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News Index

Owl Hunt in Shire

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Shirehampton Baptist Church

Return of the Carnival?

Avonmouth Road Street Party

Evergreens Update


Oasis Academy Brightstowe GCSE Results

Nova Primary School Open Day

Holiday fun with Shirehampton Primary School - 2016-17

The twelfth year of Seniors’ Week

Harvest Festival Service at Shirehampton Methodist Church

Anyone afraid of dogs - get free help

Botany in the Shire

Nature Notes…

Tynings Field News

Letters to the Editor

Shire… Moving On

Shire Photo Exhibition

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

Owl Hunt in Shire

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The Owls are coming! They are coming to help welcome the annual Shire Craft Exhibition to the Village.

The Exhibition opens on Tuesday 24th October until Saturday 28th October every day 10am till 4.00pm, late night Thursday till 8.00pm.

…can collect a small prize

The owls will be visiting many of our local traders throughout the village. They are there to let you know about the exhibition but, they will also be sharing their names with you. So, any child between 5 and 11 years who collects all 11 names and writes them on the leaflets provided then brings them along to the Exhibition can collect a small prize. Traders taking part in the Owl Hunt are: P J’s Hairdressing, The Post Office, Shire Village Vets, Break, Nightingales, The Little Teapot, Simply Fish, Andrew Pinn, Wood Family Butchers, CLIC Sargent, Shirelink Taxis, Haart Estate Agents, Super Saver Store, Sweet Treats.

Just pop into one of the shops, with an adult, where you will find an owl with a flier and space on the back for all the owl names. The owl hunt opens Monday 23rd October. Did you know that a group of owls is called a parliament?

…lots of crafts on show…

At the Exhibition there will be lots of crafts on show from local people and groups including ceramics, patch work, woodwork, jewellery, glass painting, paper crafts plus lots more. There will be demonstrations, activities for children, on Thursday evening 6.30pm there will be an open workshop of owl bunting-making using hand sewing (places will be limited to 15 on a first come first served basis). On Saturday we have a pumpkin carve (bring your own hollowed out pumpkin) for children aged 5-11, accompanied by an adult. Places for this are limited to 20 on first come first served basis. Shire Stitchers will again be showing their challenge pieces and asking you, the public, to vote for the best one.

Christmas presents

Many of the crafts on show will also be for sale so why not come along and buy that unique early Christmas present. Most important of all there will be teas and coffees together with home-made cakes all week.

We are still open for more exhibitors closing date for applications is 18th October so get in touch for an application form.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

My Circle of Friends and Neighbours.

Growing Up in Shire.

I wrote a story of growing up during the war years for the April Edition of the Shire, but this story is about the people of Shire that I grew up with, went to school with or interacted with daily, Friends and Neighbours, good people I will never forget.

First, I want to thank the staff of the SHIRE not for only allowing me to print my stories but for their dedication to the Village of Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Sea Mills, they are the glue that keeps the bonds of these neighbourhoods together, not forgetting all the local volunteers, A BIG THANK YOU.

I left Shire the first time in January of 1948 when I signed on a ship and sailed out to the south Pacific, I sailed away many times in the next six years but finally left in 1954 when I migrated to the United States, so my memory has to go back almost 80 years to when I was six years old.

What I am about to write about is the memories that linger in my mind that comes alive when triggered by a song or just reminiscing as old people do when they lay around day dreaming

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First day of School, 1937

Living on Springfield Ave it wasn’’t far to go to attend my first day at the Infant school, I believe it was 1937, I was scared to go as most children are so I was taken/dragged by my mother. I can’t remember the teachers name but do remember some of the other children and thank goodness they took a class photo of us so I can put names to a face. I remember the drill of walking around the school the teacher would make us hold each other’s hands so we didn’t run away or get lost, I was lucky to hold the hand of a pretty little girl who became my friend all through my teens and young adulthood, (No Name No Pack Drill) as the old saying goes. I would like to say she was my childhood sweetheart but I was not that lucky, but happy to say we went the Savoy a few times together in our teens.

…he grew to at least eight feet tall

Many of the men on the street were called up for service my father included and I began to run around with most of my school mates that lived on the street. Starting with the corner house on Springfield and Burnham Road was the Hayward family, they were Welsh, Len was very stern and kept his eyes open when I was visiting as he had two lovely daughters. Next door lived the Derricks with a couple of boys; Brian and I became school mates and went to Portway together. Down the road a few houses were the Staddens they had three daughters and two boys older than me, then came the Hillmans, Tommy and his sister Freda, Tommy was just a little kid but he grew to at least eight feet tall, (well standing next to me years later he look to be very tall). Then came the Harvey family Sid and Lottie with their children, five boys, two a lot older than me but Donald and Brian were around the same age and we ran around together. Sid and his wife were great people and treated me like one of their own, since I practically lived in the house playing with the brothers I was always fed with them when it was time to eat, also Brian and I went to sea together.

last Tango in Shirehampton…

Next door lived the Herbert’s with three lovely daughters and one of them Florence who loved to dance the Tango with me when we went to the Catholic school dances. At the end of the street lived Roy Bubb, didn’t interact much with his parents as his father was in the army but Roy was a great kid to hang around with, opposite was the Rudd family Fred and John, Fred was a Bosun and was always at sea and John followed in his dad’s footsteps and also went off to sea. Around the corner entering Groveleaze was the Chillcott family, Ginger (Brimley) never called him that or he would be on you like white on rice, he delivered the morning newspaper they also had three daughters; I remember Joan and Janet but not the younger one. Then there was John Parsons we were in the 153rd scouts together, John became a very fine artist and was well known in Shire, moving on down the road lived George Burke who was a lot older than me and worked in the Royal Hotel in Avonmouth, Billy his younger brother was in the same boy scout troop and we also sailed together years later.

Moving down Portbury Grove we had the Mitchells, they were close friends of my family after being neighbours for years from 1932 until 1936 when we all moved from the Row house called the Bank next to Meadow grove, Don the father was in the Royal Navy and later the Merchant Navy, Don the oldest boy served in the army and then followed his father into the MN, I sailed with both of them later on in life, then there was Brian who was my age and a we were very close friends for many years, Dawn was their young daughter.

I was also good friends with the Eager family, Brian and Larry, who lived at the bottom of Burnham Rd we ran around together and went to the Dances at the Public Hall and the Catholic school.

Most of the boys I attended school at Portway with left school in December 1945, many of them found work on the docks or working on the Tug Boats, I went to work for The Pool, or Shell Mex as it was later called, it was there that I met Harry Waite who became a good friend, he was also from a Welsh family. Another couple of Avonmouth lads I got to know were Tommy Warlock and Arthur Price, Arthur was always the taxi driver to call when running around. I also sailed with Angus, Stan and Donald McCloud; they also had a lovely sister who worked over at Hamgreen Hospital. Then there were the Thomas’s on West town Rd, Mr. Thomas was a Foreman docker and we met at times onboard ship and had a good chat, his son Johnny and I became good friends, he also had good looking daughter I might add.

Flour graders take the biscuit…

Then who could not forget the girls that waved to all the lads from the Spillers building windows, plus the lovely girls who worked at the biscuit factory down St Andrews Rd, I met a couple of fine Irish colleens that worked there.

I grew up interacting with many different nationalities in Shire, English, Welsh, Irish, Polish, and one family from Malta.

I met many more families when I began working for Jack Newman the Butcher in Bradley Ave, I delivered the joints of meat and sausages on a Saturday morning, Jack was a very nice person to work for and treated me very well, he also taught me to bone the meat and use the meat grinder to make the sausages.

One family I remember delivering meat to was the Rees family, I believe they were from Wales; they also had a very nice daughter my age.

…the memory bank has its limits

There were many more names I would like to mention but the memory bank has its limits, however there was a few local Characters that pop up in my mind from time to time, they were the local Police Detective a Mr. Chivers later nicknamed Dick Barton, Archie Briffit the milkman with his horse and cart, and of course the Truant officer, his name escapes me, and then in the local pub the George, there was a big fellow named Oscar Martin always wearing his Gumboots /Wellies, he lived in Sea Mills but spent all his time in Shire.

…these names are not in history books…

Now, these names are not exhausted, just a few from Shire and Avonmouth, but they were part of my growing up and they played a big part in my life, and their number grow smaller every year. No, these names are not in history books, they’re only in my mind, in quiet moments when I daydream they all come alive.

Shirehampton Baptist Church

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Baptist church by Betty Marten

Betty Marten’s drawing of the church was done in 1988 and there have been changes to the appearance of the building since then.

The four memorial stones of this building were laid in Pembroke Avenue on 5 December 1904, however the foundation of the Shirehampton Baptist congregation stems from 1889 when a small group of families met together for evening worship in a cottage in Pembroke Road. The Temperance Hall was hired when numbers grew and services were held there for 15 or 16 years. The Sunday School grew from 6 to 120 children by 1904. The site in Pembroke Avenue enabled the building of a fit for purpose church which accommodated about 200 worshippers. It was constructed of stone quarried at Kings Weston. The Baptistry was made using white Sicilian marble. In early 1962 a permanent Sunday School building was created at the southern end of the church accessed from Station Road - this replaced an old galvanised schoolroom which had become too small. The church in 2017 is bright and modern and still very much a part of Shirehampton village.

Return of the Carnival?

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Whilst having a clear out of the loft this week, I stumbled upon a photo album with photos of Shire Carnival from the late 1980s.

I remember those days well. I for one spent many a year on the back of a float dressed in a variety of fancy dress costumes whilst the procession meandered its way, starting from the hill on Station Rd, Groveleaze, Priory Rd, St Marys Rd, West Town Rd etc before trundling through the High Street back to its starting point. Residents lined the streets, collection buckets were rattling, music was blaring all whilst parents walked besides the float ensuring the children didn’t fall off or want the toilet!

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I was part of the 191st Dixon cub pack, alongside Roger Barnes. We spend many months in the run up to the carnival painting, preparing props for the floats and asking favours from both lorry companies in Avonmouth to unsuspecting parents. In the photo attached you may recognise a few faces, Rich Powell, Jill Williamson, my husband Neil, Dean Wotton, and Colin Williamson, I am somewhere on the float! It was always a great day, community spirit was high, from the very young to the elderly all seemed to enjoy themselves, which brings me to the reason for writing.

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Whilst walking through the village this week I spotted posters advertising ’Shire Santa Dash’, seemingly a reinvention of the good old carnival days. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this event brought back the community spirit that seems to have lost its way over recent times? I for one will be getting involved, albeit my knees are not up to much, so I will be walking with my grandchildren whilst reminiscing.

Best of luck to the good folk from the Christmas Lights committee, I hope the dash is a huge success, and look forward to a great lights display this year.

Avonmouth Road Street Party

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Avonmouth Road street party

This picture was taken at a party celebrating VE.

It was taken against the wall of the last house standing where the Avonmouth motorway roundabout is now. Before the roundabout was built there was an overgrown area between the last house coming out of Avonmouth and the houses that are on the Shirehampton side of the roundabout. I’m not sure if this was due to bombing.

Shirehampton Public Hall October 2017

What a busy time we’ve had at the Hall in recent months!

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First and foremost, however, we must mention one very special person, our Treasurer of a decade, Janet Thomas.

Janet dedicated a huge amount of her time to the Hall over the years, but in July she retired from her duties and passed on the baton to a new Treasurer, Peter Kirsen. Janet is a very difficult act to follow and her years of dedication to the Hall are very much appreciated by the Shirehampton Community and the Hall Trustees. A special presentation of the Hall’s appreciation was given to Janet at the Hall’s AGM in July, followed by a light buffet celebration afterwards. From everyone at the Hall, Janet, have a very happy and healthy retirement and a well-deserved rest from all the responsibility! You will be missed by us all.

Our Chairman, Gil Osman, also stood down but remains a Trustee of the Hall. Thank you also, Gil, for your dedication and contribution to the Hall.

Doors Open Day, which took place on Saturday 9th September, was a huge success! Individuals and families came to browse the Hall’s architecture, take part in fun activities and be dazzled by an amazing rendition of the Lark Ascending. A big thank you to the Architecture Centre and A Forgotten Landscape for all their help and support in putting this event together, and of course to all the Trustees and volunteers who gave their time on the day. Hopefully more photographs and articles about the Doors Open Day will appear in future Shires!

Port Communities Resilience Fund opens Community Grants scheme for local groups

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Local People are invited to influence which projects get funded.

A Community Facilities grant scheme has been launched to support local organisations in Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston ward to improve the spaces they operate from, the equipment they use and the services they offer to local people.

The Community Facilities Grant Scheme is offering a total of £315,000 to community groups through a competitive grant scheme. It is part of the £1m Port Communities Resilience Fund (PCRF), which was approved by Bristol City Council’s Cabinet in August 2017 and is made up from profits gained through the sale of the Port Company in 2015.

Councillors, local residents and organisations met in November 2016 to help develop priorities for where the money should be spent within their ward and as a result three themes were agreed:

  • Jobs and enterprise
  • Improving community facilities
  • Thriving high streets

The Community Facilities Grant Scheme is designed to support the second theme and will provide grants between £10,000 and £100,000 to support improvements to buildings or to buy equipment. Applications for funding have now opened and applications are being invited from community groups within or offering services in the Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, Sea Mills/Coombe Dingle and Shirehampton areas. The deadline for bids is Friday 4 December 2017 at 5pm.

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Councillor Asher Craig

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities, said: This is a great opportunity to reinvest the money from the sale of the Port back in to the community where it is based. I hope that local organisations will use this fund to make small changes to their buildings to make sure they are able to stay with us long into the future whilst also encouraging more outside investment to the area.

Grants from the fund are only for improvements to physical assets such as buildings or equipment. It cannot be used to pay for salaries or ongoing running costs.

Support to apply

To help community groups apply for funding the council is holding three information events in September. In addition, Voscur, the local Voluntary and Community support organisation, is offering help to any group in the ward so they can put together strong applications.

Contact Voscur at and click the "support" tab for access to their online request form. Or call them on 0117 909 9949, or email

Local People influencing which projects get funded

There are two ways local people can influence which projects succeed in getting a Community Facilities Grant: 1) Join the Resident Assessment Panel. This is for local residents of Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston Ward only. 2) Join the Public Vote. There will be a public voting week in January 2018 on all projects which have submitted eligible applications. For more information about the two options, contact the Council on or phone Keith Houghton on 0117 922 2135

Applying for a grant from the Community Facilities grant scheme

Guidance on how to apply to the Community Facilities Grant Scheme is on Bristol City Council’s website at: For initial information on the Port Communities Resilience Fund - including requesting the guidance pack for the Community Facilities Grant Scheme, email

Other themes in the Port Communities Resilience Fund

The Jobs and Enterprise theme will fund improvements to local facilities to provide better access to people in Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, which includes:

  • Job search support
  • Careers information advice and guidance
  • Training and skills development
  • Advice and support for business start-ups, including social enterprise
  • Advice and support for early stage / growing businesses
  • Equipment and technology for new digital and creative businesses.

The Thriving High Streets theme will fund physical improvements to the ward’s four main high streets/shopping areas, including pavements, new and improved seating, litter bins and recycling facilities, improved signage, greenery and CCTV.

FREE Cycle Parking for Community Groups and Businesses

Cycling charity Life Cycle UK (charity number 1077575) is offering community groups and small businesses in Bristol the chance to apply for FREE cycle stands, thanks to funding from Bristol City Council. Why install cycle parking?

  • Encourage employees and visitors to travel the healthy way by giving them safe cycle parking.
  • Increase customer footfall whilst helping to reduce road congestion and pollution.
  • Landlords can avoid bike-related wear-and-tear by installing the stands outside their properties.
  • Sheffield stands are sturdy and secure, minimising the risk of tampering and theft.

Take A Stand® helps organisations with limited resources to install safe cycle parking at their premises. The stands are provided and delivered completely FREE of charge - all you have to do is install them. Bristol-based organisations can apply for up to 4 FREE Sheffield stands each - enough to provide secure parking for 8 bikes.

Shire Community Plan Update

A willing team of 30 volunteers have hand delivered a copy of the survey to every house/flat/residence in Shirehampton - if you have not received yours please let us know!


We would like to clarify that the people doing the Shire Community Plan are independent local groups and/or residents. Lead Co-ordinating groups are Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) and Cotswold Community Association working with local residents - we are not Bristol City Council!

Smart survey

The survey, both paper copies and the online SMART survey, will be open until 14th November. You can complete the survey online at

Drop off your survey

You can drop off completed paper surveys at Shire Library, Cotswold Community Association, Shire Health Centre and Ocean Estate Agents in the High Street.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions or would like more copies of the survey or are interested in being more involved please contact us:

Notice of AGM - Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF)

SCAF will be holding its AGM on Wednesday 4th October 7pm at Shire Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, BS11 9TU.

We would welcome new trustees coming forward to join our board. If you are interested, or would like further information about the AGM please contact Ash Bearman on 0117 982 9963 or email


Evergreens Update

There is a change to our day trip on November 7th.

Instead of going to Bridgend Shopping Outlet we will be going to the Swindon shopping outlet. Times for leaving Shirehampton are the same.


Talks take place at the Wardroom, HMS Flying Fox, Royal Naval Headquarters, Winterstoke Road, Bristol. BS3 2NS

Talks start at approximately 1930 hours

2017 meeting on the following Mondays

  • Oct 9th ‐ Geoff Williams ‐ Over the sea to Scilly
  • Oct 23 ‐ Tim Ryan ‐ The Severn Princess
  • Nov 13th ‐ Peter Davey ‐ The end of trams in Bristol

2018 meeting on the following Mondays

  • Feb 26th Capt Kevin Slade. The Merchant Navy Training Board
  • March 12th ‐ David Verghesi. A Military Researcher’s View of the Dambuster’s Raid
  • March 26th ‐ Paul Barnett. Burton’s Mulberry Blueprint
  • April 9th ‐ Swinging the lamp
  • April 23rd ‐ Peter Jones ‐ The Thetis Disaster
  • May 14th ‐ Pat Shipsides ‐ The artist’s view of two maritime events

Membership: Open to all with an interest in ships and the sea VISITORS ARE VERY WELCOME ‐ £3.00 PER HEAD

Please telephone 01761 462703 (Capt. Francis) at least one week before a meeting, for security clearance.

Captain Hamish Grant.

Oasis Academy Brightstowe GCSE Results

Students, staff and parents at Oasis Academy Brightstowe are celebrating another successful set of GCSE results, with 42 per cent scoring a 4 or above in both English and Maths and 26 per cent achieving a 5.

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Among the high achievers were Luke Rakhshan Parast, who achieved three A*s, two As, two Bs, one 6, one 7 and a 9 in Maths; Hannah Spence, with two A*s, four As, two 6s and a 7; and Emily Hignell, who scored three A*s, three As, one B and three 6s.

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Luke, of Sea Mills, will now head to Colston’s School on a Tolman Scholarship while Emily, from Shirehampton, will go to St. Bede’s Catholic College. Meanwhile Hannah, from Lawrence Weston, is taking her A Levels at City of Bristol College.

In terms of individual subjects, 70 per cent of students achieved a C or above in History, with 32 per cent getting an A* or A. In French those figures were 79 per cent and 21 per cent, and for PE, 84 and 20 per cent.

Once again we have a number of high attainers…

Principal Joe Docherty said: "Once again we have a number of high attainers and overall our students have adapted well to the changes to GCSEs which have been implemented this year. Our students continue to come from a diverse range of primary schools and likewise they have chosen a range of destinations for the next stage of their lives from September, from the scholars we have leaving Oasis Academy Brightstowe for the independent Colston’s and Red Maids High Schools, to St. Bede’s and North Bristol Sixth Form, plus those who are moving into apprenticeships and the world of work. I would like to wish all of our GCSE leavers well and have no doubt that they will go on to achieve great things in the future."

Nova Primary School Open Day

Nova Primary School is holding an open event on Friday 6th October 2017 @ 9.30am.

You will meet some of our wonderful children and our Senior Leadership Team.

There is no need to make an appointment just come along. There will be toys and supervision for young children. If you are unable to make this date, please contact the School Office to make an appointment. We really look forward to meeting you then!

Holiday fun with Shirehampton Primary School - 2016-17

During the year Shirehampton Primary School have been lucky enough to have been able to offer families of the school the opportunity to take part in activities and attend day trips during the school holidays.

Trips have included visiting Bristol Zoo Gardens, where the children and adults enjoyed seeing a variety of animals including lions, tigers, seals and even some Dinosaurs! Some of which squirted us in the face with water! We had some fantastic weather which enabled us to have picnics on the grass and have some fun in the park!

As we all appreciate a good freebie!!! The day trip to the Apple Store was a huge hit. Here we made our own film and learnt how to use the Apple Macs. The staff were very helpful and we got a goody bag with our own t-shirt inside.

As always, we got to meet Santa on our annual train trip in December. Santa gave everyone aboard the train presents, a mince pie and something to drink. It was a magical day that our children will never forget.

Our residential camp took place at Kilve Court. Here we took part in climbing, orienteering, shelter building and trying to find our way through a huge maze; it was great fun and all the families really enjoyed it, despite the freezing weather and at times the driving rain!

Looking forward to our next academic year’s holiday activities and fun!

St. Mary's News - October

Hi Folks!

Hopefully you all saw the advert for the ‘Happiness Lab’ in the last month’s paper, a 6-week course that looks at how we can find joy and contentment in our busy lives, taking in place in the Tithe Barn on Tuesday evenings. It’s not too late to join this course or to find out more if you are interested, please do drop our Priest in Charge, Helen, a line or two if you want to know more, or if you would like to speak with her about anything else on

In other news, I am pleased to tell you that on Sunday 10th September we welcomed Janey to St Mary’s with a Bring and Share Lunch. She is a student at Trinity Theological College and will be with us for 2 years as a trainee Pioneer Minister.

On Sunday 8th October, we are looking forward to an all-age informal Holy Communion service at 10.00am. All are welcome, especially those with families and young children - there will be no Kids’ Klub service that week as we will be worshipping all together as one church family.

Once again we have a number of high attainers, we have our Remembrance Day service at 10am on 12th, before we join with local uniformed organisations at the Cenotaph at 11am, as we remember and give thanks for those who have given their lives for us in conflict and war. We also have our ‘Tree of Light’ service on Sunday 3rd December at 6pm when we call to mind those whom we have loved and lost from our own families.

Now for some advance notice of our forthcoming Christmas Fayre. This is to be held in the church on Saturday, 18th November from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon gifts, crafts etc. and there will be lots of things to do for all the family. This year we are having one big Christmas Fayre, and we look forward to seeing you there.

Our Harvest Appeal this year was for Southmead Hospital Charity and Water Aid. I will tell you how much we made when I have the figures to hand.

Just before I go, I must tell you this little story. Three little boys were bragging about how tough they were. ’I’m so tough,’ said the first boy, ’that I can wear out a pair of shoes in a week.’

’Well,’ said the second boy, ’I’m so tough I can wear out a pair of jeans in a day.’

’That’s nothing,’ said the third boy. When my parents take me to see my granny and grandpa, I can wear them out in just an hour!’

’Bye for now. Chris Eynon

The twelfth year of Seniors’ Week

The twelfth year of Seniors’ Week at St Mary’s was another great success.

We enjoyed a week of varied speakers, lovely meals and days out - it was like a real holiday. Then, on Bank Holiday Monday it was ’Open Church’ at St Mary’s where we had a choice of several 2-course lunches, cream teas and slices of Gill’s cakes - delicious. A big thank you Gill, from us all.

(Thank you for the donation. Ed)

Harvest Festival Service at Shirehampton Methodist Church

Sunday 15th October at 11am. Revd. Patrick Stone-Hewer. Followed by a harvest lunch at 12 noon.

News from Bristol Older People’s Forum

Firstly, thank you to all who attended/spread the word about the meeting we hosted on 10th August, which enabled so many to respond to Bristol Council consultations on Neighbourhoods and Supporting people What a great turnout and the council officers were extremely pleased with the responses they got (minutes available from This was a joint meeting with Bristol Women’s Voice, Bristol Disability Equality Forum, Bristol Multi Faith Forum, BME Voice Bristol and LGBT+ Bristol.

Our next meeting is 10.30am 21st September at Broadmead Baptist Church meeting hall, and we are delighted to welcome speaker Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner. As always, it’s a great chance to hear and question speakers, meet many of our members, hear what we have been up to - and of course have a cup of tea.

Anyone afraid of dogs - get free help

Many of us either own a dog or will meet one when out and about, but you might be surprised to know that research from Dogs Trust has shown that one on three children is afraid of dogs.

We are offering free advice to help families, and anyone who regularly encounters dogs, improve their understanding of man’s best friend. This includes tips on how to approach a dog safely and how to respond when a dog approaches you, to pointers for parents who have a child who is scared of dogs. Thanks to funds from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Dogs Trust is also running free workshops in schools to help children feel more confident around dogs.

Botany in the Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

After Wessex Water had completed their works a few years ago, there was a waste area by the Avon near Lamplighters which sported a good number of interesting and locally uncommon plants, including Marsh and Golden Docks. As is typically the case these things don’t last long and the area is now overgrown. However, I did have the dried stem (a veritable vegetable corpse) of another dock that had puzzled me. At a recent workshop, I showed it to an expert.

The specimen was clearly a hybrid because it was largely infertile: the seeds and their enveloping wrapping (which are needed ripe for identification) had not developed properly. However, we found a few that were slightly expanded and we eventually worked it out as a hybrid of Golden and Clustered Docks, only twice previously identified from Gloucestershire.

Such hybrid plants have been described as Nature’s Dross, being an evolutionary dead-end. However, this isn’t always the case. There is a classic example of an American Cord-grass being accidentally introduced to Southampton Harbour two centuries ago and crossing with a wild British relative.

The resultant plant showed hybrid vigour and was identified as particularly good at binding mud, so it was introduced along the Somerset coast. By then, however, it had doubled up its chromosomes and it became a fertile species, and this is mostly what we have at the bottom of the saltmarshes beside the Avon and on the Severn Estuary.

In the same way, natural hybridisation has led to a proliferation of whitebeam species in the Avon Gorge, adding to its biodiversity and fame. Plant breeding, whether for horticultural or agricultural purposes, used to be synonymous with deliberately crossing related plants of different forms, and in early Victorian times a Bristol churchman was doing this with the huge-flowered and easy to manipulate Amaryllis. Wheat has three sets of chromosomes and is a triple hybrid arising and selected in antiquity. In fact, it is sometimes said that it domesticated humans, rather than the other way around.

Clive Lovatt

Nature Notes…

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Bertie the Buzzard

I thought a quick follow up on Bertie the buzzard would be nice.

My daughter remembered her camera phone the other day, whilst walking her dog, and luck of lucks, Bertie was not at all camera shy! She got a couple of shots of him in flight which possibly wouldn’t reproduce well in the ’Shire’, but I hope this pose will look good. What lovely birds they are.

I am also happy to report that our baby hedgehog, which became trapped inside the PBA club in July, has returned here from Secret World, having gained sufficient weight to face the coming winter as a wild hoglet. I am currently putting food down late in the evening at the point where he was released, and hoping that he is taking advantage of the help for a few more days.

The mystery of the missing gold finches has been solved! Because of decent weather and supply of chick food, there have been second broods being produced, which are now visiting our feeder with the adults in good numbers. Panic over!!

A sparrow hawk again caused a rapid exit from the back garden recently. I was alerted when sparrows and pigeons suddenly shot away at a rate of knots, and were replaced by a beautiful hawk swooping in and landing on the garden wall! A quick look around and it was gone, to try his luck elsewhere, much to my relief.

Let us hope we can maintain our success with all the wonderful wild life we are blessed with in Shire. We are so lucky living here. Happy nature watching, Bobbie Perkins

Tynings Field News

As summer draws to a close and the sun goes to bed earlier each night Tynings Field fruits bear heavy on the little trees in the Orchard.

This year a good crop of Victoria plums, raspberries and blackberries, desert gooseberries and currants has enabled many to make a crumble and even jams. There was a smaller crop of desert apples, with varieties Bramley, Orange Pippin and Fiesta. We have seen the first fruit on a Dabinette cider apple tree and Kingston Black, a Westcountry variety similar to a crab apple. Once there were many orchards in Shirehampton but due to urban sprawl they have been lost. There was an orchard in Nibley road by Myrtle Hall which went along to the Lamplighters, also behind Park Road. Tynings Field is part of that land.

We have also had a good crop of courgettes, beans and cabbage. Some veg like beetroot were either waterlogged or drought ridden - the extreme changes in weather affects growing on certain varieties of vegetable.

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Wildflowers are abundant. We have seen plenty of borage, a herb which attracts bees and insects and is very good nutritionally. We have also grown field marigolds, an ancient form of yellow marigold which is tall, bright and daisy shaped; oxeye daisy, the big white daisies; blue cornflowers; bugle; field poppy and pale opium poppy. Calendula has self seeded, as has Corncockle, Scarlet Pimpernel, Valerian and more! Needless to say, the bees love it here and have been busy producing our floral Shirehampton pure honey. Their pollen collecting season starts in Spring on horseshoe bend with wild chestnut flowers, apple blossom, bluebell and daffodil pollen, and it extends to Summer with roses, lavender and wildflowers. By late summer the clovers, borage, and poppies all entwine flavour into the honey which is like a meadow on the tongue. Picture the sun in a clear blue sky setting over an orchard with little fluffy white clouds while you eat your toast!

The taste of Shirehampton in Summer is yours for £5.50. Please call 65 Woodwell Road or phone 0117 9090440 to reserve your jar.

Memberships Available

Memberships also available at £5.00 for non-growing members who will also have the opportunity to pick blackberries, buy honey and free range local eggs with a discount. They can also come onto the Orchard and enjoy the environment. It all helps to support this local venture which is a vital resource in this community. Tynings Field started in 2011 as a strong working party to develop a disused allotment into a useful one. You will love every corner of Tynings Field. You can also volunteer to do a day’s work here, grass cutting, clearing and general tidying. We have a compost toilet facility and are happy to make you a cup of tea. We are not a city farm and are independent of other organisations.

Caroline Penny

Letters to the Editor

Have your say eMail ‐>

Advertising rule KO!

Dear Editor,

Since when has the metal railings around the iconic tree on The Green become an advertising board.

Do the people who wrapped these posters get permission from someone on the council or have they just been put up. Nothing was ever put up on these railings but I have noticed over the last year or so that they are being used for advertising and takes away the view of the tree.

St Mary’s church yard ‐ C.M.E.

Dear Editor,

St Mary’s Churchyard is a green oasis in the centre of our village and we encourage people to make use of it and enjoy it.

Sadly, there are individuals in our midst who do not value it. Today, I have seen that the concrete bench in the Memorial Garden outside the Choir Vestry has been smashed into three pieces. It was formed to look like a Grecian stone seat.

soiled baby nappy’s

Also, there has been a considerable amount of litter left alongside the three wooden benches which are situated on the church path which runs between the High Street and Pembroke Road. Recently our unpaid workers in the church have had to clear up polystyrene food containers, discarded beer cans and on two occasions soiled baby nappy’s have been left on our wooden seats. This is unacceptable as the seats bear the names of lost loved ones which is a memorial to them. Cigarette ends are another problem - smokers drop their cigarette butts on the path and then grind them into the ground with their foot. They are not easy to pick up. Smoke in the Churchyard by all means but can I appeal to all smokers take their cigarette butts away with them and put them in the nearest litter bin.

Finally, in the evening, when the church is locked up, the Churchyard seems to attract teenagers on motorcycles and pedal cycles. Please can I appeal to all decent minded folks who care for our environment to report any acts of vandalism or unseemly conduct in our Churchyard.

It is after all Gods Acre in Shirehampton.

Thank you! C.M.E.

Social Services Intermediate Care ‐ Jill Morgan

Dear Editor,

Seven weeks ago, l had a very nasty fall outside The George at around 10.30 am.

Firstly l would like to thank the First Aider from The George who looked after me until the ambulance arrived and took me Southmead for a week with a dislocated shoulder with fractures. Once again l was treated with great care. On my return home, unable to do very much, it was arranged that Social Services would visit me daily.

For six weeks, they looked after me and l cannot speak highly enough of their kindness and care. Always on time, cheerful and helped me in so many ways. We are very lucky to have such a team. Thank you all so much. I will miss you all.

Jill Morgan, Shirehampton

Fly tipping ‐ Caroline Penny

Dear Editor,

It is a shame when old mattresses and plastic baskets are dumped up in Woodwell Road on the verges. Up in horseshoe bend plastic bottles and cans in the woods near the path.

What is the mentality of someone who can’t be bothered to simply get the council to take their old mattress for £15.00/free on benefits. Anyone with enough transport to take it to a lane can also take it to the tip at Avonmouth. Plastic bottles and cans can be recycled. Bins are provided. They can do it through their own bin collection.

If we see anyone dumping in Woodwell Road they may be apprehended unexpectedly. Fly-tippers end up getting prosecuted.

Caroline Penny

The kindness of strangers. ‐ Margaret Hargreaves

Dear Editor,

At mid-morning on Saturday 2nd, I took my year-old miniature poodle Rudyard for his usual run to the field behind Stowe House.

This is his usual walk and all had been well until this morning. When I let him off his lead he just took off. A lovely lady called Jan was talking to me, and she stayed with me until we got back to the road.

I went back to the field and Jan took off to see if she could find him. She did. He was on his way back home, along the Portway! I don’t know how to thank Jan for what she did, and all the people along the Portway who tried to help. Jan persevered and finally got him to a house four doors away from where I live. She was able to get Rudyard from under the car, and even took the lead off her own dog to secure him. Meanwhile I was desperately searching the estate and I’d like to thank most sincerely the people who helped me look. I’ve never known such kindness: everybody tried to help.

But most of all, a massive thank you to Jan (I don’t know her surname) and her daughter without whom the world would be a darker place without a little poodle called Rudyard.

Margaret Hargreaves

Esme Mabel Bailey (nee Mildon)

It is with sadness we inform you of the death of Esme Mabel Bailey (nee Mildon) who passed away in Stoney Creek, near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on 28th July 2017 at the age of 86. The beloved wife of the late Albion (Ron), loving mother of Christine, Glenis, David and Michael. Cherished grandmother of 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Survived by her sister Joyce Tanner (Mildon) and brother-in-law David Taylor (Pauline’s husband).

Esme grew up in Shirehampton, went to Shirehampton Infants and Junior Schools before going to Portway Girls School and was gifted at her ability to swim well. She was one of six siblings, Doris, Dennis, Eileen, Esme, Joyce and Pauline. Esme married Albion (Ron) and set up home in Farr Street, Avonmouth and also Severn Beach where they had three children. In 1964 her sister Pauline and her family emigrated to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Both families visited Shirehampton on many occasions where Esme and Albion (Ron) would spend many hours reminiscing at the Working Men’s Club in the High Street. After the death of Albion (Ron), Esme was taken ill and slowly had to reply on her family for care before moving into a care home not far from her family and friends. Esme’s funeral service was held on Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Shire… Moving On

After nearly 30 years producing Shire and over-seeing the printing of the paper, our compositing editor Stuart Richards is standing down in order to pursue other interests.

He wrote us a brief history of his time with Shire which we thought would be of interest to our readers.

I started to work on Shire back I believe in the late 80s when a delegation appeared at the door of the Clevedon Printing Company. Some of the early Shire members I can recall were Jean Archer, Joyce Daniels, Philip Squire, and Helen Brandt. The Shire conveyor belt kept turning as people left and were replaced. I remember when David Thomas joined the team and Marion Robotham (I can remember the name, not so sure about the spelling!) was chairman. The current team is blessed with some lovely people and these I will miss.

In the early days, the paper was produced in Clevedon and printed at the Bristol Evening Post. With the Clevedon element remaining constant printing went on a ‘tour.’ When the presses in Bristol were shut down Shire was printed in Staverton, Gloucestershire. It then moved to Didcot and latterly has been printed in Portsmouth. After the Clevedon newspaper ceased, and my job along with it, I took on Shire on a freelance basis working out of the office of the Bristol Evening Post. That was in 2008. Producing the paper threw up many challenges but each of these were overcome with frantic phone calls and emails, head scratching and lots of coffee, to ensure that the Shire hit the streets each month.

Thank you to Shire for the opportunity to work on the publication and I wish it well for the future and I will expect an invitation to its 50th anniversary.

Stuart has been a stalwart and indispensable part of the Shire team.

We all wish him the very best for his future adventures.

School Photo

waiting photo

Does anyone recognise the year, school and themselves or others in this school photograph - the only information we have is that T(?) J Thomas is 1st right in the rear row. Please reply through Shire newspaper.

Shire Photo Archive

waiting photo

Can anyone identify this lovely photograph please? It is in the ’Shire’ photo archive and we’d love to return it to the rightful owners.

Please contact if you can.

Shire Photo Exhibition

Shire newspaper has recently come across a stack of archive photographs going back 25 years which we think may be of interest to many of you.

‘Shire’ will be holding an Exhibition on Saturday, 18th November from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Public Hall so that everyone has an opportunity to see them. There are duplicate copies of many of the photos which will be free to members of the public who may remember the people or events recorded - we would appreciate a small donation towards the hall rental cost though.

Thank you Gill Sawyer

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

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The Jack Ashton Triples Competition - named after a Past President of that name, is one of just two club competitions played to a conclusion on one day. This season saw five teams of three bowlers - drawn before play commenced - on Saturday August 20th play four games of five ends duration. With two points awarded for a win and one for a draw competition was keen. The winning team, by two points, was Mervyn May, Dee Crawley and Julie Looker. Runners up were David Hinksman, Ken Grimes and Natalie Looker.

The club league has ended for another season and this time the Marvels finished in top spot with last year’s winners Exiles in second place. But the Marvels dream of league and cup double ended with defeat against A.N. Other in the Cup Final on a rather wet and windy Sunday afternoon, September 10th.

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The Ladies Bristol and District League Team finished in a very creditable fifth place in division two.

This year’s Finals days were on September 9th and 10th. Competition winners were: Sid Holmes Handicap: Ken Davies. Ladies Two Wood: Ray Cook. Ladies Singles: Dawn Evans. Men’s Singles: David Hinksman. Bill Deakin Novice: Julie Looker. Mixed Pairs: Bill cook and Jill Hinksman.

AGM Thursday 26th October PBA ballroom

The Club Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 26th October in the ballroom at the City and Port of Bristol Club, 7.45 for 8.00.

There will once again be a series of social events during the close season and opportunities to represent the club in friendly indoor games at the City and County Indoor Arena. Bowling indoors is very different to bowling on grass but does provide the chance to continue enjoying the game of bowls during the dark days of winter when outdoor greens are closed.

…a very unique venue.

Looking ahead to 2018, the Summer Tour will be on the Isle-of Wight in July and there will be a return to Bohemian Island, last visited in 2016 and very much enjoyed on that occasion. Not only a journey by coach but also a short cruise on the Thames to what is a very unique venue.

Bowling is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and the City and Port of Bristol now has two members over 90 years of age. Ken McCullock, who started bowling in the early 1980s reached that remarkable landmark in August. Don Barnes celebrated his 90th earlier in the year. Contrast that with the clubs newest and youngest bowler, Natalie Looker who is in her early 30s and followed her mum Julie, who joined last season, into the club. It is never too early or too late to take up bowling and Tuesday evenings have once again been set aside this season for anybody who would like to give bowling a try.