Shire logo

Back to December 2011 SHIRE January 2012 Fowards to February 2012 SHIRE
News Index

Shire in the Spotlight

Happy Birthday Shire!

National Profile for Local Club

New Events at Oasis Academy Brightstowe

Shirehampton Christmas Fayre becomes a family favourite

Lord Mayor has Lunch in Shire

Maths comes alive for Year 6 Students @ Oasis Academy Brightstowe

A Community Hub for Shirehampton

Street Names of Shirehamnpton - on the Web

Reprieve for the Daisy Field?

Letters to the Editor

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

Shirehampton Park Petition

St Mary’s News

Tynings Field News

Shire in the Spotlight

SHIREHAMPTON will be in the media spotlight this month as BBC Four broadcasts a national television programme, produced by BBC West here in Bristol, about "The Lark Ascending" - the orchestral work composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which famously had its first public performance at Shirehampton Public Hall on 15th December 1920.

On the evening of 28th November 2011, almost ninety-one years after that original performance, the piece was performed again in the Hall in front of an array of cameras and an invited audience including many local people. A special introduction was made by actress Dame Diana Rigg, who will also be presenting the TV documentary.

The musicians who performed were Julia Hwang on violin, who played a Peter Guarnerius, made in Mantua c1698. Peter Guarnerius is considered one of the finest violin makers of all time and his instruments are rare. Charles Matthews accompanied on the piano - a 1923 Bosendorfer grand specially hired for the night.

Julia made her solo debut with the English National Baroque Orchestra at the age of nine, performing Bach’s Concerto in A minor. At the age of 12, she performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She released her Debut CD in November 2007, and performed at St. George’s Bristol the following year. Fifteen-year-old Julia has won several competitions and is a student at Clifton College.

Julia Hwang plays the Lark Ascending

Julia Hwang plays the Lark Ascending

Charles Matthews studied at the Royal College of Music and was an organ scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. He pursues a varied career as pianist, organist and harpsichordist, both as soloist and within various chamber ensembles. His teaching includes tutoring at Birmingham City University. Charles is organist of St Catharine’s Church, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

I have to be honest and say I had never heard this piece before. I didn’t recognise it, but it certainly conjured up images of the lark flying and gliding through the skies, flying over hills and moors, across stormy and sunny blue skies. The performance of the musicians you could not fault: pure professionalism and emotion. You could tell from Julia’s face she could feel the music that she was playing. It could easily be part of a period drama music film score. (Read more reaction on page 4 - Ed)

"The Lark Ascending" is scheduled for television broadcast on Friday, 13th January 2012 on BBC Four at 7.30pm.

Official photographs provided by BBC West and used with permission. Thank you to BBC West, Jenny Walmsley and Emma Garrett for their help and additional information.

Here are some of the reactions of those present on this special evening.

Julia Hwang spoke about the opportunity of performing such a piece:

"It is extremely gratifying for a violinist to be able to play something so beautiful and something which so perfectly captures the beauty of the English countryside. I am very honoured to be invited to this prestigious evening and I did my best to convey the beauty and sincerity of The Lark Ascending. When I play this music I am not really thinking of the notes or the intonation but more of the question ‘Am I playing this so the audience can hear the birdsong and see the lark flying away?’ If that is achieved then I know that I have done a good job and I will be content with my performance."

Charles Matthews added : " It’s been exciting and good to be involved with the programme. You might know this piece normally for orchestra and trying to imitate the sounds of an orchestra on a piano means playing quite quietly and very delicately. It is a fantastic piece of music and of course Julia is a very, very talented young violinist."

Dame Diana Rigg observes preparations for filming from the Public Hall balcony

Dame Diana Rigg observes preparations for filming from the Public Hall balcony

Dame Diana Rigg said: "In a world that’s riven with discord, wars across the globe and violence in our streets, for the fourteen minutes that this piece lasts Vaughan Williams has given us perfect simplicity and harmony."

Pearl Conway, a relative of Marie Hall, spoke of the performance : "It was stunning, absolutely stunning and I think she (Marie Hall) would have been bowled over especially by young Julia. It was just fantastic. Marie herself was a prodigy, although a bit older by the time she played "The Lark Ascending " here. She went all over Europe playing for Kings. It’s been a wonderful evening"

John Penny, local historian, said: "It was a terrific performance, thoroughly enjoyable. In such a unique setting, the place where it was first performed, it was real history in the making."

Barbara Wyld, Chair of the Public Hall Association concluded : "Tonight is a very good night of recognition for the hall and a proud night for the hall and Shirehampton . I thought the concert was wonderful. Julia Hwang was brilliant."

Em Marshall-Luck, Chair of the Vaughan Williams Society, who unveiled the plaque on the hall front door in 2009, was a special guest at the performance. She said afterwards: "It has been a really special evening here in Shirehampton with a fantastic performance of Vaughan Williams’ wonderful work. Julia is only fifteen and yet she managed to bring the piece to life. Her commitment and understanding of the music was very impressive. You could hear that wonderful lark spiralling up into the sky, soaring and swooping. It really was a night to remember."

Kathryn Courtney

Happy Birthday Shire!

WHO could have known, back in 1972 when a group of local Shirehampton people gathered to produce the first edition of a newspaper for the village, that forty years later, the ‘Shire’ would still be going strong?

The format has changed over the years, some advertisers have come and gone (although some have stayed the entire course!) and printing and production techniques have certainly been transformed beyond recognition.

However, the over-riding principle remains: Shire is a local paper for local people. It contains stories and information of interest to those who live in the village as well as those who maintain a connection even though they may not physically live here any longer. It is produced and distributed by local volunteers and supported by local advertisers.

In a rapidly shrinking world, where everything has the potential to go global and many communities struggle to maintain their distinctiveness, the Shire committee is proud to be able to provide a dedicated village newspaper every month - and going by the responses and letters we receive, our readers are proud of it too!

So, there is much to celebrate and we will be marking this 40th anniversary year with special articles in the paper throughout the year but also with an exhibition celebrating ‘Shire Past, Present and Future’ which will take place at the Methodist Church on Fri 27th and Sat 28th April.

More details about this special event will be available in coming editions but, for now, put the date in your diary and make sure you come along and celebrate with us! James Harris

Shirehampton Community Action Forum Meetings 2012

  • Thursday 23 February 2-4pm
  • Wednesday 2 May 7-9pm
  • Thursday 12 July 22-4pm
  • Wednesday 3 October- AGM - 7-9pm
  • Thursday 29 November 2-4pm

National Profile for Local Club

OUR local boxing club has been held up in Parliament as an example of why sport is so important for young people.

The National Smelting Co Amateur Boxing Club, which has introduced the sport to generations of youngsters and turned them into champions, was described to MPs as a place where the coaches offer real goals for their members and in turn give them a sense of identity.

Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie, who is president of the club and who recently launched the All Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing, told the debate on Sport and Youth Crime that clubs like NSC help some youngsters who may have become disconnected from society.

She said: "As with many sports, boxing is so important for many young people who have fallen out of all the normal authority measures. They have fallen out of school, because they do not see that it offers anything for them.

"They have fallen out of the council’s best attempts to engage them in its systems of social work, because they feel that they are dislocated from authority. For many young people, the boxing club is the only rival identity to other less savoury identities that are offered to them.

One young boxer said to me: ‘My life was a cul-de-sac of going into a gang. If I wanted an identity, security, protection, feeling I am something, there was only one option for me and that was to join a gang. My local boxing club provided an avenue off that cul-de-sac where I could find a family and identity.’

"The immense value of sports clubs—particularly boxing clubs for kids who will not engage with other forms of society, because they feel they are too much part of authority—is that they provide the first opportunity to learn the very important lesson that my old swimming coach, Eric Henderson, taught me—no pain, no gain."

Ms Leslie added that by investing in sport, the country would see a significant return because of the effective way it deals with social problems.

NSC head coach Garry Cave said he agreed with Ms Leslie about the positive effects of boxing on young people and thanked her for her support of the club over the years.

New Events at Oasis Academy Brightstowe

Beginning in January Oasis Academy Brightstowe will be hosting the following regular classes:

TUESDAYS - SKYBOUND NETBALL WOMEN’S TEAM training night 7:30 - 9.00 pm. Contact via the website:

THURSDAYS - ZUMBA classes 7 - 8pm starting on19th January. Contact Lesley Peters, 0781 829 6404

PANTHERS KICKBOXING 7 - 8pm. Contact Robert Wardrope 07815 668440

SATURDAYS - The Finnish Saturday School meets from 10 - 12 am every other Saturday at Oasis Academy Brightstowe and will be starting again on Jan 7th. For people who want to learn to speak the language of Finland. Contact

Shirehampton Christmas Fayre becomes a family favourite

SHIREHAMPTON played host to its second Christmas Fayre at the beginning of December and the occasional rain did not put a dampner on the night. Father Christmas and his helpers were at the event, much to the delight of many children. There was some entertainment provided by a solo singer throughout the evening and a number of fair rides and prize stalls to keep everyone happy.

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

This year saw more stall holders taking part in the event and it had also expanded further down Station Road and included St. Bernard’s School hall where there were additional stalls and tea and coffee was being served. A selection of street stalls featured gift ideas, jewellery, toys, sweets, cakes and even having your nails done! The local Baptist Church served tea, coffee, minced pies and gave visitors the opportunity to have their own Christmas photo taken in a stable - yes, a mini stable that could easily have made an appearance in any nativity play. It was well made, complete with hay bales and a manger with baby Jesus in it. There were wooden sheep and a donkey to complete the scene. Also available were a selection of outfits for Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels and kings that visitors would get dressed in for a ‘family photo’.

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Overall the event was a great success and many were beginning to get into the Christmas spirit of the season. This is the type of event that Shirehampton needs to keep going and I’m sure next year it will be even bigger and busier than ever before as long as the community keep supporting it. Kathryn Courtney

Lord Mayor has Lunch in Shire

PENPOLE Luncheon Club held its Christmas Lunch on Tuesday 7 December. They were very pleased to welcome their distinguished guests, the Lord Mayor of Bristol, the Rt Hon Cllr Geoff Gollop, and the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Bernice Gollop.

Photo: Bob Pitchford

Photo: Bob Pitchford

The Lunch Club meets every Tuesday, and provides a cooked meal for its members. Many of them have difficulty leaving home, and the club provides coach transport to the Penpole Residents’ Association on The Ridge every week.

The members and guests tucked into a traditional turkey Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings. This was followed by a raffle, with many prizes donated by local businesses. The food was beautifully cooked by Sandra White and a team of dedicated helpers.

The Lord Mayor has visited Shirehampton several times in the past three months. He thanked Sandra and the Lunch Club for an enjoyable meal.

He greatly enjoys travelling to a wide range of local events as Lord Mayor, and is very pleased to see the way that volunteers can support thriving local organisations.

Photo: Bob Pitchford

Photo: Bob Pitchford

If you or any friends or family are interested in finding out more about the Lunch Club, please contact Sandra White on 0117 938 1236

A Fitting Memorial

AS featured in the November edition of Shire, the centenary of the deaths of Frederick Bleaken and Hubert Chidgey was commemorated on Thursday 17th November in Shirehampton Cemetery on a bright sunny afternoon.

It was delightful to have eight children representing Years 3 - 6 from Shirehampton Primary School with Sarah Franks joining us and members of the local history group. Especially important was the presence of members of the Bleaken and Chidgey families. The Venerable Christine Froude led a lovely act of remembrance and Shirehampton School pupil Milly Dixon laid some flowers on the newly refurbished grave reflecting how appropriate it was to have children playing tribute to these two young boys. The grateful thanks of the local history group must go to Christine, Gill Sawyer and St Mary’s for producing the order of service and providing refreshments afterwards. We must also thank the children for their impeccable behaviour and interest in this sad part of Shirehampton’s history. The local history group will be talking about our next project at our January meeting so watch this space because we will probably need the help of ‘Shire’ readers! Judy Helme

Maths comes alive for Year 6 Students @ Oasis Academy Brightstowe

Year 6 students from Shirehampton Primary School and Our Lady of the Rosary recently attended Maths Alive 2 at Oasis Academy Brightstowe. Maths Alive 2 is the follow-up to last year’s popular Maths Alive programme in which Year 6 students engage in a full day of fun, interactive activities involving maths.

Maths Alive 2 is a programme which aims to provide an interactive, inspirational activity-based day which encourages mathematical learning in a fun and engaging way. The goal is to challenge and stretch high ability Maths students in Year 6 in order to teach them to problem solve and develop their teamwork skills.

A total of 44 students participated in Maths Alive 2. The students rotated around five workshops, with the final one being a group mathematical treasure Hunt. They also enjoyed activities such as: 3D Maths Challenge, Towers Hanoi, Leafrog/Inca Maths Quipus and Cross River Challenge. Oasis Academy Brightstowe students and maths teachers ran the different activities and assisted the visiting Year 5 students.

"The students’ favourite bit was the 3D Maths Challenge. They loved the day and did not want to leave at the end of it," said Claire Kerslake, Director of the Brightstowe Primary Partnership and the organiser of Maths Alive 2. "It was a very successful day. The students made new friends, worked well in teams and solved almost all the mathematical problems given to them during the day."

Bristol Older People’s Forum

We will be having a stall outside the Co-op in the High Street on January 21st with lots of information about our work and advice about what we can do to help you.

A Community Hub for Shirehampton

THE Beachley Walk Centre has been relaunched as a hub for the local community after Oasis Hub Brightstowe, which is part of the Oasis Academy Brightstowe, took over the building from Bristol City Council.

The local authority had run the building since it was built in the 1940s and most recently it had been a satellite of the Freshways Children’s Centre in Lawrence Weston. However, as budgets became tighter the council could no longer justify the cost of running the building and so it was reluctantly earmarked for closure in March this year.

Oasis Hub Brightstowe had also been looking for a base in the community and when it became aware of the potential closure of The Beachley Walk centre it began discussions with the council about the possibility of taking it on.

"For us there were three great reasons for taking on the centre," said Ben Silvey, Youth Services Manager for Oasis Hub Brightstowe. "First there were so many great things happening in the building - including parent support, work with disabled young people, and a club for adults with learning difficulties - and we didn’t want to see any of those made homeless. Ssecondly, Shirehampton has seen a lot of community facilities close over the last ten years - the youth centre, the swimming pool, the bingo hall and the snooker club - and we felt it was important not to lose another. Thirdly, we could also use the building for some of our own projects."

Since taking over the building Oasis Hub Brightstowe have started a weekly Friday night youth club for 13-19 year olds, a Gospel Choir on Wednesday evenings and a local Foodbank. The building is also home to the Station Road Pre-School, Families in Touch, the Dragon Club, a breast feeding group supported by the NHS and groups run by the local Children’s Centre.

Ben Silvey said: "We’re really excited to see the centre get busier and more diverse in the range of services and opportunities available to local people. Our vision is to create a "hub" for the local community and we’re really grateful to Bristol City Council for giving us this opportunity"

For more information about The Beachley Walk Centre or the work of Oasis Hub Brightstowe please email or telephone 0117 982 9122

Sign Up to Stop Scrap Scams

We will all have experienced in some way the theft of lead and other metals - it is not only the replacement of the lead but the damage that costs so much.

If you have access to a computer I would suggest adding your name to the e-petition entitled "Cashless Scrap Metal Trade", which is encouraging the Home Office to amend the Act of 1964 so that scrap cannot be sold for cash - only cheque, or direct to bank account. This means that any suspect trade can be traced.

The Home Office will be well aware of the interest in this petition and the more names the better - at the end of November the petition contained over 42,000 names but it would be good to get more - it is open until August 2012.

Just log on to - and scroll down until you find the "Cashless" petition - it’s easy to add your name and it will be acknowledged. This is just one more thing to make selling scrap difficult. Bob Chubb

Street Names of Shirehamnpton - on the Web

YOU may remember that in recent years SHIRE published a series of articles by Richard Coates, setting out the history of many local place and street names. Richard has now expanded this into a comprehensive illustrated book, covering all the roads and streets in Shirehampton and Avonmouth.

SHIRE is delighted that Richard has made this book available to everyone FREE, via our website If you have access to the internet it can be viewed on your computer, and you can print either the whole book (86 pages) or selected pages from it. If you do not have a computer at home, the Public Library has terminals open to public use.

The book has separate sections for Shirehampton, Avonmouth, and the part of Lawrence Weston which is in Avonmouth Ward. In each section, the street-names are arranged alphabetically.

Each entry gives an explanation of the origin of the name, and in some cases a brief history of the street or its surrounds. This entry for Hung Road is a sample:

Hung Road

This was originally called Hung Road Lane, the lane that led to Hung Road, and Hung Road itself was the name of a stretch of the river Avon, first mentioned in documents of the early 16th century. It was a roadstead or sheltered anchorage.

Because the huge range of the tide here did not always permit sailing ships to reach the historic port of Bristol, they had to wait for the water to rise until there was enough depth to make the journey, towed for centuries by the "hobblers" or teams of oarsmen from Pill on the Somerset side. While waiting, they needed to be moored, and most local writers on the subject seem to think that that is how Hung Road got its name: as the tide fell, the ships were left suspended or "hung" and kept upright by ropes from their masts to bollards or rings above them on the riverbank. Others think they were simply left to rest as the tide fell, and were said to be "hung" as they hit bottom on the mud and maybe tilted over. The first idea sounds more plausible. But somehow it seems not quite right - Hanging Road would be expected; it was not the road which was hung but the ships. Perhaps the best interpretation is ‘roadstead where ships need to be hung (rather thananchored)’. The name contrasts with King Road (see King Road Av).

The long-gone Hung Road Cottages, by the river, included the Lamb and Flag public house. They also seem to have been called Myrtle Cottages (see Myrtle Drive).

If you are only interested in one or two streets, the text of the book is fully searchable. Just press CTRL F on your keyboard, and enter the name you are require in the search box which will appear. However, most people will then find lots more to interest them by browsing through other pages.

To find the book on our website, click on ‘History’ at the base of the Home page, and then click on The Street-names of Shirehampton by Richard Coates.

There is a lot more on the Shire website. In particular, there is a fully searchable archive of more than ten years editions of this newspaper. Do visit the site if you have not done so already.

Reprieve for the Daisy Field?

AS you probably know, the Daisy Field was one of 49 sites across the city declared "surplus to parks requirements with potential disposal for development" by the Council’s Area Green Spaces Plan.

The decision to dispose of so many sites caused outrage. After last May’s elections a cross-party working group was set up to review the decisions on disposals. This group found that of the 49 sites, eleven were of "significant local interest" and the Daisy Field topped this list!

The strong campaign mounted by SCAF, Shire Greens, local councillors, MP Charlotte Leslie and the people of Shirehampton who signed petitions, attended picnics, turned up for consultation meetings, filled in on-line consultation forms, wrote letters, picketed the Council and attended Council meetings finally achieved the recognition it deserved. The Council has agreed that these sites will be referred to Neighbourhood Committees for recommendation and decision on disposal or not.

The Neighbourhood Committee consists of the four councillors for our Avonmouth and Kingsweston Neighbourhood Partnership: Doug Naysmith, Siobhan Kennedy-Hall, Simon Raynor and Tim Leaman. They will arrive at decisions after discussion with your representatives in the Neighbourhood Partnership. There are still legal, administrative and financial difficulties to be resolved, but the future of the Daisy Field is much brighter now than it was this time last year!

Renee Slater

Friends of St Bernards School

THANK you to all the people who have given up their time and money in attending the fundraising events for the ‘Friends of St Bernards School’ in 2011.

The recent Christmas shopping night in conjunction with the Street Fayre was a huge success, despite the awful weather. ‘Hats off’ to Lizzie at PJ’s who runs herself ragged each year to provide such a fantastic community event! Thanks for allowing us us to join the fun this year.

Particular thanks go to the following local businesses who have kindly donated products or services in order to support us: Adams Root & Associates (accountants). Costco. Press to Print.

The next planned event for the New Year is the ‘Emperials’ gig at the PBA on 4th February. The Emperials are a well known local Ska band who are performing for us at a massively discounted price in order to raise funds for much needed bicycle/scooter parking facilities at the school. It is an adults only event, and tickets are on sale now at £7.00 each. Please contact

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, and looking forward to seeing you at forthcoming events.

Letters to the Editor

Park Hill farmhouse

Dear Editor,

Is there anyone who has any ideas about the history of the Park Hill farmhouse, once owned by the Buxbaums?

I can find nothing in any local or Bristol records and would be grateful for any help. I grew up at 34 Park Road and often played in the farmhouse and in the orchard which backed on to our back garden, the houses in that immediate vicinity having been built in part of the farmhouse orchard. There was also a well which was fairly close to Park Hill and was ‘shielded’ by a large laburnum tree.


Mollie Young (Brearley)

Elizabethan cottage

Dear Editor,

Can any Shire readers help with any information about the Elizabethan Cottage at the rear of 30 High St? We are researching the cottage and would very much welcome any information that you might have. To date we have accumulated information back to 1777 but more recent detail has been hard to find. When we have finished the work we hope to write a small publication. The work is proving very interesting and will perhaps be quite significant for the history of Shirehampton. We can be contacted at or on 0117 924 6182. We are Bristol based and can call or meet you in the Church cafe if you would like.

David Cemlyn MA B.Sc. and Maureen Waters, Genealogist

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

Happy New Year to you all!!

The rush and excitement of Christmas is over and we are now into a new year. Maybe now is the time to think about trying something different and meeting new people. We have a wide variety of activities taking place at the Hall, some that will help burn off the over-indulgence of the festive season or some that are a little more relaxed. So why not get involved at the Hall and continue to have that sparkle in your life!

The Trustees of Shirehampton Public Hall are volunteers who oversee the running of the Hall for the benefit of the community. We meet once a month. If you would like to get involved contact or telephone 01179829963. There is also a website, do have a look:

A Big Thank You From Kingsweston School

On Tuesday December 6th, Kingsweston School held its Annual Winter Fayre.

Santa came along to see the children. We had a variety of craft stalls and games, a children’s disco, and other activities, as well as food from around the world and a Grand Raffle. Everyone enjoyed it and we raised lots of money to help kit out our new sensory room. We would like to thank the following members of the local business community for donating items for our raffle prizes. We are really grateful for the support of Autoparts, Bobbetts, Factory Shop, Super Saver store, Elite Hair and Beauty, Boots, PJ Hairdressers, Co-operative Supermarket, Co-operative Garage, Shirehampton Bakery, and Dingle News (Coombe Dingle).

Thanks again from Michelle, Carol, Alison and Laura (Winter Fayre Committee)

(and thank you for your donation - Ed)

Shirehampton Community Action Forum Meetings 2012

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) meets in Shire Public Hall on the following dates:

  • Thursday 23rd February 2-4pm
  • Wednesday 2nd May 7-9pm
  • Thursday 12 July 2-4pm
  • Wednesday 3rd October - AGM - 7-9pm
  • Thursday 29th November 2-4pm

All Welcome

Shirehampton Park Petition

The 504-signature petition was presented to a full Council meeting on Tuesday 22nd November 2011. I was very annoyed that, owing to the incompetence of the Clerk’s Office, copies of a prepared statement had not been circulated to Councillors, as had the statements of other petitioners. The Lord Mayor (presiding) graciously allowed me to say a few words and promised that copies of the statement would be circulated to Councillors after the meeting. Now it is a matter of waiting for an outcome. Thanks to all who signed the petition. Gil Osman

Will You ‘Get in the Picture’ in the New Year?

IF someone says to you ‘Why don’t you get in the picture?’ they probably mean that you should find out about someone, something or some event that is taking place. It’s a way of telling us to get up to speed on an incident or an issue about which we, or others, may be aware that we know very little.

If you were at the Shirehampton Christmas Street Fayre, or Messy Church, at the Baptist Church on Station Road before Christmas you would have had the chance to literally ‘get in the picture’. The picture was a traditional stable scene showing the story of the first Christmas, and getting into this picture meant dressing up as one of the characters from the Christmas story and having your photo taken for posterity, or maybe for your own home made Christmas cards to send to friends and family, or maybe just for fun to display on your mantle piece. There were Josephs, Marys, Angels, and Kings of all shapes and sizes - as you can see for yourself if you go to And they were not just in Shirehampton, for this was part of a national initiative that sought to bring the real story of Christmas to all who were prepared to get involved and get themselves in the picture.

The start of a new year is maybe a good time to ‘get in the picture’ not just about Christmas, but about life in general. What is life all about? Why are we here? What could give my life meaning? There may not be a photograph to help you see what life is all about but there are real people, at any of the churches in the village every Sunday, who are trying to show the best way to live life. Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to come and join us at the Baptist Church one Sunday and give yourself the opportunity to ‘Get in the Picture’ about life.

St Mary’s News

Hi Folks!

A very Happy New Year to you all and I trust you had a very enjoyable Christmas So here we are into 2012 with all the unknown before us. Let us hope and pray that there will be no more unemployment and the financial burden on us all eases in the next 12 months.

Well, I must tell you that our Christmas Gift Fayre back in November was an absolutely resounding success due to your continued loyalty to us and making your purchases. In that short period of two hours, we were able to raise the magnificent sum of £3,300 and several hundred pounds have been added to that figure since then by the sale of goods that were not sold on the day.

I was told that before the Fayre opened there was a queue from the Church Door through the churchyard and out into Pembroke Road. Thank you all for your continued loyalty in supporting our events and it is very encouraging for Gill Sawyer who spends many, many hours preparing all the food and other items for sale for months before the Fayre takes place.

Back on the evening of Wednesday 30th November many of us joined a Coach from outside the church which took us to the Abbey Mill Shop & Restaurant at Tintern in the Wye Valley. The Abbey Mill Shop was kept open exclusively for us and we were met at the door with mulled wine and mince pies. We then had an hour to browse around and buy any Christmas presents after which we adjourned to the restaurant for our Christmas dinner. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it served in a delightfully decorated room, again exclusively for us.

The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and cheerful if they tried - they were all great fun and joined in making it an absolutely wonderful evening. Sadly when the meal was over we had to take the Coach back home - but all with well filled and satisfied "tums". I can thoroughly recommend the Abbey Mill Tea Rooms and Restaurant to anyone who may be venturing that way - you will not be disappointed! I have been there in the Summer months and ordered one of their famous Mill Wheel Tea Cakes - it will satisfy most people as it is the size of a dinner plate!

On the first Sunday in December, during the afternoon we had our Christingle Service which I mentioned in last month’s edtion of "Shire" when I encouraged as many of you as possible to come to that Service. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when 240 people turned up. We started off with a dancing display by children from the "Stomp Dancing Group" who had so much energy it was a treat to see.

Displays were given by three different age groups, all who have Amy Boucher to thank for putting them through some very exacting routines. I reckon one or two of them are destined to become "break dancers"! This was then followed by a Nativity Play based on the Wise Men and the star over Bethlehem performed by members of our own Kids Klub. There were certainly some stars present, I can tell you. The costumes were all very attractive and the children performed their parts with every confidence you could have wished and they obviously loved doing it. I can tell you there must be many proud parents and grandparents out there. The singing is always a treat and young Eleanor from our Church choir sang a solo. She is a brilliant example to the other children and a wonderful ambassador for our Church choir. So, come on all you kids out there and you older ones - come and join us.

Choir practice is from 6.45 pm until 7.30 pm on Tuesday evenings - Tim Forder will welcome you with open arms - so don’t be shy!! I was a shy little boy when I joined and I have been in the Choir for 62 years and am hoping to become a Full Member soon!!

Before we move on I must tell you how many people have commented on how much they enjoyed the Advent Tree of Light Service on Advent Sunday evening when the Tree of Light, containing all the little memorial cards with the names of loved ones no longer with us, was illuminated. The Choir sang specially prepared items appropriate for Advent and there were readings by several people during the service. The church was filled almost to full capacity and demonstrates how much people appreciate this service.

Now onto the things that are to take place in January. At 7pm on Friday 6th January we are holding our Alternative New Year’s Eve Party with a meal and all sorts of festive fun. If this appeals to you then you can obtain tickets from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office - price £7.

On Saturday 21st January we shall once more be holding our Annual Books, CD & DVD Sale in the Church from 10am until 12noon. An opportunity beforehand to donate any duplicate presents you were given over the Christmas period rather than allow them to gather dust around the house! We will be delighted to sell them to help bolster up our much needed funds.

On Sunday 8th January at 8.00 pm in the evening we shall be holding a special service of Compline to celebrate the arrival of the season of Epiphany. This is a quiet reflective service and lasts for about 20 minutes. If you have never been to a service of this type before then why not give it a try?

On Wednesday 18th January we shall be holding an Alpha Course Introductory Session for anyone who wishes to know more about our Christian faith. It will begin with Lunch at 1pm and finish by 3pm. If you think this is something which may be for you then please do come. There is no charge for Lunch! The Alpha Course proper will commence the following Wednesday 25th January again from 1pm until 3pm and will go right through until Wednesday 21st March. Each session will commence with lunch.

On Tuesday 24th January another of the famous St. Mary’s Lunch & Beetle Drives will held in the Church from 1pm onwards. If you are coming then please add your name to the list at the back of the church to assist with knowing how many to cater for. There is no charge - but a retiring collection will be taken to assist in defraying expenses in providing Lunch.

We now have a strong branch of the Mothers’ Union at St. Mary’s and if this is something you would like to join, then come along on the second Wednesday of every month from 2.30pm until 4pm. Most sessions have a guest speaker or some person to demonstrate their particular skill or craft. It is open to men too!

Your prayers this month are asked for all those folks who live in Wellington Mews, Station Road, Nibley Road, Myrtle Drive, Cerney Lane, Evenlode Gardens, Burford Grove, Northleach Walk, Riverside Close and Gower Court.

Did you hear about the Vicar who had his bike stolen? The police duly recovered it and the overjoyed cleric immediately pedalled down to his church to thank God for its recovery. He went in to pray. When he came out it had gone again!!!

‘Bye for now!


Tynings Field News

We are delighted to announce that Tynings Field Community Group won the ‘One to Watch’ category in the Green Volunteer Awards 2011.

The prize is awarded to an up and coming project showing great potential for the future. The project will now receive a special consultancy package from Bristol Futures which will help develop the project into 2012. The award was handed to the group by Barbara Janke of Bristol City Council at the ceremony at the Create Centre. The group also had runner up certificates for Green Volunteer Project of the Year 2011, and Mrs Caroline Penny was a runner up for Best Green Volunteer Leader 2011.

Needed! Hedgerow Custodians

We are keen to find out the best way of looking after the old elm hedge. When it reaches 50 feet it is at risk of being killed off by elm beetle, so it needs help before it reaches that stage. To this end, we will be running hedgelaying courses on Sunday 22nd January and 29th January, both starting at 10am. Training will given by a professional hedgelayer, and a hot meal, drinks and toilet facilities will be provided. We welcome members of the Community to take part as ‘hedgerow custodians’ and if anyone could bring their own bowsaws, then that would be really helpful.

Hedgelaying is a very different skill from coppicing which involves the chopping down of trees; laying a hedge is the creation of a living fence. If you are interested in learning this new skill then please contact us on 0117 909 0440 for full details. You can become a hedgerow custodian, learning the skills necessary to lay the hedge and be involved in its future care.

‘Out of the Office day’

Workers of a major city bank spent the day ‘out of the office’ working in Tynings Field. They turned up around 9am and worked until 3pm and we worked alongside them. They really got stuck in and worked very well as a team and we were very impressed. If you are an organisation that could benefit from such a day please get in touch by email:

Shirehampton fayre - thanks for all your support, we raised around £15.00

Coming Events

The Wassail will be on the 15th January this year in the new orchard from 2pm onwards. The event will include a bonfire, food and drink, mangle ducking and wellie throwing. Come along and help ‘bless’ the new orchard. There is now a selection of maiden fruit trees, cox apple, russet apple, victoria plum, damson, cider apple, cherry, and conference pears all growing in there.

Get involved!

We are in communication with other groups and projects of a similarity in the South West of England via a network website based at the Chew Valley Community Farm and we are members of the Federation of City Farms and the South West Allotment Association. Our mission is to for members of the Community to participate in the growing of food for the Community by helping the farm to run.

We are an award winning project and we welcome volunteers to come along in their spare time and give us a hand on work days: Sundays after 10 am and Wednesdays at 2pm. We would also like to hear from you if you would like to get involved in fundraising by doing stalls at local fairs.

Jim Penny

Putting Shirehampton on the Map

Elite Hair & Beauty was nominated by City of Bristol College for two awards and we are pleased to tell you that Lorraine Douglas won the award for Apprentice of the Year for nail services and was presented with the award by Heart breakfast crew members Bush and Troy. The evening began with a speech from Claire Young, winner of The Apprentice (2008) and Rob Stokes, deputy editor of the Bristol Evening Post. Over 140 employers and apprentices were nominated and the awards recognised their achievements. The evening was most enjoyable especially in the current climate. The Elite team felt upbeat and motivated.

Elite has had many awards when apprentices won excellence awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with Reflectins Academy. City of Bristol College commented on the endless opportunities and support that Elite Hair & Beauty offers its apprentices with training at the forefront of the business. Well done to all at Elite.

Coast to Coast challenge - Wild UK

WE would like to thank the Bristol Port Company for paying our entry fee and allowing us use of the company vehicle, also to Denholm shipping for the loan of their trailer to transport our bikes and equipment to Dunster castle in Minehead.

We would also like to express our thanks to our two main fund raisers who worked so hard behind the scenes contacting local businesses etc; they are Rob Mounter and Paul Hooper. Our thanks also go to friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues for their tremendous support.

We almost have all the money now in and it’s nearing £4,700.00. This money goes to the Princes Trust, who do excellent work in helping young people from the ages of 13 to 30. They help to develop key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, training or education. They rely upon generous giving and fund raising from a huge variety of people. We really enjoyed the whole experience. Our team are all local boys and consists of Wayne Harvey, Darren Hasell, Steve Clarke, Richard Fletcher and Andy Bird. We would like to thank you very much for your support and wish you all a very happy 2012.

Additional Advice Session

Shire Advice Service is pleased to let you know that we will be delivering an additional advice session on Wednesday afternoons between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. This will be on a drop-in basis.

We will continue to offer advice, information and advocacy covering:


We can:

  • inform you about your rights and the possible options you could consider;
  • assist you to try to resolve your problem. This can be by: completing forms, making phone calls, writing letters, dealing with government departments, etc.

The drop-in advice sessions are now on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am to 11.30am and Wednesdays 1.30pm to 3.30pm. No appointment is needed.

(If unable to attend these times, then appointments can be made for other times by phoning 982 9399). Home-visits are available for people over age of 55 or their carers, on Tuesday afternoons. The Service is completely FREE!

The drop-ins are at Shirehampton health centre, Pembroke Rd, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9SB

We also deliver advice at St. Andrews Church, Avonmouth on MONDAYS 9.30 to 11.30 DROP IN

City Grants to Local Voluntary Groups Cut

BRISTOL City Council has announced its intentions for grants under its community investment strategy from April next year, and for two years following that. The amount offered to groups in Shirehampton is less than half that in the current year.

The Public Hall Community Association, and Shire Advice Service, are each likely to receive the amounts they applied for. However, Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF), which currently receives a larger grant, has been told to expect nothing at all.

David Thomas, Chair of SCAF, said: "We are very disappointed that we will not get a City grant from next year. We were not totally surprised, as the criteria used to assess the applications had been changed from recent years, and did not seem to cover the kind of community development work that SCAF does. We have recently got a major lottery grant to redevelop the very run-down play area in Springfield Road, we have a successful Community Safety Group, Shire Greens have made a number of improvements to local green spaces, we arrange a variety of activities for young people during school holidays, we run an information service about local planning applications, and we make substantial contributions to the Neighbourhood Partnership. This will all be more difficult without the support of the City grant. We are now working hard to identify other sources of finance. It is essential we find these, as it is very important that SCAF’s work for the benefit of Shirehampton continues."

All of the grant announcements are provisional, and will not be confirmed until the City sets its formal budget for next year in March.