to start in the summer and a web site has been launched to give people more information.  It can be viewed at

The announcement comes after the council revealed that Bristol is one of the first major cities in the UK to power its street lights with 100 per cent 'green' energy.  The city council has secured a contract with Eon Energy to buy energy generated through renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar power.

Bristol has 34,000 street lighting lanterns and by buying 100 per cent renewable energy the council will achieve a 15 per cent reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions by spring 2008-three years earlier than originally targeted.

A turbine similar to that proposed for Avonmouth

The proposal is for two turbines, each around 130m tall and generating up to 3MW (megawatt.) It is estimated that they could harness enough wind to generate 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the council's electricity needs.  They would also save approximately per year 13,353 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 132 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 40 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide.

At 130m high the turbines would be two and a half times higher than Nelson's column (50m) and taller that the Ecotricity turbine off junction 11 of the M4 (85m)

Two 3MW wind turbines at a reasonable site will produce enough electricity each year of meet the annual needs of over 3,350 households.

It is estimated that the proposed Avonmouth turbines could generate approximately 13.2GWh a year.

Paul Isbell, Manager of the council's Energy Management Until, said "At the moment and independent company is carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment.  The assessment involves looking at the impact that turbines may have on the geology, the bird population and they way the area looks.

Following identification of the best site for the turbines, people in Bristol will be invited to have their say in a consultation scheduled to start in June."

Should the proposal go forward then it is expected that the project would take up to three years to complete.

If people wish to comment on the proposals they can email

Editor's Afterword

It was very gratifying for the editorial staff and committee of 'Shire' to be awarded the special Judge's Award by the Bristol Community Newsletter Forum and whilst not wishing to blow our own trumpet too loudly (although a slight toot is appropriate, I think), it is a tribute to all who voluntarily give, or have given, of their time in the past, often for many years, to produce a good quality community newspaper enjoyed by folks from all corners of the globe.  This award led me to muse on the place of voluntary work in Shirehampton and it only took a quick flick through the pages of 'Shire' to realise that without volunteers, our community would not only be a much poorer and duller place, but in some instances would almost grind to a halt.

The Shire administrative council at work -- photo by Brian Blandford

You only need to take a look at 'What's On' to realise that without our volunteers (sometimes working alongside paid workers, sometimes not) the majority of activities that cover such a range of interest and age groups would simply disappear, and what a tragedy that would be.  There would be no local newspaper, the young people would not have their uniformed organisations, we would have no Christmas lights, art or craft exhibitions, the Public Hall would not be managed, no lunch clubs, no SCAF, no free advice service, no home-grown entertainment, and the churches would have to curtail many of their 'value added' activities and events.  These are just a few examples of what Shirehampton would look like without its volunteers, so all of you out there who give of your time freely for the good of your locality – give yourselves a pat on the back because you provide the social cohesion for our community.  You don't have to be good at sitting on committees, taking minutes, balancing books, editing newspapers etc to be a volunteer.  In fact, in this edition of 'Shire', for example, there are appeals for volunteers, one to keep the A(US)CA cottage garden tidy and one to deliver the paper and for guiders also.  So, to those who are wondering what to do with all your 'spare time, don't forget your village needs you!