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Back to August 2008 SHIRE September 2008 Fowards to October 2008 SHIRE
News Index

Going Out in Style - Portway School Year 11 Prom

Landy Army "Girl" Receives Medal

The New Robin Cousins Centre

Oasis Adventures

Couple With a Heart for the Poor

St Mary’s Shirehampton and St Cuthbert’s Brislington

Shirehampton’s New Methodist Minister

S.S. “Empire Mica”

Shirehampton’s Top Special Event of the Year - YOU’RE INVITED!

St. Mary's News

Going Out in Style - Portway School Year 11 Prom

There was a particular poignancy about the end of term at Portway School this year, for it was not just farewell to school leavers, but the end of an era, as “Portway School” ceases,  making way for the new era of Brightstowe Academy in September.

But there was a glorious final flourish from the leaving senior students.

“Congratulations to all Year 11 pupils who attended the year-end Prom at Leigh Court Mansion on July 23rd. You were a credit not only to the school and the community but to yourselves. Mr Haines, head of year, must also be congratulated on organising such a splendid evening.

Obviously, much time and effort was put in by these young people in choosing their outfits, hair-styles and modes of transport. No expense had been spared. (Mums and Dads must share the glory also)

The theme for the evening was “The Oscars” and a presentation was held before ‘retiring’ to the Disco. The spectacle of all these young people arriving at the Mansion in a variety of Limos and a helicopter was a joy to witness.

Well done to all of you and good luck in your chosen careers. We are proud of you all.”


Landy Army "Girl" Receives Medal

Local resident Juliet Stewart has just received the Land Army Medal from the Government to acknowledge her hitherto unrecognised contribution during the Second World War.

Like many thousands of women in the country who worked the land whilst the men were away in the fighting services, Juliet now has the medal and a letter signed by the Prime Minister in which he mentions her work during the war.

Juliet, now 86, still lives at the same address in Lawrence Weston that she moved to in 1948 so this year celebrates her 60th year there. She has raised a large family, was sadly widowed in 1992,  but many of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren still live in the district.

It is pleasing to see that the Government has at last realised the support the Land Army gave to the war effort and that the individuals have been suitably honoured.

The New Robin Cousins Centre

Tell us what you activities you want to see!

Light is finally at the end of the tunnel in the campaign to get the Robin Cousins Centre reopened. Now it is your chance to have your say on what you would like the newly reopened Robin Cousins Centre to be used for.

Charlotte Leslie, the Conservative Prospective MP for Bristol North West, is working with Ian Moore, a police recruitment officer whose community group is buying the building.

She has set up an on-line survey to help get local opinion on what facilities should take priority in the centre.

Charlotte said “with so many facilities stripped from Shirehampton and Avonmouth in recent years, it is important that the Robin Cousins Centre really provides what people want. The best way to make sure that happens is to ask local residents.”

Ian Moore added “this is going to be a community facility for the local people.

So please, fill in the survey and let us know what you want in the new Robin Cousins Centre. Whether it is karate, art classes or bingo, we want to know!”

You can fill in the on-line survey by going to and clicking on the survey button. You can also pick up paper copies of the survey, which can be returned FREEPOST, from Shirehampton Public Hall.

Michael Morgan – a Tribute

Dr. Michael Morgan came to Bristol University in 1959 to be Senior Lecturer in Geography, having  graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge with  a double first and became a don there.  He also rowed for the College during his student years.

At Bristol, in time he became Head of the Geography Department. After taking early retirement he was asked to take over the post of  Overseas Liaison Officer for the University, which involved him in travelling the world.

On retiring from the University he moved to Shirehampton and lived in Station Road. He soon became involved locally by becoming one of the editors on the rota for SHIRE, as well as being the Chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee. About three years ago he became the Advertising Manager for the paper.

Michael died in Frenchay Hospital on the 23rd July after a very short illness, and we on the SHIRE will miss him very much. He had a gentle sense of humour, a very positive attitude, and was multi-talented. We remember that he painted wonderful scenes of Venice, a city he and his wife Jill were fond of visiting. Our sympathy goes to Jill and his son Jeremy, who lives in San Francisco.

One of Michael Morgan's beautiful Venetian water colours

Christmas Lights - A Tribute to Dr. Michael Morgan

Michael Morgan was chairman and mainstay of the Christmas Lights committee. He was a wonderfully enthusiastic person who inspired and encouraged the rest of us.

The large display of lights on the Coop was made by Mike and Roger Cooper. He refurbished and made many other lights too.

Whatever the weather at the time of putting up and taking down the lights, Mike would be there at eight in the morning getting on with it.

Michael’s untimely death leaves a big hole in the activities of Shire, not just Christmas lights. He was a great man and will be sorely missed.

Pam and Cedric Rich

(on behalf  of the Christmas Lights committee)

Grainger Players Present - “A Moment Through Time”

Friday 7th and Saturday 8th November

at the Public Hall, Station Road

Tickets can be purchased at

D & P Fashions Shop, High St.

(opposite Ocean-Rodaway)

We support the Multiple Sclerosis charity

GP Practice Accepting New Patients

The GP practice of Dr. Sharples is now accepting new patients at both Shirehampton Health Centre and Sneyd Park Surgery. This small friendly practice offers

- full range of services is provided, including monitoring ongoing conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

- travel vaccinations and advice

- Well man and Woman checks

- smoking cessation support

- NEW evening surgery for doctor appointments.

For more information or to register, telephone or call at either surgery:

Shirehampton Health Centre, Pembroke Road, Shirehampton BS11 9SB Tel 0117 9162219

Sneyd Park Surgery, 8 Rockleaze Avenue, Sneyd Park, BS9 1NG Tel 0117 9683284

‘Thank you’ from Audrey Lang

Audrey and family would like to thank all those family and friends from around Shire who have asked after her during her recent illness and stay in hospital.

Audrey is now at home and awaiting further treatment. Special thanks go to Ellen and Ray for their continued help along with Dr. Archer and District Nurses from the Health Centre.

Many thanks for your kind donation – Editor

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Sunday 7 September

11am Charity Hamilton (Student Minister) commences her ministry at Shirehampton

Sunday 21 September


11 am – Charity Hamilton

6.30 pm – Rev. E. D. Standhaft (Community Development Officer at St Paul’s)

A Warm Welcome is extended to all to join us for these services

Zero Waste Challenge Week

Join the Zero Waste Challenge Week Monday 29th September to Sunday 5th October

The award winning Zero Waste Challenge Week is now in its third year and Bristol City Council is encouraging as many of us as possible to give it a go and see how little you can throw away over one week.

The aim of the Zero Waste Challenge Week is to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much as you can instead.  You don’t have to reach zero – it’s the taking part that matters, but you may be surprised at just how much less you can throw away when you make that special effort.

The Council are keen for as many people as possible to take part in the challenge. They hope that you will support the week by registering to take part.  You can register by contacting Bristol City Council on 0117 922 3838, email  By registering you will be sent a pack full of information and ideas and a record form for the week with the chance to win £50 worth of prizes in a prize draw by returning your form.

The more of us who take part the bigger impact we can have so encourage your friends and family to register to take part too.  If you would like further information about the challenge, please contact Bristol City Council on 0117 922 3838, or see the Council’s website for further details:

Obituary- Anthony G. Turner

11 Sept 1922 – 21 May 2008

Tony lived in Meadow Grove for 86 years. During this time the family were moved from no. 13 because of bomb damage to no. 30.

He joined the royal Navy as an Able Seaman in 1939 aged 16 years. He fought in the war and was mentioned in despatches in 1943 for good service in the Channel actions.

After the war, Tony was a registered dock worker until he took early retirement.

Despite his limited mobility, you would often see Tony walking up to Shire on his crutches, with his woollen hat on, where he loved his chats, especially at the Coop with all the girls.

Tony died in hospital, but unfortunately, while he was in there his house was burgled, and it seems so sad that a local friendly man with such a history should have that happen to him.

I would like to thank Deborah Knox and all the Shirehampton Health Centre for their support. Thanks for being a good neighbour, Tony.

Love from Candice, Pete and family.

Thank you for our kind donation to Shire funds, and our apologies that this obituary was not included in the August SHIRE - Editor)

Oasis Adventures

Last month we reported Portway’s two great adventures this year, undertaken in anticipation of the school’s transformation into the Oasis Brighstowe Academy.

The photo above shows the netball team that visited Los Angeles to help in the Oasis Trust’s work with disadvantaged children and the picture below shows the massive Oasis relay marathon that included Portway students, who helped break the marathon record with a time of 1 hour 46 min 25 sec.

Couple With a Heart for the Poor

Geoff and Shirley Shire have a passion to serve the world’s poor. And this year has seen the couple, both members of Shirehampton Baptist Church,  go to opposite ends of the earth to turn that passion into action.

First to go was Shirley, librarian at Bristol Baptist College. She seized the chance to go with a team from the College on a two week mission to Brazil, spending most of the time visiting projects run by the Baptists in the favelas, which are the make-shift shanty towns on the edges of the big cities, such as Sao Paulo, places of extreme poverty with all the inevitable accompaniment of disease and crime.

Shirley Shire with children from a Sao Paulo pre-school project

“I saw how faith in God can bring hope to the poor and marginalised of society. People were converted, set up churches, and then set up projects responding to the needs of the community. I was impressed with projects that work with preschool children, teaching them literary and social skills as well as Bible knowledge.”

“We were shown kindness and generosity by those who had virtually nothing. On one afternoon visit we were invited to a celebratory barbecue. There was no garden; the macho males were cooking on a flat roof attached to a shack, and the mums, grannies and children were packed into one room. The welcome was warm and the meat delicious. When we got back we were told the celebration was for the release from jail of one of the fathers!”

Shirley spent the last eight days in Niteroi, a town on the opposite side of the bay from Rio de Janeiro, which she describes as one on the most beautiful places she has ever seen, but sadly also one of the most dangerous. Whilst there, the team worked with a large church whose minister was once a Bristol Baptist College student, visiting churches that the large church had planted. Sheila says the minister “has a real heart for the poor,  and wants the rich Christians of his mega-church to use their money, time and talents to help others”.  She went to one church which was no more than a lean-to on someone’s house, but “the place was packed with people of all ages. The pastor who was 73 had such enthusiasm and energy. It was an evening I’ll never forget”.

No sooner had Shirley returned to the UK, than Geoff was off to a different continent: Africa. His home for the next two months was to be the “Africa Mercy”, the largest charity ship in the world, and the latest in a series of ships the Mercy Ships charity has launched.

A ward on the Africa Mercy hospital ship

The charity says, “Mercy Ships depends entirely on volunteers to continue its work, offering hope to many patients who thought there was none. Mercy Ships volunteers enable the charity to offer the people of Africa an opportunity to access free health care and humanitarian aid, literally saving thousands of lives...Ranging from cooks to surgeons, from engineers to dentists, from deckhands to nurses, each individual volunteer is vital to the running of Mercy Ships.”

Geoff was no stranger to the ship. His particular expertise in all things electronic and electrical had been called on when the former Danish rail ferry was undergoing its conversion work in Newcastle. Now he was catching up with it whilst it lay berthed in Monrovia, Liberia, a country that suffered fifteen years of terrible civil war. UN troops provide security, water comes in plastic containers on a hand-cart, and very few have electricity.

He says “Reconstruction is under way, but there is much to do with very limited resources. “Africa Mercy” has been here for the last 18 months, providing free surgery for tumour removal, cleft lip, club-foot and other reconstructive work, cataract and various ophthalmic surgeries.

There are up to 78 patients in the wards as well as outpatients, being treated in the six operating theatres, and treatment rooms. There’s even a CT scanner and X-ray equipment on-board. Dental teams, well digging, and many other teams leave the ship every day to work in the local area.

“My time was spent sorting out electrical and electronic installations such as CCTV security and monitoring systems, or fixing breakers and fuses anywhere from the kitchens to the air-conditioning plants. At weekends I would join with other crew to visit local orphanages; many children have lost both parents because of the war.

“The patients have their own stories of misfortunes, and of accident or war injury that has gone untreated for several years, not having money to pay even for a consultation with a local doctor.”

Geoff and Shirley are back home now; sharing their experiences from two different continents among people whose dire needs make our credit crunch look no more than a gentle squeeze.

To find out more about Mercy Ships, visit

Barbecue Opens New Garden - Extra facility for the Cotswold

Sizzling sausages and burgers were the accompaniment to the launch of the new garden at the Cotswold Community Association. After a long period when the terraced ground behind the Association’s Hall  in Dursley Road lay tangled with briars and bindweed, to say nothing of rogue sumac suckers from a neighbouring garden pushing the paving stones dangerously askew,  the CCA committee was determined to see the space become a usable community asset, and has  achieved a remarkable transformation.

Mike Fisher and Bobbie Oerkins get the barbeque going at the first event in the restored Cotswold Community Association garden

There has been valuable help from an initial taming of the wilderness from the Council, and a very welcome grant from SHIRE’s community fund. But the dramatic turn-around has finally come about because of the energetic and dedicated work of committee member Mike Fisher and his wife Vicky. The dangerous paving stones  have been relayed,  the steps up the slope made safe and painted, new garden furniture installed, overgrown shrubs have been cut back, ground cleared, and new plants attractively placed.

So the CCA’s book club had the joy of being able to hold their annual barbecue for the first time on home ground. It was a superb setting, and shows what a great additional asset the Cotswold estate how has.

It follows on the recent up-grading of the kitchen to conform to the Council’s hygiene and safety standards for cooking meals on the premises.

The garden and the hall are both available for hire, and a gas-fired barbecue can also be hired for an extra charge. For details of charges ring 9047319.

Avonmouth Youth Football 1945

Whilst looking through some football photographs, I came across this team photo. This was probably the first Avonmouth Youth Club side.

John Rowley was captain, and he told me the year was probably 1945. The club leader who put this side together  was a man called Bill Payne. Eventually he entered the team in the third division of the Bristol Downs League, I think for about two seasons. We always seemed to be playing on pitches near the Sea Walls. Not bad pitches, but I don’t think we had a hot shower all the time we were there. As we got older, National Service took its toll. Quite a lot of us joined local sides.

What happy times.

D. Rowley

Back row (l to r): Geoff Lloyd, Micky Hill, Dave Rowley, Arthur Price, Pete Lambourne
Front row: Harry Waite, Sid Dixon, John Rowley, Alec Bird.

Fear for Railway’s Future

With recent improvement in the Severn Beach railway service through Shirehampton, it would seem that threats to the line are lightening, and the future for the railway is more assured.

However, the Friends of  Bristol Suburban Railways, whose tireless campaigning played no small part in achieving these improvements, warn in their most recent newsletter of a development that could be ominous. It is the plan for a “turn-back” signal at Clifton Down station.

FOSBR say “The signal was originally proposed in Network Rail’s 2007 Business Plan....FOSBR received confirmation that Bristol City Council intends to provide some funding to enable this signal to be provided.” The two reasons given are “to enable late trains to terminate early instead of running all the way to Avonmouth or Severn Beach, and provision of an enhanced service between Temple Meads and Clifton Down.”

But the campaign group go on to point out that  in a report for the Government in 2004 there was a recommendation “to completely withdraw passenger services north of Clifton Down”. The report went on to highlight the fact that the principal barrier to implementation of the recommendation was the present nature of the signalling. If this principal barrier is removed then FOSBR believes there is nothing to say that this proposal will not be implemented in the future.

For your copy of the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways Newsletter, write to:

FOSBR, 17 Belmont Road Bristol BS6 5AW, or phone 0117 942 8637, email  Website

Look Who’s 40..!

... Darren Harvey, we all would like to wish you aHappy 40th Birthday on 20th September 2008.

Enjoy your special day. Lots of love, Michelle, Colin, Mum, Dad, Nan, Wayne, Linzi, Jade, Courtney, Jack, Claire, Aaron, and Ben.xxxxx

Station Road Pre-School

Here are some of the children at Station Road Pre-School, Shirehampton Public Hall having fun at their “End of Year Party”.

What a great year they have had, with a glowing Ofsted Report to show for it!

Please contact Rachel Davey if you would like your child to attend the Pre-School.

Special thanks to Mark Lee at LHP Accountants, Office 3, The Coach House, 29 Station Road, for carrying out the School’s annual audit.

We wish the Staff a well deserved rest and a good break during the summer holidays.

Old Mrs. Waters and Young Mr. Pace

‘Oh, aren’t the flowers beautiful!’ exclaimed
    young Mr. Pace.
He spoke to Mrs. Waters, with a smile upon his face.
‘It makes the village look so fresh and cheerful
    every day -
And even when it’s raining, or the sky is dull and grey.’
‘You’re right,’ said Mrs. Waters, ‘What a difference it all makes!
And mind you, they are real flowers – none of
    ‘em is fakes.
The council and the shopkeepers  ‘ave done Shire really proud,
I’d go and kiss the lot of ‘em (that’s if it were allowed!)
The two pubs on the ‘igh Street ‘ave done a great job too,
It’s all so nice and colourful and bright, I think –
    don’t you?’
‘I do, indeed,’ said Mr. Pace, ‘and things improve each week,
The flower baskets grow and grow – they’ll probably reach their peak
Half -way through this September. Then their glory will decline,
But let’s enjoy them while we can and not think of
    that time.’
The old, yet sprightly, lady, and the young but
    serious fellow
Strolled together through the High Street, with its red and green and yellow,
Pink and purple flowered baskets hanging down from each lamp-post,
Completely undecided which one to admire the most.


Village Flowers

A very big “thank you” to all concerned for the flowers throughout the village. They look bright and beautiful and have cheered everyone up through this damp summer.

P. Rich

Port of Bristol Retired Employees Association

At our monthly meeting on 19 August Pauline Kinder, the founder of the “Secret World Wildlife Centre” came to talk to us about the work and history behind the centre. It was a very light and enjoyable afternoon.

Our September meeting is due to be held at the PBA clubhouse in Nibley Road on the 16 September when Terry Merrett Smith returns to talk about “Dance Bands of the 20s, 30s, & 40s”. This includes lots of music from those years and lots of gossip about the artists.

Another date for your diary is 21 October when we will be visited by Mrs Yvonne Bell to talk about “An Edwardian Christmas”.

All retired employees of the Port are welcome, plus a friend. The bar is open from noon with Gerry providing sandwiches if needed. The meeting starts at 1.30pm with a raffle, tea  and biscuits, then the entertainment.

Lots of time for chat and a warm welcome for all new members.

Clive Seward, Vice-chair and Welfare Officer

Guiding Memories

I was married in St Mary’s in 1949 through Guiding! I was involved with the 120th Guides and Brownies – who all attended my wedding! There is still a smallish group of us fit enough to have an annual reunion who travel many miles for the gathering.

I wonder if someone would be kind enough to tell me the theme of the East Window at St Mary’s Shirehampton?

All good wishes

Elaine Hodge (née Richards)

St Mary’s Shirehampton and St Cuthbert’s Brislington

There are  two unexpected links between these two churches. St Cuthbert’s possesses the silver trowel which was used to lay the foundation stones of St Mary’s in 1925 and of St Cuthbert’s in 1932 (plus St Oswald’s Bedminster Down and Horfield Church Hall  - a hard-working trowel!).

The other link is that H. J. Stammers was responsible both for the St Mary’s window and the window in the Lady Chapel of St Cuthbert’s, which was installed in 1964., and depicts the Garden of Gethsemane. Stammers was also responsible for a window in the Lady Chapel of St Mary Redcliffe, whose theme is again, The Nativity.

The theme of St Mary’s East Window is The Nativity. The window is by H. J. Stammers and was inserted in 1961 A picture of the window is on the website

Thank you for passing on the interesting information printed below. - Editor

Shirehampton’s New Methodist Minister


My name is Charity Hamilton and I’m a pre-ordination student at Wesley College, Bristol. I’m going to be coming to Shirehampton in September for two years to be the student minister as part of a scheme called CCTP (Circuit and College Training Programme).

I’m originally from West Cumbria where as I child I was taken to the Methodist Church by my Presbyterian mother! Had there been a URC church locally, I may not be entering Methodist ministry!

When I finished school I moved to Lancaster for university, where I studied English Literature and creative writing. Whilst at University I was NUS women’s officer; coming from a predominately working class background I have been involved in trade union and student politics and I have a real enthusiasm for encouraging people to have a voice in systems that govern and structure our communities and society.

During my time at University I also worked one to one with children who had challenging behaviour, encouraging them to take part in play therapy, anger management and social activities.

Following university I moved to Bristol where I worked for two years as a lay chaplain at the University of Bristol, somehow I ended up staying in Bristol and I began working for Eastville Park Methodist Centre (also known as The New Place). My role there has included all kinds of community work, managing a busy community centre, and setting up a ‘fresh expression’ of Church. After almost five years there I’m now beginning my pre-ordination training and looking forward to the challenges and opportunities Shirehampton has to offer.

I have already been made to feel welcome by those I have met from Shirehampton and I’m really excited about getting to know people better and sharing our journeys together.

Charity Hamilton

Indian Night at The Cotswold Centre

Join us on the 4th October at 7.30pm at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road for a night of Indian flavours:

Popadoms, Naan, Pickles and a choice of curries, with rice prepared on the night from a mild Korma to a medium Jalfrazi, or a hotter Madras – or for the brave-hearted a Vindaloo; by special request, a vegetarian option is available.

There will also be a quiz with an Indian theme.

The cost is £7 per head; bring your own drinks.

Places are limited, so be sure to book you place now: ring Mike on 01179490202 or 07785288178

Shirehampton seamen remembered from Australia

Dear Editor,

I have to thank Tom Worlock for reminding me of banjo swinging, John Rogers who was part of Shire’s seafaring history, and apologise to Tom himself for my poor memory when not including him in the following tribute to many Shire and Pill men of the sea.

Reg Kear


The Garden

Bristol’s ‘Garden of Remembrance rests in Welsh Back’s quiet lee,
A few cable lengths from Neptune’s iron stand.
It is there to honour seamen, who are finished with the sea,
And the seamen, who are finished with the land
While seamen have been honoured with stone monuments before,
Nelson’s Column, Cabot Tower, Plymouth Hoe;
Britain’s heroes sailed through history books to chart the foreign shore,
But the unsung heroes also had to go.

Men from Pill like Swisher Buck and Ray, who made Red Dusters fly,
Harry Higgins helped Fyffes White Ships build their fame
Like Fred Stinchcombe (with his trilby) or Flash Williams (with his tie)
And the lampy, Oscar Wilde (Not his real name.)
John G. Hopton came from Reading, not exactly seamen’s land,
Youngest bosun on the Skin boats he became,
Served the smallest tot of Navy Rum with a giant iron hand,
The West Indies, when he left, was not the same.

Names like Pete and Rocky Elson, Stan Colenso, Trevor Jones,
Strange exotic names like Pancho, Mambo, Lou,
And the tragic, young Dave Dangerfield, who never made old bones,
Thousands went like that in Nineteen Forty Two.
D.B.S. back home from Bridgetown, Ginger Stadden told his tale,
And Billy Mills was king of knots and splice,
Or Georgie Burke, the seaman’s friend who served the Royal ale,
But there’s some who say, ‘twas not his only vice.
Madame Mitchell’s Madras ‘curry’ house was Brewer’s claim to fame,
With Mick Batten, they both had a brief respite;
But their appetites were different then, both younger, fit and game,
They had ‘curry’ every morning noon and night.
Ginger Piper, Johnny Rogers, Cyril Budd, the Cisco Kid.

Names that echo, just like poetry to the ear.
Men with fingers just like marlin spikes, and every thumb a fid,

Men who sailed the deep wide oceans every year.
Wally Priestly, Pincher Martin, young Dick Carey and Roy Cox,
Padfield, Jackson, Marsh and Little, Veitch and Legg;
And Bob Godbert kept the galley hot, when Charlie Hills’ were docked;
Though the word was ‘He could really stretch an egg.’

Fred changed all the ‘Lizzie’s’ light bulbs, while Reg plagued Johnny Bull,
And Ted was blamed for making Starling stew
There was one below, and one on deck and one kept the crew full,
The Kear brothers ranged the spectrum of the crew.
On the Donaldson’s across the pond, with Cleverley and Dent,
Dezzo Wyatt could put sheepshanks in the wake.
Nova Scotia bound with Oxenham, Charlie Dorrington also went,
And Den Fellows, who was turned in on the rake.
All these names sailed towering ocean’s peaks, and long Pacific swells,
And cleaved the barren, sandy Suez track.
Through the Red Sea, down to Aden and the Queen of Sheba’s Wells,
And ‘round the Horn’ where the ships ‘sometimes’ came back.

All around the Caribbean, and the both hands of the ‘States’
Working merchant ships that carved their names with pride.
Ships like Cunard, Smith’s and Ropner boats with passengers and freight,
It was ‘up one way, then down the other side.’
Through the far east via Good Hope, up the Gulf to Abadan;
Hard about and head for L.E.F.O. and your pay;
Change of orders came at ‘seven bells’ as you’re fighting the blackpan,
Hard about again, and head the other way.
Now, these names are not exhausted, just a few from Avonmouth,
There’s a million seamen not recorded here;
But they’re part of British history and they voyaged north and south,
And their number seems much smaller every year.
No, these names are not in history books, they’re only in the mind,
In quiet moments, in the ‘Garden on the quay’
When old seamen stir their memories, and among them you will find,
That one of those old names belongs to me.

Reg Kear.. © Australia 1999.

Dyslexia and its Significance for Children’s Education

Dyslexia affects two to three children in every classroom.

The word dyslexia is used to describe the range of specific learning difficulties which affect the underlying skills that are needed to learn to spell, read or write.  Common indications for a primary age child are where the child has particular difficulty with reading and spelling, may leave letters out of words or puts them in the wrong order, has difficulty remembering tables and alphabet, has problems understanding what he or she has read and problems processing language at speed. 

So what can be done and what role does the law have to play?

What is essential is identification of a child’s difficulties as soon as possible.   The provision required by a dyslexic child will be relevant and specific.  Children may require flexible teaching arrangements, help in acquiring, comprehending and using language, help in acquiring literacy skills using alternative means of communication for a range of purposes, help in organising and coordinating oral and written language.  They may require specific programmes to aid their progress in learning. 

Parents or a school have the right to request the LEA to carry out a statutory assessment of a child’s special educational needs.   Parents are entitled to submit any additional evidence that they wish the LEA to consider with their request, including for example a report from an independent specialist such as an Educational Psychologist. 

Within six weeks of parents or schools requesting an assessment the LEA must tell the parents and the school whether or not they will agree.  If the LEA refuses the request they must write and explain the reasons and also set out the provision they consider would meet the child’s needs appropriately.  If the LEA decides to make an assessment the LEA must seek parental, educational, medical, psychological and Social Service advice.  They should ask all concerned to respond within six weeks.  The LEA must then having received the advice make a decision within ten weeks as to whether it needs to make a Statement or amend an existing Statement.

A refusal to carry out a statutory assessment, or following the assessment, a refusal to issue a Statement, or the contents of a Statement, including the type of or particular school named by the LEA, can all legally be appealed by a parent.  There are however strict time limits.  The Appeal is heard by The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). This was set up by the Education Act 1993, is independent and sits with a legally qualified chair and two panel members.

Copyright AMD Solicitors

S.S. “Empire Mica”

The three Wright brothers from Leicester, Tony, Ron and Brian who visited Avonmouth Docks on the15th May this year - to see the last port that their father sailed from in WW2 on the above vessel on that fateful voyage on 19th May 1942- have returned home from a visit to the Gulf of Mexico where the tanker, loaded with 12,000 tons of oil, was torpedoed on the 29th June 1942 with the loss of  33 crew, with at least five from the Bristol area, namely Roy Edwards from Pilning. Douglas Elvidge from Sea Mills, Arthur Hudd from Avonmouth aged 16, Douglas Chard from Bristol, and Tommy Damsell from Totterdown, Bristol.

When the torpedo struck at 1am the terrific explosion started a fire and quickly the after part of the tanker was ablaze. The survivors escaped in the midship lifeboats before the flames reached them. There were no survivors from the after accommodation where the ratings and DEMS gunners lived.

Ron, Tony and Brian Wright achieved their wish to be there on the 66th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. They sailed out from the Florida coast and set two wreaths afloat., that had been blessed in Apalachicola, one for their father, and one for all the crew whom they have learnt about over the period of tracing their Dad’s sacrifice. They also left a family plaque in memory of their Dad at the lighthouse keeper’s house in Port St Joe, overlooking Cape San Blas, The plaque also made reference to the S.S  “Empire Mica” and all the seamen who lost their lives in that part of the world in WW2. Our late member Dougie Davidson was one of the many crew members from Bristol who sailed on the tanker and he was the only one of the fourteen survivors who wasn’t injured.

During their visit to Avonmouth they met three of the four Damsell brothers from Bristol, Bill, Ken and Maurice who lost their eldest brother Tommy, aged 21, on the vessel. He is commemorated on a brass plaque on a bench at our MN Memorial on the Welsh Back, Bristol.

 The Wright brothers, who were made very welcome in Florida by many local people who had personal stories about the night the “Empire Mica” was sunk by torpedoes from the German U-Boat U67, saw the ship’s propeller on display in the grounds of a seafood restaurant in Panama City, Florida. The wreck is now owned by a local diving club.

The Wright brothers conclude by saying: “We  now, at last, have so many wonderful memories associated with our Dad, not least we have shared a fitting ‘farewell and thank you’ for the life of’ Thomas (Tommy) Edward Wright “

Both the Wright brothers and the Damsell brothers expressed their gratitude for being given a conducted tour of Avonmouth Docks by the Bristol Port Company representative Patrick Keaton and for the Padre the Rev Philip Auden DL, from the Mission to Seafarers supplying the minibus. and volunteer driver Brian Collins.

H. Grant, Chairman,

Merchant Navy Association, Bristol.

Register of Electors

The form for registration will be received shortly, and it is worth noting that two registers are produced. The full register for use in elections and an edited version for selling on to “marketing groups” etc. If you want to avoid getting some of the junk mail do make sure that you put a cross in the column marked “Edited register” on the form – then your name will not be included on the register sold to commercial organisations. One more way to cut down on junk mail.

For more information see on the back of the registration form “Two versions of the register”.

The Countryside Among the Houses

Quite a few street-names of Shire are simply old field-names from the time before the houses spread into them. Bradley Crescent and Bradley Avenue are a continuation of a name that covered several old fields: Bradley, from the Old English meaning ‘broad clearing’, obviously dating from when space for a farm in Shire was first cut out of the ancient woodland. Springfield Road recalls a field called Springfield – no surprise there, but I can’t find a spring in it on old maps. Leaze, meaning ‘pasture’, was found in the field-name Church Leaze, which speaks for itself. It was also found in Passage Leaze, which was a large area stretching from the present Springfield Road towards the river. That accounts for its name: it stretched as far as The Lamplighters, where the ferry used to cross to Pill, and “passage” was the word used in old Gloucestershire for ‘ferry’. Grove Leaze is a street crossing the position of an old field called Long Grove; the trees of the long grove must have disappeared early.

Home Ground was the (large) paddock closest to the old farmhouse in the present Shire Gardens, and Old Park Road commemorates a field called The Park. The Bean Acre was also an old field-name, just meaning ‘the bean-field’, but it’s moved. The field was on the other side of Barracks Lane from the present street. There was a field called Cam Mead, ‘bent meadow’ which was by an unexplained bend in West Town Road which can still be detected at its western end, close to the motorway bridge.

Barrow Hill Road and Crescent recall Barrowhill Farm, whose farmhouse is still standing. This farm had fields simply called Barrow Hills, which seems to suggest that there were once barrows or ancient burial-mounds there. Sunnyhill Drive also recalls the name of a farm on the north side of the bottom of Park Hill.

Richard Coates

Green Flag Award for Blaise

Four of Bristol’s best-loved parks and green spaces have won national acclaim in the 2008 prestigious Green Flag awards. Blaise Castle Estate has won the coveted Green Flag award for the first time. Green Flag awards are presented annually and are the ‘gold standard’ of the best green spaces in the country.

Parks and green spaces are judged on their individual merits and suitability to the community they serve. The winning of a Green Flag or Green Pennant is a nationally-recognised symbol of a high quality green space.

Councillor Rosalie Walker, Bristol’s executive member for culture and healthy communities, said: “This is brilliant news. We are delighted to win four prestigious Green Flag awards. The Green Flag awards recognise the best green spaces in the country. Thanks for Bristol’s success must go to our many partners who have worked with us to ensure these parks and green open spaces achieve the highest standards, to create a benchmark of excellence for others to follow.”

Shirehampton’s Top Special Event of the Year - YOU’RE INVITED!

A three-course dinner in the elegant splendour of an 18th century mansion; relaxing music to delight every ear; it’s a night to treasure. And you are invited with your friends!

What is this very special opportunity? It’s the annual Shirehampton Community Action Forum dinner in Kings Weston House, where you can not only have a superb evening out, but also help the funds of the charity that works so hard for the good of all the community.

This year, the dinner has been deliberately moved towards the end of the year, November 29th, so that the dinner can be a true Christmas Dinner. You will be greeted on your arrival at 7.30pm by mulled wine and carols in the Portrait Gallery, before going into dinner in the Vanbrugh Suite, where after the meal you will be entertained by the talented Beth Ford Duo.

Dress is “smart casual”, which means no one need feel out of place. Dress comfortably and enjoy yourself in a marvellous relaxed atmosphere with your friends.

The cost? It has actually gone down this year! How’s that for an early Christmas bonus? So for £15 you can have this “evening of the year” – and help your village through supporting SCAF, as all the ticket price, without any deduction, goes to the charity’s funds.

Tickets can be obtained from the Library, or from the Public Hall. Call Ash Bearman on 0117 9829963, or  email to book your place.

And a raffle too!

There will be a raffle at the meal, also in aid of SCAF funds, and donation of prizes is welcome now. If you can give a suitable prize, please bring it to the Public Hall as soon as you are able – it will all help to make the evening a success.

Portway Old Boys Football Club

I thought maybe you would like to print this photo in the Shire magazine.

It’s Portway Old Boys Football Club about 1949/50.

Some of the names: Back - Terry Coles, Joe Balsdon, Bri Marsden, John Cook, Brian Lewis.  Front - Bill Light -?-, Colin Vincent, Steve Tovey, Alan James. Where are you now perhaps?

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Here we are into September already and the kids will be going back to school after their Summer Holiday. How long will it be now before we start to see Christmas items for sale in the shops?

As a new terms begins for the schools so it does for Trinity Theological College at Stoke Bishop. This month we can expect to see the arrival of a cohort of students from Trinity who will be based in the parish for context-based learning. They will be with us for one and a half days per week and on Sundays to learn about and experience parish work and life in Shirehampton. There will be a Commissioning Service in St. Mary’s for these students at 6.00 pm on Sunday, 21st September - so do please come and meet them and welcome them into our church life - all are welcome!

During the weekend commencing Friday, 12th until Sunday, 14th  September a large number of our congregation will be going on a retreat to Lee Abbey which is near Lynton in North Devon. There has been a 90% take up of the places on offer - if this appeals to you then you should contact our Lay Minister Gill Sawyer who will give you any information you require. Holy Communion on that Sunday at St. Mary’s will be the same as usual but will be taken by a visiting Preacher.

On Wednesday 17th we will be holding another “Alpha Guest Supper” in St. Mary’s from 7.00 pm until 9.00 pm. If you are already a member of our church then try and encourage someone to come who you know may be interested to find out more about our Christian faith. If you are not a member of St. Mary’s and this appeals to you then please do come and sign your name up on the list at the back of the church. The “Alpha Course” proper will commence on the following Wednesday, 24th September until Wednesday, 19th . November, 2008 - each session starts with Supper. Again if you are not sure whether you want to commit yourself by signing the list at the back of the church - then pop in and see Gill Sawyer or Canon Christine who will be delighted to explain things to you.

 Looking back to Friday,  1st August, was the day we held our annual Car Treasure Hunt. The weather could have been kinder as during the run we experienced several very heavy showers but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. Tim Forder who organises the event once again devised a twisting and turning route around the Chew Valley with some cunning clues for us to find our way. It was great fun and the ultimate destination was “The Failand Inn” on the upper Clevedon Road. First prize went to Gill & Tony Sawyer - our worthy Lay Minister and her Treasurer husband. Second prize went to Steve Simmons and the occupants of his car, whilst third prize went to Roger & Mary Derrick. The meals at The Failand Inn were excellent and they are to be congratulated in serving 40 meals all at the same time - I shouldn’t have liked to have been the Chef preparing that number! Thanks must go to Tim Forder for yet another great social event - he must now be classed as a “professional” Car Treasure Hunt organiser in view of all the ones he has done before! Have you started yet working out the clues for the 2009 one Tim?

 Also on Saturday, 2nd  August, Bradley House Residential Home in the High Street held another of their Summer Fayres in aid of St. Mary’s. We are indeed very grateful to Monique and Elizabeth, the proprietors of Bradley House for organising the event which raised the sum of £336. Thank you for all those who assisted in the running of the Fayre and for those of you who came and supported the event.

We are also extremely grateful to the staff of the Coop Store who  on Saturday, 9th. August, held a Table Top Sale in aid of St. Mary’s which again raised much needed funds to keep our church out of debt. I do not have the figure of how much was raised as these notes were already submitted to “Shire” in order to meet their print dead line. But we certainly appreciate their support for our church.

 Sadly it is my duty to record the death of Andy Crawford who died  at the age of 58 years after a relatively short battle with cancer. You will have often seen his white van marked “Senior Service” parked up in the churchyard, as Andy did very many jobs for St. Mary’s including keeping the grass cut. He was also responsible for the refurbishing of both of our Gardens of Remembrance making them into the pleasing places you see today. We shall definitely miss not being able to call upon his expertise. His funeral took place in St. Mary’s on Friday 1st  August, and the church was filled to capacity needing extra chairs to be placed at the back. This showed what a well liked man he was and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his wife Pam, his children and grandchildren. I feel sure there will eventually be a permanent memorial to him at St. Mary’s.

 On a brighter note I have to tell you that at the Family Service on  the last Sunday in July the story of Prince Caspian (the next in the Narnia series) was incorporated into the Service as well as four Baptisms. What an exciting Sunday for all our visitors and our younger members and the older ones too! Prince Caspian appeared in a real set of armour which set everybody’s eyes wide open - he looked magnificent! We also had Aslan the Lion appearing over the top of the Pulpit from time to time - no not a real lion as Tubs the Butcher had run out of bones for a genuine live lion. (If you believe that you will believe anything!!!). In order to satisfy the inquisitive it was really one of our Choir Members dressed in a Lion Suit giving an absolutely brilliant impression of the genuine Aslan but answered to the name of Maureen Geddes!! Thanks must also go to Ray Brocklesbury & Ray Smith who made the “props” and to Gill Sawyer who burnt much midnight oil making the dress worn by Canon Christine.

Now, I have some dates for your Diary for October - so write the details in now whilst you think of it! Our Harvest Supper will this year be on Friday evening 3rd October with entertainment by The Saltmine Theatre Production Company players who will be performing a comedy called “When I’m calling you!” Ticket prices have not yet been decided, but in view of the current “Credit Crunch” you will have the opportunity to attend:

(1) Just the Harvest Supper Meal.

(2) Just the Theatre Company production - or

(3) The Harvest Supper Meal & the Theatre Company Production.

Tickets will be available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office - so watch this space next month for the ticket prices.

 Our Harvest Appeal this year is for Food Bags to be given to the  Community of the Sisters of the Church who are based in St. Paul’s and who will distribute the food to those in our city who are living in extreme poverty. (Over 2,000 bags of food are given out each week - and with the current recession the Sisters are struggling to keep pace with demand). Food bags will be provided at the back of the church and there will be the opportunity to fill a bag with items marked from a list valued at £5.00 or from a list with food items valued at £8.00. Please fill a food bag with items from either one list or the other - which ever you feel you can afford. You know that your gifts this year will be going to a worthwhile cause in our own city. Please be as generous as you can - I know that to some of you this will involve considerable sacrifice - but I am confident you will support this appeal.

 On Saturday, 4th  October we shall be holding an Art Exhibition in the Church - no awards or prizes this year - merely an opportunity to come in and see what talent there is in Shirehampton. Please seriously think about putting one of your paintings on display - large or small!

Sunday, 5th October is our Harvest Festival Celebration day - Kids Klub as usual at 8.30 am and 10.00 am our normal sung Holy Communion Service - need I say that of course all are very welcome.

Finally, may I tell you that on Saturday, 18th October - the “Allan Schiller Concert” - is being moved from its venue at Bristol Cathedral to St. Mary’s, Shirehampton. Allan Schiller is a Pianist of international fame and has agreed to perform a Concert in aid of funds for St. Mary’s. Tickets for this Concert will cost £6.00 and during the interval Wine and Nibbles will be supplied to the audience FREE OF CHARGE! If you have already purchased a ticket please call into the Church Office or telephone 0117 9077026 to arrange an exchange. Where else could you go to a concert by a pianist of such renown for such a low price? Please support this important event in our social calendar - with the acoustics in St. Mary’s and our very own fine Boudoir Grand Piano it will be a magnificent concert to listen to!

Well, that’s it again for this month!

`Bye for now -  C.M.E.

Andrew Crawford

Many of you will know Andy Crawford who did so much work for the church and especially to make our Memorial Garden at St Mary’s so beautiful. It has now been dedicated in memory of this lovely man. Here’s his grandson Joe admiring the plaque.

Shirehampton Model Railway Club was saddened by the untimely loss of our friend, Andy Crawford.

Andy’s enthusiasm, ability and good-humoured common sense helped the Club to develop a full-size layout that we have taken to a number of exhibitions in and around Bristol. As treasurer, he also made sure that our finances were in good order, a job appreciated by everyone.

Andy found great pleasure in his hobby and enjoyed sharing that pleasure with everyone.

People like Andy cannot be replaced, so we will just have to adjust and carry on - we know that this is what he would want.

Our condolences go out to Andy’s family at this sad time.

The Cotswold Pet Show

The second Pet Show at the Cotswold Community Centre, held on July 12th, was another great success with over 20 entries.

Although the majority of pets were dogs, we also saw a budgie, two gorgeous guinea pigs, and even a couple of chickens! All the pets (and even their owners!) were impeccably behaved, and John, a local vet, took his time talking to everyone.

The eventual “top dogs” were:

1st prize – Claire Moffatt with her Border Collie “Diefer”

2nd prize – Audrey Comely with her rescued cross-breed “Max”

Enormous thanks to Stadon Pet Supplies of the High Sreet for generously donating the prizes for the winners.

The Ferry

Remember when the ferry-boat
Crossed from ‘The Lamps’ to Pill?
Going through the turnstile,
In weather good or ill?

Remember when the boatman
Used to wash the mud away
From the sloping, cobbled footpath
(A true slipway!) where it lay?

He used a kind of bucket
At the end of a long pole;
Performed the task with relish
(He enjoyed the title role.)

Remember going upstream
To fight the ebbing tide;
The children ever wondering
If they’d reach the other side?

Remember bobbing up and down
Precariously in the wake
Of passing ‘Campbells’ steamer,
Or the wash ‘King John’ would make?

I remember, I remember
And within I feel the lack
Of the ferry and its boatman –
Oh, I wish that they were back!


Henbury Locomotive

The “Henbury” Locomotive is now in the Bristol Industrial Museum, and is still working. Here is a photograph of her in 1954 with the men who worked her at Avonmouth Dock. Quite a few of these men would have lived locally

Anthony Mitchell, Paddy Walsh, Sid Drake, Taffy Evans, Reg Hannoy, Bill Cockle, Henry Beecham, Bert Jenkins, Arthur Rumble, J Watkins, Henry Parsons WS Foreman, George White Dep Foreman, Cliff Shaw Loco Foreman, Jack Stoodly, Harry Crayford, Ginger Halliday, R H Nicholson ME Loco, Harry Cook, Alf Webber, Mr Helps Docks Engineer, George Thorn, George Mitchell, Reg Clarke, Jack Lloyd, Hector Chidgey.

Anthony Mitchell

Historic Landmark Disfigured

It is sad to see that the 200-years old landing stage of Ham Green House (now the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Home) has been defaced by ugly graffiti. The historic building, popularly known as “The Adam and Eve” because of its prominently featured male and female statues, was already looking sad and neglected before the infliction of this latest indignity upon it.

Strange stories have become attached over the years to the structure, such as young lovers punished by being walled up in it, or of a secret smuggler’s tunnel to the gazebo in the grounds of Ham Green House. It would seem, however, that it was only ever a landing stage for the West India plantation owner who used it for his ships that tied up and that were hung with ropes from the rings that can still be seen in the wall to hold them upright when the tide went out (hence “Hung Road”).

Though the “Adam and Eve” is on the Somerset side of the river, Shirehampton people have a great affection for the landmark, and hope that it will not be long before our biblical couple recover their pristine  innocence.