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News Index

Mayor Ferguson Commends Shirehampton

New Management Plan for Lamplighters Marsh

Letters to the Editor

Do You Know the Happy Couple?

All our Stories WW1 Event

Fantastic Fireplace Found

St Mary's Notes

Support Your Local Post Office

Where are they going ? Our November question answered

Tai Chi arrives in Shirehampton

The Brownies' Pyjama Party

Mayor Ferguson Commends Shirehampton

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Mayor George Ferguson was on a tour of Shirehampton, Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston and Sea Mills on the 15th February finding out more about the communities, the people and the organisations in each area and what was happening in each village.

For Shirehampton he visited Penpole Residents Association, Springfield Avenue Children's Park that had recently had a make over and the Public Hall before moving onto to Lawrence Weston. He chatted to number of people finding out more about life, issues and activities going on in area.

During his visit Mayor Ferguson said of Shirehampton, "It's a lovely village with character and a very mixed community.I like the individual shops in the High Street. The Public Hall is the best community centre anywhere and Shirehampton is very special."

When I asked him what he hoped to achieve from his tour around Bristol he said, "For me it's learning more about Bristol so when people talk about their community and their needs I can picture it and try and understand their situation. It's invaluable doing this tour as Bristol is made up of many villages and Shirehampton has shown more character than most.

"It's about understanding communties and how they work and each have something special to offer. It would be good for people to learn more about villages other than their own and learn more about each other and other communities

"It's a delight that my job enables me to find out more about the people of Bristol and the communities they live in."

Kathryn Courtney

New Management Plan for Lamplighters Marsh

Consultation Events

The Council is holding two consultation events about a new management plan for Lamplighters Marsh. The plan will be used to support an application to English Nature to designate Lamplighters Marsh a Local Nature Reserve. You will have the opportunity to give your views to Council Officers about how you would like to see Lamplighters Marsh managed in the future at two events.

Community Consultation Drop In Event

Shirehampton Public Hall Station Road Shirehampton

9:00 am 1:00 pm Saturday March 16th 2013

Community Walk on Lamplighters Marsh

Sunday 24th March 2:00-4:00 pm

Meet in Lamplighters car park at 2:00 pm. Council officers will be leading the walk. If you are unable to attend either event but would still like to contribute your views, please contact the Project Manager, Mark Gundry by telephone on 0117 922 3502, by email: , or by post: Mark Gundry, E&L Project Team, Neighbourhoods, Brunel House, St George's Road, Bristol BS1 5UY.

Red Nose Day

On the morning of Thursday, 14th March we are organising a coffee morning and cake sale in aid of Comic Relief. It will be held in the Tythe Barn from 10.00 - 12.00. All are welcome to come and support us, so why not come along, wear your Red Nose and help us raise lots of money for this good cause.

Barbara, Monica and Pat

Worcester Male Voice Choir at St Mary's

The Worcester Male Voice Choir will be giving a concert at St. Mary' s Church at 7.30 pm on Saturday, 6th April. Tickets for this event will be available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office for 10.00. The cost will include a Wine and Buffet Supper during the Interval.

Letters to the Editor

Great Butcher

Dear Editor,

I have just read the lovely article in last month's 'Shire' about 'Tubs', our great butcher. A very generous man indeed, he gives to many causes in the village and let's hope he goes on being talkative for a long time to come. The place would be lost without him, but also please spare a thought for Paul, who did sterling work over the busiest time of the year and when Tubs had his accident.

Thank you, Paul, very much indeed. If you hadn't been there, I wonder what would have happened ?


Pat Christison


Dear Editor,

Please pass on the thanks of the PCC for the generous grant of 500 towards out non-religious activities. It will be used to support our children's work which is not faith based.

I will write formally but just wanted you to know how grateful we are as soon as possible.

Best wishes, Gill Sawyer

St Mary's Church

History Query

Dear Editor,

Can anyone say what is going to happen to the old Shirehampton School in Station Road ? It is in a very sorry state for a piece of local history and surely should not be allowed to fall down, which it certainly will if something is not done in the near future.

Whoever owns it should be made to put it in a reasonable condition or it will go the same way as 'The Lamplighters' pub.

Perhaps, of course, that is the idea to let it fall down so that the land could be sold for profit for the owner and a little more of Shirehampton gone forever.


Pat Christison


Dear Editor,

Now that the Co-op has taken the lead in removing all inappropriate 'adult' images from where they can be seen by children, perhaps others will follow suit.

I hope customers (especially parents) will ask our High Street newsagents to remove such 'adult' materials from children's eyes.

Both Co-op stores in the village have now stopped selling the Daily Sport.

My thanks to the Co-operative Society.

Yours sincerely, Gil Osman

Shire Public Hall

Dear Editor,

My name is Sean Caveille and I am currently the manager of Shire Public Hall. Just thought I'd introduce myself and forward on the attached flyer for a council event being held here in the hall in March. This event is being run by Mark Gundry here in the main hall itself.

Also, a few other bits of news about hall events going on: The hall is planning on holding another barn dance: this year's will be on Saturday, 27th April. Previous barn dances have been a huge success and this one should be no exception. I will get back in touch with more details about this event.

LinkAge are putting on more regular activities here at the hall too. On Tuesday afternoons, 3 - 4pm, they are running line dancing classes; and on Thursdays, 2 - 3pm, they are running Tai Chi classes.

Please feel free to get in touch if you want some more details.

Best wishes, Sean

Do You Know the Happy Couple?

Dear Editor,

I hope you or some of your readers may be able to help. My Dad, Bill Alden, was going through his old photos and came across a box of wedding photos he had taken of a couple who got married in Lawrence Weston. They didn't have a photographer, so Dad offered to take their pictures as he was passing (if you knew my Dad this wouldn't surprise you !) However, all he has now is a name, Malcolm Pugh (or maybe Malcomb Pugh?) and the fact that it was probably at least 40-50 years ago. We would love to see the photos reunited with the family or at least someone who knew them. Can you be of any help?

I will email the other two pictures my Dad has sent me that include other people - just a sample from the box.

Many thanks in advance

Helen Furlong

Christmas Lights (SCLA)

Your village needs you!

If we are going to be able to put the Christmas Lights up this year (and going forward), we need volunteers to help organize collections, fund-raising events, etc. no climbing of ladders necessary !

We will be meeting in April, so please come along and offer your support.

Where: Tythe Barn (on the High Street by the petrol station). When: 7 p.m. on Tuesday, 9th April 2012.

Please make a note in your diaries and come along (tea and biscuits too !)

Mrs. Leigh Lloyd, Shire Lights Association

A New Year a New Cause for Alarm!

Smoke alarms have been proven time and time again to give someone some precious extra seconds to increase their chances of safely escaping a fire. A majority of homes nationwide now do have smoke alarms fitted.

Last year, nearly half of all household fires where the smoke alarm did not give a warning were because the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire.

Last year, smoke detectors raised the alarm in more than a third of all reported dwelling fires nationwide. In homes which had smoke alarms which did activate last year, there were 73 fatalities, compared to 214 deaths at homes which either did not have smoke alarms, or where the alarm did not operate.

To keep your alarms in good working order:

  • Test them by pushing the button regularly;
  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings, hallways and in rooms which have an electrical appliance; and
  • Take a moment to check on your less able loved ones, to ensure that they are also fully protected.

Station Manager Rob Edwards said: "A smoke alarm can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget, and don't know when it might be coming to the end of its lifespan.

"For most of us, there's nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure.

"So if your alarm is getting past its best, or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, make your New Year's resolution to fit new ones.

"Sometimes, people have taken alarms down to fit new batteries, and then forgotten to do it; it is very important that your smoke alarms are in the right place and are working properly.

"When it's the safety of your loved ones you are considering, it should be easy to find the motivation to make this one resolution that you will definitely want to keep."

All our Stories WW1 Event

An 'All Our Stories WWI Event' will be held at Shirehampton Public Hall on March 17 from 1.30 p.m. to 5 p.m. which should be of great interest to those of us living in our area.

The Heritage Lottery-funded Avonmouth and Shirehampton WWI All Our Stories project aims to find out all we can about the important role that the area played in the First World War. In addition to the HLF funding, the University of Bristol has secured some further support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) which means that there will be academics and post graduates helping at the event in March and during further activities.

We believe that people in Avonmouth and Shirehampton have heard about or know about the First World War heritage in the area and that they may have even found artefacts during gardening, such as horse shoes from the Remount Depot or military badges, pieces of pottery etc. We hope that people in the area will be interested to come along to the event to learn about what we already know, share their own information and meet experts who will be able to identify any artefacts.

We have also got copies of some letters that were sent from Shirehampton Remount Depot in 1916 and these will be on display along with a plan of the area in WWI and a few images from the time.

Fantastic Fireplace Found

A lost treasureof Kings Weston House is discovered.

When Norman Routledge, the new owner of the occupant of Grade I Kings Weston House, Bristol, mentioned a collection of marble fragments in the cellar to the Kings Weston Action Group (KWAG) there was no expectation that the discovery would prove so significant. Mr Routledge kindly gave KWAG permission to piece together the parts to see what he had and the results have been surprising.

Working on the jigsaw of fragments on the cellar floor the parts gradually assembled into a complete Eighteenth Century Adam style marble fire surround; one that had been lost from the state rooms upstairs since the Second World War. Using its archive of research KWAG has now identified it as having been in the Dining Room of the house and has a remarkable pedigree.

In 1938 all of the ornamental fixtures and fittings started to be removed and dismantled in preparation for turning the house into a public school. The war intervened, the project folded, and Kings Weston House slumped into worrying decline. Already by 1947 Lord Methuen announced in the House of Lords of his concern at the rapid decay of this national treasure. He noted that the historic fireplaces had been safely stored away in the cellar and had received assurances that the owners "have every intention of replacing these fireplaces in their earlier positions in the house." This never happened and most were gradually lost or stolen. No one ever expected that one might still be there, still hiding after seventy-five years.

David Martyn of KWAG said "Mr Routledge has an amazing find on his hands. We know a lot about this fireplace. It was designed by the architect Robert Mylne in 1764 as part of his refurbishment of the interiors for the then-owner, Bristol MP Edward Southwell. The design was executed by John Devall, one of the best craftsmen of the age who produced similar works for royalty. It would have been a very expensive commission and this one really is the 'Rolls-Royce' of fireplaces"

A real curiosity, one behind which must hang a story, is the inclusion of a pair of forget-me-nots amongst garlands otherwise formed entirely of roses. The little flowers are hidden in only one of the carved marble piers and could be easily overlooked. Is this the sculptor carving his own memorial? A personal signature? Is it a love token instructed for inclusion by his client Edward Southwell or a secret romantic message?

The previous staff at the house has taken good care of the pieces before Mr Routledge took the house on. Over the 75 years since the fireplaces were removed an ornamental plaque has sadly been lost from the centre of the fireplace but enough remains that it could be successfully reinstated in its original location. KWAG understands from Mr Routledge that this is going to be the intention as the restoration of the house progresses. The fireplace will be kept safely stored in an undisclosed location until it can be returned once more.

St Mary's Notes

Hi Folks!

March is here and Easter is just around the corner when colour returns after the dark days of Winter and snow becomes a memory. So,let's get straight on with the information I am anxious for you all to read.

Dates for Holy Week:

  • Monday 25th March 8:00 pm Compline (a short quiet reflective service at the end of the day).
  • Tuesday, 26th March 8:30 pm Compline
  • Wednesday, 27th March 8:00 pm Tenebrae Service
  • Thursday, 28th March - 6:30 pm Holy Communion Service with the washing of the (Maundy Thursday) feet followed by Supper at the west end of the church. To assist with catering, please sign the list at the back of the church if you intend to come.
  • Friday, 29th March - 10.00 am Family Service led by the children followed by Tea (Good Friday) and Hot Cross Buns.
    • 1:00pm Meditation and Prayers on the theme - Bread broken, a journey to the Cross.
    • 2.00 pm A service of Hymns, Anthems and Readings telling the story of Christ' s Crucifixion with music provided by the Shirehampton Area Choir under the direction of Tim Forder, our Organist and Choirmaster.
  • Sunday, 31st March - Easter Day
    • 7:00 am - Sunrise Service on Shirehampton Park followed by a Full English Breakfast at Shirehampton Cricket Club provided by Don and Maureen Geddes and Pat Carter.
    • 8:30 am - Kids Klub in St. Mary s
    • 10:00 am - Holy Communion Service. After this service the children will be invited to Hunt the Chicks in the churchyard - which they bring back into church and exchange for a Chocolate Rabbit!
    • 8:00 pm - Compline

Other Events in March

  • Sunday, 10th March - Mothering Sunday
    • 9:15 am- Family Service after which Flowers will be given the children to give to their Mothers or even Grandmothers!
    • 11:00 am - Said Holy Communion Service
    • 8:00 pm - Compline
  • Saturday, 16th March Spring Fayre
    • 10:00 am -12:00 noon - Refreshments, craft goods, jams, cakes and other goodies
    • 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm Cream Teas
  • Saturday, 23rd March - 4.00 pm Forget-me-Not Service in St. Mary's.

This is a service of remembrance for those who have lost a loved one due to an untimely death when perhaps we did not have time to say a proper goodbye. If this has happened to you then you will be more than welcome - please come - you may find the service helps you to cope with the pain of losing someone close to you.

And other business -

Every six years the church is required to prepare a new Electoral Roll showing the names of every person who has the right to vote at our Annual Parochial Church Meeting. To be eligible to have your name entered on the Electoral Roll you must be at least l6 years of age, live in the parish, or be a regular worshipper at St. Mary' s. Application Forms are available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office. The final date for applications to be in is Friday, 22nd March, 2013. If your name is not on the list then you will not be able to vote at our next APCM which is to be held in April.

Finally, answer this question 'How did Moses make the tea ?'

Answer 'Hebrews'. Alright, stop groaning.

'Bye for now - CME

New Priest in charge for St Mary's

The Rev. Geoff Waters was licensed as the new Priest in Charge of St Mary's by the Bishop of Swindon on Saturday 26th January - a week later than planned because of the inclement weather the previous weekend but no less joyful a celebration for the wait! Geoff is no stranger to Bristol, having spent time at Trinity College and at Holy Trinity Hotwells in the past, but comes to Shirehampton now after a post at St Giles' Church in Northampton. The April edition of SHIRE will feature a more detailed piece about Geoff..

From the Registers at St Mary's

January 2013

BAPTISMS 'We welcome you'

27th Ronnie David Golder, Scott Lee Paddock

FUNERALS 'At rest & at peace'

  • 3rd Pamela Furber - St Mary's
  • 8th Rose Nicol - Canford
  • 9th Raymond Shields - Canford, Angela Austin - South Bristol
  • 10th Phylis Bowyer - Canford
  • 22nd Ina Stacey - Canford
  • 23rd Bill Britton - Canford, Joyce Harris - Canford
  • 24th Bill Franklin - Canford, Ivy Tilling - Canford
  • 25th Percy Mills - St Mary's, Hilary Rowett - Canford, Sheila Jerram - Canford
  • 28th Don Elston - Canford

Support Your Local Post Office

The local Post Office has always been central to any High Street but in recent years many have been lost. Shirehampton Post Office has survived the cuts so far.

Gary Thomas is Sub Postmaster for Shirehampton Post Office. His father came to Shirehampton in 1977 and Gary started working for him in 1979. When his father died in 1988 Gary took over the business with his sister, became Sub Postmaster and has remained ever since. Even his mum, who many of us knew, worked in the shop until three years ago when she retired due to ill health.

Gary and his assistant Sharon.   Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Gary and his assistant Sharon. Photo: Kathryn Courtney

I asked Gary how the Post Office has changed over the years? "Oh,where do I start ? Mainly through technology. People's payments now go electronically into bank accounts, the old book system went long ago. Some miss it, but technology moves on and we have to move with the times. I embrace it but it does mean that fewer people come to the Post Office. Transactions can be done over the internet; you can actually live without leaving your house nowadays".

Does that affect your business? "A lot. You need people through the doors to see what new goods we've got; the loss general footfall forced me to run down the shop. On the other hand, the internet has been a boost for me and Royal Mail. No-one saw how E-bay would take off. It's a double edged sword, it's killed the High Street but I've benefited from it through the extra post. Yes, letter services are down because people e-mail, but when one door shuts another door opens."

Do you think it is important for people to support their local Post Office? "It's vitally important, there's a sign on my door 'use it or lose it' and it's as simple as that. People are aware that Post Offices are closing down. But business has got to be viable. I've got overheads to pay and if I'm generating any income, the books have got to balance. So, yes, it's vitally important that people use us". I know the actual shop has closed down, but you're still selling items that people can buy, aren't you? "Yes that's right. The aspect of the shop has changed quite a bit. We have to adapt, change with the times; I think I'm offering what is missing from Shirehampton so I've gone more for stationery and still do the cards."

And what about the future for you and the Post Office? I ask. "If I had a crystal ball I'd be able to answer that. I don't know. The economic climate isn't that brilliant. I honestly believe the press are at fault for depicting all this doom and gloom. People aren't stupid, they know how much money they've got and won't go into debt anymore. I noticed that people's attitude changed during the Olympics because it was more positive. I think that's what we need. But as regards me and the Post Office, providing they don't take much more work away from me, I'll still do it because I love the job." says Gary.

So, if we want to keep our local Post Office we must to continue to support it and use it. This is one shop we cannot afford to lose.

Kathryn Courtney

Police Surgeries 2013

How could your neighbourhood be improved?

What problems do you think need tackling to make your area feel safer?

Whatever the issue, from noise to graffiti, or street lighting to anti-social behaviour, make sure you have your say.

  • Thur 4th Mar 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • 28th Mar 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 1st Apr 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thur 25th Apr 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat surgery
  • Mon 13th May 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thur 23rd May 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 10th Jun 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thur 20th June 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 8th July 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thur 18th July 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 5th Aug 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thurs 29th Aug 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 2nd Sept 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thurs 26th Sept 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 14th Oct 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery
  • Thurs 24th Oct 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 11th Nov 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Sugery
  • Thurs 21st Nov 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Wed 4th Dec 16.00-17.00 Cosco, Avonmouth Beat Surgery
  • Mon 9th Dec 11.00-12.00 St Mary's Church, Shirehampton Beat Surgery

Your Neighbourhood PolicingTeam is dedicated to making your community safer and stronger by finding local solutions to local problems. Please support us in this by taking time to speak to us about community concerns, their causes, and possible solutions. It is only by all working together that we can really make a difference.

Alternatively, you can contact us by calling 101 or visiting

Obituary - Barbara Jean Venn

Barbara Jean Venn passed away peacefully on 9th January, 2013 aged 78.

Barbara was originally from Bedminster, but spent 42 years in Shirehampton. She loved the village, especially bingo, and got to know a lot of people in the community from working in the Blue Dolphin fish & chip shop. She worked there for over 25 years for the lovely owners, Gibros & Stella.

Michael, Gillian, Vanessa, Ian, Nicholas and family would like to thank everyone for their cards and messages. It was overwhelming to see so many friends and family at her funeral.

(Many thanks for your donation to 'SHIRE - Ed)


As you sing your songs remember me
The things we shared, jokes, cups of tea
So I'm still there while the years rush by
Drink champagne when I am gone
For the days are short and the nights are long
And we all grow old as the years rush by
Plant a tree where my dust lies
And watch it bloom and ebb and die
And bloom anew tho' the years rush by.

In fondest memory of Hilary Rowett (1933-2012)

From Val and all her golden oldies pals

Where are they going ? Our November question answered

FRONT ROW Pam Wortley (nee Low), stood slightly to the right of centre holding a towel, aged twelve. Pam thinks photo was taken on an Annual Day Trip to the seaside with Shirehampton Youth Club of which she was a member in those days early in 1948.

Australian Kevin Wortley arrived on our shores by being in the right place at the right time, having taken a job aboard a Swedish ship that loaded cargo at the port of Adelaide, South Australia bound for the U.S.A. On arrival in New York, the crew were informed that the ship had been sold to new owners and they would all have to leave the ship !

Kevin did not waste time any time looking for work in another ship in the port and got lucky when boarding the Bristol ship, SS Gloucester City a crew member became ill and had to be detained ashore so Kevin took his place. When the ship arrived back at its home port, Kevin was then asked if he would like to join the British Merchant Navy, which he gladly accepted.

Between ships, Kevin took up residence at The Flying Angel Seamen's Mission Avonmouth and it was there that he met Pam who was a Voluntary Helper. Love blossomed and they married on 30th November, 1952. Their first child was born at Southmead Hospital in 1953 and is now a serving Australian Army Chaplain.

Late in 1952, Kevin could see the writing on the wall with the demise of the Merchant Navy and decided to try working ashore. His first job was at the Smelting Works at Avonmouth which Pam did not fancy him doing as the nature of the work meant he was covered in dust, so it didn't last long ! It was then that he decided he would take his wife and son back to his homeland.

Emigrating on 31st January, 1954, Kevin and Pam settled in Kevin's birthplace, Adelaide, and added five more to the family three boys, one of whom is now an M.P. in Canberra, and two girls. During this time, Kevin became a very good businessman, running a fleet of 14 taxis, and also became a racehorse owner. Sadly, he passed away on 5th November,

2009 and, as a member of The Bristol Branch of the Merchant Navy Association, he is remembered on the Merchant Navy Memorial at the Welsh Back.

W.R. & S. Carey

Bristol Celebrates Most Improved Secondary School

OASIS Brightstowe Academy, Shirehampton has been confirmed as the most improved school in the country at GCSE. To mark this success, Cllr Alastair Watson, the newly appointed lead member for Children and Young People, visited the Academy on Monday 28 January and met with Principal, Matt Butler, to congratulate the Academy on achieving a massive leap in GCSE results A*-C, including English and Maths, from 30% in 2011 to 62% in 2012.

Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Cllr Watson said: "Academy schools are proving to be a significant part of the improvement picture for Bristol exam results. Overall, the city schools have made a 16% improvement over the last five years and I look forward to seeing how partnership working will help continue this upward trend."

Oasis Brightstowe Principal Matthew Butler said: "When the results came out in August, I was thrilled for the students who had met all possible expectations. Now that these results have been confirmed at an Academy level, I am just as thrilled for our staff and the local community that we serve because it confirms what we have known here for a while, that Brightstowe is a great Academy with a very bright future. We will use these results to build on the sense of belief that the students already have in themselves and, adding that to their dedication and incredible efforts, I know we will improve year on year from this point."

Shirehampton Methodist Church Easter Services

Palm Sunday 24th March 11.00 a.m.- Rev. Dr. Jackie Quarmby

(United Service with Sea Mills friends joining us).

Maundy Thursday 3.00 p.m. Communion Service

Easter Day - 11.00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Jackie Quarmby Holy Communion

St Bernard's Catholic Primary School, Shirehampton

'Friends of St. Bernard's' charity has now disbanded but Mrs. Wilson would like to say a big thank you to all those involved in raising the sum of 3,925.34 through fund-raising events which is fantastic for our school.

In its place, the school is now setting up a new PTA and volunteers would be most welcome. If you are interested, please call the school office on 903 0352.

The Toddlers' Group, for the under 5's which used to be held on a Wednesday afternoon, is now going to meet on a Wednesday morning from 9.15 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. at St. Bernard's Catholic Primary School.

It will be run by Mrs. Mary Hayball.

The Mystery of the Empty Tomb

We all know the story. A young man betrayed by a friend. A courtroom drama with trumped up charges. An execution for crimes that he did not commit. A death on a dismal Friday afternoon and then a burial in a borrowed grave. In this day and age it is not an unusual story, people are betrayed all the time and punished for crimes of which they are innocent. In this there is no mystery at all.

However two days later stories begin to circulate that the man's body has disappeared. Some friends visit the grave on Sunday morning and it is empty. Who has stolen the body? Could it be those who wanted him dead? Those who were responsible for the trumped up charges that led to his execution. Why would they want to steal the body? The man is dead so they have what they wanted and for them the case is closed. Could it be the legal authorities who executed him? Unlikely; they went to the trouble of posting a guard at the tomb to forestall such an event. Therefore they have little to gain by apparently demonstrating their own incompetence. Could it be his friends? Maybe they hadn't found the tomb empty at all, but had made it empty by removing his body. In the years that followed, many of these friends died deaths at least as dreadful as his because they insisted that they had nothing to do with stealing his body. Would they be prepared to die for a lie? It is unlikely. No the body was not stolen. The mystery of the empty tomb is much deeper than that, and the solution is something that affects us all. Come and discover what the mystery of empty tomb is all about at Easter Messy Church at the Baptist Church. Come and find the answer to the mystery on 23rd March from 3.00 5.00 pm at the Church in Station Road.

Tai Chi arrives in Shirehampton

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

TAI CHI is generally split into five elements that range from self defence through to awareness exercises and breathing. It is said that focusing the mind solely on the movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity.

Tai Chi also has general health benefits and can help with stress and anxiety. Research has also found that Tai Chi can help in the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and assist with the recovery from illness (although in some cases it is advised to check with your own GP or Consultant first). It can also be a form of gentle exercise with its low impact movements that can burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing apparently!

Tai Chi has now arrived in Shirehampton courtesy of LinkAge and this gentle activity will keep your body and mind active and help with your balance and flexibility. It's easy to follow and it's a great way to meet new people in the community. Although I went along to take photos of the Tai Chi session, I found the tutor Frank very good at instructions and helping class members out with the movements required of this form of martial art. He was very patient and all class members thoroughly enjoyed their Tai Chi session, even laughing at their own mistakes. Anyone is welcome to go along and join in.

Tai Chi takes place every Thursday afternoon from 2:00pm 3:00pm at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road. The cost is 3 per session.

For more information please contact Ricky Bush: 07807706310 or e-mail

Kathryn Courtney

The Brownies' Pyjama Party

On the 30th January, the 178th Brownies held a pyjama party evening. They spend their time playing games and, during the winter, they have hot chocolate instead of squash. I asked Hannah who is 8 years old what she liked about being in the Brownies? "Loads of new people come in and you make new friends. We do lots of fun activities and we do badges too", whilst Georgia aged 10 agreed and added she liked making friends with everyone.

As for the pyjama party Georgia said, "We don't have to wear our uniforms. We get to see each other's coloured pyjamas, play games and have hot chocolate with marshmallows".

The Brownies are venturing into a new project and have just started to write to penfriends from Chepstow who are in another Brownies' group. In this day and age of e-mails and texting, the girls are putting pen to paper and making new friends, sending letters through the post. They are very excited about this. It also forms part of their 'Thinking Day' that they have later in the year, where they think of other people around the world for example but, in this case, there are plans for the 178th Brownies to meet up with their penfriends in the summer - something they are all looking forward to.

If your daughter wants to get involved with the local Brownies, please check out the following web site: for further details. The Brownies and Guides are also looking for leaders and more information about this can be found on the website.

Kathryn Courtney