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Portway Academy

What’s On in February

Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association

Letters to the Editor

Cotswold Garages Shock

A Neighbourhood Partnership

Shirehampton Health Centre Opens at Last

St. Mary's News

Portway Academy

BRISTOL City Council has published plans to replace Portway Community School with an Academy, run by Oasis Community learning. During January there were a series of meetings from parents and the community, to explain proposals.

In order to change the status of Portway to an Academy, the law requires that Bristol City Council close the school as it currently is and open the new academy on the same site in September 2008. The law also require the City to consult on proposals and the dates of meetings were published on 21st December, the Friday before Christmas. The closing date for comments on them is 1st February. Any opportunity to comment will therefore have passed by the time you can read this article.

About 50 residents attended a meeting at the school on 8th January. Steve Chalke, the Chief Executive of Oasis Community Learning, explained that Oasis is a group of charities which since 1985 has worked in education, training, youth work, healthcare and housing around the world. Since last September they have run three academies in England and are likely to take on about 5 more for September this year.

Steve Chalke gave an impressive presentation, emphasising many positive features which Portway will have if Oasis takes it over. Most of these are no more and no less that people would hope that Bristol City Council would also have encouraged. When asked why Oasis could succeed where Bristol had failed, he emphasised the importance of strong leadership. Councillor John Bees, of Kingsweston Ward (part of the Portway catchment area) said Portway should offer the same standard of Education as other schools in Bristol and that it does not at present. Something needs to change and he supported the academy proposal.

Oasis would acquire a long lease of the school from Bristol. The City would retain a regulatory role and the school would revert to them if Oasis does not perform satisfactorily. HBG ltd, the private contractors will continue to operate the facility.

Many local groups have been very concerned about access to the school for community activities outside school hours. Such success has almost completely stopped since the move to the new buildings because of the high charges of HBG. SCAF and other groups have been campaigning to reduce these charges but the City Council has been unable to make progress because of the contract they signed with HBG.

Oasis has made a commitment to form much closer links between Portway and the local community. Steve Clarke intends to make it a centre for long life learning with access to fitness suites, sports facilities and provision for youth activities. The good news is that Oasis has negotiated a new contract with HBG, which will greatly reduce the charges for use of the facilities. Steve Chalke’s message groups was “please come back”.

When academies were first set up the sponsor had to inject £2 million into the school. The rules have now changed and this is not required for Portway. Oasis said they hope to set up a community endowment fund but gave o details of the source of funds, their amount or their use.

Many people asked questions and expressed views from the floor. Some people were strongly against the proposed academy. Paulette North, a former parent governor, though there was nothing in the Oasis proposals that the City could not do and that councillors had sold people down the river. However, another parent said that there were seven head teachers during the five years his son was at the school, that the local authority had, had its chance and that he supported the proposals.

The public consultation on the plan ends on 1st February. It emerged at the meeting that interviews for the new principal of the academy would take place in January. Members of the public were concerned that these were before the end of consultation on the principal of the academy. It is anticipated that the proposals will go to the City Cabinet in February, followed by a formal submission to the secretary of state. Final approval will be by the government and the full City Council.

Fuller details of the Academy can be found at

Vision for Shirehampton: Our Councillors Reply

At the end of the final part of our SCAF “Vision for Shirehampton” series last month we invited our two local Councillors, Spud Murphy (Cons.) and Terry Cook (Lab.), to give their reactions to the series, and tell us how they saw Shirehampton’s future.  We’re delighted that they have both taken up the challenge.

Cllr. Spud Murphy

I should like to thank SCAF for producing such a well-balanced series of articles, “the Vision for Shirehampton”.

I was first elected as your Councillor in 2001 as I wanted to DO things for the community in which I have lived all my life.  I regret that I was unsuccessful in my high profile campaigns to stop the closure of the Swimming Baths and the Robin Cousins Sports Centre.  Unfortunately, there are 69 other councillors, most of them from other political parties, and not enough supported me.

In Shirehampton, we have a vibrant shopping centre, the Public Hall and Library, popular pubs and easy access to green open spaces; we have more than some communities in Bristol but certainly not enough for the number of residents who live here.  Where Shirehampton is especially fortunate is in the nature and generosity of many local residents and businesses, and the strength of the churches and voluntary groups.  Shirehampton still has many shops where you can call in to buy goods and stop for a chat.

The new Shirehampton Health Centre and the new Avonmouth Children’s Centre will become focal points for local people, but what we especially need is recreational facilities: somewhere for our children to play safely, our youth to meet, and somewhere to ‘keep fit’.

I am campaigning to get some new play equipment in our parks.  New railings will be going up in Avonmouth Park in the New Year after I complained.  The Council has a lot of money that was given by developers for play equipment and open spaces in Shirehampton – I have asked for a full report on what money is sitting in the bank when it should be spent on local facilities.  Just imagine what the Lamplighters field could be like with some decent equipment, not to mention the other playgrounds.  We should all work together to get the play areas upgraded before next summer.

I should like to see skateboard facilities in Avonmouth Park so that our young people have somewhere to enjoy this sport safely. 

It is a disgrace that the Robin Cousins sports centre has been empty for so long.  I am putting a lot of pressure on the Council to get the sale completed so that the Centre can re-open and local residents can once again enjoy its facilities.  Since the closure, how much money has the Council spent on security of this site, clearing fly tipping, etc?  How I wish they had spent that sum on providing a cycle speedway track on the old tennis courts at the top of Park Hill.

Road safety is important and I am campaigning to get the pavement ‘continued’ at the top of Penpole Lane and also for a lighted crossing at the traffic lights at the junction of Kingsweston Avenue/Lower High Street.

What does make me cross is the anti-social behaviour in our community: the trashing of children’s play areas, the graffiti and litter.  Anti-social behaviour in Shirehampton is a big concern, and many people are afraid of going to the High Street once the shops have closed.  The Somerfield licence will be coming back to the Licensing Committee for consideration; thank you to residents have written to me so that I may be aware of their views.

In addition to the Licensing Committee, I am also on the Planning Committee.  I consider, carefully, the planning applications that come before the Committee and, vote accordingly.  I voted against the development on the Jubilee Allotments and in January we shall consider the expansion of the Portway Park and Ride.

I know that Councillors are regularly criticised for lack of action.  Unfortunately, we cannot perform miracles and I, too, get frustrated with the Council.  Many people contact me about small, local issues that concern them, and I deal with them, eg the ‘yellow brick road’ from the Lamplighters has recently been cut back after a resident complained to me that it was overgrown.  I have had problems with my emails but these are now resolved.

To conclude my contribution to this important debate on Vision for Shirehampton, I should like the community to continue to work together for the benefit of local residents and I should like the area to get a fair share of Council and Government resources.  It is important that everyone works together to build on the positive contribution made by so many individuals.

Cllr Spud Murphy

Cllr. Terry Cook

My vision for Shirehampton can be summed up in three words, safe, clean and proud.

Shirehampton should be a place where crime and the fear of crime does not dominate, a place where we all feel safe to live our lives.  I would welcome a greater number of Police Community Safety Officers in our area.  We also need to ensure that we do all we can to reduce the causes of crime, I would therefore welcome greater investment in local parks and sports groups and steps to reduce drug related crime (including alcohol).  Perhaps a review of Parks in a ‘pride in safe Shire’ campaign would be a good starting place.

Our village is that; a village.  The cleanliness of our village reflects our view of our community.  This does not just mean litter.  My view is that we have too many empty shop units and that means too many shops - perhaps we should consider a review of the future of our village centre.  A number of the communities around us have had community based clean ups – I think Shirehampton needs one to kick start a ‘pride in clean Shire’ campaign.

Shirehampton should be proud of its position as both village and vibrant suburb of a great city.  We have vibrant religious and social centres and many active social and community groups and perhaps most importantly many people who care about its future.  We need to face the problems we have but also be positive about what we do have and spend more time trumpeting what we have.  Sounds corny but a campaign around ‘I live in Shire and I’m proud of it!’ would do much to lift our community to even greater heights.

Finally can I thank SCAF for all the work and effort they put into our community and for kicking off this campaign.  But I would also like to challenge them.  You have asked in your open letter that both Spud and I make time to attend more meetings.  My problem is that, as well as a councillor I have to provide for my family and that means, like the majority of the population of Shirehampton working during the day.  This means that I along with the majority of residents of Shirehampton find day time meetings difficult.  My challenge to SCAF is that they consider evening or weekend meetings when I and the majority of Shirehampton residents can take an active part.

Terry Cook

Over to you...

...many of you have already commented on the issues raised in the series during the last few months.  We hope you will carry on with the debate.   Let’s make Shirehampton even greater than it is.

Volunteers Urgently Needed...

A person is needed to deliver Shire newspapers, in St Bernard's Road (Woodwell Road to Park Road) can anyone help please?  We needed another volunteer deliver for Chelwood Road.

The papers are brought to you each month for you to deliver to each house in the road, which takes about an hour each month.  If you can help, please telephone Pauline on 9826935.

If a volunteer cannot be found to deliver papers to each of these roads, your paper will have to be collected from the Library or Post Office.

Wall Charts

Have you seen the Wall Charts in the Library on a wide range of subjects – just the thing for young readers and very good value too – price £1.50 each.

Charity Collection

Mr Tony Garland would like to thank all his staff and customers who gave so generously for the Co-Op’s charity for 2007 The Children’s Society.  The amounts raised were as follows.  Sponsorship to see Tony (the legs) Garland dressed as Fred Flintstone £271.  Jenny’s famous bucket (what a star) £726.16.  Raffle £292 total £1,289.62.

Fantastic, but wait, not only did we have Tony’s (um legs), but we also had Nigel alias Frosty (the Noseman) sorry snowman.  Veronica as a snow queen, Carol as a Christmas Carol, Janet as an angel, the lovely elves, sexy Santa and all the others, again you did us proud.

Sandra White
Penpole Residents

. . . Thanks

We are sorry to be losing two of our delivery people, who have given many years’ service to the ‘Shire.’

We thank them all most sincerely for all their hard work and hope they have  well earned rest. Again, many thanks.

Shirehampton Methodist Bright Hour

Meet 1st and 3rd Monday of each month 2.30pm-3.30pm for various talks and tea and biscuits, ALL WELCOME, DO COME ALONG.  Our next meetings are 4 Feb and 18 Feb.  You will receive a warm welcome.

Many thanks to all who supported our Coffee Morning and Sale on 5 January, we raised £108 and it was lovely to see you all.  Our next Sale is Saturday 2 February, see you there!!


What’s On in February

Friday February 1st

  • FRIDAY FUN for parents, carers and pre-school children 9.30am-11am at the Beachley Walk Centre weekly.
  • EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 2pm-3pm weekly
  • BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30pm-8.30pm weekly
  • PILLOW LACE GROUP 7-9pm weekly at the Public Hall
  • SHIREHAMPTON AMATEUR RADIO CLUB 7.30-10pm weekly at T.S. Enterprise
  • COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10am-noon.
  • KEEP FIT weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30

Saturday February 2nd

  • BRING AND BUY Methodist Church Hall, 10am-12 noon.

Sunday February 3rd

  • COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE (led by the Baptist Church) Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45-5.30pm.

Monday February 4th

  • 3 OF US BINGO St Andrew’s Church, Church Hall weekly 1.45pm-2.45pm
  • KEEP FIT weekly at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30pm to 8.30pm
  • BASIC LITERARY SKILLS COURSE at Lawrence Weston weekly – Tel: 0117 9138824 for details
  • KYOTO SHOTOKHAN KARATE CLUB trains at St. Bernard’s School weekly 6.30-8.30pm
  • DROP-IN ADVICE CENTRE AUS Community Association at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Avonmouth weekly 9.30-11.30am sponsored by St Andrew’s Church
  • TOT STOP for under 5s at St Mary’s weekly 1.15pm-2.45pm.

Tuesday February 5th

  • Shrove Tuesday - PANCAKE DAY at St Mary’s  Serving Pancakes from 10am - 12 noon.
  • THE BOBBY VAN on the Green
  • SHIREHAMPTON CRAFT GROUP 2pm - 3.30pm at Avonside District Guide HQ St Mary’s Road. For information tel 983192

Wednesday February 6th

  • Ash Wednesday, 1st Day of Lent
  • Beginning of St Mary’s LENT COURSE 7pm-9pm every Wednesday in Lent including March 12th.

February 6th starts with Supper then Complin. If you would like to attend, please sign your name on the list at the back of the church.

  • ACTA Community Youth Theatre for 11-16s weekly at the Public Hall 5-6.30pm
  • KEEP FIT weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30-11.30am for those with some movement experience.

Thursday February 7th

  • TOWNSWOMEN’S GUILD 2-4pm Methodist Church Hall
  • KICK BOXING weekly at the Public Hall 5.15-7.15pm
  • STROKE SUPPORT every Thursday at the PBA Club Nibley Road 1.30-4pm
  • SLIMMING WORLD weekly at Jim O’Neill House 5.30pm & 7pm
  • GRAINGER PLAYERS DRAMA CLUB weekly at the Public Hall 7.30-9.30pm
  • KYOTO SHOTOKHAN KARATE CLUB trains at Avonmouth FRC weekly 6.30-8.30pm

Wednesday  February 13th

  • WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP at the Public Hall.
  • WOMEN’S BRIGHT HOUR at the Baptist Church, Station Road 2.30-3.30pm

Sunday February 17th

  • COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE led by Baptist Church 4.45-5.30pm

Monday February 18th

  • LOCAL HISTORY GROUP meet at 2.20pm in the Library.

Tuesday  February 19th - Third Tuesday

  • PBA Retired Employees Assoc at PBA Club, Nibley Road 1.30pm-3.30pm ‘A walk through the heart of England’ with old friends Jan and David Fullman.

Wednesday February 20th

  • ST ANDREW’S  LADIES CLUB meet 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Avonmouth,
  • PANCAKE PARTY at St Mary’s including a Pancake race.
  • SHIREHAMPTON STITCHERS at the Public Hall 7.30pm
  • WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP at the Public Hall 9.30pm.

Thursday February 21st

  • CARERS GROUP at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-noon
  • CARERS GROUP at Ridingleaze House, Lawrence Weston 2pm

Saturday February 23rd

  • 10am-4pm at Trinity College STOKE BISHOP. QUIET DAY led by Martin and Cesca Cavender. Lunch provided.

Sunday February 24th

  • HOLY COMMUNION 10am at St Mary’s. Preacher Martin Cavender

Thursday February 28th

  • DIABETES UK 7.30pm at the Penpole Tenants Association Hall

Friday February 29th

  • SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road

Additional Local Activities

  • 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 TS Enterprise, Station Road


Free. Improve your English; computers and communication; art and communication; help with your maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 31125530

BUMPS & RHYME for babies and toddlers every Monday 11.20-11.40am followed by Storey Time 12 noon - 12.15pm at the Library


Avonmouth site for waste and re-cycling open 8am-4.15pm Monday to Saturday until March 30th.

Reply from What's On Author

Apologies to the Craft Group for misnaming them.  Strange as it might seem the items listed in the ‘What’s On’ are not figments of my imagination, but facts gleaned from information supplied by Shire readers.  If you belong to a club or group, who would like to be included in the monthly ‘What’s On’ just get the details into the Library in an envelope marked Shire by the 10th of the month.

St. Mary's Church Craft Group

St Mary’s Church Craft Group meet every Tuesday between 2pm and 3.30pm.  We are a small group who enjoy each others company but would welcome others to help with crochet, sewing, knitting, jewellery making or any craft.  You don’t need to be an expert, if you are we would appreciate your expertise or just help us to raise funds for our beloved Church.  The items we make are sold at church fayres.

I spoke to your Vice Chairman on the telephone and asked her to amend the notice in Shire News by inserting for a Tuesday, St Mary’s Craft Group meet between 2pm and 3.30pm.  All are welcome, not THE CRAFTY GROUP as previously published.

Jill Gillard

Leader of the Craft Group

Carols on the Green

Christmas Eve was fine and mild and a good crowd gathered on the green for the annual half hour of carols. I knew that there would probably be a record number present as beforehand I went round the village, trying to gather spare copies of ‘Shire’ for those who had forgotten to bring theirs with them. There were hardly any left at the places where piles of the paper were located.

The Rev. David Alderman, the Methodist minister kept the proceedings going, interspersed with short stories, sometimes humorous between the carols. Mr Phil Sims came over from Chepstow to conduct the Bristol band. Colin Chidgey lent and erected platform for the M.C and looked after and made the amplifiers and lights work. The kind family on the green let us plug in to their electricity. Everyone joined in the singing and wished Shirehampton a Merry Christmas, it was a very happy occasion and teamwork made it all possible. Thank you to all for coming.

In the spring the Rev. David Alderman will be leaving his present churches for fresh fields and new pastures, we all wish him the best of luck and thank him for making our local tradition a very memorable one.

Photos by Simon Archer

Christmas Lights

The cost of putting up the lit trees was over £50 each, so please be generous with your donations into the tins as we do need the money.

We had to put up a smaller display this time but we compensated by having improved tree lights which are environmentally friendly with very low consumption of electricity.

Most people liked the new lights and we are pleased that people enjoyed them.

I would like to thank Derek Jones and David Lloyd for their help taking the lights off the trees.  The traders were very helpful and Lee and Ashley were a tower of strength.  Thank you all for your donations.

Cedric Rich

Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association

The AGM will be held on Monday 10 March 2008 at 7.30pm in The George Inn, by kind permission of the landlord.  All are welcome to come and learn more about what we do and, we hope to work with us in the future to keep up the high standards Shire folk have come to expect from their Christmas lights.

Puppets with a Purpose

There was a novel approach to telling the Christmas story at Shirehampton Baptist Church during December’s celebration. Keynsham-based signpost puppet theatre, full of characters strongly reminiscent of the Muppets and Sesame Street and zany humour to match, delighted children and adults as they brought home the secret of true giving.

With professional production standards and immaculate timing, the puppeteers’ whimsical tale of a little boy on Christmas Eve who floated away on a torrent of snowflakes from a travel souvenir and discovered an island where strangely incomplete presents were given, but the love behind them made them valued and enjoyed. Spiced with up-beat music from the puppet musicians, the evening left nothing but smiles on the faces on the audience and a new slant on Christmas in their hearts.

Hanging Baskets

Good news! So far 39 traders in the High Street, Station Road and Pembroke Road have promised to contribute towards the cost of hanging baskets in Shirehampton next summer.  This information will be presented to the next meeting of the Area Housing Committee.

One High Street business spends £240 each summer on its own floral display.  Good for you sir!


Recycling Christmas Cards

Do you often wonder whether recycling cards is worth the effort?  The Woodland Trust last year as a result collected 92 million cards for recycling.

In January this year their Christmas card collecting boxes were put in branches of Tesco, TK Max, WH Smith and Marks & Spencer.  The target the Woodland Trust hopes to collect is 100 million cards, so I hope you have already taken yours along, I don’t know how long the collecting boxes will be in the shops.


Tesco Sports Vouchers

Have you noticed that St Bernard’s School are collecting these vouchers towards sports equipment, so if you haven’t a person of school age to collect for, why not donate your Tesco vouchers if you have any to swell the collection at St Bernards.

26th Anniversary

The Rev John Smith, who was Vicar of St Mary’s then and Fred Gould, the then Chairman of Avon University Settlement started ‘SHIRE’ in February 1972.

We maybe the oldest freebee community publication in Bristol.  It says a great deal for the community spirit of Shirehampton and for the local traders who have supported ‘SHIRE’ that we have survived for 36 years.  Thank you.

Letters to the Editor

King's Jubilee

Dear Editor

Re: Newman the Butcher’s saga, and all the stories relating to Bradley Crescent, the picture enclosed maybe of some interest.  It features the street in all its glory celebrating the King’s Jubilee.

The lad on the left proudly wearing his very first long trousers in Derek Johns, his father was the Grocer, whose shop is the one behind him flying the Union Jack. I am next to Derek and my father’s shoe shop, number 18, is next to it with the curved shop window, standing by me is Alec Dunlop with Derek’s step sister in front sucking her thumb.  There were six shops, far left a greengrocer, then Bolches fish and chips, Wiltshire’s Boot and Shoe, Johns Grocery, the drapers Miss Coats and Miss Bowers then the Butchers, Newmans Jack had three sons and daughter Edwina, John the oldest, Trevor and Robin the youngest, who has been very ill with I believe ‘Parkinsons’ – we were all the closest of friends and all proud to be Portway schoolboys.

Vic Wiltshire

Thank You

Dear Editor

May I send my compliments to the two young men who gave me leave to board the 902 Park and Ride bus to Bristol on Saturday 5 January at 12.45, when they were before me in the queue.

One hears about the unsociable behaviour of some young folk in our area, but credit is due to the many young folk who understand and naturally show an acceptable standard of thoughtful and courteous behaviour.  Current dress and fashion may be daunting to older people, but as an old lady, I have learnt that one should not judge a book by its cover.

Attwood Drive Allotments

Dear Editor

Please can you print the article below about Attwood Drive Allotments in Lawrence Weston.  The allotment site hasn’t been used fully for a very long time, giving the impression that it just looks like waste ground.  On 15 November plot holders got together and formed an association.  Since then little changes have started to happen and there’s more of a positive attitude amongst the plot holders.  We have just won our first funding award, as detailed in the attached document.  One of our aims is promote the site as much as possible, letting the community know that it’s a great place to be at, it doesn’t look that good at the moment, but everyone who is working their plot, is in fact making a difference and the more people who take on plots the bigger the difference will make.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me:

Alison Keeler, 13 Knovill Close Lawrence Weston Bristol. Tel:  07852539378

Tot Stop

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the work you all do in producing Shire. Please can I ask that a note is made that the pre-school group run at St. Mary’s church on a Monday afternoon for babies/toddlers and their parent/carers has not been called see and know for a very long while. Its now called TOTSTOP.

With many thanks and good wishes

Anne Ford (chair of the Youth Committee – St. Mary’s Church

Avonmouth St Andrews Football Club 1945-46

Dear Editor,

My name is Graham Weekes. As a child during the war and until 1957 I lived at 20 Meadow Grove. I believe Mr Pepworth (who always supplied the photograph) also lived in the same road. My recollection was Avonmouth always played in white shirts and black shorts and not strips as in the picture.

I recall just after the end of the war a German POW team playing Avonmouth and hundreds of POW’s watching the game with the Germans winning 5-0. Roy Bentley, whose parents lived at 39 Meadow Grove and was to later play for England, Often visited his parents. I would often acquire his autograph. He sent me all his Chelsea team mates’ autographs as well.

Before moving to playing fields in West Town Lane the rugby and football pitched were based behind no 60 Meadow Grove. The war years I was at Shire School and I remember the air raid shelter at the back of the playground near the cemetery. I was in the 153 cub pack at the end of Barrowhill Crescent and later the 191 pack run by Queenie Chard.

On V E night a bonfire was lit on the site that was to become council offices on the corner of Meadow Grove.  We as children were given games and other items by American Servicemen and recall Kenny Green, a boy older than the others, suggesting we bury them and come back later. Needless to say, on returning they were gone. I have some class photographs I will email to you later if I can dig them out. I wonder how many still live in the village. If anyone recalls me I would like to hear from them. My Telephone number is 01373 464363, or email me at

Avonmouth St Andrews FC was managed at that time by a stout man who ran a shoe repair business on the corner of Barracks Lane. He would display the team sheets in the window of his shop.

The houses behind Meadow Grove were allotments during the war years. watling Way was named after a man called Josser Watling who played football for Avonmouth before he became a Rovers Player.

Graham Weekes

About John S. Harford

Dear Editor,

In your December edition there was a query on John S Harford. A little internet searching shows that he was the original builder and owner of Blaise Castle House and was also Lord of the Manor of Lampeter and presumably lived at Peterwell which is on the outskirts of the town.

I’m sure one of the local historians is aware of this but it sounds an interesting story and might be worth and article sometime.

My mother Elsie Haggerty, wife of Jim, the foundation caretaker at Avon School had ancestral family on her mother’s side (Palmer) who worked on the Blaise and Kingsweston estates. Elsie’s mother was born in Lawrence Weston Lane in 1881.

If any other members of the family have any information on the family I would love to hear from them. I have gathered quite a bit but anything more would be welcome.

Elsie is still alive at 94 and in a rest home in Weston-super-Mare.

A J (Tony) Haggerty

The Crebers

Dear Editor

A million to one chance finding had prompted me to write this letter.  While clearing out an old friend’s house I came across the back page of the February 2007 edition of Shire (No. 421).  The back page is titled ‘The Crebers’.  On reading this short article I realized it contains a missing part of my family’s history which was never ever talked about.  In the photograph is my mother (top row, third from the left) who would have been 20/21 years old at the time, she is Eileen Creber.

I would like to contact anyone (in particular Mr Ferndown who wrote the article) who might be able to shed some light on the Creber side of my family which is a complete blank sheet.

Paul Bradshaw

Shirehampton Model Railway Club

A bit late but Happy New Year to you all this is just a few lines to let everyone know that Shirehampton Model Railway Club will be holding an open day on Saturday 23 February at the public hall.  Both club layouts will be on show some of the members own models will also be on show.  We have various other tables such as show you how, members will be on hand to answer your questions about the club and railway modelling in general.  Entry will be free (but all donations will be gratefully received).  Refreshments will be on sale so do please come along and have a look and see what we get up to.  Hope to see as many of you that have time to pop along, after all what can you get free these days, so happy modelling or whatever keeps you going and out of the madhouse.

Have a good day and a better one tomorrow.

Tony Davies Hon Sec Shirehampton MRC

Tel: 0117 9094915



Last month we reported that Mrs Jean Nurse lost a bracelet of great sentimental value after a fall when out walking along Kings Weston Lane.  We now learn that the incident occurred in West Town Road and Jean is still hoping a kind finder will return the bracelet.

Forthcoming Event

Sunday March 12th MOTHERING SUNDAY 10am Holy Communion at St Mary’s. No KIDS CLUB this Sunday.


How do you keep your place in a book?  Do you use attractive bookmarks?  Do you use photographs?  Have you left them in your book?

We have quite a collection of bookmarks which have been left in books – some of which may have a special meaning e.g. one for Dad.

Despite having them on display behind the counter no one has yet claimed them – could they be yours?

One of the photographs found in a library book

We have also had some photographs left in books and as some of them are quite old photos they could well be irreplaceable.  They have messages on the back, being from Carole Ann and the third says it is on ‘Barry Sands’.  It would be so very nice to get then back to their rightful owners.

Evergreens Day Trips 2008

8 April Taunton
13 May Abergavenny Market & Abbey Mill for cream tea
7 June Holiday in Eastbourne (7 days)
8 June Paignton and train to Dartmouth and back
5 August Moreton-in-Marsh and Burton-on-the-Water
9 September Weymouth
7 October Tenby
4 November Clarks Village

All non members of the Evergreens Club can book for the trips.  We organize these trips so anyone can have a day out with their friends, it a community based idea.

The holiday to Eastbourne must have names and deposit by 20 February.  Call in at the Public Hall Friday afternoons between 1pm-5pm.  Deposit is £40.

For day trip ring 938 1725.

Cotswold Garages Shock

Council garages tenants on the Cotswold estate received an unwelcome Christmas mail delivery when eviction notices dropped through their letterboxes.  Telling them to remove their cars by 14 January, the notices came only six days after a letter informing them that the Council’s Garage Strategy Project Team had identified their site as one to be sold for housing development, but soothingly adding ‘this process will obviously take some time’.

The suddenness of the move and the timing over the Christmas period left very little opportunity to make any kind of response.  Residents who do not rent garages but whose properties are directly affected, some of them even having garage walls as their garden boundaries, had even less notice, as the Council had not contacted them at all, and they only came to know of the radical changes about to be imposed on their properties through neighbours telling them.

Christmas holidays notwithstanding, letters were sent by concerned residents to the Council department, and local councillors Spud Murphy and Terry Cook were contacted by a number of people.  Not only were the garage tenants and householders of affected properties upset, but other residents too, as the implications of replacing garages with housing sunk in: more cars on the already crowded streets, and a loss of the characteristic ‘garden city’ openness of the Cotswold.

Both councillors have worked to try and get the decision reversed, and on 7 January, Terry Cook was able to ring with the partial glad news that the eviction orders had been rescinded with the exception of the Nibley Road garages by the Woodwell Road Bridge.  That site is already in the process of being sold to a developer.

The danger is not over for the other garages.  The rescinding is not an abandoning of the intent, but to allow more time to review the situation.  Councillor Cook is endeavouring to set up a meeting between affected residents and the Garage Strategy Project Team to show the latter the unsuitability of the small garage sites for development, and hopefully persuade them to drop the idea as far as the Cotswold is concerned.  By the time you read this the meeting will have taken place.

What is the ‘Garage Strategy Project Team’?  A visit to the Council website produces no information.  In fact, typing ‘garages’ into its search engine will produce a number of links happily telling the enquirer how to apply for a garage.  There seems to be nothing to tell the would be tenant that his tenancy could be abruptly ended very soon.

Further enquiries reveal that the Garage Strategy Project was set up about five or six years ago, but has been fairly dormant until now.  But a combination of the need for cash and the need to meet the government’s new housing targets have led to a new earnestness to identify so called ‘wind-fall’ sites where small housing projects can be put into vacant spaces, and part of that is finding derelict council garages across the city.  But the Cotswold garages are certainly not derelict.  On the contrary, some people have waited years to be given a vacant one, and many have tried to buy their garages, but have been refused.  This leads to the suspicion that the strategy is not to make the best use of the garages at all, but to sell them for development.


A Neighbourhood Partnership

THE first meeting of a new Neighbourhood Partnership took place at the public hall, on 9th January. There was a good turnout of local people. The Partnership is one of a series being rolled out across Bristol. The partnerships are intended to give local people more say in influencing decisions made by the City Council and other public authorities.

Our partnership will cover Avonmouth and Kingsweston Wards and includes Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston, Sea Mills and Avonmouth. Our councillor Terry Cook chaired the meeting. Both Kingsweston councillor, John Bees and Judith Price, were present, but our councillor Spud Murphy was unable to attend.

This meeting was an initial introduction to the partnership. Terry Cook began by emphasising that it was not intended to get in the way of existing community group, but to be of mutual help to residents, groups and the council. He said that they do not yet know what they want to get out of it, but need to know what local people want.

Andrew McGrath a council officer gave presentation outlining the current thinking on the form of the partnerships. He said they are a way for local communities to have a greater say in the way services are delivered in their communities. He described a 3 way triangle, giving a Mechanism for local people to raise and discuss local issues with service providers and crucially with councillors. It will give the local community more of a say face-to-face with service providers and allow local agendas and priorities to be set alongside other broader priorities. It is a long term commitment, reinforced by legislation currently being enacted.

Cheryl Coles, from safer Bristol Partnership, talked about the benefits of existing community safety groups, including the Shirehampton one run by SCAF and chaired by the Police. A similar group has now been set up in Sea Mills.

Topics the partnership would consider would be decided by local residents, these might include fly tipping, anti-social behaviour, parks and green spaces, community facilities. Rubbish collections and youth provision, David Thomas pointed out that in Shirehampton the community action forum (SCAF) already addressed all of these topics through its action groups. However, he welcomed the opportunity that the partnership might give to involve local councillors more closely in these areas.

There was then a lively question and answer session. Questions ranged from specific issues, some of which the relevant councillor offered to consider in more detail after the meeting, to queries on how the partnership will work.

During an interactive session each participant was asked to consider half a dozen areas and select the one most important one of them, these areas included provision for older people, for young people, housing, planning issues and others. Participants were invited to add comments to flip charts expanding their concerns. Councillors and officers will study these responses before the next meeting.

Terry Cook concluded the meeting by inviting everyone present and all other interested residents to a follow-up meeting. This will be on Thursday 6th March at 6:30pm at Weston Park School. That meeting will consider how to address the priorities identified at the first meeting. It will also start to consider the constitution, terms of reference and membership of partnership.

Children’s Play Areas: MP’s Good News

In a front page article last month we lamented the woeful state of Shirehampton’s Play areas for children. In the inside pages we carried a further piece from Shirehampton Primary School highlighting the “appalling state” of Springfield Avenue Park, making it too dangerous to use.

Even as the two articles were being printed, as press release was on the way to Shire from local MP Doug Naysmith giving good news of a transformation of this sad situation through the Governments Children’s plan, which will make available the money needed to bring this about.

Mr Naysmith says: “Play is a vital part of children growing up, developing, learning and exploring and I want to see more good quality facilities where children can play safely. I will be asking local parent where new play facilities are needed or where existing ones need to be upgraded – so that our community can come together and start bidding for the new funding announced in the Children’s Plan.”

Doug Naysmith MP discussing the new Children's Plan with Minister Ed Balls MP during his visit to Bristol

“And I also want new things to do and places to go for young people in our area. This could include facilities sport, music, drama or art – but it will be down to young people themselves to shape what’s provided. So I want to hear from young people and the local community about what facilities they would like to see and start putting together our plans.”

“I want us to make the most of the new investment and make the Children’s plan a reality in our area”

The Children’s Plan announced £225 million to build or upgrade 3,500 play areas across the country – an average of 23 in every local authority. £160 million will be available over the next two years for new youth facilities, which will be shaped by young people themselves.

The hope of all Shirehampton young people (and their parents) must be that this money materialises in new facilities and the improvement of existing ones: the feeling of many residents is that it is overdue after years of neglect and loss of amenities.

Obituary - Marie Lloyd Morris 1913-2008

Many people in Shirehampton will recall Marie Morris when she was a piano teacher in Avonmouth and will be sad to hear that she died in Frenchay Hospital on Friday 4th January aged 94.

Marie’s parents moved to Avonmouth from North Wales In 1908 and as a Welsh speaking family were pleaded to find rooms with the Edwards, another Welsh speaking family in Napier Road. Marie was born in 1913 in King Street. They also lived in Cook Street and Richmond Terrace before settling in Avonmouth Road at the Start of World War 2 in a newly built house, where Marie remained for the rest of her life. Marie was very happy in Avonmouth quoting her mother’s sentiments that ‘Avonmouth’s been good to us’.

Marie was a member of the Congregational church from the days of the round Chapel in King Street and joined the Band of Hop as a child. Her love of music was encouraged by the musical tradition of the church.

She became a piano teacher and got to know many local families often teaching several generations of the same family she had a great fondness for her ‘lovely pupils’ and many of them returned the sentiment, happily greeting her when she was out and about and catching up on news.

Marie was a very modest and humble person and anyone performing a small act of kindness for her knew it was highly appreciated. It is a credit to her as a person that, in her final years with no family close by, friends and neighbours were on hand to help and care for her

Miss Marie Lloyd Morris of Avonmouth

I think it would be of interest to many of your readers to know of the death of my friends Miss Marie Lloyd Morris aged 94 years. She had so many friends around the local area and perhaps some may not be aware of her sad passing. She passed away on the 4th January 2008 and her funeral was on the Tuesday 22nd January at St. Andrews church Avonmouth.

Marie taught many people to play the piano, in fact in some cases three generations in a family. She was very well known, having lived in her house on Avonmouth Road since it was built in 1935 and before that in Richmond Terrace. A lovely lady who enjoyed meeting people whenever she was in Shirehampton, she always met someone to chat to and so enjoyed that.

Marie will be sadly missed by all her friends and neighbours and I am sure people for her Tuesday lunch club in Shirehampton, Marie used to say going there was the highlight of her week.

Yours truly, Doreen Boon

Man Dies After Assault in Avonmouth

Darren Jones, 34, died on Friday 4th January 2008 at Frenchay hospital. He had been admitted to hospital in the early hours of New Year’s Day after being assaulted outside the Avonmouth working men’s club, Napier Square, Avonmouth.  He underwent surgery but sadly died.

A post-mortem was undertaken but further expert examination will now take place to try to establish the exact cause of death.  The initial assault had not been reported to police, who were alerted to the incident by Mr Jones’ family on the day of his death.

Darren Jones (pictured above) was a father of two daughters, aged six and 11 months.  He worked as a forklift driver/warehouseman in Avonmouth.  His family are asking for time to come to terms with his death.

A 27 year old man from Weston-super-Mare has been arrested in connection with the assault and has been bailed pending further enquiries. Anyone who can help contact Bristol CID on 0845 456 7000 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Calls to Crimestoppers could lead to a reward.

Mrs. Ethel Thomas

We hear that local historian, Mrs Ethel Thomas of Avonmouth has recently been ill and had a spell in Southmead Hospital. We would like to wish Mrs Thomas a good recovery. In the past she had sent Shire many articles of local interest and photographs to go with them.

The Severnside Alarm

This is to alert everyone in the area oif an industrial accident/incident in Avonmouth. The Siren is tested on the 3rd day of every month at 3pm you hear it the, all is well!!

If you hear it at any other time/any other date - go indoor and stay indoors, tune in to local radio stations. Radio Bristol 94.9 & 95.5 FM, 1546 GWR AM GWR 96.3 FM for further information.

Kingsweston House

I wonder if, in the interests of accuracy, you could make it clear in the next issue of Shire that John Hardy is the leaseholder of Kingsweston House and not its owner. The quote from him in the article on page 4 of the current issue should me “…when I was able to acquire its lease.”  Mr Hardy may have done wonderful things at the house, but he doesn’t own it. That honour and privilege still belongs to the City and citizens of Bristol.

Yours sincerely and with best wishes for 2008

Mrs S.M Adam

The Port of Bristol Retired Employees Association

City and Port of Bristol Sports and Social Club, Nibley Road, Shirehampton

We meet on the third Tuesday of the month, except in December when we meet on the second Tuesday.  The Club is open from 12 noon for members to meet and have a snack/drink before the meeting.

Programme for 2008

  • 19 February: A walk through the heart of England with old friends Jan and Dave Fullman
  • 18 March: David and Eunice Elsbury take us through The Memorable Decade of the 1950s
  • 15 April: Annual General Meeting and spring lunch
  • 20 May: Mrs Jean Routley relates The Story of the Royal Edward Dock
  • 17 June: Thank You Doctor with Mrs Susan Marshfield
  • 15 July: Working with Police Horses with Mr Gary White
  • 19 August: The Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre at Highbridge with its Founder Pauline Kidner
  • 16 September: Terry Merrett Smith returns to talk about the Dance Bands in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s
  • 21 October: An Edwardian Christmas with Mrs Yvonne Bell
  • 18 November: The Bristol Blitz – November 1940 with Mr Peter Goodchild
  • 9 December: Christmas celebrations

If you need advice on any Welfare matter, including pensions and finances, or you know of another PBA Pensioner in need of help, please contact our Welfare Officer, Clive Seward on 07791239483 (mobile)

School Term and Holiday Dates 2008

Term 3 - Thursday 3 January to Friday 15 February 2008

Term 4 - Monday 25 February to Friday 4 April 2008

Term 5 - Monday 21 April to Friday 23 May 2008

Term 6 - Monday 2 June to Friday 25 July 2008

Please note that the Easter bank holidays will form a long weekend within Term 4 and not part of the subsequent two week holiday.

Celebrating Art at Avon Primary

Children in Year 3 at Avon Primary School have been selected to take part in a nationwide project called ‘Portrait of a Nation’.  Artist Gloria Ojulari Sule has been working with the children to make an enormous banner which will be shown at the up-coming City of Culture celebrations in Liverpool.

All the children had a chance to think about what is special about living in Shirehampton and contribute to the colourful collage.  Local artist, Simon Gurr, worked with Y3 to produce comics about their adventures in the local area and the class worked on poetry and drama with Fiona Hamilton.

Shirehampton Health Centre Opens at Last

AFTER 15 months in our rather nice but cramped portacabins, the group practise and all their work colleagues who share the building have moved into our brand new health centre.

We are delighted to have the additional space, meaning that all the clinicians can have a room to call their own as well as the opportunity to bring more services into the community. We hope you like the colour scheme and the feeling of light and space as much as we do! Our unusually shaped waiting room is managed with the use of shelf check-in systems and information/patient call screens. Our reception area works differently from before with the “meet and greet” service on the ground floor but telephone answering and clerical duties all taking place upstairs. This is good for confidentiality and will help efficiency.

Of course we still have much to do – maintenance deliveries were rather held up over the festive period but by the time you read this, we hope that much of it will be completed. The design on the building was built around particular principles which we hope will make us work as efficiently and effectively as we can in such a large area. These include:

  • All GP services are held on the ground floor
  • In time, all appointments including those for podiatry, midwifery and visiting consultants will be computerised so that the self check-in system can be used to reduce queuing at reception
  • Health promotion information will be shown on the electric information boards and we can tailor it to specific groups of patients.
  • Prescriptions can be collected direct from local pharmacies to avoid having to call into the Health Centre

Our aim is to host health-related private services in our own rooms, making this building a truly beneficial community resource. If you have any particular ideas for what services you would like to be based in Shirehampton, please let us know. We hope the suggestion box will be in place by now! But if not just let me or one of the receptionists have your ideas and comments. We are also due to do our “patient Satisfaction survey” the one we are required to undertake as part of the new GP contract – please use that opportunity to make comments about how you would like to see the new building work for you.

The move, which happened with no major hiccups and little disruption to our GP services, would not have been possible without your help and patience. We were sustained by the many gifts of chocolates, biscuits and wine you were generous enough to provide, although January will see the start of many diets in the health centre! We are also very grateful to St Mary’s church for kindly providing all staff working on Saturday 15th December with a superb lunch. In addition, the patient participation all staff group decorated the lovely Christmas Trees in reception and staff room enabling us all to enjoy the colour co-ordinated baubles!

Thanks to all

Carole Brooke Practice manager

Shirehampton Group Practice

0117 916 2225

Shire Library News Bump and Rhyme

Songs and Rhymes for babies and toddlers.  Now every Monday 11.20 – 11.40am.  Followed by STORYTIME for the under fives  12.00 to 12.15

Stamp and Postcard Fair 2008

Shirehampton Public Hall, Shirehampton, Bristol

  • Saturday 22 March
  • Saturday 21 June
  • Saturday 16 August
  • Saturday 15 November
  • Saturday 20 December

Free parking and entry.

For enquiries call Kevin on 0117 9021134

Bristol Prize 2008 Short Story Competition

The Bristol Review of Books is delighted to announce the inaugural Bristol Short Story Prize.  The competition is open to writers of all ages and all nationalities.  Entries must be previously unpublished and can be on any subject or theme.  The entry fee is £7 per story.  The maximum length of entries is 3,000 words.

  • Cash Prizes: 1st £300  2nd £200  3rd £100
  • Judging panel includes Sara Davies (Executive Producer, Radio 4) and Joe Spurgeon, (Editor of Venue Magazine).
  • The 20 short listed finalists will be invited to an awards evening hosted by Waterstones in Bristol when the winners will be announced.
  • The 20 finalists will have their work published in the first Bristol Short Story Prize anthology.
  • The three winners will also have their stories published in the Bristol Review of Books.

The deadline for entries is 31 March, 2008.

To enter, complete the form in the Bristol Review of Books issue 4 or download the entry form from:

Good News at Attwood Drive Allotments Association

We have been awarded an "O2, It's Your Community" Award

O2 have launched ‘It’s Your Community’ to help provide funding for projects designed to improve local communities throughout the UK.  Awards up to £1,000 are available to local groups and individuals for the hire of tools or equipment, and to purchase plants, paint, signs, materials etc.

Attwood Drive Allotments in Lawrence Weston is an allotment site with great potential; the site is mapped out to have 63 plots of which only 19 are rented.  A portacabin, compost bay, compost toilet and fabulous apple orchard already exist amongst the vacant plots, but its appearance is disappointing and after a long period of being disused the site is looking very grim.

In October, a plot holder applied, as an individual for landscaping asking for £500 to help towards clearing the allotment site with machinery either brought or hired.  The plot holder wanted to show other plot holders that, we can make a difference and this money will certainly help to do that.  After receiving the good news, Bristol City Council’s Allotment Manager agreed to match the funds awarded.  With this, arrangements will be made with a BTCV Avon Project Officer, to come to the allotment site and help with further clearance.

To celebrate the award, Attwood Drive Allotments Association held their very first event on Saturday 19 January 2008.  A workshop, on pruning fruit trees was held within the Apple Orchard.

Contact details for the site rep:

Tel: 07852539378

Start Preparing for Cabot Circus Jobs in 2008

THE £500 million Cabot Circus development will open in Autumn this year, offering more than 100 new shops, an exciting mix of new restaurants, a 13-screen cinema, more than 270 new homes, office space, and a 150 bed hotel.

But before it opens, over 4,000 full and part time Cabot Circus jobs need to be filled.  There will be a huge range of flexible positions on offer from retail and administration, to catering, leisure, tourism and security.  This is a fantastic opportunity for people throughout Bristol.

Cabot Circus Jobs is a partnership between West at Work and the Bristol Alliance.  This partnership has been working with organizations across the city make sure that a wide variety of advice and training is available to help local people prepare for the Cabot Circus recruitment phase later this year.

Although West at Work is focusing on Neighbourhood Renewal Areas, Shirehampton residents can also gain access to training and other opportunities to improve their skills, aimed at making them ready for the recruitment phase.

Free confidence and image building training, first-step learning, and more specialized retail skills training courses will be run over the coming months, at established community organizations and facilities across the city.  Information about training and Cabot Circus Jobs will be available at all local Job Centres, recruitment fairs, community venues and events or anywhere that you see the ‘Cabot Circus Jobs’ logo.  The Cabot Circus Jobs bus will also be touring the city from February to provide information about current training opportunities and the future jobs available and how to apply.

Cabot Circus Jobs

Share in the success that Cabot Circus is bringing to Bristol and visit the Cabot Circus website at: to find out more.

For more information about the training and support opportunities available in your area, please contact:

Lawrence Weston Information and Resource Centre, 50 Ridingleaze Lawrence Weston Bristol

Telephone:  0117 982 5414.  Email:

Forget Me Not ... Remembering Loved Ones at St. Mary’s

Many members of our community have attended our Annual Memorial Service and Remembrance Services at St. Mary’s each year. They have been special times as together we have given thanks for those who have loved and lost.

All bereavements are painful and life changing but for families who have suffered an untimely death the grief journey is particularly hard. Suicide, road traffic and other accidents, drug or alcohol overdoses, murder, miscarriage, cot death, the death of a young child or an adult in the prime of life all leave us struggling with the question WHY  When other bereaved families have come to terms with their loss, people in this situation can feel that the world has passed them by as their particular grief and the enormous cost of their pain and suffering linger on and threaten to overwhelm, even many years later.

On Saturday 15th March at 4pm in church there will be a memorial service especially for survivors of untimely death…whether recently or long ago. Do you think about joining us for this special time of remembrance which will be suitable for young and old, family, friends and neighbours.

Do tell others who may be interested, for all are welcome.  If you would like to know more please check our website  Or email  Or telephone 0117 9077026

Canon Christine Froude

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks

Here we are into February again – a month which older folk don’t seem to like as I often hear them say – ‘Get February out of the way with all its colds, coughs and diseases and we can start to look forward to the arrival of Spring!’  This is so true, also we can see the nights gradually drawing out as each day passes and lighting up time’ gets a few minutes later each evening.

Well, talking about misfortunes hitting St Mary’s during 2007, no sooner had the ink dried on my last set of notes then we were hit again!  Believe it or not we were burgled during Christmas night/Boxing Day morning.  Once inside the church the intruders broke into the Church Office and stole a small amount of petty cash.  Like the theft of the lead – the amount stolen – was far less than the cost of the damage to repair the point of entry and the Church Office Door!  However, it does mean that the Church will be involved in spending a considerable amount of unnecessary money on up-grading and revising the Alarm System to satisfy the requirements of our Insurers and to give us relative peace of mind when the building is unoccupied.  Would all thieves, rogues, vagabonds please read this STOP PRESS NOTICE – we had no lead on our roof, we keep no large sums of money on the premises and no small amounts of money to distribute to the poor if they need it – because you are nicking it!  You’ve had it all! I therefore appeal to all of you to yet again keep an eye on any unusual activity around the church building when it is unoccupied and if so, please inform the police immediately.  Thank you.

I am sure many of you throughout Shirehampton will know Duncan Jennings.  He was formerly a Music Master at Portway School, and our Organist and Choirmaster at St Mary’s before Tim Forder arrived and was also the Headmaster of Avon Primary School at Barracks Lane.  When Duncan retired from teaching he became a full time Verger at Bristol Cathedral where he is still so employed.  However, after a while he said he felt he had a calling to serve the church in a different way and began to explore the possibilities of becoming an ordained Minister in the Church of England.  He was accepted and has been studying Theology part time for the last few years and we have been delighted to have him as an Ordinand with us for the last two years or so.  I am delighted to tell you that Duncan has now almost finished his training and is to be ordained as Deacon in Winchester Cathedral on Sunday 29 June and will be appointed as a Curate in the parish of Thornhill, Southampton.  This is wonderful news and we wish him well when the time comes to make the move to Hampshire.  In the meantime I have to tell you that Duncan will be preaching here at St Mary’s at our 10am Holy Communion Service on Sunday 10 February.  I am sure he would welcome seeing old friends at that service and answering questions afterwards – please come and give him your support.

Talking of old friends (and new) – we were delighted to see so many of you at our services over the Christmas period, particularly the Crib Service when we had 570 present.  Canon Christine this year came dressed up as a lamb and I was dared not to shout ‘mint sauce’ to her.

Maureen Geddes celebrated a certain landmark birthday in January – I wouldn’t be so unkind as to say which one -  other than to say it says somewhere in the Bible – three score years and ten!!  (I didn’t tell you that mind)!!!  Anyway she very kindly opened her house to anyone who cared to call and celebrate her birthday with her by partaking in some delicious food and drink.  She specifically said she did not want any presents – well she wouldn’t, would she at her age!  But a had a box for donations to her husband Don’s Beer Fund!  No sorry I made a mistake – all donations to go St Mary’s Church to be used as Canon Christine sees fit.  Thank you Maureen for your very generous gift.

Now on a more serious note, we are all very sorry to learn that Annie Beese – Tubs the Butcher sister – has been very poorly lately and enduring a spell in hospital.  We all miss seeing you Annie in the shop and are praying for you to make a complete recovery – we love you and your cheery smile.  I can only quote what Kitchener said during World War I -  ‘Your Butchers Shop needs you!’  (I wonder what Tubs would look like with a big Walrus Moustache)  I think I got that quotation wrong somewhere!!

I am very sorry to record that a faithful member of our Shirehampton Area Choir died suddenly just before Christmas.  Glenys Takel passed away on the 23 December – her funeral service took place at St Mary’s and the church was filled to capacity.  We shall miss her very much and offer our prayers and sympathy to all of her family.  Her family requested that any gift of money in her memory should be donated to St Mary’s and we are indeed very grateful for their kindness and generosity.

Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday to give it its correct title) this year falls on 5 February and we shall be serving Pancakes from 10am until 12 noon, our usual morning opening time.  However, please note that we shall not be holding our usual Pancake Party until half term time on Wednesday 20 February.  We shall then be having all our usual fun – Pancake Races in the churchyard and other surprises – so please put this date in your diary.

The day after Shrove Tuesday is of course Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent.  At 7pm we shall be holding a service of Holy Communion with ‘ashing’, followed afterwards by a simple supper.

Our Lent Course will follow then on every Wednesday evening up until and including 12 March from 7pm until 9pm.  This year we shall start with Supper followed by a video episode each week from the acclaimed BBC series – ‘The Miracles of Jesus’.  Afterwards we shall end with a short service of Compline.  For both of these events would you please enter your name on the list at the back of the church if you intend coming.  This will enable Gill Sawyer to know how many to cater for.

During the weekend Friday 22 until Sunday 24 February we shall be hosts to Martin & Cesca Cavender.  Martin and Cesca will be leading our Parish Weekend in September at Lee Abbey, North Devon.  They will also be leading our Quiet Day at Trinity College, Stoke Bishop on Saturday 23 February from 10am-4pm.  Lunch will be provided.  Martin will also be preaching at our 10am Holy Communion Service on the Sunday, so please come along and hear what he has to say!

Sunday 2 March this year is ‘Mothering Sunday’ and at 10am we shall be having an Informal Holy Communion Service suitable for all the family.  Please note there will be NO KIDS KLUB on this Sunday.

Well, that’s it again for another month.

Bye for now CME


(A Shirehampton folk song – or a nostalgic look back at the past through rose-tinted glasses)

There is a little village
That lies on Avon’s banks
Its nothing out of the ordinary
But I must give thanks
For other they may mock it
And speak of it with scorn
But this is my Shirehampton
The place where I was born


Shire! Shire!
She’s me ‘eart’s desire
At the sound of that sweet name
Me spirits lifted ‘igher
Shire! Shire!
Call me not a liar
That’s a name of which throughout
Me life I’ll never tire

When I were just a young ‘un
I went round to the baths
We kids enjoyed our swimming
We ‘ad a lot of laughs
We also swam in the river
And out at Abbot’s pool
The water there were icy cold
And horse-flies mighty cruel


When I were in the boy scouts
We went to Penpole wood
Made fires in clearing
And passed the tests we should
Made rope swings in the quarry
Right by the chapel trees
And climbed up Penpole point
Which gave us scuffed and bleeding knees


The first time I saw opera
Were at the public ‘all
Pirates of Penzance it were
But that were not quite all
I took part in the Gang shows
Put on by the One-Nine-One
And joined the Granger Players
To continue with the fun


I met me first love in the village
(name of Mary-jean)
We shard a cup of water from
The fountain on the Green
We first sang carols there together
One cold Christmas Eve
Then went into The George to drink
Before I took me leave


I never left Shirehampton
I’ve lived ‘ere all me life
Me kids they often visit me
And my Shirehampton wife
Me grandkids also visit
They live just down the road
The village and the family
Have simply growed and growed


So this is where I’ll end me days
Me family all around
Me friends will also mourn me
When I am in the ground
I ‘aven’t got no enemies
(well not in Shire at least)
I’ll miss the village life but I
Shall truly rest in peace


Shire! Shire!
She’s me ‘eart’s desire
At the sound of that sweet name
Me spirits lifted ‘igher
Shire! Shire!
Call me not a liar
That’s a name of which throughout
Me life I’ll never tire
That’s a name of which throughout
Me life I’ll never tire


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Bishop Emeritus

Sometime ago there was a curate at St. Peter’s Lawrence Weston, called James Johnson, now he is retired and lives with his wife Joyce near Banbury. Both of them were born and bred in St. Helena, which both James and Joyce revisit from time to time. During the last year James has been appointed Emeritus Bishop of St. Helena, I am sure that all those who knew him will wish to congratulate him on his new appointment. Just in case you are wondering where St. Helena is, it is an island in the Atlantic, historically remembered as where Napoleon eventually was imprisoned and died.