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Wassail

Christine Bids farewell

Letters to the Editor

Chapel Film Club Celebrates First Anniversary

St. Peter’s Lawrence Weston 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Daisyfield Portway Tip

Pembroke Avenue Trees replaced

More than just an Academy

St Mary’s Notes

Know Your Place

Wassail


Wassailers celebrating the start of the year and toasting Shirehampton. Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Wassailers celebrating the start of the year and toasting Shirehampton. Photo: Kathryn Courtney

THE 2011 Shirehampton Wassail was held in Woodwell road and the allotments at Leyfield site this year at the roundhouse. Organised by Paul and Shelia Warrilow with Yvonne Jordan and attended by members and friends of Tynings Field Community group. The procession up Woodwell Road, pausing by Tynings grazing field was done to the sound of a bodrun.

Once at the allotments the group enjoyed some wonderful hot fruit punch and wassailed the trees with our wassail song. Despite the rain our wassail princess, a local young girl who did a great job of pouring cider on the tree. How much these allotments and areas mean to the community is obvious as is our connection to the land. Thank you to everyone who organised this event, they did a great job.

We await to hear the official outcome of the comments about this wonderful area in early summer until then we will continue to formulate our community group and let the Council know we are in business.

Caroline Penny

Christmas Painting Competition Winners


Daisy Cairns, Charlotte Stokes, Anika Hawkins, Riley Mills and Alex Mills. Photo: Bob Pitchford

Daisy Cairns, Charlotte Stokes, Anika Hawkins, Riley Mills and Alex Mills. Photo: Bob Pitchford

Residents Encouraged To Recycle Textiles

A new campaign is aiming to get Bristol residents recycling more of their unwanted textiles than ever before, helping to save thousands of pounds in landfill costs and protect the environment.

Cabinet member for strategic waste, Gary Hopkins, said, “Thanks to Bristol residents, we recycled over 260 tonnes of textiles last year, saving tens of thousands of pounds in landfill charges and helping our environment. Clothes or curtains in good condition can be taken to charity shops or put in our recycling banks to be reused, and any old textiles or even pairs of shoes can be put in out in your black box. We can even collect rags and scraps of fabric in the black box, as they can be shredded for mops and cloths or turned into stuffing.”

Textiles in the black box should be put in a loosely tied plastic bag to ensure they don’t get wet. The only textiles that can’t be collected are pillows, duvets or cushions.

Christine Bids farewell

AS our time at Shirehampton draws to an end, David and I prepare to move on with many mixed emotions. The last 9 years are full of very special memories. Shirehampton has been a wonderful community in which to live, work and minister and I feel so much a part of your families, especially in the baptisms, weddings and funerals that we have shared together.

Unforgettable moments for me will be the reading of the Roll of Honour on Remembrance day, lighting the Tree of Light on Advent Sunday, the Crib service with its host of little angels . . . I could go on. Then there have been those conversations that have meant so much, whether at the queue in the Co-op, the bar at the Workingmen’s Club, the dance floor at the PBA, over lunch at Shirehampton Park Golf Club, even making an appointment at the Health Centre!

And What of the Future?

The countless volunteers who do so much to ensure that St Mary’s runs smoothly will help make this time of change and transition a smooth one. St Mary’s is at a very exciting time. The work to refurbish the Tithe Barn has begun and the dream of creating a space to extend all we offer the community will become a reality.

My new role as Archdeacon of Malmesbury will see me travelling across the Diocese from Avonmouth to Swindon assisting Bishop Mike in the care of clergy and their parishes. My office will be at Church House, Great George Street and our new home at Winterbourne.

As I leave I want to pay tribute to everyone in the community who has welcomed and supported David and me and who has made Shirehampton a place where we feel loved and accepted.

Pray for us as we will pray for you, we will miss you all more than we can say.

Canon Christine

Letters to the Editor

Waste Ground To Come Alive

Dear Editor,

With reference to Dorothy Cole’s letter in your January edition regarding the land behind the houses on St. Mary’s Walk, Bristol City Council has recently agreed to lease this to Shirehampton Primary School. Many of your readers will know that, although our school is on a relatively large site, it has no green space for the children to play on or to develop outdoor activities such as gardening. We negotiated with the local authority to take on responsibility for this piece of land so that we could enhance our curriculum and the children’s learning opportunities with projects such as developing a school allotment.

We have already cleared the so-called waste land of the rubbish which had been deposited there and have arranged for the grass to be cut on a regular basis by a local contractor. The next step is for our children to work with our new Parent Council to come up with ideas to make the best use of the space and to use it for sports and other events as part of the extensive project work which now features across our school curriculum. We also hope to include community events as part of this work and have undertaken a successful and positive consultation with our immediate neighbours.

Already our School Council has come up with some preliminary imaginative schemes and the Parent Council together with the Friends of the School have agreed to focus their fund-raising activities this year on raising money to invest in equipment and so on to bring those ideas alive. We would love to hear from anyone who might be able to help us with this project and welcome suggestions from the wider community.

So, far from being wasteground and hopefully no longer an eyesore, this space will come alive and be a valuable additional resource for the children at Shirehampton Primary School.

Yours faithfully

Juliet Huddart

Supermarket Sweep

Dear Editor,

During the last few months I’ve heard some residents suggesting that we need another supermarket in Shirehampton to provide competition and give us cheaper food. As an experiment I compared a basket of goods from our local supermarket with the same basket of goods at an ‘Express’ version of a brand that claims ‘Every Little Helps’. As I suspected, some items were cheaper at our local supermarket and some weren’t. Indeed on balance there was virtually no difference in price between the two outlets. Prices may be higher at our local supermarket compared to the hypermarkets at Cribbs Causeway but then you’d have to add £6 for the real cost of your car journey from Shirehampton.

Of course if you really want cheaper meat, bread and vegetables than at our local supermarket, you only have to shop at our excellent local butchers, bakers and greengrocers. Would these local independent traders survive if there was another supermarket in Shirehampton? Maybe not. I’d suggest that would be a high price to pay to have a choice of supermarkets.

Yours faithfully

Neil Quarmby

Thanks for the Memories

Dear Editor,

The excellent feature in the February Shire by David Elkington about the 70th Anniversary of the German Plane Crash, was very interesting, especially as I was one of the contributors. I would however, like to correct one error in my own contribution as follows:

The first paragraph opened with ‘Here, Arthur King writes:’

My name is Ivor King, Arthur was my older brother who at the time of the incident was away at sea as a member of the Merchant Navy.

The www address given in David’s letter, will take the computer user straight to my full story “A child’s view of the war.” I repeat the address here: bbb.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stopries/33/a7743233.shtml

Although I live in Pill now, I have many memories of Shirehampton. My late wife Doreen, our daughter and I lived at No 10 Dursley Road from 1957 until we moved away from the area 15 years later, to follow our joint managerial ambitions in the wine trade. The Shire often cntains letters or features which bring back vivid memories for which I am very grateful.

Yours most cordially

Gordon Ivor King

Chapel Film Club Celebrates First Anniversary


This March marks the first anniversary of the Chapel Film Club that is held fortnightly at Shirehampton Methodist Church on the High St. The film club takes place at 2pm on Monday afternoons. Entrance is free and refreshments are served after each showing. “It is a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon,” says one of our regulars, Rosemary Watkins, “with a very good selection of films.” The film club has shown a variety of films over the year including among others, Young Victoria, Coco before Chanel and The Stone of Destiny. The club has a loyal following, usually attracting about 30 people, but more members are always welcome. “There is a good atmosphere at the film club,” says Pat Paul, “No pensioner in Shire should feel alone. This is a great social gathering.” The club’s next films are to be shown on Monday March 7th and Monday March 21st at 2pm. If you would like to join the club, please just come along. Membership is free and you will be given details of the films that will be coming up in the next few weeks.

Scouts Look to the Future

The 191st Bristol Scout Group are aiming to raise between £15,000 and £20,000 to realise their ambition to extend and modernise the kitchen, and provide extra toilets, at their premises in Shirehampton. Although minor improvements have been made inside the hut during the past 80 years, and the roof was replaced last year, the kitchen and toilet have remained basic. Group Chairman, Barrie Watkins, will be leading the Group in organising fundraising events, and will also making applications to charities on their behalf.

The Shirehampton Group began in 1931 - there are probably more than a few readers of The Shire able to recall being part of the Scouting experience during their younger days. Of course things have changed in 80 years……..the hats . . . the uniform . . . the girls! Girls now make up 14% of the young people in the UK who enjoy the fun and challenges that Scouting activities provide, and are welcome in all sections of the movement.

Today, almost 60 Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts, aged 6 and 16, continue to take part in the weekly activities at the St Mary’s Road premises, thanks to the small band of people who give their time as Adult Leaders.

One of these committed people, Andy Goddard, has been a leader for 19 years, initially looking after the Cub Groups, and then becoming Group Scout Leader in 1995. He has now made the decision to step down from the role of GSL. Everyone involved with the 191st is extremely grateful to Andy for all the hard work he has put in running the Group, from which many local young people have benefited. Andy won’t totally be lost from Scouting in Shirehampton though as he has agreed to help out with the Cub Packs when possible.

Anyone who feels that they might like to be involved in supporting our local Scout group, can do so in a number of ways:by supporting fundraising events which will be advertised locally: by giving the Group ideas for events, or help in organising them; by considering becoming an Adult Leader.

I’d be happy to hear from you and put you in touch with the appropriate person.

Dottie North

Media Development Manager – Cabot Scouts

0117 914 4099

Volunteer Needed

A person is needed to deliver Shire on the Portway, from Valerian Close to Woodwell Road (odd numbers only) and Woodwell Road flats.

The papers are brought to your door each month for you to deliver. 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, copies may be collected from the Library or the Post Office.

Plastic Milk Bottle Tops

These are still being collected for the Devon Hospice and can be taken to the Day Care Unit reception at Frenchay Hospital (100 yards past the restaurant).

Free Trees...


The partnership project between Forest of Avon & Shire Community Action Forum (SCAF) to provide free trees to local Shire residents saw a great turn out on tree collection day at the Public Hall on Saturday 15 Jan.

Local residents collected over 35 free trees, including a local variety of apple, Beauty of Bath. Jon Clark from Forest of Avon, provided each resident with information on tree care for their trees & shrubs.

The event was a great success & Forest of Avon & SCAF will hopefully be able to offer free fruit trees and shrubs to Shire residents again this winter.

New Trees...

SCAF have been in contact with TreeBristol since the summer re the trees in Pembroke Avenue, and we received the following letter on 1st February.

Pancakes and All That

What will you be having for tea on the second Tuesday in March? Will you be using up all your eggs and flour and making pancakes for you and yours? What will you then do with the pancakes? Just eating them would be really boring, since traditionally there are other things that can be done with pancakes. You may decide to get together with your neighbours and have a pancake race. One of the most famous pancake races is held in Olney, Buckinghamshire where a race has been held for hundreds of years. Competitors need to be women over 18 years of age who must wear a skirt, an apron and head covering to take part, and of course they must have a pancake in a frying pan. They have to toss their pancake in the air on the starting line and again at the finish, to prove they haven’t lost it. Alternatively you might like to ‘fight’ over a pancake as they do at Westminster school in London. In their annual pancake greaze the school cook tries to toss a pancake over the ‘pancake bar’, an iron bar which runs across the school hall about twenty feet from the floor. The boy who succeeds in getting the most cake in the ensuing ‘greaze’ or scrimmage is declared the winner. In Lithuania trees are decorated with pancakes and scones…what a waste of a good pancake! You may decide this year to make a world-beating pancake. If you do be warned - the world’s biggest pancake was15 meters in diameter and weighed three tonnes and was cooked in Rochdale England in 1994. It. The longest pancake ever made was was Russian. It was made in Moscow in March 2002 and it was one kilometre long and covered an area of 150 square metres.

Of course if you do make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, as Pancake Day is more properly known, you shouldn’t go out and buy more ingredients afterwards, because the next day is Ash Wednesday the first day of Lent. The reason for all the pancakes that we eat on Pancake Day, which falls this year on Tuesday 8th March, is to use up all the food ingredients that we are going to give up for Lent. The next 46 days leading up to Easter is the period during which we often give something up. Traditionally this was the rich foods, cakes and pastries etc., which use flour, eggs, fat and milk in their preparation. The idea of giving something up comes from the Christian tradition that lent is a time of preparation for Easter through prayer and self-denial. It mirrors, I think, the denial of himself that Jesus Christ showed at the first Easter, when he literally gave up himself, gave his own life, for all of us. If you want to know more about why he did this why not come to one of the Services that take place every Sunday at Shirehampton Baptist Church, or indeed any of the Churches in and around our village.

Enjoy your pancakes!

Rev Chris Grant

Lucky Lady

Tynings Field Community Group have been promised a lease on the grazing field in Woodwell road on the understanding and condition that the horse, Lady, still uses the field until she passes away that was part of our negotiation with the Council. Lady has served as a wonderful community horse, giving people rides in her cart, is a beautiful animal and we are not about to see her homeless, so she will stay and the community group will manage the field and work around her. Your ideas for what you would like to see eventually in the field regards gardening and horticulture etc would be most welcome. The Council are now arranging this to happen. Thank you for everyone who supported the cause, this will not only ensure an elderly horse has its last grazing rights but also ensure the community have a chance to make something of the field for future use. We are starting fundraising and accepting donations on the basis of our promised lease, so if you have any ideas please get in touch. Please note that we have only been promised a lease in the future ie there is a likelihood of it, but have not been told it is definite yet.

Caroline Penny

St. Peter’s Lawrence Weston 50th Anniversary Celebrations

The Foundation stone for the church of St. Peter Lawrence Weston was laid by the Bishop of Malmesbury on 4th March 1961. The church was finished the following year and dedicated on 24th February 1962.

We hope to celebrate this golden jubilee year from March 2011 to February 2012, starting with a service led by the present Bishop of Swindon on Sunday 6th March at 10am and ending with another celebratory service with the Bishop of Bristol on Sunday 26th February 2012.

We would love anyone who would like from the community to join us on those dates – of course there will be cake and refreshments afterwards!

St. Peter’s is a beautiful church, with lovely stained glass and full of light and peace. During the jubilee year we hope to have a number of events when the church will be open for you all to come in and appreciate this wonderful building in the centre of Lawrence Weston community. If anyone has any photos from the past 50 years at St. Peter’s (eg weddings, Christenings etc.) we would love to have a copy and also if anyone has any memories they would like to share please write a short account.

They can be sent or given to me at 335 Long Cross, LW.

Watch this space for details of future events. We look forward to welcoming many of you to share in our celebrations.

Rev. Jenny Low (Priest in charge)

Calling All Budding Netball Players!

Lawrence Weston Youth Project in association with Skybound Netball Club are looking for girls and boys aged 8 upwards to come and have some fun and exercise learning to play Netball.

The training is provided voluntarily by members of Skybound Netball Club, one of whom is a qualified Level 1 Coach.

We have recently relocated to Oasis Academy Brightstowe enabling us to enjoy the indoor sports hall in contrast to the outdoor court previously used at the Youth Centre.

Training takes place on Tuesdays from 6.30pm to 7.30pm and costs £2.00 per session.

If you would like further information, contact: Caroline Andrews 07954782593 or Caron Payne 07826929132. Alternatively, just turn up on Tuesday – in trainers – and join in.

Spring is Nearly Here

For this is no winters tale of woe
of winter whiten lambswool snow
the moonshine that will send spring forth
is waiting in the wings...

We see the blossom hiding in
the clouds high above the moon
and birds that sing
as spring is here waiting in the wings
rain is warmer and theres more
one snowdrop blooms, then theres four
as a bitter wind chills the night
the days are longer and mornings bright
for spring is here, just waiting to begin.

Funding for Enterprise in Bristol

A new project to help disadvantaged people find funding for their own businesses has launched in Bristol by business support experts YTKO. Outset Finance aims to provide support and guidance for businesses in the region, to identify and secure funding opportunities that will help business growth.

Outset Finance offers a flexible programme of practical workshops, one-to-one support with business and financial planning advisors, and introductions to lenders. This support is aimed at helping groups ordinarily under-represented in business and self-employment to understand how to access funding to start a new business or to grow their existing business.

Bev Hurley, Chief Executive of YTKO explains, “I firmly believe that the way out of recession will come from enabling Bristol people to grow thriving businesses. Outset Finance support will specifically focus on helping people overcome one of the biggest barriers to success – understanding, preparing for and accessing finance. And we never baffle clients with jargon, but share our wealth of knowledge and expertise in a friendly and really practical way.”

For more information on the help available, please call 0800 032 2903 or visit www.outsetfinance.co.uk. Alternatively you can pop in and visit the Outset Finance team at Third Floor, Royal Oak House, Royal Oak Avenue, Prince Street, Bristol, BS1 4GB.

Co-op Christmas Raffle

Thank you to everyone that supported our raffle this year. We currently have three prizes that have not been claimed (including 1st prize!) Please dig out your raffle tickets and come in to check if you are a winner.

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Our monthly coffee morning takes places on Saturday 5th March (10 – 11.30am). This month’s specials are a choice of savoury or sweet pancakes, freshly cooked to order. Proceeds from the sale of pancakes will be donated to the Methodist Relief and Development Fund’s Fair Feast project. Tea, coffee and cakes will also be served. In addition to a tombola there will also be a stall selling home made cakes and savoury items in aid of ASBAH , the spina bifida and hydrocephalus charity. Please do come and support us if you can.

On Sunday March 27th our focus is on Home Missions. Our sister church and friends from the Baptist Church will be joining us for afternoon tea at 5 pm, followed by a service at 6pm led by Deacon Sylvia Kempson from Hartcliffe. All are welcome to join us.

A Spring Concert at St Edyth’s

Megan Garrity, the gifted young harpist, is to be the soloist in a concert to be held at St Edyth’s church, Sea Mills on Friday 18th March at 7.45pm. Bristol Chamber Orchestra will accompany Megan in works by Debussy, Vaughan Williams and Elgar, and Megan will also perform the stunning work “La Source” by Alphonse Hasselmans. Grieg’s much loved Holberg Suite will be among the other items to be performed by Bristol Chamber Orchestra.

Any profits from the concert will go towards detached youth work based at St Edyth’s Church. Tickets, which include refreshments, will be available on the door or from the church office (tel. 0117 968 6965) at £8 each (£7 concessions, under 16’s free).

Preserving Our Wildlife

There are plenty of wild animals birds and flowers in Shirehampton that people do not know about, Valerian for example is a plant that gave its name to Valerian Close. The Council need to know where these species are, so if you see a bird or an animal even if you don’t know if it is a protected species it is really good if you record it, by sending in a record to BRERC, 3rd Floor, Central Library, Bristol BS1. just write what you have seen, where it was ie a postcode, the date you saw it just write it on a postcard and send it in along with your own contact details. Or you can find the BRERC Bristol Environmental Records Office on line. The records are kept on file, so if a potential developer should wish to build they are required to consider the information held on the files and take it into account by doing the correct surveys of the land before they build enabling proper mitigation measures to be taken in the planning designs. By mitigation, this could include moving hundreds of slow worms to new sites, or leaving vital trees that birds are nesting in.

Jim Penny

Daisyfield Portway Tip

We are still seeking anyone who can remember the Portway Tip 20 years ago before the council took it over, If you could think back to when this land was covered in long grass? Who cut it? Was it taken over by the Council? Or was it belonging to someone else. Can anyone remember gypsies being put there by the police for a temporary use? Or even before that time? Does anyone remember who the original holder of this land is? Please refer the information you have to Ash and Renee at Shire Greens public hall, Station road, Shirehampton. We are trying to establish the history of this land and its original owners.

Jim Penny

Shire Residents Help Rid Our Streets of Drugs

Since the start of December there have been several Misuse of Drugs Act warrants carried out in the Shirehampton area. All have been positive, with a large number of class A and class B drugs being seized and persons being arrested for both possession and production offences. The information provided by members of the public has been invaluable in assisting the police to carry out these warrants and as a result is helping to disrupt the drug dealers and keep illegal drugs off our streets

Pembroke Avenue Trees replaced

We have an opportunity to replace the old lime trees to restore Pembroke Avenue to its former green glory.

The 9 lime trees are in very poor condition with large cavities inside their trunks and limbs.

Given the amount of foot and vehicular traffic in this area we have concluded that the existing trees have reached the end of their safe and useful life.

We will fell the 9 trees, grind out their stumps and replacement plant in situ with tree species Tilia cordata. This is a native lime tree that does not grow suckers at the base of the tree and is not affected by sap drop making it an ideal replacement.

We will be carrying out this replacement work this winter before the end of March 2011.

The council is committed to tree planting because of the many benefits trees bring to us:

  • Well being: They give character and a sense of place and history to our neighbourhoods.
  • Road safety: Tree-lined streets improve the attention of drivers and this encourages slower driving.
  • Environmental: Trees act as large full time air filters, giving us cleaner air.
  • Wildlife: Trees are an important food source for birds and they provide homes for a wide range of wildlife, bringing nature to our doorstep.
  • Economic benefits: Property values are higher in tree-lined streets compared to similar streets without trees.

Contact Ash at SCAF: Email:ash@shirecaf.org.uk

Nature Notes

One of my greatest wishes has been to have a nest box fitted with a “secret camera” – and last September that is exactly what I received as a birthday present from my husband. I was thrilled! And now I’m even more excited as the box is up in the tree, having replaced the great tits old home, and, hopefully, soon to be their new one. Fingers crossed, there will be great news to report in the next few issues. A great tit has been inspecting the box, so, wish us luck!

Meanwhile, the herons are back on the river bank, taking up residence in their traditional nest sites, so it looks like another interesting Spring ahead watching their “punk-haired” chicks as they wait patiently for mum or dad to bring home lunch.

A young buzzard recently adopted ‘Lamplighters’ field, probably hungry after his first hard winter. We would see him every day just flying off into the next tree if anyone got too close. A really beautiful bird. Some folks thought it was a hen harrier, but after carefully checking bird books, the general consensus is that it’s a juvenile buzzard. I haven’t spotted him for a few days, so let’s hope he’s found a better supply of food elsewhere.

Let’s hope Spring really is just around the corner. Enjoy the spectacle.

Bobbie Perkins

More than just an Academy

For most people, Oasis Academy Brightstowe is a building where learning takes place, standards are being raised and students are becoming more rounded citizens.

What people may not realise is that it is this and much more. During the 25th Oasis Anniversary, being celebrated next week, Oasis Academy Brightstowe are launching the first two of a string of new projects which will benefit varying sections of their local communities, but for which they are seeking to recruit new community volunteers.

The “Think Family” scheme is supported by Bristol City Council and Better Together and is simply asking volunteers to assist families who require support in a variety of ways – perhaps gardening, decorating or having someone to talk to.

The “My Life” mentoring project will train and support volunteer mentors to work alongside young people in the local community who for one reason or another need someone to talk to – helping them to overcome difficulties they may face and succeed.

Julian Mines, Director of Community Development at Oasis Academy Brightstowe, said, “We are really excited about the difference these two schemes could make in our community. We very firmly believe that ‘it does me good to do you good’. The power of volunteering is that it brings back that feeling of community, putting a smile on someone’s face, being of help to someone. If each person who is able were to give 2 hours a week to one of these projects for example, we could see huge benefits across our community. This could be The Big Society in action”

Matthew Butler, Principal of Oasis Academy Brightstowe, said “We are delighted to be attached to these schemes. Whilst the Academy is very much about driving forward the education standards and giving our students the very best opportunities set for life, we also recognise the crucial role schemes like this have to play in helping create a more rounded and cohesive community. We look forward to these schemes proving successful and also look forward to local community becoming intrinsically involved as volunteers”.

For further details on how you can become a volunteer for either scheme, please contact Julian Mines on community@oasisbrightstowe.org or 0117 353 2600.

Companions to Success

Would you like the freedom to work where you want, when you want? Do you think you could work for yourself?

There’s a new publicly funded project looking for people who are interested in exploring whether they could work for themselves. You don’t need a business idea – just be open to finding out whether self-employment could be for you. Outset Bristol provides free training and support to people who are considering starting their own business in Bristol. The Outset Bristol training programme is composed of 19 three-hour workshops aimed at taking you all the way from considering self-employment to starting your own business.

Call the Outset Bristol team on 0800 032 2903 or 0117 989 7050, e-mail info@outsetbristol.co.uk or visit www.outsetbristol.co.uk for details of all their latest events and workshops.

St Mary’s Notes

Hi Folks!

Well at last the nights are gradually pulling out and it is becoming that bit lighter in the mornings which all indicate that Winter at last is beginning to lose its grip but not necessarily its bite. I’ve already seen some Snowdrops and a few Crocuses as I write these notes in February. I am longing now to see some Spring green appear in the hedgerows and on the trees - but I shall just have to wait as there is no way you can hurry Mother Nature.

Our CD and Book Sale back in January was once more a worthwhile event because it raised over £700 towards Church Funds. All our Fund Raising Events are absolutely essential to ensure we pay our way each year - so thank you to all of you who came and spent your cash at this sale. It is the Sales and Social Events which help to bring the money in to keep us solvent and it is thanks to all of you who support them. With all the proposed cuts and rise in prices, 2011 is not going to be an easy year for any of us.

I am delighted to tell you all that we had several tenders for the work of refurbishing the Tithe Barn and that the PCC has accepted the tender submitted by Clifton Renovations. Work will hopefully have commenced by the time you read these Notes. Clifton Renovations are well known to us as they are the Company which did the reordering of the west end of the church and the redecoration of the whole building a few years ago. We know the quality of their work is excellent and also their ability to rectify anything which did not reach our satisfaction. The work force are all known to us by name and are quiet and efficient - so we are delighted Clifton Renovations will be the Contractors. We now have sufficient capital to put all the plans into being we have for the Tithe Barn rather than doing it piece meal over a number of years, but we still have to raise £34,000 in order to ensure we have money available for such things as Legal Fees, Surveyors Fees, Architects Fees, VAT and such like - so as you can see the support from all of you out there is vitally important to see the whole matter comes to fruition. Then there will be the expense of equipping the building with essentials such as Crockery and Furniture etc., so you can see that Fund Raising Events will be continuing apace for some time in the foreseeable future. But just think how useful this building will be to us once it is up and running! I will keep all of you updated on the progress over the coming months.

Last month I did not have the venue for the Womens’ World Day of Prayer on Friday, 4th. March - well it is to be held in St. Bernards Roman Catholic Church, Pembroke Avenue, at 2.30 pm and as I said before all are welcome including any men should they wish to attend.

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) is on the 8th. March - so make your way to St. Mary’s between 10.00 am and 12 noon as in addition to Tea and Coffee you can enjoy one of Gill Sawyers’ splendid Pancakes. I hope to be there - so please don’t push in front of me to reach the Counter first now that I’m old and decrepit!!! Shrove Tuesday always reminds me of the time when I was a Police Cadet and we had another Cadet called Adrian lodging at my home who said he had never ever had enough Pancakes as they were his favourite. My Mother said she would cook for him as many as he could eat and so she did! He ate plateful after plateful until he could no longer eat anymore - I don’t think he was very keen on Shrove Tuesdays for several years after that!!

The next day is of course Ash Wednesday and at 2.30 pm that afternoon in St. Mary’s there will be an Enrolment Ceremony for the newly formed Mothers’ Union - all are welcome and once again men are also invited to be present. At 7.00 pm that evening there will be service of Holy Communion with “ashing” followed afterwards by a Simple Supper. There is a list at the west end of the church on which to put your name if you intend coming to this Service & Supper. This will give Gill Sawyer some idea of how many she will need to cater for.

On Wednesdays, 16th and 23rd. March will be the first two Sessions of our Lent Course when we shall be focussing on our Christian journey. The Courses will be from 7.00 pm until 9.00 pm and consist of a Simple Supper, Video and finishing with Evening Prayer. They will continue on each Wednesday thereafter throughout the period of Lent.

arch from 10am until 4pm at Trinity College, Stoke Bishop and will be led by The Rev. Doctor Emma Ineson. Once again there is a list at the back of the church to sign your name if you intend taking part.

During the month of March The Rev. Trevor Hearn and his wife Vivien will have celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary and they have chosen Sunday, 20th. March and our 10am Holy Communion Service to share with everyone and give thanks to God for 50 years of very happy marriage. I am sure they will be pleased to see you at that Service.

On Friday, 25th. March there will be a service of Holy Communion at 11am to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. This service does not replace the 11.00 am Service on the day before (Thursday) - it is an additional one! This is also the day when a dear old lady in our Church - who normally can be seen wearing a black robe - becomes a Septuagenerian. I think it means she has reached the age of 70 years but I cannot tell you her name as I am sworn to secrecy.

Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting this year will be at 11.00 am on Sunday, 27th. March immediately after the Family Service, as this will be the last Sunday Canon Christine will be with us before her new appointment as Archdeacon of Malmesbury. Please make every effort to come as it is the time when you can ask questions and vote for the people you want on the next Parochial Church Council for the following 12 months. At 7.30pm on that same Sunday evening a Passion Play will be performed in St. Mary’s - tickets cost £7 and include a Buffet supper.

We have had quite a few calls at the Church Office enquiring whether or not we are holding a collection to give Canon Christine a farewell gift before she departs for pastures new and the answer is “Yes”. Gill Sawyer will be happy to receive any donation you wish to make.

On Wednesday, 30th. March instead of the Lent Course there will be a Confirmation Service at 7.30pm when Bishop Mike - Bishop of Bristol will be present to confirm those candidates who have expressed a desire to take this next step on their Christian journey. Canon Christine will be present and it will be the very last time we shall see her in her capacity as Vicar of St. Mary’s.

On Saturday, 2nd. April we shall be holding our Spring Fayre from 10am until 12 noon when you will have the opportunity to purchase Crafts, gifts, cakes, preserves and much more. Also from 2.30pm until 4pm you will have the chance to enjoy a Cream Tea at very reasonable cost. I am sure this will be a popular Fund Raising Event - so see you there! Sunday, 3rd. April is Mothering Sunday and we shall be holding an informal Holy Communion Service suitable for all the family at 10am on that day. Please come - all are welcome! At 8pm there will be a Service of Compline to end this special day.

The final event I have to tell you about is at 7.30pm on Friday, 8th. April when there will be a number of films shown on the history of Bristol called “Bristol Fashion”. This should be a fascinating Social Evening when we shall see Bristol as it used to be - Tickets for this will cost £7and will include Supper - Bring your own drink!

Finally - “Did you hear of the bride who wanted to make sure that she did the right thing when entering the church on her Wedding Day? She kept saying to herself - “Aisle”; “Altar”; “Hymn” - I’ll alter him!!

‘Bye for now - C.M.E.

From the Registers at St. Mary's

January 2011

BAPTISMS “We welcome you”

January 16th - Thomas Rhys Nelson, Bella Jean Paddock, George Collard Graves Sylvester

FUNERALS “At rest and at peace”

  • January 6th - Roy Millard
  • 11th - Peggy Beaumont-Rixen
  • 13th - Edith Collins
  • 14th - Dennis Warne
  • 26th - Edith Drake (Maisie)

Shirehampton Inventor Demonstrates (1930)


Any family or local historian will know that research throws up as many questions or further issues as it answers and I had a recent experience of this. Following the local history group’s request for information on the two boys killed in a ‘village tragedy’ in 1911, I was contacted by the daughter of one of the boy’s sisters Agnes Bleaken and came across a fascinating piece of information about Agnes’s husband William Small. It was their daughter Sylvia Tylie who loaned the documents and copy photograph which appeared in the Bristol Evening Post in 1930. The story goes thus:

William Small was an American fascinated with engineering and inventions. At the age of 18 he designed a valve that would pass air but closed automatically when water tried to pass through. He sold the idea for a “song” and a factory in America made the valve in huge quantities. William came to England probably just after WW1 to work in Hereford but somehow made his way to Bristol where he met and married Agnes Bleaken of Bradley Crescent. They remained in Shirehampton for many years and lived in Beanacre and Meadow Grove for some of that time. His fascination with inventing led him to experiment with the death-ray at the same time as Mr Grindell-Matthews. With his own version of the death ray, William could crack up an iron bar from a distance but he got to the point where lack of funding prevented him taking it further. After the ray he tells the Evening Post he became obsessed with the idea of perpetual motion and one night he went to bed and dreamed that all the factories in Bristol were running with power supplied by his perpetual motion machine. He saw the machine so clearly in his dream that next day he built a model of it and it ran for three months without stopping.

The design that caught the imagination of the press however, was the swing arm petrol pump and he also had an idea to free the countryside from the ugliness of filling stations (remember we are talking 1930!). His dream was of underground petrol pumps that work as well as the existing type of pump but with a collapsible discharge so they could be tucked away into pavements out of sight. He estimated that private owners could buy fuel at commercial rates in bulk and store in the tanks. The existing petrol pumps cost about £30 but William’s could be sold for £5 and still yield a handsome profit. His specimen model cost just over £2 to make. Sadly again it was lack of funding that prevented William Small from progressing his ideas for his own profit. He felt that it would be beneficial if there were some kind of bureau to which inventors could send ideas to be tested for a nominal fee.

William had other ideas which included a burglar alarm that alerts the police station when attempts were made to break into shops or offices, a device for water heating without the use of pipes from room to room and a radio alarm clock. He also had a scheme for ensuring perfect synchronisation of talking films so the location of the voice would be the same as the figure on screen. He also told the Evening Post that he would like to put an idea to Henry Ford about a gearless car! Truly a remarkable man who made his home in Shirehampton.

J Helme

Know Your Place


Learning and sharing information about historic Bristol Website launch event at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, March 16th 6pm-8pm

This is a free event being held in the rear hall of the museum. The café will be open serving refreshments. This website is the result of the English Heritage funded ‘Bristol Historic Web Map Project’. The launch event will include a demonstration of the new website and provide members of the public the opportunity to explore the website and its range of functions.

The website will provide access to the many historic maps held at Bristol Record Office and the information in the Historic Environment Record (HER) which is the primary source for all information relating to the city’s history and archaeology.

The website will include the Tithe Maps, which date to the mid 19th century, as well as other historic mapping including early Ordnance Survey maps and estate plans. These maps are

linked to modern maps and other historic information including some images from the Braikenridge Collection of early nineteenth century illustrations held at the museum.

The public will be able to investigate the history of their neighbourhoods and to upload their own images and information. This will not only contribute to the Historic Environment Record but will also, through the HER, directly inform planning policy decisions, help to map heritage assets across the city and generally assist with the management of the historic environment.

The involvement of local groups in the project is helping to open up the history of the city to a larger audience. The website will lead to better care for both these valuable historic archives as well as the historic environment in general.

For more information contact Pete.Insole@bristol.gov.uk Or see http://www.bristol.gov.uk/archaeology

Gardening Opportunities

There are only a few allotments left at Tynings Field Shirehampton

Email allotments@bristol.gov.uk quoting Tynings Field or ring 01179222000 ask for allotments and for the community group project.

If you are waiting for an allotment or want to join a new gardening horticulture project in Shirehampton, please get in touch (tel 01179090440/9773413).

Dorothy Cole

Blue Sea Beneath the Oak Trees

The Bristol & District branch of the Merchant Navy Association are organizing a coach trip to the National Arboretum at Alrewas on Wednesday 30th March. The highlight of the trip will be the blue sea of bluebells blooming beneath the convoy of oak trees that commemorate each merchant vessel sunk during WWII. Please contact Hugh Harding on 0117 9390365 to book your seat. (Many thanks for your donation)

Christmas Lunch


Members of the Port of Bristol Authority Retired Employees Association enjoying their Christmas Lunch at the City and Port of Bristol Sports and Social Club in Nibley Rd, Shirehampton. If there are any PBA pensioners or their dependents who would like to join the Association they would be most welcome. For those without transport there is a coach available that comes via Hotwells, Sea Mills and Avonmouth. (Many thanks for your donation - Ed)