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Royal Visit to Local School

Cotswold Garden Competition

Summer Weather Brings Riverside Trouble

Shirehampton Community Action Forum - Action Groups

Letters to the Editor

St. Mary's News

New Era for Public Hall

Royal Visit to Local School

One of the engagements, HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, carried out in Bristol on 23rd April, was to officially open the new Portway Community School.  The Princess, who was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant, Jay Tidmarsh and Brian Styles, the chairman of the interim executive board, spent about an hour touring the classrooms and talking to staff and students, before unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.  She also visited the Kingsweston Unit which is integrated into the school.  Also present in her official party were the High Sheriff, Robert Durie, the deputy Lord Mayor of Bristol, Roy Griffey and Heather Tomlinson, the director of Children's Services.

At the end of her tour, Princess Anne was presented with a bouquet by Henry Nelson-Case (aged 14).  Brian Styles said “This visit recognises the enormous progress this school has made over the past year, thanks to the efforts of staff, students and their parents”.  Fellow Board member, Malcolm Broad, added “It is really good to see how much pride is back in the school”.

Sea Cadets

On Thursday May 10th TS Enterprise – Avonmouth Sea Cadets held their Annual Presentation by the Royal Navy.  The evening commenced with evening colours and a welcome from the Commanding Officer – Lt B Hillier to all family, friends and supporters.  The guard was inspected by Commander J Binns RN and this was followed by an inspection of the ship's company.

A short break and it was now time for the first evolution, a quiz hosted by Able Cadet O Hillier, assisted by Gill Sawyer with parent participation.  The second evolution was 'moving a heavy object'.  The unit with financial help from various sponsors had purchased a rib – a safety boat and the commissioning was set for May 10th.  Gill Sawyer Lay Minister from St Mary's  officiated with prayers and a blessing.  Lt B Hillier was aided by Commander Binns and the unit chairman, Mrs Pat Homer in anointing the boat with wine.

The ceremony completed, the cadets and company returned to the main deck for sunset.  Commander Binns addressed the unit congratulating the cadets and officers for their continuing commitment and wished the unit every success in the coming year.

Celebrations for the officers and invited guests continued in the ward room.

TS Enterprise wish to thank Sport and Art Foundation, Portishead Nautical Trust, Malcolm Chick Foundation, the BAWA club and the cadets for all their hard work and support in fund raising.

Legs Were Made for Walking

When some distant ancestor first heaved himself (herself?) on his rear limbs and started lumbering around, front limbs swinging free, and eyes lifted high enough to see distant horizons, there was no going back.  Bi-pedal motion was the future!

But now, several millions of years later, we seem in danger of losing the ability, for we have learnt to ferry ourselves around in metal boxes with a wheel on each corner, to do our hunting and gathering by poking at a few buttons on another box from the comfort of an arm chair, and to occupy the rest of the time with yet a third box that has replaced cave painting with flashing pictures.

It's time to jettison this sedentary lifestyle, and start using our legs again: in fact, use them or lose them.

But after you've started on the recovery of walking with simple things like leaving the car at home when you go to the village to shop, what then?  What about joining a rambling club?  It can open up to you a wonderful world of amazing discovery as you see stunning scenery and visit fascinating places you never realised were so close to home.

We are fortunate in Bristol that we have the Bristol Ramblers, the very active local branch of the national Ramblers Association.  People of all ages go on walks of varying distances and difficulty on various days of the week.  You can go on a pleasant evening stroll, or you can go on a Lake District Fell Walking Holiday.  You can be discovering some unexpected corners of Bristol, or you could be climbing in the Mendips.  Walks are mostly between six and eight miles.  There is so much to choose from, and no one is forced to do more than they want to.

Membership is only £26 a year, and you are allowed two walks without joining to give you time to see if it's for you.  As a hobby, it must be one of the cheapest around: although you will see a good deal of quite expensive equipment in the outdoor gear shops, really the only essentials are a good pair of walking boots or shoes, and a backpack for your all-important lunch (though most rambles incorporate a pub lunch).  And it would be as well to get some waterproofs!  Any other equipment you can acquire over time if you feel you need it.

Worth the climb: Bristol Ramblers admire the view from Maes Knoll, near Whitchurch

There are two ideal opportunities soon for Shirehampton people to try Rambling.

On July 10th, Bristol Ramblers have an evening walk of 5-6 miles from Shirehampton to Clifton, meeting at the station at 6pm.  This is a linear walk, meaning it finishes at a different place from the start.  Then on Wednesday July 11th there is a 5-6 mile circular walk (you finish where you start) which begins at The Green at 10am, just turn up – you won't mistake which people are ramblers!  Introduce yourself, and then just enjoy the company and the walk.

For details of all the Bristol Ramblers walks, see

Cotswold Garden Competition

Following the outstanding success last year of the first 'Cotswold in Bloom' garden competition, there is to be another this July.

Open to everyone living between the Portway and the riverside, there are three categories to enter, with two prizes in each category.  The categories are Front Garden, Back Garden, and Container Display.

Last year's judges from Bristol City Council Blaise Nursery are making a welcome return visit.  They will carry out the judging in the first week of July and the Awards Event will be held in the Cotswold Community Hall on Friday 6th July.

The Chairman of the Cotswold Community Association, which is organising the event, says “When we see the bleak depressing sight of so many gardens being covered in paving or gravel, we want to encourage people to do their bit to bring colour and life to the Shirehampton street-scape”. 

Full details and entry forms can be obtained by ringing 9047319.

Summer Weather Brings Riverside Trouble

Early summer weather has seen a return to Shirehampton riverside of young people's drinking groups.  Local residents have woken up to find beer cans littering the area and sometimes their gardens damaged.  Occasionally the youngsters camp overnight, which would not be objected to in itself, but the camping code 'leave nothing except your footprint' is obviously far from the campers' minds.


One of two cars that received an unwanted 're-spray' on May Bank Holiday Saturday

On the Saturday of the May Bank Holiday weekend Cerney Lane residents woke to find their cars had had emulsion paint poured over them, plus similar treatment given to the kitchen window of a nearby Nibley Road house.  A call to police at 6.30am was not acted on until 10.30am.

Fortunately, the paint was emulsion, so copious amounts of water and energetic scrubbing were able to remove it successfully.

Spring Song

On a lovely Spring evening at the end of April a group of people gathered at the Cotswold Community Centre in anticipation of a pleasant couple of hours listening to good music performed by Philip Blandford (piano) and Auriel Britton (soprano).  I must say we were not disappointed.

This well thought out programme was varied enough to include most musical tastes and also followed the seasonal theme of Springtime leading into Summer.  The performers brought their own love and enthusiasm to the music which conveyed itself to the audience and added to our enjoyment.  The first part of the evening contained a selection of classical piano pieces including the haunting 'Claire de Lune' , 'Rustle of Spring' by Sinding, Grieg's 'Lyric Suite' and Chopin's 'Revolutionary Study' were interspersed with songs such as 'Ave Maria', 'All in the April Evening' and 'An Syvia' sung in German.

After a short interval the mood lightened and when Auriel sang about a certain nightingale in a well known London square, some birds just outside the hall were vying for attention too!  'We'll gather lilacs', 'Down by the Sally Garden' and 'Ashgrove' were also sung by Auriel, and Philip upped the tempo for the 'Shreveport Stomp' and went into waltz time for 'Waltz for Debbie'.  The finale was the Gershwin class 'Summertime' a difficult piece to sing but very well performed.  There was an encore which neatly brought us to the end of the evening and season – 'The last rose of summer'!

Brian Blandford was the MC for the event linking the pieces in a witty manner.  It was a lovely evening all round with proceeds from the tickets and refreshments going to the Dementia Care Trust.  More events like this please!  JH

Shirehampton Community Action Forum - Action Groups

All the action groups work on many projects at the same time, below is just a very brief outline of the groups main activities……

The 'SHIRE GREENS' have been working in partnership with Bristol City Council, Parks Department for over 4 years on developments and improvements to the Daisy Field (opposite the entrance to Shire Railway Station).  This work is continuing and the Greens hope to successfully apply for funding to add seating etc over the next year or so.  They have also identified other sites for improvement, including the derelict tennis courts behind the War Memorial, and the children's play areas at Springfield Avenue and Lamplighters.  They are also currently involved in objecting to the proposed housing development at Jubilee Allotments.

YOUTH SUPPORT GROUP -  This group have run a full activity programme of events during the school holidays for young people in the village for several years now, and are hoping to do so again this year, funding permitting.  They have developed close ties with Portway School through PC Helen Coates and a new families link worker, Rita Rich, and have recently begun a new project with pupils and 'Shire Greens', to create a school garden.

COMMUNITY SAFETY GROUP – They focus in three key areas – Anti Social Behaviour, Road Safety & Litter.  It was agreed at the last meeting of this group that a Youth Shelter is a priority and funding applications should be sent out at the earliest opportunity.  It was also agreed that when the shelter is erected, the young people will be responsible for managing it.  Among the other items discussed were the problems of litter and fly tipping which has improved in some areas like the High Street, but not in others, such as Penpole Lane.

As well as the three action groups above, there are several other strands to SCAF, such as Planning Watch, which reports on all current planning applications in the area so the public can assess their responses to them before it is too late, and a new group working on a public survey about the village - 'A vision for Shire' -  that will be launched later in the year.

For more info on any of SCAF's work please contact Ash Bearman on 982 9963 or email

The next meeting of the Full Forum is on Tuesday 19 June, 2-4pm at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road, Shire.  EVERYONE WELCOME

SCAF Fundraising Dinner Nov 17th at Kingsweston House

I hope that, by now, you have all put this date in your diary, and, as we have been more careful this year in not clashing with other local events, we trust that, as soon as tickets become available, you will be queuing round the block.

This is to give advance notice that we will soon be seeking items for our raffle prizes.  The traders in the village were amazingly generous last year and, I'm sure, will be so again.  Other organisations in Bristol also contributed prizes such as tickets for SSGB, the Ferry and the dockside steam train.  But it doesn't just have to be businesses that donate – we will accept prizes from anywhere.  So if you have something suitable you no longer need, please leave it at the SCAF office in Shire Hall c/o Ash Bearman and carefully labelled 'Raffle Prize'.

The Treatment Room at Shirehampton Group Practice

Our team of Treatment Room nurses are well known to our patients who need to attend for regular treatments.  The number of gifts, mainly edible, are testament to the high level of service they provide and the appreciation of the patients who benefit from then.  Their waistlines, however, do take a bit of a battering!  Many of you already know that Rhiannon is on maternity leave having given birth to the beautiful Kathryn, only a few weeks ago.  Liz has stepped into the breach by helping with the management of the nursing team – no mean feat when we are so very busy.  They really are a great team, with an excellent mix of skills and personalities.

BUT we do need your help!  The demand in the treatment room continues to increase and we need to clarify what we can and can't do for you…...

We do NOT provide:

A Minor Injuries Unit – that means we can't just drop everything and keep our booked patients waiting while we attend to minor cuts and bruises.  Of course, we help out with any medical emergency needing immediate attention but we can't be a walk in centre for minor issues or general advice.  Try the Walk-In Centre in Bristol, your local pharmacist or ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

An A&E Department – if you think you might have a fracture, we can't help you because you will need an x-ray; something we can't provide.  If you have a deep cut that needs stitching, the Minor Injuries Unit at Southmead Hospital (Tel: 9505050) is your best bet because they are experts at this sort of thing.

Emergency Eye Care -  this is best dealt with at the Bristol Eye Hospital if it is deemed necessary.  Ring NHS Direct who will triage the problem first and advise what to do next: 08454647.

An Emergency Dental Service – if you have a problem with your teeth such as a dental abscess, you need to go to a dentist.  There are emergency dentists available – just ring NHS Direct on 08454647 and they will tell you the location of your nearest one.

But we DO provide:

A Great Local Service providing you with ongoing health care, particularly in the areas of chronic disease management (diabetes, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure etc).  Nurse-led clinics run frequently and the treatment room services support this brilliantly.

Blood Testing, urine testing, taking of blood pressure, syringing of blocked ears, ECGs and hearing tests etc but of course only when the doctor directs us to do so because there is a clinical need.

Wound Management -  this is mainly for on-going, ulcerated and complex wounds which need specialist dressings and regular review.

Immunisations for health and travel.  We do not, however, give tetanus injections routinely unless there is a clinical need.

Contraception cervical smears and sexual health.

So if we could ask that you think twice before coming in or phoning up for a minor injury problem, we'd be very grateful.  If you would like to discuss this matter further with Carole Brooke, the Practice Manager, please feel free to contact her on 0117 9162225.

Correction -  In the article in last month's edition, about the funeral of Ivor Bees, the date of his burial should have read February 26th 2007, not January – apologies Ed (and many thanks to Mrs Bees for her generous donation).


Beryl Giles

24th March 1921-18th February 2007

Brin, Val and families would like to thank relatives and friends for the very many cards and kind messages received after the loss of their Mum.  It was so comforting to see so many friends at her funeral.  Thank you for all your support.



Wife of the late Charles Ford

Brenda, Julie, John, David, Robert and their families would like to express their sincere gratitude to friends and relatives for the cards and condolences received on the death of their Mum.  Thank you to everyone who attended the funeral service and to those who gave donations in her memory.  It was lovely to see so many old friends there.  Thank you also to staff at Penhill, Shirehampton and Norwood Lodge, Portishead for the love and care given to Mum during her dementia.  Lastly a big thank you to Canon Christine, Andy, Gill and the Church family for the love and support you have given to us at this sad time.  God bless Mum, you will always be in our hearts. xx

Memories of Bygone Days

This photograph was given to me by my sister, Mrs Ivy Richards formerly of Station Road, on it was written 'The Lamplighters Pirates 1949 – Pill & Shirehampton Regatta'.  Can anyone recognise any of the 'Pirates' or cast any light on this event.  David Parker

More Memories of Bygone Days

Mike Antill sent in this photograph of the Ladies of the Portway Club, taken in the 70's…he writes “sadly many of these ladies are no longer with us, but they helped make the parish what it is today” – and asks if anyone knows if the Barn/Bernwell Club was the forerunner of the Portway Ladies Club?

Girls on Tour

Disco Fever was the theme of the party that Sally Knowlson and her friends held at Butlins in Minehead to celebrate the forthcoming marriage of Michele Harvey.

(Michele and Colin were married in May and we wish them every happiness – Ed).

Stepping Out

Pupils of the Stepping Out School of Dance who have been very successful in a number of regional dance festivals, at Kingswood, Highbridge and Bristol.  All of them came home with certificates, and, as you can see from the photograph, some of them also gained medals.  Their teacher, Mrs Lisa Pugh says she is very proud of each and every one of them and wishes them even greater success in the future.

Easter Bonnet Competition

from left to right Paula Herbert, Sandra White, Jenny Butler and Lois Hancock

On a lovely sunny morning, back in April, I was invited to judge the Easter bonnet competition run by the staff at the Co-Op in the High Street.  All the bonnets were really good, and it was obvious that  a lot of thought and hard work had gone into producing them, which made my task quite difficult, but eventually, I decided the winner should be Sandra Neate, with Paula Herbert, second and Lois Hancock, third.  Thanks must also go to Jenny Butler who collected £384 in her faithful bucket for The Children's Society.  Well done everyone – Sandra White – Chair, Penpole Residents Association

Did You Know?

From June 1st the fast track service will be withdrawn for new applicants for passports, who are advised they may have a 6 week wait to receive their passports.

The cost of an emergency passport (to replace one lost abroad) has gone up from £43.50 to £55.  A one year temporary passport is now £70.50 it used to be £55.

Cotswold Book Club

The book for discussion on June 18th is The Good Women of China by Xinran.  Jon Snow has said of it “This is a book deep in the heart of China.  As shocking as it is revealing…..An extraordinary and eye-opening read'.  If you would like to come along, whether or not you have read the book, ring 9047319 for time and venue.  July 16th is the Book Club's summer barbecue, when we'll be enjoying ourselves with food, wine and literature on the lighter side.  Ring the same number for details.

My French Oral Remembered

Looking through the Radio and TV Times for the programmes for the forthcoming week, my attention was on an afternoon Radio 4 play on the circumstances of the death of the film actor Leslie Howard.

The first exam we had in the School Certificate Examinations – equivalent of today's 0 Levels was French Oral.  I was petrified as I had no confidence in my ability to speak French.  We had an old fashioned French teacher, who wore her grey hair, with a centre parting and a round bun behind each ear, looked like earphones and she had spindly legs.  She told us to work out for ourselves some interesting news or incident, and not all the same one or we would bore the oral examiner rigid.

I was a film fan of Leslie Howard and he had recently been killed in an air crash, and so this I decided I would talk on – given half a chance.  How I swung the topic of conversation round, I'll never know and nervously in halting French, I related the tale of how the plane in from Portugal had been shot down.  At the time we were told that the Germans believed that Winston Churchill was onboard.  It was over the Bay of Biscay that the plane was attacked by a squadron of German fighter planes.

Yes this episode helped me pass the Oral all those years ago, in those far off days it was necessary to get a credit in a foreign language to matriculate.

According to the blurb in the TV Times the true facts of this case will not be revealed to the public until 2025, and I wonder what they will be?

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Many thanks to all who helped and supported our 'May Fayre' on Saturday May 5th.  We raised over £400, for church funds.  It was lovely to see you all.  Our next coffee morning and sale is on Saturday June 2nd 10am-Noon.  Look forward to seeing you then – all welcome.

Hazell Thorne-Steward

Used Postage Stamps Required

Anyone who is not already saving stamps, please can you save used postage stamps, for:

Headway Centre, Frenchay Hospital, Frenchay Park Road, Frechay, Bristol  BS16 1LE

Please send stamps to the above address or drop stamps off at 522 Portway.

Thank you.

VJ Fisher

Lawrence Weston Community Farm

Please do not deliver anymore shredded paper to us, as we are fast becoming a 'paper mountain', since the advert appeared in Shire. 

Alexandra White


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor

We have just received the latest 'Shire' from Ann Parsons who sends us a copy each month – we always enjoy it.  This April edition was a particularly good one, and I was most impressed by your front page and Judge's award.  Very well done indeed!!  'Shire' must be one of the longest lasting community newspapers in the country, mustn't it?  I loved the photo on the back page and seeing familiar faces - and some - alas that are not at all familiar - or have they, like us just become white-haired and a tad older?  Anyone congratulations to all concerned.  We also had a look at your internet site and were impressed there too.

From Helen & Bob Brandt

(I'm sure many readers will recall Helen and Bob Brandt who were very active in Shirehampton for many years, but who now live in Norfolk.  They are currently involved in the production of Lynx – a multi parish magazine.  They are returning to Bristol for a University Reunion in June, and hope to catch with some of their local friends at the same time – JA)

The National School

Dear Editor

Once again someone wants to pull down an 'historic building' – the start of all those years of many Shire children's education.  During the late 50's and early 60's, this school was a Sunday morning coffee shop and a youth club was held there during the week.  It was here that many Shire residents, including myself, met their future partners.  Although I left Shire in 1968, I have many memories of those bygone days and still recall the chemists, the ironmongers, Bendalls, Lennards and Hutchings – all of them gone along with the Portway Girls School, the cinema and the swimming baths.  So let's hang on to something of 'Old Shire' even if it is over 160 years old.

Julia Tucker née Ivory


To all of the people who spent the morning of Tuesday 8th May fighting in the High Street, and then tried to continue their fight in the busy health centre reception (this was prevented by members of the public who held the doors shut), I would like to say this……IF YOU HAVE THAT MUCH SPARE ENERGY WHY AREN'T YOU ALL AT WORK?  GO AND GET JOBS.

(Name and address supplied)

Planning Ref:  The National School (Snooker Hall), Shirehampton

Dear Sir/Madam

With reference to the above planning applications I should like to make the following points.

We in Shirehampton are very proud of our village and still endeavour to keep the village 'atmosphere' which existed in the past.  Part of this 'atmosphere' lies in the buildings which make up our community.  This is a place that many call 'home' and nobody likes their home being destroyed or blighted by unwanted, or inappropriate development.

The old National School in Station Road was attended by my father (and probably my grandfather and great grandfather, who was a parish councillor).  This building is part of the character of the village, a character we villagers do no not want changed (unless that change is to enhance the village scene).

We have already lost valuable historic buildings; among which was the old Estate Office, where our squire's agent collected rents.  This was a sturdy and imposing stone building.  It has given way to less than imposing petrol station and forecourt.  I believe the National School building to have architectural merit as an example of Victorian design.

It is by no means the oldest building in Shirehampton, but it does hold great significance for many of the inhabitants.  It is a part of our heritage that should be retained for future generations.  It certainly predates the Public Hall, a Grade II listed building in the same road, by more than 50 years.

Ideally the National School should be restored and become a local museum of Shirehampton, with funds for its purchase coming from National Heritage, the National Lottery, national and local government, and other bodies concerned with retaining the physical embodiments of our past.

I commend the City Council for refusing planning consent for demolition.

Yours faithfully
G Osman

NB  We believe planning permission has again been sought – Ed

Broadway Melodies

Presented by the Grainger Players

The Bristol Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society is indebted to the Grainger Players and all those in the audience who once again so kindly donated to the retiring collection.  The total raised was £106.  Sincere thanks go to Liz Hurd and Monica Doul (Producers), the cast, and all the many volunteers (too many to list), who helped make the evening such a success (each one playing a vital part).

It is refreshing to see the youngsters continuing to take part and the song “I'd Do Anything” sang by Sophie Jnr and Teddy was very touching.  Members put their all into the songs creating a lovely atmosphere.  Then there were the comedy sketches when Liz and Mon excelled themselves!

Thank you Grainger Players and all those who made the evening such a success and more importantly, 'keeping the Community Spirit going'.

St. Mary's Collection Point - Planning Ahead for Christmas

Christmas may seem like a long way off at this time of year.  But if you start saving now, you'll make sure you have plenty of money to buy in December.

Many people lost their Christmas savings in the Farepak disaster last year, so it's time for a safer approach.  If you're looking for a better way to save money for Christmas, you should consider joining a Credit Union.

Severn Four Credit Union (which covers Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth) has insurance to fully compensate members in case it goes bust.  It is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and has insurance to protect savings against theft or fraud.

Credit Unions are owned and managed by members from a local area – all profit is returned to the members themselves, not used to line the pockets of millionaires.  Last year the Credit Union paid its savers a 3% dividend.

St Mary's church in Shirehampton runs a Severn Four Credit Union collection point where people can save money every week.  It is open every Friday morning from 10.30am to 11.30am.  The collection point encourages people in Shirehampton to get into the habit of saving regularly.  It has been an enormous success, with 20 new members already saving regularly at the church.  St Mary's savers can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and good conversation when they drop in!  David Froude said…..”It's warm and comfortable in St Mary's, and as most people in Shirehampton already know, you get a real welcome too.  It's so easy to drop in and save on a Friday morning”.

Children can join the 'Money Muncher' saving scheme.  Teenagers can join the new 'MyBank' saving scheme.  Adults can open a regular Severn Four Credit Union account.  Low cost loans are available after 8 weeks of regular saving.

Severn Four Credit Union is a not-for-profit, community organisation 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 Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth.

Catriona Hobbs
Severn Four Credit Union

Tel: 0117 9381439

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Welcome to Summer – it's here already!  The football season has ended and the sound of leather on willow and the attendant players dresses in their white just show how rapidly this year has gone by.  So now I had better press on before time overtakes me and I am left behind – not difficult at my age!!

At our recent Annual Parochial Church Meeting, Derek Ford stood down as Churchwarden after serving St Mary's in this position for just over 20 years.  We are eternally grateful for all he has done during that time and he has overseen many major projects during his term of office – his experience has been invaluable to all of us on the Parochial Church Council.  It is to be hoped he will enjoy a well earned rest and have more time to enjoy watching Cricket – a game I know that is dear to his heart.  I have memories of him playing the game with the late Rev Geoffrey Griffiths and others back in the fifties.  I won't say any more or you will be able to work out how old he is!!  But as one door closes so another opens and we are delighted to welcome Jonathan Saunders as our new Churchwarden.  We hope Jon that you will enjoy your new position – it will certainly be challenging in the future.

The Report for our Annual Parochial Church Meeting was produced in booklet form and was extremely comprehensive and thanks must go once again to Gill Sawyer for his Herculean task.  If something wasn't mentioned in the Report then it didn't happen!!  By the way there are still a few spare copies at the back of the church.

Just after Easter we had a new stained glass window installed in the north west wall which has been very generously donated to St Mary's in memory of the Harper family.  It was designed by John Yeo who designed the other stained glass window on the south west wall.  The new window shows Mary holding the body of Jesus just after it had been removed from the Cross.  It is interesting to compare her face with the window showing the nativity, which portrays a young Mary, and the new one which shows Mary some 33 years later.  It is a wonderful addition to our church and it is very pleasing to know it will be there for future generations to admire and appreciate.  I do not know if the donors of the window wish to remain anonymous so I have not mentioned them here, but we are absolutely delighted with this wonderful gift!

The window was dedicated at our 10am Holy Communion Service on Sunday 20th May.  John Yeo is also to clean our Lady Chapel window which has become very dirty and dull over recent years caused by exposure to pollution in the atmosphere.  This is also something for us all to look forward to.

At our monthly evening Holy Communion Service with Healing back on the last Sunday in April, we were delighted to welcome 40 people from St Peter's, Bishopsworth.  It is a custom for them to visit another church during the lighter evenings and St Mary's was their venue on that day.  We were delighted to welcome them and they were all very impressed to see what had been achieved by us in recent years.  I was very quickly recognised by another retired South Gloucestershire Council employee who worked at Thornbury with me in an adjacent section – Property Services.  It just goes to show that life is full of surprises!

It is very sad to record that Dot Ford, a very longstanding member of our congregation died recently.  I can remember her and her late husband Charlie as faithful members of St Mary's since I was a young child.  Her faith never wavered and Dot would be with us every Sunday until her health decreed she needed assistance, first at Penhill Residential Home and latterly at Norwood Lodge Nursing Home, Portishead.  She was very much loved by all of us and will be sadly missed, as was evident by the number of people who attended her funeral service.  To her daughter Julie (our other Churchwarden) and the rest of the family, we extend our heartfelt sorrow at her loss and we will remember all the family in our prayers.  Dot may no longer be with us, but she will always be remembered.

Also I am very sorry to tell you that Canon Christine's brother Alan died in April.  He had been diagnosed with a terminal illness shortly after Christmas.  Unknown to many, Canon Christine, after completing her daily parish duties and attending meetings etc, made a journey to Swansea to see her dying brother and returned to Shirehampton at 2am in the morning!  This put exceptional strain on her – dealing with her own emotional stress and that of other people who had lost loved ones in the parish.  On the week she should have enjoyed a short break with her family in Swansea, her time was taken up arranging and taking her brother's funeral service.  At no time did she fail in her pastoral duties to the parish – she put the needs of others before her own.  It is not very often that we ever think that a Parish Priest is in need of our prayers and sympathy – but Christine certainly did at this time and we will all be forever in her debt for carrying on her work as though nothing had happened.  We must all thank God for such a wonderful caring Priest who leads us by example.  Christine – may God forever bless you, and we all share your sorrow in the loss of your brother Alan.

Now on a brighter note, I have to report that 33 members of our congregation attended a Parish Weekend at Glastonbury Retreat House during the first weekend in May.  Initial reports indicate that it was very much enjoyed by all who attended.  The peace and quiet away from the noisy world outside was refreshment in itself, but no sooner were they all back than May Day Bank Holiday Monday appeared!  Back to slaving over a hot stove again for Gill Sawyer as it was a church open day!  Lunches and cream teas were served and £379 was raised at this event.  Thank you to all of you who again came and supported us.

Talking of open days – our Open Gardens season has started again.  If you would like to open your garden to visitors then there is a list at the back of the church.  Just sign up on your preferred date.  It would be preferable if only one garden per week was open, as more than that number often leads to disappointing figures in attendance.

Our Patronal Festival and Summer Fayre are to be held on the weekend of the 7th and 8th July.  The Summer Fayre will be on the Saturday from 10am to 12 noon with the usual home made goodies for sale – so here's your chance to stock up your larder again!  From 2.30pm until 4.30pm, cream teas will be served and you will be entertained by the Salvation Army Citadel Band playing music in the churchyard (inside the church if it is wet).  Sunday is our Patronal Festival Day and will begin with 10am Holy Communion and from 2.30pm until 4pm the Shirehampton Area Choir will be entertaining you with their Summer Concert.  Tickets are priced at £6 and will include a cream tea – these are available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office.  The day will end with a short service of Compline at 8pm – a short service of quiet reflection which lasts about 20 minutes.

We are delighted to welcome another gentleman to our Christian family by the name of Eric Sherwood.  Eric who lives in Bradley Crescent is unfortunately housebound and Bishop Mike – Bishop of Bristol – agreed to attend his home with Canon Christine and conduct a Confirmation Service.  This must be a 'first' in the parish and it does mean that Eric will now be able to receive Holy Communion in his home as regrettably he cannot reach the church.  We welcome Eric as a full member of our Christian family.

There are just a few places left on our Senior Citizens Summer Sensation which is to be held from 20th to 24th August (both dates inclusive).  This is a full week of entertainment and fun – ask anyone who attended last year.  If you wish to attend then just sign your name on the list at the back of the church.

I cannot let these notes go by without mentioning that Betty Froude (Canon Christine's mother-in-law) recently celebrated her 90th birthday and on the Sunday nearest to her birthday we all enjoyed having the opportunity to congratulate her and share some of her birthday cake.  She is a very sprightly lady for her years and a regular at our Wednesday Lunch Club.  Congratulations to you Betty!

Finally, I must hand it to Roy Miller – after all my 'mickey taking' he says he knows of a field where Bristol Rovers can play – 'Wembley' – where the grass grows greener – if they reach the play-offs.  Let's hope they enjoy the same success as Bristol City!

Bye for now!


New Era for Public Hall

The Public Hall Association has taken a major step to ensure that the Hall will continue to play an important part in local life.  At a meeting held on 17 April, the Association's Trustees agreed to lease the Public Hall from Bristol City Council, for a 25 year term.  After lengthy negotiations, the City agreed to lease the Hall to the Association for a peppercorn rent.  The City has also committed itself to provide significant support for the building for the life of the lease.

Ed Amphlett watches Hall Association Chairman David Thomas sign the lease

The lease was signed on behalf of the Association by David Thomas, the Chairman, and Ed Amphlett, the Treasurer, after the Board of Trustees had unanimously agreed to accept the terms offered.

The Board of Trustees meeting which agreed to sign a lease for the Hall

After the lease was signed, David Thomas said:

“The lease opens up the prospect of a secure future for the Hall, and will enable it to continue to serve a wide range of local community activities.  We are very grateful to the support we have received from the City Council in recent years.  By working in partnership with them, we have made substantial improvements to the facilities at the Hall, which has led to a tripling of its utilisation.

We now do not have sufficient capacity to meet the demand from local groups.  The need for space at the Hall has increased, as a result of the closure of a number of other local venues.  We also need to have much better access for people with disabilities.  Now we have a lease, we can approach other funding bodies, such as the lottery, for grants to improve the facilities even further”.

The Association members are the regular users of the Public Hall.  The Trustees are elected by the members, and most of them represent groups which are based at the Hall.  At their meeting, they also agreed to make an application to the Big Lottery Fund, for a grant to build an accessible extension to the Hall.  We will keep readers informed of the progress with this application.

Shirehampton Public Hall



The Public Hall is a vital and thriving community resource.  This year we have been able to agree the terms of a lease from Bristol City Council, placing the Hall on a much more secure footing.  We have ambitious plans for the future expansion of the Hall.

The AGM of Shirehampton Public Hall Community Association will be held on Wednesday 4th July at 7.15pm, in the Hall.  This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.

J Thomas, Secretary