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News Index

Carols on the Green

Bloodhound SCC: Meet the car and inspire young people

BBC Radio Bristol available in Shire-Freeview Channel 719

St Andrews Ladies Club – Diary 2015

Avonmouth and Kingsweston Neighbourhood Partnership News

Road Improvements Around Shire

Botany In The Shire

Duck Ponics Comes to Shirehampton

LinkAge Bristol What’s On For 55+

Bowling club welcomes new members and friends

Letters to the Editor

Calling all crafters!

Ukulele Funhouse Orchestra at Public Hall

Play Tots at the Public Hall

St Mary’s News

From The Registers At St. Mary’s - November 2014

‘Shire’ Community Grants

Remembering the Fallen

S H I R E    @ShireNewspaper    #ShireNewspaper

Carols on the Green

Carols on the green

It was fine and dry and cold on Christmas Eve when more than two hundred cheerful and enthusiastic Shirehampton people gathered on the Green to sing carols and wish the Village a Happy Christmas. We thank Rev. Rachel Haig, Community Minister at Tyndale Baptist Church and Shirehampton resident, who kindly led the singing. And as ever we are most grateful to Philip Sims and the West Bristol Concert Band for accompanying and supporting us.

Carols on the green

Photos by Bob Pitchford

Linkage Christmas Lunch Party

Linkage Christmas Party 17th December.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Linkage Christmas Lunch Party on 17th December.

Bloodhound SCC: Meet the car and inspire young people

Picture of Bloodhound car

The team working on Bloodhound SSC has made exciting progress in the last few months, and will be offering a number of opportunities to see the car in 2015.

Bloodhound SSC is a supersonic land speed racing car, designed to reach speeds of 1,000mph (1,600km/h). It is being designed and made in Avonmouth.

The upper structure is now complete, and is being sent off to be ‘cured’. Jaguar’s supercharged 550bhp V8 has been announced as the car’s third powerful engine, and work has started in earnest on the fin, which will be assembled in a special fin bay in the Technical Centre.

Your name on the Bloodhound SSC - The team are looking for crowdfunding via, offering the chance for you to have your photo or name – or that of your business, school or club – on the car itself. You can find out all about this opportunity to support the project at

See the car up close - Members of the Bloodhound SSC supporters’ club, known as the 1k Club, are invited to visit the Avonmouth Technical Centre for an open day on 31 January 2015.

Then, from February 2015, the car will be on display at the Coventry Transport Museum, as part of the new Land Speed Record Gallery. Members of the 1k Club can buy tickets for a preview event. You can find out how to join and book tickets for both these events at the website:

Become an ambassador - The project is inspiring children and young people with its extraordinary ambition, as well as encouraging their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths more generally. The team are looking for enthusiastic Bloodhound Ambassadors to help take the project into schools nationwide. Full training is provided, and you will find all the details on the website.

Reception at Shirehampton Primary School

The children have now been at school for two terms and have settled in very well. It’s hard to believe that a third of the school year has passed already.

The children have been enjoying a wide range of activities and are especially enjoying some of the new developments in our outdoor area. The new canopies and shelters mean that we are able to be outside in all weathers and the climbing structure is used to develop physical strength as well as encouraging confidence, learning to manage risks and increase awareness of safety.

We all enjoyed our first school trip to Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo in October and are now in the midst of practising for our Christmas play - ‘Nursery Rhyme Nativity’. By the time this is printed I am sure the play will have gone successfully, with the usual tears (of joy), laughter and the wonderful sound of children singing.In the New Year we have lots to look forward to including a visit from the mobile planetarium for our topic of Space. The children always amaze us in this first year of school with the incredible progress they make and how they learn to read and write as well as develop socially and physically. It is very rewarding watching them take their first steps along the school journey and developing those lifelong skills they will need as they grow up. Before we know it, they will be in Year 6 and moving on to Secondary school- now that really makes us feel old!

Bristol becomes European green capital 2015

On 8th December in Copenhagen, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries, officially handed the European Green Capital title to Bristol for 2015. He also launched European Green Leaf 2015, a new competition for smaller cities.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Commissioner Vella said: “Citizens of Bristol should be very proud, and I congratulate them on winning the title of European Green Capital 2015. Bristol offers inspiration to other European cities that also want to evolve towards a greener future. I wish Mayor Ferguson and his team the best of luck for the coming year.”

The first round of Grants under the Green Capital banner have just been made, including a number of organisations in the Shirehampton area. More details on these organisations and how these grants will be used will be announced in coming editions of the ‘Shire’.

General Events for January

8 Jan-Green Mingle, will normally be on the first Thursday of every month at Bordeaux Quay between 5pm – 7pm (moved to 2nd Thursday for January because of the New Year). It’s ‘Happy Hour’ so come and grab a drink (nibbles provided) and join in with like-minded people who are all interested in helping to make Bristol a low carbon city.

There will be an official opening ceremony in Bristol for the European Green Capital 2015 during January 2015 as well as several other events, for more details of all the organisations and events go to the Web site at

Warmer Homes Project - Trial Run

A pilot scheme has been running this summer to test the external wall insulation that will be used as part of the Warmer Homes project.

More than 3,000 homes will be included in the project in the next six to eight years, receiving new insulation to reduce cold, damp and condensation, and cut heating bills. As a trial run, the insulation has been fitted to two houses at Inns Court and two in Lawrence Weston. The homes have also been repainted and received other necessary repairs.

“It’s magnificent,” said resident Les Goodhind. “Seriously, the cladding is fantastic. It’s a lot warmer – you don’t need the heating on nearly as much. It’s been very well done.”

Work on the project itself is expected to start in early 2015. The first phase will include homes in Inns Court, Knowle, Hengrove, Whitchurch, some house types in Withywood, Easton, Newtown and St Pauls, and flat-roofed house styles in Lawrence Weston and Lockleaze. We have already written to all the tenants whose houses are included in the project.

BBC Radio Bristol available in Shire-Freeview Channel 719

There are many listeners to BBC Radio Bristol in Shire that have Freeview on their television to watch Points West and you can now listen to BBC Radio Bristol on your television along with the many other radio stations.

You might need to rescan your Freeview system to update it. For any reception advice enquiries you can call the BBC Call Centre on 03700 100 123 – calls are charged as 01 or 02 geographic numbers.

Editor of BBC Radio Bristol, Tim Pemberton said: “This is excellent news for BBC Radio Bristol listeners who will now have even more ways to hear us. I know a lot of people who listen to the radio through the television for convenience and others in areas of poor reception who will benefit from this development.”

St Andrews Ladies Club – Diary 2015

We meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month (except August) at St. Andrews church hall, Avonmouth. We listen to a variety of speakers as well as having occasional outings.

Jan 6thBeetle Drive
Jan 20thDick (panto) by Tim Lewis
Feb 3rdCakes – for charity by Rose
Feb 17thBristol Soup Run by Martyn Paul
Mar 3rdChief Fireman by John Craig
Mar 17thA Walk for Diana by Peter Goodchild
Apr 7thCharity Auction
Apr 21stMarie Antoinette’s Guide to Farming by Sarah Harris
May 5thFamily Holiday Diary 1836 by Pat Hase
May 19thCanadian Pacific Railway by Anton Bantock
Jun 2ndOuting – to be arranged
Jun 16thCard making with Tracey
Jul 7thAir ambulance (and charity cheque)
Jul 21stA.G.M. and shared supper

Avonmouth and Kingsweston Neighbourhood Partnership News

Tracy Edwards-Brown

Tracy Edwards-Brown, Neighbourhood Officer

Hello to Shirehampton! My name is Tracy Edwards-Brown. I’m new to the area and will be working here as a Neighbourhood Officer, supporting the work of the Neighbourhood Partnership.

Some really important news for the area is the delivery of the Shirehampton Village Parking and Pedestrian Improvements scheme. This is something that the people of Shirehampton have been talking about for a number of years; the plans for this scheme are out for consultation now until the middle of January 2015. Expect to see the work on the ground in Summer 2015.

Shirehampton will also benefit from several successful awards from two Neighbourhood Partnerships Wellbeing and Green Capital grants agreed at the NP meeting on 8th December. Bristol Noise will be delivering its annual clean up in Spring with a £500 Wellbeing Grant and SCAF has been awarded £2,950 from the Green Capital fund to deliver a programme of nature walks across the 2015 European Green Capital year.

Wellbeing and Green Capital Grants Funds are still open - If you have an idea that needs money then the Wellbeing Fund might be worth investigating – or if you are part of a group which can deliver work to contribute to Green Capital locally take a look at the NP Green Capital fund. The closing date for applications is Friday 13th February 2015. Application guidelines and application forms are at:

Ideas for small local improvements? - The NP still has some funding available in Shirehampton for Clean and Green improvements. There’s £375 until March 2015. If you have ideas for small planting schemes, clean-ups or other small-scale environment improvements to smarten up Shirehampton get in touch with me.

If you want to know more about what I do, or any further information, then please get in touch via telephone 9036412 or email or contact the Avonmouth and Kingsweston NP Co-ordinator: Keith Houghton on telephone 922 2135 or e-mail

Bristol City Council’s Creative Seed Fund and the Festival Fund - are now open for applications.

Community groups, organisations and individual artists in the city can now apply for the Council’s 2015-16 Creative Seed Fund and the Community Festival and Event Fund. These are annual funds that have one application round each year.

The Creative Seed Fund supports Bristol based creative projects. Individual projects can be awarded up to £3,000. There are two strands to this fund: Artist/Arts Organisation Development Strand and Community Arts Strand Application.

The Bristol Community Festival and Event Fund supports community celebration that engages communities and enhances local image and identity. Individual funds will be awarded up to a maximum of £2,000 per festival/event.

Closing date is Friday 16th January 2015. For full application guidance and application forms please visit the Bristol City Council Arts and Culture funding web page -

Road Improvements Around Shire

The Avonmouth and Kingsweston Neighbourhood Partnership has prioritised a local highway scheme to improve pedestrian facilities and resolve a number of parking issues in and around Shirehampton Village.

The enclosed scheme design has been produced for consideration by the Neighbourhood Partnership and for wider public consultation.

Station Road – proposed Zebra Crossing

Zebra crossing plan

The proposals are to create a new Zebra Crossing on Station Road to provide safer pedestrian access to and from the village centre, improved signing to the free car park at the rear of the Health Centre, a new handrail to the steps at Barrow Hill Crescent, and a range of minor double yellow line parking restrictions to alleviate a number of visibility and safety concerns raised by local residents, including Old Barrow Hill.

Unfortunately it is not possible to include every request put forward over the past few years as some relate to maintenance issues, or are beyond the budget available to the Neighbourhood Partnership. However, this consultation offers the opportunity to shape the final design and your views about these proposals, whether of support or not, are welcomed and will be taken into consideration.

If you have any comments on the design of this scheme then please contact the Traffic Management Group by 16th January 2015 using the contact details below. These may include additional locations in the area where you think parking restrictions would be beneficial, or other changes you would like to see to these proposals phone: 0117 9036822,, Write to:Highways (Wilder House),FREEPOST 6529,BRISTOL, BS1 5BR

This work has been identified as a priority by the Avonmouth and Kingsweston Neighbourhood Partnership. If you would like more information about contacting or getting involved with your local Neighbourhood Partnership, then information can be found at the following web page: or contact your Neighbourhood Partnership by phone: 0117 90 36825 or

Translation / Special requirements -If you would like this information in a different format, for example Braille, audiotape, large print or computer disc, or community languages, please contact Traffic Management on 0117 903 6822.

Botany In The Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

Just before the magnificent fireworks display to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, there was an interview where a young boy explained how he came to have “Brunel” as his middle name - he was born on the Bridge.

I was reminded of the now fairly well-known story of Brunel’s pioneering action in rare plant conservation. As he was working on the approach road in the early 1830’s, he was told by one of his engineers that the construction was about to destroy the Bristol locality of the Autumnal Squill. On hearing this, Brunel had his workmen transplant a patch of it onto the cliffs below.

When I came to Bristol in the late 1970’s I was able to find just seven plants on St Vincent’s Rocks and near the Observatory although there had been a recent sighting of what seems to have been “Brunel’s patch”. I collected all the seed I could and it was propagated and later planted back onto the cliffs - and in the wild flower garden on the Suspension Bridge.

Like all good stories, there is more to it. Brunel’s niece (although about 10 at the time) was later one of the very few lady members of the Botanical Society of London. She appears in a small painting sketching the Suspension Bridge - as if completed - from Bedminster Down.

In the late 1840’s a tall and somewhat gaunt gentleman, George Henry Kendrick Thwaites (who was the Bristol Secretary of the Botanical Society of London and for a while the Company Secretary of the Bristol Zoo Gardens) might have been seen by Shirehampton residents collecting algae in the ditches in the riverside marshes, to take home and study under the microscope.

If the two didn’t meet and talk plants in Bristol, they certainly did in Sri Lanka, where Brunel’s niece ended up as the colonial Governor’s wife, and Thwaites as the Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens. That, in short, is how what he described as “the most beautiful orchid on the island” came to be named after Sophia Brunel MacCarthy.

Duck Ponics Comes to Shirehampton

Duck Ponics? I hear you ask. Duck Ponics is a local version of an ancient horticultural method in which liquid manure, in this case duck poo, is circulated from a pond and pumped into floating vegetable beds.

The roots of the plants hang free in the water and take up the nutrients, leaving the water clean and ready to flow back to the duck pond and begin the cycle again. This system uses 95% less energy than traditional land based horticultural methods. The ducks are fed organic feed pellets and have the free run of their garden where they eat the slugs and snails, and keep the grass cropped.

Picture of ducks

Norman Mansell, M.B.E. is feeding his family by raising all his own organic fruit and vegetables using this sustainable, energy efficient system. His small scale experiment here in Shirehampton is proving successful, but Norman has bigger plans. He wants to invest in a larger property where he can have a proper duck pond and raise enough fresh organic produce to be able to supply others. He would like to be able to host open days, offer work experience, maybe even Duck Ponic holidays!

But all this will take money. So far Norman has created his Duck Ponics trial in his own back garden, using found and donated materials, his own hard work, and the help of friends and family. Now he hopes to finance its expansion through Crowd Funding.

You can see his web page at If you would like to learn more or even help with the project you can contact Norman by phone on 07466414854 or

LinkAge Bristol What’s On For 55+

Try something new, get involved & have fun Come and join us!

What’s On in Shirehampton See What’s On or Phone 0117-353-3042

Whats’ On in Lawrence Weston at The Rock, Ridingleaze Phone 0117-9834636

  • Keep Fit - Tuesday & Friday, 12.30 - 1.30pm, £2.50
  • Healthy Eating - Tuesday, 11.30 - 12.30pm, £2.50
  • Coffee Morning - Wednesday, 10.00 - 12.00pm, Donation
  • Walking Groups - Thursday, 9.30am,FREE
  • Lunch Club - Thursday, 12.00pm, £3.00
  • New Age Kurling - Friday, 10.00am – 11.30am, £2.50, Company number: 07403291, Registered Charily No.1143816 in England and Wales.

Santa at the Public Hall.

Picture of Santa at the Public Hall

Santa at the Public Hall. Photo by Bob Pitchford

Father Christmas at the Public Hall at the Christmas with Santa Party.

Man Arrested After Third Distraction Burglary

We are appealing for information after a third distraction burglary involving suspects impersonating police officers. The latest incident comes after two similar last week. At approximately 6.50pm on Monday Nov 24 two men wearing masks forced their way into the property of an elderly woman in the Shirehampton area. The men claimed to be police officers looking for an offender. One of the men held the woman against a wall while the other searched the property. After they had left, the woman realised they had stolen jewellery and cash. The victim was left extremely shaken up by the incident. Both suspects were wearing masks and dark clothing. They were aged between 20-30 years old and between 5ft 8ins – 6ft tall. This is the third incident in less than a week. On Tuesday Nov 25 a 32 year old man was arrested in connection with these incidents and is currently in police custody. The first incident took place at a house in Chipping Sodbury on Wednesday Nov 19 when two men knocked at the house of a 77 year old woman and claimed to be officers investigating a burglary next door. They were both wearing balaclavas at the time. One of the men then went inside the house with the victim and asked her to collect her purse. Once the men had left, the victim realised the purse had been stolen containing several hundred pounds.

The second incident took place on Thursday Nov 20, at a house in the Staple Hill area of Bristol. A man wearing a balaclava broke the lock on a door and entered the house and asked the 86 year old homeowner if she had any money in the house. When she questioned him, he claimed to be a police officer. The suspect then told the victim to go upstairs, which she did. When she came back downstairs, she realised a quantity of cash had been stolen. Officers are linking these three offences. Detective Inspector Dominic Graham of Bristol CID said: “I would like to reassure our communities that a robust police investigation is underway which has resulted in the arrest of a man in connection with these offences.

“In each of the three incidents, elderly victims have been targeted in their own homes.

“Each time, the suspects have claimed to be police officers and used this to gain cooperation from the victims.

“I would like to make it perfectly clear that no police officer would ever wear a balaclava whilst undertaking their duties.

Also, a bona-fide police officer would also present identification before entering a house.

“I would ask local people to be vigilant in light of these incidents and keep an eye on those most vulnerable in our neighbourhoods.

“We are following several lines of enquiries but I am keen to hear from anyone with information on any of these offences.”

Anyone with information on any of these three incidents is asked to contact 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.

Bowling club welcomes new members and friends

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with the City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club. The new season will commence in April. However, there is still plenty going on during the close season.

Club members can enjoy bowling indoors at the City and County Bowling Club – either as individuals or representing the club in games against other clubs. The next inter-club game will be on 24th January.

There is also a series of social events held at the City and Port of Bristol Club on Sunday evenings. A skittles evening took place in November, followed by a beetle drive in December and a quiz night on 4th January. Other events will take place before the new season starts. The aim of these is to keep bowlers together, and also to raise much-needed funds that will go towards all the club’s plans for the coming months.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the bowling club can contact David Hinksman on 0117 9082713.

St Peter’s Hospice VIP Event

Picture of St Peters Hospice charity shop.

The final Thursday in November saw the St Peters Hospice shop play host to a stylish and elegant evening of pre-loved fashion.

Shirehampton’s savvy fashionestas snapped up purse-friendly additions to their winter wardrobe whilst enjoying a glass or two of Prosecco.

“The event was a great success”, Shop Manager, Lin Hayward, told the Shire. “There was a fantastic atmosphere and all our VIP guests appeared to really enjoy themselves. We’re particularly grateful to everyone who donated stock for us to sell on the evening and indeed throughout the year.”

Top sellers on the night included party-wear and accessories with faux fur and animal print pieces proving particularly popular.

St Peter’s Hospice is a Bristol charity caring for adults with life-limiting illnesses.

We aim to improve the quality of their living and dying while extending care and support to their families and loved ones.

All of our care is provided free of charge, but it costs us around £18,000 a day to provide that care.

For most of this money we rely on Gifts in Wills, donations, fund-raising and our shops.

Letters to the Editor

Video of Shire'

Letters to the Editor

Avonmouth Dock Cold Store

Dear Editor,

I worked at Avonmouth dock cold store from 1960-63. I started as a messenger and then became a junior clerk. Does anyone remember the hard Jack Britton section A Superintendent or Mr ‘P’ Walt Patterson the kindly cold store foreman, Geo Balsdon and Joe Champness timekeepers, Tony Shaefer, Des Villis, Rog Mooney, Ron Hodges or Fred Coombes senior clerks?

How oddly a problem would suddenly occur on a meat boat around late afternoon resulting in a half eighter overtime and the problem disappearing about 6.30 so the dockers could be at the Royal Hotel’s bar by 7!

Walking to work in January 1963 from Pill ferry after dodging icebergs (dumped lorry snow from roads) only to be sent back by dock police as everything was frozen up! Going to dockers pool for the first time in 1962, seeing wild scenes by men who wanted meat boat work.

First Xmas box Dec 1960 raising £15!! Had a very good Xmas that year!

Anyone else recall similar?

If you would like to get in contact, email -

Thank you Parks Department

Dear Editor,

It’s amazing the difference that man and machine can make! Shirehampton Park was looking very scruffy and run-down, when a council workman with his machine came along and removed most of the unsightly weeds and scrub encroaching on, and surrounding, the grassland.

The result? A much more attractive park to take a winter walk in. Thank you, Parks Department.

Remembrance day in Shire

Dear Editor,

I was very disappointed not to see any of Kacey O’Neils photographs in the Dec. issue of the Shire. Kacey always goes out of her way to stay behind after the service and take lovely photos. Her photos are always used with her War Memorial article which is great for Shirehampton as so many attend.

Dear Editor,

Yours is a very excellent monthly paper, but I did not find it so this issue(December)

St Mary’s Church, as every year on Remembrance Sunday, with many residents of Shirehampton, walked up the hill to the war memorial and held a short service. The attendance this year was immense, the largest crowd ever.

There were several hundred people with residents, apart from Shirehampton itself, from Avonmouth, Sea Mills and further afield. Four fire engines with crews from Avonmouth were very impressive.

Instead of reporting this, your front page made the December issue of ‘Shire’ look more like a Westbury-on-Trym paper.

Editor’s note: Please see the article 'Remembering the Fallen' at the end of this edition, which was printed on the back page of the newspaper.

WW1 Weekend - Thank you Judy Helme

Dear Editor,

Over the weekend of 7th November, Judy Helme organised a World War I exhibition at St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth. There were lots of lovely displays, and some research done by pupils of Avonmouth School told very moving stories.

On Saturday 8th November, a vintage tea party was held. There was bunting, and each table had lovely bone china tea sets.

There was a great assortment of sandwiches and cakes. The tea was served by ladies dressed as Lyons tea room waitresses. We finished off with a wartime sing-along, accompanied by Tim Forder.

Well done Judy. A big thank you to you and all the ladies who helped to give us all such a lovely afternoon.

Environment Secretary addresses air quality in Avonmouth

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has told Avonmouth residents that the nuisance they are suffering from industrial sites is “unacceptable”. She also said that she agreed there should be quicker and tougher enforcement in the event of future problems.

Ms Truss visited the area with Charlotte Leslie MP to meet residents and hear their concerns over wood and magnetic particles coming from businesses operating out of the Bristol Port.

The Environment Secretary said: “Nuisance from industrial and waste sites is unacceptable. We are working with the Environment Agency and other bodies to tackle this issue wherever it occurs and provide quicker and tougher enforcement through our Waste Crime Action Plan.”

Charlotte Leslie has recently secured an extension of dust monitoring ‘for at least a year’ with the hope this could become permanent. She said: “It is clear that unless we have a guarantee of permanent monitoring, for an ever-evolving situation in Avonmouth, we cannot be guaranteed of safe air quality. “If Avonmouth were a static situation, this would be a different scenario, but it is not. Cargo changes and new energy generators are constant, and unless we get this sorted and confidence in the monitoring of companies’ activities on a daily basis, every single development at

Avonmouth will be opposed by residents, quite understandably very worried about health impacts.

“The problem is, most of the companies who could cause dust know they are in place, seem to have put mechanisms in place to be very good, and there is no guarantee that as soon as the monitoring systems are moved, they won’t go back to their old ways. Equally, there is such a changing cycle of imports and exports dealt with at the port, it seems lunacy to have a three month system, then wait for the next dust issue, and go through all the shenanigans we’ve just been through in getting samples analysed.”

You can sign a petition in support of permanent dust monitoring at

Calling all crafters!

Following Pat Davidson’s decision earlier in the year to stand down, Gail and I had discussions with Pat and the committee, and have agreed to take on running the 2015 Shire Craft Exhibition. On behalf of Gail and myself, I would like to thank Pat for all the hard work and dedication she has put into the exhibitions during the years she has been running them. It was great to be there in October and be reminded of what a talented range of people we have in and around Shire. It was also good to meet up with old friends who are still involved with both exhibiting and running the exhibition.

As for Gail and myself, I was made redundant in 2009 and Gail was offered early retirement about the same time, so we now feel we have the time to devote to projects like the craft exhibition, which we did run for several years prior to Pat taking over.

With your help, we hope 2015 will be a success. So come on crafters! You have nine months to come up with the goods.

Get out those unfinished cross stitches, find the abandoned knitting projects, off into the sheds and finish of the woodwork, fire up the kilns and check out the jewellery you want to make.

We know there are lots more crafts out there just waiting to be started or completed. This is your chance to show what you can do and, who knows, maybe sell some bits and make room at home for some more.

We can’t do this alone, and whilst we have a small committee to share the work, we hope more of you will want to get involved. Whatever level of help you can offer, do please get in touch. Our contact details are below.

Once again thanks to Pat. We look forward to seeing you all in October next year. Have a great 2015.

Ed & Gail Amphlett

Tel: 0117 9821879,Mobile 07776170053 or e-mail

Ukulele Funhouse Orchestra at Public Hall

We are the Ukulele Funhouse Orchestra and we are playing Shirehampton Public Hall on January 31st.

Tickets are £10.00 and can be bought from Nightingales on the High Street or by telephone from the Tobacco Factory on 01179 020344.

We played Shire in early 2014 and the audience was great. Please let your friends know we’re coming back!

Play Tots at the Public Hall

Play tots at the public hall

Play tots at the public hall.

Play Tots is a playgroup run for young children and their parents/carers twice a month at Shirehampton Public Hall. It is co-run by parent volunteers and Avonmouth Children’s Centre. We do lots of seasonal activities, messy play and have a selection of toys and equipment for children to enjoy.

Play Tots began early this year by parents who had previously enjoyed the Stay and Play at the Public Hall which had closed. Between them they arranged to hire the hall and run a group where parents brought along a toy each for the children to share.

In April they approached Avonmouth Children’s Centre, which was under new management, and asked for support.

Together they have been running Play Tots since June, initially once a month and from September 2014 twice a month.

Many families regularly use the groups and at every session there are new families coming.

The group has faced many challenges in keeping running, including storage, cost, leaders to run the group and advertising. The group really needs more parents to use the group to make it sustainable. The group would also be interested in any parent volunteers, funding or donations of equipment.

The group runs on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month 10-11.30am. It is £1.50 per family.

St Mary’s News

Hi Folks!

A Happy New Year to you all and I hope you also had a very enjoyable Christmas. Now all the festivities are over its back to the grindstone and coping with the rigours of the winter weather.

Thanks to all of you who supported our Christmas Festive Food Fayre. We were extremely busy for those 2 hours and I am delighted to tell you that we raised £3,303 on the day and at the time of writing the figure has reached just over £4,000 all as a result of your generous support. Our income due to circumstances has been much reduced and as a church we are expected to make a generous donation to the Diocese to support Clergy salaries and pensions, so for every penny we raise we are extremely grateful.

Many thanks are due to all of you who supported recent services in St Mary’s - i.e. The Remembrance Service for lost loved ones; The Advent Service of Light; The service of Nine Lessons & Carols; Crib Services and the Shirehampton Area Choir Christmas Concert who donated cash from the sale of their tickets to The Red Cross to help fight the Ebola virus in Africa. May I remind you that you can still buy raffle tickets in support of St Mary’s at £1.00 each - the First Prize is £150.00 worth of John Lewis Vouchers - and tickets will still be available up until the time of the Draw on 9th January.

Friday 9th January at 7.30 p.m is also the date of our Alternative New Year Party, which will be held in St Mary’s. Tickets for this event are £8.00 and are available from the Church Office - come along and join in the fun and delight of the delicious food.

Our Annual Gift Day raised just over £5,000. Thank you to all of you for your generosity. This money will be used to repair the capping on the flat roof above the Memorial Chapel which is very badly affected by the ingress of water and damp. If there is anybody out there who would like to fund the conversion of the flat roofs to a sloping tiled roof please don’t feel shy with your offer!!!

On Wednesday 21st January we will be holding another Lunch and Beetle Drive beginning at 1.00 pm. Please sign up on the Notice Board if you will be there for lunch. No charge is made but there will be a retiring collection at the end of the afternoon.

Saturday, 24th January from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon is our Annual Book, CD & DVD Sale. If you have any items of this nature surplus to your requirements we will gladly take them off your hands.

Finally, I have to tell you of some very unwelcome news. As a charitable organisation we have always paid an annual sum of £35.00 for the water we use in the church. We have now been informed by the Water Board that this has recently been rescinded and that all non-residential premises will be installed with a Water Meter. There is no appeal to this decision!

When you take into account the amount of water we use at St Mary’s - Tea & Coffee each day together with the numerous fund raising, social events and groups we run we foresee that this will cost us many thousands of pounds each year. Another financial burden we could well do without!

I leave you with this thought - Where will you be sitting in Eternity? Smoking or Non-smoking!

‘Bye for now! C.M.E.

From The Registers At St. Mary’s - November 2014

BAPTISM ‘We welcome you’

From the Registers at St Mary’s November 2014

Baptism ‘we welcome you’

30th Freddie Ian Armfield

Funerals ‘at rest and at peace

6th David Harris Canford

27th John Rees Canford

28th Jean Hicks St Mary’s

Weddings ‘all that I am I give to you’

1st James Dunne & Kathryn Powell

‘Shire’ Community Grants

‘SHIRE’ newspaper is once again inviting applications from local organisations for a grant. If you wish to apply please advise us of the name of your group and how you serve the community.

If there is a specific sum you require for a particular project please also include that information. We regret we cannot issue grants to individuals.

The deadline is 10th February and you can either leave your application in the Shire folder in the library or email it to The committee will consider all requests at our meeting in early March.

300 Year old lost avenue replaced at Kingsweston

Trees being planted at Kingsweston

The Kings Weston Action Group (KWAG) have just completed their biggest restoration project yet. After two years planning an historic avenue which once led to the front of Grade I Listed Kings Weston House in North Bristol, has returned as part of National Tree Week. The avenue was first planted at the end of the 1600s, but gradually disappeared between 1760 and the early 20th Century. KWAG’s project has replanted seventeen trees and restored some of the formal context to the historic house.

The group had raised funds from donations in memory of KWAG’s co-founder, Tim Denning who died suddenly in October 2012. Since then they have been working with Bristol City Council’s Tree Pips team to develop the project and see it come to fruition. Volunteers from Our Lady of the Rosary School, Lawrence Weston, and Kingsweston School, as well as members of KWAG and an HSBC community volunteer scheme all leant a hand in the planting. Now, for the first time in 200 years the complete avenue of trees has returned as part of a community tree planting event that was attended by local schools and volunteers on 2nd December.

Trees being planted at Kingsweston

The seventeen new lime trees were planted using the exact same locations as the original avenue which had been established during a Time Team-style archaeological geophysical survey in January 2012.

Once again the trees frame the front of Kings Weston House and complement the remaining ancient avenue, the oldest in the city. They were first planted by Sir Robert Southwell, President of the Royal Society and Secretary of State for Ireland with advice from the diarist and plants man John Evelyn and pre-date the present house designed by Sir John Vanbrugh in 1712.

David Martyn, Chairman of KWAG said “Tim Denning was a real driving force behind KWAG when we first started three years ago. When we lost him it was a real blow, but the group has gone from strength to strength largely through the foundations he laid. I know he would have approved of the replanting of the avenue, and this is a fitting tribute to his enthusiasm and commitment to the Kings Weston parkland”.

He continued “KWAG are indebted to everyone who has donated funds in Tim’s memory and especially to Bristol Port Co for their support.“

There had been some concern expressed about the planting of trees within the open green space of the Home Park, but since they have gone in the impact of the avenue has proved to be very small. KWAG hopes that everyone will take the opportunity to come up to the park in the spring when the trees finally come into leaf.

The Kings Weston Action Group is a community organisation set up to protect Kings Weston Park and House, fight for its future and protect its past.

Formed from a group of local and professional volunteers it hopes to increase awareness of the history of the estate, take direct action to improve and maintain the park, and work with the City Council to inform and secure a new plan for conservation and enhancement.

Many thanks again to Bob Pitchford for his photographs recording the days events. For a full collection of photos of the project as it developed please take a look at our web gallery here –, for further details contact: David Martyn Tel. 07811 6666 71, Email:

Remembering the Fallen

Due to technical problems combined with printer's deadlines we were unable to print Kathryn’s article and photographs last month disappointing many readers. Ed

Rememberance service at the war memorial

2014 marked the 100th year since World War I began, otherwise known as the Great War. By the end of the conflict the Commonwealth War Graves Commission listed 888,246 war dead for the United Kingdom and the colonies.

In addition there was 1,683,435 wounded and 170,539 taken prisoner. It also marks the 70th year since the D-Day landings during World War II where 156,000 Allied troops took to the beaches of Normandy. It was estimated that there were 10,000 casualties with 4,414 confirmed dead.

The war memorial

The soldiers, airmen and sailors who gave their lives for freedom and peace will never be forgotten. Those who kept the home fires burning, supporting the armed forces, farming the land, digging the coal and so much more, along with the emergency services, their contribution will never be forgotten. The animals that played their part in both wars such as horses, donkeys, birds and dogs will also be remembered.

Rememberance service at the war memorial

The local community turned out on a bright sunny Remembrance Sunday to show their respect and give thanks to those who gave their lives and to those who returned, who fought to protect the freedom for their children and future generations.

Thank you.

Pictures and story by Kathryn Courtney