Shire logo

Back to August 2009 SHIRE September 2009 Fowards to October 2009 SHIRE
News Index

Staff at St Peter’s Hospice Celebrate Re-fit

What’s on in September

Shire’s Big Picnic

Letters to the Editor

Shire's 10 Years on the Web

Brightstowe Students Run Harmony Holiday Camp for Local Children

Community Update - Residual Waste Treatment

Walking Toward The Light!

St Mary’s News

St Bernard’s Parish News

Sea Mills

Staff at St Peter’s Hospice Celebrate Re-fit

Staff and volunteers together on 24th June to celebrate the refit of the St Peter’s Hospice Shop on the High Street in Shirehampton.

Volunteers Gwen Dicker and Maureen Grant have both been volunteers at the shop since it first opened its doors in 1990.

Gwen said “Mt niece used to work at Knowle Hospice so I knew about the work they did with people who had cancer and sadly I lost my brother to cancer as well. When I heard the shop was opening I thought I might be able to help and have been volunteering ever since, I even got my daughter involved and we both work in the shop on a Friday!”

Maureen Grant has also been at the shop since 1990. She commented: “When I retired from nursing I wanted something to fill my time and heard they were opening this shop. I love working here and think more people should volunteer as it’s only a few hours a week.”

The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and would welcome good quality donation of ladies, gents and children’s clothing, bric a brac, music and books. If anyone has a few hours to spare and would like to volunteer please pop into the shop and speak to Liz or Lizzie.

We’ve Done it Again!

Shirehampton has followed last year’s triumph by again winning an award in the ‘Bristol in Bloom’ competition. We gained second place for Best Shopping Area and have been awarded a Silver Medal.

Thanks must go to Bristol City Council for their hanging baskets and to the workforce which tends these and also the flower-beds on The Green (which seem to be the best ever).

Thanks are also due to The George Inn and The Lifeboat for their lovely displays, which help to enhance the High Street.

Perhaps next year, more traders would provide hanging baskets outside their premises, the means of hanging them are already there (in most cases). The Christmas Light tree-holders provide suitable hanging supports, the next ones even having appropriate hooks.

Let’s go for FIRST PLACE next year!



Due to unforeseen circumstances ‘Shire’ AGM has been postponed until Monday September 7th.

This is an open meeting and our readers are welcome to attend. Time and place: 5.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall.

Volunteer Urgently Needed . . .

A person is urgently needed to deliver Shire newspapers on the Portway, nos 596 to 636 and also Barrow Hill Road (St Mary’s Road to Portway) can anyone help. Please?

The papers are brought to your door each month for you to delivery. This should take about an hour each month. If you can help please telephone Pauline on 9826935. Many thanks.

If a volunteer cannot be found to deliver papers each month your paper will have to be collected from either the Library or the Post Office.

What’s on in September

Tuesday September 1st

Penpole Luncheon Club– 2 courses, tea/coffee, cake £3.25. Details from Sandra, ring 0117 9381236.

St Andrew’s Ladies Club– 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Church Hall.

St Mary’s Craft Group– weekly 2-2.30pm in church.

Mainly Music for under 5sat Shirehampton Baptist Church, weekly during term time 9am – 11am.

Age Concern Advice Sessions– Drop-in every Tuesday 9.30-11.30am at 115 High Street, Shirehampton for people over 55 (or their carers).

Wednesday September 2nd

Shirehampton Model Railway Club– 7.30pm Public Hall, weekly.

Shire Advice Sessions – Drop-in every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30-11am at 115 High Street.

Shirehampton Craft Group– weekly at Guide HQ, St Mary’s Road, 1.30-3pm. Tel 9823192 for information.

ACTA Community YouthTheatre for 11-16s, weekly at the Public Hall 5-6pm.

Keep Fit– weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.309-11.30am for those with some movement experience.

Thursday September 3rd

Local Schools begin Term 1

Shire Advice Session– Drop-in every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30-11am at 115 High Street and every Thursday afternoon 2-3pm at St Mary’s Church, Shirehampton (session sponsored by the church).

Townswomens Guild– 2-4pm Methodist Church Hall.

Kick Boxing– weekly at the Public Hall 5.15-7.15pm.

Stroke Support– every Thursday at the PBA Club, Nibley Road 1.30-4pm.

Slimming World– weekly at Jim O’Neill House 5.30pm and 7pm.

Grainger Players Drama Club– weekly at thje Public Hall 7.30-9.30pm.

Kyoto Shotokhan Karate Club– trains at Avonmouth RFC weekly 6.30-8.30pm.

Friday September 4th

Friday Fun– for parents, carers and pre-school children 9.30-11am at Beachley Walk Centre- weekly.

Evergreens– weekly at the Public Hall 2-3pm

Bingo– weekly at the Publ8uc Hall 6.30-8.30pm.

Pillow Lace Group– every Friday 7-9pm at the Public Hall.

Shirehampton Amateur Radio Club– weekly at T.S. Enterprise 7.30-10pm

Keep Fit– weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30-11.30am.

Relish– at Shirehampton Baptist Church for 11 to 16 year olds, weekly during term time 7.30-9.30pm.

Saturday September 5th

Shirehmapton Methodist Church Coffee and cakes, first Saturday of each month 10-11.30am. All welcome.

Sunday September 6th

Cotswold Serviceat Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45pm – 5.30pm led by Shire Baptist Church.

Monday September 7th

Shire AGM– 5.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall. Open meeting which readers are welcome to attend.

Keep Fit– weekly at Avonmnouth Community Centre 7.30-8.30pm.

Basic Literacy Skills Course– weekly at Lawrence Weston. Tel: 9138824 for details.

Kyoto Shotokhan Karate Club– trains in St Bernard’s School – weekly 6.30-8.30pm.

Drop in Advice Service– St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth – weekly 9.30-11.30am sponsored by St Andrew’s Church.

Totstop for under 5s– at St Mary’s Church, weekly 1.15-2.45pm.

Wednesday September 9th

Totstop for under 5s– at Shirehampton Baptist Church, weeklt during term time 9-11am.

Bright Hour– Womens’ Fellowship, Baptist Church 2.,30pm – fortnightly.

Everygreens– day trip to Dorchester Market and Weymouth.

Thursday September 10th and 24th

Advice Serviceat St Mary’s, second and fourth Thursdays 2-3pm.

Friday September 11th

Harvest Supperat St Mary’s

Saturday September 12th

Shirehampton Model Rail EXHIBITIONat the Public Hall 1030am-7pm.

Sunday September 13th

Harvest Festivalat St Mary’s KClub Festive 8.30am

Tuesday September 15th

Avonmouth Ladies Club– 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Avonmouth

Port of Bristol– retired employees association, Nibley Road Club – talk.

Wednesday September 16th

Shirehampton Stitchers– at the Public Hall 7.30pm (every third Wednesday)

Thursday September 17th

Diabetes UK– 7.30pm at the Penpole Tenants Association Hall, The Ridge at 7.30pm

Carers’ Group– meets at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-12 noon.

Carers’ Group– meets at Ridingleaze, Lawrence Weston at 2pm.

Saturday September 19th

The ordination and induction service– for the Baptist Minister, Chris Grant, will take place at 2.30pm at Shirehampton Baptist Church.

Sunday September 20th

Cotswold Service– at Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45-5.30pm led by St Mary’s Church.

Monday September 21st

Local History Group– 2.30pm in the Library.

Thursday September 24th

Free Electric Blanket Safety Checkfor electric blankets at Shirehampton Heal;th Centre

Beginning of 6 week coursein the Alexander Technique, the Penpole Room, Shirehampton Public Hall 10am-12 noon. For details tel Jennifer on 0117 966 3394.

Friday September 25th – Sunday 27th

Parish Weekend– at Abbey Hall, Glastonbury, cost £104

Friday September 25th

Sequence Danceat the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 7.30-10pm.

Library Reading Group– 2.15pm at the Library.

Wednesday September 30th

Volunteering Festivalat Rock Community Centre, Lawrence Weston 10am-4pm


Saturday October 10th

Severn Beach Railway– at Village Hall, Ashton Lane, Severn Beach at 7pm.

Forget Me Not Walk– on the Downs in aid of Leukaemia Research, October 3rd – 3 kilometres long. Start 11am, entry fee £7.30 adult, £5 for child under 16, group ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £25. For details please make your cheques payable to Leukaemia Research. Get yourself sponsored to support your effort and encourage others to take part.

Thursday November 26th– Shirehampton Community Forum meets at the Public Hall.


Playgroup at the Public Hallevery week 9.15-11.45am Mon-Fri 12.30-2.45pm Mon-Wed only

Kids Clubat St Mary’s 8.30am most Sunday mornings. Breakfast and a short service. For information tel. 9077026.

Sea CadetsMondays and Thursdays each week 12-18 years old; Juniors 10-12 years old on Thursday 6.45-8.45pm at T.S. Enterprise, Station Road.

City of Bristol Basic Skills Classes– FREE. Improve your English, Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; help with your Maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 31125530.

Bump and Rhymefor babies and toddlers every Monday 11.20-11.40am followed by Story Time 12 noon-12.15pm at the Library.

Monday and Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings

Twyford House Art Groupat the Public Hall.

Lawrence Weston Community Farmopen in September

Farm TotsWednesday mornings 11am-12.30pm for parents and children under 5 – General opening times Tuesday – Sunday each week 9.30am-4pm.

Driving Theory course– Do you want help to pass this test? FREE 7 week course starting September on Thursday evenings 6.30-8.30pm at Lawrence Weston Centre, contact Suzanne on 9030072.

ICT and Digital Photography course– FREE 7 week course starting September in Lawrence Weston/Shirehampton, contact Suzanne on 9030072.

Confidence building course for women– FREE 8 week course in Shirehampton starting September, contact Suzanne on 9030072.

English as an additional language course– FREE course to help you improve your English, starting October, contact Suzanne on 9030072.


If there is any local club or society, whichg would like their meetings included in the ‘What’s On’. PLEASE out the details in the Library by the 10th of the month.

Seasonal Flu Vaccination for Shirehampton Group Practice Patients

This year’s flu vaccination sessions for eligible patients will be held:

At Shirehampton Health Centre:

  • Saturday 3rd October 8.45am – 10.30am
  • Saturday 17th October 8.45am – 10.30am
  • Tuesday 20th October 4.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Tuesday 3rd November 4.30pm – 5.30pm

At our Branch Surgery, Capel Road, Lawrence Weston:

  • Friday 16th October 2.00pm – 3.00pm
  • Friday 23rd October 2.00pm – 3.00pm

As last year, those who will be 65 years old by 31st March 2010 will not receive a letter of invitation but are entitled to just turn up at any of the sessions to receive their NHS ‘flu vaccination. Those who have a ‘flu vaccination for clinical reasons (e.g. they have asthma, diabetes, etc) will receive an invitation and can also attend any of the sessions above. Housebound patients should telephone reception and ask to be added to our list of home visits to ensure they do not miss out. Patients who live in residential homes will have an organised visit by one of our Practice Nurses to administer their vaccinations. Registered carers are also entitled to an NHS ‘flu vaccination.

It is VERY important that you receive this annual protection – it has been proven to be most effective in reducing the instances of ‘flu, particularly for the more vulnerable in our communities. Please note, however, that these sessions are only for vaccinations against seasonal flu; the swine flu vaccination programme will be subject to a separate campaign once agreed by the Department of Health.

Not eligible for an NHS ‘flu vaccination? Private vaccinations are provided at local venues, including Shirehampton, through GP Care for only £20. Appointments can be made by telephone on 0845 4682100.

Shire’s Big Picnic

We would just like to give a huge thanks to everyone who helped in making Shire’s Big Picnic such a roaring success.

Shire's Big Picnic was a peaceful protest against the Council's possible plans to sell off the Lamplighters and Daisy Field land to development. It was also a tangible demonstration to the Council of just how much local residents value this land. Over 250 people came along with rugs, picnics and families – and we even got the sunshine!

We would particularly like to thank Shirehampton Village Bakery for generously donating the doughnuts, The Lamplighters Pub for their unstinting practical help and support, Shirehampton News for donating their lollipops, everyone who helped publicise the event, and everybody who turned up to make it such a special day.

The Big Picnic was a big step in the right direction. But the campaign is not over until the Council promise that they will not sell off Shire’s green space for housing development. There’s still more to do:

  1. Please write to the Council individually, if you have not already, describing the specific reasons why the Lamplighters / Daisy Field Land should not be classed as ‘low value’ to the community, and sold off for housing.
  2. Make sure your name is on Cllr. Siobhan Kennedy-Hall’s petition. You can sign online by going to . Otherwise paper copies of the petition can be found in Shirehampton Post Office and in local shops.
  3. Come to the public meeting on 1st September at 5pm-6.30pm, Shirehampton Public Hall. The Council will be there to explain their plans and listen directly to the public’s views.

Many people said that they’d like to see Shire’s Big Picnic become an annual event. Let’s hope that the Council abandons any plans to develop this land, and makes Shire’s Big Picnic possible for many years to come.

Yours sincerely,

Charlotte Leslie, Conservative Prospective MP Bristol North West
and Cllr. Siobhan Kennedy-Hall

Letters to the Editor

Ex-pat remembers

Hi Ed

I would like to comment on the daisy field. I now live in Spain so the development of this field will not really effect me. But I lived in Shirehampton for 60 years before moving to Spain.

Residents living in Shirehampton, My father included were told that the allotments that used to be adjacent to the daisy field could not be increased in size because the daisy field was originally a land fill site and no development or building could take place on this land due to the contamination of the soil. It would be impossible to develop this area for at least 100 years and even then it might not be fit for development. This we understood was one of the reasons it was left fallow for so long.

So what has changed to make it now fit for development? There was certainly allot of industrial waste dumped while bringing the level of the daisy field up to its present height.

Whether this was dangerous or not I would not know but as young lads back in the late 50s playing around in this area there was some most disagreeable smells coming from some of the canisters etc dumped on this site. I wonder if the council still have records of what was dumped there.

Bob Kellaway

Lomas de cabo Roig Spain


Dear Editor

Whilst trying to find something on the internet I came across your news paper,so I am taking this opportunity to write to you.

I was born in 1946 in Cheshire, but at the age of about 3years old the family moved to Shirehampton as my father began working at the power station in Portishead. We stayed in a converted shop in High Street, I remember an enormous front room with nothing in it! Across the road was a big church whose bells pealed especially on Sunday. What church is that? Next door at a higher level was a fish and chip shop built,I think, after we moved there.

I remember on the Queen's coronation we had a large picture of Her Majesty hung between our house and next door. We also dressed up, my mother made me up to be an Hawaaian and my brother was Noddy.

We later moved to Southwood Drive and I started school down the road, later going to Sea Mills Junior.

When I got to the year before I wrote the eleven-plus we moved to Great Yarmouth and five years later came to South Africa.

I have never been back to England but the memories are very vivid, and it appears as we get older we can remember more of the past than what we did yesterday!

Your newspaper was really full of interesting things and you appear to have a vibrant community, many thanks for allowing me a walk down "Memory Lane"

Best Regards

Sandra Helmbold nee Grimmer.


Dear Editor

I am writing in response to the letter from Celia Lukins in the August edition of SHIRE. She is concerned that the City Council only invited a restricted group of people to the Area Green Space Strategy meeting at which the Daisy Field and Lamplighters Marsh was discussed in July. She comments that it is “difficult to understand why SCAF [Shirehampton Community Action Forum] members …. should be assuming they know what is best for residents who have lived here all their lives.”

SCAF did not decide who should be invited to the meeting, which was entirely a matter for the City Council. SCAF provided the Council with a list of local contacts, some of whom were SCAF members, but others were local people who have contacted SCAF on a variety of issues. I understand that Council Officers decided to use this list, together with a list supplied by the Avonmouth and Kingweston Neighbourhood Partnership, to invite people to a series of meetings held at short notice. It was entirely a matter for the City Council to determine who they invited to their meeting, and SCAF had no control over their list of invitees.

Mrs Lukins asks who selected the membership of SCAF. Membership is open to all local people, and the Trustees are elected by the membership. Meeting times and places of SCAF are widely publicised, including in SHIRE. The same edition which included her letter also recorded that “the next meetings of Shirehampton Community Action Forum will take place on Wednesday 2 September (which will be the A.G.M.) at 7.00 pm, and Thursday 26 November, at 2.00 pm. Both meetings will be held at Shirehampton Public Hall.”

SCAF had good relations with the former Shirehampton Community Council. The convenor of that body was a founder Trustee of SCAF. The council ceased to function when nobody was willing to assume any of the officer positions. The members of the Community Council were not elected, but consisted of local people who took the trouble to participate, in a very similar way to SCAF. The only elections that it held were for its own officers.

All meetings of SCAF and of its Action Groups are open to local residents. If you feel that you wish to get more involved in local affairs, you would be very welcome. You can get further details of SCAF and of its Action Groups from Ash Bearman, who is based at the Public Hall. Her phone number is 0117 982 9963, and her email address is

Yours sincerely

David Thomas, Chairman of Shirehampton Community Action Forum

New Methodist Minister

Hi there,

I just thought I would introduce myself. My name is Jacky Quarmby and on 1st September I begin work as the minister of Shirehampton Methodist Church. I shall also be working at Wesley Theological College in Westbury-on-Trym, so my husband Neil and I will be living in Brentry. I have been a Methodist Minister for fourteen years now. My first appointment was in Manchester, where I looked after two churches and also served as chaplain to the nearby hospice. My second and most recent appointment was at a Methodist Girls Boarding School in Kent where I worked as chaplain and also taught mathematics for nine years. It was always interesting working alongside the young people and I am very much looking forward to getting to know some of the children in Shirehampton, as I was thrilled to be asked to be a community governor for the Avon Primary School.

My husband Neil works as an IT consultant. He often works from home, which is great for me, as he is the cook of the household and makes wonderful meals. Neil is also a keen cyclist and he is looking forward to joining a cycling club in Bristol, so that he can carry on racing. I am not a good cyclist I’m afraid and since I don’t drive, you will most likely see me walking around or jumping on and off the bus. Do come over and say hello if you see me. I always think that buses in particular are a great place for a chat.

Neil and I are very much looking forward to worshipping at the Methodist church and getting to know the Shirehampton community. We have already enjoyed a very good pint in your local (so convenient for the bus stop) and are looking forward to popping into the other shops along the High Street. So hopefully it won’t be long before we meet.

Jacky and Neil Quarmby

Tanning Salon

Dear Editor,

I writing with regards the new tanning salon in Shirehampton. I have moved from the Shirehampton area and on my recent visit I noticed the new tanning salon in the village. It is a welcome addition to the village and I wish the owners all the best but I do believe they missed a trick by calling it Tanhampton. Surely Shirehamptan would be a much more suitable name!!!

Best Wishes,

Alan Chung

Brain Teaser

Dear editor

I noticed your request for articles, and I am wondering if you would be interested in printing some "brain teasers".

. Here is my first example, with solution:-

Question: Her husband did not write The Odyssey, she never married a bear and she is not butter. Name this cartoon character.

Answer: Marge Simpson

Reasoning: The author of "The Odyssey" was Homer. If this person's husband did not write it, we assume from the fact that it's a clue that we are looking for someone who has a relationship to that Homer. If it's a cartoon character, then Homer Simpson seems a good guess. Could the answer be Marge?

"married a bear" fits this guess because the bear could be a teddy bear, i.e. Edward, the would-be king who abdicated to marry Mrs Simpson.

"not butter" confirms that "Marge" must be the right answer.

Another example: She claimed to have minimal interest in the prospect of heavy preciptitation throughout the college vacation. We are unsure whether Neil Sedaka had a similar viewpoint. Name the singer and the title of this classic 60's song.

Answer: It Might As Well Rain Until September by Carol King, who is believed to be the subject of Neil's "Oh Carol".

Please let me know if you want more!!


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 sit times a year and consists of mainly 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, email:

Diamond Wedding Anniversary

Congratulations to AUDREY and RAY JOHNS who celebrate their Diamond Wedding on 3rd September. Ray was very well known in the Shirehampton and Avonmouth areas as he worked for 41 years in the Postal Delivery service. Audrey will always be remembered for the many and varied educational coach visits she organized for students and friends at the Twyford House Adult Education Centre.

Ray and Audrey moved to London three years ago to be near their family which includes two daughters – Sheila and Pamela - five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

(Thank you for your donation. Ed.)

Ann Spring 30.11.40 – 23.07.09

Sally, Jane and families would like to thank everyone for their kind cards, words and prayers. Ann was brought up in a cottage on the Green and lived over 40 years of her married life back in Shire. She was an outstanding mother and grandmother and will be incredibly missed.

Please thank Shirehampton’s wonderful Canon Christine who is so special and also Gill. Also thank you for the most caring efficient service given to both Mum and us by Ian and all the wonderful staff at Stenner & Hill funeral directors.

Shire's 10 Years on the Web

SHIRE newspaper’s internet site, Shire on the Web, was launched 10 years ago, on 1 September 1999. Since that date the site has grown and developed. It is a community web site for Shirehampton, and an alternative publishing medium for SHIRE.

The site now has an archive of monthly editions of SHIRE, stretching back more than 10 years. This archive is fully searchable. It is an ideal resource when you think “I know there was an article about so-and-so in an earlier edition, but I cannot find it now.”

Many of the pictures on the web site are in full colour, which we are not able to include in the printed edition.

As well as the newspaper archive, the site has information about Shirehampton, a directory of local organisations, some pages about local history, information about local businesses, and pictures of places and events in the village. There is also a series of message boards, where people can post notices or ask questions about missing friends, family history, and coming events.

The site has users from all over the world. There are regular readers who are former residents. From time to time we get queries from people considering a move to Shirehampton from outside the area.

It is very easy to access Shire on the Web. Simply type the address bar in a web browser. Alternatively, a Google search for ‘Shirehampton’ will bring up our site at the top of the list of search results.

If you do not have access to a computer, the Public Library in Station Rd has systems you can use to access Shire on the Web.

If you have never used our web site, do give it a try.

September Time

September is a time for new beginnings at Shirehampton Baptist Church. Tuesday the 1st of September Chris Grant begins his work as Minister. Tuesday morning the 8th September begins a new adventure with Sam called mainly music for under 5’s and their carers. Wednesday morning the 9th Todstop will start back with new leaders, Tina and Sandra.

Also in September Relish will start again on Friday evenings during term time. Youth leader David runs this popular club for 11year olds to 16year olds. Bright Hour continues once a fortnight on a Wednesday afternoon, look out for dates in the Shire paper.

The new term starts in our local schools in September for pupils and their teachers. For some it will be a new term and new school.

For the youngest pupils it is the beginning of school for the very 1st time. Those leaving school will be moving on to pastures new.

Preparation, anticipation, imagination, dedication and for some, trepidation. A busy time, September time!


Bristol Doors Open Day

Saturday 12th September 2009 10am-4pm - free admission

Stoke Lodge – Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop. 1830s villa with earlier C17 tiled fireplace, now an Adult Education Centre with exhibitions of their work.

Bristol’s Blaise Castle House Museum and Dairy – Henbury Road, Henbury. Palladian style house, built in the 1790s, home of Bristol’s social history collection including Victorian toys, home equipment and period costumes. Butter-making in the 1804 Blaise diary. Architect (house): William Paty. Architect (dairy): John Nash

Kings Weston House – Kings Weston Lane. Impressive late C18 Palladian style villa, restored to its former glory and opened for conferences, weddings etc. Architect: Sri John Vanburgh. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm.

Kings Weston Roman Villa – Long Cross, Lawrence Weston. Ruins of a C3/C4 villa discovered in 1947 during Lawrence Weston site excavations. This year’s theme is Roman food: come and eat like a Roman and learn about their cooking.

Wessex Water Sewage Treatment Works – Kings Weston Lane, Avonmouth. Tours lasting two hours round Wessex Water’s current treatment works, converting sewage into fertiliser.

These cottages are in Cumberland Basin

These cottages are in Cumberland Basin

Simple 1830s quayside cottages – home to dockworkers and their families until the late 1960s.

No 1 Dock Cottage is the home of the Merchant Navy Association. Here we have a small museum dedicated to the merchant seamen and their way of life.

Please note: there is no disability or toilet access.

Merchant Navy Day Service

Thursday 3rd September 2009 Merchant Navy Memorial, Welsh Back, Bristol

A service commencing at 1100 hours conducted by the Rev Philip Auden DL to commemorate all seafarers who have crossed the bar. Followed by a wreath laying ceremony, once the wreaths have been laid, floral tributes may be placed at the memorial.

The Merchant Navy Memorial in Welsh Back

The Merchant Navy Memorial in Welsh Back

On all the oceans, white caps flow,
They have no crosses row on row,
For those who sleep in peace; our country’s free
There are no poppies on these sailor’s graves,
Nor wreaths upon the storm tossed waves,
No Last Post from a military band,
So far away from their native land.
No heartbroken words carved on stone,
Just shipmates lying there all alone,
The only tributes are the seagull sweeps
And the teardrop when a loved one weeps
We Will Remember Them

Stop Hate Crime

Don't suffer in silence: you can help us make a difference. If you have been bullied, harassed or attacked because of your ethnicity; your disability; what you believe; your sexuality; what you wear; or your background. Find out more, and report online using the link below:

Shirehampton Two Days of Action

Safer Bristol's Community Safety Officers Cheryl Coles & Jenny Benson together with PCSO's Zaheer Bulbul and Jaspoer Hughes to work with partners and residents on local issues.

On Thursday 13th August the Police community contact vehicle was parked outside the Co-op on the High Street, to give opportunity for local residents/traders and visitors to raise any concerns. \the day focused on enforcement with partner agencies with DVLA clamping six cars for out of date or no tax on vehicles. Council officers also enforced regulations on bins and waste disposal of retail premises. BCC Trading Standards officer issued under age sales advice packsto five retail premises, one had to remove some out of date food from their shelves and one did not have prices on all their items. Council Parking Services were out all day and issued fines for illegal or unsafe parking and advice.

The following day residents and partners turned out to clean up the areas of the Ridge and Penpole Lane, litter picking and removing bulky waste dumped in the hedges and green space areas. The Counci's Clean & Green and Graffiti crew were out all day helping to take the rubbish, litter and fly tipping waste to the tip and clean off the graffiti in the area.

Cheryl Coles, Community Safety Officer for Safer Bristol said: Grime encourages crime and we need to be aware that the appearance of the local environment is important to the quality of life of local people.

Thank you to everyone, both local residents and partners who helped make the 2 days of action a success. Also thank you to Sandra who made lovely home made cakes, which kept us going all day.

Cheryl Coles

Community Safety Officer, Safer Bristol Partnership

C/O Avonmouth & Southmead Police Station 07810506846

Brightstowe Students Run Harmony Holiday Camp for Local Children

A group of students from Oasis Academy Brightstowe are running a summer holiday camp for Year 6 children from local partner primary schools in the first week of the summer break.

With the support of ‘people development’ company, humanutopia, 20 students from the North Bristol Academy have organised a 3-day programme of activities for local children, including dance, martial arts and cooking workshops.

humanutopia specialise in helping young people to make positive changes in their own behaviours that will impact on the communities in which they live and learn.

Central to much of their work are discussions around peer pressure, conformity and bullying, and exercises in improving self-esteem, looking towards the future and understanding how communication can affect personal relationships.

Oasis Academy Brightstowe has been working with humanutopia since the Academy opened in September 2008, and has set up a ‘humanutopia Heroes’ programme with student volunteers.

These student ‘Heroes’ are committed to continuing the positive work being done by delivering further humanutopia workshops in the Academy, as well as providing mentoring sessions and academic support for fellow students.

At this week’s Harmony Camp, the ‘Heroes’ are responsible for leading small teams of primary school pupils through a range of activities, which the ‘Heroes’ themselves identified that they would like to organise or teach.

Vice-Principal Jo Simons, said: “The Harmony Camp programme is designed not only to give local Year 6 children an introduction into Academy life, but also to empower our young people to have the confidence to be young leaders and to give back to the local community.

“The students have done an enormous amount of organisational work to get this off the ground, and all on a voluntary basis. The Academy is very proud of them for having the confidence and professionalism to arrange and manage such an event.”

Yr 10 Camp Leader Jess Griffith is responsible for overseeing the group of Brightstowe volunteers.

She said: “It’s a bit scary being in charge of everyone, but I think it’s gone really well. The guys from humanutopia gave us most of the responsibilities and we were surprised how confident we felt and how much we knew how to do.

“When they came into the Academy last year, we thought they were really good. They made us think about how we act and really made an impact on the way people treat each other in our school.

“We want to carry on their work in the Academy and stop things like bullying and peer pressure.”

Graham Moore, Programme Director of humanutopia, said: “The two fundamental aims of the ‘Heroes’ journey are to improve the life chances of young people and to help break negative cycles.

“humanutopia is really excited to be developing a strong partnership with Oasis Academy Brightstowe and both the staff and students are taking great strides towards transforming their culture.”

The Brightstowe students involved in the running of the Harmony Camp are:

Camp Leaders: Jess Griffiths; Camp Admin: Sophie Wheeler; Group Leaders: Molly Nelson-Case, Kim Martin, Kayleigh Moseley, Hayley Martin, Robert Stott-Ingram, Ryan Raines, Georgina Reed, Danielle Price, Jordon Griffin, Taylor Cunliffe, Tom Kmonicek, Lewis Hirons, Mike Warren, Corey Taylor, Becki Parton, Toni Parker.

Oasis Community Learning was set up in 2004 as the governing body for the Oasis Academy programme. It aims to create and sustain a network of excellent learning communities where everyone can realise their full potential. Oasis Community Learning opened its first three Academies in September 2007 in Enfield, Immingham and Grimsby. Six more Academies opened in September 2008: Oasis Academy Bristol and Oasis Academy Brightstowe (both in Bristol), and Oasis Academy MediaCityUK (Salford) and Oasis Academy Coulsdon (Croydon), as well as Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill in Southampton East and West respectively. Oasis Community Learning is part of the family of Oasis Charities.

Principal’s Column

September is here again and the start of a new academic year marks the first anniversary of Oasis Academy Brightstowe.

When we opened as an Academy in September 2008, we had a vision: to turn around a local school where standards had not been good enough and to provide a first class education for your children.

We’ve made some significant achievements, but we could not have done it without the support of the local community.

The sheer goodwill and good faith that you have shown us is what has made this first year such a success.

The staff and I have been working hard on plans for the fast approaching new academic year and there is a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the future. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the new term.

Looking to the future, Oasis Academy Brightstowe will be holding an Open Evening on 22nd September from 6.30 – 8.30pm.

I know that choosing a secondary school for your child is one of the most important decisions you are likely to make, which is why I would like to extend an invite to all local parents and carers to come and find out more about us.

Tours of our excellent facilities will be taking place, teaching staff will be on hand to answer your questions and refreshments will be provided.

To find out more, please contact us on 0117 353 2600 or visit


I've been and had an eyeful
Of that tower they call the Eiffel,
But tho' it's huge and takes a while to climb,
The French tower has no mystery,
Whereas Cabot Tower's got history,
So give me Bristol city every time.

I've seen the Danube river
And, tho' I'd have to give her
Highest marks for size, it really isn't blue.
And, tho' there's lots of bridges,
(And they haven't got our midges!)
There's none to match our own bridge, or the view.

I've been to distant Turkey,
Where the trams are very jerky
In Istanbul's great shopping street of note.
But the famous mosques and churches
(Where a pigeon often perches)
Is no match - St. Mary Redcliffe gets my vote.

I've been to Macchu Picchu
In the Andes Mountains, which you
Find will quickly make you sorely out of breath.
But the Avon is my choice,
In it's gorge I still rejoice,
And will continue so until I meet my death.

I've been walking in the outback
In Australia, with my back-pack;
Through the jungles of Fiji, I've made my way.
But I get as much true pleasure,
When I spend my waking leisure
In Blaise Castle woods in Bristol, any day.

I've flown, alone, to Thailand,
But not been to Easter Island,
Though the statues there are very, very big.
But give me the Centre's sails,
Or Corn Street's old Brass Nails,
And for the rest, I couldn't care a fig!

I've visited Hong Kong,
And look, don't get me wrong!
It's a city which is nice enough to see.
And it's harbour is attractive,
And the people very active,
But Bristol is the harbour meant for me.

The cobbled streets abroad,
In cities I have toured
In Europe, have their charm enough apiece;
But Kings Street's ancient neighbourhood
Has more character than others could:
Its attractivenes, for me, will never cease.

I've been the whole world over;
I've been a fervent rover;
But one day I'll be far too old to roam.
I'll dream of distant places,
Of long-gone friends and faces,
But Bristol I will always call my home.


The Ballad of The Lark

(a fiction)

There lived a squire near Bristol town;
King's Weston his domain;
An amateur musician he,
Who liked to entertain.

Once came a young composer to
Reside at the great house,
But he declined to partake in
The hunt, or shooting grouse.

His interest was the countryside
And he would take to roam
O'er all the squire's woods and fields;
And, often, all alone.

One day, exploring the estate,
Through nearby woods he strolled.
He wore his greatcoat and his gloves -
The weather was quite cold.

His eyes and ears were all alert
To sounds of beast and bird;
The rustling in the undergrowth,
As nature's voices stirred.

He reached a bare and rocky spur,
With views toward the west,
And sat down on a grassy bank
To take a well-earned rest.

This place, named Penpole, was a local
Beauty spot of fame,
Where Severn and the Avon met
And tall ships often came.

As he was sitting on the turf,
His mind became aware
Of high and distant fluted notes
That floated on the air.

He raised his eyes; but nothing spied.
Yet still he heard the song;
Ethereal and fairy-like;
At once both faint and strong.

For sure, a bird this heav'nly sound
Gave voice to from on high.
A thrill ran through his body
And he uttered forth a cry:

'A skylark! Yes, a skylark! Such
Sweet notes, so fair and fine;
Oh, would that the freedom you
Espouse could be but mine.

Such lucid notes to pierce the clouds
As you wing ever higher;
Such beauty and enchantment would
A poet's words inspire.'

He hurried to Kingsweston House;
The library he sought;
He wished to find a poem as
A boy he had been taught.

There, at last, it was - the poem
Filled him with delight;
The Lark Ascending verses put
All other thoughts to flight.

Immediately he got paper, pen;
He set to work with zeal;
His eager composition would
His feelings now reveal.

His musical invention kept
Him far into the night.
The squire did not disturb him, as
His labours saw first light.

Until it was completed, his
Travails he could not shirk;
Exhausted, yet elated he
Surveyed his masterwork.

The squire was so delighted at
His friend's accomplishment;
He said it was so beautiful,
It must be heaven-sent.

At that same time another guest
Resided at this place;
A lady fiddler of some note
And also handsome face.

The squire and she entreated the
Composer to arrange
The piece for the piano and
The violin. And strange

To say the young man did adapt it
From orchestral score;
Gave all his mind, till he could not
Perfect it any more.

'Now, where shall you perform the piece?'
The squire inquired, ' I feel
The local village hall is just
The place - in fact ideal.'

Shirehampton was the village and
It's village hall the site;
Known to all and sundry as
The Public Hall, by right.

An open-air announcement was,
Upon the village green,
Proclaimed to all and sundry, who
Surveyed the busy scene.

Messages were sent to Bristol
And to far afield;
Arrangements for the concert were
Soon settled, signed and sealed.

The big day came and notables,
The good, the great and small,
Musician, artist, tradesman, farmer,
Labourer came them all.

The concert was a great success;
It made the young man's name;
The Lark Ascending swept the land,
Achieving great acclaim.

Squire Miles and Ralph Vaughan Williams
And Marie Hall (all three)
Brought fame to Shirehampton and
A place in history.


Unfair Dismissal

Chris Brown, Solicitor with AMD Solicitors explains the key points of the law.

Every employee has a legal right not to be unfairly dismissed from his or her job. If an employer terminates an employment contract, provided the employee has worked for the minimum qualifying period of a year, a claim for compensation for unfair dismissal can be made to an Employment Tribunal. The claim must be made within three months from the date of termination of the contract.

At the tribunal, the employer has to show that the dismissal is fair because it was on the grounds of one of the following:-Capability or qualification of the employee for performing the job, Conduct of the employee, Retirement (subject to certain further rules), Redundancy, or that the employee could not continue to work in his or her job without breaching some legal rule (e.g. disqualification from driving when the employee is a driver). If none of these, that there is some other substantial reason justifying the dismissal.

The Tribunal will consider all the circumstances and decide whether or not the employer acted reasonably or otherwise in treating the reason given as a sufficient reason for dismissal. Obviously if the employer gives no reason, the dismissal is likely to be found unfair.

Even with a “good“ reason for dismissal, failure to follow good procedures can still result in an unfair dismissal finding. For example, if the dismissal was for redundancy, in order to avoid being legally unfair, it should normally involve notification to employees about the risk of redundancy, a genuine consultation procedure concerning redundancies , a fair selection process, notification of redundancy decisions in writing, and opportunity for the employee to appeal.

The emphasis is on the parties acting reasonably throughout the procedure and failure to act reasonably can result in an increase or decrease of an award in favour of the wronged party of up to 25% of any compensation award.

Copyright AMD Solicitors

Community Update - Residual Waste Treatment

In June 2009, the West of England Partnership (comprising Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council) awarded New Earth Solutions Group Ltd a contract to treat 120,000 tonnes of residual municipal waste.

Residual municipal waste is what is left over after you have separated out recyclable materials at home. This waste is collected from the kerbside by the Council. Historically it would have been destined for disposal at a landfill site. However, society now has a much better understanding about the environmental impacts associated with waste disposal and we are now encouraged to reduce, re-use, recycle and recover!

New Earth Solutions innovative Mechanical Biological Treatment technology provides a second chance for metals and plastics to be recovered and recycled and biodegradable material (such as food, paper, fabrics and garden waste) to be stabilised for use in land remediation and restoration.

New Earth Solutions propose the development of a Mechanical Biological Treatment facility at the former Britannia Zinc Works site in Avonmouth. The proposed facility will be capable of treating up to 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. This will meet the requirements of the West of England Partnership contract, as well as providing 80,000 tonnes of merchant capacity.

The site is identified as a ‘preferred location’ for a strategic waste management facility in the Waste Core Strategy Preferred Options document.

In formulating our proposal we engaged with the local community and undertook numerous technical assessments. We would like to thank the local community and other stakeholders for their time and advice.

New Earth Solutions submitted a formal planning application and an accompanying Environmental Statement to Bristol City Council on 31st July 2009.

This newsletter provides information about our proposal, the planning application and next steps.

Brett Spiller

St Mary’s Memorial Gardens

I just felt the need to write this letter as I feel upset about the amount of dog’s mess that keeps accumulating in the memorial garden. I feel the person or persons who are responsible should think about all the loved one’s ashes which rest there. The gardens should be truly respected for them and their families and for everyone who loves to sit there. How would they feel if it was their mum or dad, children or grandparents? To sit in the garden and close the gate so their dog could not get out and let it exercise is unbelievable. One morning Gill Sawyer had to walk through a lot of dog’s mess to open up the church and then had to clean her shoes and wash the porch down afterwards.

We have a lovely church at St Mary’s for everyone to enjoy where weddings, funerals and many other activities go on and it’s not very nice for people to have to walk in it, so a bit of thought for others. It’s not a dogs’ toilet area.

Pam Crawford

(Thank you for your donation. Ed.)

Walking Toward The Light!

As many Shire readers will already know, the lights and Christmas trees that appear as if by magic at the beginning of December each year are provided by a group of volunteers. These volunteers make up the Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association (SCLA). All are village residents and most have full time jobs as well!

On 3rd October members of the Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association will be walking the old boundaries of the Kings Weston estate. Most of the village and Lawrence Weston were part of this estate until after the First World War. The SCLA secretary, David Lloyd said ‘Please sponsor a member (or all of us combined) to raise funds to allow us to improve the display for 2009’. He added ‘If you do not know any of the members, the village library in Station Road has kindly agreed to look after a form and collecting tin. Alternatively, you can visit and sponsor us online’.

How do we pay for these lights?

The association’s principal source of funds is the collecting tins in many of the village High Street’s traders. Christopher Batt who is SCLA’s Vice Chairman said ‘Thank you to all of you who have put change into our collecting tins. We are really delighted that the recession is unlikely to stop us putting on our usual display.’ We are also lucky enough to be donated occasional small grants from other sources such as this publication. We receive no funding from Bristol City Council.

The lights for Christmas 2009

As with last year we will be providing over 50 Christmas trees and the Ice White LED lights along the High Street and the corner with Station Road.

We have had people ask why we no longer put up the rope light picture lights (except on the Co-op). There are two reasons for this. Firstly they drawn more electricity than the LEDs and they also require time switches. We found the rope lights to be prone to failure and often also the timers suffered inadvertent un-plugging which caused the light to come on at the wrong times. Unfortunately we haven’t got the resources to deal with such issues. Secondly these lights need a lot of annual maintenance. This time consuming work was carried out by a member who has since moved to Cornwall and the late Dr Mike Morgan, our then Chairman, who is greatly missed. We no longer have the resources to undertake such maintenance.

SCLA Chairman, William Duguid said ‘We are, however looking at offering the loan of these lights to premises in the shopping areas off the High Street. This may be for 2009 but more likely 2010.’ He went on to say ‘If anyone would like to join SCLA we always welcome new members. We meet about 4 evenings a year to organize fund raising, plan the installation and tree preparation’.

Following the success of last year’s hastily organized official switch-on of the lights we have decided to make this an annual event. The official annual switch-on and mince pies event for 2009 will take place on at 6pm on Saturday, November 28th outside the Co-op in the High Street. We may even persuade SCLA Chairman, William Duguid, to dress up as Christmas tree again!

We hope to see some of you as we walk and even more at the official switch-on!

St Mary’s News

Hi folks!

September is here already and I expect there are a number of worried faces on some of the children who are about to change schools and anxious parents too! Our thoughts are with you at this time – previous generations have coped – and I am sure you all will as well. So good luck to you all!

The Shirehampton Area Choir Concert last month gave an excellent performance with “Songs from the Shows.” Any pre-performance nerves were certainly forgotten and all the songs were very much appreciated by the audience who were very lavish in their praise. Thank you Tim and the choir members for all the lard work this must have entailed – it was a credit to you all!

Thanks must go to Deysia Botten for correcting the ‘clanger’ in the July edition concerning the Community of Sisters of the Church. I merely put into print the information I was given. Radio Bristol also gave out a similar impression. So to clear up any misunderstanding – St Mary’s is still collecting for the Sisters – so keep the tins of food etc, rolling in! I shall now find my dunce’s cap and stand in the darkest corner of the church in disgrace!

Talking of ‘clanger’ I expect many of you will by now have heard our two refurbished bells in the Bell Tower ringing our over the Parish. They came back into action on our Patronal Festival Sunday when the Bishop of Bristol was present at the service and rang for about 15 minutes – too long for one person who rang in to complain! That was an exception to the rule s it was the first day back in operation. You will normally heard the two bells rung on a Sunday morning from 9.55am until 10am after the recorded peal of bells has been played. A single bell is tolled from 8.55am until 9am each morning from Monday to Friday calling the faithful to Morning Prayer and also from 10.55am until 11am on a Thursday morning prior to the Midweek Holy Communion Service. You will also hear a very slow toll of the bell five minutes before the commencement pf a Funeral Service and for a short period afterwards until the hearse bearing the coffin has departed from the churchyard. One of these bells has not been sounded over Shirehampton since the commencement of World War II and also has the name of the two churchwardens in 1929. One was a Mr F W Aldworth, whom I clearly remember during the incumbency of the Rev Clement Dixon when I was a very young child. Mr Aldworth nearly always read the lessons at Evensong.

On Saturday 1st August, Doreen Bull organised a quiz at the Cotswold Community Centre Building in Dursley Road. This was enjoyed by the participants and also raised the sum of over £200 towards the refurbishment of the Tithe Barn. So thank you Doreen for your time and trouble in organising this evening of fun.

As briefly mentioned in last month’s St Mary’s News, our Harvest Supper this year will be at 7.30pm on Friday 11th September in church. There will be entertainment after the meal and tickets are available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office – price £6. This year instead of bringing gifts of food into church, we are trying to encourage people to donate money to ‘World Vision’ who will use any donations to sponsor children with food in the Sudan, where starvation is rife. Please give as generously as you are able to this very worthwhile appeal – thank you! Last year we supported a charity within the UK, this year it is the turn for a charity abroad.

On the Saturday of the Harvest Weekend – Dick Helme will be displaying in church many of his wood carvings. This will include some items made from the old cherry tree which stood in the former Church Centre grounds and they will be for sale. Dick will also be demonstrating on his lathe some of his skills when wood carving. There will also be a tour around the church to view the things that Dick has made in the past. Something not to be missed!

Harvest Festival Sunday, 13th September, will commence with Kids Klub at 8.30am which consists of breakfast first, followed by a short talk and a Biblical video film. If you haven’t been before – please come and you will be most welcomed and bring your young children with you! This will be followed by a Holy Communion and Parade Service, when we hope the Guides, Cub Scouts, Brownies and Rainbows will be present, at 10am. Later in the evening there will be a service called Compline at 8pm to end the day on a quiet, peaceful note.

On Saturday, 19th September, Shirehampton Baptist Church will welcome their new Minister at an Induction Service at 2.30pm. I believe there is an open invitation to attend this service to anyone who wishes to meet and greet him.

On Monday, 21st September, there is an Alpha Course Introductory Supper at 7pm in St Mary’s. All are welcomed – please speak to our Lay Minister Gill Sawyer or Canon Christine of you are interested in coming and learning a little bit more about our Christian faith and what we all stand for at St Mary’s.

Our Parish Weekend this year is at Abbey House, Glastonbury, from Friday 25th until Sunday 27th September and is to be led by Canon Wendy Wilby (Precentor at Bristol Cathedral) accompanied by her husband Phil, who is also an accomplished organist. There are still a few places left if you are interested in coming. The cost is £104 per person. Our Holy Communion Service on this Sunday at St Mary’s will be led by the Rev Malcolm Warren, whom many of you will already know.

No sooner had the last edition of ‘Shire’ just gone into print, when I mentioned that Duncan Jennings had been ordained Priest at St Mary’s Church, Southampton, than Canon Christine invited him to officiate at our holy communion Service on Sunday 2nd August. It was a delight to welcome Duncan back to St Mary’s and he conducted the service like a veteran – not a hiccup anywhere! Although he did mention to me afterwards, that whilst stood behind the altar, he received a note from the organist to sing the Responses, his mind flashed back to the time when he was organist and choirmaster with us and little did he think all those years ago that he would be conducting a Holy Communion Service at St Mary’s. God works in mysterious ways! We hope it will not be too long before we welcome Duncan back again!

We had a wonderful evening on our Car Treasure Hunt on Friday evening 7th August and found ourselves going through some fantastic countryside on the other side of the Severn Bridge via Devauden, Trelleck, Llandogo, the Wye Valley to eventually end up at The Ferry Boat Inn at Blechley. Here we all enjoyed an excellent meal with stunning views over the River Severn. The winners of the Treasure Hunt were Sandra and David Neate, whose skills are very hard to beat, as if my memory serves me right, they won the event last year too! Congratulations to two very worthy winners. Second prize went to Roger and Mary Derrick’s car and third prize went to Canon Christine and David. Tim Forder – you picked out what must be the prettiest route so far and thanks to you for the your hard work working out the route and clues for us to follow – put my name down for the next treasure hunt in 2010 – it is always my favourite social event of the year!

Finally, did you hear about the man who was collecting Christian Aid envelopes (no it wasn’t Richard Powell!!) and calling at one house he met the response, “Sorry I can’t give you anything, the dog ate the envelope.”

“Ah.” Said the collector – “Don’t worry I have a spare envelope.”

Back came the quick reply – “It’s no good, he will only eat that one too!”

Bye for now


Term and holiday dates - 2009/2010

The following dates have been agreed for Bristol community and voluntary controlled schools for the 2009/2010 school year:

  • Term 1 Thursday 3 September to Friday 23 October 2009
  • Term 2 Monday 2 November to Friday 18 December 2009
  • Term 3 Monday 4 January to Friday 12 February 2010
  • Term 4 Monday 22 February to Thursday 1 April 2010
  • Term 5 Monday 19 April to Friday 28 May 2010
  • Term 6 Monday 7 June to Friday 23 July 2010

The school year is based on a calendar of 195 days. Five days are to be used for staff professional development which means that schools will be open to receive pupils for the legal minimum of 190 days (380 sessions). It will be necessary for parents and other interested parties to contact individual schools direct for confirmation of the 5 dates when they will be closed to pupils.

St Bernard’s Parish News

Canon Vincent J. Ryan, Parish Priest of St Bernard’s Catholic Church, celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood on Monday 29th June 2009.

Canon Ryan was born in Dublin and studied for the priesthood in Valladolid, Spain. He was ordained in the Pro-Cathedral in Clifton on 29th June 1959. He has served as parish priest at St Bernard’s for the past ten years.

Canon Ryan was the main celebrant at a Mass of Thanksgiving in St Bernard’s Church. Twenty-nine fellow priests and three bishops concelebrated Mass with him. Canon Ryan’s family from Ireland were also present and there was standing room only in St Bernard’s church as so many people, including several who had traveled from far afield, were delighted to join Canon Ryan in celebrating this sacred and joyous occasion.

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Clifton, Rt. Rev. Declan Lang, congratulated Canon Ryan and thanked him for the witness of his priestly life during the past fifty years. Canon Ryan expressed his great joy and gratitude to God and to everyone who had supported him during his lifelong dedication in service to the Lord’s people. He paid especial tribute to his family for their support and to his housekeeper who has looked after him for the past twenty-two years. He said the priesthood had always been his one and only desire – his vocation was a true gift from God.

Canon Ryan chose this verse from Psalm 91 for the Prayer Card to mark his Golden Jubilee:

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord
To make music to your name, O Most High,
To proclaim your love in the morning
And your truth in the watches of the night.”

On behalf of the parish and guests a parishioner paid tribute to Canon Ryan at a reception in Shirehampton Public Hall:

“Canon Ryan – many congratulations on this very special occasion. I know there are many people who would like to thank you for your priesthood, including everybody here and no doubt many who couldn’t make it here this evening.

Throughout the last fifty years you have touched many lives through your presence, your preaching of the word of God, your faithfulness to a life of prayer and your compassion to the people in your care. Once again, many congratulations.”


The Volunteering Fair organised by Bristol Volunteer Development Agency will not now be held at Lawrence Weston but at

The Horfield Community Centre, Eden Grove,

Horfield on Thursday 24th September

For further information plese ring Bristol 989 7734.

Sea Mills

The name of Sea Mills has caused plenty of puzzlement. You might think that it simply means ‘sea mills’, watermills driven by the sea. There are some places with the same name where the meaning is exactly that: by the river Camel in St Issey in Cornwall and on a creek close to Portsmouth. But if you wanted the tide to turn your mill, you wouldn’t build it a quarter of a mile up such a narrow little side-stream as the river Trym, which is where the mill was. The river Avon would be a dreadful place to put a tidemill anyway because of the huge range of the tides – if you built it in a place where the millhouse wouldn’t flood, your wheel would be left high and dry for too much of the time, which wouldn’t be good for business, unless you had one of a giant size that engineers couldn’t have managed in the Middle Ages, and unless you could shift the Avon mud which would keep clogging up the works. And it’s not really near the sea, even the Severn Sea. So that’s why people have looked for a different theory of the origin of the name.

Sea Mills is first recorded in a document in Latin in 1411 as molendin’ voc’ Semmille meaning ‘mill called Semmille’, then a couple of times more in the fifteenth century as Ceemulle and Ceemille. The most widespread idea, thanks to the place-name specialist Hugh Smith, is that it might have meant ‘saye mill’, a mill where saye, a kind of superior serge cloth, was made. This is what local books and web-sites now say. Why Professor Smith, and all the other people who still trade the same suggestion, thought serge cloth was made in watermills, I have no idea. It wasn’t. It was woven in people’s living-rooms with family labour. The water-driven loom wasn’t invented till the late 1700s. If that’s not bad enough, it’s only in 1779 that we find a spelling Say-Mills, and the earlier spellings just don’t point this way at all. The theory must be wrong.

By far the most likely is that is that the first word is seam, an old word for the load that a single packhorse could carry. You could have a seam of grain, e.g. oats, which in many places was taken to mean eight bushels, or a bit over 500 pounds, in good old-fashioned medieval English measures. So most probably this mill, driven by the river Trym, was like most mills, where grain was taken for grinding, but where there was some limit on the amount that the miller took in at one time: just one horseload.

There are some other names which seem to point in the same direction. Various mills were called Peck Mill, including ones in Street and Charlton Adam in Somerset. A peck was another measure, a quarter of a bushel, amounting to about 16 pounds of grain, which would fill about 16-33% of a typical hopper to feed the millstones. But a whole seam at one go admittedly seems a lot (about 5-10 hoppers full), and the precise reason for the name must be different.

Richard Coates