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News Index

Marathon Man Ready for the Long Haul

Portway Pupil Numbers

Letters to the Editor

Shirehampton's Name

Ethel Annie Thomas

St. Mary's News

Down By The Riverside

Canon Christine's Journey of Discovery

Marathon Man Ready for the Long Haul

Steve Chalke is used to long-term challenges with his experience in the London Marathon. (He holds the current Guinness World Record for raising the biggest amount of money in the run; £1.82m). He and the Oasis Community Learning Charity of which he is director will know they are in for a long hard slog if they are given the go-ahead by the City Council and central government to start running Portway School as a new Academy.

While the decision is awaited, what can we learn of Steve Chalke. He is an ordained Baptist minister who became concerned that the church was out of touch with the larger world of need, and that the image the world had of the church was a negative one. He believes that must change.

In 1985 he started the Oasis Trust whose first project was founding a hostel for homeless young people. Since that beginning Oasis has become a family of charities touching areas of need in many countries. Hostels, hospitals, schools and housing, and fighting people-trafficking are included in their current work.

Steve, 51, is married to Cornelia. They have four children: Emily, Daniel, Abigail and Joshua. His family experience gives him plenty of material for a regular column in Prima Baby.

A gifted communicator, as those who attended the Portway consultation meetings will testify, he has been frequently seen on BBC and ITV programmes, and has had a regular programme on Radio 4.

One of the concerns that people have about the prospect of a charity with an acknowledged Christian ethos in charge of Portway is that problems that have been alleged elsewhere of indoctrination could happen here. Particularly there have been worries over so-called "creationist" teaching. However, such problems are unlikely to arise in Oasis schools. A thoroughly inclusionist, non-dogmatic approach is more the Oasis approach. Brian Dixon, Principal of an existing Oasis Academy, Immingham in Lincolnshire, says in a BBC interview "We've got a very ethical sponsor who's not interfering in what's going on, who largely lets the staff, the pupils, and the community formulate things, and that way it's a really powerful partnership for an Academy"

Interestingly, the MBE that Steve Chalke was awarded in 2004 was in recognition of his "services to social inclusion".

Our printing deadline means that we go to press before any council decision is known; possibly, before the next issue we will know what the future of Portway will be.

Will Oasis be given the chance to fill Portway's empty spaces?

Portway Pupil Numbers

With the continuing deliberation over the future of Portway School, and the current proposals for it to become an Academy, some have asked about the present numerical strength of the school, as people have noticed with concern the large exodus of buses every morning taking Shirehampton's young students to schools outside the area.

These are the latest Portway pupils numbers as at 3 December 2007, obtained by SCAF from BCC Education Dept.

Year Group Legally required maximum number Actual number of pupils
YEAR 7 189 88
YEAR 8 216 97
YEAR 9 216 103
YEAR 10 150 139
YEAR 11 150 171
Total pupils 921 598

Minister's Farewell

There will be more than a little sadness amongst the joy of Easter celebrations for the members of Shirehampton Methodist Church this year, as their morning service will be the last on that Rev David Alderman conducts as their minister.

He is to take up a new appointment as Superintendent Minister of the Chippenham Methodist Church Circuit, following a short sabbatical after his Shirehampton ministry concludes.  David has been serving the people of our village since 1997, and will be greatly missed.

We are glad that we are able to have the benefit of his zestful leadership of Carols on the Green last December.  We wish him and his wife and three teenage sons every happiness as they move to Wiltshire.

Anonymous letter

We have received a letter relating to the new Health Centre which we are unable at the moment to publish because it is anonymous.

We would like to publish the letter, and would encourage the writer to forward his/her name and address, which will be withheld from publication if required.

Harvard Hopital Reunion

Did you, as a volunteer, take part in the research into the common cold at Salisbury, Wiltshire. The last trial was No:-1006 and was held on the 18th - 27th July 1989.

An annual reunion for volunteers and staff is held on the 1st Saturday of July.

This year the date will be the 5th July and we will be celebrating the 19th reunion. It is a very popular event with ex volunteers coming from all parts of the country.

The reunion takes place at the Grasmere House Hotel, Harnham Road, Salisbury at 12.30pm. A buffet lunch is served; this must be ordered via the reunion organiser, name and tel. number provided on request.

The hotel is in a lovely setting with grounds sloping down to the river. It is a 5 minute walk to Salisbury Cathedral, so a spot of sight-seeing can be added to your day out.

If travelling from Bristol take the A36 and just after Wilton take a right hand turn at traffic lights on to the A3094 Netherhampton Road. The Harnham Road is a continuation of this road, so the Hotel is very easy to locate on the left hand side just past the church.

Please initially contact:- M.Macey Tel: 9683535

Letters to the Editor

Kingsweston House

In reply to the letter in last month's paper, I would like to confirm that while many people may either think of me or refer to me as the owner of Kings Weston House I consider myself to be more of a caretaker or custodian of the House for "future generations". I apologise to anyone who may have read the January article and assumed it referred to the House rather than the 125 year lease.

I can, however, confirm that I am the owner of the company that runs Kings Weston House, as well as four other companies, also based at Kings Weston House. All the furniture, fittings and equipment are my personal property and the paintings that are on display in the House (with the exception of those in the Portrait Gallery) belong to a generous benefactor and are on loan to me.

During the last seven years in excess of £3 Million has been spent on the House on refurbishment and maintenance, which is on-going, as well as covering the day to day losses of running such a large house. I can also confirm that this funding has all come from any profits from other businesses that I run as well as a substantial bank loan and not from either grants or public sector moneys – neither of which have been sought.

It is and always has been my intention to ensure that Kings Weston House retains its status as a national monument for Bristolians and in particular local residents to be proud of, instead of falling into disrepair and dereliction at the tax-payers expense. The House is open to the public, as well as for individuals or companies to hire, ensuring that Kings Weston House has a future.

I feel that the last nine years of my life have been dedicated to the preservation of the House – two years compiling and negotiating the lease and seven years actually at the House – this has not been a Monday to Friday nine to five project and has come at great personal and emotional loss but I feel that the House is deserving and feel sure that a large proportion of the local residents agree and support me in this venture.

John Hardy

Reginald Noel Bounsall 1919 – 2008

Dear editor,

I had an unexpected return to Shire last week to spend a couple of quality days with my father who was gravely ill.

After his funeral on Tuesday 22nd January, I came around to the library to formally advise of his passing, however it was Thursday and you were closed. I left Shire that afternoon to return home, so did not get the opportunity to return. I would have been happy to have made a donation to 'Shire' funds if the opportunity had existed, so that will have to wait until I return again to visit my mother in May.

Reginald Noel Bounsall 1919 – 2008

It is with sad regret that I have to advise of the passing of Reg Bounsall.

He was born in Bedminster on Christmas Day 1919, but moved to Meadow Grove in 1927; a further move in 1931 took the family to the Portway, where he lived until 1947 when he went to join so many returning ex-service people and those from the city who had lost their homes in the blitz to Windcliff Crescent, on the new Lawrence Weston estate. His working life was spent with the PBA and he had been a regular at the PBA club as well as Shirehampton Men's Social Club.

He will be sorely missed by wife Lou, son Ray, grandsons Matthew and Christopher and family and friends, both in Bristol and Australia.

Best regards,

Ray Bounsall, Melbourne, Australia

Shirehampton Supermarkets

Dear Sirs,

Am I in the minority when it comes to choosing NOT to do the bulk of my shopping in Shirehampton.

I appreciate I have transport and not all people living here have that luxury, but am appalled at the selection of food available here. Having used Morrisons, Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Iceland etc., cannot see why anyone would be content to shop at Leos or Somerfield in the village. When it comes to quality, choice of food and price, there us no comparison between what we currently have on offer, and the Supermarkets I choose to use. Yes, I know the small independent shops like the butcher, fruit & veg shop, bakeries are great, providing quality and good value, but I am purely talking about Supermarkets.

Yours sincerely,

Jill Davies

Mrs Ethel Thomas

Dear Editor,

Mrs Ethel Thomas wrote five books on the subject of Shirehampton and Avonmouth.

They are: The Avonmouth Story, Down the 'Mouth, Shirehampton Story, War Story and The Continuing Story of Shirehampton.

We were saddened when we were recently advised that Mrs Thomas, nee Brown, died on Saturday 26 January. Our condolences to her friends and all who knew her.

Yours sincerely,

June and Peter Cottman
South Dunedin, New Zealand

Our Georgian House

Dear Editor

I was prompted to write after reading a letter in your January Edition headed Shops that made Shirehampton by Hazel Thorne.

I and other members of my extended family lived in one of the Georgian houses mentioned by Hazel from 1945 until approx 1956. Our address was 1 The Terrace, The Green, it was the house on the corner (where the shops now stand) the side wall of the house was in Station Road and the extensive garden stretched down to Pembroke Road.

The house had quite a prestigious frontage; it had a high wall rising up from the pavement and was accessed by a flight of stone steps and then a wide drive to the front door.

I can vividly remember the midwife parking her bike at the bottom of the steps when she came to deliver my brother.

Previous to us occupying the house I believe that it was the residence of a Dr Faulkner (however, I could be misinformed) When we became the occupants the house was divided into flats, we, along with my newly married aunt and uncle shared the ground floor accommodation, whilst two other families occupied the next two floors.

As a child I could never understand why the mother and father of the children on the third floor had different surnames — many years later I found out that they were not married!! A subject, which in those days was not discussed or even mentioned!

When the family on the second floor moved out my aunt and uncle moved up a floor and so we family of four had the ground floor to ourselves.

Our lounge was like a banqueting hall and on one occasion we held quite a grand wedding reception in it. There were two very wide floor to ceiling windows with shutters that looked out onto the extensive and well kept garden However, the room had just one small coal fire at the far end, which during some of the winter of 1947 was kept alight 24hrs a day as my brother was suffering from pneumonia. We only had a square of lino on the floor, which meant that approx 4ft of floorboards was exposed between the lino and the skirting boards and on many occasions my brother and I lost our meagre pocket money down between the wide gaps in the floorboards.

The attic rooms in comparison were small, as they would have been the servant quarters, but all the doors in the house, including the front door were extra wide, as was the elegant staircase with the polished banister (great for young children). Presumably these widths were to facilitate the bulky furniture of the Georgian period.

The kitchen would have originally been located in the very spacious cellar, which contained an oversized cooking range with ovens, storage cupboards and an oak dresser, which ran the length of one very long wall.

On the walls of one of the cellar rooms were metal cribs that would have contained hay for the horses.

In Georgian times the tradesman's entrance to the kitchens would have been via the side door in Station Road, however we only used this entrance for the delivery of coal, thereafter, my dad would have carried it by bucket up the steep steps and into the hallway of the house, which presumably would have been how the servants accessed the rest of the house.

In the garden was a cavernous well which was covered over by a metal grill.

Next door to us was another Georgian property occupied by Mr & Mrs Williams. She was a schoolteacher in Avonmouth. There were several other cottages in the rank before reaching a piece of waste ground and then Brooks the Cleaners. At the end of this rank of shops was a tobacconist/sweet shop which we called Doreen's because the lady who worked behind the sweet counter was called Doreen and she was the one to whom we handed our sweet ration coupons before she handed over the goodies!

On the opposite corner of The Green/ Station Road - where I spent a lot of time — in a house painted white, lived Miss Collins and in the middle of the rank was Dulcie's the hairdresser's and on the end, Howes the butcher.

I can remember playing in and at the back of Bendalls the grocers and can still recall the smell of the sawdust on the floor.

Every Good Friday I queued with my mother at the wet fish shop in the high street and then at the bakers (I think they were called Parkers) for hot cross buns.

In winter we frequented the Savoy at least once a week, where apparently my dad always took off his shoes and promptly fell asleep. On waking he discovered that his feet had swollen and he therefore could no longer get his shoes on, not only that, he never ever saw the film! Just as well the cinema was only a few yards from our back garden. At Christmas we eagerly awaited the arrival of Father Christmas as he made his way down Park Hill on his motorised sleigh and the highlight of the festive season was our visit to the Public Hall pantomime. During the summer months we had an occasional treat of home made ice cream from the farm in Park Hill.

There was a lot of 'Shire' history attached to the houses on the Terrace and it was sacrilege to destroy them, unfortunately, it appears that demolition of historic buildings in Shire continues.

Sheila Silcocks (formerly Stevens)

Stoke Gifford

Football Photo

Dear Editor,

Although the recent photograph of my brother and his football team, with a request for identification did not provide any information, I did have two phone calls prompted by the article for which I am grateful.

Thank you and all your staff for your assistance and I shall be pleased to make a small donation when next in Shire Library.

Keep up the good work, you are doing a fantastic job. Thank you.

Bernard Pepworth.

Thoughts on 'Vision'

Dear Editor.

It is very interesting to read the 'Vision for Shirehampton' as I remember days out at Penpole point. Blaise Castle, the river bank or over to Pill and always running up to Roach's or Salmon and Hutchings.

Sorry to see the Tythe Barn go, a building of character. With regard to the empty shops the owners should make sure that they are cleaned and even put a few plants in the windows. I sometimes drive along Henleaze which always seems to he a tidy area, perhaps because of the trees.

Now you have lost the swimming baths and the Robin Cousins centre, is it possible to buy them back from the Council, or have a leisure centre near the riverbank, even with a hotel Is it possible to have a walkway and cycle track by the riverbank taking you down to Avonmouth with some lovely flowering cherry trees, a sort of arboretum, How about a pedestrian and cycle bridge over to Pill

Your main building in Shirehampton is St Mary's Church, which is a joy to visit except that the main windows do not tell a story because they are of plain glass. Just imagine the visitors you would get like the Mosta Dome in Malta which had a direct hit and even St Mary's had an incendiary bomb. I remember it well on helping to remove the chairs to see the damage it had caused. On that note I enclose a small donation to get you started on getting some stained glass and having some benefit runs around Shire.

Just one more search: does anyone know what happened to Charlie Webb formerly of 56 Groveleaze?

Trust this is of interest to you

Tom Beacham

(We will pass your kind donation to St Mary's)

Shire 36th Anniversary

Dear Sirs

I was very interested to read the feature detailing your 36th anniversary of publication. Reading about the influence of the Rev. John Smith brought back very many memories. My family migrated from Wales to Shirehampton exactly 50 years ago and he was the first Vicar that I can clearly remember, particularly around the time of my Confirmation in 1965, and subsequent attendance at Holy Communion services and church parades with the 120th Girl Guides. I remember him as a very enthusiastic and charismatic figure and a great influence during my teenage years.

My Mum still lives in Shirehampton and during my weekly visits to her I have recently taken to driving past my old haunts, dwelling on nostalgia. Going past the guide hut in St Mary's Road then turning into Portbury Grove and seeing the junior school is a real trip down memory lane. Last week I walked through the village and with a bit of imagination I was reliving my daily walk in school uniform to catch the 145 bus to school at Lawrence Weston. Perhaps a `Memory Corner' could be featured from time to time as I am sure that lots of your readers have interesting tales to tell of their childhood in Shirehampton schools in years gone by.

Congratulations on your achievement and long may your publication continue.

Mrs Elaine Amos

Wassailing at Attwood Drive Allotments

Wassailing apple trees is thought to encourage a good crop Within their own orchard Attwood Drive Allotments Association held their first event on Saturday 19th January 2008, despite the recent down pour and flooding.

Lawrence Weston wassailers put cider-soaked toast on the apple tree for robins

The wassailers "singing in the rain" for a bumper harvest

The event lead by allotment officer Janet Newland was a great success. Janet gave a talk and demonstration of pruning apple trees reminding everyone to remove dead, damaged, diseased and crossed branches. Cider was later poured over the roots and cider-soaked toast was placed amongst the branches for the robins. Wassailers filled their cups with cider, then drank and sang a toast to the trees.

The event was funded by both Lawrence Weston Neighbourhood Renewal and O2, making it possible to buy tools for the association and provide bacon rolls and refreshments for all that attended.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the event and to all volunteers who helped the day run smoothly.

We Were Here First!

Shirehampton's prime place in Bristol's story

The earliest people to occupy what would be known later as Bristol lived in Shirehampton. That's according to a new book, "Bristol Story", which recounts how flint tools from 60,000 years ago have been found on our patch.

Library Assistant Marilyn Gorry and Supervisor Eileen Lloyd show "Bristol Story", available free from the Library

The book is this year's "Great Reading Adventure" and is available to all Bristol residents free. You can obtain it from our local library.

This is the fifth year of the very successful project designed to get all Bristol reading, and this year's choice is a totally different book in that it is a graphic volume. If (like this reviewer) you are prejudiced against graphic books, considering them glorified comics, and brazen examples of "dumbing down", it won't take many minutes browsing to completely revise your opinion. Within a few pages I was hooked. It is packed from beginning to end with fascinating facts, real, and sometimes surprising, history – but it is wonderful, completely entertaining fun.

Author Eugene Byrne and artist Simon Grubb have achieved with superb success the difficult task of writing a history book that is hard to put down, and then makes you pick it up again when you do.

Their device is to use Bristol's legendary founders, the giants Vincent and Goram as story-tellers in a sort of Morecambe & Wise mould. They take us through the thousands of years of our city's existence at a cracking pace, and yet the jokes do not get in the way of the serious stuff. In fact amidst all the hilarity there are some very sobering accounts of such things as the Black Death and the slave trade. And there are some poignant stories of little known sad incidents. For example the American troops stationed here (many in Shirehampton) carried over the racial tensions of their home country, and on one occasion 400 GI's fighting in Park Street ended with one black soldier being killed. But by and large Bristol Story is a positive celebration of the city and its people. After all, you've got to feel good about a city that invented the Easter egg...

There is no doubt that "Bristol Story" is a book that will tell us all something – more likely a very great deal - about our city that we did not know before. Even more importantly, it will be picked up and enjoyed by the new generation of Bristolians who will discover that Henry Ford's famous denunciation "History is bunk!" is itself bunk.

A page from "Bristol Story"


St Mary's Churchyard... Can you help?

We are constantly trying to make our Gardens of Remembrance and Churchyard fitting places for people to remember those they love but as you can imagine this work has proved to be very costly.

Until very recently much of the grass keeping, pruning and tidying has been carried out voluntarily by church members but with some recently having been diagnosed with serious or chronic health conditions and one or two feeling unable to continue with this physical work after many years of service, we feel that our resources are really stretched.

So we are appealing to all of you –members of our community who have supported us so greatly in the past….. If you are fit and have a couple of hours once a fortnight or once a month that you could offer to cut grass, strim edges or prune etc as part of a team, then do ring the Church Office 0117 9077026 and let us know.

We are fairly flexible about times and days so just offer whatever fits in with your commitments and we will do our best to accommodate you. We have our own equipment which you can use.

I hope that you can help keep our churchyard somewhere to be proud of.

Best wishes

Canon Christine

Come to a Beat Surgery

Beat surgeries are held on the second Wednesday of each month between 10am and 11am at alternate locations - Stow House, Shirehampton Methodist Church and Penpole Residents Association. Do come along to air any local policing issues you may have. To find out the location of the next surgery please contact a member of the team on 0845 4567000.

Shirehampton's Name

Readers may be interested to know what collecting spellings of place-names from ancient documents can tell us about their origin and history. The earliest references to our village, from the thirteenth and fourteenth century, show that it was originally called simply Hampton. This is from the Old English term for a major farming estate. Something like sharnor sharnywas added in front of the name in the fourteenth century, possibly to distinguish the place from other Hamptons like Rockhampton. Sharnis a word which fell out of use in most areas many centuries ago, but it meant 'dung'. You can take this more than one way: either it implied the place was dirty or that it was fertile. I can imagine which readers of Shirewill prefer, and they may well be right!

In the sixteenth century, somebody – possibly the estate's new owner, the rich and grasping courtier Sir Ralph Sadleir – must have decided the name wasn't dignified enough, and the documents of the period show a new version like Sheerhampton, using a word which at the time might have suggested 'clean' or 'pure'. This was sometimes replaced by a similar word shire, which at that time seems to have meant the same, or maybe it was a different local way of spelling the same word, but that's the form that we are left with today. Nothing to do with counties or plough-horses.

In recent years local people have simply called the place Shire. Does anyone know how long they've been doing this? I'd be interested to know. That's one thing that I haven't found in ancient documents.

There is a much fuller version of this article on the Shire on the Web website,

Richard Coates

The Name of Penpole

Penpole is the oldest recorded place-name in our area. It's first mentioned in a document dating from the ninth century – in Anglo-Saxon times – in which Shirehampton is transferred to the control of king Alfred of Wessex. In this document it is called penpau. The name is obviously very ancient since it isn't English. It's formed in the Celtic language which scholars call Brittonic, the ancestor of Welsh, which was spoken in this island before the Anglo-Saxons took over. So the name dates from at least 1500 years ago, and maybe it's much older still.

Penpole Point as it is today - neglected and overgrown.  Anyone got an old picture showing he view as it was?

It refers to the long ridge on the north side of Shirehampton, jutting out into what used to be marshland, but particularly to the very end of it, Penpole Point, from where you used to be able to get wide views of the Severn estuary and the Welsh hills before the shrubbery got out of hand. It means 'head of the country', which amounts in effect to 'Land's End'. Penmeans 'head', and is often found in headland-names. It's exactly like the headlands in Cornwall called Pentire, except that in the Cornish names the second part is the Cornish word for 'land'. In Penpole, the second part is a word borrowed into Brittonic from Latin, pagus, meaning 'country', just like the first part of the Welsh county-name Powys. Next time you're up there, peering through the trees, think of it as Land's End and see if you're convinced. At some time, our English ancestors must have taken the last word to be the old Englishword poll, also meaning 'head', and that's where the lsound at the end comes from.

Richard Coates

Avonmouth Incinerator

I am writing to thank all the local residents who have signed the petition opposing plans for a mass-burn incinerator in Avonmouth.

Incinerators are an outdated, expensive and wasteful solution. Despite the great progress Bristol has made recently on boosting domestic recycling there is an awful lot more we can do, (such as rolling out plastic bottle recycling banks, providing bio-degradable corn bags to make food recycling easier, and separating out nappies from the waste stream).

What we do not want to be doing is simply burning that rubbish.

Furthermore this is a proposal dreamt up by the West of England Partnership and if plans were approved would lead to this incinerator taking in waste from neighbouring authorities such as South Gloucestershire. That would mean an increase in lorries bringing in rubbish from all over the area.

Thankfully this campaign is already having some success. The Bath and North East Somerset Council has withdrawn its support. But we still need to keep the pressure up.

There is a lot more that we can do to reduce waste, and reuse and recycle materials. Building a giant incinerator in the local area and burning our rubbish is not the answer.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Harrod

36th Local Art Exhibition

Sat. 24th May – Mon. 29th May 2008

This year's Exhibition is being staged by Twyford Art Club on behalf of local residents and arts clubs on the above dates.  Entry details to follow

Ann Bees

Ann Bees, well known and much-loved wife of her late husband Ivor, died peacefully with her family by her side at the age of 74.

Ann spent many happy years in the family butcher's shop in Shire, where she became firm friends with the customers, and always had time for a kind word with young and old alike.

Ann was truly a special lady, and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Tub, Helene, and family would like to thank everyone for their kind and loving thoughts during the weeks of Ann's ill-health and after her death.

Thank you for the flowers and also the donations which raised £750, sent to Ward 10, BRI Hospital Ventilator fund.

Tony Webb
W.B. Butchers, Shirehampton

(Many thanks for your kind donation to SHIRE – Editor)

Ethel Annie Thomas

Ethel was a remarkable lady. Born in Willenhall, West Midlands, the family moved to Dursley Road, Shirehampton in 1937, when her father, a railway signalman, was transferred to Avonmouth Dock Junction signal box.

Ethel attended Portway Senior Girls' School. From school she went on to Commercial College for one year. From College she went to work for C.W.S. Flour Mills in Avonmouth and was there for 14 years, and this is where she met Eddy.

Ethel and Eddie were married on the 14th July 1952 and they moved to 55 Crook Street, where they lived together until Eddy's death in August 2002. Ethel remained there alone until her death on the 26th January 2008.

During Eddy's time as Churchwarden at St Andrew's Church Avonmouth, Ethel became interested in local history. she accumulated a large collection of notes,, old photographs, and memoirs from local people, and that is how the publication of her books all started. Her books brought so much pleasure to people around the world.

Ethel also donated copies of each of her books to local Libraries, a reference source for residents and schools.

Ethel was a popular speaker, and a regular contributor to SHIRE paper.

In appreciation of her work, Ethel was made an Honorary member of the Kings Weston Preservation Society in 1981.

Marilyn Gorry

Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association

The AGM will be held on Monday 10th 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,

Portway School - Class of '92

(1987-1992) SCHOOL REUNION

Avonmouth Rugby Club, Barracks Lane, Friday 4th April 2008 - 7.30pm till late

Entrance Fee £3 per person payable on door


Nick Clarke – 07824 827250
Kate Powell – 07813 935789
Kerry Sweeney –

Shire Shops

I agree with the comments regarding Shire Village. It is an ideal place to live.

But – why are so many shops closing and remaining boarded up What or who is stopping other traders from moving in?!!

We need a bit more competition and challenge regarding food shops. Prices are rocketing here locally. My friends and myself have recently decided to take a bus ride to other cheaper traders. It was worth the effort.

Let us have someone take up the matter, please.

B. Eden

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

My first piece of news this month is to inform you all that Canon Christine will be taking a 3 months period of sabbatical leave from Easter until the end of June. This is extended study leave during which time she will be preparing a report looking at women in leadership roles - how they got where they are - in relation to women in the Church. During this time Canon Christine will not be available for normal parish duties. Would you please ensure that all church business is addressed to the Church Office and NOT call at The Vicarage. During her absence the Rev. Trevor Hearn has kindly agreed "to hold the Fort" until her return. It is to be hoped that our Curate - Andy Schuman - will still be with us until the end of April or thereabouts before he leaves us for pastures new. We are extremely fortunate to have Trevor covering during Canon Christine's absence and I know we can rely on you all to give him one hundred per cent support!

I am sure many of you will know that since my last letter to you Annie Bees - Tubs the Butcher sister - died in hospital. This was a great shock to us all, and a terrible burden for "Tubs" and his immediate family to bear whilst still running a business. I cannot believe that we shall not see Annie and her cheerful smile behind the Cold Meat Counter ever again - but her memory will never be forgotten - she was such a kind and generous lady who had time to listen to other peoples' troubles when she had many of her own. The world is a much poorer place for her passing and we extend our deep felt sympathy and remember "Tubs" and his family in our prayers.

Another lady who recently passed away is Ethel Thomas - known to many for her books on local history. Ethel lived in Cook Street, Avonmouth but spent much of her early years in Shirehampton. She lived in Dursley Road before she married her late husband Eddie and was a member of St. Mary's Choir. In those early days we did not have women wearing robes in the choir and she used to sit in the front of the church with two other ladies - Millicent Park nee Jones and her mother. Whenever the choir sang an anthem the three ladies would sit on chairs at the far end of the choir stalls. Ethel also played the Organ and often did so for the Sunday School Service on a Sunday afternoon - and Eddie would be there with her turning over the pages of her music.

Now to turn to a brighter note I have to tell you that our Book and DVD Sale back in January was a great success and raised over £750. Many thanks to all of you who supported this sale!

Our "Burns Night" was another well supported event and was great fun. The Haggis was piped in by a Piper in full ceremonial costume. The Piper I recognized was Bill Plenty – with whom I had contact on numerous occasions when I was in the police service, as Bill was Station Officer in those days at Avonmouth Fire Station and was at many incidents that I too attended. It was nice to see him and briefly recall old memories! The Haggis was served as a "starter" and this was followed by Chicken cooked in Whisky -(what a way to dispose of Whisky!!!) - but it tasted absolutely fantastic! This was followed by Raspberry Roulade and another choice of dessert which unfortunately escapes my memory. There was a Quiz – eighty questions which all had a Scottish connection. There was some confusion as to who the winners were as there were various claims as to how many questions had been correctly answered!!! But it was all great fun.

Afterwards we were given sheets of newspaper from The Telegraph (no copies of The Sun or Daily Mirror were allowed!!!) and with the aid of a roll of Sellotape were asked to make a Kilt for a member of each table. Maureen Geddes was judged as having the best kilt etc., but you always have some person who tries to go one better! Who was it Yes, our old Rovers Supporter - Roy Miller - who has to roll up his trousers and display those naked legs of his from under his newspaper kilt!! Normally they don't come out on public display until the Summer and as soon as he saw I had spotted them he groaned -"Oh, I suppose this will appear in "Shire"! Not wishing to disappoint such an honourable gentleman the facts are written here for your information!

Sunday, 2nd. is Mothering Sunday and we shall be holding an informal Communion Service at 10 am which is suitable for all the family. Please come and join us!

On Friday 7th. is the Women's World Day of Prayer which is to be held at 2.30 pm at Shirehampton Baptist Church. This service is not exclusively for women - men are also free to attend if they wish to do so!

At 7.30 pm the same evening we will be holding a Concert in St. Mary's when "The Muskrats" Veterans Jazz Band" will be entertaining us. Tickets cost £6 and are available from the Church Office and will include a Buffet and glass of Wine during the interval.

On Saturday, 15th. March, we shall be holding our Springtime Fayre from 10 am until 12 noon when we shall be selling Crafts, Gifts, Cakes, Preserves and much more! Also there will be an Exhibition of Miniatures by Jenny Brooks for your inspection and admiration – they have to be seen to appreciate the fine detail in each of them! From 2pm until 3.30 pm Cream Teas will be served at the back of the Church. This will be followed at 4 pm by "The Forget-me-not Service. This is a service and time of remembrance especially for families who have suffered an untimely death, whether recently or long ago. You do not need an invitation – just come along if it fulfils a need!

On Palm Sunday, 16th. March we shall be holding our usual Kids Klub at 8.30 am followed by our 10 am Holy Communion Service, but at 4.30 pm that afternoon we shall be holding a Tea for Duncan Jennings to mark his time spent as an Ordinand at St. Mary's. Sign up on the list at the back of the church if you would like to come along. This is a particularly busy Sunday as at 6 pm we shall be holding our Annual Parochial Church Meeting when a new P.C.C. is elected for the following 12 months. This will be followed by Compline at 8 pm - a short service of Evening Prayer.

On Maundy Thursday (20th. March) there will be NO HOLY COMMUNION service at 11 am as members of our congregation are invited to Bristol Cathedral for Holy Communion with the Blessing of Oils.

The next day is, of course, Good Friday, when at l0 am there will be a Family Service around the Cross followed by Hot Cross Buns when at around 10.45 am we shall be joined by those taking part in the Good Friday Procession which commenced at 10 am from The Village Green. This procession will finish back at The Green at around 11.30 am. At 1 pm we shall be holding the "Stations of the Cross" - meditations and prayers on "the road to Calvary". This is to be followed by a service of devotion at 2 pm when the Shirehampton Area Choir will sing the Cantata - Penitence, Pardon & Peaceby J.H. Maunder.

Easter Day - Sunday 23'd. March will commence with the usual Sunrise Service at 7 am at Shirehampton Park followed by breakfast at Shirehampton Cricket Club - courtesy of Don & Maureen Geddes. This will be followed by our 10 am Holy Communion Service with prizes afterwards for the child and adult with the best set of rabbit's ears! Accompanied children are invited to find an Easter surprise after the service! This will probably be Canon Christine's last service with us until she returns from her period of Sabbatical leave!

On Monday, 31"March at 7 pm that evening there will be a Holy Communion Service for the Annunciation.

For the week commencing Monday, 7th. - Kids Klub Holiday Club will be held at Shirehampton Primary School each morning from 9.30 am until 11.30 am up until and including Friday 11th. . This is suitable for children age 5 to 8 years. Keep a watch out for your invitation!

The Severn Four Credit Union scheme has now been running at St. Mary's each Friday for the past year. It has proved to be a success - so why not pop into the church and open up an Account for your savings now? You know that your hard earned cash is completely safe - with no risk like some Credit Companies which have gone "bust" in the past!

Finally, I am sure all the congregation and Shirehampton folk would like to thank Sue Alford for her time and money for planting some very colourful Polyanthus flowers in the tubs which contain the Bay Trees outside our West Porch. They look most attractive and remind us in these cold days of Winter that Spring is just around the corner. Thank you very much – Sue!

Well, that's all for another month - so

'Bye for now!. C.M.E.


"THE ORCHARDS", a Sheltered Accommodation for Older People in Shirehampton, would like to express their thanks to the person who kindly made an anonymous donation to them recently and also to the Shire Newspaper for making their request.

SHIRE heartily thanks the donors of two donations recently made to the paper.

Luncheon Club Vacancies

The Penpole Luncheon Club based at 60 The Ridge Shirehampton has 4 vacancies.  Please contact Mrs S White on 9381236 as a coach can pick you up to bring you to the luncheon club.

You would arrive at 11.30 to a nice cup of tea, a 2-course lunch for £4.00 and a game of bingo. to depart around 1.30.  So if you are interested, pick the phone and dial the number, and come and have some fun.

Easter Coffee Morning at St Mary's Guide Hut

Saturday 15th March 2008 - 10.30 — 12.00

Cakes and drinks available, Easter Egg Raffle, Raising funds for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides in Shirehampton

Contact Amanda Edwards 01275 390781

Down By The Riverside

Extracts from the memories of the late Les Gray of Dursley Road, written in 1986.

Part 1

My title has set the stage so now I'll write the script and hope the reader will forgive all the bits I get wrong. If you get as much pleasure from the reading as I did from the living of it, I am happy.

The time I write of is from about 1932 when my family moved to No. 4 Hung Road Cottages, until 1937 when we moved to No. 2 Lawn Cottages in the High Street. It was a time, much of it spent with Les Fields, when it was always summer. I know it wasn't for I also remember the fogs when the barge men's language was an education to a small boy, and I also remember mum's heartbreak when, every January and February we were flooded, often to a depth of three feet in our front room, and all possible things were stacked on the sideboard and tables with the cat topmost! I remember rice puddings in a white enamel dish floating out of our range oven along with steaming cinders from the fire. I remember my father wading through the water with a wheelbarrow till he reached the edge of the flood, near enough where the rise up to the PBA club house is now, and the ladies with their shopping sitting in it and being trundled home. Looking out of the bedroom window I'd see fence posts and phone poles sticking up out of the tide and think 'no school today!'

To imagine how it was in 1932 stand at the Hung Road traffic lights with your back to the village. Firstly, no traffic lights, secondly no tarmac surface just loose stone and thirdly no road, just a lane wide enough for a car which ran against the station side of the bridge. On the right just before the bridge was Mr Davies' sawmill where he collected second-hand lumber. Down in the railway cutting was the plate layer's cabin. Sam Summeril and Art Doble were two of the plate layers. Across the double railway track was the signal that protected Shirehampton Station. Many strangers jumped when the signal clanged down into clear position just a few feet from their heads as they walked over the bridge. From the bridge the lane was much as now until you came to the white gate just beyond where Dursley Road crosses now. To the left were allotments and a field (Bollen's?) with a hut which is now the site of the Cotswold Centre, up in the corner by Woodwell Bridge.

I vaguely remember some concrete hut bases in Bollen's Field and I think horse dips from the 1914-18 war. Behind where Stow House is now, there were more allotments, my father having one where the high garden wall of Myrtle Hall orchard ran to the river. Frank Chidgey had the next plot above dad's. A path ran below the high wall from Myrtle Hall gates, passing through the hedge to a five bar gate about where back of Lorraine's shop now is. I was never sure who lived in Myrtle Hall at this time but I know the apples in the orchard were good!

Long's field was near the entrance to what is now the PBA club and Mr Long of Sunny Hill farm always had a hay stack across the lane. To the left was the half circle stone trough and hand pump which was the only drinking water for Hung Road Cottages until one stand pipe was put in the back yard of Mrs Paul's at No. l around 1934. Long's field was what its name implies and he kept cows there. It extended along to the Lamplighters boundary (as the playing fields do now). It was very different going along the wharf as we called it, from our cottages towards the Lamps. There were several gullies between the wharf and Long's field and you could easily get cut off on the wharf in really high tides. The riverbank was only about two feet above tide level.

Mr Long had a cream coloured two wheeled horse drawn ice cream cart which he parked outside the Bottle and Jug IPA and Bitter 6p a flagon! I got 3p a week for fetching this for Mrs Parsons snr in Myrtle Farm, wet or shine.

In those days you came along in front of the Lamps and went down about four feet to the old wharf. At one time, before WW2, a fair was held here but bad flooding stopped it. I remember the big showmen's engines getting bogged down by the Lamp's wall and frantic efforts with wood and sacking, to try and get them out. For a time the fairs moved across to Farrs Field in front of Wellington House but that flooded too. Does anyone remember when the show engine 'George V' got stuck under the railway bridge in Station Road? They tried to pull her out with the 'William' from the top of the hill by Nott Bodies yard, but she wouldn't move. They ended up by cutting the copper cap off the chimney with a hacksaw, it took hours. The showmen's engines always fascinated me frightened me when little but they were my favourite part of the fairs, those and the steam organ.

On Sunday evenings crowds listened to the Salvation Army Band from the hall at the bottom of Park Hill, trying to out-blow the Pill Band, both bands stationed at the top of their respective ferry slipways! Johnny Robins from Bradley Crescent blew his trumpet for 'our side'.

Retracing my steps along the wharf to my childhood home at the cottages, on Saturday and Sunday summer evenings along the river edge you were stepping over courting couples or picnic parties every few feet. How about doing a bit of 'Dogging' while we go along? This consisted of getting mud crabs about the size of a ten pence piece, nice and muddy, then wriggling through the long sea grass and dropping them into the bowler hats of the men while they were busy courting, and then trying to move away unseen to watch the fun. Or making mud balls, sticking a long reed into them and lobbing them over the bank, waiting to hear if you'd scored a hit! A bonus of these efforts was the following morning, out early along the bank to find what had fallen from pockets in the confusion. I found a total of fifteen shillings once. With my pocket money of two old pence per week I felt like Rockefeller!

A cable trench was laid on the Ham Green side of the river and across the river bed in about 1934. When the cables were laid the trench was filled with sand brought in by barges. Not long after this the mud hopper 'Frome' ran aground outside our house in thick fog. We could read her name through the front bedroom window and it was only about 15 feet away.

I recall the residents of the cottages, numbered from the Lamps end. No. 1 Mr and Mrs Paul with son Jim and daughter Doreen, later Mr and Mrs Saunders lived with them. No. 2 was Mr and Mrs Walter Hicks and their daughter Florrie. Mr Wilmott lodged with them. Mr and Mrs Arthur Foster and daughter Jean lived at No. 3, although at the time we moved into No.4 Mr and Mrs Christopher Rowley lived there with daughter Mavis and a son. When we first moved in, at the end of the lane was the remains of a wooden jetty where Mr Rowley tied up a rowing boat.

When Mr and Mrs Hicks' daughter Florrie married Fred Coleman, they held their wedding reception in a big marquee on the wharf alongside the 'cable crossing' notice. We children stretched a rope across the lane at the two stone gate posts and wouldn't let the wedding car pass till a 6p toll was paid.

At the end of the rank of cottages – Paul's end – was a large lean-to boat house. There was a small strip of grass only about a yard wide, between the lane and river bank where the road ran in front of the cottages. Each cottage had a small front garden, we also had a quarter circle shaped side garden on the farm side. At the left corner of our house was a wooden stile which took you over on to a grass area in front of Myrtle Farm, This was a favourite place for children to ask for a glass of water on hot sunny days. I've never seen a photo of this area except the front –side view of the farmhouse, not one of the cottages.

Myrtle Farm was shared by Mr and Mrs Alfred Parsons and Harry and Edith Parsons, with their daughter Freda. Harold Taylor lived with the senior Parsons, who occupied the right hand side, the junior Parsons on the left side of a long stone flagged hall that cut the ground floor in two. This hall was a rather creepy place after dark as all lighting was by paraffin lamps, the same as the cottages. Ours was a large hanging one with white china shade and glass smoke chimney. The vessel being supported by two large brass swans which held the hanging chains to the ceiling.

Two things stay in my mind about the farm house. Mrs Parsons senior had a huge black grand piano and there were masks on the shelves of the alcoves in the junior Parsons' front room. They were carved from whole coconut husks with grotesque painted faces and in the dim oil light not very reassuring to a young child. When the farm was demolished (c 1939?) I can remember seeing, in the corner of this room behind the panelling a place in the wall about 2ft square, which extended up and ended at the floorboards of the landing above, just enough for a man to stand in. I also remember that, as well as a front door, there were tall shutters which folded back double against the wall which were braced shut by an iron bar. The kitchen was a typical old farmhouse style with fireplace you could almost walk into.

The house proper faced the river, when you walked through the hall and out the back this kitchen was on your right. To the left was the dairy which formed the west side of the square yard. In the corner next to the dairy was the wash house with its glassless, iron-barred windows looking out on to the orchard. Here Mrs Parsons senior killed and plucked poultry around Christmas time. Next to the wash house was the toilet, a flush one too, not dry earth as were the four back to back ones in the yard behind Nos. 2 and 3 of our cottages. Ours had to be hand cleared by the men once a week and buried.

Next to the toilets was a garage or stable with a pigeon loft on the second storey. On the orchard side of this building was a long wire goose run from which, just before Christmas, every single goose and gander disappeared one night. Only a few feathers remained next morning. How they were taken without noise I don't know because the boss gander was noisier and more aggressive than any dog, as children raiding the orchard soon found out.

All the farm buildings were stone except for a wooden barn. Standing outside the front porch of Myrtle Farm with your back to the house, you'd see about loft in front of you the remains of a low brick wall which was the front garden boundary. To the right was a low stone stile into our back garden (No.4). About 70ft away on the edge of the river bank was a may tree, pink I think, on which a long branch out over the mud was used for hanging a swing. Starting by this tree a gully ran parallel to the river and behind the gully an earth ridge was supposed to provide protection from flooding for the field behind – it didn't!

In the area along the river bank towards Horseshoe Bend were ponds and willow trees, hedgerows and sloe berry bushes; the berries tasted horrible. One pond had no edge, it just became grass so if you didn't know it was there you suddenly found yourself up to the ankles in water –there were plenty of frogs too. A rough field which we called Little's Field was by the Woodwell bridge and Gun Powder House. On Sunday mornings it became a dirt track with the roar of motor cycles ridden by Harold Little and Ralph 'Dump'Harris (from Waverley House Bakery) and others who tore around sometimes in flames, watched in awe by several little boys safe behind the hedge.

After crossing the field you came against the rocks of the bend proper and could walk along a very narrow ledge about 20ft above the mud, till you came up against the wall of the Powder House jetty with its crane. If you wanted to go further you had to wait till the mud dried in summer.

On the wharf just before Little's Field was an area of beautiful soft, short grass almost like a golf course green. This wasn't cut but always stayed nice and was used for cricket knock-abouts by the many participants who thronged the wharf in those days.

Part 2

It's summer again and I'm in my little grey flannel shorts, the sky is blue, the sun is hot and the long dry grass of the wharf is giving off that smell that says summer holidays – no school – and the mud is beginning to pong! I have been drawn to the river's edge by the call of Campbell's blowing for Horseshoe Bend as she passes Crab Tree Slip wood and I'm standing opposite Chapel Pill inlet as she comes. She's a real regal lady of the river, her paddles drawing back the tide as she appears round the bend. Her funnel leans back like a lady with her nose in the air as much as to say 'look at me'. I look! The green hull is peeping out below the waterline, black hull, gold lining, white upper hull and superstructure and funnel, her captain frantically blowing his whistle from the bridge and waving at children on the mud playing tag with the oncoming wash. Elegance, pure elegance, a grand duchess sweeping into the ball couldn't do better - Queen of the river.

I always preferred the graceful curved paddle boxes not the later flat top style of the newer ships. We saw the 'Ravenswood' with her cut down fore deck, 'Waverley', and if we were really in luck the double-funnelled 'Brighton Queen' maybe from the south coast, also 'Glen Gower' and 'Glen Usk'.

The tide turns and here comes the parade leading upstream to the city docks. 'Gertrude Bratt' her deck cargo of timber has shifted and she's listing heavily so fore and aft tugs are nursing her home. 'Skerries' with her all black funnel, 'Beaulieu' a cattle boat with black and white funnel, 'Cato' and 'Ino'. For a real treat the schooner 'Kathleen & May' would have her sails up. Then there was the coal barge 'Nigel' with that funny platform on her stern, the yellow funnelled tug the 'Salisbury' I think, with three barges of tobacco in tow heading for the bonds in town – the barge men now a little more respectable in their language! The PBA twin-funnelled tug 'Bulldog' had a crane in front of the bridge.

The tide turns again and the parade is towards the Bristol Channel and the open sea. Here comes 'Bristol City', Exeter City', 'Sodium' and her sister 'Radium' all grey with a red funnel. Then 'Volunteer' – am I right in thinking she was the first diesel tug on the river? I know she was a sighting to brag about and was later joined by the slightly larger 'John King'. There used to be speedboat racing under the Suspension bridge and later from Pill to the mouth of the river. I believe it was discontinued after two collided near the Pill slipway. How about getting caught mid river in the ferry with Campbell's bearing down on you? Or worse, trying to board Campbell's from the ferry without her stopping, right by the paddles too. I remember watching these events from the railings in front of the Lamplighters - the ferry man washing the mud off the slip as the tide dropped, the wooden gangplank that quivered like a musical saw when you put a foot on it and threatened to leave the gunwales most of the time so would the last man aboard pull it on please! Another joy was being informed, once he'd got you on board and cast off, that he'd got to change boats and you headed for the cluster of boats moored in the mouth of Pill Creek, hoping you 'd make it OK and not fall in. Sometimes half way across in the motor boat, the engine died and you were treated to a view of the Hosegoods Mill or Ham Green Woods depending on the flow of the tide, and if it happened in one of the winter fogs, 'Hello Horseshoe Bend'!

Back to my memories of Hung Road Cottages especially my old home No. 4. I always understood that back in Elizabethan times it was a tavern – the name 'the swan' hangs in my mind but from where I have no idea. Anyway, standing with my back to the river I'm in front of the stone porch which came out about six feet from the house, a small low-walled garden below the window ran to the side gate in a quarter circle. Each side of the porch opening were two angle irons about three feet high which dad put there and into which we slotted tide boards sealed with mud to keep the tide out, when in flood. It proved useless on a really high tide as the water rose up the well in the back kitchen!

Wooden seats set in the walls ran the length of the porch each side. Through the door into the hall, which was common to both No. 3 and No. 4, our stairs had a steep twist below which was the coal cupboard, also shared I think. From our only real ground floor room we overlooked the side flower garden and wharf in front of Myrtle Farm. We had a fireplace, dark green with a high mantelpiece and black leaded range. All floors were flag-stoned and also on the ground floor was a pantry with shelves and cupboards from floor to ceiling, then the back kitchen. From here a loose wooden ladder took you into a loft which was like a balcony, wooden fronted but with no door at the top of the ladder, and a hole cut in the planking to form a glassless window. We boys slept up there a few times when the height of flood water prevented us getting the doors open to get upstairs. Still in the kitchen there was a brick built column with cast iron bread ovens set in, and in another corner was a bricked in cast iron wash boiler with wooden lid. In between the two was a wooden lid about three feet square which covered a well about 10 -15ft deep. I could never see the purpose of this as I can only remember river water in it and as the river rose so did the well water.

Outside the kitchen was a shed with a glass roof covering the area between house and shed. Attached to the shed was a chicken house and run forming part of the boundary with Parsons' orchard.

Upstairs was a small landing from which you went up a step into a very small bedroom over the front porch, then mum and dad's room and the largest room was where three of us four boys slept. I was very curious about a dummy cupboard in this room, on the dividing wall with No. 3. The green and white panelled doors went from floor to ceiling but when you opened them, there was just a wall. I wondered if this was to do with Nos. 3 and 4 having been one building when a tavern. A window in the large bedroom looked out towards Horseshoe Bend and some courting couples on the stile below probably wouldn't have sat there had they known there were three little boys observing them.

A water stand pipe stood in the yard of No. 1, just a galvanised pipe with a brass tap around which, in freezing weather, a wood fire was built and kept going by the men.

One Christmas, when the Fosters lived at No. 3 there was a big party and our two homes were thrown open. Fosters' became the dance hall and ours the cafeteria and we were joined by our neighbours and relations. I was put under the food laden table in our front room when in from the dancing at No. 3 came this vision in royal blue with a narrow silver belt around her waist. I was smitten. Love dawned. I plagued my mother for weeks after to know when the lady with the silver belt was coming again, she was about 18 and I was 8! I'm told she still lives in the village - Madge Bracey where are you?

I remember we once used a privet bush as we couldn't afford a Christmas tree one year, but by the time it was decorated it looked good even though some of the 'presents' were wrapped up blocks of wood.

Trudging up to Gard's on the corner of Pembroke and Station Road on a Saturday evening, we went in turns to get all our sweets - two old pennyworth - or along to Sanfords opposite the Rising Sun to change the wet accumulator for the wireless.

Apart from the many days it rained or snowed, or got fogged up, it was always summer.

191st St Mary's Scout Group

On Saturday Dec. 22 the Scouts held a collection outside the Coop from 10 to noon. During this time £163.10 was amassed in the buckets.

On behalf of the group I wish to thank Mr. Garland (Coop manager) and all the residents of Shirehampton for their generosity.

Grant Watkins (Scout Leader)

Marie Creber

Reading the February Shire, I saw that Mr. Paul Bradshaw was asking about the Crebers. My late parents knew the family, and amongst mother's bits and bobs was her address book with the address of Marie Creber, showing she was then living in Crediton, Devon.  Whether the lady is still alive I don't know. Perhaps you could forward the address to Mr. Bradshaw.

J. C. Tucker (Mrs.)

(We will pass the address on – Editor)

Police Notes

Illegal Parking – working with our PCSO's and Parking Services there is a crackdown on all forms of illegal parking, whether it be 2 minutes on the doubles yellow lines to 2 days (as we have had with some residents). Dangerous parking, parking on pavements and inconsiderate parking. All will be targeted. If you don't want a ticket or to be towed away, park legally and safely.

Car thieves are once again operating in the area particularly the area bounded by Station Road, Pembroke Road and Bradley Crescent. Do not leave ANYTHING on view in your car. Even a coat or jumper will tempt a car thief. In particular thieves are after Sat Navs and cassettes.

Operation Brave – this is an ongoing operation that covers the whole of Avonmouth District, that is right through to Brentry and Sea Mills. It is targeted specifically at anti-social behaviour of all types, from dropping cigarette ends and litter, rowdy behaviour, bad language through to under-age drinking and alcohol fuelled incidents. We will continue with zero tolerance of that minority who do not respect others and whose behaviour makes life unpleasant and difficult for the majority. Please do not be frightened of reporting anti social behaviour; you tell us what is going on and we will deal with it.

Burglaries are on the up again, in particular Garden Sheds. The thieves are still out there looking for every opportunity. Don't give them one, keep doors and windows locked outside sheds and garages secure, do not leave ladders in convenient places for them to make use of, do not leave tools handily placed so they can be used to break windows and force doors. Low level garden lighting helps, do not use high wattage lighting that causes a nuisance to other people by shining into their properties.

We have had a sudden increase in thefts from local shops – mostly chocolate and alcohol – please keep your eyes open and help us put a stop to it by reporting what you see.

Drugs – always an ongoing problem nevertheless we have had lots of success with numerous warrants being served and large amounts of class A and other drugs being seized. This will continue with the help of the specialised drugs unit when necessary.

Motor bikes, Mini Motorbikes and scooters; quite often people riding these machines as using them to cause a serious nuisance and anti-social behaviour. We have already used Section 59 of the Police Reform Act to warn a rider on a mini motorbike that it is illegal to be on the road. Persistent use of any machine to cause aggravation will result in an ASBO and the machine being seized and crushed.

PC Gareth Davies

'Top Dog' Mogg

Shirehampton boxer Sam Mogg who boxes for the Avonmouth based National Smelting Co Boxing Club (NSC) was in action on Monday night the 11th Feb. boxing at the Marriot Hotel in Bristol on the Bristol Sporting Club's bill.

This was a rep match where the Western Counties Northern Division took on the best from the Southern Division. Welterweight prospect and NSC Team captain Mogg, aged 22, was matched against the experienced Torbay's Mike Jewel. This was a closely contested competitive bout which saw the taller Jewel try to box and move on the outside to pick up points behind his long range jab with Mogg staying in mid range to unload his body and head shot combinations. Mogg caught Jewel with some real rib benders that slowed Jewel down but was getting caught himself with a few jabs as his bobbed and weaved into range. After four two minute rounds of hard fought action Mogg was awarded a majority points win with two of the three judges favouring the busier stronger combination and body punching of Mogg who moves to three wins from four bouts this season and racks up a career total of 29 bouts with 16 wins.

The junior section of the club had been in action at the MYCON ABC show in Nailsea on Saturday the 2nd Feb. where three of the Smelters promising juniors had boxed in the ABA's junior Championships called 'The Golden Gloves'. First on the bill for the Smelters stable was undefeated in his four outings. Southmead's 13 year old Tyler 'Tiger' Davies matched v James Hegney of Watchett at the 44 to 46Kg class. Davies was not to be denied yet another win, with a fantastic first round forcing a standing count with his powerful right hands and went on to win a points verdict and take his first Western Counties Title.

Second to box was reigning Western Counties champ 14 year old Josh 'Cannonball' Connolly who was moving up in weight to the 50-52kg class. Smelters head coach Garry Cave says "After last years run in the championships we really fancied Josh to reach the latter stages again and possibly even the final or national title but it wasn't to be. He boxed very well against a much bigger and physically stronger boy in Connor Wells from Swindon's Walcott ABC. Josh had a great first round and I thought that he could win it, the 2nd was a lot more even as Well's natural strength started to show, the 3rd was a very good round for the Walcott lad and saw Josh lose on a points decision". Josh boxed very well and as always I was very proud of how he boxed, but it will take time for him to grow into the higher weight and I'm sure there's great things for him later down the line as he's 100% committed to the sport with bags of natural talent and grit".

Third up was the very experienced and stylish Tom 'Tucker' Connors at 46-48kg, aged 14, verses old foe Ben Symth of Forest Oaks ABC. Connors superior boxing skills were evident throughout the contest, countering with quick hand combinations and using his fast footwork to get out of the range of Smyth's attacks. Connors went on to convincingly win on points. Coach Cave said "Tucker's one of the most experienced lads in the country for his age and he truly deserves his first regional title. Tom has all the skills to really go far in the sport and hopefully these championships and his first title will be the launch pad for this.

Last on the bill for the NSC was 14 year old novice junior Jason Davies hoping to get his first win after a contentious points defeat at Smelters last home show at Avonmouth rugby club on the 20th of Jan. Davies eager to win had a storming first round forcing a standing count on home club MYCON boxer Jake Reed in his debut bout.

Cave said "After a flying start by Jason I thought it was in the bag but the second round was a complete reverse of the first with the MYCON lad coming back very strong and it was Jason that was looking likely to be stopped, The crowd were on their feet, hoping that there boxer could turn it around, but thankfully after a good talking to in the corner, he went out and boxed very well again in the third to win his first bout".

In addition to these three Western Counties Champs the Smelters have produced this season, 16 year old Shirehampton schoolboy Nathan 'Da Mongoose' Cummins-Snow who won a South West title in the CYP championships held in Bristol in January. Ex Smelters junior Reece 'Rat' Godfrey who has just recently moved to Derby and now boxes under the Trinity ABC banner won a Midlands title last week also.

The Smelters host their next home show on a Thursday night the 28th Feb at Avonmouth Rugby Club, doors 7pm, first bell 8pm with tickets priced at £4 junior and £8 senior, available on the door or to reserve by phone on 0117 982 9093.


Bev Wyco would like to thank everyone who came and supported our charity night on Sat 19 Jan at Avonmouth Rugby Club.

A special thanks to all our local shops who donated gifts for the raffle:

Hawkins, Elite, Nails Etc, Chillies Coffee Shop, Balti Raj Restaurant, Staddon Pet Supplies, Hair by Design, Pound Hit, Autoparts, Boots, Coop, Collectable Gifts & Cards, Bobbets, Interflora, The George Inn, Costco Avonmouth, Westbury bakers Shop, Westbury Fruit Shop, Westbury Beauty Salon, Darren & Tiffany for T-shirts, Norman from Evergreens, a good friend, also Ridingleaze Shops, Good News, Bells Butchers, Lawrence Weston Veg Shop, John P. F. Butchers, Jane – Lawrence Weston Surgery;

And finally, Bern and Marg's family would like to thank you all so much for your kindness having raised a massive £1,700 for Cancer Patients on Ward 61 Oconology at the BRI.

Me and My Shadow

O how peaceful and tranquil the Portway looked in 1954. No barriers, no traffic lights, and no traffic. Hooray.

This picture was taken with my old King Penguin camera, my shadow being Ron Ford, my best friend and great mate whose sister Mary Ford's wedding cake enterprise went on to great things. The family lived in Nibley Road.

Mike Antill

Canon Christine's Journey of Discovery

From the quiet of a Scottish island to the busyness of one of America's largest mega-churches Canon Christine Froude is embarking on a journey of discovery.

Her quest is to discover the secrets of women in leadership, a task that will occupy her over the summer months as she takes a sabbatical break from her work as vicar of St Mary's, Shirehampton.

Christine is a pioneer in the still-controversial area of women priests in the Church of England. She was in theological training when the first woman was ordained in Bristol Cathedral, and when her training at Salisbury and Wells Theological College was complete, she was in the first group of women to be ordained at the same time as men in a single ordination service. Since her curacy at Stoke Bishop, she fulfilled first a challenging chaplaincy at the Bristol Children's Hospital, followed, of course by her enormously successful ministry at St Mary's; but in addition she also works as Dean of Women's ministry in the Bristol Diocese, where her task is to mentor and advise other women priests. She is passionately committed to the goal of seeing women in major leadership roles, including becoming bishops.

Following a ten day spiritual Retreat on the Isle of Iona, Canon Christine will be interviewing a number of women in different countries who have already made it into top leadership positions They will come from different backgrounds, such as business and politics, as well as from churches of various denominations. She will be listening to these top women's stories: why they feel they got to the top What difficulties were in their path, Do they feel they are where they are because of their gifts or because of "lucky breaks", Have they encountered a "glass ceiling" that lets them go so far and no further, Does their particular organisation have equality in theory, but not in practice.

Her findings will eventually be put into a report to be presented to the Bishop of Bristol.

Christine says she believes she will come back refreshed, and with a better understanding of how to help women in ministry. Asked if she has any fears about St Mary's while she is away, she says "Absolutely none. There is an excellent leadership team here, and they, together with our church members are all committed to our mission statement of 'Sharing God's love'."

Shire people who have encountered Christine's leadership skills will feel that her interviewees have as much to learn from her as she does from them. Bon voyage, Christine!

Shirehampton Group Practice Travel Clinic

The Practice Nurses at Shirehampton Group Practice are trained to give advice to travellers on the precautions needed when travelling to foreign climes. This may include the necessary vaccinations required to protect you, the need for anti-malarial tablets or just general travel health information.

We are able to deliver a range of vaccinations, some of which are free on the NHS and others which need to be paid for. There is no charge for the consultation and advice.

We are also a Registered Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre – there are only a few in the Bristol area. This may be required if you are travelling to exotic locations, such as parts of Africa, or South America

Give yourself plenty of time to organise an appointment for these vaccinations as you sometimes need a course over a few weeks. Ideally three weeks between completing the form and your holiday

In the first instance, please telephone reception or call in to pick up a travel advice form. Please complete a form for each adult member of the family, ensuring a date, time and phone number is on the form and return it to reception. A member of the nursing team will assess your form and contact you to discuss your risks and make the appropriate appointments. Payment (if necessary) is made, by cheque or cash, at the time of vaccination. The nurses can also direct you to some very informative websites or provide you with written literature giving lots of helpful advice about travelling abroad.

Please ring 0117 9162226 after 3pm for a form to be sent out to you, or ask at reception.

Vision for Shirehampton

Our Vision for Shirehampton series concluded last month with the letters from our City councillors, though our hope is that the debate about our village and its future will continue. The VfS group thanks everyone who has replied so far. Your responses will be incorporated into a future summary article for SHIRE.

Meanwhile, there are some comments and developments over some of the issues that were highlighted in the articles:

  • Disappointment that no local/Bristol based entrepreneur has stepped into Shire and opened new facilities to replace those we have lost, e.g., a privately run health and fitness suite with a gym and swimming pool could do well here
  • There is hope now that Robin Cousins will eventually become a good community asset
  • Potentially a new day centre could be established by Bristol Charities in Tythe Barn (they need to gain the approval of their Trustees in order for this project to progress)

There will be a report given to to the next Shirehampton Community Action Forum meeting at the Public Hall on Wednesday 2 April, from 7-9 pm. Members will be asked to take a decision on continuing – or not – the Vision for Shirehampton project.

Shirehampton Community Action Forum

Full Forum Meeting. Wednesday 2 April 7-9pm. Public Hall. Everyone welcome

March at St Mary's

Friday 7th March - Concert by 'The Muskrats' Veterans' Jazz Band - the oldest band in the land! Tickets £6 from the Church Office. We will give you a buffet and glass of wine.

Saturday 15th March - 10.00am - 12.00 noon - Springtime Fayre - crafts, gifts, cakes, preserves etc AND an exhibition of miniatures by Jenny Brooks. 2.00pm - 3.30pm - Cream teas

Saturday 15th March - 4.00pm - The Forget-me-not Service. A time of remembrance especially for families who have suffered an untimely death whether recently or long ago. All welcome.

Sunday 16th March - Palm Sunday

8.30am Kids' Klub as usual. 10.00am - Holy Communion.

4.30pm - Tea & Presentation for Duncan Jennings to mark his time spent as Ordinand at St Mary's. Sign up on the list in church to attend.

4.45pm - Short service of Holy Communion at the Cotswold Association Building followed by tea and cakes.

6.00pm - Annual Parochial Church Meeting.

8.00pm - Compline - a short service of Evening Prayer

Holy Week starts Monday 17th March:

Prayer Walk in St Mary's for Holy Week - an opportunity, when the church is open, to take a prayer walk around our flower displays based on Scenes of Jesus' life

Compline (Evening Prayer) at 8.00pm on Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th

Maundy Thursday - 20th March - NO 11am Service; the congregation will attend the Cathedral that morning for Holy Communion with the Blessing of Oils.

6.30pm at St Mary's - Holy Communion with the Washing of Feet (for those wishing to take part) followed by a fellowship meal. Sign up in church.

Good Friday - 21st March - 10.00am Family Service around the cross followed by hot cross buns. Good Friday procession arrives at St Mary's at 10.45am and you can join in here

1.00pm - Stations of the Cross - Meditations & prayers on 'the road to Calvary'

2.00pm - 3.00pm - Shirehampton Area Choir sing 'Pardon, Penitence & Peace'

Easter Day - 23rd March - 7.00am - Sunrise Service (details of venue in church) followed by breakfast at Shirehampton Cricket Club. Sign up in church.

10.00am - Holy Communion for Easter. Prize for the child and adult with the best set of rabbit's ears! Accompanied children are invited to find an Easter surprise after the service.

Easter Services at St Bernard's Catholic Church

16th March: Passion Sunday - Blessing of Palms and Procession from St Bernard's School 10am followed by Mass at 10.15am

20th March: Maundy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper with Washing of Feet at 7.30pm

21st March: Good Friday

10am Family Stations of the Cross, followed by united churches' procession of witness

3.00pm: Liturgy of the Passion and Death of the Lord

7.00pm: The Way of the Cross

22nd March: 8.00pm Easter Vigil Celebration ending with First Mass of Easter

23rd March: Easter Sunday Mass at 9am

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Holy Week and Easter

Maundy Thursday 20th March: 3.00pm Holy Communion

Easter Day Sunday 23rd March: 11.00am Rev. David Alderman concludes his ministry at Shirehampton Methodist Church

A Warm Welcome is extended to all

Churches Good Friday Walk of Witness

21 March 2008

Join at any point along the route

10.15 – Shirehampton Green

10.30 – Methodist Church

10.45 – St. Mary's (Hot Cross Bun & coffee)

11.15 – St Bernard's Catholic Church

11.30 – Baptist Church

11.45 – Shirehampton Green

Shirehampton Baptist

Easter Services

Maundy Thursday 20 March 7.30 pm: Communion

Good Friday: United Walk of Witness

Easter Sunday: 10.30 am: The Empty Tomb