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A Little Local Difficulty


Head Teacher Leaves Portway

PC Davies' Report

St. Mary's News

City Farm is attacked by Vandals

Letters to the Editor

A Little Local Difficulty

A torrential storm in the early evening of Tuesday 19th June produced 50mm (2") of rain over much of Bristol and the surrounding district.  In the lower part of Station Road this proved too much for the drains to cope with and part of the road was 18" deep in water that was unable to flow away fast enough.

The picture above shows the situation just after the highest point had been reached, and after that, with the help of local residents, the water receded; leaving its mark on several properties.

This is not the first time this area has been flooded.  The worst incident most people can remember was in December 1981 followed by another almost as bad in 1990, seen in the photo below.

After the 1981 floods the then local MP, Michael Colvin and the representatives of the Wessex Water Board and City Engineers Department met 20 local residents on site to discuss the situation and later a storm water relief scheme was put in place.  This involved the construction of an underground reservoir to store some of the excess water in the drains to prevent or delay serious flooding.  This is obviously not able to deal with the kind of downpours we experienced this month.

The fact the Avon has the second highest tidal range in the world is significant.   If a very high tide occurs with low pressure and north-westerly wind, and if there has been very heavy rainfall, there is nowhere for the rain to go.

The main drain enters the river through a large pipe with a flap over the end which closes when the tide is high to stop the water doing up into the drain.  When the tide falls the flap opens under the pressure of the rainwater flowing out into the river.   Normally this works very well but should the flap stick open for some reason (perhaps a piece of driftwood) and if there is both a very high tide and a heavy rain storm, then there is nowhere for the rainwater to go except to spout up through the drain covers and flood.

This appears to be the cause of earlier floods but this year the reason seems simply to have been that there was far too much rainwater in a short period and the drains unfortunately were not big enough to cope.

The City Engineers Department will be looking at what happened and it is hoped that they will find a solution to the problem.


Ash Bearman, SCAF support worker, presented the following statement to Full Council on behalf of SCAF and the people of Shirehampton with regard to the continuing loss of local amenities.

We wish to bring the following to your attention:

Over the last year Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) has had an ongoing dialogue with the Executive Member & relevant BCC Officer re: the hire charges and community access at Portway Community School. We have found their responses to be unsatisfactory, and would appreciate this opportunity to put forward this statement to Council on 27 March.

1: One of the major 'selling' points of the PFI rebuild of Portway Community School was how the community would benefit from new sports facilities and amenities at the school. The facilities are over priced and therefore, inaccessible to the majority of the community, and have resulted in some clubs who previously used Portway for many years having to look for other venues due to the doubling of the hire charges. Even BCC Sports Services will not use the facilities due to issues of high charges, and particularly access, (with the issues associated with a swipe-card system) after trying to put on a sports programme during the half term holiday in Feb 2006.

2: The facilities & amenities at Portway have been cited as fulfilling the Council obligation to provide sporting facilities and amenities to a community. This is plainly not the case. Portway School & the local community have not even had the availability of ANY grassed playing field since the completion of the rebuild.

Shirehampton has lost a whole host of community facilities and amenities over the last five years, including Groveleaze Youth Centre, Twyford House, Portway Centre and, most notably & recently, Shire Swimming Pool & Robin Cousins Sports Centre. From the sale of these properties BCC has made a great deal of money, none of which has been made available to re-invest in providing new facilities and/or amenities.

3: It would appear that Bristol City Council has been tied into a contractual straitjacket; enabling HBG to run Portway Community School however it likes, and that community use and access to these facilities will never be an accessible or affordable reality for the local community.


In view of the above, BCC does not comply with its own stated commitment & policy of investment in, and promotion of healthy living, and encouraging sport and exercise by providing affordable & accessible local sports facilities to the people of Shirehampton.

Ash also made the following additional points on the day:

1 The Head Teacher has no authority outside of school hours, so NO negotiation about community use, charges or access directly with the school is possible.

2 In correspondence the BCC Officer responsible states 'Unfortunately, the PFI mechanism does not encourage external use of the facilities.'

3 There are no reception or duty staff at Portway outside of school core hours to make the community use available.

4 No bookings for any of the facilities at Portway can be made directly - it is all done through a central admin head quarters - this encourages a block booking system, which again makes individual community bookings much more difficult, in comparison to a regular club booking.

Head Teacher Leaves Portway

Pupils and staffing at Portway Community School were shocked to learn that David Hebden has unexpectedly resigned as Head of Portway Community School. He was not present during the recent visit to the school by the Princess Royal. Shortly afterwards it was announced that he had decided to leave. We understand that his decision is not related to his performance at the school, or to the stress of the job.

The City Council's head of children and young people's services said that Mr Hebden had left for 'personal reasons'. In a letter to parents, staff and students, David Hebden said that he had decided to leave with 'enormous sadness'. He praised the friendliness of the students, the support of the parents and the local community, and the outstanding professionalism of the staff.

Mr Hebden was appointed the head Portway in January last year, with a brief to lead the school out of special measures. A year ago, Ofsted inspectors said the school no longer needed to be in special measures, and issued a 'notice to improve', which is the first step out of special measures. They were due to return shortly to determine if the notice can now be lifted.

Six years ago, SHIRE noted that Portway was a very successful school, and was oversubscribed with pupils in every year group. However, in August 2001, the Head Teacher, Nigel Astley, moved to Henbury School, which was having difficulties. Since then, Portway has had no less than 7 head teachers, some of whom have only been in the post for a few weeks. It had to absorb many students from Lawrence Weston School, when that closed at very short notice. Performance declined, leading to the imposition of special measures at the end of 2003.

Frank Toner, who was previously head teacher for a brief period at the end of 2005, has been appointed as interim head teacher. The education authority and Portway's Interim Executive Board say that they hope to make a permanent appointment from September this year.

All Change on the High Street

The old Taxaco Petrol Station is being demolished to make way for a SOmerfield Convenience Store.

PC Davies' Report

Burglaries have increased significantly over the last two months. Both un-occupied and occupied properties are being affected. Entry has been through scaffolding and ladders left at the side of the buildings. Please tighten up on your garden and outside security, do not leave items that can be used as tools to break-in through windows or force doors. Do not leave bins close to low windows. Do not leave accessible windows open unless you are actually in the room. Garden sheds are being targeted and should be secured with padlocks. Any small electrical items are being stolen and sold for the price of a drug wrap. These burglaries and thefts are taking place through the whole 24hr period. Please keep your eyes and ears open and report anything suspicious. There have been arrests made, with most recently two people arrested for an attempted break-in to the Health Centre, but there are still thieves out there.

Off Road and illegal motorcycles - the riverbank, lamplighters field and marshes, Station Road, High Street and The Green are particularly affected. We have two specialist Off Road trained motorcycle PCs working from Avonmouth. Any sightings of these bikes should be reported immediately giving the place you see them and the direction they are travelling. Any bikes recovered will be crushed. It is not only the nuisance these bikes cause but the dangers they pose to the general public and most of all the riders themselves.

Drugs - are still a problem in the area. There have been several warrants executed with great success, several offenders arrested and waiting trial on charges relating to Class A&C drugs. Whilst these arrests have made a dent we still need your help and information. Use Crimestoppers if you feel you cannot talk to us, The Police, directly.

There have been a succession of wheelie bin thefts, five bins have been recovered from Sims Metals, scrap metal merchants. The modus operandi is the offenders (who have been arrested and are on bail) steal the bins, throw the rubbish out and use the bins the transport stolen lead and copper wire and anything else they can lay their hands on. If you see or hear a wheelie bin being pushed through the streets, particularly during the night, please ring us immediately and give us a chance to catch the thieves. The black bins have been recovered by Brian Cox at Transport and Cleansing, they are thought to have mostly come from the Home Ground area. If you are still missing your bin and have not had it replaced, call Transport & Cleansing and reclaim your bin.

If you see any youngsters wandering around late at night during the early hours carrying rucksacks, please let us know as they could well be stuffed with copper and electrical wire.

Alcohol and underage drinking is still a problem, particularly on The Green and in the Village in general. Cans, bottles and litter are being thrown around the area. I and colleagues working on the Avonmouth sector will be taking a no tolerance attitude and underage drinkers will have their drink confiscated and poured away. We will be actively searching out those places that are being used for underage drinking. We will also be taking the same no tolerance attitude to those who supply alcohol to anyone underage.

Rowdy behaviour and disorder are on the increase, some fuelled by alcohol. Anti-Social Behaviour is not acceptable. There will be an increase in Officers on patrol assisting PC Davies. Gangs roaming around Shirehampton threatening and intimidating residents will not be tolerated and will be stamped out.

A reminder that in July it becomes an offence to throw cigarette butts on the ground. Bristol City Council tells us that they will be actively policing the arrears where there is a problem. Anyone caught faces a 75 fine.

Motor theft is still a problem, theft of and from motor vehicles. Please help yourselves, do not leave anything on view, if you have to leave portable items in the car, lock them away in the boot. Even bags of shopping - you may have left a purse in a bag! Coats and jackets are another target, have you left a wallet in the pocket. If you are a victim of car crime report it and remember that there is a regular surgery at Southmead Police Station for collection of forensic evidence most afternoons. When you report the crime ask for the details and the date and time of the next one. Shards of glass from your broken window remain on the perpetrators clothing for a long time.

Finally Deception Burglaries - with so many builders working in the area the Water Board deceptions are easy to carry out, they will tell you that there is a problem caused by the builders or something similar. Even if someone has on a yellow jacket or even a uniform (Police Uniforms included), does not mean they are legitimate, always, always ask for identification; do not let anyone in without it. Close the door while you check, if you have a door chain use it, and keep your back door locked to prevent someone entering your property whilst you are busy at the front door. Anyone who is genuine will not mind you checking.

PC Davies.

Clear Sounds Choie for the Cotswold

Following the superbly successful Spring Song (see June's SHIRE), more melodic delight is coming this month to the Cotswold Community Hall in Dursley Road, which is proving and ideal venue for intimate music making.

The Clear Sound Choir under its musical director Mike Holroyd present 'Choir@Shire' at the Cotswold on Wednesday 25th July at 7.30pm.

It will be a welcome return to the Hall for Auriel Britton, who thrilled the audience at Spring Song, for she is a member of the Clear Sounds, most of whose dozen singers are visually impaired. The choir's repertoire covers a wide range of music, including spirituals, folk, popular song and world music.

Tickets are 4, obtainable by ringing 9047319 or 9621438 or at the door on the night. Refreshments will be available, and there will be a raffle during the evening.

This photgraph was taken some years before 1928when the original St Mary's Church was destroyed by fire. The foundation stone of the present church was laid in June 1929.

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Holiday time is here once more when familiar faces in our congregation suddenly disappear for a few weeks, only to return making the remainder of us look pale and frail. But that is not the true situation, as all the time they have been away we have still been 'beavering' away keeping St Mary's to the forefront and functioning as normal! We must all give a vote of thanks to our members for continuing their duties when short staffed and wish them a well earned rest when their time comes up for a holiday.

Well, I must tell you all what has gone on recently since my last notes to you. Back on Friday 18th May, we had our Pudding Party when you were asked to guess the ingredients of 3 Starters, and 3 Puddings (actually there was a choice of eleven puddings but you were only expected to guess the ingredients of three of them). This was great fun and the winners were the 'A Team', comprising of the Goslin Family, Don & Eileen Barnes, Thelma Andrews and my 'missus' also known as the 'Vivicious Verger'!! (That will have gained me a load of Brownie Points even if it is a load of rubbish - but promise me you will not tell her! If you do there will be no St Mary's News for August)! ...............'Sit down all of you who shouted out that will be pleasant relief' Actually, I don't know if that is the correct name for the winning team - it's just one I came up with!

Our Annual Parish Outing this year will be a coach trip to Worcester Cathedral, followed by Choral Evensong and a cream tea. This is on Sunday 15th July and will commence with lunch immediately after our 10am Holy Communion Service. Tickets for this trip sold out almost as soon as the list was put up at the back of the church. Your only chance to come now on this trip is if there is a cancellation. I missed last years trip as I was on holiday in Russia with 'Olga of the Kremlin'!! (I'll be lucky to survive if 'she who must be obeyed' reads this - I hope you all realise that I take my life into my hands trying to add humour to these notes)!

Just a quick reminder that our Patronal Festival, as mentioned last month, is on the weekend of 7th & 8th July - we hope you will enjoy what we have to offer.

Our Spring Bank Holiday Monday Open Church Day was another resounding success. The weather was not that brilliant, but was probably to our advantage as we had a 'full house' for the Gill Sawyer Lunches and cream teas. The lunch menu was lengthy and varied and wonderful value for the money. On this day we raised a total of 500 which was considerably higher than that for the May Day Bank Holiday Monday. Thank you to all who came and supported this event - we badly need the cash as St Mary's is a large and expensive building to maintain.

Back in May we had a Rock Communion Service one Sunday evening - which is the second one at St Mary's over the last few years. It could certainly be described as 'different' - some folks loved it and others disliked it - but we have to try and cater for all tastes. It is three years since the first Rock Communion was held - so I don't think we can be accused of going 'over the top'.

Before moving on I had better tell you that Nan and Bernard Waller celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on Thursday 31st May. Congratulations to them both! Bernard would have you believe that he has kept Nan in the lap of luxury for the past 60 years, whilst Nan will tell you she has been his faithful slave looking after him for the past 60 years!! This was not the only celebration Bernard has enjoyed, as he too is a Bristol Rovers supporter. On the day of the 'play off' at Wembley he invited Roy Miller to watch the match on 'Sky TV'. Roy being the generous fellow he is, took with him a bottle of whisky and every time the Rovers scored a goal they topped up their glasses. Bernard was ecstatic but was somewhat under the weather after the match. I'm told he can't even look at a bottle of whisky now without feeling ill. All these Rovers supporters are causing a problem - Roy Miller grinning like a Cheshire Cat, Bernard absolutely blotto, and Tim Forder our Organist keeps threatening to play 'Goodnight Irene' when the choir walks in procession on a Sunday!

Now, on to another event on Satuday 21st July, when we are holding a Sound of Music Evening. You are invited to come along dressed as a character from that well known musical. Supper will have a definite 'Austrian flavour'. Tickets for this event are 6 and available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office - children under 11 years of age are free! This promises to be a good fun evening so don't miss it - buy your ticket now to avoid disappointment.

If you haven't considered opening your garden why not do so now You don't have to have a large garden to do so - very small gardens are just as interesting as some of the larger ones. If you are able to provide a cup of tea with a piece of cake or a biscuit this is more than acceptable. All donations given at these 'open gardens' go towards maintaining St Mary's and there is the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant social event. If you would like to open your garden there is a list at the back of the church - it is suggested that no more than one garden per week is open to avoid disappointing attendance figures.

Now for details of two events taking place on Saturday 4th August - Bradley House Residential Home in the High Street is holding a Summer Fete during the afternoon and all are invited. Elizabeth & Monique - the proprietors - have very generously decided to donate all proceeds from the Fete to St Mary's. There is a lovely large garden at the back of the house where the residents can enjoy themselves during the summer months. Please support this event and take the opportunity to see the home from home comforts provided by the caring staff towards the residents in their care.

Also during the evening of 4th August we are holding our Annual Car Treasure Hunt - the route for which has involved a considerable amount of work for the organiser - Tim Forder. Tim always manages to find a superb venue for us at the end of the run. So keep your eye open for the list when it appears at the back of the church and add your name if you intend participating - also your choice of food from the menu. This is always a superb social event in our calendar - let's hope we enjoy fine weather for the event.

I expect many of you will have wondered where Duncan Jennings has been for the last few months. Duncan as many of you know is an Ordinand on placement at St Mary's while he is doing his training. Well, he hasn't left us but has been seconded to the Emmaus Project in the City. This is a charitable organisation which assists the homeless and unemployed towards some gainful purpose in life. Accommodation is provided for those who seek to better themselves and work is also available in their workshops to allow them to earn a living. Residents have to agree not to take any illegal drugs or alcohol and not to become involved in any form of violence. Back during our Lent Course we had a talk from one of the leaders of the project and a resident worker who told us how the scheme had helped him get his life back on track. Duncan will be with the project for about 3 months and we expect to see him again some time towards the end of July. I am sure he will have many interesting stories to tell us of his experience when he does a talk on a Sunday morning in the future. We look forward to his return.

Gladys Dando one of our most regular members celebrated her 92nd birthday on Monday 4th June. The day before we were all able to celebrate with her sharing some of her birthday cake. She is a very bright and cheery lady who is able to recall places and things of interest from years ago as if they only happened yesterday. Long may she continue to enjoy life and the company of those around her!

I am sorry to tell you that our Curate - Andy Schuman has not been very well during the month of May. He was 'under the weather' for several weeks - we all look forward to his return once he has regained his health.

As I write these notes, Canon Christine is away on holiday with David. Let us all hope she has had the opportunity of that well earned rest and comes back to us rejuvenated. We all miss her very much when she is away from us!

Well that appears to be all the news for this month, so I had better end my notes here, and to those who of you have not had your holidays yet, I hope the sun shines on you all!!

Bye for now!


Driveway Work - Door-To-Door Selling

Inspector Mark Jackson of Avonmouth Police Station has issued the following warning:

The recent popularity of property owners upgrading their driveways has resulted in a number of businesses being set up around Bristol to meet the demand. Although many of the businesses are legitimate and provide a good service, a number of rogue traders are also about, usually touting for business from door to door.

A number of complaints has been made to the police regarding shoddy work that has been over-priced, and elderly residents have been most heavily targeted. Because work has been done, proving criminal offences is very difficult, and these rogue traders are getting away with it.

Please be aware of the risks and take the following precautions when considering having work done:

  • The work to be carried out, including the total cost for the completed job, should be detailed in writing
  • Only pay a small deposit, and do not agree to pay the full amount until the work has been completed to your satisfaction
  • Ask to see brochures, references, photographs of other work, to reassure you that you are happy with the business
  • Check authenticity of the business by ringing telephone numbers on brochures, etc
  • Do not make a decision straight away, and consider getting other quotes. To get three quotes is sensible
  • If you are not entirely comfortable, say "No".

City Farm is attacked by Vandals

Vandals have carried out a series of attacks on Lawrence Weston Community Farm, causing damage put at 2,000. The farm lost 21 chickens after the chicken coup was broken into, and an electric cable was damaged with a pickaxe. A polytunnel has also been ripped, plants stolen and windows smashed during the past three weeks.

Manager Alex Willis said, "It is very demoralising for staff, particularly when animals are involved. I go home at night and wonder what is happening", she added.

Ms Willis said the farm was trying to raise 20,000 to build fences around the property. Local police have been informed of the vandalism.

Shirehampton Methodist Bright Hour

On Monday 21st May the Bright Hour celebrated its 67th Anniversary. We held a service in the Church, followed by tea with anniversary cake. It was lovely to have so many friends from surrounding Churches join us. Our speakers were Pauline Croften and Stephanie Ford. Thank you all for coming and sharing with us.

Hazel Thorne

Library News

Have you seen the recent additions to what you can do at the library?

We now have a bench in the side garden so on those lovely warm days you can sit and read the paper or a book, or just sit out in the fresh air and rest your legs. Just let the staff know you are going out there so that we don't lock you out.

We also have some beautiful educational posters and activity books on sale at a special price of just 1, some marked with an original price of up to 2.99.

So why not pop along and have a fresh look at YOUR library? Don't forget to watch out for summer reading scheme and activities.

Computer Taster Sessions

These are not formal classes but 1/2 hour introductory sessions that will cover the basics of the stated topic. If you are interested please speak to the staff to ensure that the session is what you require and then book a place.

Wednesday 13th June 2.00pm

Absolute beginners - a basic introduction to computers

Wednesday 11th July 2.00pm

E-mail - setting up an e-mail address and sending an e-mail

Wednesday 8th August 2.00pm

Searching the internet - using a search engine e.g. Google

Wednesday 12th September 2.00pm

Family History Online - using the internet to help you find out about your ancestors

Wednesday 10th October 2.00pm

E-Government - using the Directgov site and accessing online forms


Here at the library we have a lovely area for just sitting and looking at a book or reading the paper. "Shire Greens" group kindly cleared much of the weeds and ivy, and then planted bulbs, whilst readers Mr & Mrs Ward kindly donated some lovely plants in containers.

We have since acquired a nesting box, bird table and a bench. Unfortunately, we are finding it impossible to keep on top of the tidying and weeding in the small amount of time we have during our lunch breaks.

Is there anyone out there who would be willing to help us by looking after this small peaceful haven so all our readers can benefit from it. Any assistance would be VERY gratefully received.

Eileen and Staff

When I Were a Lad in Shire (a Shirehampton Folk Song)

When I were a lad in Shire,
I'd sit upon the Green.
My heart were all afire,
A-waiting for my Jean.
She'd stroll along from Portway School
And turn me into a blushing fool.
When I were a lad in Shire,
When I were an awkward teen.

When I were a lad in Shire,
A-courting we would go.
I took my Jean to Penpole,
My faithful dog in tow.
I took off my coat; she took off her hat,
We sat on the grass and kissed and that.
When I were a lad in Shire,
A lot then I did not know.

When I were a lad in Shire,
I went to the old Savoy.
I took my Jennie with me
And a mate of mine called Roy.
We sat at the back, in the one-and-nines,
But I couldn't read between the lines.
When I were a lad in Shire,
A simple innocent boy.

When I were a lad in Shire,
I lost my darling Jean.
And everywhere I looked in Shire,
My girl and Roy was seen.
Right there in the village and up in the park
And down by the riverside after dark.
When I were a lad in Shire,
When I were young and green!


Shirehampton Junior School 1945-6

A happy bunch of imps (I think that's what our parents called us) who helped the war effort by fetching and carrying, despite what was going on around us, Mike Ant

Shirehampton Evergreens

"Come and be an Evergreen and enjoy the holiday scene!"

Following our very successful holiday in Blackpool in May, I am getting together a 7-night holiday in Eastbourne on June 7th, 2008. Accommodation and price and our own coach with driver have been arranged at an inclusive cost of 270, BBEM. Please ring Norman on 982 3180 for further details. There are still vacancies on our day trips this year. Also, you can come and spend a couple of happy hours at the Public Hall on Friday afternoons 2-4pm.

Norman, Chairperson

Evergreens at Blackpool

The Evergreens Club and local people of Shirehampton enjoyed a week staying at a good hotel. Many thanks to Norman Sims who arranged the trip, and to Margaret who looked after us so well and took Bingo on two nights before the evening entertainment. We had good trips out on the coach, and our driver Ian was very helpful.

Evelyn Carpenter

Gloucester Buses (Service 518)

On Tuesday 8th May 2007 I had an appointment at Southmead Hospital for 10.45am. I went to the bus stop in Nibley Road by the shops at 9.05am for the bus at 9.20am.

I waited until 9.34 then phoned Gloucester Buses. A gentleman told me not to worry; he would phone me back in 2 minutes. This he did. He arranged a coach to come and pick me up and anybody else that was there.

He gave me the name of the coach driver, and also said a 518 bus would be waiting for me outside Woolworths on Shire Green to take me to Southmead Hospital. This all happened and with 1 hour to spare.

I would like to thank the gentleman and Gloucester Buses for their help.

Would this have happened with City Line? No, I don't think so.

Thank you once again.

A very grateful lady,

D. Rice

Christmas Lights

The Committee that is responsible for the Christmas lights each year is saddened to learn that two of its founder members are to leave Shirehampton. Roger and Geraldine Cooper are going to live in West Cornwall between Penzance and St Ives, and while, of course, we wish them every happiness in their new home, we are very conscious of the gap their departure will leave in our organisation. Geraldine has been a wonderful secretary over the past six years, arranging and recording the meetings, and helping out on many occasions when time and hands-on assistance was in short supply. Roger has been a tower of strength, negotiating with suppliers in the early stages when we had little money, and spending a great deal of time through the year devising and making new displays, repairing broken ones and fixing temperamental lights during the Christmas period. We shall sadly miss them both and we all hope that one or two people in the village might feel able and willing to step in and help us try to fill the gap.

Thank you, Roger and Geraldine, for all you have done over the years. Our best wishes go with you both.


35th Annual Local Art Exhibition

This year's exhibition staged by Twyford Art Club attracted 163 exhibits from 49 members of local art groups and the community.

John Case, Chairman, welcomed exhibitors and their guests and thanked the Sub Committee for organising the event, in particular, Jean Cooper, Pat Phelan, the Joint Secretaries, and Tony Warren who producing the catalogue. He was pleased to note that Len Doyle was again showing, maintaining his unbroken record of having entered every exhibition since its inauguration in 1973 as part of the Bristol 600 celebrations.

He introduced Mr Don Jones, Chairman of Clifton Art Club, a local historian and author of several books on Bristol, and invited him to open the exhibition.

Members of the Committee celebrating the opening of the 2007 Art Exhibition. From left to right:
John Case (Chair), Pat Grimshaw, Jean Cooper, Cecilia Owen, and Pat Phelan

Don mentioned his Club had recently celebrated their centenary and, having viewed the work on display, considered that the Local Art Exhibition was doing well for its 35 years. His experience of other exhibitions, including those of professional artists of high standard was somewhat predicable, and he felt that what he had seen today was more exciting coming from inside the artists. He entertained his audience with humorous anecdotes on art and artists, concluding by formally opening the Exhibition.

Cecilia Owen moved a vote of thanks to Don, confirming that we could not have asked a better person.

The exhibits included 3 papier mache sculptures by Sally Knowlson and a portrait of Marion by Len Doyle. Marion Cleeves was Twyford Art Club's oldest member, last exhibiting in 2000 at the age of 97. She lived to be 101. Also on display on the Saturday was a collection of unframed watercolours of Venice by John Case and James Thomas painted on location earlier in May.

The late Philip Squire's watercolour "Bluebell Wood" was on display and is awarded annually to the artist whose work is the preferred choice of fellow exhibitors. Chris Stinchcombe was chosen again for his pastel "Ham Green Lane".

The exhibition had been widely advertised throughout the district with posters and details in "Shire", and had a mention on TV's Points West by Richard Angwin, the weather man.

We appreciate the continued support of our sponsor "Shire", and of our visitors, who purchased 29 of the paintings.

Ron Thorpe

Trevor Robbins 21 May 1921 - 18 April 2007

Gwen, Rod, Colin, Lynn and families would like to thank the many relative and friends for their kind thoughts, words and numerous cards of sympathy. Thanks, also, to so many who attended the funeral and have given us comfort and support in our time of sadness.

Thank you to Dr Archer and colleagues at the health centre, with special gratitude to Christine, District Nursing Sister, for the help and comfort she was able to administer. Last, but not least, thanks to Canon Christine for the lovely service and for her constant love and prayers.

Finally, our thanks for the generous donations (300) given to Southmead Urology Department.

Many thanks again and God bless you all.

Thanks for your most generous donation (Ed)

Photo of Art Exhibition

(Photo by Andrew Stewart)

Members of the Committee celebrating the opening of the 2007 Art Exhibition. From left to right: John Case (Chair), Pat Grimshaw, Jean Cooper, Cecilia Owen and Pat Phelan.

Shirehampton Junior School 1945-46

Mike Antill writes: A happy bunch of imps (Ithink that's what our parents called us) who helped the war effort by fetching carrying, despite what was going on around us.

One Liners

  1. "If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?"
  2. "Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?"
  3. "Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a race car not called a racist?"
  4. "Why do 'overlook' and 'oversee' mean opposite things?"
  5. "'I am' is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that 'I do' is the longest sentence?"
  6. "What hair colour do they put on the driving licences of bald men?"
  7. "If it's true that we are put here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?"
  8. "Ever wondered about those people who spend ?1 on a little bottle of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards - NAIVE."
  9. "Ever wondered what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zig zag?"
  10. "No one ever says, 'It's only a game' when their team is winning."
  11. "Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?"
  12. "If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked and dry cleaners depressed?"
  13. "If FedEx and UPS were to merge, would they be called Fed UP?"

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir/Madam

I thought your readers might be interested in the enclosed photograph of wartime Shirehampton. The scene is 'The Wylands' in the High Street. A very busy telephone exchange is in operation. A window has been bricked up. Four ladies are taking messages, and a supervisor wearing a hat reads a message. Two boy scouts wait to deliver as required. In the right hand corner of the photograph stands a lady wearing an armband with the letter 'P' visible, perhaps an auxiliary wartime police woman. Everyone is wearing summer clothes.

The third lady from the right is Joyce Cook who had a baby daughter on 10th March 1940. So I would date this photograph about September 1939. Can anyone tell us more? The photograph was taken by the 'Evening World' newspaper.

Anthony Mitchell

Dear Sirs

I was very interested to read the 'Shirehampton Revisited' in your May issue and I would like to share some memories of my own with your readers.

I came to Shirehampton in January 1958 with my Mum and Dad from Barry, South Wales. I was immediately enrolled into Shirehampton Infants School and place in Miss Wannell's class. I remember very little about my first day apart from the moment when I was introduced to the class.

"This is Elaine, all the way from Wales!" said the teacher. As a result, I received some very strange looks from my future class mates. I suppose that this was immigration 1950's style, but I must admit I did feel a bit of an oddball after this inauspicious start. Anyway, I settle down to seven months in the Infants School and remember learning in groups of four at tables in the classroom and blissful afternoons playing in the sandpit.

I moved up to Shirehampton Juniors in September 1958 and I recall being extremely happy at this school. In the first year I was in Mrs Minchin's class and placed in Red house. I must admit that I cannot recall much about this year but vividly remember my second year in Mrs Whitfield's Class 5, mainly for starting to learn to play the recorder. Unfortunately, I also had my first experience of being sent out of the classroom as a punishment. This happened on the day that the boy sitting at the next desk to me, who shall remain nameless, decided to produce a grass snake from his pocket and place it on the desk. Mrs Whitfield was writing at the blackboard and quickly turned around in response to my piercing scream. I was obviously identified as the culprit, as I was leaping around in terror, and the teacher wasted no time in despatching me outside to stand in the corridor, in order that her lesson could proceed in peace. My classmates, identifying my aversion to snakes, took great pleasure after that in chasing me round the classroom holding pictures of the hated reptiles. I still have this pathetic phobia to this day.

Class 3 with Mr Davies was a much happier experience and I was lucky enough to be selected to sing in the school choir at the Bristol Schools Concert at Colston Hall. My most vivid recollection of this year is catching the reading bug. I borrowed a book called "Terry's Adventures" about a tomboy with whom I immediately identified. Terry became my heroine and I read the book over and over again. If anyone can enlighten me as to the name of the author of this work, and where to find a copy, I would be eternally grateful.

Class 1 with Mr Hall leaves me with the most vivid memories, the best of which was being selected as Bell Monitor, solely due to the fact that I was the proud owner of a reliable Timex watch, recently bought for me by my parents. I was allowed to leave the class a couple of minutes before the end of each lesson and then stood outside the Headmaster's study watching the clock intently. At the exact time, I would knock and enter the hallowed room and press the button on the wall. The power was indescribable and signalled the end of lessons, and release into playtime and home time. Of course, the reverse was true at the start of each morning and afternoon.

I vaguely remember playing an angel in the Nativity play and a Japanese girl in another play, where my Mum made a black wig for me from a bobble hat. I remember sitting next to Pat White in class, a much friendlier companion, and behind David Tucker. This was a very important year, symbolised by trials for sports teams, rehearsals for the Colston Hall concert, this time as a recorder player, being fed with a sugar lump containing polio vaccine, and of course, the hard work preparing for the dreaded 11+ examination.

I loved that school, together with the much-loved Headmaster, Mr Tandy, and his dedicated staff. I count myself lucky for my education at Shire Juniors and I was equally fortunate to move on to Lawrence Weston School in company with lots of friends like Judith Hadley, Bobby Jenkins, Brenda Davis and Hilary Walliker.

I enjoy reading "Shire" every month, thanks to my Mum who still lives in Shirehampton, who always gets me a copy. The sense of community is great and there is certainly nothing like it where I live now. Keep up the good work, and the memories.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Elaine Amos (nee Brain)

Dear Editor

In your February 2006 edition, you have a letter from a Mr Hinkman about his time at Hill, Leigh and Co. The Mr Leigh referred to in the post was actually my grandfather, and I would be really interested in any memories etc that Mr Hinkman may have as I'm really interested in my family history.

I would love to get in touch with Mr Hinkman. Perhaps he, or anyone who knows his contact details, could e-mail me at

Many thanks.

Simon Leigh

Fundraising Dinner, 17th November

Proceeds to Shirehampton

Community Action Forum

Hopefully lots and lots of you have got this date in your diary and are just waiting to hear when and where tickets are available.

We are intending to have the tickets ready for September at the Public Hall, but we are hoping to get another venue to sell them as well, as last year there were some times when the person selling the tickets was not in the office.

As people know, Kingsweston House is the venue for the dinner. It is an opportunity see the inside of the house, and enjoy gorgeous food in a lovely setting.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Pat Roberts

Wanted - Volunteers

Following recent retirements, the groups of Rainbow, Brownie and Girl Guides in Shirehampton and Avonmouth are looking for volunteers to take their place as Assistants, Leaders and Helpers.

As well as helping local communities, there is an opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills such as leadership, organising crafts and many more. Full training is provided and all that is needed is enthusiasm to work with the girls. All volunteers are required to have a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.

In return for a few hours of your time each week, you can look forward to a rewarding experience, working with keen and well-motivated young girls. If you think you, or someone you know, can help or would like further information, please contact Helena Green on 07966 187433 or

Fund Raising Prints

Prints by local artist to raise funds for St. Mary's Church and Portway School

John Parsons was born in 1929, and spent his childhood in Shirehampton and Avonmouth, attending the local junior school followed by Portway Comprehensive School.

He first met his wife Mary at Shirehampton junior school and their paths crossed frequently throughout the years until they finally started courting and married on the 22nd March 1952. They raised a family of four of their own children and one foster child in the community, and were proud to be associated with local activities.

On leaving school John went to work for James & Hodder Ltd., based in Avonmouth as a shipping agent, where his love for ships and the people involved with them, grew into a passion. His working career has always been linked to the local maritime industry and he worked in turn for Hodder Whitwill Ltd., Seaport Shipping Ltd. and Nissan from where he finally retired for health reasons.

John had interests and associations with many local groups throughout the years. His love for painting drew him into many local art clubs including Twyford House in Shirehampton, and the Savages in Bristol. He supported and gave his time to the Seamen's Mission, the Merchant Navy Association, the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, and the Bristol Steamship Owners Association. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, and was closely involved in the education of many members, often invigilating examinations at his house.

He was the Consul for Finland for over 25 years, and was awarded the status of Knight, First Class of the Order of the Lion of Finland. He had special permission from Buckingham Palace to wear the medal.

John passed away on the 1st October 2006, leaving many works of art. One of his last requests was that they be used to raise funds for his many charities.

The family have had a limited set of prints of two of John's paintings produced - "Almost Home" a painting of the Matthew in the river near Pill, and "Spring on the Green" depicting Shirehampton Green.

Spring on the Green

John was a Treasurer for the Friends of Portway School, and was instrumental in raising funds, and became a trustee for their cottage in Wales. The family have donated the original painting and prints of the "Matthew" to the Portway Community School Charitable Trust to raise funds to maintain this valuable resource for the students of Portway School.

Almost Home

The cottage provides a base for a wide variety of outdoor activities including climbing, caving, orienteering and a place learn how to live without TV and central heating !

The painting of the green has been donated to St. Mary's Church to help raise funds for the maintenance of the building.

Both prints are expected to be sold for around 20.00 each and if a gift aid form is completed both charities will be able to claim back the tax. So please buy them for your self or as a gift, particularly for members of the community who may now be living away from Shirehampton.

At least two more limited prints of the High Street and a painting of the "Cockle Lady" will be printed in the coming months to raise more funds.

Copies of the prints are available from St. Mary's Church and Portway School. Contact Geoff Parsons on 07789 661921 for more information.