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News Index

Tea Party Celebration at Avonmouth CE Primary School

City to Seaside Schools Art Project - Photography students from Oasis Brightstowe

Walk on the Wild Side with Steve England

Letters to the Editor

Nature Notes

Dance Explosion at St Mary’s - Charity Fundraising Dance display

St. Mary’s Registers - June 2016

St. Mary’s News

Botany in the Shire

Floatilla Farewell - Bristol Harbour Festival

Shirehampton's Grand Family Picnic

The Grand Family Picnic in the Park which took place on Sunday 3rd July was a marvellous success, with perfect weather, lots of laughter and much hand-clapping!

Zoe Fudgell’s dance team
What it's all about...
Rose Watkins watching 191st Scouts with 'Splat the Rat'

Families arriving at the party were handed a “Shirehampton Park Treasure Trail”, a fun competition organised by the Hall Treasurer, Janet Thomas, to whom we are very grateful. Many thanks also to Grant Watkins, Scout Leader of 191st Shirehampton, for organising “Splat the Rat”, and to Rose Watkins for organising the Ice Cream Van, which served delicious ice cream and lollies which were in demand as the afternoon became hotter! Later in the afternoon there was an amazing display of dance from Zoe Fudgell’s team based at the Hall – thank you everyone! If anyone is interested in joining Zoe’s class please contact her directly on 07473 103762 for further details. The dance class is on Tuesdays, 6-7pm for children, 7-8pm for teens and adults. The Trustees of the Hall would like to extend their huge thanks to all those who took part and came along on that Sunday, and for making it a tremendous success, and look forward to repeating the experience in the future! A special thanks is extended to Bob Pitchford for taking such amazing photographs on the day, some of which are displayed here.

Lord and Lady Mayors’ visit to Penhill Residential home

Lillian Hobbs presents flowers to the Lady Mayoress

Lillian Hobbs, Penhill’s eldest resident age 99 years proudly presented the lady mayoress with a bouquet of flowers following their visit on Wednesday 13th July.

Geoff Lovell (mayor) and his wife, Bridget, spent the time chatting and meeting both residents and staff during the visit, The Lord Mayor expressed genuine care and concern regarding care of the elderly and said how lovely is, with a promise of a return visit at Christmas time.

Shirehampton Primary School Choir Visit Penhill Residential Home

Shirehampton Primary's choir visits Penhill

Local residents at Penhill Residential Home had a treat on Thursday 14th July as Shire Choir from Shirehampton Primary School paid them a visit.

The ladies and gents from Penhill bobbed and clapped along as the fifteen year 5 and 6 students sang a mixture of old and new songs, the highlight of which was old and young joining together to sing ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ from Mary Poppins. The children very much enjoyed their visit and spent time with the residents afterwards chatting (and eating biscuits!), they will be back for their annual Christmas tour in December which everyone will look forward to.

Sophie Goes Stateside To Pursue Her Footballing Dream

Sophie Harris

Shirehampton teenager Sophie Harris is on course to achieve her dream of becoming a professional footballer after securing a much sought-after sports scholarship in the USA.

Sophie, aged 18, a former student at Oasis Academy Brightstowe, was the first girl in the FLT League to play for Bristol City Under 18s and has now won the chance to develop her talent at the Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City.

Sophie left school with a great set of GCSE results but she is not thinking of doing anything else with her life, she just wants to play football, says mum Sarah, who is a technician at Oasis Academy Brightstowe.

She’s been playing at Bristol City and in the local leagues with Downend Flyers, but the facilities for female footballers in the UK can’t compare with what’s on offer in the USA. This is an amazing opportunity and it goes without saying we are all hugely excited.

Sophie and her former tutor at school, Mel Powell, ran the Bristol 10k last weekend as part of a fundraising drive for the four-year trip.

Home-Start Bristol Abseil - fundraiser could be the perfect challenge

If you're looking to take part in an event that pushes you to the limits, at the same time as raising money for a truly worthwhile cause, then Home-Start Bristol’s latest fundraiser could be the perfect challenge.

On Saturday 24th September 2016, their sponsored abseil will take place in the Mendips, with brave participants scaling heights of 150ft to fundraise for the charity. Hoping to beat the success of their previous 2013 Avon Gorge abseil, you can sign up for the event as individuals or as part of a group – so you can get your friends and colleagues involved too. The money you raise will go towards helping Home-Start Bristol and the work they do to support local struggling families, with at least one child under 5, in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. A small local charity, Home-Start Bristol recruits, trains and matches volunteers with families that need support. By taking part in the fundraising abseil, you will contribute towards making a lasting and positive impact on the development of children, and the health and welfare of families in the community.

Brightstowe Pupils are in the Army now

Youngsters at Oasis Academy Brightstowe in Bristol tackled a range of tough military tasks as they spent a day sampling life in the Army.

The Year 10 were among those from 16 local schools represented at the Military Challenge Event, held at Colerne Airfield in Wiltshire.

The schools competed against each other in activities including paintballing, soft target shooting and an assault course, supervised by soldiers from famous British Army regiments including the Coldstream Guards, Royal Signals and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Maths teacher Paul Greenup, who supervised the trip, said: “The day is designed to support team-building and leadership development, and provide an insight into Army careers, as well as being a day of fun, fitness and competition”.

Our pupils didn’t bring the trophy back but they represented themselves and the school really well, and a couple of them have even expressed an interest in potentially pursuing a career in the military.

Sea Cadets AGM - Thursday 29th September 2016

Avonmouth Sea Cadets are holding their Annual General Meeting on Thursday 29th September 2016 at 7pm. All are most welcome to attend, and it would be great to see some new faces!

If you are interested in joining us as a cadet, UMT member or even staff please email us at where one of us will be happy to reply and answer any of your questions.

Cambridge Graduation Success - Local resident Emerson Sharp

Local resident Emerson Sharp recently graduated from Fitzwilliam College Cambridge.

He studied Geography and achieved a First Class Honours. Having attended St Bernard’s Primary and then St Bede’s where he was Head Boy and achieved 10 A*s. Emerson then went on to achieve a scholarship for QEH - he achieved 3 A* at A Level in Geography, Physics and Maths and a place at Cambridge. Emerson is starting his working career with PWC (Bristol) in September.

His brother James is in his first year studying Geography at Oxford Brookes.

The family have lived in Shirehampton (Nibley Road) for 23 years, and are very proud of both boys.

Avonmouth Ladies Hockey Club - Invitation to new members

If you're new to hockey, used to play at school or just fancy giving it a go, why not come along and play for us?

We are a friendly, sociable club who have two teams playing in Berkeley Divisions 2 and 3. We train on Wednesdays on the Astro pitch at Henbury School where we also play our home fixtures. We are looking for players of any age/standard, particularly goalkeepers.

Celebrating Age Festival - It's time for creative over 50s to shine

It's time for creative over 50s to shine - Bristol’s Celebrating Age Festival which starts this Autumn is calling for entries for its annual art competition.

This year’s festival which runs from 25 September - 10 October will be celebrating ‘100 Ways To Happiness‘. It will launch with a large event at M Shed, Harbourside, on Sunday 25 September where prizes will be awarded to three successful artists and their work will be displayed.

The aim of the festival, which has been running since 2007, is to get older people involved in a range of activities in neighbourhoods across the city during the two-week period.

Celebrating Age Festival (CAF) Deputy Chair Judith Brown says they are looking for art entries, ‘in any medium’ from paintings and sculptures to collage and tapestry. She says: “We really want to welcome collective entries from residential homes and nursing homes as well as individual creative people. “We want to spread happiness across the city and entries should reflect this theme with people sharing what makes them happy. If you live in Bristol and are over 50, we look forward to receiving your artwork. “While your imagination should be limitless - entries should be no bigger than 3ft by 3ft.”

Chief Executive of Age UK Mark Baker says: “Happiness is a central part of wellbeing and we are working towards an age-friendly city where the wellbeing of older people is our highest priority. “This is a wonderful opportunity for those of 50 and above to show the city the wealth of talent that exists in Bristol.”

All entries must be submitted to Bristol Central Library on Saturday 20 August 2016, where a ballot box will be available so people can vote for their three favourite artworks.

For more information about the competition contact Shelley Hankins, Services Manager, Age UK Bristol, Canningford House, 38 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6BY, email or call 0117 927 6614or

The Celebrating Age Festival was set up in 2007 in response to the Bristol’s Quality of Life Strategy for Older People.

We understand that Bristol is in many ways a young city, with much of its culture and activity orientated towards young people. Our vision is to:

  • Recognise the positive value of older people and combat age discrimination
  • Place older people at the centre of thinking and planning of services
  • Actively promote independence and well being rather than just being reactive
  • Take a more ‘joined up’ approach to the delivery of services
  • Encourage social cohesion across the generations

The numbers of people attending has grown each year from approx 600 people in 2008 to over 4,000 people in 2014.


A 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an ATM attack at Shirehampton Post Office.

The man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause an explosion and conspiracy to steal relating to the attack in April.

He’s been bailed to allow further enquiries to take place.

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club - visit to the Island Bohemian Club

"A really great and interesting day out" was how one bowler described the club’s first ever visit to the Island Bohemian Club at Caversham on June 19th.

Almost thirty bowlers and their families boarded the coach and headed to Fry Island to bowl at a very unique setting in the middle of the River Thames. The final leg of the journey was by boat - just a short distance, but no less interesting and a memorable part of the day.

Bowling on six rinks, in very good and welcoming company, with the sun shining the afternoon was very enjoyable. When the final end had been played it was time to sit down and enjoy an excellent two course meal, a drink and conversation with new found bowling friends. There was even a rendition of the Island Bohemian Club song and presentation of a framed island photograph and history from host captain Steve Wood to visiting captain David Hinksman.

As always in bowling the result of the game mattered much less than the pleasure that comes from being on the green, friendly banter, and trying to unite wood with jack. City and Port did have two winning rinks --- Brian Crawley and Ken Sheen were the successful skips.

This day was particularly special and well worth the wait to be invited. It was certainly a highlight of the clubs season.

Another day that is always looked forward to is the visit of Bristol Blind Bowlers and this year they came to bowl on Wednesday July 6th. With the support of sighted bowlers from the Whitehall, Knowle and Bristol Arrow Clubs they once again demonstrated great skill and ability to bowl to a high standard. Using strings from one end of the green to the other and with sighted skips giving instructions they are able to bowl and to compete with bowlers who can see very well.

This seasons Tuesday evening sessions for new bowlers have been successful in finding Shirley Callaghan, Lynn and Nick Burand - who have all started to play in friendly games and Nick is now playing in the men’s league team. These sessions are still taking place so why not come along and give bowling a try. There is no charge, you can have three sessions and all equipment is supplied.

The club has been well represented in County Competitions again this season, enjoying the challenge of taking part against some tough opposition at both individual and team levels.

There is still plenty of bowling to look forward to between now and October - many more mid-week and week-end friendlies, the Summer Tour, based in Eastbourne early in September, Club Finals Day on September 10th and Presidents Day on September 18th.

Tai Chi with Frank Pring

Frank Pring has been teaching Chen style Tai Chi for the last 18 years and been studying martial arts for more than 25 years.

“I started to do karate because I used to go to Japan. I loved the Eastern approach to life and then I decided it was a bit too aggressive for me, a lot of impact so I looked for something else. I discovered Tai Chi and I’ve been doing it ever since.” said Frank.

Is Tai Chi a more gentle type of exercise and what are the benefits? “Tai Chi can be everything, that’s the beauty of it. You can be 9 years old or 90 years old and both get an awful lot out of it. Or you can be a budding 20 or 30 year old born to martial arts and that will suit you as well. The Chinese realised a long time ago, probably thousands of years ago, that if you’re going to go to war then you’d better be pretty healthy and fit, so the exercises we do are to improve your balance, your joints, your muscles, muscle tone, ligaments, your posture and a general sense of well-being, a clear head.”

"Is it difficult to learn..."

I ask Frank if it is difficult to learn? “Depends. I would say it’s not difficult to get an awful lot out of Tai Chi. If you want to study it for the full art, it can get quite interesting as opposed to difficult. In the classes I run I love seeing people learn. It depends who you are, quite often people have forgotten the art of learning, but I don’t meant that to be disrespectful as we get to a certain stage in our lives where we accept things the way we are and the thought of learning can be quite difficult. So when I see people break through that barrier, actually see them studying Tai Chi, learning to move differently, I see the posture change, I get a lot out of that.”

"If you are enjoying yourself you’re more likely to learn"

Frank runs several Tai Chi classes with LinkAge across Bristol and his previous career of 20 years as a Personal Development Consultant has meant he has been able to transfer some of his skills to his current job. “I believe if you are enjoying yourself you’re more likely to learn. The main class structure is exactly the same but I teach everyone differently, so everyone’s an individual. One of my concepts is that if you want to treat everyone fairly you need to treat them individually. So everyone comes into the class, we get a relationship going and then we’re working independently with each other within the class.”

"My oldest student is 95..."

There is no age limit and if you have a disability then Frank can adapt things. “My oldest student is 95 years old now and I’ve another guy who is 85. They are fantastic, very flexible. If you have a disability then we’ll have a talk about things. I’m quite happy to see what we can do. If someone is chair bound we can do some exercises and we can try and make things different.” says Frank

Tea Party Celebration at Avonmouth CE Primary School

On Wednesday 8th June Avonmouth CE Primary School held a tea party celebration for HM the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The children and staff arrived at school in the morning wearing red, white and blue and with cakes and biscuits they’d made for a competition. During the afternoon, each class presented what they had been learning in school during the week about the life of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

City to Seaside Schools Art Project - Photography students from Oasis Brightstowe

Working with artist Faye Joines, Photography students from Oasis Brightstowe took part in a project of exploration and documentation.

Together they hopped on and off the train using their cameras to explore neighbourhoods, communities and history along the Severn Beach Line.

The photographs are being exhibited at Shirehampton Train Station. A launch event was held on Wednesday 6th July.

The Lawns and Barwick

Betty Marten’s print shows ‘The Lawns’ at the top of Shirehampton High Street as the hill levels out.

Built in the 1980s these 11 bungalows were erected by Bristol City Council as age exclusive 1-bedroomed properties on the site of a former large house of the same name. The site gives good, flat access to local shops, facilities and bus stops. New residents from the age of 40 can apply to the council for a bungalow. Behind The Lawns is Barwick House, on The Ridge, one of several tower blocks erected in the 1950/60s by the city council, although some are now privately owned. According to Richard Coates in his ‘Street Names of Shirehampton and Avonmouth’ the tower blocks were named after men and women responsible for collecting Poor Rates in the parish of Westbury during the 17th Century. Judy Helme

Walk on the Wild Side with Steve England

After last year’s highly successful and popular event Steve England returned to Lamplighters Marsh for another ‘Walk on the Wild Side’.

Steve England

As many will know Steve is a conservation educator, horticulturist and Bristol Post columnist. He works with schools, local organisations as well as being a volunteer at Stoke Park Estate.

Sunday afternoon, 19th June, the educational walk was fully booked and we were lucky that the rain held off until the end of the event. Steve took us on a journey of discovery and shared his extensive knowledge of the area. He kept the interest of a mixed aged crowd of people and got the children of the group to search for unusual insects even though one or two of the insects may have met an untimely end by accident. It was definitely a learning curve for many of us where Steve pointed out and in some cases showed what plants were edible and others that were not. Sweet pea pods were found on route and did you know that elderberry leaves are a natural way of keeping the flies at bay by tying several leaves together and hanging them in doorways or windows? Steve also got us guessing the bird sounds of various species and we were lucky enough to see one or two, as pointed out by Steve.

Steve shows tiny fossils
And there was fire...

Tiny fossils were found in stones and that caught the children’s imagination and there was also short lesson in how to build a small fire with plants already around us and using a flint should we ever need one.

We gained a lot of knowledge from Steve on a two hour stroll along the Yellow Brick Road. Our reward at the end of the walk was a selection of homemade spreads and jams to taste, where ingredients had been previously collected by Steve out on other walks using wild plants and fruits as ingredients and made by his own fair hand. The only thing he didn’t make was the bread that was shop bought, although after he reads this he’ll most probably make his own bread next time!

Steve with his homemade spreads and jams

Thank you to Ash Bearman of SCAF for arranging this walk and to Steve England for taking us on short journey of educational discovery. Everyone who attended the ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ that day went away with a little more knowledge than we arrived with and it was an afternoon well spent.

Family fun day and dog show - Avon Riding Centre on Sunday 21st August

Friends of South Glos. Strays family fun day and dog show, back again at Avon Riding Centre on Sunday 21st August 2016 from 9.45am. Pedigree judging starts 10.30am, novelty judging starts 1pm.

£1 per class and as many as you like for £5.

Avon Riding Centre, Kingsweston Rd., Henbury, BS20 7QT (opp. Blaise Castle Car park)

Free Summer/Autumn activities from A Forgotten Landscape!

It's all go here at A Forgotten Landscape; interesting volunteer opportunities, fun family events!

Please come and join us in conserving, restoring and exploring the Lower Severn Vale Levels. All our events are free; please note though that booking is required for some of them. It will say by the listing if it is. You can find more information and all the latest listings of our events at

Family activities

  • Wed 10 August, 10 – 4. Have a Go Day – Electricity in Your Hands

    Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Bristol

    Build your very own wind turbine to take home! Work with a scientist to test what electricity your turbine will generate and enter a competition to power a light bulb. Impress friends with your new knowledge of aerodynamics! No booking necessary.

  • Thurs 11 August, 10 – 4. Have a Go Day – Crossing the Severn

    Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Bristol

    Accept our challenge to find the ultimate way to cross the River Severn. Use your creativity and resourcefulness to build, slide, surf or jump over the mighty river. Discover an ingenious way to cross the great watery barrier! No booking necessary.

  • Sat 13th August, 10 - 4. Storytelling with Michael Loader

    Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Bristol. No booking necessary.

    Back by popular demand! Mud, salt and marsh, goddesses, fossils, and ferries, Bob Dylan, whales and warhorses - all are part of the River Severn's story. Listen to storyteller Michael Loader weave his tales of wonder and help create new legends using fascinating objects from his story bag!

  • Sunday 28 August, 10-12. Butterflies, bugs and bees; Meadow Sweep with Ed Drewitt

    Woodwell Meadows Nature Reserve, Littleton on Severn

    Come experience a beautiful wild flower meadow with local naturalist Ed Drewitt. This little known nature reserve is full of lots of beetles, bugs and colourful flowers waiting to be explored. Booking essential; go to

Tuesday Talks

  • Our Tuesday Talks start again this September.

    They will be all be held at the Oak Room at Kings Weston House, Kings Weston Lane, Bristol BS11 0UR. Talks start at 7:30 and run for about an hour. They are free but you MUST book at place at For this season's line-up, please visit

Letters to the Editor

Wheelie bins - (name supplied)

Dear Editor,

Please!! Could something be done about the removal of wheelie bins after they have been emptied? The aroma from them can be quite unpleasant, besides cluttering the pavement, making it difficult for pushchairs etc. with children to pass.

Cotswold Estate -

Dear Editor,

Just a warning to the residents of the once quiet and peaceful Cotswold Estate. We are being plagued with youngsters wandering about at all times of day and night causing damage to vehicles and being troublesome. So residents be alert and report all incidents to the police. They have said patrols will be stepped up, with the times varying over 24 hours. Let’s hope all will calm down soon.

Referendum Reflection - D Jenner, address supplied

Dear Editor,

regardless of what your hoped for outcome was, I think we should consider the many non UK EU people who live in the UK, particularly the large Polish community we have in Shirehampton and the surrounding area. I wonder how they are feeling living in a country where the people’s vote, maybe, gives the impression that they are unwelcome and should perhaps pack up and leave, views that have actually been voiced in some parts of the country. Thankfully no such attitudes have been evident in Shirehampton but perhaps we can do more to show our Polish friends and neighbours how much we value and appreciate the contribution they are making to the community. It might also be worth acknowledging that we could all be kinder to and more respectful of each other, valuing all that we each contribute to the area in which we live.

Mystery photo solved! - photo published in the July edition

The photo published in the July edition which was hidden in a Dr Who annual has been claimed. It appears that the photo was mistakenly sent in to the charity shop in the book during a clear out.

It’s from Sea Mills infant School when it was on Hallen Drive (when it was still separate from the Junior School), and is Mrs Gingell’s class from about 36 years ago - most likely the summer of 1981. Mrs Gingell taught one of the two top year classes at the school and she was very keen on getting the children involved in growing plants.

We’ve had lots of response to the mystery photo published in the July edition – thank you all for getting in touch.

Local Computer Firm Wins Award

PC Utilities Ltd has picked up a Partner Recognition award at the recent Synaxon UK conference for IT retailers held in Nottingham beating off competition from 120 attendees from all over the UK.

PC Utilities, who are based in Westbury Lane in Coombe Dingle have been providing IT support since 1985 and fix computers, printers, networks both on and offsite. Their MD Spencer Hall comments “we aim to provide a quality support service to domestic and small business users in the area at a sensible price to the same standard users at large companies enjoy. We stock a range of both new and used laptops and PCs with a choice of Windows 7 or Windows 10”.

Contacts @ Shire - new set of email addresses

SHIRE now has a new set of email addresses to make it easier for you to contact us. These will appear alongside the old telephone contacts on the What’s On page. But to make sure you notice them and remember to use them, we’re listing them here.
for articles, letters, features, notices of events, announcements
for information about placing ads, cost, size artwork
contact point for distribution team
for financial accounts, purchases and sales
Additional contacts:;;

Nature Notes

Rescued Hedgehog

The little fellow in the photograph was rescued from the side of Nibley Rd at the beginning of May. We could see he had suffered a nasty injury to the side of his face, but couldn’t be sure if it was caused by a car or another animal. We popped him into a spare box with water and corned beef.

I kept checking him, and in the morning I was relieved to see he was eating and drinking. After an unsuccessful call to a Bristol hedgehog charity, a friend suggested giving ‘Secret World’ a call.

They were wonderful in their response, and at the end of what must always be a busy day for the volunteer driver, a lovely man arrived to take him to Somerset for much needed treatment.

At that point he was very optimistic for our hog’s chances, and I was thrilled to be told I could witness his release back here when he was well enough.

I rang Secret World after a couple of days to get an update. The young woman I spoke to was very kind and supportive when she reluctantly had to tell me that our beautiful little chap had passed away during the night at the vets, where he was being cared for. As you can appreciate I was devastated. She said that it was quite likely the head trauma was worse than we could see.

It was heart-breaking for me after seeing him trying so hard to survive. I comfort myself that at least he did have people around to make his end as peaceful as possible.

Well, I won’t end on a sad note. We have recently seen the arrival of baby goldfinches at their parents feeder, and my word, haven’t they taken it over as their own!! It is sometimes being topped up twice a day! The young sparrows were still being fed by parents up until the end of June. It seems likely that they were producing at least two broods.

Jeff spotted a sparrow hawk in the tree out front a couple of weeks ago, so I guess there are bigger babies to be fed too! Lots still to report next time.

Happy nature watching, Bobbie Perkins

Shirehampton Primary children develop green fingers!

This term the nursery children have been busy planting flowers, vegetables, and herbs.

They used a variety of recycled tyres, pallets and raised beds to plant them in. With all the rain we’ve been having the produce is growing very rapidly. Especially the runner beans that are growing on the climbing wigwam!

The school’s Eco-Council have been very hard at work, maintaining the Green space so the other classes can use it as an outdoor classroom! We have also had a lot of help from family members who have put in many hours strimming the grass and watering our plants. We would like to say a huge thank you for keeping our Green space looking lovely!

On Thursday the 23rd June the children planted strawberries and a variety of flowers that were kindly donated to us from the Avonmouth and Kingsweston neighbourhood partnership.

Last term we also planted a rare species of Whitebeam tree. We can’t wait to watch it grow and see how it changes throughout the seasons.

Dance Explosion at St Mary’s - Charity Fundraising Dance display

On Friday 24th June, several groups of dancers from the local community came together to put on a Charity Fundraising Dance display called ‘Dance Explosion’ at St. Mary’s Church.

Dance Explosion is run by a dance organisation called ConfiDANCE, which provides dance sessions to encourage children and young people of all backgrounds to build their confidence, aspirations, teamwork and creativity through sessions and performances. These sessions are free to the dancers, supported by funding through local churches, schools and clubs.

All groups that participated this year are part of the ConfiDANCE network, which includes three ConfiDANCE S.T.O.M.P dance clubs funded by St. Mary’s Church in Shirehampton, one S.T.O.M.P dance club from St. Chad’s Church in Patchway, as well as dancers from Oasis Academy Bankleaze in Lawrence Weston and a group of dancers who attended a Bristol camp called ‘Dance Fever’, who came to show the routines they had learned at that camp.

A total of 30 dancers performed in 10 different dances with a range of styles including Street Dance, Contemporary, Cultural, Lyrical and Action dances. The youngest dancer was just 3 years old and the oldest 13, displaying a whole range of abilities from children who have been part of ConfiDANCE for many years and those who have performed at large shows including at the Colston Hall, right through to children who performed for the first time at Dance Explosion including some that had joined just a few weeks before the show!

ConfiDANCE started this event 6 years ago as an opportunity for young people who have fun in many different dance clubs to get together and perform for the local community. There are no fees or auditions, it is for any group of dancers under 18 years old, it is not a competition and it is run by volunteers in our community.

Through refreshments and a collection taken upon entry, we were able to raise funds to give to local good causes including The Tithe Barn Appeal, ConfiDANCE activities and St. Peter’s Hospice.

Dance Explosion was simply a celebration of what children and young people in our area can achieve in their free time, featuring lots of fun, colourful props and lively music plus a great community spirit.

If you are interested in joining any of the dance groups featured in Dance Explosion or would like your dance club or school to take part next year, please email or visit St. Mary’s Church to be put in touch with the relevant clubs.

Thank you to everyone who supported and took part in this event. Many thanks to St. Mary’s and all our dedicated volunteer helpers for making the show go so smoothly and we are also grateful to Bob Pitchford for coming along to take some lovely, colourful, action shot photographs of all the young dancers during the show.

Amy Boucher (ConfiDANCE Director)

St. Mary’s Registers - June 2016

Baptisms ’we welcome you’

26th Starlet Victoria Rachel Doddrell
26th Megan Lorraine McGrath
26th Ky-Mani Charles Pittard-Harper

Funerals ‘At rest and at peace’

9thJack Day Canford
16thMargaret Rugg Canford
24thDick Helme St Mary’s

St. Mary’s News

Hi Folks!

Summer holidays

Summer holidays are here again and the kids are home from school. Some will be bored whilst others will be taking advantage of their new found freedom for the next 6 weeks or so.

Anyway, let’s hope everybody has the opportunity to have an enjoyable break before returning to routine work once more.

Patronal Festival

Our Patronal Festival at the beginning of July was a very enjoyable event, although we would have enjoyed seeing more people at our Summer Fayre. Takings were a little down on budget but we were still able to raise the sum of £1575 - so thank you to those of you who did come and support us.

Shirehampton Area Choir Summer Concert

The Shirehampton Area Choir Summer Concert was very much appreciated by everyone during the afternoon, with many favourable comments on the variety and quality of the singing. Grateful thanks must go to Tim Forder the Musical Director for all his hard work teaching the songs to the choir members. Grateful thanks must also go to those ladies who produced some wonderful floral displays representing a Grand Day Out. It was a pure delight to walk around the church and admire such innovative ideas which were indeed very clever! The Rev Gill Behenna officiated and preached at our 10am Holy Communion service on our Patronal Festival Sunday, and our Lay Minister Gill Sawyer led a service of Compline based around the life of our Patron Saint - St Mary - the Mother of our Lord Jesus - at 8pm in the evening.

Annual Parish Outing

On Wednesday, 29th June our Annual Parish Outing was a visit to Coventry Cathedral. As we boarded the coach it started to rain and it rained and it rained and it rained all the way to Coventry. Everyone then sought the nearest place of shelter and to find somewhere for lunch. With hunger satisfied we later met in the Cathedral for a guided tour. We were split into groups of 16 and our Tour Guide, believe it or not, was a German girl called Martina Thielmann. She took us first of all into the ruins of the original Cathedral before going into the new Cathedral where she explained that the joining of the ruins to the new building was a sign of Peace & Reconciliation between all nations.

Martina then went on to show us the famous Graham Sutherland tapestry, which is the largest in the world and was woven all in one piece at a mill in France - the only place that had a weaving room big enough to make it. It apparently weighs 1 ton. The modern stained glass was very colourful and the font in the Baptistry was a roughly hewn rock weighing 3 tonnes from the hills just outside Bethlehem. After the tour we had a most generous cream tea served in the Undercroft. This was followed by Choral Evensong sung by 13 Boy Choristers - and what a delightful sound they made. After this, we made our way home and yes, you guessed it, it was still raining! Nevertheless in no way did it spoil our day.

  • Saturday, 6th August. Bric-a-Brac Sale

    Keep Saturday, 6th August in your Diary this is the date of our next Bric-a-Brac Sale in the church from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon. If you have any items which are surplus to your requirements or duplicated gifts, please consider bringing them to the church as I can assure you we will do our very best to sell them for our ever needed funds for St Mary’s.

  • Saturday, 20th August. Mynyddislwyn Male Voice Choir

    Thank you in anticipation. Another date for your diary is Saturday, 20th August when at 7.00 pm we shall be hosting a visit from the Mynyddislwyn Male Voice Choir. Try saying that without your false teeth in!! Tickets are £10.00 and we will give you a buffet supper and a glass of wine.

  • 22nd to Friday 26th August. Seniors Week

    From Monday 22nd to Friday 26th August, the church will be closed for tea & coffee, as it is our Seniors Week when we shall have use of the church most days. We shall be entertained by different speakers and demonstrators on these days, which is something everyone looks forward to.

    Also we shall be having two coach trips during the week to locations outside the city.

  • 29th August - Bank Holiday Monday. ‘Open Church’

    The final ‘Open Church’ for this year will be on 29th August - Bank Holiday Monday. Again we shall be serving lunches between 12.00 noon and 2.00 pm and cream teas from then until 5.00 pm. You will have a good variety of food to tempt your palette and all at extremely good value prices. All profits go towards church funds and you will have the company of other folk rather than spend it in traffic queues on the M5!!!

Now is the time of year when we have to think to which charity we need to support for our Harvest Appeal. So watch this space or even come up with a suggested charity for consideration this year. Now, this was published in a Church Magazine - Are you having trouble sleeping? Well, don’t count sheep - count your blessings instead!

‘Bye for now! C.M.E.

Shire Christmas Illuminations - A big tree on the green

Hopefully by now you will have seen our new tins in the shops, these have been filling up nicely with your loose change, thank you. We’re happy to report that we are well on our way to funding the lights and trees this Christmas thanks to some kind donations from local businesses.

However we have ambitions to install a big tree on the green (subject to planning consent) and hold a switch on event in the village this year. In order to fund these we are holding an exciting fundraising gig:

The Emperials at Shirehampton Mens social Club, Friday 19th August 2016 from 7:30pm

Tickets £10 each, available from the little Teapot, Bobbetts, or through

Lastly if anyone has any queries or would like to volunteer in some way or maybe make a personal donation we would love to hear from you.

Open Garden Event in Shirehampton

Ray Brocklesby held an Open Garden afternoon on the 6th July raising £102.00 for St Mary’s Church.

Remembering the First Day of the Somme

Walter Edgar May

Son of Albert Samuel & Elizabeth May of 5 Crown Terrace, Westtown, Shirehampton

Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment

Service number 3/8503

Age 20

Date of death 01/07/1916

Killed on the first day of The Battle of The Somme

Buried Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuile

On 1st July 1916 the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment attacked near Authuille Wood, with 69 men having died on that day and total casualties of some 501 men killed, wounded or missing over the first three days of the battle. After several days of heavy losses, the Battalion were withdrawn north until October.

Botany in the Shire

In my last column I wrote about the Bee Orchids on a bank in the Daisy Field by the Portway and how most of them had been cut down in their prime during an early mowing.

If you walk by (far better than taking the footpath beside the Portway) you will now see a fence and sign explaining what it is trying to do. Of course fencing can make mowing so difficult that scrub develops, so we hope that in future years the Council will be able to manage the mowing later in the season, so that the orchids set seed and survive.

Shakespeare’s works include quite a number of references to our wild plants and botanical scholars have pored over them to examine which are plants Shakespeare would have been familiar with and which are purely allegorical. One such scholar, Leo Grindon, came from Bristol and used to lead rambles for the members of the Clifton Shakespeare Society in Victorian times, according to all reports, “charming them with a poetic and fanciful commentary upon the flowers gathered”.

At the end of June, some of my botanical friends and I went (with champagne and a glorious picnic such as the Mechanicals might have taken into the Forest of Athens) to see a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In one of its most famous speeches, Oberon, the King of the Fairies, relates:

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”

For a bank with wild thyme, the closest I know is in the Avon Gorge.

Eglantine (Prickly shrub)

But for Eglantine (meaning a prickly shrub, good for hedge-making) the photo shows it in bloom in the Daisy Field hedgerow close to where the Bee Orchids grow. Also known as Sweet Briar, on a sunny day after the rain or if you brush by the leaves, you will smell a sweet apple scent, which immediately separates it from the common Dog Rose.

Floatilla Farewell - Bristol Harbour Festival

HMS Atherstone leads the way

Residents gathered on the bank of the River Avon on the 18th July to bid farewell to the boats that had attended the Bristol Harbour Festival that weekend. Most impressive was the minehunter HMS Atherstone (M38), and this was followed by many smaller vessels.