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Back to January 2016 SHIRE February 2016 Fowards to March 2016 SHIRE
News Index

High Praise for Avon Primary from OFSTED!

Budgeting Lessons

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) Update

Co-op Staff Fundraising Success

Botany in the Shire - The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area.

Saving Historic Buildings

Public Hall Newsletter

The Biggest Letters in the Area

Avonmouth Employment Hub and Community Centre

Letters to the Editor

Nature Notes

Thank you St Mary’s!

Local Resident Awarded British Empire Medal

Sandra White BEM
Sandra White BEM Kathryn Courtney

Sandra White had an unexpected surprise for 2016. She was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List for services to elderly people in Shirehampton.

Sandra has lived in Shirehampton for many years and runs the Penpole Lunch Club with the help of volunteers. She is also a member of the Penpole Residents Association and involved with several activities and local committees in the area including LinkAge and Neighbourhood Watch.

“When the letter first came I thought it was someone winding me up because it’s the type of thing my brother Jim and my son Stephen would do as a joke. It was only when my daughter Tracy rang the phone number on the letter and a lady answered saying ‘good afternoon, Buckingham Palace’, that I realised the award was genuine”, said Sandra.

“I just couldn’t take it in really. I was overwhelmed at the time. However a few days later I got a call from the Cabinet Office and that made it real. By then I was really happy about it, over the moon I guess but I never expected to get an award like the British Empire Medal. I do the Lunch Club and other activities voluntarily because

I enjoy doing it, meeting people and seeing them happy. I like to help out where I can”.

I asked Sandra if she solved the mystery as to who nominated her for the award. “Yes I have. It was a large company in Avonmouth called Nesbit’s that I have a lot to do with and they nominated me as they felt that that my voluntary work with the elderly had to be recognised in some way”.

The reaction that Sandra has received from family, friends and the local community has been very positive. It’s taken five times as long for Sandra to walk through the village with many people stopping to chat and congratulate her. In addition to this Sandra tells me that “a certain someone also told friends to bow or curtsey when they saw her in the village” and she starts laughing about that.

Next on the agenda is a presentation of the British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant who had already sent a letter of congratulations to Sandra a few days after the news broke.

She is hoping to arrange a little ceremony at the Penpole Community Room with family and friends before she makes her way to Buckingham Palace in May for the Garden Party, which she is looking forward to.

However Sandra added “I’d also like to thank Debbie, Emma, David, and Madeline for helping me week in week out with the Lunch Club as I couldn’t run it on my own, and Sandra for making the cakes.”

Photos and story by Kathryn Courtney.

British Empire Medal

Photo of British Empire Medal
British Empire Medal. Robert Prummel/Creative Commons

The British Empire Medal is awarded in recognition of commendable civil service. Recipients can use the post-nominal “BEM”.

The ribbon of the medal is rose pink with grey edges. The medal was first established in 1917 along with the Order of the British Empire (OBE), but ceased being awarded to subjects of the UK between 1993 and 2012. It was resumed in June 2012 to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In the 2016 New Year Honours list, 329 people were awarded the BEM.

Ex-pupils return to Oasis Academy Brightstowe to inspire the next generation

Some of the most successful former pupils of Oasis Academy Brightstowe, formerly Portway School, have pledged to help current students achieve academic and career success.

The academy in Penpole Lane is one of nearly 400 state schools and colleges across Britain registered with the national education charity Future First to set up ‘old school tie networks’ enabling them to harness the talents of ex-students to support current students.

Nick Sturge, Darren Jones and Simon Derrick met at the academy to renew old acquaintances and see what’s changed since they were in the classroom. They were given a tour by a group of Navy Blues followed by a question and answer session in the library. Nick is Director of the SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre in Bristol, an incubator for local high-tech enterprises which resides in The Engine Shed at Temple Meads. He is also Regional Chairman of the Institute of Directors.

Darren is a solicitor in the technology, media and communications team at Bond Dickinson in Bristol with a particular interest in the energy and telecommunications sectors. Earlier this year his face became familiar with voters in Bristol North West when he stood as Labour candidate against Charlotte Leslie in the General Election. Simon is Project Manager for the decommissioning of Berkeley Nuclear Power Station which is due to go into ‘care and maintenance’ in 2022.

“More than 39 per cent of state school students don’t know anyone in a job they’d like to do,” said Alex Shapland-Howes, Managing Director of Future First. “If they see that someone who went to the same school, grew up in the same community, has achieved a fulfilling and satisfying job, it helps them see it’s possible for them too. It’s really important for all students to be motivated to succeed in the working world and hearing first hand from relatable people in interesting jobs can make a huge difference.”

Joe Docherty, Acting Principal of Oasis Academy Brightstowe, said, “We are most grateful to Nick, Darren and Simon for their visit and for their promise of support in the future. They are all highly successful in their professional lives and represent such a range of experience. Former pupils can play an important role in helping and inspiring current students. We hope their example encourages more to sign up to the Brightstowe network. They will be most welcome to come back to the school to meet old friends and also to develop the thriving alumni network which we are now building. “

Alison Eynon, Assistant Principal Aspirations at Oasis Academy Brightstowe said, “We signed up to Future First’s scheme straightaway. The alumni network will enable our pupils to stay in touch with us beyond Y11 and receive news updates, references and CV support, not to mention opportunities for volunteering and reunions! However, the network will also be vital in harnessing the valuable experience of our past pupils’ skills and experience, and help us to broaden current pupils’ jobs horizons and equip them for the world of work.”

Awaiting photograph
Former pupils Darren Jones, Nick Sturge and Simon Derrick were introduced to their Year 10 hosts by Assistant Principal Alison Eynon. The students, all members of the Navy Blues team, later gave them a tour and took part in a question and answer session.

High Praise for Avon Primary from OFSTED!

Avon Primary School, situated on Barracks Lane in Shirehampton, has been applauded for the numerous and impressive improvements that have been facilitated since its last inspection in 2013. A team of three inspectors visited the two-form entry primary school on the 9th and 10th of December and released the report in early January.

The school received grading of ‘Good’ in all five areas and an overwhelmingly positive report which complimented staff, governors and pupils on their dedication and commitment to improving standards, of progress and achievement. It highlighted ‘the determined leadership of the head teacher’ supported by school leaders ‘ensures that an uncompromising drive to improve is in every area of school life’.

Avon Primary school pupils

The inspectors were impressed by ‘the self-confidence and eagerness of the pupils to learn’. The report states, ‘Pupils are confident, sociable and caring for each other in school, but also for those less fortunate than themselves, both in the local community, further afield and abroad.’

Teaching was commended for its ‘consistently good quality’, noting that, ‘Pupils clearly enjoy their work tackling their learning with enthusiasm and a sense of fun.’

They also praised teaching assistants for the high quality of support they offer in the classroom, resulting in ‘good academic progress’ and ‘strong social and emotional development’.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage Inspectors recognised the ‘strong start’ all children make to their education and the skilful way that adults interact with them in order to develop their basic skills. The report states that at the end of their schooling pupils are ‘well-prepared’ for their journey into secondary education, equipped with the ‘knowledge of how to be a successful learner’.

Head teacher, Jane Atkins said, “We are delighted with this very well-deserved report which is testament to the incredible dedication and passion shown by the whole team. Nevertheless, it was the children who really sold the school, demonstrating such pride in their achievements, both academic and personal. The whole school community is delighted with the recognition of the progress that has been made and is ready to build on this success and become an outstanding school.”

Budgeting Lessons

The year 3 children at Shirehampton Primary School had a great time recently learning about money and finance during their theme week. They worked in their house teams to raise money for their chosen charities.

Each of the four houses were loaned £20 by the school to use to buy materials to turn into a profit to be donated to charity. The children were really creative and ambitious with their ideas and created salt-dough decorations, chocolate truffles, board games and Christmas wreaths. They really let their imaginations run wild thinking of different ways to make a profit!

The theme week ended with a mini-fayre, organised, advertised and run by the pupils. Friends and family were invited and loudly encouraged to spend! The teams did a fantastic job and they raised over £300, easily paying back their loans and enabling them to make donations to St Peter’s Hospice and Above and Beyond- a charity supporting Bristol hospitals.

It was a great experience for all the pupils learning about money, finance and how hard they have to work to earn money! All great life lessons for them.

191st Shirehampton Scout Group

The 191st Scout group is in need of a volunteer to cut the grass during the summer months. A petrol mower would be provided and in return we can offer a medium sized allotment that is fully prepared.

The group is also looking for a new cub leader. Cubs meet on a Thursday from 6 to 7.30pm. Training will be given over a long period of time.

If your son/daughter is interested in joining Cubs or Scouts there are currently vacancies.

‘Shire’ Community Grants

It’s that time of year again when the ‘Shire’ newspaper invites local groups to apply for a grant either to help with core costs or a project.

If you would like to apply please give details of your group and for what purpose the grant would be used.

Please email this to or hand in at Shirehampton Library.

The deadline is mid-Feb.

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) Update

SCAF is a small, grass-roots community organisation working in Shirehampton set up in 2001.

We are a registered charity & not for profit Company Limited by Guarantee. We have been working for the benefit of everyone in our local community for the last 14 years. Our overall aim is to improve the quality of life for everyone living and/or working in Shirehampton.

Contact details: Ash Bearman, Community Development Officer, Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TU Tel: 0117 982 9963 Email:

SCAF’s work programme 2016:

Community Safety Action Group: We work in close partnership with the Police & other statutory agencies as well as a whole host of other local organisations & local residents. Our Community Safety group is chaired by our local Beat Manager, PC Amanda Patterson & this group sets the PACT (Partners & Communities Together) for Shirehampton. The current PACT priority is Anti-Social Behaviour in a number of hot-spot areas including High Street and The Ridge.

Other key areas of work include:

  • Drugs
  • Regular “walkabouts” in Shire with Bristol City Council Officers from Street Cleansing, Highways, Parks, Parking Services etc. - we take a log of everything e.g. street lights not working, litter, fly tipping, graffiti, potholes, uneven pavements, health & safety issues, road signage, dog fouling, local transport issues.

We work with our partners to put things right!

  • Work on Domestic Abuse issues with local partners.
  • Licensing enforcement - alcohol related crime & incidents are a significant issue in Shirehampton
  • Road safety issues - including facilitating traffic & road work public consultations
  • Community safety education programmes with Police & Avon Fire & Rescue
  • Tackle significant parking issues in and around Shire High Street & local schools
  • Organise community clean up campaigns & events - promotion of recycling, reduction of litter

Shire Door to Door shopping trips - funding permitting:

  • FREE weekly door to door shopping/social trips to supermarkets & shopping centres for Shire residents aged 60+ in a fully accessible minibus.

Planning Watch:

  • Monitoring on a weekly basis planning application and/or developments affecting community buildings, facilities, commercial and business premises in Avonmouth & Kingsweston wards. We do this because we have lost so many local community amenities and facilities & this gives our community a chance to have our say over new development & applications that may negatively affect us. This is a free weekly service, emailed to 230+ recipients.
  • Attending BCC Planning Briefing Meeting on major developments proposed for Avonmouth
  • Supporting local residents concerned about new planning applications in their immediate area and large proposed industrial plants/developments in Avonmouth
  • Facilitating public consultations
  • Hosting housing developers presentations at Full Forum Meetings

“Shire Greens” Environmental Action Group

Have very recently established a new Friends of Lamplighters Marsh Group (FOLM). We will continue to support and develop this group over the early part of 2016, and then it will become independent of SCAF.

  • Programmes of FREE events. Last year we were funded by BCC Green Capital and ran a series of 10 FREE events and activities for all the family on Lamplighters Marsh e.g. Bird walks, bat tracks, bug hunts.
  • Continue work with BCC Parks for improvements in maintenance & care of our open green spaces, parks & children’s play areas
  • Bristol Zoo Community Plant Project & RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards
  • Work to secure funds to expand the community orchard - particularly apple trees - in the Daisy Field
  • Practical Community environmental events e.g. planting of bulbs, wildflower meadow creation, clean up’s
  • Looking after Shire Station which we “adopted” many years ago - flower beds & planters etc.

Partnership work - SCAF is a key partner contributing to the following:

Avonmouth Employment and Economy Working Group, North Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum, Coastal Communities Steering Group, Severn Beach PACT, Avonmouth Restorative Justice Project

All our meetings are held in fully accessible venues and everyone is welcome.

Community Safey Action Group - Meeting Dates for 2016

Thursday 11 February
Optional Walkabout 10:00 - 11:00 - The Ridge, meet at 10am outside Penpole Residents Association
Meeting: 11:00 - 12:00 noon at Penpole Residents Association, The Ridge, Shire, BS11 0DZ
Thursday 24 March
11:00 -12:30 Penpole Residents Association, The Ridge, Shire, BS11 0DZ
Thursday 12 May
Optional Walkabout 10:00 - 11:00 - Central area/Pembroke/Springfield meet at 10am outside Co-op
Meeting 11:00 - 12:00 noon Penpole Residents Association, The Ridge, Shire, BS11 0DZ

Co-op Staff Fundraising Success

Staff at the local Co-op held a fundraising event on the 18th December. Many members of staff took up the challenge of wearing Christmas jumpers for the day in place of their usual uniforms.

Photo of Co-op fundraisers

There was also a raffle and first prize of a nibble hamper was won by Mr or Mrs Giltrow. Second prize of a novelty cake went to Sue Alford, and third prize went to Mrs Robbins: a Chocolate Yule Log. The consolation prize of a Christmas Pudding was won by Bet Knott. The total amount raised for the Text Santa appeal was £143.62.

“We would like to say thank you to everybody who took part that day. The Co-operative’s charity for 2016 will be the Red Cross and we are looking forward to planning various activities and having everyone joining in the fun of raising money for a very good cause” said Carol Lipiec.

Shire appeal for volunteers

Over recent months the distribution team of ‘Shire’ has been trying very hard to identify areas within the village that experience difficulties with receiving their copy of ‘Shire’.

As I'm sure you will appreciate this has proved to be quite a laborious and painstaking job! Slowly, these areas are becoming known to us, and we are now in need of some help in reinstating regular deliveries to those who have been without their monthly copy. The areas we have identified are as follows:

  • Granger Court, just 20 houses, could you spare the time once a month if you live in or near Granger Court?
  • Oaktree Court, just 34 houses here, and
  • Groveleaze no’s 86 to 142.

The biggest challenge, however, is St. Mary’s Rd. 84 papers need to find their way into homes here. Just 3 or 4 volunteers here would ensure each deliverer would only take 10 or 15 minutes to make a difference!

Could this be you?

Shire distribution - How it works
  • The 'Shire ' paper is counted into bundles on the last Friday of each month in the Public Hall.
    (On rare occasions this may have to be rearranged for certain Bank Holidays).
  • The volunteer drivers then collect their assigned bundles for delivery to the 'house to house' distributors. This will usually be within a day or two of the count.
  • The bundles should contain the right number of papers for the houses assigned to each distributor. If the bundle is short, the co-ordinator can be contacted to make up the shortfall, if too many, the surplus can go to a public outlet such as the Post Office or library.

Winter Warmer Drop-In

Taking place on the 13 February 10am-5pm at the Tithe Barn High Street BS11 0DE

January and February can be a testing time for our mood; in fact many people do not want to leave the house unless they have to. And yet it is also a time when we could all benefit from the company of other people beyond our own four walls.

There will be an all-day Drop In at the Tithe Barn on February 13th which will offer an opportunity to meet other people, have some soup, cake and tea, get creative and read some of the quotations on display by people who have been affected by ill mental health. You may want to come and do just one or two or all of these things, it is entirely up to you! We guarantee a friendly welcome.

The day is funded by the ‘Time to Change Champion Fund’ which aims to reduce stigma around mental health issues by bringing the subject to our attention by making it a talking point for all of us.

Botany in the Shire - The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area.

On the day after Bristol gave up the title of European Green Capital - and perhaps meeting the aspirational tagline on the Bristol2015 website “it doesn’t stop here” - Shirehampton claimed the all-time lead in the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s New Year Plant Hunt with 78 species of plants found in flower.

It is not always easy to get started early on the first of January but my botanical companion and I had checked the weather forecast, and the best chance of some sunshine and dry weather over the four-day survey period came that morning. We followed the route we had taken last year (when we had 60 species) through the streets to the Post Office, down the High Street to the Portway, through Lamplighters Marsh, along Nibley and Dursley Road and returning via Woodwell Road, the Portway and Hung Road. Botanists walk slowly and all that took three hours.

From a preliminary foray on a loop taking in Penpole Point, a place much favoured by Victorian botanists, we hadn’t been expecting so many species in flower, and indeed a third of those we had found in flower last year we didn’t find again. One or two we may have passed by, but some such as the alien ‘teddy-bear grass’ by the Post Office and Hoary Mustard by the railway crossing seemed to have long exhausted themselves of flowering in the mild weather.

Extraordinarily, half of the species we found in flower this year we hadn’t found last year. Some we may have overlooked, a good few were escaped garden plants on or below restraining walls, and many of the rest were familiar components of Bristol’s urban flora. One surprise was the Spotted-leaved Hawkweed as a lawn weed, as normally it is a plant of quarries such as in the Avon Gorge. We did much better at Lamplighters Marsh this year with Moth Mullein, Slender Sandwort and the site’s star turn amongst the higher plants, the aptly named Early Meadow-grass, all flowering.

Portway school class of 1951

Portway school class of 1951

We’ve had several enquiries regarding the ‘Portway class of 1951’ photo that was published in the September 2015 edition. We have lost the contact details of the person who supplied the photo.

If this was you could you get back in touch with the editor at Shire so we can pass on the responses to you.

Saving Historic Buildings

It is with great pleasure that in the last months of 2015 the City Council’s City Design Group finally launched the first “Local List” of historic and landmark buildings which could prove the salvation of many of the lesser historic properties that form the bedrock of our city’s heritage.

Thanks to the Conservation team in the City Council, who’ve worked hard with the Architecture Centre and a team of professional heritage experts, the Local List now offers some welcome recognition of the City’s historic buildings that might otherwise be entirely unprotected.

Historic England (formerly English Heritage) recommends Local Authorities adopt Local Lists of heritage assets which, although they’re not significant enough to be nationally Listed Buildings, have strong local, historic, or culturally important to regional communities. Bristol’s own version has launched with the inclusion of a wealth of significant buildings already in Conservation Areas, but also, critically, lists of those that have no other protection and have the potential to be demolished and lost to us entirely. Many of these buildings have been identified as at risk of loss through either decay or through development.

Recommendations for the Local List have been collected through the council’s excellent Know Your Place website, and through an open nomination process. Local residents have put forward buildings important to them, over 150 of them, and many count among the 240 historic properties now recognised. Buildings included are extremely diverse, including everything from a Seventeenth Century pub in Barton Hill - the Rhubarb Tavern, to the timber GWR Signal Box in Avonmouth, and the monolithic Robinson’s tower at No.1 Redcliffe Street. Even traditional street furniture such as notable pillar boxes and Victorian cast iron flood markers have made it to the final list. Also on the list is Bristol’s largest single Georgian building, the Old Building of the Bristol Royal Infirmary that unfortunately had an application for full listing rejected this year. Pubs have also found themselves at increased risk of loss in recent years and its welcome to see sixteen Bristol hostelries included.

Over the last few years historic buildings have been subject to a new onslaught from over-eager developers, not just in Bristol, but other towns and cities across the UK. Many important links to our past have suffered by inappropriate redevelopment or been demolished entirely - each one a loss to the rich tapestry of our neighbourhoods that can’t easily be replaced. In too many instances what’s been demolished could have been adapted, restored, and reused, but instead has been sacrificed for the sake of easy development and a quick return.

It’s hoped that the Local List will continue developing, and help to increase recognition and understanding of the city’s architectural heritage. Hopefully, perhaps with future focus on Local Lists within planning law, it will help to provide greater protection for some of our less known, but most cherished parts of our community identities. A debt of thanks is owed to the officers and teams within the Council who have prioritised the Local List and ensured that Bristol isn’t left behind in the protection of our urban identity.

KWAG News . . .

2016 is KWAG’s first major anniversary; this spring we’ll have been going for five full years. It will be an opportunity to look back and reflect on what we’ve achieved over a relatively short space of time, but also we hope to offer some public events to help celebrate.

Bad news on the ancient avenue: Last week we received the very bad news from Bristol City Council that four of the ancient Lime trees on the main avenue in front of Kings Weston house need to be felled. The trees, planted originally in the early Eighteenth Century by Sir Robert Southwell, are succumbing to serious and irreversible disease; for the safety of the public they now need to be removed.

We’ve seen that there is extensive growth of bracket fungus all up the main trunks and bleeding canker on another. The Council’s tree officer has given us the following detail “The four trees really are in very poor condition and it is not feasible to leave them standing because there is a real possibility of collapse. The Ganoderma applanatum/australe decay fungus has been present on all four for some time and is now advanced and extensive”

The Council have affixed notices to the affected trees. We’ve asked that the trunks are removed from the avenue after felling so that they don’t cause maintenance problems, and there may be possibilities to use the wood for benches or similar. We will also be considering sponsorship of replacement trees as soon as possible which will require the grinding-out of the stumps and replanting with suitable specimens. If anyone is interested in helping us with this please get in touch.

Working Party Progress in Penpole Wood: 2015’s final Working Party started off our natural spacing of parts of Penpole Wood. This work is essential to retain a healthy and biodiverse woodland. Our focus was on clearing competing undergrowth and saplings from around the more mature trees, and thinning out other areas to allow the better young trees space to thrive.

The work also enabled us to help conserve the avenue leading from The Circle into Penpole Wood. These trees were planted in 1856 after a great storm blew over an earlier avenue of elms along the same line, and with the area tidied and encroaching undergrowth cleared between the trees we’ve restored their earlier formality. This will have the additional benefit of revealing the thousands of native bluebells along the path come spring.

Planning Application relief: Shortly after our last newsletter of 2015 we received some reassuring news: that the year-old planning application for the “Karakal” land on Penpole Lane had finally been refused. Proposals for the site, forming the backdrop to Shirehampton’s war memorial, have been submitted several times over the years and been refused on each occasion. The latest planning application sought outline approval to turn the open car park space over to business units.

As the proposal was located within the nationally registered historic parkland we objected to the proposal and were joined in our opposition by the National Trust, Historic England, Georgian Group and many, many, private individuals. Our objection was to the principle of inappropriate development in the park, but there were also concerns over traffic and over-development of the site. We’re very grateful to everyone who helped fend off this most recent application and we’ll let you know if it goes to appeal, or returns in a new guise.

Photo of Shirehampton War memorial
Shirehampton War Memorial.

One more Listed Building; Another on the way? Also coming before Christmas was confirmation that our application to have the Georgian Viewing Terrace behind the Echo Listed has been successful! It now has Grade II Listed protected status. Listing will strengthen our chances of securing grants to repair the structure. Historic England also approached us to help improve the listing description for The Echo, which we’ve since provided, and we’ve also submitted a package of research and new information that we hope will lead to better recognition of the stone dial on Penpole Point; presently the listing describes it as a 19th Century garden ornament rather than in fact a Seventeenth Century navigation aid for the Merchant Venturers. This may lead to the structure being upgraded from Grade II to either Grade II* or Grade I.

Finally, we’re grateful for one of our members for approaching us and providing a well-researched portfolio of information that we hope will lead to Shirehampton War Memorial receiving listed protection. The monument stands at the junction of Shirehampton Road and Penpole Lane, at the top of Park Hill. As well as sitting within the historic park boundary it also has a strong connection to the history of the house. Historic England are prioritising the listing and protection of war memorials during the centenary commemorations of the First World War, and we hope that our submission might bring new recognition of this monument.

Public Hall Newsletter

The Trustees and Manager of the Hall would like to thank all those who helped or came along to the Santa Event on 21st December.

The event was a great success and the Trustees are particularly grateful to Mr Mullet, Manager of the Co-op in Shirehampton High Street, for the generous donations of mince pies and a raffle prize and to all the traders in Shirehampton who agreed to display a poster for the event.

With the New Year now in full swing the Public Hall is very excited to present new activities to encourage community spirit - no excuses for staying at home on your own or being bored!

Monday 8th at 11am: National Clown Theatre

During February we have the school half term break and Shirehampton Public Hall is proud to be hosting the National Clown Theatre on Monday 8th at 11am. Great fun for adults and children alike! Tickets are £5 each and are available in advance from the box office on tel: 01384 423496. Grab them quick before they go!

Saturday 27th at 7.30pm: Quiz Night

Also during February the Hall is hosting a quiz night on Saturday 27th February at 7.30pm to raise much needed funds. Tickets are £5 in advance from the Hall, or available on the door on the night.

American-style buffet supper (i.e. bring a plate of food to share during the interval) and BYO drinks! Raffle, too, so don’t forget to bring a donation of a prize along if you can!

Yoga, Monday evenings 6.30 - 7.30pm

In January we welcomed a new yoga teacher, who took over from Melissa Davis. Her name is Suzi Griffin and she would love you to join in on a Monday evening from 6.30-7.30pm! For further details see her website

Pillowcase Club, Fridays 7.30pm

And how about trying something new? The Friday evening Pillowlace Club are looking for new members! If you enjoy craft, or just a new challenge for the New Year, come along to this friendly little group for fun, conversation and friendship, relieve the stress of the day and create something beautiful! Just turn up at 7.30pm on a Friday and you’ll be made to feel most welcome.

The Hall is in urgent need of a voluntary Treasurer. If you think this might be you please ring the Hall Manager on the number below.

Hall hire

The hall is available for hire and measures 50’x30’ approximately - perfect for parties and easily fits in bouncy castles and other exciting equipment! If you would like to know more about hiring this amazing facility please contact the Hall as detailed below, or look on our website for full details.

The Biggest Letters in the Area

No-one gazing into Avonmouth docks can have missed it - the biggest self-advertisement in the area, made of nine huge letters overlooking the oldest part of the port.

Hosegoods Mill was built in 1937 by Hosegood Industries Ltd, a recently formed local consortium of small-scale millers and grain merchants fronted by the forgotten Henry Hosegood and Son Ltd, whose founder sported a good West Country surname and died in 1947. The port already had a very large grain import trade, and the new group’s ambition was to run an ultra-modern international-scale flour mill following in the successful footsteps of Spiller’s. Spiller’s had had a mill in the Docks since the early 1930s, and were one of the three biggest millers in the country (with the CWS and Rank’s).

Photo of Hosegoods.

Hosegood engaged the architect P. J. Clarke, a partner in a Liverpool family practice which already had much experience of building large concrete premises. The grain silo was duly built, and a brick-faced office block appeared next to it with the proud name embedded in the brickwork in enormous white letters. But the consortium were picked off by their rivals across the dock, Spiller’s, who offered to buy their operation out in 1938 before a sack of flour had ever been milled under the HOSEGOODS name (or next to it). Spiller’s never got round to the major work involved in blotting out HOSEGOODS before they themselves pulled out of Avonmouth six decades later - because Hosegood’s no longer traded in grain, they were no longer rivals, so Spiller’s probably didn’t consider it worth the noise and dust.

In 1998, both their original mill and the Hosegood site were acquired by the agricultural mega-firm Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) of Decatur, Illinois, USA, who still run the Avonmouth grain operation today, with more of Hosegood’s left than of the original Spiller’s complex and with that massive announcement overlooking it all.

The twist in the tale is that the original Hosegood Industries Ltd was dissolved, but the name actually still trades! They are based in Taunton, and they presented the perpetual challenge cup for the best female dairy shorthorn at the Frome Agricultural Show last year.

Photo of Hosegoods as it appears today.
The mill building today

Bristol Museum Archaeology Day School 2016 Events

Bristol Museum's Archaeology Day School programme has just been launched and booking is now open.

The courses available are summarised below;

  • An Introduction to Prehistoric Objects - 2th Feb 2016, 10:30 am - 4.00pm
  • Death and Burial in Bristol Archaeology - 12th March 2016, 10.30am - 4.00pm

To book your place or find out futher information, visit the website and select the course you would like to book.

A Forgotten Landscape -

A Forgotten Landscape (AFL) seeks to work with local people to conserve, restore, enhance and explore the natural and cultural heritage of the Lower Severn Vale Levels. This is the low lying land along the River Severn from Avonmouth north to the border of Gloucestershire.

SevernNet News

The SevernNet Flyer will begin service on Monday 11th Jan 2016, operated by Wessex from their base in Avonmouth, with three dedicated drivers.

Travel for free until the end of March 2016. From 1st April the fare will be £1 per journey with reduced rates available for multiple journey tickets and travel cards. This is your pilot service. Its success will be dependent on usage and it meeting you and your colleagues’ needs!

Please let us know, and encourage your colleagues to provide feedback on the service. Is there a problem with timing? Is there a need for an additional service etc.?

Bus Route

The service will commence at Avonmouth Railway Station with stops at:

  • Premier shop on Avonmouth Road
  • Shirehampton Green
  • Lawrence Weston Baptist Church and Avonmouth Parade
  • Poplar Way East by Rockingham Roundabout and back to Co-op.
  • Culina Logistics
  • Elemis and Yankee Candle.
  • Access 18.
  • Avonmouth Way/Fourth Way

Finally returning to Avonmouth Railway Station.

St Mary’s News . . .

As I write these notes in the middle of January the weather is still remarkably mild and when I was driving along The Portbury Hundred, there much to my amazement, I saw fresh green Spring leaves appearing on the hedgerows.

Also there are daffodils in bloom in the churchyard. But I am erring on the side of caution as the current forecast is for a cold Arctic blast to hit the UK. Perhaps this is the sign of colder but dryer weather which will benefit the poor souls in Cumbria and Lancashire who have seen repeated flood disasters wrecking their homes and townships. We have a lot to be grateful for here in this part of the country.

Back on Sunday, 17th January St Mary’s celebrated the 86th Anniversary of its consecration and it is seeing more use today than ever before. Being the largest building in the village it is very fortunate that it is sited between the Health Centre and the High Street. Remember it is your church and there for you.

As well as being a place of worship it also serves as a meeting place for the good folk of Shirehampton. The church is open from Monday to Saturday from 10.00am until 12.00noon & Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from 2.00pm until 4.00pm with tea, coffee & biscuits. No charge is made for the refreshments - there is just a box for donations by the serving hatch. So if you have just moved to Shire or live on your own there is no need to be lonely as you will always find a friendly person to talk to. Also if you have any problems or sorrow there is always a sympathetic ear to listen and give you advice should you need it. We have a good congregation on a Sunday morning and you will be made very welcome.

Many couples when they decide to “tie the knot” will choose St Mary’s to hold their wedding. It is a lovely light church with a long centre aisle for the bride to walk up and be admired by her family and friends.

On a sadder note our ministers are privileged to take funerals. These are an opportunity to take time to celebrate the life of the departed loved one. If you prefer not to use the church for a funeral then they are happy to lead a service for you at the Crematorium. Remember, this is your church - you are encouraged to use it. Also we are notorious for our social events throughout the year - so keep your eye open on the notice board at the back of the church.

  • Tuesday, 9th February is Shrove Tuesday, and fortunately it is in the School Half Term Holiday. We shall be serving Pancakes from 10am until 12 noon with your tea & coffee and for children and adults alike there will be Pancake Races in the churchyard, quizzes, colouring and prizes. Put this date in your diary and come along and join in the fun!
  • The very next day - 10th February - is Ash Wednesday. There will be an evening service of Holy Communion at 7pm followed by a light Supper. Please come - you will again be most welcome, sign up if you will be staying for supper.
  • Our 'Lent Evenings' starts on Wednesday, 17th February at 7pm and continues then on every Wednesday until the 16th March. The subject for discussion has not yet been decided - so keep your eyes open on the notice board at the back of the church. These evenings are open to anybody who may be interested.
  • Just as a reminder, Messy Church is held on the 3rd Thursday of every month and is open to children of all ages. It runs from 3.30 until 5pm and includes refreshments, crafts and activities. There is also a Crèche for very young children

The following was printed in a Church Bulletin - The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

Bye for now. C.M.E.

St. Mary’s Registers - December 2015

Funerals ‘At rest and at peace’

1stDoris SaundersCanford
18thHazel McGaugheyCanford
9thIvy PickettCanford
10thMargaret McDowellSt Mary’s
16thIan PerryCanford
18thTimothy SpearingSt Mary’s
22ndMargaret JonesSt Mary’s

Women’s Day of Prayer Shirehampton Baptist Church

A service for Women’s World Day of Prayer takes place on Friday 4th March at Shirehampton Baptist Church. The theme is ‘receive children, receive me’ by the women of Cuba. All welcome

St Andrews Ladies Club Events

The club meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at St Andrews Church Hall in Avonmouth at 7.30pm.

Events taking place in February are:

2ndKnitting Patterns
16thWork of S01/Dogs in Thailand

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

Colin Symes who was a late arrival on the bowling scene but enjoyed five good seasons at the green passed away on Sunday 3rd January after a short illness.

Colin played for the men’s league team, successful in gaining promotion in 2015 and was a member of the Marvels team who won the Club cup also in 2015. He regularly took part in club friendly games, enjoyed summer tours and entered club competitions.

Photo of Colin Symes
Colin Symes.

He was a willing marker when not taking part himself and equally a willing worker when hands were needed to do jobs at the green. Colin will be missed when the new season starts in April.

The first Sunday evening in January saw twenty four bowlers, family and friends enjoying a Beatle Drive at the City and Port of Bristol Club. Organised by Lis Davies this event proved to be as popular as ever, bringing smiles and laughter as players tried to persuade the dice to land on the number they needed. The next Sunday evening event will be Bingo with maybe a surprise or two on February 7th.

The final indoor bowls of the winter will be on Saturday March 5 at the City and County Indoor Club.

The Pre-Season meeting will be at the City and Port of Bristol Club on Thursday 17th March commencing 7.45pm. It is at this meeting that membership fees are paid and fixtures for the coming season published. Less than a month after the meeting, season 2016 starts with a game on the all-weather green at Wrington. This will be on Wednesday April 13th.

Fixtures Secretary Steve Tilly has now completed friendly fixtures for the new season and they will run from April until the latter part of September.

A feature of this year’s fixtures is a game on Bohemian Island, Reading on Sunday June 19th. This will be a unique experience, bowling on an island in the middle of the River Thames, accessible only by boat.

Bowling is a very social game, offering hours of healthy outdoor activity for people of all ages in pleasant surroundings.

The club will once again run Tuesday evening sessions from April to September for anyone who would like to try bowling.

With Sympathy

Photo of Colin Symes

The committee of ‘Shire’ paper wish to extend their sympathy to the family of Colin Symes who has sadly passed away.

Colin was a long-time volunteer, delivering the paper to his community.

Avonmouth Employment Hub and Community Centre

Events taking place throughout this February:

Monday 1st Feb10:00 - 12:30Job Club
Tuesday 2nd09:30 - 2:30IT for Work
Thursday 4th10:00 - 12:30Jobs Fair Preparation
Friday 5th09:30 - 2:30IT for Work
Monday 8th of Feb10:00 - 12:30Job Club
Tuesday 9th10:00 - 12:30Job Club
Wednesday 10th10:00 - 12:30How to Complete Application Forms
Monday 15th of Feb10:00 - 12:30Job Club
Monday 15th12:30 - 3:00Employability Course
Tuesday 16th08:00 - 10:00Pop Up Healthy Breakfast Cafe
Tuesday 16th09:00 - 2:00NHS Health Checks
Wednesday 17th08:00 - 10:00Pop Up Breakfast Cafe
Wednesday 17th10:00 - 12:30Pennywise Information on Budgeting
Thursday 18th08:00 - 10:00Pop Up Happiness and Well Being Cafe
Thursday 18th02:00 - 3:00Dementia Friends Awareness Session
Monday 22nd of Feb 10:00 - 12:30Job Club
Monday 22nd12:30 - 3:00Employability
Tuesday 23rd10:00 - 12:30Job Club
Wednesday 24th10:00 - 12:30Interview Preparation

Letters to the Editor

Christmas card - L. Matthews

Dear Editor,

I’ve just read the letter in the Shire newspaper concerning the Christmas card for Lorraine, David, Olive and family and indeed the card is meant for me and my clan. I’d like to thank Sarah for adopting these cards over the years but will now endeavour to get them directed to their intended recipient in the future. Thanks and a happy and healthy new year to Shire and all its readers.

Christmas Lights - Gerry Cooper (Mrs)

Dear Editor,

I have just been reading Shire on the Web and have to say how delighted I am to see that a new team has taken over the responsibility of the Christmas lights.

We lived in Shirehampton before moving to Cornwall in 2007, and were part of the group who formed in 2000 to provide Christmas lights, which, I think will be agreed, have been quite a success since then.

We heard through the grapevine last year, that there was a possibility that there wouldn’t be Christmas lights for 2015, but my daughter, who still lives in Shire, told us about the day she saw loads of people getting involved, and that made us very happy.

It was great to see the photograph in Shire of all those who played a part (and nice to see that they are all youthful and have a lot more Christmases in front of them!). Thanks should go to Ced and Pam Rich, and Thelma Tillett for giving their time and energy for so long.

Although we now live in the far West of Cornwall, we like to see what is going on in Shire, and it’s lovely to see photos of people such as Rose Watkins and Jean Edwards, who are still playing their part in the community.

WWII Gas bag anchor - Gil Osman

Dear Editor,

I went for a walk along the ‘yellow brick road’ from the Lamplighters. At the motorway end I discovered (half-hidden by bushes) a barrage balloon anchor from the Second World War. There is a large concrete block with iron hooks to which the balloons were tied by long wires. These wires or cables were meant to catch the wings of low flying enemy aircraft heading for the docks.

I remember as a child that there were two of three of these on the Imperial Smelting Works allotments below Penpole Woods before the houses were built on top of them. My father had two allotments there.

I know of no other remaining anchors in the area - does anyone else?

Nature Notes

Well, the weather has played an enormous part in proceedings has it not? I don’t know about you, but I am still amazed at my flowering Geranium, my Roses, to say nothing of the rampant advance of all the bulbs! Fingers crossed the cold snap, when it comes, IF it comes, doesn’t destroy everything! I did notice that the herons have started returning to their nest sites already. It was a week or two before Christmas and I usually notice them arriving well into January. On a recent walk along the riverbank, I stood still and listened to the bird song and felt the warm breeze, and it felt just as though spring had started to arrive. We shall wait to see how the next couple of months behave! Our sparrows tend to take shelter when the rain is heaviest, but not so the goldfinches! As I write, the rain is relentless, but so are my little finches. I just love them! Well, I guess my new year resolution will have to be getting my first encounter with that yellow wagtail won’t it! Wish me luck, and happy nature watching.

Thank you St Mary’s!

The Shire committee owes a big ‘thank you’ to St Mary’s for hosting a massive invasion of carollers on Christmas Eve, refugees from Carols on the Green which was rained off.

For the first time in almost 20 years we had to give in to the weather and as a result hundreds of people poured into the church and many were outside ‘singing in the rain’.

Although it was amazing to see the support this event commands, it was a logistical nightmare for St Mary’s for safety and insurance reasons. In addition, on one of the busiest days of the year for them, they had to clean up ready for the Midnight Communion Service.

We at the paper will meet with them and discuss a strategy for the future which complies with safety issues.

Photo of Carol service at St Mary's Shirehampton
Carol service at St Mary's Shirehampton. Bob Pitchford.

Having said that it was a marvellous occasion with a terrific atmosphere and with so many in our community coming together in this way it demonstrated the true Joy of Christmas.