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News Index

What is happening to our High Street?

NatWest Bank Closes To Dismay Of Customers.

Remembering The Last Flight of Avro Lancaster R5611, 75 Years Ago This Month

On The Trail Of Clueless.

Honey We Washed the Chickens!

191st Scout Group

A Forgotten Landscape

Mothers Union World Wide Presidential Visit

Shirehampton Primary celebrates Easter internationally!

St. Mary's News -  May

The Battle of Shirehampton

Botany in the Shire

Nature Notes…

Letters to the Editor

Appeal for 3 deliverers

Smelters Boxing Club

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club.

Port of Bristol Youth FC

What is happening to our High Street?

The Little Tea Pot has closed. Nightingale Electrical have down sized to one unit. Other shops remain empty but why?

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It turns out Shirehampton High Street is a much sought after area and yet high rents and business rates prove a huge stumbling block for small business to even consider venturing into the empty shop units.

Louise White, owner of The Little Tea Pot explains why she decided to close. The lease for the shop came to an end and we are not financially capable to continue with a new lease running for five years. That is a long time, it is a big commitment. Business rates have gone up for businesses that have been established for more than two years. The rent on the High Street is a phenomenal amount and with the foot flow coming into the village it isn’t adding up to make sure it is beneficial for us to stay open. Why wasn’t the landlord prepared to negotiate with you? This is a new landlord unfortunately for us in the last year and bought the whole building. I think he wanted someone who is going to stay which then meant he had an income. I feel he wanted a commitment and stability for someone to be in here for five years. Is it easy to run a business? No it’s not easy. You have so many financial commitments to look out for. You have the wages that go out, electric, water, rates, rent, all your supplies for example before you even think about having anything yourself with all the hours you put in. It’s not a nine to three job. I’m sorting out supplies and other things anytime after that. I’m doing admin in the evenings. There is a lot going on but I fully support and encourage anyone who runs their own business. I take my hat off to them because it is hard work. said Louise

Meanwhile A Nightingale Electrical have down sized to one shop and just signed a new six year lease. Their experience has been different to Louise. We used to have three shops then went down to two shops due to people not shopping in Shire and the takings went down. For the other shop our business rates were £9,000 a year. We are now down to one shop, making us exempt and saving nearly £20,000 on rent and business rates a year. Obviously we still need people to shop in the village, in all shops. Our landlord has been brilliant, keeping our rent the same. They have been really helpful with the closure of the other shop and sorting out the new lease. However Bristol City Council, what are we paying business rates for? We take our own rubbish and dispose of it ourselves. said Vickie Nightingale.

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This is part one of a series of reports that will be appearing in the Shire over the coming months.

Kathryn Courtney

NatWest Bank Closes To Dismay Of Customers.

On the 31st May the NatWest bank will be closing it’s doors for the final time in Shirehampton.

Their cash machine will no longer be accessible to customers from 3pm that day. Having raised a number of questions with their Press Office they only confirmed one question on closure. Lack of customers. The local branch is used by 70 customers a week. Their ‘closure leaflet’ which is available to customers to pick up on the counter was repeated.

I spoke to a number of long term customers about the NatWest closing.

Mustafa Altinok runs the Shirehampton Village Cafe. I am not happy with the closure. My business is here in Shirehampton and I don’t want to loose customers. I’ll be closing my account with the NatWest bank and will change to the Post Office. I don’t like online banking and I can’t go to Westbury as business opening hours are no good for me. I want to support my local Post Office and it will be easier for me to have my account with them

too much hassle for me to change banks...

Jackie Lane is a pensioner. I am very disappointed with the closure of the bank. It will be too much hassle for me to change banks but I won’t be using phone banking as I don’t like being passed from pillar to post to get my questions answered. I want to see someone face to face. I won’t use online banking either. I am not technically knowledgeable.

I will be using the Post Office for my basic banking needs. It will be more convenient for me. However people travelling to the Westbury branch may end up shopping there as well which means our own local shops will sadly loose out.

I will be taking my custom elsewhere

Sarah Forse works at Clic Sargent in Shirehampton. She lives on the outskirts of Bristol that has no local bank. I opened my bank account with them because it was on the High Street where I work and is convenient for me to use. I will be taking my custom elsewhere. I can see it’s closure will have an effect on the High Street here. When Lloyds Bank was closed for several months it had a knock on effect with the shop. Our takings were down and the number of people through the doors decreased.

Post Office - it is a handy and more amenable option for me

Robin Sykes uses the local branch on a regular basis. The decision to close the bank is disgusting. They are causing great inconvenience to the old, disabled, disadvantaged, the community and me. It will make my life more difficult and maybe I’ll go elsewhere. I won’t use online banking, don't trust it. Face to face contact is very important. I haven’t been told of the Post Office plans and it would be something I would use as it is a handy and more amenable option for me.

Garry Thomas is the Postmaster for the local Post Office: We are currently agents for NatWest and all the High Street banks and building society's. You can withdraw/deposit money and check your balance with your debit card. NatWest customers will need a paying in book which can be ordered from the bank. Business customers will need to speak with NatWest staff if they wish to deposit in the Post Office. They will make arrangements for you. The Post Office offer many services and customers may request a Post Office current account. We have many savings and investment plans, just ask us for information.

Kathryn Courtney

Remembering The Last Flight of Avro Lancaster R5611, 75 Years Ago This Month

A stained glass window on the north wall of St Marys' Church, Shirehampton, remembers Sgt Ernest George Ronald Beacham RAFVR and the rest of the crew of Avro Lancaster R5611, 106 Squadron, RAF who lost their lives 75 years ago this month. His parents, Ernest John & Nellie Beacham from Shirehampton, presented the window to the church. following their sons' death in May 1943

Sgt Ronald Beacham was born in Bedminster on 10th September 1922, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve & after training he was posted to 106 Squadron (5 Group), RAF Bomber Command at RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire becoming a member of a Lancaster crew.

On the night of the 13th/14thMay 1943 Sgt Beacham was part of the crew for Lancaster B1, R5611, code letters ZN-D, which were sent as part of a raiding force of 156 Lancaster & 12 Halifax bombers in a further attempt to bomb the Skoda armaments factory in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia,. 9 aircraft would be lost on the raid including that of Sgt Beacham, the target would prove difficult to find and mark accurately and due to heavy smoke nearly all the bombs from the 2nd wave of bombers fell in open country to the north of the Skoda works.

The crew of ZN-D were familiar with the target, the Pilot, Sgt F J Howell, having flown the same aircraft to Pilsen the previous month. The crew were as follows:

1384397 Sgt F J Howell (Pilot RAF, age 22)
1338277 Sgt E G R Beacham (Air Bomber RAF, age 20)
R/88029 Flt Sgt D S Mitchell (Air Gunner RCAF, age 21)
1244614 Sgt D Grey (Flight Engineer RAF, age 22)
1294785 Sgt R W Littlefair (Wireless Op RAF, age 21)
R/115769 Flt Sgt W H Hill (Navigator RCAF, age 22)
1320264 Sgt L A Dunmore (Air Gunner RAF, age 19)

They took off from RAF Syerston on 13thMay 1943 at 21:30 and joined the bomber stream crossing the coastline of enemy occupied Holland at approximately 23:00. At 23:42 a Luftwaffe Bf 110G night fighter, flown by Hauptmann Herbert Lutje of 8 Staffel NJG 1, based at Twente (Germany), intercepted ZN-D, the clash resulting in ZN-D being shot down, one of 6 such victories (3 Lancaster, 3 Halifax) that Hauptmann Lutje would gain on this night, the 3 Lancaster all being shot down within 14 minutes.

ZN-D crashed 5km north of the Dutch town of Oldenzaal, all on board the Lancaster were killed, investigations suggest that one member of the crew attempted to bail out before impact, but the aircraft was too low and he was killed in the attempt. The bodies of the crew were buried together in Weerselo Roman Catholic cemetery, Rossum, Netherlands, where they remain today along side the crew of a 51 Squadron Halifax which was lost in June of 1943

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Steve Fell

On The Trail Of Clueless.

Clueless in the Daisy Field...

If you are a regular listener to the Radio Bristol Show ‘Clueless with Richard Lewis’ on Sunday mornings you may have heard their Bristol team, Sacha Bigwood and Martin Evans were on the trail of a number of clues that included a stop in Shirehampton. Easter Sunday saw the team arriving at the Daisy Field on the Portway meeting up with John Knight, Secretary to Friends Of Lamplighters Marsh. The subject in question was the remount station that was present in the area during the First World War. Sacha wanted to know more about the history of the Daisy Field as she only knew about it being a tip, as a one time resident, living in Shirehampton.

you had guys complete with Stetsons…

This was the area for the remount centre. It was one of four principle centres in the UK and they used to bring the horses and the mules here mainly from Canada and the States. By the end of the first world war 340,000 had gone through here. There were 34 paddocks here and there was stabling for 5,000 animals. At their peak they had about 7,400 and the peak inflow in one day was nearly 3,000. Some of the horses brought here had never been broken in so you had guys complete with Stetsons, that it looked like the wild west down here, who actually broke in the horses and mules and then they were trained before they were shipped out to the front. said John.

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He also spoke about the bench in the Daisy Field that commemorated that part of the history of the Daisy Field and also Lamplighters Marsh The whole area in September 2015 was designated the Lamplighters Marsh Local Nature Reserve. It’s not only this section but the section from the Lamplighters Pub, by the river right along to the M5 bridge.

Once their chat was over Sacha and Martin were off to solve their next clue as they were competing with the Somerset team with their clueless problem solving.

Kathryn Courtney

Honey We Washed the Chickens!

Tynings Field seek volunteers 1 to 2 hours a week day to suit to spend an hour on cleaning and general duties in return for eggs.

Suit person who likes to be outdoors wants to care for animals and is maybe seeking employment and currently unemployed as we can provide refs for those who volunteer with us for more than 2 months. So if you like the outdoor life and want to grow veg too we have some space.

Time to be good to yourself take time out go outdoors go get fresh air eat well and move around all part of our physical and mental wellbeing gardening provides gentle steady strengthening exercise and job satisfaction.

Set in a quiet backwater near Horseshoe bend SSI we have a pleasant outlook here for anyone wanting to grow organic with the company of like minded folks who are here doing their thing often. At certain times of year we have local honey for sale.

More edible nut trees from the woodland trust here to plant too.

Tynings field are looking for a shed if anyone has one they don't want and it doesn't have to be perfect but we do not have transport.

191st Scout Group

Unfortunately our treasurer Darren Burke is standing down after preparing our year end accounts. Darren has done an excellent job and has done a tremendous amount of work besides his financial tasks. He will be staying on to lead the hut renovation project and pcrf bid but understandably felt this and the role of treasurer was too much.

We are therefore looking to any parent/guardian of a group member or community minded individual with some book keeping or accountancy skills to fill this vital role.Darren is willing to help his replacement settle into the job and will leave the books in good order so the job is not as onerous as it could be.If you would like to help in regard I can be contacted at

Mike Britton chair 191st

A Forgotten Landscape

Hurray ‐ we are past the spring equinox and the days are now longer than the nights. Spring still feels a little elusive but the signs are there ‐ the chiff chaff’s are back from their winter migration, the blackthorn is blossoming and the primroses are blooming!

It continues to be a very busy time for AFL. There are plenty of events to get involved in over the month such as a training course on fruit tree grafting in Lawrence Weston. We invite you to save the date for the launch of the Severn Beach sculptures and to get involved in our Severn Festival. Check out our activities below and don't forget to look online for our latest list of free activities. Did you know you can also follow what we're up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?

Introduction to running a small holding

23rd June, 10am-3pm, Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Saltmarsh Drive, Lawrence Weston BS11 0NJ

This workshop is from our friends at Lawrence Weston Community Farm with support from A Forgotten Landscape. It will cover poultry keeping, growing fruit and veg, security (hedges, fences, problems with neighbours), general land management (including considering whether to use hand tools or mechanization) and more generally, keeping larger animal such as sheep, pigs and goats. You must book a place for this workshop. There is a £30 charge which will go to supporting the community farm. The workshop is for adults only. For more information and to book visit our website.

Get involved now in the 2nd Annual Severn Festival!

Back by popular demand, the Severn Festival will be happening again this year. Get out your diaries and put a big circle around Saturday 14 July. From 11-4 in Severn Beach come and enjoy loads of stalls, activities, a live music stage and much more.

Last year was a huge hit with over 800 people attending. It was a great start to an annual festival and it was wonderful to have so many people involved. But we’d like 2018’s Festival to be even bigger and better! And now is the time to start making this happen.

We’d like as many people as possible to get involved! If you’d like to have a stall, perform, help out on the day, or do something else, please contact Emma at or 01454 864 265.

Habitat restoration work at Littleton Brick Pits

We have been working with Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) to restore habitat at Littleton Brick Pits Nature Reserve. As the name suggests, the site was formally part of a brick pits (where clay was dug and fired to make bricks!) before being used by Bristol Waterworks. It came under ownership of Avon Wildlife Trust in the 1980’s and has since been managed for wildlife. The habitat is a mixture of wetland with one large pool colonised by reed and three smaller ponds along with wet woodland (willow carr) and scrub. It hosts species such as reed and sedge warblers and several different species of dragonflies and damselflies.

Over the last 18 years the reed beds have colonised the site to such an extent that there was little open water. Therefore the restoration work has focused on dredging an area of the pool to re-establish some open water, re-profiling the ponds and pollarding a number of willows. The work was carried out in early February and was managed by AWT. This work should ensure the viability of the site for years to come with annual management work being carried out by AWT volunteers. The site has limited access but if you wish to visit please contact AWT to arrange a permit. For more on the reserve, visit Avon Wildlife Trust’s website.

Orchard update!

Our trees that we grafted last year (pictured) have been lifted from their nursery and are now being distributed to new homes around our region.

We’ve created three new orchards (including one at Shirehampton Primary School with One Tree Per Child) and contributed trees to the restoration of four more. We have some hopes of creating or restoring at least one more, so we will be able to proudly say we more than achieved our target of creating or restoring five orchards! Special thanks goes to Bob Seddon for tending our trees over the last year and organising the lifting and delivery in March. Also thanks to TCV’s Tree Life Centre in Grimsbury Farm where the trees were nursed last year.

One of the orchards we’re helping to restore is the ‘lost’ orchard in Lawrence Weston, where 3 of our new maiden trees were planted in March.

To keep the orchards in top condition, we’ve also run two orchard maintenance trainings and will soon run our second grafting training. And we’ve run several cider making sessions in order to make a good use of those apples!

Our final year of orchard surveying will begin soon. Look out for the surveyors in an orchard near you.

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Last years tree grafts

First toposcope installed

We were so pleased to install our toposcope in the churchyard at St Arilda’s Church in Oldbury. Many thanks to the Diocese and the Parochial Church Council for their wise advice and kind permission. And to Nigel and Keith, our doughty installers!

The view from St Arilda’s is extraordinary; our toposcope shows all the main sites you can see looking out over the countryside and river.

Look for out other two toposcopes at Woodwell Meadows and Kings Weston House arriving soon! You can find a map of all our toposcopes, interpretation posts and benches on our website.

L-R Andrew Gazard, Church Warden, Deborah Aguirre-Jones, AFL’s artist in residence, and Rev. Dr. Jan Van Der Lely New walking routes and festival!

Our colleagues at TCV and their volunteers are working hard on improving access along our forthcoming walking routes. Here’s a few photos of them working around Littleton:

Our FIFTEEN new walks and their accompanying leaflets will be ready in May. To celebrate, we’re organising a walking festival from 13 May ‐ 17 June featuring lead walks of each of our routes.

We will be organising lots of different walks: story walks, wildlife walks, history walks. Truly something for everyone. We are still finalising all the dates but you can already book for some of the events on our website. Participants can also get a complete pack of all our walks! They range from 2km long urban routes to 10km countryside hikes. Five of them are easy-access, suitable for prams and wheelchairs. Each route will be waymarked and the leaflet will contain a comprehensive instructions. Thanks go to those wonderful people who’ve been test-walking our routes to help improve them!

Severn Beach Sculpture Launch

Advance notice ‐ date to follow

It won’t be long now before the big unveiling of our three new stone sculptures in Severn Beach.

We’ll be celebrating with fire sculptures, live music, a chance to meet the makers and a procession!

Working with artist Alan May, we will run two workshops in the run up to the launch inviting you to come along and make fire sculptures that will delight and amaze at twilight at the big launch. We’re just finalising dates and times now but keep an eye on our website as we will be announcing soon!

In addition to the workshops, the launch will feature:

  • Flag making for an evening procession
  • A procession with live music from Severn Beach Village Hall to the green where the sculptures will be installed ready for the launch
  • Festivities on the green and followed by the burning of the fire sculptures to create brief and magical images in the flames!

You can find out more about the design and creation of our sculptures on our website.

Mothers Union World Wide Presidential Visit

St Mary's Mothers' Union Branch, being the largest branch in the Diocese with 60 members were asked to host a lunch for the Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey during her visit to Bristol. Lynne attended St Mary's 10am service with Aurea Hart, Bristol's Diocesan President and Linda Rawlings, our Deanery Leader on Sunday 8th April and joined us for lunch in the Tithe Barn where Lynne met many of our Branch members.

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We had a really busy weekend, going to Marshfield for the AGM where Lynne was guest speaker. Lunch on Sunday and finally Evensong at Bristol Cathedral. We all felt very privileged to have met the World wide President who does an amazing job promoting Mothers' Union all over the World. Thank you to all those who helped make the day so special and to Bob Pitchford for taking the photographs.

Julie Smith

Branch Leader

Shirehampton Primary celebrates Easter internationally!

Shirehampton Primary School completed their annual Easter Service at Mary's Church on Thursday 22nd March however this is not all they've been doing for Easter.

They've also been looking at how other countries around the world celebrate Easter and in particular, Poland. In Poland theycomplete something called 'Pisanki' which is where they decorate hard boiled eggs that are particular to certain regions of Poland. Shirehampton Primary have done exactly that with over 500 eggs decorated in total. They've had a fantastic time doing it and the eggs look great!

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Year three had an eggcellent time during Shirehampton Primary School’s STEM week, learning all about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. We had lots of fun during the week, tasting different fruits from around the world and thinking about how they were transported and stored in different ways. We surprised ourselves with which ones we liked, even if they didn’t always look very nice! We particularly liked guava, lychees, pomegranate and rhubarb.

We also looked at sugar content in different soft drinks and measured out the amount for real. We were shocked at how much sugar was in some of them especially when we compared the amounts to recommended guidelines. We decided milk or plain water were the best options.

For our final challenge we had to design the tallest tower possible that would support the weight of an egg. This may sound easy but our only materials were newspaper and masking tape!

We had to work well with our group and listen to each other’s ideas. Through trial and error we all constructed our towers and then they were ready for judging. This was eggmazing fun! Surprisingly we only managed to smash two eggs and the rest of the towers were able to carry the weight of the eggs. The tallest tower was over 60 cm tall.

St. Mary's News -  May

Hi Folks!

Well, unfortunately we had a cold wet Easter which was a disappointment to many who were on holiday, but we were luckier than North Yorkshire which had snow and Cumbria had flooding.But have no fear we shall all be dancing around the May Pole on May Day in brilliant sunshine!!

On Thursday 22nd March we were delighted to welcome the children from Shirehampton Primary School, for their Easter service with us.The very young ones came first followed by the older ones in two separate services.What a delight it is to hear children sing with great enthusiasm.For both services there were parents and grandparents present supporting the children with anxious young faces seeking them out and keen to give them a wave of their hand.

Easter Sunday weather was kind to those who assembled at Shirehampton Park for the 7.00 am Sunrise Service.This year it was held at the Park Gates end of the Park and there were approximately 45 souls present who ventured out to be greeted with a magnificent sunrise.All the folk gathered there came from St Mary's, Shire Methodist Church, High Grove Church, Sea Mills and St Edyth's, Sea Mills.This year it was a Holy Communion service and music was provided by Vicar John Monaghan from St Edyth's, Sea Mills. At the conclusion of the service our friends from St Edyth's very generously provided everyone with a Full English Breakfast in their church rooms.The Ritz could not have done it better!

Meanwhile, back at St Mary's, preparations were going ahead for an All Age Holy Communion Service at 10.00 am.The church was full with very many young children present, an absolute delight to see.I don't think some of them could wait until the service was over as they were eager to join in the Easter Egg Hunt in the Churchyard.The children were invited to wear homemade Easter Bonnets but the star of the show was Rev Helen with a hat adorned with flowers which was designed and made by her daughter, so congratulations must go to her for her ingenuity and skill.

On Saturday, 12th May, the Stomp Dance Group, led by Amy Boucher will present their Easter Dance Display in Church from 11.30 am until 12.30 pm. Please come and see the enthusiasm these children will perform for you all.

Messy Church this month is on Thursday 17th May from 3.30pm until 5.00 pm.

Before I go, did you know that Atheism is a non prophet organisation!!

'Bye for now. C.M.E.

The Battle of Shirehampton

The Battle of Shirehampton is not one which had a huge impact on the course of English history.

You won’t have heard about it in school history lessons. It was a brief encounter on 23 October 1902, fought with dummy weapons by schoolboy cadets from four of the main public schools in the west of England, including Clifton College, who were the hosts.

They formed part of the defending force resisting an attacking force which had supposedly landed at Avonmouth. The umpire of this war game was apparently pleased with how the boys performed amid the sharp rattle of musketry, but the journalist writing about it for the Navy and Army Illustrated preferred to grouse about instances of flagrant stupidity, which seem to have involved boys hiding behind useless bushes when good solid King’s Weston trees were available, climbing in a leisurely way over a thin fence on open ground, and firing their harmless guns at absurdly short ranges of 50 yards or so and more or less at random.

It doesn’t sound like ideal preparation for the Somme or Passchendaele, but the standard must have got a bit better by the time the First World War came around.

Commander-in-Chief of British forces Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig was an Old Cliftonian, having attended the school in the 1870s. Many younger Old Cliftonians fought and died in his army, and Britain and its empire were on the winning side.

The country was grateful, and we still have the Earl Haig Fund for ex-servicemen which organizes Remembrance Day, and housing for ex-servicemen in the form of Haig Homes. The Field Marshal’s face adorns a plaque in one such set of homes, Haig Close in Sea Mills, just a few hundred yards from the battlefield of 1902, and on Wyvern Villas in Falcondale Road, Westbury.

Botany in the Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

Writing to another botanist in Clifton almost a century ago, a London botanist explained in an odd turn of phrase that he had an invitation from the man in Leigh Woods which he hoped sometime to accept. In Dave Goulder’s delightful introspective folk song January Man he describes the annual cycle of the months until January comes around again from the point of view of the man inside the man. I suppose this is pretty well what our London botanist meant.

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Leigh Woods is a place of constant surprise for the enquiring naturalist and the Somerset Rare Plant Group’s first meeting of the year was held there in early April. A plant that several of our participants (including the Chairman of the Board of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, no less) particularly wanted to see was the one I ended my column with last month, Rock Hutchinsia, which had first been discovered in Britain sometime before 1690 at St Vincent’s Rock and near Goram’s Chair, in the parish of Henbury.

When I first came to Bristol 40 years ago, after the great droughts in 1975 and 1976, this annual plant was quite plentiful in the Avon Gorge, always on bare sunny ground. It is very much scarcer these days, so it was with great pleasure that I was able to show them six plants in flower and seed on cliffs under Leigh Woods as shown in the attached image.

When we were looking at the Bristol Rock-cress flowering elsewhere on the Towpath what a pity it can’t be beautiful as well as rare was how this rare plant was once described), one of our party pointed out another speciality of the Avon Gorge, a Peregrine Falcon resting on a tree above. Another line from January Man came to mind: Through April rain the man goes down to watch the birds come in to share the summer.

Clive Lovatt

Nature Notes…

A sudden change!

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Gone was the snow and although the sun played hard to get, Spring decided to make a determined effort to stay at last! The male sparrow, who, before winter made a brief comeback, worked tirelessly to attract a comely female to enter the nest box in the tree in front of our house, was able to finally set up home! Here’s to lots of comings and goings from them over the coming weeks.

We think we have a pair of robins nesting nearby, as they frequently come to the feeds together, and we know that a male robin is very territorial, so one of them must be the missus!

Also, a lovely little wren seems to be staying quite local, so we’re hoping that proves interesting.

The blackbirds can be seen all over the estate in their pairs, and I definitely heard a thrush singing on the riverbank just a week or so ago, which is fantastic news!

The hedgehogs haven’t put in an appearance as yet, but I guess we should be alert from now and be ready to help them fatten up after their winter slumber. I am so so hoping we will discover that one of them did decide to use the shelter under our hedge.

More news next month, with a lot more activity to report one.

Happy nature watching, Bobbie Perkins.

Letters to the Editor

Have your say eMail ‐>

 Poison Gas in Avonmouth ‐ Dave Watkins

Dear Editor

The 24th June 2018 marks the 100th Anniversary of the commencement of poison gas production and shell filling at Avonmouth and Chittening during the latter days of WW1.

In 2015 ACTA Community Theatre produced an excellent touring play and book detailing the highly dangerous working conditions at the factories, which resulted in over 1000 injuries and at least 3 deaths.

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Following the book’s publication I contacted Neil Beddow, one of the ACTA contributors correcting some mistakes about my Grandmother Louie Goffe (nee Sansum). Amongst that information is a photograph showing 6 Avonmouth women workers on a roof with paint pots and brushes in hand.

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This photo was found in our family archives and is possibly the only photograph showing employees at Avonmouth during this period (the well known Ladies football team excepted). As far as I am aware, it has never been published. We know Louie Goffe is on the far right but her fellow workers are unknown. Perhaps some of your readers can identify a family member.

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Many of the mainly female workers (Gas Girls) were recruited from Shirehampton, so it would be fitting to record and remember their sacrifice and contribution to the war effort, on the 100th Anniversary.

Kind Regards

Dave Watkins

Appeal for 3 deliverers

Help needed to deliver Shire newspaper

Round 1
West Town Road, nos 1-43 and 2-96 plus 2 new houses (corner of Watling Way and West Town Road, plus 2 bungalows at Antona Court and remainder in Antona Court.
Round 2
Springfield Avenue, not 49-89 and 70 ‐ 104 (40 papers) Sadly, Mr. Tuckett, who was your deliverer for many years, has had to retire as a volunteer. I would like to send a sincere thank you to Mr. Tuckett for his sterling work as a volunteer
Round 3
Webb Court, Park Road ‐ 26 papers.

Please contact me on the number shown in the paper, under Distribution, if you can help.

Thank you

Bobbie Perkins.

Smelters Boxing Club

Smelters Boxing club’s Sam Smythe had a dream debut in his first professional outing.

Boxing on the recent Sanigar events show billed as ‘The Class of 2018’ the Shire based middleweight put on a thrilling display of pugilism. Smythe winning all four rounds scoring 40-36 against Clacton’s Justine Johnson.

Reporting Sam’s Ex Amateur Coach Garry Cave Sam displayed polished boxing skills against a larger and heavier opponent. Johnson had more fights under his belt and came to have a right good go. But Sam boxed superbly behind his jab and finished strong in every round with clusters of power punch combinations. I was really impressed with the improvement in him since he turned pro with the Sanigars. It was fantastic to see so many Smelters Boxing club members there to support him. Ashton Gate was packed out with standing room only.

The young exciting prospect Smythe is next scheduled to box Friday June 8th again at Ashton Gate along with his stable mates Tyler Davies and Reece Godfrey-Sharp.

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club.

Preparation for the 2018 bowling season is complete.

Green keeper John Swift has been at work on the green through the winter and was ready for the first woods of the season to roll on green opening day on April 13th. Hedges trimmed, fences and windows painted, slabs around the green jet washed and everything that needs cleaning has been cleaned! Benches are in place, mats in ditches, rink markers are in position so the 2018 season can start and the new club flag will be seen proudly flying on the new flagpole whenever games are played.

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The final Sunday Social evening of the winter was on April 8th and saw two favourites from previous evenings make another appearance. Another excellent Gordon Dimond quiz was first up The winning team could almost be called a family affair ‐ Brian, Debbie and Robbie Mounter, the fourth member Bill Hatherall.

There followed a Beetle Drive won by Bill Hatherall with over two hundred points scored - very well beetled to him. Another very successful evening with over thirty bowler’s family and friend attending organised once again by Lis Davies.

This year’s Bristol and District Men’s League Season started on April 26th when St.Annes Park was our visitors. The first of fourteen games to be played in the hope that there will be a return to division three next season.

The ladies start their league campaign a little later on May 11th when the visitors will be Severnvale. In addition to fourteen league games the ladies will once again compete in the Top Club and Inter Club Competitions.

Dawn Evans will play Val Molton of Kingswood and Hanham in the Bristol Section of the Champion of Champions second round in late May.

The long awaited first game of the season was on Wednesday 11th April at Wrington. This has become the seasonal curtain raiser in recent seasons and it was good to be there once again and renew acquaintances from previous meetings, bowling is very much about enjoyment and sharing the pleasure of bowling with like minded people. Despite the rather cool afternoon it was an enjoyable one and the two clubs are looking forward to the return fixture on July 4th. The result was a win for Wrington but this is much less important in friendly games than enjoyment gained from it.

Why not join us now and enjoy the whole season, you can come along on Tuesday evenings at 6pm and give bowling a try - free of charge or obligation.

Port of Bristol Youth FC

Port of Bristol Youth Football Club has seen an amazing amount of interest since being reformed in 2015.

Playing their home games at the PBA Social Club, Nibley Road, the youth section have gone from strength to strength, with no sign of slowing down its expanding numbers and enthusiasm for football anytime soon. Port of Bristol, as a football club, have had previous experiences in grassroots youth football, but since the reinstatement of the younger age groups, a committed team of people over the last three years, have developed one of the fastest growing football clubs in Bristol.

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The club Welfare Officer, Chris George said, We have developed into a key component for many local youngsters within the community with the popularity of the club increasing weekly and more age groups planned for the new season. We currently have a total of 105 children (5-18 year olds) on our books, playing within eight different age groups, playing in four local leagues across Bristol & the South West, which is quite impressive in such a short space of time.

The success on and off the pitch is down to the hard work from its committee, coaches and parents, with the players being the main focus point. This is something that is shown not just internally, but externally, by opening pathways to ‘elite’ teams as well as applying a structure that allows players to fulfil their potential with the club, something all the age groups are doing on the pitch, but none more than the U18s. The team, who have recently won the league, staying unbeaten (4 games to go) but looking to add more silverware by winning the cup, after a recent 3-1 semi final win over AEK Boco at the GFA Headquarters.