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News Index

Visit Our New Look Web Site!

What’s on in May

Vision for Shirehampton

Letters to the Editor

54 new trains a week for Severn Beach line

Community Engagement in Rail Line

Police News

Avonmouth National Smelting Boxing Club given go-ahead on New Sports Facility

Update on Robin Cousins Centre Campaign

St. Mary's News

Visit Our New Look Web Site!

A Screenshot of the Home Page at

SHIRE launched its own web site, “Shire on the Web”, nine years ago. We are now very pleased to announce that a redesigned version is now available online. You can visit it by typing into any web browser.  We also appear at the top of most of the search engines, simply by searching on “Shirehampton”!

Our new look web site has a wide range of useful information about Shirehampton. It has been redesigned to help us maintain the large number of pages and to help you find what you want more easily and present each page in a consistent manner.

The Home Page, which appears when the web site first opens, has a menu bar at the bottom, giving a range of options.

  • Local Information brings up a local map, and links to information about local attractions including Blaise Castle, and Kings Weston Roman Villa.
  • Photos and Art contains pictures of parts of the village, and archives of exhibits at past Craft and Art exhibitions. See if you can identify how many of the shops shown in the High Street pictures have changed since the photos were taken.
  • Organisations gives a comprehensive listing of community organisations active in the Village. The information has all been provided by the organisations themselves. Please let us know if your group has been left out, or the information needs updating.  Use the link at the bottom of the page.
  • News has the internet edition of this newspaper. Many people from all over the world use it to keep in touch with the village. It now has an archive of the past nine years’ editions of SHIRE. This archive can be searched, so if you remember seeing a story in the past, and want to refer back to it, this is the place to go.
  • Businesses is the place for local businesses to get an on-line presence. If you have a local business, you can advertise here for only £15 for a whole year.  Your advertisement will also appear in colour!
  • History has a selection of interesting articles about Shirehampton’s history.
  • Contact lists how to get in touch with SHIRE and members of the Administrative Council.  There is also an online form which will enable you to send us an email even if you don’t have an email address yourself.  Make sure you provide us with your contact details in case we need to get back to you!
  • Message Boards has links to three new interactive areas, covering Find a Friend, Family History, and Notes and Queries. If you are trying to get in touch with a long lost friend or relative, or have reached a dead end in family history research, and suspect a Shirehampton connection, you can enter your question here. Notes and Queries is for other questions related to the village. If you see a question and know the answer, please respond on the site.  If you have any suggestions for new message boards, please let us know.
  • What’s New is the place to go if you are a regular visitor and want to be directed to new things on the site since your last visit.

In addition to the above sections, we also have a mailing list which you can join to receive email updates when amendments are made to the web site.  For example, we send out an email every month when we add the electronic edition of Shire News.  It takes under a minute to join, just type in your email address into the box on the home page and click Join to sign up. You will receive an email with a special link.  Make sure you click it to complete your registration.

Every page on the web site has a feedback link at the bottom of the page; use it to contact us if you feel you have something to say about the page that you are on.  If you want to post a message for everyone to see, use the new Message Boards section.

Do visit our redesigned site, and let us know what you think. If you do not have a computer with internet access at home, you can use the terminals in the Public Library.

If you have any pictures or articles that you would like to submit to appear on the site, or want to volunteer to work on the web site, please get in touch.

The Shire on the Web Team


A volunteer to deliver ‘Shire’ in Portbury Grove. The papers are brought to you each month for you to deliver to each house in the road. If you are able to help please ring Pauline on 982693.

Shirehampton Junior School Reunion

Calling all members of Shirehampton Junior School who left in 1986!!

There is a reunion being held on Sat 10th May from 19.30 at The Lamplighters.

Please feel free to attend if this was your year and also please let anyone you know about it.

Avonmouth School Reunion

Did you leave Avonmouth School July 1958? Were you taught by Mrs Popjoy or Mrs Roberts? Do you remember Viv Gentry, Christine Male or Mary Williams? If you do and you want to meet up for a reunion or text leaving your name and phone number to: 07980 464822

What’s on in May

Thursday May 1st

TOWNSWOMEN’S GUILD 2-4 pm Methodist Church Hall

KICK BOXING weekly the Public Hall 5.15pm -7.15pm

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

SLIMMING WORLD weekly 5.30pm and 7 pm at Jim O’Neill House

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

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

BRISTOL SHIPLOVERS’ SOCIETY, 7.15pm at Holy Trinity Church, Hotwells Road, Bristol. Talk: ‘Spirit of Lelianna’ (Hovercraft) by BARB Roger Flower.

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

Friday May 2nd

Last day for ENTRY FORM for EXHIBITORS at the Local Art Exhibition to reach Audrey Curtis, 2 Meadow Drive, Weston-in-Gordano, BS20 8PS.

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

EVERGREENS weekly at the Public Hall 2 – 3 pm

BINGO weekly at the Public Hall 6.30 – 8.30 pm

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

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

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

Saturday May 3rd

MAY FAYRE at SHIREHAMPTON METHODIST CHURCH 10am - 12 noon. Refreshments, raffles, tombola.

Sunday May 4th

JESSIE MAY TRUST CARNIVAL, Winterbourn Down Methodist Church 6pm.

SHIREHAMPTON CRICKET CLUB Womens’ Team match v. Apperley (G. West Leagye) match at home.

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

Monday May 5th


Tuesday May 6th

St Andrew’s LADIES CLUB meets at 7.30pm for ‘Rhymes & Readings’ with Brian Amesbury.

THE BOBBY VAN on the Green.

SHIREHAMPTON CRAFT GROUP 2pm - 3.30pm at Avonside District Guide HQ St Mary’s Road. For informatiopn tel: 983192.

TOTSTOP for under 5s at Shirehampton Baptist Church 9-11am weekly

Wednesday May 7th

And every Wednesday, Shirehampton MODEL RAILWAY CLUB meets at 7.30pm at the Public Hall.

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

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.

COTSWOLD BOOK CLUB, Bill Bryson Night. For details ring 9047319.

Sunday May 11th

SHIREHAMPTON CRICKET CLUB (Women’s Team) away match v. Dymock

Monday May 12th

TOTSTOP for under 5s at St Mary’s weekly 1.15-2.45pm

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

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

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

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

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.

Tuesday May 13th

EVERGREENS Day Trip to Abergavenny Market and Abbey Mill for Cream Tea. Enquiries ring 9381725

Wednesday May 11th

BEAT SURGERY 10am-11am Alternating locations - Stowe House, Methodist Church Hall or Penpole Residents Association.

WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP at the Public Hall 7.30pm-9.30

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

Thursday May 15th

BRISTOL SHIPLOVERS’ SOCIETY at Holy Trinity Church, Hotwells Road, Bristol, 7/15pm for 7.30pm video/CD D. Day or Sail Training Ships by Ben Wheatley.

Thursday May 15th

CARERS GROUP at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-noon

CARERS GROUP at Ridingleaze House, Lawrence Weston 2pm

Sunday May 18th

COTSWOLD SERVICE at Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45-5.10pm led by St. Mary’s Church

Tuesday May 20th

St Andrew’s LADIES CLUB 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Avonmouth. Talk “You can choose your friends” Speaker Susan Marshfield.

Wednesday May 21st

SHIREHAMPTON STITCHERS at the Public Hall 7.30pm.

Thursday May 22nd

DIABETES UK Penpole Tenants Association Hall 7.30 pm

Friday May 23rd

End of Term 5 for all local schools.

SEQUENCE DANCE Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 7.30 pm – 10 pm

Saturday May 24th

LOCAL ART EXHIBITION at the Public Hall.

Monday May 26th

SPRING BANK HOLIDAY, the Library will be closed.

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 8.30am most Sunday mornings. Breakfast and a short service. For information Tel: 907 7026

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

CITY OF BRISTOL BASIC SKILL CLASSES: FREE. Improve your English; Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Help with your Maths. Ring 3125427 or 3125428.

BUMP & RHYME for babies and toddlers every Monday 11.20-11.40 am, followed by Story Time 12 noon – 12.15pm

Calling All Crafters

At the Craft exhibition last year, Ed and Gail decided that after 13 years of organising the exhibition, it was time to hand over to someone else. Mary Hayball and I offered to take it on.

However it will not happen without YOU. We need craft people to enter the things that they make, as without them there will be no exhibition.

Please start thinking now about what you would like to enter. Perhaps you have something tucked away in a cupboard that you keep meaning to finish. Now is the time to get it out and complete it.

Do you know someone who makes things but has never thought about entering? If they live in either Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Avonmouth or Lawrence Weston, or attend classes in these areas they are very welcome to enter.

Hope to see you all at the Exhibition in October.

If you want information about the Craft Exhibition please contact me on the number below.

Pat Davidson 9823192.

Vision for Shirehampton

The Vision for Shirehampton series of articles which ran in SHIRE from September 2007 to February 2008 had their origin in a SCAF meeting when a lively unplanned debate arose over concerns that the village was losing a number of amenities, and that the voice of Shirehampton residents was not being listened to by our city authorities. There was also in the meeting a strong desire to think positively about the good aspects of the village, and to take the initiative in planning for the future. This was against the background of the Council’s current discussions about Bristol’s next twenty-year strategy which central government was requiring it to formulate.

The upshot of the Forum’s debate was the forming of a small sub-committee, the Vision for Shirehampton group, to explore ways of taking the debate further. When the group held its first meeting, it decided to carry out an analysis of the village’s community life, what it had, what it had lost, and what might be done for the future benefit of Shirehampton.

To carry out this plan, the group decided to look at Shirehampton’s life under four headings: (1)Shops, (2) Public and Social Amenities, (3) Schools, Churches and Organisations, and (4) Commercial Amenities. In addition, our two local Councillors, Spud Murphy and Terry Cook were to be invited to respond. All of this was to be published in SHIRE.

The series seemed to be generally well received, and drew a number of responses via the letters pages in SHIRE.

By far the largest number of responses was in regard to the Shops survey. There were those who remembered with fond nostalgia shops long-gone, and these memories in themselves highlighted the chief concern, namely that the variety and number of shops is now sadly diminished from what used to be here. Some of this is inevitable, as we share with Britain generally the effect of the enormous growth of supermarkets, and the increased mobility of most of us. A Council survey of all Bristol’s shops (quoted in our article) showed that we fare better than most areas of the city. However, it cannot be denied that the number of boarded-up shop fronts is far too high, and sadly they have increased since our article was printed in September. Looking at the shops listed in that issue, we have now lost from them Victoria Wine, Liz’s Flowers and Cards, Somerfield, and George White. True, Somerfield have moved to the garage, but it means another boarded shop-front. It should also be noted that the formerly empty shop opposite the green is now open as a café, and an empty shop in Nibley Road is on the way to becoming a fish and chip shop. One of the surprising things is how places to eat seem to be increasing: it is something of a surprise that our little community can support so many.

But there is still no sign of filling retail gaps that have been identified, such as a health food shop and a hardware shop.

The second article focussed on Public Amenities. We covered such things as banks, health, transport, leisure, and clubs.

There is no doubt that the loss of the swimming pool and the Robin Cousins Centre still rankles with residents. The Council may never be forgiven for taking the baths away, and few regard the provision at Henbury as any kind of compensation for what has been lost. As Councillor Cook said with brutal candour at a recent Local Partnership meeting, “It’s no good asking for a new pool, because it isn’t going to happen”. One would long that an enterprising entrepreneur would take up the challenge and try.

However, there is hope for the Robin Cousins centre, as a private leisure firm has bought it and wishes to open it for use. But unfortunately the Government Highway’s Agency which owns the road under the M5 bridge has been extremely unwilling to reach an agreement that would allow this to go ahead. This has been an enormous frustration to the purchasers and to the City Council. SCAF is also doing its best to put pressure to get the access issue resolved. Meanwhile, vandals do their usual wrecking work, which could make the place unusable in the end if unchecked.

Coincidentally with the Vision article about children’s play areas, which highlighted the inadequate local provision, MP Doug Naysmith announced that the government was making money available for just such purposes. He said “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 parents 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.” This is a golden opportunity for Shirehampton parents: it is to be hoped that they will seize it.

The third aspect of village life to be analysed, covered the work done by schools, churches and organisations. These last two groups showed what an enthusiastic and hard-working community we have, with volunteers sacrificing a great deal of time and money to serve Shirehampton.

Regarding the schools, primary and junior schools carry on their vital work efficiently and to the general satisfaction of all. Portway however has had many years of problems, with many changes of leadership and a general loss of trust by parents, who have increasingly opted to send their young people elsewhere for their education. Also, since the rebuilding under the PFI scheme, there has been much dissatisfaction with the availability of the facilities for community use, as the level of hire charges has made them unaffordable. Now, however, subject to local and central government approval, a new era is about to dawn, with the school being granted Academy status, with the Oasis Community Learning charity given the management responsibility. As well as a fervently hoped-for educational improvement, the sponsors are aiming to make the facilities available for community use at affordable rates, and are anxious to see the building used by the whole community.

The final study looked at Shirehampton’s commercial amenities. The chief lack revealed was places for visitors to stay. With only one hotel, and no Bed & Breakfast facilities, the opportunities for the village to become a useful stopping place for either business people or holiday-makers are almost non-existent. With Shirehampton’s excellent location between the motorway and the city this seems a gap crying out to be filled. Also, good accommodation would make the non-residential conference facilities at Kings Weston and in the High Street even more of an asset than they already are.

The two letters from our councillors that ended the series were appreciated. Councillor Murphy gave his commitment to seeing more play equipment in the parks, and also showed enthusiasm for a skateboard park. Councillor Cook also wanted greater investment in the parks. With these desires, plus Mr. Naysmith’s enthusiasm to see recent government money used for the purpose, why should it not happen? It is surely up to us villagers to take the initiative now to help make it a reality.

One controversial comment from Terry Cook concerned the number of boarded-up shops.  “My view is that we have too many empty shop units and that means too many shops – perhaps we should consider a review of our village centre”. This is worth discussing: do we have too many shops? Is it a waste of time to look for retailers to take on the current vacant premises?

We believe that the Vision for Shirehampton project was well worth the time and effort. But we are left with the question: will it lead to actual positive change in our village, or simply fade into oblivion having achieved no practical result? That is largely out of our hands as a committee. Only Shirehampton residents themselves can turn vision into reality. Keep the discussions going in SHIRE; use every means of communication with our Councillors and with Council departments; get involved with SCAF; be pro-active so changes will be for the improvement of our village, and any further diminishing of our amenities will be halted.

The Vision for Shirehampton Group plans to meet in a couple of months to review the situation, and in the light of responses to the issues it has raised decide how it might best help in making the village the very best place in which to live, work, and shop.

A version of this report was presented at April’s Full Forum meeting.

Old Photographs

These photos were sent in by Mrs Sheila Silcocks (nee Stevens)

Shirehampton Infants' School, circa 1950.  Teacher Mr Stainer.  Sheila is in the second row from the back on the left

Portway Boys' School, circa 1958.  Sheila's brother is on the left next to the teacher and next but one to him is Ernie Miller

Casualty Star Visits Portway School

On Saturday December 1st 2007, World Aids Day, the Year 10 Health and Social Care group at Portway Community School spent the day bag packing at Marks and Spencer Cribbs Causeway. Staff and customers at the store commented on the friendly, helpful, mature attitude displayed by the girls.

This was reflected in the astonishing amount of money collected which was over £1000. In recognition of their hard work and indeed the work of Portway Health and Social Care students over the last four years Bonnie Holt from the Terrence Higgins Trust and their teacher Gabrielle Murtagh were very keen to mark the occasion.

Bonnie arranged for the well known actress Sunetra Sarker to be present at the assembly where the students handed over the cheque and Bonnie presented them with a commemorative plaque from the Terrence Higgins Trust. The students were delighted that their hard work had been recognized in such a way. Their next target is a stunning £5000 for the Wallace & Gromit Children’s Foundation by the end of July.

These young people and their teachers show great dedication to their community and we are sure they will do it.

Calling all Gardeners

Have you grown too many plants? Want something different? Then Atwood Drive allotments is the place to be on Saturday 31st May between 10am and 1pm. Take your surplus plants and swap them for free! You can even have a cup of tea or coffee for 50p. Want to know more? Telephone Alison on 07852 539378

Shire Community Action Forum - Useful Telephone Numbers

“Working To Improve “Shirehampton & Avonmouth”

Useful Numbers

Emergency Response: 999

General Enquiries: 0845 456 7000

Community Beat Managers:

PC Gareth Davies 0117 9454380

PCSO Zaheer BulBul 0117 9454380

Avonmouth Police Station: 0117 9454390

Bristol City Council Anti-Social Behaviour Team: 0845 605 2222

Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111

Confidential/anonymous reporting (sometimes rewards for information are given)

Bristol City Council Call Centre 0117 9223838 (report to for fly tipping, rubbish/litter, graffiti, etc)

Shirehampton Library - Confidential Incident Reporting Forms & Post Box

Safer Bristol Community Safety Officer North Bristol: 07810506846

Neighbourhood Watch: 0117 9529738

Administrator:  07825 531153

Bristol Victim Support: 0117 9631114

Letters to the Editor

Letter from New Zealand

Dear Editor,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the March edition of ‘Shire’ and especially Les Gray’s memories and Sheila Silcock’s accounts of Shire in the 40s and 50s. We moved from the city (Kingsdown) in 1949 and I lived thereabouts until marrying in 1961. The river back even then was a place of great adventure. If a ship went along at high tide then the tidal wave over the banks was a source of great fun trying not to get wet. The Park Hill Farm ice creams were a special treat especially if there was cricket at Shirehampton or Twyford when a quick trip down the hill made the afternoon worthwhile. I was also glad to see that Kingsweston House is being cared for. In 1949 it was a primary school but only the ground and first floors could be used as the top floor balconies were crumbling. All of the alcoves were boarded up but if you hung off the main staircase you could just see the heads of statues that had been left there. The basement where the café is now was full of stuffed birds and for a nine year old a place of great intrigue. What has become of the House in the Garden? It was a fascinating place to visit with its low ceilings and doors. Keep up the good work.

Tony Haggerty, 4/15 Swanson Road, Henderson, Waitakere, Auckland 0610, New Zealand


Dear Editor,

I read your superb “Shire” Newsletter of March 2008 (as I used to live in Nibley Road from 1945 through to 1969) and noted Mr. Richard Coates request for a photograph of Penpole Point as it used to look when it was all kept clean and tidy.

Shown below is a scan of a picture-postcard which belonged to my grand-parents, which I believe was published some time in the 1930’s, when they first moved to Nibley Road from Melksham in Wiltshire at that time.  The colour view underneath is taken from the same angle about sixty years later (in the mid 1990’s).  What a difference!

The Sundial can be readily recognised, but possibly the Triangulation Stone has yet to be placed nearby (or possibly out of camera-shot on the right?).  The small building in the background was possibly a lodge (might have been known as the Belvedere?) leading to the Kings Weston House estate, and appears to have still been inhabited when this photograph was taken.  This was taken before I was born, as I had only ever known said building as a derelict ruin, before being finally demolished sometime in the early 1950’s, with only a short stump of a wall being left to outline the foundations nowadays.  A sad loss of a rather attractive (possibly) eighteenth century building.  A most striking difference to these days is the large expanse of grass in this view, which was all overgrown with bushes the last time I saw it a few years ago.

I hope that this photograph will provide Mr Coates with at least some idea of how Penpole looked back in the old days.

Cheers for now, David Hoey Esq.


I was interested to read Richard Coates` article on Penpole in March`s issue of Shire. If, as he states, the name is equivalent to Land`s End, then this leads to the presumption that, at one time, it was indeed the end of the land, and that Avonmouth, the Marshes and all that land lying between Shirehampton and Portishead were under water, as indeed must the Somerset Levels have been.

As to the pronunciation of the last syllable, might not a more simple explanation be that our ancestors merely added the Bristol ‘l’ to Penpau?!


Riverside Memories

My daughter, Carol Dring of Lower High Street, has given me the March 2008 issue of ‘Shire’ which includes the article ‘Down by the Riverside’. This was written in 1986 by my younger brother, Leslie Gray, late of Dursley Rd. As I am the sole survivor of four brothers, Eric and Colin being the other two, I was very pleased to read of all his (and mine) memories of No.4 Hung Road Cottages, also known as Myrtle Cottages, next to Myrtle Farm. At the time, 1932, I was eleven years old and just started at the new Portway Senior Boys’ School. I left in 1935 with a certificate to show I was ‘top boy’ in Mr J.W.B Sissons’ Form 1. Life at the riverside cottages was basic but much enjoyed by us boys. One Sunday I was crew member in a large rowing boat owned by teenager Bill Yate of Dursley Road and we set off to go to Denny Island in the River Severn. We rowed out past Avonmouth jetty and met a moored buoy charging towards us. It was actually the strong Severn tide going out. We managed to avoid the buoy but we ended up at Clevedon Pier. We had our sandwiches there and came back on the evening tide to moor opposite the Lamplighters inn. Another expedition was to visit ‘Adam and Eve’ lighthouse opposite Myrtle Farm. This was a forerunner of my trip by landing barge on D-Day, 10th July 1943, on the beach at Pachino in Sicily. My present activities only involve indoor and utdoor bowling, and four-weekly sessions at whist clubs. W.T.(Bill)Gray, M.A.A.T. retired.


Dear Editor,

As a fairly new resident in Shirehampton, may I thank you for an excellent publication. I agree with your correspondents in the March and earlier issues regarding the importance of maintaining local shops. However economics dictate that most families cannot purchase the majority of shopping locally because of the higher prices. So let’s try and do something about it!! I have written to Iceland suggesting that they open on the old Somerfield site. I feel this would broaden the scope of local shops, encouraging more people to shop locally, and maybe also potentially new customers. Iceland may feel that the Southmead store would be too close, but no reply as yet. For those of you who do not know Iceland, they stock not only frozen foods, but also fresh and chilled products, at good prices. For example 4 pints of milk £1.10, and free delivery over £25 spent. Perhaps other readers would also like to add their voice in an attempt to convince Iceland. I would not think the like of Aldi or Lidl would be interested due to size of site, and usually require a car park. Thanking you, yours sincerely, Mr N Butler, 19A Station Rd, Shirehampton.

Bradley Crescent

Dear Editor,

I was delighted to read the letter from Vic Wiltshire in the January ‘Shire’ referring to the shops in Bradley Crescent way back in the years leading up to the Second World War. I was born in Bradley Crescent, number 67, and lived with my widowed mother and brother and sister, Leslie and Edna. I remember Vic being a great pal to my brother, who died in 1949, three years after my Mum, at the age of twenty six. I went to London, after marrying, for a few years and came back to live in Shirehampton on the Portway. My children Valerie, Janet, and Kenneth (Warrant) attended St. Mary’s Infant and Junior School in Portbury Grove, Shire. I would love to hear from Vic, if not someone who knew him or me. Yours truly, Mrs K Bennett. (nee Kathleen Harries.)

Mr Greber – Scoutmaster

Dear Editor,

I was interested to read Paul Bradshaw’s article about ‘The Grebers’. As a nine year old cub in 1930, I have fond memories of a two year period when Mr Greber controlled the cub pack in the Scout hut in St Mary’s Road as Scoutmaster, I remember expeditions round Lawrence Weston fields and a November 11th Remembrance Service by the Lodge on Penpole . At that time I lived in a cottage behind Myrtle Hall with my three brothers. Mr Greber lived in Station Road. On walking up Hung Road to Station Road, his corner house was on the right, being at the junction of Springfield Avenue and Station Road. Perhaps Eileen Greber lived there at that time. I hope this gives some information to Paul Bradshaw. William (Bill) Gray.

Kingsweston House Estate

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) has asked Martin Harris, Manager for Kingsweston and Blaise Castle Estates at BCC Parks Dept for a maintenance schedule and scheme of works at Kingsweston House. SCAF has been concerned over the last year, that the Estate was being a little neglected, and not receiving all the maintenance and general upkeep it should have been.

SCAF has received the following response from Martin Harris, by email, about our particular areas of interest.

“Treatment of Japanese Knotweed: A ranger has now been fully trained in the use of pesticides. For the past three years, successive chemical application has considerably reduced the size of the colony alongside the path leading up to the summerhouse. We will be concentrating our efforts on the early application to the colony which borders the main field.

Grass cutting regime: A new contractor (Bristol Contract Services) has been appointed to provide grounds maintenance. The grass has already been cut on the area in front of the house and we shall ensure it is cut as required and/or within the two and a half week cycle. The conservation area i.e. that land adjoining Shirehampton Road will be maintained as a one cut and collect. We will however maintain cut paths through the grass and in immediate vicinity of road and car park. The grass area leading to Penpole Point will be mown more frequently than in the past, which should help in stopping the build up of litter.

Bramble removal: I am happy to receive your opinion on where bramble should be removed. However, given the start of bird nesting and ground conditions, extensive cutting back will take place in the autumn.

Path clearance/maintenance: Admittedly the paths should have been cut back more severely during the past autumn. I am hoping that with the new arrangements, this will occur this year. In the meantime if you have any concerns about particular paths, please get in touch.

Dog litter bins – are any proposed/budgeted for?: I intend to put at least one bin in at Kingsweston. There is no dedicated budget, it would come from the general Blaise/Kingsweston estate budget. Depending on the location, if it is to be around the house, I may have to ensure that its installation does not require permissions under the listed buildings status”

Ash Bearman, Shire Community Action Forum (SCAF) Tel: 0117 982 9963;

Christmas Lights

The new lights and trees last year were very popular. However, they cost £55 for every one we put up. For this year’s display we plan to put up more so we will be pleased to get your generous donations in the tins. Thanks for your great support. C.Rich. (Treasurer)

(The balance sheet was published in the last edition of ‘Shire’)

54 new trains a week for Severn Beach line

Bristol City Council is investing £395k pa on providing more train services on the Severn Beach Line under a three year contract with First Great Western, starting on 18 May 2008. The funding will provide an extra two-coach train set and traincrews, and will establish a roughly 40 minute train frequency on the route. This will mean three trains every two hours in both directions between Bristol Temple Meads, Shirehampton and Avonmouth (Monday to Saturday). In the mornings and evenings most services continue to Severn Beach, and between the morning and evening peaks one train every two hours goes beyond Avonmouth (replacinging the current bus link. Also, for the first time, there will be an hourly service between Bristol Temple Meads and Avonmouth on Sundays.

In all, Bristol City Council will fund fifty four more round trips a week for the Severn Beach Line including eight on a Sunday.

  • Monday to Friday - an additional eight round trips per day, making 23 round trips in total - ( a greater than 50% increase on last May)
  • Saturday - an additional six round trips, making 22 in total
  • Sunday - a completely new service of eight round trips ... and better stations too ...

Stations in Greater Bristol including all those on the popular Severn Beach Railway will benefit from over £400,000 of new funding including £196,500 Access for All funding from the Department of Transport which was achieved through two bids from the West of England Partnership and Bristol City Council.

The project is also funded by Bristol City Council, First Great Western and South Gloucestershire Council. Work will commence in April 2008. The work will be finished by March 2009.

The awards mean that stations along the route, and Patchway in South Gloucestershire, will benefit from improved signage, lighting, seating, access routes, shelters and customer information.

The Severn Beach Line has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last 10 years and now carries over half a million passengers a year.

Councillor Mark Bradshaw, Executive Member for Access and Environment, said: “We are pleased that the service improvements and station upgrades will now become a reality. The financial support from Bristol City Council and its partners has been key to this and demonstrates the strength of our joint working arrangements. The improvements have been long awaited and will help to offer the prospect of a more reliable service.

“We now intend to look at additional measures such as Clifton turnback, to improve reliability, if technical and funding issues can be resolved. And we will want to see how, working with partners, we can better promote the services and encourage more people to make use of them.

“We view local rail services as a key part of our overall shared aim to encourage less use of the car. We are committed to working with our partners to achieve improved local and strategic rail services. The West of England Partnership has met with the Rail Minister Tom Harris MP. We have a clear success story in the Severn Beach package. We now want to take this further and work towards improvements to the region’s rail network.”

Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, FOSBR

FoSBR is a group of people who are working hard to promote greater use and extension of Bristol’s local railways. Several events have been advertised to stimulate interest:

Monday 5th May, FoSBR stall Redland May Fair, Redland Green 12 noon.

Tuesday 29th May, Rosie Winterton, Minister of State for Transport will speak at Carfree Communities Conference, Bristol Marriot Hotel, College Green.

Tuesday 20th May, 5 mile walk from Montpelier Station to Clifton Down.

Saturday 24th May, 6/7 mile linear walk from Severn Beach to Shirehampton.

Tel 0117 942 8637/949 0400.

Ethel Thomas

Ethel Thomas will probably be best remembered as a Bristol historian, and an important one at that. It was during the 1960’s she decided to research the interesting history of the suburbs Avonmouth and Shirehampton, subsequently publishing five books, which not only have been enjoyed by local residents, but copies have made their way around the world. For Bristolians now living in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA these books offered them a taste of home. Ethel’s books have become valuable sources of reference for local people, of the community in which they live, and this formidable woman has certainly left her mark for generations to come. Being born the same year as the Queen, Ethel was an ardent Royalist and never missed an issue of the prestigious publication, Majesty. Ethel was a formal person and some years ago she and husband Eddie could often be seen dining at the Royal Hotel on College Green. She also supported Eddie at all the social functions arranged by his employers, the Bristol oil and Storage Company.

Colin Momber.

Obituary Frederick John Rudd

5th May 1931 - 10th March 2008

Many people in Shirehampton will be very sad to hear that John, as he was known, “crossed the bar” on 10th March 2008. John was born and bred in Shirehampton.  He was a third generation seafarer, who began his sea-going career on the tug “Eastleigh” in Bristol docks after the Second World War.  At 16 he started working on bigger foreign going ships.  He worked for a number of Bristol shipping companies including Bristol City Line, Bristol Steam Navigation Company and TR Browns.  He was mate, then master on the tug “Earnest Brown “, before leaving to work for the Port of Bristol Authority.

John, who loved the sea was a long-term member of the Merchant Navy Association, he also loved sport and his allotment garden in Shirehampton.

His family said: “He was a strong and proud man with a fighting spirit and dedicated to his wife Maureen, his four children and his seven grandchildren” The funeral was held in St Mary’s Church Shirehampton on Thursday 20th March 2008,and the service was led by the Rev Canon Christine Froude with a moving tribute given by the Rev Philip Auden DL the Chaplain to the Mission to Seafarers in Portbury.  John was very proud when his eldest son John was recently appointed master of a large high tech diving support vessel, which operates worldwide, with sixteen deep-sea divers on board.

Hamish Grant, Chairman, Bristol Branch of the Merchant Navy Association.

Community Engagement in Rail Line

The rail service on the Severn beach line, between Bristol temple Meads and Severn Beach, has been designated as a Community Rail Service.

This means more community involvement and a more flexible approach from train operator First Great Western, with emphasis on meeting local needs.

Bristol City Council has already invested in the line and plans are now in the pipeline for improvements.

The move was welcomed by the Severnside Community Rail partnership.

Rail minister Tom Harris said “ This means communities can become even more involved in how these services run”

Shire Greens, SCAF’s Environmental Action Group, are meeting Sarah Collins of Severnside Community Rail Partnership and Mike Holmes, from First Great Western, to consider an Adopt a Station proposal for Shirehampton Station.

Shirehampton Model Railway Club

We meet on a Wednesday night between 7.30 and 10 at the Public Hall.

A small, friendly group of modellers we welcome all new and experienced what ever scale, region, era, country you model.

Hon Sec. Tony Davies 0117 9094915.

VIP Travel Agents rule the waves

Local Travel Agents Lyndsay Colledge, Joanne Pickford and Fiona Fortune from Miles Morgan Travel on the High Street in Shirehampton had VIP treatment all the way after a fantastic invitation to stay onboard a brand new cruise ship.

The trio were some of the first people ever to set foot and stay on P&O cruises new ship “Ventura”, the huge ship is the largest to be built specially for British customers and sails from Southampton this summer.

Shop manager Lyndsay said “I was expecting to be wowed by the size of the ship but it was even bigger than I expected” Joanne added “The children’s facilities onboard were second to none – I have never seen so much for children to do!” Fiona was amazed by the circus school and rock school onboard “I have never seen a ship with schools for kids to learn such great things – they will love it!”

The agents were guests of P&O cruises after their shop had been so successful – “It was lovely to get the invitation and we were proud to be the first aboard, this is just the sort of ship people in Shirehampton will love – I can’t wait to tell them all about it!”

Avonmouth Hockey Club

The winter hockey season has just come to a conclusion with the 1st team not quite achieving their goal of getting promotion and the second team being transformed from 11 very inexperienced and young players to a formidable outfit that could hold their own against much of the competition in the division by the end of the season.

We are now preparing for summer league so although we do not train through the summer we keep our hand in with games over the summer months against local opposition. So if you don’t know what to do with your summer evenings, or you are looking for a way of getting fit and perhaps making some new friends; hockey could be the sport for you.

If anyone would like to know about getting involved with Avonmouth hockey please contact Janet Wilson on 0117 9828039.

Police News


At around 8am on Wednesday 12 March a burglary occurred in Pembroke Road, Shirehampton. The victim found a white female in her utility room. The female had written GLVM on the wall in paint, put a mobile phone case in the tumble dryer and switched it on and poured washing powder in the machine. She’d also packed a bag with items from the freezer to take away with her.

The female is described as white, 40 ish, 5’7” tall and very thin. She had shoulder length brown/orange coloured hair and was wearing a long maroon skirt and a torn brown jacket.

Did you see this person? If you have any information which may help officers dealing with this crime, please ring 0845 4567000 and ask for your information to be passed to the burglary team at Southmead Police station. Alternatively you can call anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Drugs / Warrants

There are ongoing drugs operations running in and around Shirehampton and they have been achieving considerable results. There have also been a large number of warrants served in relation to failing to appear in court or answer bail. Police working out of Avonmouth have been particularly successful in applying these warrants and have few left to deal with. They do want it known that they will continue working hard in getting these people to Court and will leave no stone unturned.

Don’t become a victim of distraction burglary

There has been an attempted distraction burglary – two thin faced men about 30ish in suits, but scruffy, one with a very spotty face. They entered a flat but left empty handed having noted and commented on all that was valuable. The big worry is that they will try again. Security for this person has been updated. Do not let anyone into your property without proper ID and if there is more than one person ring a neighbour to come around before you let them in; that way one of you can be with them at all times. The favourite scams are Water Board, Gas, Electricity and the use of children wanting a drink or toilet. Please keep your wits about you.

Avonmouth National Smelting Boxing Club given go-ahead on New Sports Facility

A highly successful local boxing club is celebrating today after being given the green light for a desperately needed new gym.

The National Smelting Amateur Boxing Club in Avonmouth, has been awarded £68,000 by the Sport England South West’s Community Club Development Programme for a new build boxing gym and fitness facility. The club has been awaiting vital planning permission from Bristol City Council to proceed.

Today the Council has given the club the final go-ahead.

The National Smelting Amateur Boxing Club is one of the most successful amateur clubs in the region, producing many champions since its establishment in 1934 even an Olympic medallist. The gym is massively over-subscribed but until now has been operating out of little more than a wooden hut.

The grant from Sport England will provide a brand new gym, and state-of-the-art facilities including two boxing rings, twenty punch bags and balls, an aerobic studio area, core strength work stations and mirrored walls – which will be built in partnership with Avonmouth Rugby Club.

Avonmouth is particularly in need of these facilities since The Robin Cousins centre, which was built to provide leisure facilities for local people, has lain empty for over two years. But the brand new facilities will benefit not only the boxing club, but members of Avonmouth rugby club and local residents. It is expected that up to 1000 people will use the new facility each week.

The venue will also serve as a Western Counties venue, for hosting tournaments and championships. In addition, the club has developed links with three schools - Bradley Stoke, Patchway and Badocks Wood primary. Boxing has real benefits in reducing behavioural problems in schools and tackling obesity and the new facilities will help them expand on their work delivering the ABAE boxing awards to pupils and work towards Clubmark accreditation.

Head coach Garry Cave, who led the bid for the funding award summed up the club’s delight:

“To say that it’s fantastic news for us would be an understatement. I feel like we’ve won the lottery.

“ Our gym has become so popular that I have had to turn kids away at the door. Boxing is second-to-none in teaching young people discipline, respect and building their self-esteem – and now we will be able to offer that opportunity to many more of our young people.

“I would like to give special thanks to Roger Eady, our Boxing Development Officer, Mike Nangreave our Architect, Councillor Spud Murphy, Charlotte Leslie, our prospective MP and all at Avonmouth Rugby Club.  Without their fantastic support we would have never got the award.

For more information, contact head coach, Garry Cave on 07876 233621.

Results:- Thursday 10TH April 2008 Avonmouth Rugby Club

  1. Jerry Connors NSC V Joe Edwards Trowbridge Skills Contest
  2. Blake Bowler NSC V Daniel Kimberley Rubery WON PTS
  3. Jake Musgrove NSC V Reece Conner Gloucester WON PTS
  4. John McDonagh NSC V Alex Kilworth Watchett WON PTS
  5. Tyler Davies NSC WON RSC 2 V Ben Stacy Titans
  6. Brad Collingbourne NSC WON PTS V James Hegney Watchett
  7. Tom Connors NSC WON PTS V Tyler Fox Wells
  8. Jason Davies NSC WON RSC 2 V Connor Jones Paignton
  9. Nathan Snow NSC WON KO 1 V Matt Moore Exeter

    Senior Contests:-

  10. Terry Richards Southmead WON PTS V Dave Murphy Brighton
  11. Justine Cornall Taunton V Jamie Leake Brighton WON RSC 3
  12. Jo Ross Southmead V Andy Kerslake Trowbridge WON PTS
  13. Jack Fisher Trowbridge V Adam Wright Brighton WON PTS
  14. Tom Sage Empire WON RSC 3 V A. Kelly Rubery

Promoted by The National Smelting Company Amateur Boxing Club (Under ABAe Rules)

Sponsored by The Avonmouth Tavern

Official In Charge: Len Mills; Referees: Ken Brain, Ian Lindsey.

Judges: Trevor Harding, Allan Holder, Pat Lewis, J. Turner; L. Stacey & S. Forrester; Timekeeper: W. Pike; Recorder: Jen Brain; MOA: M. Parsons; Medical Officer: Dr Daniel Brett ; Club President John Mathews; Club Chairman: John McCaan; MC: Steve Kenyon; Club Treasurer & Secretary: Beckie Cave

Coaches: Garry Cave, Sam Mogg & Jake Whiteside

St Mary’s Holiday Club

Monday 7th - Friday 11th April was St Mary’s Holiday Club, called Champion’s Challenge, run in conjunction with a group of students from Trinity College.  It was a great week - activities, crafts, games, drama, stories, aerobics - we tried out all of it and discovered we were all champions at something! Thanks to all the families who supported the week and especially to Mrs Travis and the Governors at Shirehampton Primary School who allowed us to use their premises and their lovely caretaker, Mrs Jan Budd who was so helpful and patient.  The week was funded by The Church and Community Fund; we thank their trustees too for supporting this work and enabling us to provide so many resources.

Update on Robin Cousins Centre Campaign

“Some movement on Robin Cousins, but we are not there yet!” says Sam Townend, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol North West.  Last edition we reported on the approach of the Highways Agency to the sale of the access way to the Robin Cousins Centre under the M5 bridge.  Sam and Doug Naysmith MP had both written to the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency demanding an explanation of the delays by the Agency in dealing with the sale of their part of the land around the Centre (which should have taken place in July 2006) and why they were making such unreasonable demands in the sale.

Sam Townsend

The Chief Executive of the Agency has now written back to Sam and Doug apologising for the lengthy delays in dealing with the issue, but maintaining the claim for £10,000 plus 50% share in any profits should the Bristol North Regeneration Initiative, (the proposed purchasers of the site who say they want to get the sports facilities back open as soon as possible), sell the property on in the next 50 years, plus legal costs.  The Agency have said that is their settled and final position and sent their offer to the Council and purchasers.

Sam Townend says, “I still cannot understand why they are being so unreasonable in their demands.  Doug and I are discussing what we can do next, certainly we will write again to the Highways Agency and consider parliamentary options, but given what the Agency have said to some extent the ball is in the court of the community purchasers.”

Ian Moore MBE, of Bristol North Regeneration Initiative, said “We are consulting with our lawyers.  We are very unhappy about the position the Highways Agency has taken.  The substantial and lengthy profit share proposal will severely restrict our ability to borrow money to invest in the Centre.  We are seriously considering ignoring the access under the M5 and having pedestrian only access.”

Avon (University Settlement) Community Association

We are a local charity which has been working in Shirehampton for many years. We run the Shire Advice Service which operates from the cottage at 115 High Street and has assisted many local residents old and young, with their problems. Age Concern and the Seven Four Credit Union also operate from our premises. We also sponsor the Evergreens who meet at the Public Hall.

We need volunteers to join the Management Council to help manage the charity. The Council meets four times a year and consists mainly of local people with an interest in the welfare of the inhabitants of Shirehampton. Particularly we need someone to replace our Treasurer who wishes to retire after many years of valuable service to the Charity.

If you can help, please contact: Moyra McConnell, Chair of the Management council Tel: 0117 9681922

Penpole Luncheon club

On Tuesday 18th March we had a surprise visitor to our Easter lunch organized for the elderly people of our area, His Worship the Lord Mayor of Bristol.

His Worship judged the Easter bonnet competition then lunch was served. After lunch a raffle was drawn and then a game of bingo. As you can see from the photo it was a very happy occasion for everybody in attendance.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank “Tubs” the butcher and the members of the Co-op staff for their all year round support.

Mrs S White, Organiser

Money to Play with

The government has announced that it is making £225 million available to build or upgrade 3,500 children’s play areas across the country. That amounts to £2.5 million for Bristol. We need to make sure some of it comes to Shire. Shirehampton Community Action Forum has done a piece of research into the play areas in the village. There are five of them, Springfield Road, Lamplighters, Home Ground, The Ridge, and Beechley Walk. All are in a poor state of repair, and suffer widespread misuse, vandalism and littering.

Children are reluctant to use them, partly because most of the equipment in them is missing or damaged, also because of the broken glass littered everywhere. Parents are equally unwilling for their offspring to use them, for the same reasons. There is also the problem of older teenagers using them as drinking dens, and addicts using them for drug taking. SCAF intends to meet with the city’s play officers, not only to see if some of the money can be invested in Shirehamptons play facilities, but also to ask about cleaning and maintenance. We don’t think there is much point in spending large sums of money in investment if there isn’t a proper plan for cleaning and maintenance.

Pat Roberts, Vice Chair, Shirehampton Community Action Forum.

St. Mary's News

St Mary’s News

Hi folks! Welcome to the news for St. Mary’s for this merry month of May. As the weather gradually becomes warmer I come out of my winter hibernation – in other words I leave off my pullovers and think about wearing short sleeves!

The farewell tea for Duncan Jennings on Palm Sunday went off very well with many old friends present (and younger ones too!). We were all delighted to see Carys Fowles – our former Churchwarden – who had made the journey from mid Wales to see Duncan and wish him well in his future ministry. Carys looked very well despite her advancing years and wished to be remembered to all her former friends who still live in Shirehampton!

To those of you who may be unaware there is a Former Carers Group who meet once a month in St. Mary’s for a short meeting and lunch. This is chaired by Jackie Husher. If you were a former carer for someone in the past this could well be of interest to you. Please ring the Church Office for dates of their meetings.

For those of you who missed our “Prayer Walk” in St. Mary’s during Holy Week when we had displays of flowers around the church representing different stories from The Bible, there is still an opportunity to see it by logging on to our website -

Our “Forget-me-not” Service on Saturday, 15th March was held to remember all those folks who suffered an untimely death either recently or long ago was attended by 60 people. It was very much appreciated by those persons in attendance and from the feedback received it appears that there is a need for this kind of Service and it is likely to be repeated again next year.

Earlier on the same day an Exhibition of Jennie Brooks Miniatures were on display in a glass cabinet in the Chancel and led several people to believe they were coloured photographs and not painted by hand! To see these miniatures in reality makes you appreciate what skill and patience Jennie has to produce these masterpieces. She truly is a very talented lady who I am sure will be more than happy to tell you about her work if you approach her. Thank you Jennie for allowing us to see them.

On the Monday of Holy Week we had an evening Holy Communion Service – Worship without Words. No words were spoken – with prayers and instructions of what to do displayed on a screen via our back projector. This was augmented by Taize type music and all put together by Frances Houghton who is a Lay Minister at Holy Trinity Church, Hotwells. I was not certain in my own mind what to expect from a service of this kind and I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised as were all the other persons who were present. Anyone who missed this Service missed a beautiful, quiet and reflective act of worship. I very much hope the opportunity will arrive for a similar Service to be repeated in the future.

For 32 members of our Church, Easter Day began at 7.00 am on Shirehampton Park with our annual Sunrise Service. Regrettably there was no sun – only an overcast sky and a little drizzle! Nevertheless, it was a simple but beautiful short service led by Canon Christine. Those who choose to lie in bed should give it a try one year – they will also appreciate the Full English Breakfast afterwards held in Shirehampton Cricket Pavilion courtesy of Don and Maureen Geddes and Pat Carter. Thanks once again for his kindness and generosity must go to “Tubs” the Butcher who supplied the ingredients for a truly magnificent breakfast. I must try and remember to give him a Chocolate Bunny next Easter!! Our 10.00 am Holy Communion Service on Easter Sunday was Canon Christine’s last Service with us before taking her Sabbatical Leave. We miss her terribly and she’s only been gone barely three weeks! But we are delighted to have our good old friend the Rev. Trevor Hearn to fill the breach in her absence. I use the word “old” very loosely – perhaps I should have said “long standing” – I don’t want to cause him any offence because he’s a bigger chap than me!!!

During the Easter School Holidays we ran the Childrens’ Holiday Club and we would like to thank all the children and their parents who supported this venture together with our Lay Minister Gill Sawyer and the Students from Trinity Theological College who were the organizers of this event. It was a pity not all of the places available were taken up, as where else could your kids go and get 2 hours free entertainment each morning!!

On Thursday, 10th April two members of our congregation – Norman and Vera Lock of Merrimans Road, celebrated their 65th Wedding Anniversary. We wish them both well and for many more happy years together. Gosh! – they were married just 3 years after I was born and I consider myself to be an old Codger now! I must ask them the secret of their long life – do they have a glass of Sherry each day or a tot of Whisky? If they do, I shall be following their instructions to the letter!!!

Now a reminder for the month of May when we have two Bank Holiday Mondays – the one for May Day on the 5th and the Spring Bank Holiday on the 26th. On both of these days we shall have an Open Church Day when St. Mary’s will be open from 12 noon until 5.00pm. Lunches and Cream Teas will be served on both days for extremely moderate prices. A chance for you to have two relaxing days instead of fighting the traffic queues to reach the seaside!!

At 7.45pm on Monday, 12th May the Brass Band of the Avon Fire brigade will be holding a Concert in St. Mary’s in aid of the Jessie May Trust – which is an organization committed to providing nursing care at home for children with terminal illnesses. Please give this worthy cause your support! Tickets will be available on the door – price £6 for Adults and £5 for Children and Senior Citizens.

Several people have mentioned to me that I included only one item of humour in my April notes to you which is not my usual norm. Well I am afraid that the two duty Editors, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to delete two items of humour with their editing pencil. It couldn’t have been for reason of space as my notes were shorter that usual. It is disappointing, as my notes are directed to all people and not just “church people” who appear to enjoy the little bits of nonsense. At a recent Deanery Synod I attended, the Rev. Edward Huxley (Curate at St. Edyths’s, Sea Mills), was talking on the subject of Outreach in Parishes and mentioned how important it is not to portray a stuffy image because we are Christians! This is how I hope my “nonsensical bits” will come across to the non-believers or those on “the fringe”. We ain’t stuffy at St. Mary’s and I`m sure most other churches are the same as us!

Finally it is with some considerable sadness that I have to record the death of my Aunt - Edith Johnston - who was 100 years old and a resident at Bradley House Residential Home. She will be remembered by some of our older residents in Shirehampton as she was a regular, up until 6 or 7 years ago, at the Methodist Church Bright Hour which she very much enjoyed. Latterly she enjoyed receiving Holy Communion at Bradley House when Gill Sawyer took it to her each month, but her failing eyesight eventually prevented her from taking part in the prayers on the Service Sheet. Unfortunately she had a fall on Maundy Thursday as a result of which she sustained a fractured shoulder and from that point there was a steady decline in her health. I would like to express on behalf of all my family very grateful thanks to Monique and Elizabeth Laycock of Bradley House for the wonderful care they have shown Edie during what has not been an easy period in her long life.

Well, that’s all again for this month – it will be June soon! (Did you like those last two words? Sometimes I absolutely amaze myself – nobody else – just myself!!!)

‘Bye for now!!

C.M.E. April 2008

Shirehampton Group Practice

Guide to making a GP appointment

Getting an appointment with your doctor is a subject close to all of our hearts. We are all the same – we want to see the doctor of our choice and at a time it suits us. Of course we do try to accommodate this as far as possible but even doctors need time off and they don’t all work full time. So, how can we best manage it?

Continuity of Care

First of all, we always encourage patients to see the same doctor for the same problem – this continuity of care is much better for helping to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently as the doctor is familiar with your case. If a doctor has ordered any tests or investigations to be done, again it is better to return to see that same GP to discuss the results. Even if you have to wait an extra couple of days, it is still more beneficial than seeing a different doctor who will not know the background to your ongoing problem, despite comprehensive computer records.

Appointment Triage

Continuity of care is such a high priority in this Practice, that the receptionists are becoming skilled at finding out what your needs are so that they can give you the most appropriate appointment (called triaging). When you ring for an appointment, you may well be asked to give some information about the problem – please don’t think the receptionists are being intrusive.  They simply need to know if you are already consulting with a particular doctor, or if your problem could be dealt with best by the minor illness clinic or indeed if a telephone consultation might be a better option. You will never be asked to divulge anything personal and if you still prefer not to discuss it with the receptionist, please say so – they won’t be offended!

Telephoning and Results

Secondly, our busiest times on the telephone are between 8.30am and 9.30am and again from 1.30pm until around 2.30pm. If you do not need an appointment for the same day, please avoid ringing at these times – routine appointments can be made in advance so can be organised during quieter times of the day. The same goes for test results – these mainly come into the Practice electronically during the morning and then have to be viewed by the GP before filing into your medical records. Phoning for results is therefore better done after 2.30pm.

Home Visits

And thirdly, please only ask for a home visit if it is clinically necessary. There are very good reasons for encouraging you to come to the surgery:

  • We have all the necessary equipment here should we need to do some immediate investigations (eg ECG, spirometry, etc) which the doctors can not carry with them
  • We are able to see, on average, three patients here at the surgery in the time it takes to do one home visit. This means fewer appointments available at the surgery.
  • Consider NOW, before it becomes really necessary, how you might get up to the surgery if you were ill. Perhaps you could make a reciprocal arrangement with a friend or neighbour. Or maybe you could keep the number of a local taxi firm by the phone.

We are always keen to hear your views, both positive and negative, about the service we provide. Please drop a line to Carole Brooke, Practice Manager or phone on 0117 916 2225.


April 3rd - Birds and Animals in Wartime - Mrs P. Ollerenshaw

May 1st - Entertainment by Margaret Adams and friends

June 5th - Missionary work in Brazil - Mrs P. Pearce

July 3rd - Strawberry Tea and Discussion with SCAF


Sept 4th Romance of Canals - Mr N, Bishop

Oct 2nd - Safety Indoors and Out - PO Gareth Davies

Nov 6th The New Botanic Gardens - Mr P. Girling

Dec 4th - Travels in Central America - Mr J. Lee-Jones


Jan 1st - 34th Birthday Party

Feb 5th - Croatian Cruising - Mr G. Lindsay

We meet on the 1st Thursday of each month at the Methodist Church Hall, Penpole Avenue at 2pm. All ladies welcome to come along - we are a very friendly group!

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Rev. David Alderman with Eden Molly, the youngest member of Shirehampton Methodist Church, taken on Easter Sunday after David’s last service at Shirehampton at a family lunch held at Kingsweston House.

Members and friends of the Church attended. David was presented with a painting of Bristol, a present from the Church and Bright Hour members. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to David and his family, and enjoyed by all who came. Hazel Thorne.

Rev David Alderman, speaking at his last meeting to ladies of Shirehampton Methodist Bright Hour (Report was given in last month’s “Shire”.

Hazel Thorne.

The Vickie Hall School of Dance

The Vickie Hall School of Dance attended the South and West of England dance festival in Burnham-on-Sea on the 7th, 8th and 9th March 2008.

Only 15 dancers attended for the weekend event and came home with an amazing 82 trophies between them all, including 6 titled events for 2008.

Carleah Hooper won the under 10 championship street event, Layah Bushell and Evie Smith won the under 8 beginner pairs section, Hollie Thompson and Jazz Leslie-Richards won the under 16 intermediates pairs and also the under 16 street pairs events, Brittany Hall is the under 12 championship solo winner and Hollie Thompson is the under 16 championship solo winner for 2008.

The dancers have worked extremely hard for this festival and it showed in all the trophies that were taken home.

Vickie would like to say a big well done to all the girls and the parents for such a lovely weekend.

If you are interested in joining the dance school you can contact Vickie on 07768 733 108.

Associate Members Needed for Governing Body

The governing body at Shirehampton Primary School is looking for members of the local business community to join them. As part of the school’s commitment to extend its activities into the local community, it is looking for additional volunteers ideally with business, financial, human resources or general management and leadership skills.

All schools have a governing body whose role it is to work with the head teacher and the local authority to ensure the pupils receive the best possible education at that establishment. Governing bodies vary in size but they all have the same requirement – to work together with the head teacher in agreeing the aims and conduct of the school, ensuring that the pupils have a full entitlement to the agreed curriculum, that the highest teaching and learning standards are achieved and to manage the school within its allocated budget.

Chair of Governors, Juliet Huddart, said, “We have a full and active governing body made up of 14 parents, staff, members of the community and local authority nominees but we would like to appoint one of two Associate Members who will bring additional professional skill, expertise and creative ideas to meet the increasing responsibilities of governors. All governors are expected to participate fully in the leadership and management of the school and attend regular termly meetings. In return, we can promise an interesting and fulfilling experience as part of a friendly and helpful team of governors with full training available.”

School governors are one of the country’s largest voluntary groups with around 34,000 school governors contributing to strategic development and raising standards of achievement at over 30,000 schools.

For more information about becoming an Associate Member of the governing body of Shirehampton Primary School, please contact the Chair of Governors at or contact the school.