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News Index

Severnside Sirens Calendar Awards

A403 Reconstruction - Avonmouth to Aust

Shire Craft Exhibition

Cotswolds Generosity Overwhelming!

St Bernard's School celebrates 80th Anniversary

Shirehampton Nursery Worker Wows at Awards

Shirehampton, Shaun and success!

Try Sailing Day

Letters to the Editor

First Bus Service Changes

New Activities for Wellbeing Day

Cooking with Friends

Portway School Class of 1951

St Mary’s News

Nature Notes


S H I R E    @ShireNewspaper    #ShireNewspaper

Severnside Sirens Calendar Awards

St. Bernard's School was the venue for the Severnside Sirens Calendar Awards which took place on the 7th July.

The Lord Mayor Claire Campion-Smith, Pearl Abraham from the Severnside Trust, Simon Creed and Andy Bruce from the Civil Protection Unit were in attendance along with the winning children and their teachers. The Lord Mayor presented each child with a wind up torch whilst the overall winner Anastazja Mierzynska was presented with a wind up torch, wind up radio and a day trip for her class to @Bristol.

The design competition for local school children to take part in was launched to expand the understanding of the risks posed by the industrial sites in Avonmouth and Severnside. It was also to highlight the Severnside Sirens and their importance to the area if there is an industrial accident, and what local people need to do should the alarms sound. The schools that took part were St. Bernard's Primary School, Shirehampton Primary School, Sea Mills Primary School, Avon Primary School, Avonmouth Church Of England Primary School, Severn Beach Primary School, Oasis Bankleaze, Oasis Longcross and Oasis Brigstowe.

Millie Begley aged 10 from Oasis Longcross said “I entered the competition because I thought it would be a fun thing to do and something to make people aware of the alarm because if they didn't know what it was they'd find out”. Whilst Prezton Groves aged 10 from Avon Primary School told me what it was like collecting his award “It was really good but I was kind of nervous when I was going up to get my award”.

Anastazja Mierzynska from St. Bernard's School was the overall winner of the competition and told me “I was really excited collecting my award and the Lord Mayor said my drawing was wonderful”.

Siren Awards
Photo: Kathryn Courtney

The sirens are part of the most sophisticated alarm system in the country and are used to alert local residents in the event of an industrial accident within the Avonmouth and Severnside area. The sirens are tested on the 3rd day or each month at 3pm. There are three steps of action should you hear the sirens at any other time:

  • Go in: When you first hear the siren you should go inside and fasten all your doors and windows.
  • Stay in: You should not attempt to leave the property until you hear the ‘All- Clear’ tone, a continuous minute long term.
  • Tune in: Tune into your local radio station and wait for updates.

Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, Bristol's Lord Mayor, said: “It is important that we and our children are aware of the risks no matter how unlikely they are. In Bristol we are lucky enough to have one of the best alarm systems of its type in the country and we should know how to react to it.”

Picture of siren
Siren horn

The Severnside Sirens Calendar 2016 is now available. The council produces Major Accident Hazard Advice booklets every three years which give information about the Severnside area and the safety precautions that are in place. These are distributed to 32,000 properties in the local area as well as local GPs surgeries, libraries and businesses.

A403 Reconstruction - Avonmouth to Aust

Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council have been awarded £14million from the Department for Transport Challenge Maintenance Bid to reconstruct the carriageway of the A403 from St Andrews Road Roundabout to Aust. Bristol's share is £7.5million.

In addition to reconstructing the road and pavement to extend the life of the highway and reduce future maintenance costs and disruptions they will be significantly improving the pedestrian and cycling environment, providing new bus stop infrastructure, improving road safety, and deliver improved drainage and energy efficient lighting.

Works are planned for w/c 13th July 2015;

  • Replacing and upgrading lighting columns and lantern heads. This will deliver energy efficient LED white light along the A403 corridor, resulting in less energy use and greater, more controlled light.
  • Resurfacing of Avonmouth Way expected to last approximately one month. The majority of works will be undertaken with two way traffic signals but a closure will be required at the end of the works on the roundabout exit.

A full programme of works including the temporary traffic management is available on the SevernNet website (

Funding Secured for Local Projects

Avonmouth and Kingsweston Partnership has funded various projects within the Avonmouth ward:

  • Rustic benches will be sited along the river bank from the PBA Club to Northleach.
  • Small sided goal posts to be installed in the Lamplighters playing field.
  • Two new benches in St Andrews Park.
  • Three new benches for the picnic area near the old Tennis Courts Kingsweston. The area to be cleared and brought back into use. ( Thanks to Gill Osman people power petition).
  • £2,550 to add to the Bristol Port Company donation of £5,000 towards new play equipment at the Richmond Terrace play area.

You asked, we listened and we delivered, Councillors Harvey & Melias.

Shire Craft Exhibition

Hi all local crafters! This is to remind you that the longest day is now past and it's the run down to the craft exhibition. The exhibition runs from Tuesday 27th October for 5 days, closing on Saturday 31st October.

Whilst we welcome all crafters we are also looking for people who would like to spend a few hours during the week helping us keep an eye on exhibits, chatting to visitors and generally supporting this local event - there might even be tea and cakes!

So crafters get working, time will go very quickly, keep your eyes open for application forms in future issues. On the other hand if you would like to help then do please get in touch.

The most important thing is to tell family, friends and other crafters about the exhibition so together we can make it a great week.

Local Employment and Enterprise Services

It's just been agreed that a suite of Employment and Enterprise Services will be provided by the SevernNet Working Local Partnership of Ambition Lawrence Weston, Avonmouth Community Centre and SevernNet supported by Social Enterprise Works. These services will complement and enhance existing services.

If you are, or know:

  • a small business looking for support
  • a business seeking employees, better skills, training locally
  • are prepared to help provide mentoring

Cotswolds Generosity Overwhelming!

On Saturday 20th June the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road, held two separate successful events raising over £1000 for charity.

At a ‘Blooming Great Tea Party’ £400 was raised for Marie Curie which provides care and support through terminal illness. “We had a wonderful afternoon and cakes kindly donated were delicious” said Bridget, a Cotswold Committee member and organiser of the event. “I would like to thank everyone who attended for their generosity and the volunteer helpers for making this such a fun and special afternoon”.

Before the seats had a chance to go cold the evening event, a ‘Wine & Cheese’ night with ‘Skills and Tasks’ auction, was in progress. Under the hammer were 13 items as diverse as a Disco, Guitar lessons, table tennis coaching, cleaning, gardening and a three course meal for two kindly donated by the Lamplighters Pub. “I could not believe how kind people were donating skills and tasks and was genuinely overwhelmed by the generosity of the bidders. The evening was a huge success and I'd like to thank everyone who helped make this such a fantastic and enjoyable event” said a surprised Cotswold Chair, Richard Livingston. “The money raised will go towards updating the centre which is a valuable resource for the local community”.

The Cotswold Community Centre holds regular and occasional events and can be hired by the hour by members of the public at very reasonable rates. Contact Richard Livingston on 07779227107 for details.


Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF). AGM at Shire Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, BS11 9TU. Wednesday 7th October 2015 7-9pm. Everyone welcome.

No Shave Campaign for Dragon Club

The many friends, relatives and neighbours of Peter Grant will be very pleased to hear that he raised £170 by his sponsored ‘No Shave’ campaign for the benefit of the members of the Dragon Club in Shirehampton.

Dragon club

The money was handed over to treasurer, Pat Kemp, by Peter on Monday 22nd June at their weekly meeting in the Methodist Church Hall. Pat said that this wonderful sum will be used for the benefit of the members and they are extremely grateful. In the current climate of cut backs, when the majority of their members have lost their day centre places, it is even more important for them to have a place to go to in the evening to mix with their friends. For some of them it is their only night out in the week, so any help is greeted with pleasure. The club is entirely self-funding and is staffed by volunteers. The Dragon Club, a registered charity, was formed thirty years ago by Pat Kemp for the benefit of adults with learning disabilities and some of the members have been coming for all of that time.

St Bernard's School celebrates 80th Anniversary

On the 19th June St.Bernard's School celebrated its 80th Anniversary.

The afternoon saw parents and grandparents arrive in the playground for a number of performances by each class. The children sang songs from various decades including Glen Miller, The Beatles and Wet, Wet, Wet along with dance routines and each performance was met with enthusiasm by the children and plenty of applause by the audience.

In the main hall was a number of timeline wall displays dating from 1935 through to present day highlighting events such as World War II, the moon landing, the Queen's Coronation, the World Cup and the Olympic Games. There were plenty of school photos and achievements made that appeared in the Bristol Post over the years. I also met with Desmond Anglin who was a teacher at St. Bernard's School for six years after leaving the Army in 1950. He shared one of his classroom memories with me.

“I remember we did the Romans and I had the blackboard there and I got four of the pupils there, boys and girls, to hold it on their backs because we were talking about the Romans. Their tortullian thing, where they made a tortoise type thing, I actually stood onto the desk and then onto the blackboard and we rode round the class room. You can imagine the screams of excitement that came out. I saw the Head Master hurrying down the corridor looking in the window, but he was quite happy with it all and it all passed on.”

Meg Wilson who is the Head Teacher at the school summed up the hard work of the children and the performances that afternoon. “It's been very successful. We've had two or three generations of families that have been here. All have been contributing photographs and memories of their time in school and it's been lovely talking to people.”

“We've done a timeline of memories here at St.Bernard's. Each class has had a decade to do a little display and learn about it. They've each learnt a song from that decade and just performed it to all the visitors so that has been really exciting for them”

“I think everybody enjoyed it very much. There was lots of clapping and cheering and that. I think they realise how hard it is for children to stand out in front of them and perform in front of lots of people so I think the audience really appreciated it” said Meg.

The event was followed by the annual school summer fayre and a cake competition for the 80th anniversary where all the cakes were made by the children. Here's to the next eighty years for St. Bernard's School.

Shirehampton Nursery Worker Wows at Awards

A nursery worker from Shirehampton impressed judges and won a prestigious national award which celebrates learners who go the extra mile to develop skills in their chosen profession.

Rebecca Connor, 20, a nursery nurse at Mama Bear's Day Nursery & Pre-School won Star Apprentice at the learndirect Inspiration Awards which were held at the Roof Gardens in London.

With more than 730 nominations nationwide Rebecca was 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 a finalist and actually win was amazing!”

“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.”

Mama Bear's Day Nursery is a family-run childcare organisation, established in 2002, with the aim of making high-quality, affordable childcare available to families living, working or studying in the South West. Now with nurseries across Bristol, Somerset and Devon Mama Bear's is one of the leading providers of childcare in the region.

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 so pleased all her hard work and natural talent has been recognised in this way.”

Shirehampton, Shaun and success!

There is a saying, ‘time flies when you are having fun’ and this is certainly appropriate for this last year at Shirehampton Primary School.

It is time again to say a fond farewell to our year 6 children who are ready for the challenges KS3 and secondary school will bring. As a result of the staff and community's hard work we can celebrate another year of huge success with more improvements in SAT and test results right across the school from reception all the way to year 6. I know the parents are incredibly impressed and proud and they have every right to be as their children are wonderful, talented and committed to high quality learning at SPS.

Our very active school council, made up of children from every class from year 2 to year 6 have outdone themselves this year. In total they have raised just over £700 for local charities: Linkage, St Peter's Hospice, Barnardo's, Avon Talking Magazine and Bristol Children's Hospital. The latter through fundraising to purchase our very own Shaun of Shire sheep who now completely decorated will take pride of place in the school entrance hall.

Earlier in the year we held a ‘big dig’ event to help bring our green space up to scratch; the event saw lots of people come and help out. Mr Richard Fletcher who works at the Port of Bristol Authority was one parent who volunteered his services and it was at the big dig when he decided to get the Port involved. He could see there was lots of potential but knew it was too much work for Nicky and I! We discussed the aim of the incredible edible project and devised a plan of how we would like the green space to be utilised. The space will be sectioned into a growing area, a barked area with a ‘fire circle’ for story-telling, a natural playground, a mini beast hotel, and the pond with a wild flower area! After the work has been completed we will hold a community picnic so that everyone can enjoy the green space! Not only did Richard organise a team to come and overhaul the space and improve it the PBA have kindly donated £500 to ensure we can keep it well maintained which we are very grateful for - a great example of partnership for the benefit of the whole community.

May I take this opportunity to thank the local community for their continued support, kindness, partnership and determination to make our school the fabulous, inspiring and successful place it is - we know we wouldn't have half the successes without you!

New Scouts

On Thursday 21st May Scout Leader Grant Watkins invested three of the Dixon Cubs into the 191st Shirehampton Scout Troop. Ruben Sivajoti, Zach Treherne, and George Herron were the three progressing Cubs.

Try Sailing Day

Shirehampton Sailing Club are having a Try Sailing Day on Sunday, 9 August 2015 from 1pm to 6 pm.

There will be a BBQ from 1 pm - Sailing from 2 pm. Enjoy a drink from the Lamplighters garden bar. Come and try sailing as crew in a sailing dinghy, safety gear and Patrol boat provided.

Come along on the day to visit, or if you would like to sail, book a half hour sail beforehand by calling Bob Hayes on 0117 9422906 for details. As with all sailing, what we do will depend on the weather on the day! Shirehampton Sailing Club, opposite the Lamplighters Public House on Station Road (off the Portway).

Farm Cafe Grand Opening

Lawrence Weston Community Farm are celebrating the opening of their new Community Cafe and training facility by holding a celebration on Wednesday 5th August.

Events start at 12:30pm with a gathering in the cafe for drinks and nibbles, followed by the grand opening at 1pm. At 1:15pm there will be a buffet, with family fun day activities from 2pm.

Free summer activities are taking place at the farm throughout August including Kids Bike Workshops, Fire & Bread making, mini den building and more. See for more details. The farm can be found on Saltmarsh Drive, Lawrence Weston. BS11 0NJ

Summer Holiday Sports Camps @ St Bede's

The St Bede's community sports team will be running children's holiday sports camps throughout the schools summer holidays from Monday 20th July-Friday 28th August.

The camps are open to boys and girls aged 7-14 and will alternate weekly between football and multi-sports. All camps run from 9am-3pm from Monday-Friday at a cost of £10 per day or £45 for a full week. Courses are run by experienced coaches who are suitably qualified and have been DBS Police Checked and will fully supervise the children at all times.

For further info or to register contact Rob Allan, North Bristol Sport/Football Development Officer, 07825 767582 or 0117 3533364,

Letters to the Editor

Thank you for the help

Dear Editor,

On Wednesday, 1 July 2015 I was on my way to Shirehampton Post Office with the assistance of Anne, Assistant Warden from The Orchards. I am 82 years old and very unstable walking. Unfortunately, before I got to the Post Office, I had a nasty fall outside the estate agents on the High Street. I fell on my face and I have had seven stitches in my forehead and also my hands were seriously grazed with the skin taken off. Not only did it shake me up, but the injuries have been very painful. Many people came to my assistance, and I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and concern towards me, especially to the off duty paramedic Rachel, from the bottom of my heart. Myself and my family have had lots of enquiries as to how I am and I am very thankful that I am alive to tell the tale. It was such a comfort to know that so many people care when something like this happens. Once again, thank you so much.

Cemetery Railings

Dear Editor,

It is so nice to see that the railings at the St. Marys Road entrance to Shirehampton Cemetery have been painted at last. Thank you Bristol City Council and to the lads that painted them.

The phone number to ring to enquire about Evergreens Day Trips is 07749430508.

Shirehampton Hospital

Dear Editor,

I was reading the article in the July edition of the Shire concerning the Shirehampton hospital. I was interested as my army boyfriend comes from Rushden Northants. I've sent a copy to their historical society as it seems we have unexpected ties.

Kind gentleman

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank a kind gentleman who stopped his car and came to my aid when my mobility scooter turned over when I was trying to get on the pavement.

It happned last Sunday (5th July) in Springfield Avenue by Walton Road about 4pm. I had a very bad cut to my shin and had cut a vein so I was bleeding a lot. He got a paramedic who was in Walton Road to come and she got an ambulance. He also got my daughter for me. I did not get his name and I would have liked to thank him for his care to me.

Once again the kindness of our local people makes me feel glad to live in Shirehampton where people do care.

I will write to the council, as trying to get on pavements which are not lowered is very frightening.

Yours sincerely

Fenced off

Dear Editor,

I would like to know why the Avonmouth old boys club have dug up and fenced off the entrance from the cycle path to the upper field as it is not used to play matches on and it was great to walk the dogs there and let them have a run around.

Thank You from the Editor

We would like to thank Richard Coates for his £50 donation, and also for his interesting historical articles. We hope we will see more in due course.

Walk on the Wild Side

Sunday 14th June proved to be a pleasant afternoon for a Walk on the Wild Side with Steve England.

With around 30 adults and children in attendance we all took a slow walk along Lamplighters Marsh and the Yellow Brick Road. Steve had previously taken part in the Wild City Project and this time around he was informing us all of the plants we could eat and those we could not. We also went on a bug hunt to keep the children interested. “We made a fantastic new discovery, a very large Hornet Moth which gave us all a great surprise.” said Steve. “It's always a challenge for me when there is a mixed group of adults and children, I have to ensure everyone is made to feel part of the day. Kids are not interested in scientific facts such as Latin names of plants, so encouraging them to collect bugs and look them up in a book themselves was great fun for them and ensured they were involved in the day too.”

Siren Awards
Photo: Kathryn Courtney

I asked Steve what he hoped people had learned from the day. “I hope people came away with a better understanding and appreciation of how biologically rich and diverse Lamplighters Marsh is and that we don't need to be ‘experts’ to enjoy the area. We learnt about some of the more dangerous plants in the area not to be eaten or even touched such as the Hemlocks that look very similar to the edible Cow Parsley. I would love to return here. I have really enjoyed my visits to Lamplighters Marsh and I am really keen to do some evening walks especially looking for bats along the river and fields.”.

Siren Awards
Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Feedback from walkers was very positive. “I loved being told the names of the plants and what was edible and what was not. Being in the company of others who were just as interested in what Steve had to say was very good. I would definitely recommend this” said Jackie Lane. “Steve's knowledge is never ending and he gives you the confidence to eat wild food that you wouldn't do on your own.” said Gill Sheppherd. “One of the highlights has to be seeing a Hornet Moth that Steve had only seen in books. Several internet sites list the Hornet Moth as nationally scarce.” said John and Sue Knight.

Siren Awards
Photo: Kathryn Courtney

Ash Bearman from SCAF summed up the afternoon. “It's been a very popular walk and inspirational. A fascinating afternoon of new discoveries and a learning curve as to what is available to eat in the wild. From children to adults I think everyone has taken away something that they won't forget. Steve's vast experience, knowledge and guidance has been inspiring. He has given a greater insight to what is available around us and how important it is to preserve our surrounding environment now and for future generations. These walks are invaluable and very worthwhile. Thank you Steve for a great afternoon”.

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

First Bus Service Changes

First West of England is announcing extensive several changes to bus services in and around Bristol. The changes will take effect on Sunday 23 August 2015.

Changes to services in east Bristol & South Gloucestershire are the result of extended talks and consultation with local residents.

Talking about the changes, Jenny MacLeod, General Manager for Bristol says: “These changes will create new bus links between hospitals, schools as well as where people live and work. We have worked hard with local residents to ensure that the bus services are working for the communities we serve.”

She continued: “Bus services in and around Bristol are increasingly popular and this is great news. We have increased the amount of time we give many buses to complete their routes to try to iron out those routes that are suffering punctuality issues.”

The new timetables for the affected services will be uploaded to the First West of England website,, from early August (under ‘Plan a Journey’). They will be available in hard copy format from mid-August.

New route number - 3 - City Centre - Cribbs Causeway.
This Service will replace the current Service 41. This re-numbering will simplify journeys for customers travelling from Broadmead/City Centre to Whiteladies Road/Blackboy Hill who will be able to use Services 1, 2, 3 or 4. In November 2014 service 41 was extended to serve Henbury via Avonmouth Docks & Lawrence Weston, from Monday - Saturday, on weekday evenings and Sundays and Public Holidays the 41 was extended to Cribbs Causeway. This has proved popular and First will now be extending all journeys on Service 3 to serve Cribbs Causeway. This doubles the number of daytime buses from Shirehampton & Lawrence Weston to Cribbs Causeway, as well as allowing commuters from other parts of the city to travel to Avonmouth via Cribbs Causeway. There will be a small route change in Avonmouth Village to enable a smoother transition between the bus and train at Avonmouth Railway Station.
The 3 will now operate via Avonmouth Way in both directions, allowing a new stop to be positioned close to the station entrance. There will also be a small route change in Henbury. Buses will operate via Station Road and no longer serve Crow Lane. This creates new links to Station Road from Lawrence Weston, customers for Crow Lane will still be able to use Service 4. The timetable will be significantly different than Service 41, regular customers are advised to check the new timetables carefully.
New route number - 4 - City Centre - Cribbs Causeway (via Stoke Bishop & Shirehampton).
This service will replace the current Service 40. This re-numbering will simplify journeys for customers travelling from Broadmead/City Centre to Whiteladies Road/Blackboy Hill who will be able to use services 1,2,3 or4. This service has been re-timed to improve punctuality, this has involved adding some additional journeys during the rush hours. Regular customers of Service 40 are advised to check these carefully when travelling after the 23 August.
18 - Emersons Green - Henbury.
The timetable of the 18 will be altered on 23 August. On Sundays and Public Holidays journeys will be extended to serve the full route to Henbury. This will create new Sunday links to and from Westbury, Shirehampton and Lawrence Weston.

New Activities for Wellbeing Day

Shirehampton and Lawrence Weston held their Wellbeing Days the first week of July at the Tithe Barn and The Rock.

Photos: Kathryn Courtney

The events attracted many people with several activities taking place. In Shirehampton there was a beginners photography session, singing session, new age kurling as well as displays by the art and craft class and the garden club, whilst in Lawrence Weston the activities were an art and craft session, line dancing and chair yoga. There were many organisations in attendance including McMillan Cancer Care, LinkAge, RNID, Bristol Old People's Forum, SCAF, Alzheimer's Society, Penpole Lunch Club, Wiltshire Farm Foods and Wecil giving out advice and information.

Photo: Kathryn Courtney

“The wellbeing days were a fantastic opportunity for local older people to find out about activities happening in their area and learn more about organisations and groups locally to support. It was lovely to see so many new faces and hear people trying out new activities in their area after the wellbeing days.” said Laura Burchett, Community Development Worker with LinkAge.

Photos: Kathryn Courtney

This event is being followed up by the Summer of Age that is taking place from the end of July and throughout August. Activities taking place in Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Sea Mills include Arts and Crafts classes on 31st July, 7th/14th/21st August, Table Tennis on 6th/18th/20th August, New Age Kurling 30th July, 13th/26th/27th August and iTea For You on 30th July. Several of the activities are intergenerational where children can join in.

Photos: Kathryn Courtney
You can find out more information from Laura Burchett by calling 0117 353 3042 or 07930559293,

Cooking with Friends

Jacques Hann is a volunteer with LinkAge and has been running the cooking sessions called ‘Cooking with Friends’ for the past eighteen months or so in Shirehampton.

It's proved to be a popular activity within the community and courses last five weeks at a time. They take place at the Penpole Community Centre, The Ridge, Shirehampton and each session usually sees six people taking part and cooking a starter, main meal and a desert. It is very much team work and everybody helps each other out. It's also a fun and social activity where you end up making good friends.

“I find running the classes really enjoyable” said Jacques. “I just love doing them. I love thinking about what we're going to cook, the variety of things. I also enjoy trying to come up with some nice ideas, healthy cooking too. The people who attend the classes are great. Everybody mucks in, everybody does a great job. There's a lot to do in a short space of time but at the end of it we all sit down at the table and enjoy the meal together. At that point we all take it in turns to describe what we've done during that session and what we might have learned and it's a really enjoyable time.”

Photos: Kathryn Courtney

I ask Jacques if ‘Cooking with Friends’ has helped with people's confidence? “Yes, absolutely, If ever there was someone who was a bit nervous about cooking something, they'd realise after a few weeks they needn't be nervous about cooking for others because it tends to work and people enjoy whatever they make. There are people who haven't cooked before, others who haven't been in a kitchen for a number of years and want to get cooking again. You can be a complete novice but the classes are fun and sociable and there are no expectations. I'm always on hand to help out, explain things and before each class we run through the recipes. Everybody works so well together”.

Photos: Kathryn Courtney

Ray Laver and Ruth Morris have thoroughly enjoyed ‘Cooking with Friends’. “I've made new friends, had lots of laughs. I'm sure many have made mistakes with their home cooking just as I've had but I've eradicated them. I haven't burnt anything here and I won't get many points for presentation when at home but I can eat it” said Ray, who is 93 years young. Ruth meanwhile wanted to commend Jacques. “He's great. Jacques keeps telling me not to stress about cooking because I do worry that things aren't going to be done on time. He's very calming.”

For further information or to book your place please contact Laura Burchett at LinkAge on 0117 3533042 or 07930559293,

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

SO the summer is now officially upon us, and here at Shirehampton Public Hall we have so many activities for you all to join in with!

First of all there are the Music with Mummy Summer Specials on 11th and 26th August, suitable for ages up to 7 years - a wonderful hour of summer time activities! Call Gemma on 07815 744265 for further details and to book a place.

Our usual youth dance, yoga and tai chi classes continue, so check our website and noticeboard for details of these. Also, exciting news for all you dance lovers out there, young and old! A new class is starting in September from 2-4pm each Tuesday called ‘Joy of Dance’ which explores different styles of dance, and for those of you with a little more energy TANGO CLASSES!! Yes, from 6-7pm each Tuesday evening the Hall will host our very own Tango teacher, Myanna! Do come along and support her, make new friends and have a wonderful time learning a new skill and keeping fit!

Lastly, and very importantly, we are still very keen to recruit new trustees for the Public Hall Community Association. 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. Don't forget to take a look at our website to see our varied and interesting range of activities - there's something for everyone!

Nature in the Ascendant at Kings Weston

Summer always brings an inundation of undergrowth to the park. This year there have been some notable benefits to its biodiversity from work undertaken by KWAG.


We have seen the first flowering of the foxgloves sown from seed around the Echo two years ago which bring a welcome burst of colour. These were accompanied by an incredible display from waves of Rose Campion revelling in the recent clearance nearby. Finally, the ponds, dead and lifeless less than twelve months ago, have burst into life following our removal of the laurels that suffocated them. The ponds have now been planted with native water plants; duck weed, iris and marsh marigolds. Tadpoles were released in the spring, and there are incalculable number of water fleas and other fauna benefiting from our work. Of course our major project of last year can also now be seen in full leaf; the restored avenue.

KWAG have been doing lots more clearance work, plus the house fa├žade has been restored to the original Sir John Vanbrugh design for the first time in 250 years.

For more details on this and everything else KWAG have been up to visit

Botany in the Shire

AS I mentioned last month, the Bristol Naturalists Society had arranged a walk at Shirehampton Park opposite the golf course to look at the plants growing in the meadows. There are many different grasses and by identifying these, we could assess the quality of the vegetation.

Rye-grass and Timothy-grass told us that the turf near the car park had been re-sown and was unlikely to contain much that is special or rare. Further on, Upright Brome-grass and the smaller Timothy are accompanied by the semi-parasitic Yellow Rattle, named after the yellow sage-like flowers and the sound made when you shake a plant with seed pods. In places in this richer turf there are clumps of Marjoram, with purple flowers that can be seen from a distance.

Walking down to the road we saw Field Garlic, easily identifiable with the two long-pointed bracts wrapping up the flower head. It is quite a rare plant and grows in less than 1% of the one kilometre squares mapped in the Flora of the Bristol Region. We then saw the tangled stems and branches of the Fiddle Dock, named for the shape of its leaves. This has a 4% coverage locally. With them was a spiky-headed sedge on the bank beside the footpath. To one of the party it didn't seem to be the common thing I took it for (although the Grey Sedge was there too), and we later agreed it was Leers' Sedge, something I had never knowingly seen growing, only pressed in a collection at Bristol Museum. The Flora had only two sites for it but there it was, quite abundant along the bank.

We then went on to the corner by the Lodge. There grows the unusual alien grass, Rescue Brome, which sends up flowering stalks very quickly after it is mown. Although they flower properly only in the morning, we could tell from the buds that here we had the very rarely seen lilac form of Scarlet Pimpernel. That made five rare plants on our evening walk in Shirehampton.

Portway School Class of 1951

Portway School was sited on the Portway (and included girls) before boys moved to Penpole.

Portway pupils 1951
(Photo lent by Doug Stinchcombe)

Back Row L-R Rogers, D Stinchcombe, Cochran, K Tout, Murphy, Hollis, Chivers, Weatherhead, Weston, Spear.

2nd Row Chivers(?), James, Spalding, Briffet, Clements, Barton, Brain, Cottrel, Clarke; 3rd Row Cutler, Hoarly(?), Johnson, Walker, Caine, Lewis, Taylor, Brown, Davis, Handley; Front Row Coleman, Duggan(?), Capel, Rumbold, Hayward, Hodge, D Thomas (Teacher G L Jones)

Celebrating Age Festival looking for ‘unsung heroes’

If you know an ‘unsung hero’ who is a shining example of what can be accomplished in later life there's still time to nominate them for an Older Achievers Award. The Celebrating Age Festival (CAF) is looking for people living in Bristol aged 55 plus who help others, have overcome adversity or ‘who go that extra mile’.

Winners will be announced at this year's CAF Launch at the M Shed on Sunday 27 September where they will receive a medal and certificate for their achievements. The five categories are:

  • Sports and Physical Activity - this could be a sports player, coach or dancer
  • Caring Award - for someone who looks after another
  • Challenge - for the person who has overcome illness, shown bravery or risen beyond expectations
  • Community - a volunteer or charity worker
  • Group - an older person's group that ‘enhance lives’

The Festival will run for two weeks until 11 October with events taking place in neighbourhoods across Bristol, reflecting this year's ‘Green Bristol Celebrating Age’ theme.

CAF Deputy Chair Judith Brown says: “The festival is better and better every year and the city is full of people who don't get the recognition they deserve and should be getting an Older Achievers Award. Chief Executive of Age UK Bristol, Mark Baker says: 'Older people make a huge contribution to the wellbeing and life of a community, caring for family and friends, helping people engage. “If you know someone contributing in these ways, in helping people live a richer and more fulfilling life - nominate them.”

Nomination forms and further info can be obtained from Shelley Hankins, Services Manager, Age UK Bristol, Canningford House, 38 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6BY, email or Completed entries should be sent or emailed to Shelley Hankins at the Age UK office by Friday 28 August 2015.

St Mary’s News

St. Mary's News

Here we are in the eighth month of the year already! Just where does time go? I think it must be due to the busy lives we all lead.

Our Summer Fayre on Saturday, 5th July was absolutely excellent. People were waiting in the churchyard for the doors to open at 10.00 am and then there was a steady flow of people making purchases and availing themselves with the sumptuous cakes with their tea and coffee.

Don't forget on Wednesday, 6th August we have in church an afternoon for children from 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm when Clive & Shirley from Party Kidz will be there to entertain them. They have come to St Mary's in the past and were very popular with the children. There will also be Crafts and Refreshments and furthermore it is all FREE!

On Saturday 9th we will be holding another of our Bric-a-Brac Sales in the church from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon. Come along and see what there is on offer -you may well find the very thing you have been looking for! All proceeds will go to the support of St Mary's.

The next Saturday 16th August is another of Tim Forder's Car Treasure Hunts. Please note we set off from the Health Centre Car Park earlier this year at 5.00 pm. The entry fee is £4.00 per car and the Buffet Supper at the venue is at a fixed price of £12.75. Sign up on the list at the back of the church if you intend coming. This is really one of the best fun events of the year.

Please note that during the week commencing Monday 18th until Friday 22nd August, both dates inclusive, the church will be closed as it will be occupied on those days by people attending our Seniors Week. It will re-open again on Saturday morning 23rd. Apologies for any inconvenience caused to our regular Tea & Coffee customers during this week.

Believe it or not it is time for another of our Open Church days on the Summer Bank Holiday on Monday 25th August. As is customary on these occasions Lunches will be served from 12.00 noon until 2.00 pm, followed by Cream Teas in the afternoon until 5.00 pm. Prices as usual for the meals which you will find are extremely good value for money as is the variety of choice. Please come and enjoy yourself in pleasant surroundings and company. All money raised again go in support of St Mary's.

Now some advance information for September. At our Holy Communion service at 10.00 am on Sunday, 7th September we will have a presentation by the children from Kidz Klub which will include readings and a song to commemorate and remember the commencement of World War One.

Keep an eye open and check our Notice Board at the back of the church for details of our forthcoming Harvest Appeal.

Nature Notes

I always pause on my way past my neighbour's garden to enjoy the splash of colour in their pots.

They have them dotted around their garden, and it brightens the dullest day! I was away last weekend and having arrived home on Sunday evening at about 8.45, with plenty of light still in the sky, we looked out of the window onto the riverbank to see one of our very young fox Cubs happily rooting around in the undergrowth, watched over by an older fox. Shortly after it was joined by another youngster and they proceeded to have a great game of tag. Fabulous! We still have young sparrows being fed in the garden so, like the foxes, they seem to be having a successful year too. As I drove along Hung Rd recently, with the window open I heard the unmistakeable call of swifts somewhere overhead, but sadly haven't heard them since and not along the riverbank where they used to collect. I hope that may change soon. I mentioned being away at the weekend. We were at Maple Durham, near Reading, on the banks of the Thames. Beautiful spot made even more special by the grace and stunning looks of the red kite soaring overhead, and close enough to appreciate its superb plumage. What a treat. Until next time, happy nature watching.


Audrey Johns 6.11.28 - 28.02.15

Audrey (late of Sea Mills) died peacefully at her home in New Eltham, London, where she had lived since 2006 with her husband Raymond (Avonmouth and Shirehampton Postie for more than 40 years).

Audrey became ill in 2005 and moved to London with Ray in 2006, to be near her daughters, Sheila and Pamela, where she could be cared for by her family.

Audrey was the elder daughter of Wilfred and Lilian Rudman. She was born and grew up in Sea Mills, attending Sea Mills Primary and Portway Schools. She had one sister, Margaret.

Audrey and Raymond married in 1949. Audrey, joined Margaret and worked at Twyford House between 1972 and 1984. She will, we are sure, be remembered for ‘the trips’ she organized through the Centre. Audrey ran these educational day trips and many people benefitted from these outings visiting museums, cathedrals, civic buildings, glass and pottery works, factories, etc. In addition she also organized holidays for the students to Southern Ireland, Scotland and Greece.

Her association with The Granger players, as an accomplished pianist, gave her, and we are sure many others, great pleasure. She was also called on occasions to play for Services at the Methodist Church in Shirehampton. In 1987 Audrey joined The Troupadours, accompanying Peggy Scott on the piano, with Raymond joining them to add his voice to their ‘shows’. For many years they regularly entertained groups across Bristol and into Somerset until sadly Audrey's health prevented her from continuing.

Audrey dedicated her life to her husband and family, which now consists of 5 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. She was able to play a valuable role in her local community which she found very rewarding. She will be remembered by all who had the privilege to know her as a quiet, caring, very organized and competent, but lovely lady with a great sense of fun.

Robert George Stewart and David Gareth Stewart

Following the death of Juliet Stewart (formerly resident in Hopewell Gardens) in March, the Stewart family now regret to report the recent passing of her son, Robert George Stewart, on 19th April 2015 in Barnstaple District Hospital, following a road accident in January near his home near Bude.

Robert George Stewart

Robert was a pupil at Portway Boys School from 1958, subsequently pursued careers in the Royal Navy and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. He raised his own family in Cornwall and served the Police Force in Salcombe and Bude prior to his recent retirement. He was a member of the RNLI crew and actively supported several fund raising bodies. He leaves two daughters.

David Stewart

In addition, his brother, David Gareth Stewart, passed away in Israel on 7th July after a long illness. David attended Lawrence Weston School from 1969 and after leaving school pursued a career with the Army worldwide, latterly as a bomb disposal officer. He spent time as a marine security officer for the operators of the Orient Express ferry connection to Istanbul and he met his wife Ayelet during this time. He lived in Israel for almost 30 years, pursuing many business interests and in addition to his wife, leaves two sons and a daughter.

- Tory Shire -

No, no, not more on that General Election! This is a look back at the marks (or scars, if you vote another way) that politics of much earlier days has left on the Shirehampton area.

It focuses on the Miles family of King's Weston House. They were political Conservatives, as you might expect since they were the major landowning family locally thanks to wealth acquired as bankers, and previously as West Indies sugar planters and slave-owners. Sir William Miles of Leigh Court, across the Avon, was Conservative MP for East Somerset from 1834 to 1865, and his son, Sir Philip John William Miles, ‘inherited’ the seat in 1878, holding it till 1885. Sir Philip was not quite as conservative as some; he supported votes for at least some women as early as 1884. He was also very well connected - he shot things with the future king Edward VII. Philip John Miles of King's Weston, half-brother of Sir William, was reputedly Bristol's first millionaire, and its Conservative MP from 1835 to 1837; he was the father of Philip William Skynner Miles, also Conservative MP for Bristol from 1837 to 1852 and father of the last ‘squire’ of King's Weston, Philip Napier Miles.

You might expect some trace of this Conservatism to rub off on the landscape of the area, and so it does, in the form of some local names. Suspicion falls first on Pembroke Road, already there in 1883, and probably named from Pembroke Villa, the former name of a house at number 2. The villa probably commemorates not the place in Wales, but an Earl of Pembroke. It might possibly be the 11th earl (1759-1827), a reasonably famous soldier and politician who had responsibility for the defence of south-west England during the French Revolutionary Wars. But since this earl was of the opposition Whig party, we are more probably dealing with either the 13th or the 14th, who were active politicians in late Victorian times, sharing the Tory benches with Philip John William Miles (though in the case of the 13th, sitting in the House of Lords). Number 13 was Under-Secretary of State for War at the age of 24 (1874-5). Number 14 was MP for Wilton (1877-85) and Croydon (1886-95) before his elevation to the earldom. The exiled 12th earl is not a likely candidate, being known mainly for scattering illegitimate children throughout western Europe. In tune with the snobbery of the day, Miles probably valued the aristocratic connections of his political heroes, and he or a like-minded resident ensured that a suitable name was attached to one of the earliest-developed streets in Shire. If the Mileses did not themselves give the name, they appear to have set the tone. In Pembroke Road there also used to be a row of rather severe-looking cottages called Ellenborough Place, as well as Ellenborough Lane, no doubt named after the first (and only) Earl of Ellenborough (1790-1871), who was also a prominent Tory politician, a controversial Governor-General of India from 1842-4 and a holder of Cabinet office till 1858. He, or at least his fame, must have been known to the Mileses.

The 6th Duke of Richmond was a Conservative politician too, an MP and then a Lord, holding various offices, from 1841 to 1886. So too was the 7th duke, who inherited the title in 1903. He had previously been a Conservative MP and an Ecclesiastical Commissioner (1889-1903), and there was a slight family connection with King's Weston; Philip Napier Miles' maternal grandfather, the military historian Sir William Napier, had been aide-de-camp to Richmond's grandfather the 5th duke during the Peninsular War (1807-14). It is probably no coincidence that we have Richmond Terrace and Villas in Avonmouth, developed on Miles land in about 1903 when the 7th duke succeeded to the title. Lennox House, standing where some houses in Richmond Villas were bomb-damaged in the Good Friday raid of 11 April 1941, is a more recent subtle nod in the family's direction, since Lennox is (part of) the dukes' surname, Gordon-Lennox.

Ellenborough Place, opposite the Rising Sun

Where the flats at the junction of Park Hill and Park Road stand used to be Minto House. Minto is a place in Roxburghshire, Scotland, which supplied the title of the prominent Victorian and Edwardian Tory politician the 4th Earl of Minto, who was governor-general of Canada from 1898 to 1904 and then viceroy of India from 1905 to 1910. No direct connection with the Mileses is known, but one must be suspected: a fourth Conservative aristocratic title in a couple of square miles is not likely to be a fluke. (The house seems to have been older than the name.)

In Avonmouth, we can still find a big house called Hughenden, the name of Victorian Tory prime minister Disraeli's private mansion in Buckinghamshire. Nearby, the streets developed from around 1903-4, Collins, Cook, Davis, Farr and Poole Streets, are all named after Shirehampton local councillors. I have not been able to find out which, if any, party they represented, but they may have been independents and therefore not un-blue, at least in outlook. If you know, please tell Richard Coates at

Politically loaded names have been given in modern times too. Martin McLaren was Conservative MP for Bristol North-West between 1959 and 1966 and between 1970 and 1974, and McLaren Road in Avonmouth is named after him. Some sort of party balance in Avonmouth has been achieved through the name of Bristow Broadway, commemorating Alderman Ernie Bristow (died 2002). He was a docker and union official, then a long-serving Labour councillor, firstly for Shirehampton ward on the former Avon County Council from at least 1987-9 before representing Avonmouth on Bristol City Council from 1995-9. Crowley Way, the extension of Bristow Broadway, is named after Andrew Crowley (died 1987), the Labour Bristol City councillor for Avonmouth ward elected in 1983 and 1984 who campaigned for the Avonmouth bypass which these two roads form. Jim O'Neill House in St Mary's Road is sheltered accommodation named in 1979 after a Scot who worked at the former Portishead power station, a prominent union activist and a member of the executive of the Electrical Trades Union who was later a local Labour city councillor. But even with these modern additions, the balance of our local names still tilts towards the blue.

Avon Riding Centre Annual Dog Show

Photo by Bob Pitchford

The Avon Riding Centre is holding a dog show on Kings Weston Road opposite Blaise Castle car park.

The event is run by and in aid of South Glos Stray Dogs, and takes place on Sunday 16th August. The event opens at 10am with judging starting at 10.45am. There are pedigree and novelty classes (£1 per class, £5 as many as you like), and rosettes available up to 5th place.

Have-a-go-agility and fastest recall events too. Other entertainment includes: craft and doggy stalls, face painting, kids activities, BBQ. Please come and support - 50p entrance plus programme (children free) parking at ARC. For further info see or email

Photo by Bob Pitchford

Tynings Field Update

AT Tynings Field we decided to manage our grass in stages leaving some of it to grow longer in patches but leaving a clear margin around the trees.

This does not mean you do not cut the grass as leaving it to grow too long will stop good grass growing, it means it is cut less often in designated areas. The result was a patch of Yorkshire Fog or purple coloured grass stems, and a variety of fescues emerged including wild oat, which would add a dimension to any garden design. This is good for bees as it encourages wild flowers to bloom but we noticed the butterflies that came to the field increased, and amongst them were a small blue butterfly, a spotted burnet moth, and a marbled effect butterfly, along with the usual peacocks, red admirals, gatekeepers (the brown ones) and meadow browns. They feed off certain plants, usually scabious, fog grasses, cuckoo flowers.

Most of these are common butterflies in grassland areas but if the grass is cut short, they have no habitat. Remember when you cut your lawn too neatly or place paving slabs or decking that this does nothing to attract the sort of wildlife that your garden and the planet needs. After doing this we walked down to the riverbank one evening and hundreds of scarlet tiger moths were emerging from a nettle bank next to the river. We recorded our sightings with BRERC the Bristol Environmental Records department, ‘bee' kind to your garden!

Wood Needed for

Tynings Field

We seek donations of wooden posts and planks. This is to help make more raised growing areas in the orchard. Anyone wanting to donate please phone 01179090440.

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

White shirts and club ties are about to be replaced by the Club Shirt which has been designed by the club and approved by the county over the past twelve months. All Ladies and Gentlemen representing the club in friendly or competitive games will wear the shirt which is predominantly white with blue and gold trim.

The men's Bristol and District League Team topped their division at the half way stage of the season, losing just once in the opening half of the campaign. The Ladies League Team is also enjoying a good season recently completing a double over Yate A and maintaining a good position in the league table.

Club competitions are now well underway. These are played between members of the club and culminate in Finals Day on Saturday 7th September. This is a highlight of the club year. The club has been represented at team and individual level in County Competitions this season. There was success for Bill Hatherall and Charlie Maby in the City and County Pairs where they progressed to round two with a home win against a pair from Olveston.

The number of new bowlers representing the club in friendly games increased further when Peter Cornish made his debut in June. Tuesday evening sessions for new bowlers will continue through the season and anyone who would like to give bowling a try is welcome. David Hinksman on 0117 9082713 can provide further information.

The club will continue playing friendly games on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays until late in September so there is still plenty of bowling to be had this season.

One very special game was played on Wednesday July 1st when the visitors were the Bristol and District Blind Club. The Blind Club started in 1974 and currently has ten blind or visually impaired bowlers. They play ten games each season, practice at Bristol Arrow and have an annual competition day. The Captain is Brian Fisher and he is supported by David Newton. How do the blind play bowls? They have guide strings stretching from one end of the green to the other - this gives them a centre line to feel. The skip at the other end of the green gives verbal instructions about jack length and points of the clock face to indicate where the wood has finished. Support is provided by bowlers from Bristol Arrow, GB Britton and Knowle. The standard of bowling achieved is very good and the pleasure it gives the Blind Club members is immeasurable.

Twinkle Toes

When Shaun arrived at Avon P,
We couldn't be more pleased,
But the poor old sheep felt really sad,
He worried he'd get teased!

He felt he needed jazzing up,
In a really unique style,
So children donned their thinking caps,
It took them quite a while!

The ideas, they came in by the load
Until the final day,
And Shaun liked two the best of all,
By Laynna and Ava-May!

Flowers, stripes and colours flowed,
With petals round his nose,
But the most amazing bit of all-
The glitter on his toes!

Tanisha thought a nickname apt,
It's really very clever,
He'll now be known as ‘Twinkle Toes’
With the hooves of bling forever!

Many thanks to Ava- May Weston (aged 5) and Laynna Lay (aged 11) for their amazing designs, Tanisha Malcolm (aged 11) for her fantastic nickname and Lily Pinner our super Resources Assistant for her incredible painting skills.You can visit Twinkle Toes and the other school Shaun The Sheep in the Gromit Shop at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway over the summer holidays!

In addition, from 6th July to 31st August, the Wallace & Gromit's Children's Foundation charity are bringing 70 b-ewe-tiful giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures, created by artists, designers and celebrities, to iconic locations and green spaces across Bristol for the public to enjoy. More info on