S H I R E
Right Up Your Street comes to Shirehampton
REGULAR listeners of BBC Radio Bristol will be familiar with the ‘Right Up Your Street’ feature and Thursday 31st July was the day Radio Bristol came to Shirehampton. Centred around the Public Hall and later the Lamplighter’s various people were interviewed for broadcasting throughout the day. You can catch some ‘welcome to Shirehampton’ clips and an interview with Janet Thomas on the Facebook page too as the production team spent a couple of weeks getting to know the area and local traders prior to the programme.
Delivery of SHIRE
It has been brought to our notice that some households are not receiving their copy of the paper. We would like to offer our apologies for this. We rely on volunteers to run the whole paper including distribution and whilst this works very well on the whole, there are occasions where holidays or sickness mean some deliveries are either late or not made at all. We would be most grateful to our drivers and distributors if they could, where possible, let us know in advance if they will be unable to cover their ‘patch’ or even better arrange for someone to deputise for them. If anyone not already involved in helping would be willing to offer his or her services as a ‘stand in’ for the distribution process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org - Thank you
Ocean is 30!
Celebrating a long-running local success story with - what else, a very long run . . .
It’s 30 years since Ocean started selling homes in Bristol, from a single tiny office in Gloucester Road. And the company, which has grown to be the city’s biggest-selling independent estate agent, has continued its summer of celebrations in style, with a charity run/relay with a difference.
The idea was born when one of the Ocean team noticed that a route taking in all of the firm’s eight offices around the city would, coincidentally, be exactly 30 miles long. So it seemed like a nice way to celebrate their anniversary, while raising money for the Julian Trust.
A run, a walk, a bike ride
The “Ocean 30” took place, you guessed, on 30 July. Since the company doesn’t have many genuine marathon specialists, they decided to do it as a relay, with teams starting from the Bishopston office and others taking over along the way, including walkers and a cycling group, who started from the Shirehampton office. Tom Weaver, assistant manager in Knowle, is Ocean’s one true Marathon Man - and he ran the entire 30 miles, to show his colleagues how it’s done! A simple philosophy - It was a nice way, we think you’ll agree, to mark a long-running local success story; one which has been built on Ocean’s deceptively simple philosophy of doing everything humanly possible
It also continues a long Ocean tradition of being good neighbours, aiming to make a positive contribution to their local communities, all over Bristol.
Looking ahead - What of the next 30 years? One thing for certain is that Ocean won’t be sitting back. In fact, they are probably already in training for an even longer run when they reach their next big birthday!
St Mary’s News
Here we are once again with the kids back at school after the Summer holidays and the nights are noticeably drawing in - already Gill Sawyer is seeking to produce another “Flyer” which will incorporate Advent. Then Christmas will be upon us before we know it! The children had a wonderful time at the Kidz Party held in the church with the Entertainers Clive & Shirley. They were all mesmerised at their antics and magic tricks. Thanks Gill for organising a wonderful afternoon.
Grateful thanks are due to all who opened their gardens. These were great social events and a brilliant way of raising money to help St Mary’s remain solvent. This is the month when we are to be visited by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is to speak at an event “Standing room only” at Bristol Cathedral at 6.30pm on Friday 12th September. On Sunday 14th September he is to preach at a service in Bristol Cathedral. This is a “ticket only” service and tickets are limited to 4 per parish!
Harvest Festival this year at St Mary’s begins with our annual Harvest Supper at 7.30pm on Friday, 26th September which will include Entertainment. Tickets are £8.00 and are available from the Church Office.
Harvest Festival Sunday follows on the 28th with Kids’ Klub at 8.30am, a Family Service with Baptism at 10.00 am and an evening service of Holy Communion with Healing at 6.00pm. Our Harvest Appeal this year will be support to a local charity - The Jessie May Trust. This is a Children’s Hospice at Home for children not expected to reach adulthood and who receive nursing care at home.
Please give this your utmost support by attending or supporting the following events -
J - Join in and find out - on Wednesday, 3rd September, when Coffee & Cakes will be on sale in the church between 10am & 12noon and 2pm & 4pm and information about the charity
E - Eat & Play at a Buffet Lunch & Beetle Drive on Friday 12th September from 1pm until 3pm.
S - Strawberry Special on Tuesday, 16th September when Strawberry Cream Teas will be served from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm.
S -Songs from the “Melody Makers” at 3.00 pm on Friday, 19th September followed by Tea & Cakes. Tickets £3.00 (available from the Church Office).
I - “I would choose”. Tim Forder will play your favourite piece of music for the price of £1. This will be on Saturday 20th September from 10.30am until 11.30am.
E - Enter our our Harvest Competition - open to children and adults for a £1 entry fee.
M - Meet the Artists. Here you will have a chance to speak to the Artists from the St Mary’s Art Group and look at their art exhibition. This will be on Wednesday 24th September from 10am until 12noon with the opportunity to purchase Coffee & Cakes.
A - Add a Coin. Throughout the Appeal we would ask you to add a coin to our collection of small change. We won’t stop you if you want to add a larger coin!!
Y - Your chance to win £50. Raffle tickets will be available during September at a cost of £1. The winning ticket will be drawn at our Harvest Supper.
Alternatively, you can also donate the sum of £10 to the cause to ‘bring love to a home’ for a child in need.
All of the above functions will take place in St Mary’s. I know I can rely on your support for this most worthy cause. Thank you in anticipation. Our Bric-a-Brac Sale on Saturday, 9th August was a busy affair on a bright and sunny morning and raised the sum of £672. All proceeds will go to the upkeep of St Mary’s. Did you know it costs £355 per day to run the church which equates to an annual sum of £130,000!
Now I must apologise to our Editors because this month I have far exceeded the maximum of 500 words per article, but I am sure that our Harvest Appeal is a worthy cause and they will make an exemption on this occasion. So no yarn I’m afraid this month.
‘Bye for now - C.M.E.
From The Registers At St. Mary’s - July 2014
FUNERALS ‘At rest and at peace’
1st William Lukins St Mary’s
22nd Donald Maggs South Bristol
25th Rose Batt St Mary’s
John Britton Canford
28th Betty Brown Canford
30th Vicky Widdowfield St Mary’s
WEDDINGS ‘All that I am I give to you’
26th James Henry & Charmaine Bishop
Alex Barker & Clare Maby
Memories of Ralph Hack
Our acquaintance with Mr Hack began shortly after we moved to the area. At first we were aware of him only as one of the many dog walkers who stopped for a friendly word and it wasn’t long before it became a morning ritual to exchange views and opinions with him. Then we learnt of his extensive knowledge of local history and he would tell us many tales while is faithful dog Tinker (always lovingly referred to as ‘dear’) stood patiently by.
Later, as members of the Shirehampton Local History Group, he was gracious enough to invite us to Myrtle Hall. What struck us what that not only was this lovely house of great architectural and historical interest, but was also a much loved home. He had a mischievous sense of humour. “I’m 94, you know” he told me on one occasion and his amusement was greatly increased when he saw that I clearly did not know whether to believe him. We miss him and whatever happens to Myrtle Hall in the future, to us it will always be “Mr Hack’s house”.
Macmillan One-to-One Cancer Support Service – a patient’s story
THE MACMILLAN One-to-One Cancer Support Service is part of a community based pilot, run in partnership with Bristol Community Health, to help people manage the physical, emotional and practical consequences of cancer and its treatment. Macmillan Community Nurse Kath Rea has been working with Tom, a final year PhD student in nanoscience at Bristol University, since he was referred in summer 2013.
On finding out his cancer diagnosis Tom was scheduled to undergo a treatment programme of surgery and chemotherapy. The nurses at the Bristol Oncology Centre then referred him to the One-to-One Cancer Support Service. “From the first session Kath listened then laid out all my options to me. At the time my main source of anxiety was managing my university course, as I was in my final year. Kath took the initiative and considered everything; she even scheduled meetings with other services such as the Citizens Advice Bureau - so I could apply for financial funding and continue studying.
“I was visited at home every other week and then once a month as I recovered. Having the structure of tasks to achieve for the next session and the reassurance of Kath’s experience, she knows a lot, meant I could be at home and I knew great advice would flow in - I just had to follow it. I had a nutrition and exercise action plan written, which I am actually still sticking to although I don’t see Kath anymore.
“The service gave me stability and support. It’s not always been easy, but having her [Kath’s] support meant I could focus on getting better and didn’t need to worry about logistics. It wasn’t really until Kath pointed out I was doing okay, and how far I’d come from when she first met me, that I believed it.” Tom has now been discharged from the service and is due to complete his PhD this year.
If you would like to know more about the Macmillan One-to-One Cancer Support Service please visit their service page at www.briscomhealth.org.uk/our-services/item/793-one-to-one-support-for-cancer-survivors.html or call the team on 07920 833 641.
Celebrating Age Festival Saturday 27th September at M Shed, Bristol
AGE UK Bristol are pleased to announce that the Celebrating Age Festival will this year take place at M Shed, from 10am – 4pm, and will be a launch event, offering a diverse range of activities going on across the City until Saturday 11th October.
This will be the 8th Festival, which this year is being run by Age UK Bristol. Chief Executive, Mark Baker said, “It was a honour to be asked to manage the festival this year and we have themed the event ‘Bristol Aging Better’ which aligns with the Big Lottery £6 million funding bid that our charity is leading on, the results of which will be announced in September. So we all have our fingers crossed that the bid will be successful, as the Festival Launch will be a great opportunity to celebrate our (hopeful) success with the older people of Bristol”. The Festival will be bigger than ever before with exciting activities to try from Bridge to Soap Stone Carving, Belly Dancing to Zumba in the Chair and the Bristol Community Health Team have put together a whole host of health and wellbeing advice and information to include bowel, breast and prostate care and alternative therapies such as Indian Head Massage and Reflexology.
We have also included more art and craft than ever before, to showcase the creative skills of the people in Bristol and how you can turn an artistic passion into a small business. Holding the festival at M Shed, a new and vibrant building on the harbourside is very exciting and ideally placed as there is parking to the rear of the building and this year Bristol Community Transport will be running a bus service all day, to and from the venue, starting the first pick up from City Hall at 10am and stopping at Colston Hall, Sainsburys (by the fountains) and on to M Shed, with the last bus leaving M Shed at 4pm for the return journey to City Hall.
The annual Art Competition has been extended to include Craft for the first time and submissions should be clearly labelled and submitted to Central Library, Saturday 6th September, with a maximum size of 3’ x 3’. The public will be again invited to vote for their favourite piece of work, which will be showcased at the Festival Launch at M Shed. Their will also be the Older Achievers Awards, with five categories, where the public are asked to nominate those people over the age of 55 years, residing in Bristol who ‘go the extra mile’ in making the lives of older people better.
For more information on the Celebrating Age Festival, please contact Shelley Hankins, Services & Project Manager, Age UK Bristol. Tel: 0117 959 7537 Email: email@example.com or check out Shirehampton Library for a leaflet.
North Bristol Jobs Fair
Struggling for work? Looking for a job? If so come along to the Greenway Centre, 119 Doncaster Road, Southmead on Monday 22nd September from 10am-2pm.
For more details contact George@charlotteleslie.com or call 01179629427
A Ugandan visitor to Avon Primary School
IN June, Avon Primary School were delighted to welcome the Head Teacher from Masindi Army Barracks Primary School in Uganda. The schools have formed a partnership this year, which has involved teachers from Avon Primary visiting Masindi in Uganda, as well as the recent visit by Julius Bakwata.
Mr Bakwata worked with children from across the school, singing songs, telling stories and discussing life in Uganda. He also brought toys that Uganda children had made, such as footballs and skipping ropes. The children listened with great interest and participated in activities with much enthusiasm.
We are very much looking forward to continuing our link next year, with further visits and projects already planned.
Avon Primary School is Growing
In 2012, Avon Primary School celebrated its 60th year anniversary and in September 2014 it will celebrate another momentous milestone as the final touches are made to a new extension to our existing building. We will have six new classrooms, a library, group rooms and a new staff room to help expand into a 2 form entry of over 400 pupils. Over the summer holidays a large part of the existing building is being refurbished and decorated. We are looking forward to seeing the finished school in September.
If you are looking for a school place for your child for September 2015 then come and take a look at Avon Primary School. We will be holding four events (details below) where you can find out more about the school, talk to staff and have a tour at any of the following times:
Tuesday 7th October – 9.30am and 6pm
Tuesday 14th October – 9.30am and 6pm
We look forward to seeing you at one of these events.
We are also looking to invite ex-pupils who were at the school back in 1952 to the grand opening. If you were a pupil, or know somebody who was, please get in touch. It would be great to show you around the “old” building which I’m sure will bring back fond memories, and to also see our lovely new building. I’m sure you will be amazed just how 20th century learning has evolved into what is being delivered today.
Without certainty of anything we seldom like to share much about the potential future for the Kings Weston Estate just in case plans fall through. But over the last few months has been very busy with all manner of meetings with Councillors, Council officers and the local MP Charlotte Leslie to help build momentum to achieve something concrete to take forward in Bristol Green Capital year in 2015. So far all our discussions have been met with very positive support. We’ve been very open with how plans could develop, but we want to ensure that the policies and proposals published in the Recent Conservation Management Plan are secured and the long-term future of the estate made safe.
Although the strategic direction for the estate is still subject to an awful lot of talking over and working on the Estates department have already achieved one short-term goal for conservation work in the woods. A Forestry Commission Woodland Management Grant has been awarded to the City for the park’s woodland subject to match funding. This will secure major improvements to natural habitats and access and KWAG has committed itself to helping as much as we are able. One part of the project will be the restoration of the steep path connecting the top and bottom paths of Penpole Wood with steps and we hope to be able to invite you along to take part in their construction soon.
Give a Little and Gain Much
EVERY year Halifax, one of Britain’s biggest savings institutions, conducts a survey about pocket money by asking a representative number of children how much they get each week.
In August 2013 the average amount was £6.50 which was actually an increase of 8.7 per cent over the previous year - a lot more than their parents probably received in wage increases, assuming they even had an increase! Do children appreciate the value of money or understand that parents may be going without things themselves in order to give them extras? How much do they know about other children around the world who lack everyday necessities, let alone pocket money? Harvest is the perfect season for learning that giving a little can bring big rewards while having fun at the same time. Who would have thought you can create beehives out of bubble wrap, play netball with apples, paint with messy milk, design a scarecrow, laminate leaves, and make musical instruments out of vegetables! Join us for a free afternoon of fun and food at our Harvest Messy Church between 3.00 - 5.00 pm on Saturday, 4th October at Shirehampton Baptist Church in Station Road and help us make lots of children happy. We might even start a vegetable orchestra!
The residents of Jim O’Neill House would like to express our thanks to local Councillor, Wayne Harvey, for his help in organising repairs to the footpath, which is our access to the village shops.
St Andrew’s Ladies Club
|2nd September||Call my Bluff quiz|
|16th September||Magic – Tony Griffith|
|7th October||Shoe boxes – Blythwood Charity and Edith Anderson - taking plant cuttings|
|21st October||Personal peaks from the past – Susan Marshfield|
|4th November||Blythwood Shoe boxes collected and talk – Andy Hunter|
|18th November||Bingo for charity|
|2nd December||In-house party plus chocolate demonstration – John Gingell|
|12th December||Christmas Dinner at the Webbington|
Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter
Autumn events include the Model Railway Club open day on Saturday 11th October and the Annual Craft Exhibition starting on 28th October. Make sure you get your application form to exhibit in in good time.
For Yoga open days contact Melissa Davis by phone 07792 391917.
Check out our website for forthcoming events and regular activities at www.shirepubhall.org.uk For information about bookings contact Amanda on 9829963
Singing People Together!
IF you want to hear singing, you go to a show, right? You don’t expect a choir to pop out in a car park, garden allotment or local pub stunning you with hypnotic harmonies and mesmerising melodies! Well, think again.
There’s a group of of songsters here in Shirehampton who are ready to pounce from anywhere, anytime and spread the joy of singing to an unsuspecting but grateful public.
For over ten years now Gospel Generation Community Choir (GGCC for short!) has been introducing the wonderful people of Bristol to the joys of Gospel singing. GGCC rehearses in different locations across the city, including Shirehampton, and then perform as one mega choir in concerts, street parties, prisons, music festivals and open days to name a few.
The ‘Shire Choir’, as it’s affectionately known to members, is run by Emma Smallwood and meets at Shirehampton Baptist Church on Wednesday evenings, 7.00pm-8.15pm. It started three years ago and has grown and become a real community.
Fuelled by the success of TV shows such as Gareth Malone’s ‘the Choir’ there has been an increase in the number of people joining choirs. Singing is not just for an elite few, pop stars or the shower! Once again people have begun to discover that singing in a choir is not only a great way to meet new friends but it makes you feel good and is a lot of fun!
Emma and a few of her GGCC friends had a lot of fun recently making a film (with Telling Tales Films www.tellingtalesfilms.com) called ‘Singing people together’. It aims to help show the power of singing to bring people together who wouldn’t usually be together and how a life can literally be changed by finding new purpose in a group like a choir. GGCC sings Gospel music, traditional and contemporary. Emma says, ‘Gospel is all about finding hope in hard times, freedom and celebration. These themes resonate with us all which is why it is so powerful.’ ‘Shirehampton GGCC is for anyone’, says Emma, ‘it is a lot of fun and no previous experience is required. You don’t need to be able to read music and there are no auditions or membership fee. We just ask people to give a donation if they can. So, if you love to sing, want to have fun and meet some new people then come along!’
The Shirehampton GGCC choir start its Autumn term on Wed 17th September (Shirehampton Baptist Church, Station Road, BS11 9TU, 7.00-8.15pm) For more details contact Emma Smallwood firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ggcc.org.uk or www.facebook.com/ggccbristol
The Bristol Shiplovers Society
Programme 2014/2015 in The Wardroom, HMS ‘Flying Fox’ Royal Naval Headquarters, Winterstoke Road, Bristol BS3 2NS – talks start at 1930 hours. Open to all with an interest in ships and the sea. Visitors are welcome at £3 per head. Please notify Capt Colin Smith on 01249447449 beforehand or arrive at HMS Flying Fox and report to the gatekeeper with some form of identification.
|8th September||Newport Transporter Bridge – Anne Gatehouse|
|22nd September||The RNVR – David Blanchard|
|13th October||DVD Evening|
|27th October||The 300th Anniversary of the Longitude Act and the making of a BBC programme about it – Peter Jones|
|10th November||“Don’t forget the Diver” – Peter Shore|
|24th November||Bristol to Southampton and back by sea - Geoff Williams|
|* 2015 *|
|23rd February||DVD evening|
|9th March||DEMS talk – David Verghese|
|23rd March||History and Mystery in the Bristol Channel Part 2 – Vincent Neave|
|13th April||Surveying at Sea (following in Shackleton’s footsteps) – Anthony Rackham|
|27th April||The Black Nore lighthouse – Bill Shier|
|11th May||Terrible Shipping Disasters – Harry Spong|
(Thank you for donation – Ed)
Shirehampton Group Practise Flu Clinic
In line with Department of Health advice, we recommend that all people aged 65 or over should receive a flu jab every year. Anyone else who is eligible (including 2, 3 and 4 year olds) will receive a letter in the post inviting them to come to the Practice.This year’s clinics will be as follows:
|Friday 3rd October||Capel Road Branch Surgery 14:00 – 15:00|
|Saturday 4th October||Shirehampton Health Centre 08:30 – 10:30|
|Friday 17th October||Capel Road Branch Surgery 14:00 – 15:00|
|Saturday 18th October||Shirehampton Health Centre 08:30 – 10:30|
|Tuesday 4th November||Shirehampton Health Centre 15:30 – 18:00|
|Tuesday 18th November||Shirehampton Health Centre 15:30 – 18:00|
Avon (University Settlement) Community Association - AGM
The Annual General Meeting of A(US)CA, which run the Shire Advice Service, will be held on Wednesday 10th September at 7.15pm in The Tithe Barn, High Street, Shirehampton.
This is an open meeting and we welcome your attendance to show support for this local charity.
Apology for mis-print
We would like to apologise for an error under the photograph titled ‘Team of 1931/32’ in the August edition. We referred to Mrs Eirleys, mother of Andrew Moloney who lent us the photograph. We should have written Mrs Eirlys Moloney.
Taking Up Residence
A rare wild flower has been sighted in Shirehampton recently. This is the Corn Cockle which grows to about a foot in height, has rose pink petals and sepals which are half as long again as the petals, making it easy to identify. According to The Flora of the Bristol Region, it is rated extinct nationally and rare locally, being noted at Portbury in 1991 and Avonmouth in the same year. It once grew in abundance in cornfields but was eradicated by farmers when it was discovered that its black seeds ground with wheat produced a bread too bitter to eat.
The flower was often painted by medieval illustrators in the margins of illuminated manuscripts and the beautiful Book of Hours. A conservationist at Bristol City Council has told me she will do her best to ensure the area is not mowed until the seeds have set, so we may be able to enjoy the Corn Cockle (also known as the Corn Rose) for many years to come. Be wary – this plant is poisonous, so the advice is look, but don’t touch!
Art Sale in aid of KWAG & Doors Open Day
SATURDAY September 13th will see the return of Bristol Doors Open Day with Kings Weston taking its place on the list of open venues once again. Kings Weston house will be open from 10am and 4pm with Norman Routledge as host and KWAG taking its place in one of the rooms.
This year we will be running an Art sale with paintings generously donated by the talented members of Shirehampton’s Twyford Art Group. Most paintings are framed and prices are a more than affordable £20-70! with all proceeds going towards KWAG’s continuing work on the estate (cash payments only please).
We are extremely grateful to all the artists who have donated their work and we’re sure that visitors are bound to enjoy the show, if not take home a little something to decorate their walls. More information will be published closer to the event which will also include exhibition material about the house and estate and most certainly a guide tour or two around the historic rooms.
Thank you too to Jim Ellis of the art group and KWAG who has put for gather the exhibition and sale.
New history guide out now!!
For the first time since 1916 there is a guide detailing the history of Kings Weston House and its grounds! Thanks to generous grant funding from the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeology Group KWAG have now published a lavishly illustrated FREE guide and map. Published to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Sir John Vanbrugh, architect of Kings Weston House and many of the estate’s buildings, it is packed full of all there latest research and many previously unpublished illustrations. The fold-out guide includes a hand-painted map with the most significant locations pinpointed. We’re confident that even the most familiar visitor to the estate may discover something entirely new they’d never expected.
The guides have been circulated throughout Bristol’s library network as well as being available from Kings Weston House or our leaflet dispenser in Shirehampton Road public car park. Tourist Information on the Harbourside also has good stocks, and we hope to make it available at other venues soon.
If you want to read more about this story, or want to download your own copy from our website click here for details.
Craft Exhibition 2014
Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton
Tuesday 28th October to Saturday 1st November
10am – 4pm
If you would like to take part in this popular exhibition please fill in the booking form below. There is a small charge to enter 50p per item or £2.00 for 4 or more items. Exhibits should be brought into the Public Hall on Monday 27th October between 9.00am and 4.00pm. Large items may be brought in on the Sunday afternoon, 2.00 – 4.00. Please collect your exhibits on Saturday 1st November, between 4.30 and 5.00pm. Please note NO LATE ENTRIES will be accepted on Monday 27th October. If you sell your crafts we would be grateful of a contribution of 10% towards the running cost of the exhibition.
We expect all exhibitors to help steward for at least 1 session. Please indicate on your form if you can help either in the morning or afternoon sessions. Pat Davidson – 01179823192
If you have more than 2 items please continue on a separate sheet.Please don’t send any money with the form, it will be collected when you bring in the items.
I can steward on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . am/pm. Set up Sunday yes/no. Clear up on Saturday yes/no.
I can demonstrate on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . am/pm.
Soar at Shirehampton Primary
AS always another school year disappears far too quickly and we say farewell to another set of children who are ready to take on the challenges of secondary school.
Every year is special at Shirehampton Primary but this year our year 6 children have set new academic heights; not only do we have yet more children reaching level4 (the national expectation for all children at the end of year 6) but the same is true for level 5.
However this is not the icing on our proverbial cake as for the second year running we have children that have achieved level 6, two whole levels above the national average, in mathematics, writing and the grammar, spelling and punctuation test, which is incredible. The whole year group should be congratulated for their exemplary attitude towards learning and facing every challenge we have constantly thrown at them over the years with positivity, resilience, perseverance and determination to succeed.
Although the summer holidays provide an opportunity for rest, relaxation and lie-ins it is also a time when the school is transformed into a building site as we ensure our building is just as inspirational as the children, families and staff that fill it during each term. To go with our new, revitalised outdoor learning environments for our Nursery and Reception classes we (well the builders) are in the process of expanding our Nursery so that it continues to meet the local demand. This means that the children will have double the amount of indoor space available to them and will certainly be fit for the demands of 21st century learning.
Being the head teacher of Shirehampton Primary remains an absolute privilege and I love working in such a wonderful community as together we have, and will continue to, achieve so much for the special young people of BS11 and beyond.
Fayre at Jim O’Neill House
This will be held on Saturday 27th September from 10.00am to 2,00pm. There will be cards, gifts, Tombola, cakes, refreshments and craft goods. Tables are for hire at £5 if people want to have their own stall contact my e mail on email@example.com to arrange .
My Dance Band Dream
by Brian Gearing
Right from the commencement of World War Two, the Government recognised the importance of maintaining the morale of the public, and to this end, places of entertainment were allowed to operate. Theatres and cinemas opened on Sundays, something unheard of pre-war. Performances were known at times to continue even during air raids. I can recall being in a cinema when a message flashed across the screen – “There is an air raid taking place outside. Any person wishing to take advantage of the public shelters should leave quietly via the nearest exit.” I never saw anyone take advantage of this.
Radio played an important part, with comedy shows such as Tommy Handley’s ITMA. I think he gave us the first of what was to become catch phrases. Who can remember Mrs Mop and her “Can I do you now sir?”
Music was a strong factor with singers such as Vera Lynn rendering The White Cliffs of Dover and many others. The larger and most famous dance bands could be heard on the radio. This generated interest in local dances. To feed this demand a number of musicians formed bands and performed at local rendezvous. One such band in Bristol was the Harry Western Band, whose local dance hall was the Page Park at Staple Hill. Harry formed the band together with his brothers Clarence and Percy, and a few other musicians. His signature tune was the song “I’m wild about Harry”. Harry became quite successful and in later years was the resident band at the Glen Dance Hall, Durdham Downs. He also made broadcasts from the BBC studios so you can see the band was becoming popular. You may wonder why I have a fixation with this band.
Well, my mother’s maiden name was Western and she would always say Harry and his brothers were in fact hers. When we visited them they referred to mum as “Auntie Flo”, mother’s name being Florence, and I puzzled over this.
Years later when researching my family history, I discovered mum spent her early years in Muller’s Orphanage and later went to live with her elder brother Jack and his sons. She looked on the boys as her brothers not nephews and this did not detract from the pride she felt for the Westerns. She was over the moon when spotting Harry’s name in the Radio Times and we spent ages twiddling control knobs on our old radio to pick up the broadcast.
Shortly after this mother received a letter from Harry saying he was due to play at Shirehampton Public Hall, would she be there as he had something he wished to discuss. It transpired that he wanted me to join the band as a sort of gimmick/mascot. I was to be measured for a smaller version of the band’s outfit which consisted of dark blue trousers and jacket which had light blue lapels trimmed with gold braid. I was to be paid two shillings (20p) per show and as many buttered buns as I could eat. The downside was that I was expected to learn to play an instrument, a liquorice stick (clarinet) was mentioned. As I didn’t know the difference between a crotchet and a quaver this would appear to be hard work. Never mind the uniform/wages/food more than made up for it.
I was thrilled to be asked to join the band and immediately fell into the parlance of my hero (Richmal Compton’s William Brown) “I would be the bestest dance band mascot in the whole wide world”. It was customary for the dance floor to be polished and shined before a dance so my first task was to treat the dance floor with Lux soap flakes which I sprinkled on the floor then retired to the upper floor balcony, settled down to listen to the band and watch the early couples on the floor. A pair of local dancers gracefully twirled around to a foxtrot followed by a quickstep. All seemed well and I was pleased with my handiwork. After a short while however, I began to have misgivings as I glimpsed one or two patches bare of treatment. In my best “William” mode I found another large box of Lux soap flakes in the kitchen and returned to the dance floor, scattering soap flakes like some demented farmer sowing his fields. The box emptied I returned to my seat smugly satisfied that I had done a good job in the best “William” style. I think all would have been well if it hadn’t been for the arrival of the Americans. This was 1944 there was a large camp on Shirehampton Golf Course. Many GIs were billeted in local homes so a local dance would attract them. After a whispered conversation with a Master Sergeant, my uncle’s band swung from the sedate music to Jive tunes, the Jitterbug in particular, a lively, energetic dance which involved male dancers throwing their partners over their shoulders and through spread legs. Master Sergeant’s partner was a rather buxom young girl who, on trying to regain an upright position lost her footing on the slippery floor and her partner lost his balance and grip. The girl shot away from him like a torpedo. I watched in horror as the blonde slid, almost in slow motion, across the floor. She was in fact heading with considerable speed towards the trestle table occupied by Committee members of the Shire Hall who were quietly sipping tea and biscuits. The girl hit their table and the whole lot denigrated into a pile of broken tea cups, biscuits and demure ladies.
I decided it was time for “William” to make himself scarce, so I crept downstairs, out of the hall and home. Nothing was said the next day and I waited for the call to join the band, but it never came. In time I forgot all about show business!
(Editor’s note – Brian Gearing is the Ex-chairman of Shire Traders’ Association)
Rememberance 100 Years On
There will be many WW1 centenary commemmorations over the next 4 years but they started in earnest on 4th August this year to mark the beginning of that world changing conflict known as The Great War.
Avonmouth and Shirehampton played a very important part in the Great War with the presence of the Remount, the constant activity in the docks including the hospital ships bringing in injured service men, the Auxiliary Hospital at Kingsweston House and the mustard gas factories in Avonmouth and Chittening in 1918. Then of course many local people served their country in one way or another both at home and abroad, and some paid the ultimate sacrifice.
It is with this in mind that St Andrew’s Church in conjunction with the Avonmouth Genealogy Group, are holding a WW1 exhibition over Remembrance weekend this year. The exhibition will be set up in St Andrew’s church with many documents, service men’s records, facsimile newspapers and artefacts lent by local people, on Friday 7th November when it is hoped children from Avonmouth School will visit. On Saturday 8th November we will hold a Vintage Tea Party with a singalong of WW1 songs – this will be by ticket only for catering purposes and proceeds will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. On Remembrance Sunday itself the St Andrew’s Ministry Team will lead a special service.
For further details or to order tickets for the tea please contact Judy Helme on firstname.lastname@example.org
St Katherine’s Year 8 boys retain their North Somerset title
Four of the players play for Shirehampton Cricket Club: Ben Paines, Danny Conway, Max Conroy and Tom Green. One player plays for Twyford Cricket Club: Jay Spicer.
Avonmouth Ladies Hockey Club
It is hard to believe that we are preparing to start our 30th season - we have come a long way since we started playing at Avonmouth Rugby Club all those years ago! We currently run 2 teams; our 1st team have gained promotion and will be playing in Berkeley Division 1 this season and our 2nd team will play in Berkeley Division 3.
We are a friendly, sociable club and are always looking to recruit new players. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who is interested in playing in goal. We train on Wednesday evenings, 7-8.30pm and play on Saturdays, with our home games usually starting at 1pm. Both training and games are at Henbury School.
So if you would like to come and join us, whatever your age, ability and experience, please email us at email@example.com or call Sophie Lennox on 07766116030. Sophie Lennox Avonmouth Hockey Club