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News Index

Lloyds Bank makes a welcome return

The Little Tea Pot

Bristol's Brilliant Archaeology

KWAG exclusive event

Nature Notes

Shirehampton teen Rebecca wows at awards

Family Fundraising Day

Picnic site latest

Local Man receives MBE

Letters to the Editor

New Vicar for Avonmouth/Lawrence Weston

Save shirehampton community action forum (SCAF)

St Mary’s News

From The Registers of St. Mary

Botany in the shire

Shirehampton public hall newsletter

Free Courses

Shirehampton Hospital?

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Celebrates Volunteers Week

Avon and Somerset's ‘Best on the Beat’ competition is back!

S H I R E    @ShireNewspaper    #ShireNewspaper

Lloyds Bank makes a welcome return

Lloyds Bank has been very much missed from Shirehampton's High Street since Easter when robbers blew up the ATM and left the bank in a dreadful state.

Lloyds bank
Photo: Kathryn Courtney

However two months on Lloyds Bank has made a welcome return with a celebratory re-opening and the ribbon being cut by local shop assistant Jean Nurse and long term Shirehampton resident Dick Helme dressed as a vintage Bank Manager, marking the 250th Anniversary of its first branch opening in the United Kingdom.

Lloyds bank
Photo: Kathryn Courtney

I spoke with Ben Timmons who is the Bank Manager of the Shirehampton branch and asked him how it feels to be ‘back home’ again? “ It's fantastic to be back serving our local community in the new modern facilities. Huge investment has been made in Shirehampton to enable us to continue serving our customers whilst moving forward with technology.”

Everyone can see the bank has had a complete make-over. Is it more user friendly for staff and customers? Ben said “We love our new look and the response so far has been really positive. It's easier for us to communicate and we also now offer a speedier self service option to enable customers to have a choice in how they bank with us.”

I asked Ben with the first week of opening now over what has the reaction been with both staff and customers alike? It's been very positive and we'd like to thank our customers and those of Westbury-on- Trym for being so patient for the past eight weeks in unavoidable circumstances.”

This year Lloyds Bank is celebrating its 250th anniversary, so what additional services is the local branch now offering customers? “We opened early on 3rd June, this for us was a fantastic day to show how our support for our local community has developed over the years. I hope our customers will embrace the change and whilst the colleagues there remain unchanged, the way they work will. We now have a welcoming enquiries desk, an automated paying in facility and a new ATM that also enables our customers with certain disabilities to access, for example, customers with visual impairments can switch to audio. The branch is open plan, so a bright spacious feel and for our customers with mobility issues they will certainly find banking with us easier.”

Lloyds Bank is now firmly back in Shirehampton and will be for many years to come.

The Little Tea Pot

Bev, Emma and Louise
Photo: Bob Pitchford

The Little Tea Pot, on the High Street, opened its doors on Friday the 22nd of May.

It is run by three local mums, who felt a good coffee shop was a need for the village. It has the added bonus of being a family-friendly coffee shop with an indoor and outdoor area for children to play while Mums, Dads and grandparents can enjoy an organic FairTtrade coffee, or specialised tea. The little Tea pot has home- made cakes, tray bakes and fresh daily hand- made sandwiches and Paninis, all on offer to eat in or take out, cold drinks are also on offer.

Children enjoying The Little Tea Pot.
Photo: Bob Pitchford

On our open day it was great to have Elsa greet the children and Wayne Harvey with Charlotte Leslie giving their support for the opening of an empty shop in the village.

They also pride themselves on resourcing as much as they can from local village suppliers, Woods Butchers, Bobbetts, home- made cakes made by a local lady, Petite Alice and Bristol Twenty who roast their organic Fair Trade and fairly traded coffee on site in Avonmouth. One of the mums is a qualified Early years teacher so watch for up and coming activities for your babies and toddlers.

They have had a lot of support from family and friends to create The Little Tea Pot from an empty shop to what it is now in just three weeks.

A big ‘Thank you’ goes out to all who helped, but especially to Brett and “Lofty” for all of their hard work being there every day for the time it took to get the shop open.

We would also like to thank all the customers we have had so far for the fabulous feedback we have received, the majority saying this is just what our village has needed “a great coffee shop for all ages”.

Bristol's Brilliant Archaeology

Roman ships at Sea Mills.

Christine Molan is a member of SMART (Sea Mills Archaeological Research Team) and an historical artist. Five of her original paintings, made following the team's exciting discovery in 2010 of a rare Roman port alongside the River Avon at Sea Mills, are to be included in the National Festival of Archaeology event being held at Blaise Castle House Museum on Sunday 26th July 11am – 4pm. This is just one of the displays celebrating Bristol's Brilliant archaeology. There will be historical re-enactors, archaeological and local group displays, family activities, guided tours, face painting and arts and craft activities.

More details available at

KWAG exclusive event

Being held in conjunction with The Association of Gardens Trusts and Avon Gardens Trust in partnership with The Garden History Society - Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown at Kings Weston: A Re-assessment Research and Recording Study Day – Kings Weston, Bristol. Tuesday 22 September 2015 – 9.30 am to 3.45pm – £50

Exploring his Legacy of Comfort and Elegance

A Research and Recording Study Day is to be held at Kings Weston, Bristol on Tuesday 22 September 2015. As part of the celebration of the Tercentenary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, we shall be exploring the influence of Brown on a country estate situated on the outskirts of Bristol. Kings Weston has a long and complex history and the grounds have been variously associated with John Evelyn, Robert Mylne, Thomas Wright and Lancelot Brown, but lack of funding meant the estate had been neglected for too many years. This situation changed in 2011 when the Kings Weston Action Group was founded to protect the estate to fight for its future and protect its past.

Guest speakers will help us discover more about the Southwell family and the Kings Weston estate, the importance of Brown in the British landscape movement and a re-assessment of the influence of Brown at Kings Weston in the light of current research. For more information please download a copy of the booking form from KWAG's website here.

KWAG Tree Walk

The fourth in KWAG's series of free nature walks for Green Capital Year will be led by expert naturalist Richard Bland and explore the historic trees of the Kings Weston Estate. Come along and discover the many different and unusual species growing here, from familiar native trees to exotic imports grown to impress! Find out how to identify different species and how, when and why they were brought to Kings Weston.

The walk will be held on Saturday 11th July, and starts from Shirehampton Road Car Park. Please arrive at 10.15am. The walk will commence at 10.30am and finish around lunch time. Places are limited so book early.

Accompanied children well behaved dogs on leads are very welcome. E-mail or call 07811 6666 71 to book your place.

Nature Notes

Rose bush.

I'm lucky enough to have a really big rose bush in my garden. It needs a fair bit of pruning every year, but it comes back so big and beautiful each time and the scent is gorgeous. At this time of year there are so many different scents competing with each other, it's just fantastic!

I was really interested to hear which of our native birds would come out on top in the (unofficial) poll to choose ‘Britain's favourite bird’. The result was announced on the radio and TV on 11th June. For those who may have missed it, the robin was the very decisive winner. Not such a surprise I guess, they are a bit special aren't they? But let's be fair, it is so tough to pick one when there is the blackbird, barn owl, red kite and so many more. I'm just happy that we have so many wonderful animals to delight us.

My house sparrows seem to have been busy as they are bringing second broods in the garden to be fed today. That was a nice surprise I can tell you. We will soon have the young goldfinches arriving too I think, so need to get a good supply of their favourite Niger seed ready. We have been lucky to catch sight of a very young fox cub out with the adults too. It's great to see it chase around as the older ones patiently wait for the chance of some food scraps to be left for them. Well, eyes peeled and happy nature watching!

News from Shirehampton Primary School

This year the Pastoral Team has been taking part in Forest Schools at Lawrence Weston Farm, it is a lovely environment to do many fun things in whilst learning at the same time.

We have cooked hot dogs, whittled down trees to make dens and shelters, made pigs and Santa Clauses out of wood and roasted marshmallows! Yummy! We have enjoyed ourselves greatly and Coral Harper who has been our Forest School Leader has been amazing! She even gives out prizes for the Star of the Week. We at Shirehampton Primary want to thank Kerry Rowe and her team at Lawrence Weston Farm and we cannot wait to come back next year.

Avon Primary School - Year R trip to the Aquarium

Our topic this term has been ‘Under the Sea’ so where better to go on a school trip than to the Aquarium.

We started our trip by getting on the coach and travelling down the Portway. When we arrived we walked across the square and were met by the staff at the Aquarium.

We were taken on a guided tour and learnt so much from our tour guide Josie. We saw sea horses, lobsters, tortoises, clown fish, star fish, sea urchins, stingrays and our favourite the Leopard shark.

William said, “My favourite part was when the sharks were sleep swimming”.

Sonney said “I liked the stingray because he was sooooo big”.

Ellis said “My favourite bit was when the cow fish winked at me!”

We learnt so much and were so tired on the way home that some of us fell asleep! What a fab day out!

Shirehampton teen Rebecca wows at awards

A teenager from Shirehampton has reached the finals of a national award ceremony to be held in London next month.

Rebecca Connor, 19, a nursery nurse at Mama Bear's Day Nursery & Pre-School won Star Apprentice at the regional Learndirect Inspiration Awards held at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. The Learndirect Inspiration Awards celebrate the work of learners going the extra mile to develop skills in their chosen profession and there were more than 730 nominations nationwide.

Rebecca is now preparing to attend the national awards on 7 July at the Roof Gardens in London where she will go up against other regional winners in the Star Apprentice category, which commends those who go above and beyond their role as an apprentice to reach their full potential. Rebecca said: “I was so pleased to even be nominated for the Inspiration Awards and then to be shortlisted and actually win was amazing! I'm really looking forward to the national awards in London and I'm proud of everything I've achieved so far. From starting with nothing to working through my apprenticeship and my training at a nursery in Clifton and now working as a qualified level 3 early years educator at Mama Bear's in Shirehampton, I feel I've come a long way and I'm pleased to now be settled in a lovely nursery setting doing what I love. I am now working with ‘Bouncies’, children aged 2-3, and I'm really enjoying interacting and playing with the children and watching them develop. There is a great ethos at Mama Bear's where we try to prepare children for big school but with a home-from-home approach, so it's a very satisfying journey to be part of.”

Shirehampton nursery manager Nicola Lane said: “Rebecca is a wonderful member of staff to have on the team, she's always enthusiastic and has really advanced her skills in monitoring the next steps of the children's development. During the Learndirect Inspiration Awards Rebecca was praised for her excellent manner with parents and for building strong relationships with them and the children. We're wishing her all the best for the national awards!”

Family Fundraising Day

On Saturday 18th April, there was a very special fundraising event at PBA Sports Ground, in memory of Benjamin James Rudman.

His parents, Hannah and James Rudman, with Hannah's family Jackie and Leanne Hawkins, organised the event to raise money for a headstone for Benjamin, who died last November aged 5 weeks. They also wished to make a donation to ‘4Louis’ a charity that offers support to bereaved parents.

The event was a huge success, attracting over 250 people who enjoyed Bouncy Castles, stalls, a disco, buffet and more. The total raised was an amazing £3,500.

The family would love to thank everyone who helped make this possible. Special thanks to Andy and Faye Stone, Wayne Harvey for his sponsored cycle ride to Weston, Charlotte Leslie and Port of Bristol, plus all the local businesses and shops who were so very generous.

Fun dog show and family fair for all the family and the dog

Run by and in aid of South Glos Stray dogs – on SUNDAY 16th August 2015 , under cover at Avon Riding Centre, Kings Weston Road, Henbury, Bristol BS10 7QT opposite Blaise Castle Cafι car park. Pedigree and Novelty classes £1/class or £5 as many as you like. Prizes and rosettes to 5th place! Open 10am - Pedigree judging starts 10.45am. Plus…Lots of KIDDIES activities & face painting, CRAFT stalls & DOGGY stalls, meet the Dog Rescues, PLUS big BBQ, FOOD & REFRESHMENTS, Have-a-go agility, Fastest Recall. Please come and support us. 50p entrance adults inc prog, children FREE. Parking at ARC.

Dog Show held in 2014
Dog Show held in 2014 – Fastest Recall Class (photo by Bob Pitchford)
Email on Facebook ‘Friends of Southglos Strays’ or Julia Deane (eve) 07768 285009

Football Fridays – skills and tournament

From Friday 5th June – 28th August every Friday 7-8pm. FREE of charge. There will be an End of Summer Tournament and prizes on 28th August. Open to 14 year olds plus – all abilities welcome. The venue is St Bede's School Astroturf, Long Cross, BS11 0SU.

For further details email OR OR No need to book just turn up.

Shire door to door shopping trips

Organised by SCAF especially for Shire residents aged 60+ and run by Lawrence Weston Community Transport (LWCT) – a door to door service in a fully accessible minibus. Booking on a first come first served basis – FREE OF CHARGE.

Wednesday afternoons pick up from 2pm – the July/August programme is as follows:-

  • 8 July Yate Shopping Centre
  • 15 July Willow Brook Shopping Centre (Home & Wear, Tesco, Argos, Boots, Pet Shop, Pound Store and cafe)
  • 22 July Tesco, Golden Hill
  • 29 July WyeVale Garden Centre (Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Millets etc)
  • 12 Aug Morrisons – Cribbs Causeway
  • 19 Aug Willow Brook Shopping Centre
  • 26 Aug Yate Shopping Centre
For Bookings contact LWCT on 0117 9073074

Picnic site latest

At the recent meeting of the Neighbourhood Partnership (June 4th), those attending voted to support the funding of the picnic benches in Shirehampton Park.

The voting was influenced by the fact that a 1000 plus signature petition had asked for this. Thanks again to all those who signed, especially our two local councillors and local MP. This has to be confirmed by a vote of the local councillors representing Shirehampton, Avonmouth, Sea Mills and Lawrence Weston (the Neighbourhood Partnership area) at the next meeting on 30th June.

The money will come from devolved Section 106 monies from the Old Barrow Hill development, which has to be used by September and has to be used on parks and open spaces within a one mile radius of Old Barrow Hill.

Sarah Tyler of the Parks Department stated that KWAG had offered to clear the area, ready for the tables (thank you KWAG). She also promised to take back to the Parks Department my suggestion that the flat area between the car park and Penpole Lane be cut to the level of the criss-crossing pathways after the hay has been reaped, so that people can use the area for general recreation for the rest of the summer.

Local Man receives MBE

Trade union stalwart Bryan Watts, known as Jock to his mates, has been made an MBE for services to the shipping industry. Originally from Glasgow, he came to Bristol to work for the then council-owned Bristol Port Authority in 1971.

He quickly became a shop steward and has been active in the union movement ever since, particularly with the RMT through the strikes of the 1970s.

In 1991 Mr Watts was initially sceptical about an offer to privatise the business but recognised the need to get new investment and helped persuade the then Labour-controlled city council that privatisation was the only option to save the business, despite criticism for his stance.

Since then he has continued to be the trades union convenor for Unite at the Port whilst working as a stevedore and in The Bristol Port Company's safety and training centre. He worked with the company to set up the UK's first Port Operative Apprenticeship Scheme which has since been copied by many other ports.

Mr Watts said: “This is not just about me but it is for all the guys I have worked with over the years.”

Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,

The despicable attack on the Co-op by a cabal of Tory councillors and the local Tory M.P needs to be challenged. It's a bit rich for Charlotte Leslie to complain about the Co-op's monopoly when her own Cabinet is dominated by people who went to one school. The Co-op has served the people of Shirehampton since I was a child and long before that. In that time many rivals have come and gone, Gateway and Pricerite to name two but the Co-op has never wavered in its commitment to the area. This cabal of local and national politicians makes much of the Co-op's pricing policy but fails to come clean about which of the other retailers they undoubtedly represent.

Looking for old friends

Dear Editor,

I am a former Avonmouth lad who has lived in New Zealand for 42 years. My address was 18, Marsh Street & I would love to contact several friends from the past but have no idea if they are still with us or where they live now. The first person was Pamela Cummings who lived in 21, Marsh Street. She had a younger brother Bobby, her father's name was George & her mother was a well known seamstress. The second person was John Bethune of ‘26’, Cook Street, Avonmouth. He had an older brother Brian, younger sister Sandra & younger brother. I read ‘Shire on the Web’ each month & have sent in several letters the editor has published. I married Gloria Pearce of 16, Cook Street, we emigrated with our 3 kids in 1973. Unfortunately Gloria died in 1990 of myeloid leukaemia.

Surprise Party

Dear Editor,

I would like to say a huge thank you to my family and friends for the cards, gifts and beautiful flowers that I received at my surprise 80th birthday party held on the 25th April. I would also like to thank Tracy, Debbie and Sandra for doing the wonderful buffet and Sherralee for my fantastic birthday cake that was just too nice to cut up but it had to be done! Thank you to everyone who came along and for keeping my birthday party secret. It must have been difficult doing this and it was a huge surprise for me. I would also like to thank my daughter Kathryn for arranging it all, her friends who also helped with the birthday decorations and Dave for being chauffeur that day. I had a lovely time and will remember the day for a long time to come.

Amenities for Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston & Avonmouth

Dear Editor,

Reading in June's paper about the Portishead bus, the writer is right, in Shire, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth, we don't have a choice of supermarkets and no longer have a swimming pool. What about Lawrence Weston old school site or where the old factory in Atlantic road next to motorway was demolished, as a swimming and fun pool. We also need somewhere to play.

New Vicar for Avonmouth/Lawrence Weston

Andy and Emma

Hello Everyone, my name is Andy Murray (Just in case you're wondering…not the tennis player-in fact I'm not even that great at tennis!)

I've recently got the job as the new Vicar of St. Andrew's Church Avonmouth and St Peter's Church Lawrence Weston, and I'll be starting in September. I am sure many of you already know my amazing wife Emma, who has been managing the Bristol North West Foodbank, which supports those on low incomes and in crisis in Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, and other parts of Bristol. Emma set up this charity in 2011, and I've thoroughly enjoyed supporting her and the Foodbank team behind the scenes, setting up food store rooms, putting up shelves and chairing the board of Trustees.

Along with Emma, I will be moving to Lawrence Weston with my three kids, aged 16, 14 &10 and with our four Guinea Pigs who are looking forward to munching on the grass in our new garden!

You might be interested to know a bit about me. I am 42 and have been married to Emma for 18 years. I grew up in and around the South of England. This is the technical bit…. I studied Mechanical & Optical Engineering at Loughborough University in the early 1990s, and then specialised in high power lasers, working in research and then the commercial sector through to 2003. At which point I followed God's call to leave my career and serve as a Youth Pastor at a church in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I began training for ordination (to become a vicar) at Trinity College Bristol in 2010, was ordained in Bristol, and began serving as the Curate (a trainee vicar) at Christ Church Clifton in July 2012.

This is the less technical bit… In my spare time my great passions are surfing, building hollow wooden surfboards, spending time with my family in the outdoors, walking, cycling and kayaking. I am also a huge fan of action films and I am partial to a Chinese Takeaway!

As a family we are excited about moving to and being part of the community in Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, and are looking forward to seeing how God is going to shape the future of both of these church families during our time there. Emma and I would love you to join us at our welcome service at St Andrew's Church, Avonmouth, on Tuesday 8th September at 7:30pm, where the Bishop of Bristol will be Licensing me to take up this post.

Get Growing with Tynings Field

Tynings Field Community Group is an acre small holding in Shirehampton and has come a long way since opening its gate in the summer of 2011.

Once again Tynings Field took part in the ‘Get Growing Trail’ on Sunday 7th June. This time the hot sunny summer day attracted more bees than usual but maybe that is due to the vegetables, fruits and wild flowers growing there. The Get Growing Trail is part of Big Green Week that is a city wide event and gives the public the chance to visit farms and small holdings for example to find out more and hopefully join in.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

“Tynings Field is a well maintained and beautiful community garden with vegetable plots. It's organic and no pesticides are used on the ground at all. Members can join for £10 a year and can grow vegetables on an area of this land for themselves and receive a share of the fruit and chicken eggs. Excess vegetables is shared between members or sold to help support the group.” said Caroline Penny Cole

“We participate in the Community Plant Collection which involves growing a rare species of Calendula for Bristol Zoo and we will be at Hampton Court helping with their stall. The group also maintains and shares the produce from 26 fruit trees and various soft fruit bushes including wild blackberries in the orchard and wildlife areas. We have bees and Tynings Field Honey is on sale to members and the public at regular intervals.”

Caroline mentioned the orchard and progressing with Tynings Field in the future and how people can help “We would like to raise funds to buy more fruit trees for the orchard and fruit bushes. We are looking for a donation of benches or wood to make raised beds for the orchard where people with disabilities and older people can grow fruits and vegetables. We'd like to make the orchard into a therapeutic space but need with this. We already have Avon Autistic Foundation working in a greenhouse and vegetable plot here and we seek to encourage more marginal groups to come here too”.

For further information please contact Caroline Penny Cole on 0117 9090440.

The Bloodhound Project

The final stages of building the supersonic racing car Bloodhound SSC has been reached and anyone interested in the latest updates can access the latest newsletter on

Save shirehampton community action forum (SCAF)

Dear Shire residents

We have been working hard for the Shire community for nearly 14 years now, but sadly have to say that finding funding to support us has got more and more difficult each year.

We need to raise £22,000 each financial year (April – March) to keep going at our current capacity. Since April we have only managed to secure about £2,000 and from 1st July we will need to start using our reserve funds to support us. The principal expenditure is core costs – 1 part time salary for our Community Development Officer (Ash Bearman).

We have approx. five months funds left which will run out in October. We are doing everything we can to try and secure funding and grants to support our work.

We are making this known to you to ask for your support – every donation will be of great value to us. We are and will continue to make further applications to funders and grant makers. Do you know of any that may support our work? Does your company make donations to local community groups (we are also a registered charity)?

If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact Ash on or phone 0117 982 9963. We are based at Shire Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TU

St Mary’s News

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Before I move on to news for this month I am sure you will be interested to hear that our Spring Bank Holiday Open Church Day raised the sum of £690 and the visit by the Worcester Male Voice Choir the magnificent figure of £966.Without these fund raising events we would be in deep financial trouble - so thank you to all who came and supported these events

Our Holiday Club during the school half term break was very successful with a maximum attendance of 24 children. The activities were wide ranging with one little boy saying that one of the day's was “the best day of my life”. So that speaks for itself - no further comment necessary except to say thank you to the ladies who organised it and ran it!

On Sunday, 14th June - Grace & William Mwakijungu and Maisie Robinson at our 10am Holy Communion Service were admitted to Communion before Confir-mation. This means they're children able to receive the Bread & Wine at the service. They do not take the wine from the Chalice but merely dip the bread wafer into the wine. It is to be hoped they will become full members of the church by being Confirmed by a Bishop when they are a little older. Congratulations to all three of them.

Sunday, 5th July is Prize Giving Day for the children who attend Kidz Klub each Sunday. There is no discrimination whatsoever ALL the children receive a prize in the form of a book of their choice. These will be presented at both the Kidz Klub service and the 10am Holy Communion.

Our Patronal Weekend, when we celebrate our Patron Saint - St Mary - is on the 11th & 12th July. On the Saturday there will be a Summer Fayre in the church from 10am until 12noon. In the afternoon you may well like to come in and enjoy a Cream Tea and take a look at our Flower Festival which this year is based on the theme “Thank you for the Music”. Which brings me straight on to say that the Shirehampton Area Choir will be performing their Summer Concert from 2.45pm until 3.30pm. What a wonderful afternoon is in prospect!

The next day, Patronal Festival Sunday, Bishop Lee - Bishop of Swindon - will be attending our 10am Holy Communion Service and will also preach to us. We look forward very much to his visit. The day ends with a Service of Compline at 8pm - a quiet but reflective short service to end what will have been a very busy weekend.

On Friday, 24th July, we are holding another of our Silent Auctions. Tickets are £8 and will include Supper. The evening will start at 7pm when you will have an opportunity to see what is offered for sale and place your bids. Supper will be at 7.30pm with the result of the auction bids afterwards. Please come and enjoy yourself and perhaps pick up a bargain at the same time.

This month I leave you with this thought - “Aspire to inspire before you expire”.

From The Registers of St. Mary

May 2015

Baptism ‘we welcome you’

31st Kyla Phoenix Attwood

Funerals ‘at rest and at peace’

15th Mary Churchill Canford

22nd Loretta Boyse St Mary's


16th Ceejay Dun & Leanne Snook

A Hole in the Roof – Have you Faith to Step Through?

Friendship, loyalty and trust are important skills but how to teach them to children?

Shirehampton Baptist Church think they have the answer! With fun, games, arts and crafts, storytelling and lively activities, plus a tasty meal, Messy Church is free for all the family. If you don't mind getting very messy, or if you prefer to stay a little cleaner, there's something for everyone. The fun begins at 3.00 pm until 5.00 pm at the Baptist Church in Station Road, on Saturday, 4th July. All are very welcome to come and discover what happened when one disabled man put complete trust in his friends – when they dropped him through the hole in the roof.

Shirehampton methodist church

On Sunday 26th July at 11.00am – a Farewell Service for the Rev Ajay Singh, who is leaving us to take up an appointment at Stourbridge. A warm welcome is extended to all.


Shire Newspaper will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Monday 3rd August 2015 at 5.30pm in the Tithe Barn, High Street, Shirehampton.

This meeting is open to all members of the public and we would urge anyone who might be interested in joining the editorial team or contributing to any part of the production process, to come along and find out more.

Botany in the shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area. In a recent column I suggested that I might sometimes be seen hanging my head over the road verge looking at the plants growing there. I suppose it was inevitable that eventually a policeman would stop to talk to me and politely ask just what I was doing: “I saw you near the motorway”, he said, “and I was concerned for your safety”. We agreed that it might be a good idea if I wore a high-visibility jacket. It crossed my mind that perhaps I should write (in large letters) the word BOTANIST on the back. Or perhaps not...

Something else that must have been inevitable was the recent publication of a murder mystery novel entitled THE BOTANIST, the name given to the protagonist, a serial killer who made flower beds of the graves of his victims. I'd often thought of writing a murder story myself, where PC White, a Victorian amateur botanist, uses his forensic skills to solve a murder when, during renovation works, a body is found in the hollow Leigh Woods buttress of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. White places the murderer at the scene of the crime by identifying scraps of the rare Marsh Cinquefoil in the murderer's trouser turn-ups and in mud on the victim's boots.

On the subject of Victorian botanists and detective stories, a few years ago I was able to make a case that the mannerisms of one of our local botanists appeared in The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Collins was a subscriber to St Brody's Flora of Weston-super-Mare (1856), a place Collins re-invented as Mangerton-in-the-Mud. Both wrote about the necessity to dissect (or as Collins put it, pull apart) flowers to identify them properly.

Grasses need that sort of attention to detail. So if you would care to join me on an evening walk (with the Bristol Naturalists' Society) to look at grasses and other plants growing in the nearby meadows on Thursday 2 July at 7.30pm, I would be pleased to make your acquaintance. Meet in the car park past the Golf Club on the Shirehampton Road near Kingsweston House (GR ST540772). Time permitting we will cross the iron bridge onto Kingsweston Down.

Shirehampton public hall newsletter

Firstly, thanks to Bristol City Council the public hall now has a new baby changing unit in the ladies disabled toilet – much needed for a while now as we have two toddler groups and Music with Mummy each week!

So, mums/dads/carers do come along and take part in our activities for the tinies! Also, there are a number of up and coming events during the summer and towards the autumn, including a public quiz evening to raise much needed funds for the Hall, and of course our wonderful craft fair. Keep your eyes on our noticeboard and website for further details. Don't forget our AGM, which is open to all at 7.15pm on Tuesday 21st July at the Public Hall. We are still very keen to recruit new trustees for the Public Hall Community Association. Some existing trustees are due to retire and we have an exciting future ahead of us as we work together with the library to retain and improve the service we offer to the people of Shirehampton. We are looking for people who are interested in the community to bring energy and new ideas to our organisation.

Get in touch at or phone 0117 9829963. Also, take a look at our website to see our varied and interesting range of activities – there's something for everyone!

Further news from the Public Hall

The Public Hall was designated as a listed building, Grade 2, a good many years ago.

Historic England has recently updated the details of the listing. The description now includes the library, which of course is part of the same building and of architectural importance in its own right. In addition the listing includes more detail about the features of the building, for example, the style of the front door and the glazing of the inner doors.

Photo by Bob Pitchford

Did you know that a ‘green man’ is carved into the woodwork of the porch above the door? He is a mythical character associated with the countryside, a reminder of Shirehampton's rural past. Do have a look next time you walk past the hall. If you want to find out more the full details are on the Historic England website. JT

Free Courses

Food Hygiene – learn about food hygiene and have the chance to gain a level 2 Food Safety in Catering certificate. Tuesdays 30th June and 7th July 9.30-2.30pm at Avonmouth Community Centre, 257 Avonmouth Road, BS11 9EN

Computer Skills for work or volunteering – learn how to type letters, use the internet and send emails/attachments, basic computer skills using a laptop and how to write a CV and make online job applications – at Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Saltmarsh Drive, BS11 0NJ 25th June, 2 and 9 July.

To apply for either of these course contact Suzanne on 0117 9030072 or

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

There is much cause for optimism at the club, with four new bowlers making their debut in friendly matches and the Men's League Team in second place in their division at the start of June.

With several more people planning to give bowling a try, numbers look set to rise over the coming months. Chris and Ali Weston, Malcolm Towler and Angela Rigley (pictured above) had never bowled a ball on a bowling green until they came to the Tuesday evening sessions for new bowlers early in the season. Now, they are representing the club in mixed friendly games and thoroughly enjoying the experience that bowling provides.

The Men's League have lost just once as the league season nears it's mid-point and there is real hope of promotion back to a higher level next season. As well as Bristol and District League the men were involved in County Competitions on 7th June. The Ladies League Team started June with a victory at home to Olveston.

Mixed friendly fixtures continue most Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays well into September, as do the Ladies Only games on Thursday afternoons. The Club League, played mainly on Monday evenings is now well underway and Club Competitions will commence soon.

The Club Summer Tour which this year is based in Tenby, commences on 1st August until 6th. There will be games every day including on the way home, each day on a different green. The Winter Tour has already been booked at The Carlton Hotel, in Torquay commencing 31st January until 5th February. This is when the club plus guests from other clubs bowl indoors and have an enjoyable week at the Torquay Leisure Resort.

The Bowls Club played a part in the Main Clubs Fun Day on 30th May by running stalls and providing an opportunity for people to try their hand at bowling.

Anyone interested in trying bowling should contact David Hinksman on 0117 9082713. All equipment and experienced advice is provided at no cost or obligation. Half price membership is still available.

‘Shire’ copy deadline

As you will be aware from page 2 of the paper, the deadline for copy is the 10th of the month. In order to avoid a last minute rush of copy and to give editors ample time to edit and prepare it for printing, we appreciate receiving it as soon as possible before the deadline. So if you have an article/letter etc you wish to submit we are happy to receive it at any time and we will endeavour to include it in the next issue where possible. Thank you for your co-operation.

Shirehampton Hospital?

Where's that to, then? It wasn't there in 1883 and it had vanished by 1912.

No official documents that I have seen mention it. But it's there on the 1903/4 revision of large-scale Ordnance Survey maps of the area. In the middle of Shirehampton Park, astride the position of the fairway of the present 11th hole of the golf course, we can see a building with a central core, two wings and an outhouse, labelled “Isolation Hospital”.

It was roughly between the old stones marking the ancient boundary between Shirehampton and Henbury which you can still see there.

This spot was outside the city of Bristol as the boundary stood at the time of the map-revision. In fact it was just in Henbury parish (not really in Shire at all, then!), but it was as remote as it was possible to be in the southern part of the parish, and it satisfied the national sanitary authority rules about being outside the city boundaries and over half a mile from inhabited places (except the lodge houses at the top of Park Hill and by the iron bridge). It was approached by a rough track from Shirehampton Road, branching off roughly opposite the Rush Pool.

Ordnance Survey map of 1903/4 in a screenshot from Bristol – Know Your Place,

The Isolation Hospital

By the time it appeared on the map, “fever” cases coming into Avonmouth docks were being sent to the little Port Hospital north of the old dock, and Bristol patients recovering from smallpox were being put on board the “ship hospital”, the hulk Margarida moored in the Avon opposite Avonmouth, between 1893 and 1899. Ham Green isolation hospital in Pill had been in use by the city of Bristol, mainly for typhoid cases, since 1899, and its capacity was doubled in 1901. So what was the extra space in the Park needed for? Cholera had been eliminated in Bristol, and smallpox, a declining disease, was by then being treated at three establishments in the city.

The wards may have looked a bit like these at the isolation hospital in Rushden, Northamptonshire, built in response to a smallpox outbreak in 1892 and in use or available from 1893 to about 1901 Photo: Rushden Echo and Argus, 16 June 1950, It was later converted into bungalows!

Memory comes to the rescue – well, sort of! In the Avonmouth Mouthful of memories book, Myfanwy Clark and Jack Williams mention a fever hospital in a “tin shed erected on the golf links”. So that must be the one – but Myfanwy was born in 1910 and Jack in 1911, and the tin shed had gone by 1912, so what were they remembering? Their father Robert had come to live in Avonmouth in 1906 and may have told them about it.

The Western Daily Press on 15 February 1902 carried a report from the Rural District Council that Dr Napier Miles of Kingsweston had provided land in his park for the “iron hospital” for free. It was planned from the outset as a temporary building, on a breezy but nice healthy south-facing slope.

But why exactly was it there, and how long for? We know one patient by name in 1900, when three-year-old Frank Lait of Avonmouth died there of diphtheria. The most pressing need for it came with an outbreak of 158 cases of the same disease in Shire and Avonmouth in 1901. But I don't know when it was removed – sometime shortly after 1906, if Robert Williams knew it?

Does anyone remember any people alive at that time who had memories, however bad, of this sinister and unwelcome place? If so, please tell Richard Coates at

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Celebrates Volunteers Week

Clic Sargent held their Mad Hatters Tea Party on the 3rd June to celebrate Volunteers Week.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

With the table set with sandwiches, nibbles and a celebratory cake, a fun competition was held amongst volunteer staff members as to who could decorate the best hat. There were eight ‘Mad Hatter’ hats featuring a varied range of designs from flowers, tea pots, tea cups, playing cards and flashing lights.

“It was really fun, our volunteers were very creative and made a fantastic effort. We even had two judges to decide the winner thanks to Victoria Williams our South West Fundraising Manager and Nicholas Vaughan, our volunteer development officer, who were visiting for the day. It was a difficult decision for them to decide on a winner” said Sarah Forse, Clic Sargent Shop Manager.

And the winner was?... “Our competition was won by Patricia Warren who made a hat with the words “The Forse is with us “ on - a pun on my name. I had no hand in the judging I may add!”

I asked Sarah how important were her volunteers and the role they play in the shop itself? “Well, without our shop volunteers we couldn't fund our social workers, nursing staff and other specialists who do an amazing job supporting children, young people and their families through cancer treatment.

We wanted to hold an event to thank them, so we celebrated volunteers week by holding a Mad Hatter's tea party at our shop.” After the event was over the hats were displayed in the shop window with the winning hat ‘The Forse is with us’ taking pride of place.

Avon and Somerset's ‘Best on the Beat’ competition is back!

Avon and Somerset Police crest

Local communities from Thornbury to Yeovil, Williton to Wells and all those in between are being asked once again by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Acting Chief Constable John Long for their help in searching out the best in local policing.

Neighbourhood policing comes in all shapes and sizes: police officers, police staff, special constables, police community support officers (PCSO's), volunteers and police cadets – however all have the same ambition to keep the communities of Avon and Somerset safe and feeling safe.

That is why if you have a neighbourhood team making a difference where you live, or a police officer, member or staff or volunteer has changed your life for the better, we want to hear from you and now is your chance to nominate them for a Neighbourhood Policing Award.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am delighted to be announcing the launch of the Neighbourhood Policing Awards 2015. When I speak to residents and local people I hear many stories of how officers, staff and volunteers have gone above and beyond their duty or how a team has really made a difference.

“I hope that these people and the wider communities of Avon and Somerset take the time to nominate their local policing teams and tell us why they mean so much to them. It is because the nominations come from local people that these awards are so valued by the officers, staff and volunteers who work hard to keep us safe.”

The awards recognise the outstanding work of the Neighbourhood Policing teams and individuals in the following categories:

Neighbourhood Beat Team of the Year, Neighbourhood Beat Manager of the Year, PCSO of the Year, Special Constable of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and the Outstanding Customer Service Award. This year we will also be looking to recognise the work of Volunteer Police Cadets.

Acting Chief Constable John Long said: “The Neighbourhood Policing Awards are held to acknowledge the continued hard work and commitment to the public by our officers. On a daily basis they work hard to ensure you feel safe and are safe, with little or no expectation of recognition for their efforts.

“If you know of and can take the time to nominate a police officer, PCSO, special constable or neighbourhood team who has helped you feel safe in your area, it would be a priceless thank you from the communities our officers live to serve.”

To nominate for this year's awards and see photos from last year's awards visit – the closing date for nominations is August 4, 2015. Nomination forms are also available in police stations and hard copies.

After this date an independent panel will select winners across the policing areas and an awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, November 26, 2015 at Cadbury House Hotel where an overall force winner for each category will be announced.

The awards would not be possible without the support of local organisations. Sponsorship opportunities are available for 2015 and if your organisation is interested in supporting this event please visit the Neighbourhood Policing Awards website.

The newly refurbished ‘Balmoral’ passing Shirehampton and Pill.

Balmoral passing Shirehampton
The newly refurbished ‘Balmoral’ passing Shirehampton and Pill. Photo: Bob Pitchford