Edition: 580
Twitter: @ShireNewspaper
May 2020
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committee has decided to make available on‐line whilst restrictions make delivery impossible.

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New lockdown feature + Video clips + Nature + Shirehampton

Sisters inlaw social distancing
Sisters in Law Angela Wood and Lisa Sawyer demonstrating Social Distancing Etiquette at Kings Weston House

Stay Home Protect the NHS Save Lives

Photograph courtesy of Bob Pitchford

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Pill at high tide. By Bob Pitchford

   Read         Download        Print    pdf version of MAY Shire

Shirehampton Health Centre

To All Our Patients,

We are writing to say a very big thank you for your patience with the rapid changes we have had to introduce at the surgery as a result of the Covid‐19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Action we have taken

In the space of a few days we switched as many functions as possible to remote and electronic working which mean that people can remain at home, avoid travel and stay safe. This has meant new ways of working which have caused some of our less technically minded staff a head scratch or two! Although there have been a few bumps along the road we have been humbled by the dedicated and professional approach of all our staff and others during this time of great national need.

Our teams and local partners in the Pharmacies, District Nurses and Care staff are working extremely hard to continue to ensure you still get your essential medicines, have wounds dressed and have your concerns dealt with. They know you may be waiting longer than usual to get through on the phone or get the medicine you ordered but they really do appreciate a kind word or thank you in this most unprecedented of times.


As the local hospitals gear up to deal with the Covid‐19 patients, all routine activity has been scaled down significantly.

We cannot undertake routine referrals for scans or appointments to hospital specialists at the current time. However it is important that you do not ignore new or significant symptoms ‐ please book a telephone appointment to discuss with us if you are concerned.

Further information on significant symptoms can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms


By the time this goes to print, further changes are likely to have happened and we will endeavour to keep you as up to date as possible through our website and Facebook page. This may include for example, changes to which part of the building you access depending on the reason you are attending or you may be asked to remain in your car and a clinician come out to you (possibly wearing protective equipment).

We ask that you do not attend the building unless you have been expressly told to do so by a clinician or it is for a face to face treatment room appointment such as childhood immunisations.


Everyone should continue to wash their hands on entering the building ‐ thank you for getting on board with this change very quickly.

We remain committed at Shirehampton Group Practice to providing as comprehensive a service to our patients as we are able to but as this pandemic progresses and our staffing levels are affected we may not be able to reply personally to every query or concern and you may be directed to other sources of information.

Stay Home Protect the NHS Save Lives

Thank you,

GP Partners

Shirehampton Group Practice

Best regards

Jon S Trott

Pioneer practice

News from Pioneer practice about new ways of working Reception desks Avonmouth surgery will be closed from 1pm on 25th of March.

The foyer at Bradgate and Ridingleaze will be open for you to drop off prescription requests and samples.

But otherwise our reception desks are closed to all walk in visitors.

Please contact us by phone on 0117 959 1919 if you need to speak to a care navigator.

Ordering medications

If you need to order a prescription use

  • online access (NHS App),
  • email (pmg@nhs.net),
  • ask your pharmacy to order,
  • or write us a letter.

If you are unable to do any of these, as a last resort, drop a request in the box in the surgery foyer.

Please do not come to the reception to order medication.

Collecting prescriptions

All prescriptions will now be sent electronically.

If you haven't told us your preferred pharmacy then please do so.

We will not allow any paper prescriptions to be collected at the surgery.

Please do not come to reception to collect a prescription.

Booking appointments

If you need to book a phone consultation use online access or phone us.

Please do not come to reception to book an appointment.

Collecting Documents

Any documents will now be sent by email, text or post.

Stay Home Protect the NHS Save Lives

Some useful Coronavirus information sites

www.shirehamptongrouppractice.co.uk ‐ Shirehampton Group Practice web Site

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ NHS ‐ Coronavirus condition overview ‐ United Kingdom

www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response UK Government ‐ Coronavirus advisory information,

www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public World Health Organisation ‐ Coronavirus disease advice for the public.

www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus World Health Organisation ‐ Coronavirus overview.

Stay Home Protect the NHS Save Lives

You watched the news

You watched the news,
You heard what they said
Stay home for protection and
To help stop the spread

But you felt pretty healthy,
And the sky was bright blue
So you fancied a trip out
What harm could it do?

You met in the park
To play football with mates
But the ball got hit hard and it
Bounced out the gates

A man passing by,
Picked it up off the street
And you caught it 'cheers mate'
Dropped it back to your feet.

And carried on playing
Not even aware
That you had spread the virus
On the ball through the air.

And the man passing by
Just happened to be
A postman whose shift
Was just starting, at three

And he worked through the streets
Without knowing better
That he'd now spread the virus
On all of the letters

And one of those letters
Just happened to be
For your Grandma who lived
At house number 3

And now, a week later
She's struggling for breath
And she's taken to hospital
She's close to her death

And you cannot visit
And she's dying alone
Now maybe, just maybe
Do you wish you'd stayed home?

Portway Easter weekend, people ARE listening

Photographs courtesy of Bob Pitchford, whilst exercising carrying a heavy camera…

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Portway sans cars. By Bob Pitchford
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By Bob Pitchford
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And you still have to wait to cross… By Bob Pitchford

PENHILL Shirehampton

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Card game
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Rainbow painting

Penhill Residential Home has sat in the heart of the community for over 25 years, owned by Steve and Barbara Ann and managed by Kath O'Dwyer and is a beautiful retirement home for the elderly, and beautiful it is.

The home has capacity to look after 19 residents who enjoy being cared for by the spectacular team of staff. In current times it has shown the dedication of the staff team who go above and beyond to protect the most vulnerable is society with the treat of Covid‐19 hanging over us all.

we have got through wars, this will not beat us

The resident forum meets weekly and the decision was made that we would close the door to visitors on 12th March in a step to protect the residents and staff from the risk of Covid‐19. This was a difficult decision made with the residents as we are a very big family and bigger extended family, but the residents believe the right decision. But life goes on and the general feedback from the ladies and gents at Penhill is we have got through wars, tough times have fallen on us all and we have survived great loss, this will not beat us. We will come out the other side. All I can say is wow. There has been no panic buying, residents activities have changed slightly and sadly we have had to postpone a few planned guests (and animals) but survive we will.

Families have been visiting through the window and Resident are enjoying video calls on the equipment supplied to us by Caredocs, waving at the window and bundles of letters and well wishes sent through the post by the local community and further afield and posting where we are able to through social media platforms such as Facebook. We now have a decorative wall displaying all the well wishes and our residents look forward to a daily delivery of the post.

we are tougher than this

But as the residents have said, we are tougher than this, we have gotten through worse. So we are tightening our belts and doing just that "getting on with it". Activities such as flower arranging, knit and natter, exercise, gardening, baking, art, quizzes, sing songs, storytelling are just a few to name. Staff are taking entertainment to a whole new high and finding new talents on a daily basis, from our laundry lady Jill doubling up as a hairdresser to make sure everyone is always at their best, to expertly painted nails by Lou Lou. We are still celebrating days that are important to our residents in the calendar such as recently St David's day and St Patrick 's Day, to birthday celebrations and Easter where residents have just baked their very own Simnel Cake with Jodie.

We are having regular contact with the important professional in our daily lives from the community such as the amazing district nurse teams who support us, the GP's at Sea Mills and Shirehampton surgery who are checking up on us on a very regular basis, Our Pharmacy Day Lewis who continue to deliver essential medication supplies and Our Milkman with his daily deliveries and refuse collectors who always carry out a safe and professional job. Bristol City Council are offering support and great communication along with our CQC inspector who is always available to support and guide us.

Penhill is doing well, has always done well and will continue to do well long into the future.

Facebook share

With the current crisis going on there are very few notable things to comment on however, on Friday 3rd April I posted on my community Facebook page about the previous nights 'clap for the NHS':

And the Ship Horns Blew… I've not heard the ships in the Docks blow like that in years! But here's to the Dock workers as well. Thank you!

I was amazed at the response I received, people's comments and the number of people that shared it?

But there was one comment that a teacher who lives in Avonmouth made that was so heartfelt that I felt it should be shared further?

I believe that people going out in their gardens or standing at their Lounge windows is going to continue every Thursday evening to thank the NHS and key workers whilst this crisis lasts so wondered if it is something that could be included somewhere in next month's Shire Newspaper?

Was such an amazing feeling standing outside with all our neighbours clapping, banging pots and pans for the NHS but to hear the ships start us off was such a special moment. Though what we're going through is awful, it's moments like this that show us what true community spirit feels like, something most of us have never really experienced before.

Obviously this person lives in Avonmouth but I think it sums up what so many people are thinking in all of our local communities as people are pulling together in a way that people who remember say hasn't happened since the war?

I have passed the quote onto someone attached to the Port for them to thank those concerned as the effect when the sirens started was profound.

I'm not sure if they will continue each week but it doesn't matter as it has been done!



May the 4th be with you…

Top tips for parents home‐schooling their children

UWE logo

With all UK schools closed until further notice, except for the children of key workers and children who have been identified as vulnerable, thousands of parents will have to introduce some form of learning in the home.

To help parents navigate this challenging time, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) Ben Wiggins has shared some of his top tips for implementing a successful home‐schooling programme and also highlights some potential pitfalls to avoid.

While some parents will find educating their children particularly difficult due to pressures such as caring for relatives or working from home, it is hoped that the advice can still be useful, especially to those with no previous experience of teaching or home‐schooling.

Mr Wiggins is self‐isolating due to an underlying health condition and is using these techniques himself as he currently home‐schools his eight‐year‐old daughter. He also has nearly 20 years’ experience as a Primary School Teacher and is the current leader of the Primary PGCE Teacher Training Programme at UWE Bristol, which was ranked as one of the top five universities for Education in the country by the 2019 Guardian University Guide.

Top tips for home‐schooling your primary school aged children:

Preparation. Even if your school sends you a learning pack try to know what it is you are going to be doing the next day. That way your day will flow better and you won’t look like you are just making it up. Share the timetable with your child so they know what they are going to be doing and when Structure. Establish a definitive start and end time to the day. Try to get your children to view this as ‘school time’. Plan in breaks just like in school and remember, the younger the child the shorter your teaching sessions need to be Play. If you have very young children remember to play with them too. You can also incorporate activities such as cooking, DIY projects and gardening into your schooling as they also provide learning

Home schooling picture

Pitfalls to avoid:

Don’t try to do too much. Remember to get the difficult things out of the way early and leave afternoons for more fun activities Try not to get cross if your child doesn’t understand. It is difficult to educate your own children because you are so invested in their progress. However, learning takes time and is a messy process so don’t worry too much if they don’t ‘get it’ first time If your child doesn’t understand what you’re saying, don’t just repeat the same explanation louder and more slowly, try to think of another way of explaining it Try not to criticise the way your child does something. Parents can get very defensive about the way they learned to do something but teaching may have changed since then so try to be open minded. Who knows, you might learn something too It’s important to remember that you’re not going to get this right straight away so whatever happens, reflect on it and try something different the next day if things didn’t work. If you really don’t understand something, email your child’s teacher. Things will have changed a lot since you went to school so you shouldn’t be embarrassed about asking for help. For example, the teaching of detailed grammar and phonics is fairly new and something most parents will not have been taught themselves, says Mr Wiggins.

Teachers are industrious and creative so I’m sure it won’t be long before your child's school shares some interesting and engaging ways for you to educate your child over the coming weeks. In the meantime, try your best, ask for help if you need it and try to enjoy yourself.


Bristol Libraries

Bristol Libraries are currently closed until 1st May 2020 ‐ very urgent enquiries can be forwarded to hayley.cantle@bristol.gov.uk

Public Hall

Dear Members, Friends and Regular Hall Users

Shirehampton Public Hall is closed to the public until further notice. Emails will be accessed twice per day and answered in order of priority.

Please forward invoices to: treasurer@shirepubhall.org.uk.

All other urgent business please send to one of the following Trustees:




Emergency telephone numbers: 0117 9821879 or 07733 101520.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

Stay safe and well.

Amanda Parsons (Hall Manager)

Local recycling centres are closed

The Local Government Association is reminding residents looking to spring clean their homes or do some gardening, that local recycling centres are closed as part of social distancing requirements and staff absences due to social isolation or sickness.


Councils are constantly monitoring the situation regarding our parks.

Councils know that parks are a lifeline for residents needing to get some exercise or fresh air and are great for physical and mental wellbeing. This is why councils want to keep parks open, but people need to follow the social distancing advice, otherwise councils will be reluctantly forced to close them as a last resort to help prevent the coronavirus spreading.

Community Learning for The Shire

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Community Learning Flyer

Just to give an update from Community Learning.

Community Learning is working hard to support tutors and learners on our existing courses to offer and engage with online courses/resources, using different IT platforms.

We do understand that families are still adjusting to everything and having their children at home and so are trying to be as supportive as possible; making contact with our learners to see how they are and whether they can access online resources/activities We are putting useful resources on our website as well, including a sample timetable for educating at home. www.communitylearningwest.net

We are also looking ahead to develop new courses which will support adults and families at the moment.

One idea for the summer term which we will be developing is a Family Learning Arts and Crafts course at home with the family, using everyday stuff at home/recycled materials as families won’t be able to buy in many resources.

Other courses being explored as online courses in Bristol include:

  • first aid,
  • food hygiene (this is set up online already but will need support),
  • Roof Over My Head,
  • parenting support,
  • resilience and coping strategies,
  • fun with phonics,
  • cooking together,
  • ESOL for Health,
  • an employability/CV course for when people may be hoping to get back to work etc.

Our FREE courses are especially for adults aged 19 years plus who have few or no qualifications.

If you are interested please get in touch with me, Suzanne on 07887451776, suzanne.gaffney@bristol.gov.uk

The Green during lockdown

Photographs courtesy of Bob Pitchford

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The green shirehampton
By Bob Pitchford

Update from Tandem Arts

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Mater Immaculata
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It is easiest to start with what hasn't happened ‐ this is of course a theme we all share as we stare at our year planners and diaries.

All three exhibitions I was going to take part in from March to May have been cancelled or mothballed until further notice.

'Incendiary' ‐ an exhibition first shown in Stroud a year ago ‐ was set up at the Pound Arts Centre Corsham in mid March to then be closed to the public. At least there is a good photographic record with a filmed/virtual tour and talk by the curator. It may be of local interest that my piece of work is built around a discarded, burnt plastic bottle which I spotted on a riverside litter pick a couple of years ago. (pictured above).

At the same venue ‐ incidentally ‐ the South West Textile Group of which I am a member was going to have a second showing of 'Wasted', a show around recycling and using waste materials in the making of art and craft objects. My 'Celtic Fringes' are made of colourful plastic strings and fibres collected from the beaches of Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland over the past few year's holidays in those places. This is the link to the South West Textile Group website southwesttextiles.co.uk/; new members are always welcome.

Lastly, I'm sad to say that the yearly Fringe Arts Bath ‐ for years now running regular as clockwork during three weeks from May to June, in pop up as well as more established venues in Bath ‐ will have to go online this year.

The Bath Fringe has been a highlight of my year for a long time now: a lot of things are being tried out, artists can have a go at curating a show , whole buildings get converted into make shift galleries. There are so many venues and themed exhibitions and events put on, all organised and run by a big team of dedicated volunteers. As part of the Bath Fringe, I was going to take part in a show titled,'A Sensation of Home' ‐ more on this perhaps in the next edition of the Shire.

I consider myself immensely lucky: I have plenty of time, a beautiful space to work in, no shortage of materials, and plenty of ideas to get on with; and yet getting work out there on show is part of a meaningful cycle for me and this for the time being, is missing. I also miss the comings and goings from the studio, not being able to run sessions and have people visiting , bringing with them their news, views and ideas.

Some pictures from the last Tandem session can now be seen on Facebook Tandem Arts . When things change again I would like to run some outdoor evening sessions, making paper and also working with willow.

Lastly I have started receiving 'silver lining' contributions from friends and associates ‐ a collection of written expressions and lists of personal positives, despite the dark cloud we're all having to endure on one level. Feel free to contribute. It will will get incorporated into a piece of work.

Email to tandemarts2@gmail.com

Keep safe and stay connected.

Annelies (Tandem Arts)

Tynnings Field

Dig for Victory

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We offer support and food to our local community in times of crisis.

Allotments have historically been our backbone food supply during wars and hard times. We can supply very needy families with eggs in an emergency and we can grow food for seasonal produce. Nothing changed here. We rise to this challenge to feed you all.

Tynings Field is working hard with our small land army of volunteers to grow veg for ourselves, our members and neighbours. Two food for community plots have been set aside. Caroline has cleared and planted those. 300 beans are in one. Several kilo of potatoes in another.

To work hard to get crops up and running in a short time is how we roll in Tynings field. Other Members come to work on their own areas separately and at safe social distance.

The nature of the allotments is within guidelines and approved by the government as exercise.We are still a group and communicate from a distance and in messages.

We are on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tyningsfieldcommunitygroup. We are part of a virtual bee friendly flowering shire.

Many of us are not well and are staying home. If you are having symptoms of a virus stay in. However when you feel well you can grow veg on an allotment as long as you are not crowding in on others or holding activities so we have suspended the following:

We are closed to the wider general public and we are in a 'closed garden modus operandi' so cancelled:-

  • The Get Growing Trail.
  • Open Farm Sunday
  • And Good Gym and group workdays in general.

We are only running on a core membership rota basis.

In hard times we have to look after ourselves, our health and wellbeing.

Those that disrespected the distancing rule and went out in crowds are not sensible people. No one does that in the field of veg… we come to work, not wander aimlessly in parks.

We have to stand and fight for our rights and for the rights of others, but listen ‐ all we need to eat is already on the planet we just have to grow, discover and work on it.

  • Don't let social media and others control your thoughts.
  • Don't let their ideas prevent you from your exercise.
  • Set your goalposts differently.
  • Take control of your life.
  • Work     play     eat     exercise     sleep.  

The planet needs a rest from polluted air and cars for a while.

Nature like a God or a higher power is healing itself while man seeks a cure… so meanwhile heal yourself and take control of your life patterns.

Land army

Growing in adversity
Growing in crisis
Growing positively
Keep calm carry on digging
Dig for Victory
Take control of your life
Take control of your food supply


Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF)

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) in partnership with Bristol Waste led a successful community litter pick on Saturday 14th March.

The focus of the clean up was the central village and Lower Shirehampton area with a group of willing volunteers collecting a large amount of litter and recyclables.

This was ahead of the official Great British Spring Clean period, which has since been postponed to September due to the Coronavirus COVID-19.

We will advertise the Community Litter Pick in September nearer the time for anyone else wanting to help.

In the meantime, we ask the community to do their bit to stop littering.

This includes containing material in their recycling boxes/bags and clearing up after the recycling crews come round.

The Local Government Association is also reminding residents looking to spring clean their homes or do some gardening, that local recycling centres are closed as part of social distancing requirements and staff absences due to social isolation or sickness.

Shirehampton Primary School

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Tough times don’t last, tough teams do…

During my 24 years working in education I have never known school closures to be enforced due to a pandemic, however, I do believe that such times are when we see truly amazing acts of selflessness, kindness and what communities can achieve.

Supporting the frontline

Many of you will know how important our local community is to us as a school and the staff continue to work creatively ‐ albeit mostly remotely ‐ to ensure the high standards of education our children receive can be transferred into home learning. Currently this takes several forms: we remain open, even during the Easter holiday period, to support the frontline key workers whose children attend the school and also to provide consistency for those vulnerable children. Having a large staff is a blessing at a time like this and without exception, all are more than willing to help out when they can, which means we have a rota of skeleton staff to ensure the supervision provided by school keeps everyone safe, well and healthy!

Learning carries on

Thank goodness our parents are equally determined to ensure learning carries on as we have received many compliments on the learning that is placed on our website; not sure all of the children will share this enthusiasm! Whether they want to challenge Mr Halligan (Y5 teacher) to a game in the TT Rock Stars arena to improve their knowledge and understanding of the times tables, listen to Mrs Whitley read stories or even lead a Family Singing Assembly, take part in a Design and Technology project or engage in mindfulness exercises, I can guarantee there is something for everyone.

As a school that uses Maths No Problem to teach maths the children can even access their textbook and workbook from home ‐ could be a marmite choice!

Creating 5 day hampers

Aspens, our caterers, have also been incredibly supportive and Becky (our cook in charge) has been amazing in creating 5 day hampers, for our families that are entitled to access this provision, which can be ordered on a weekly basis. You can see what effort has gone into them; we gave out 103 on Monday 6th April! Such teamwork is great as the publicised vouchers for Free School Meals are limited to certain shops and most are not located in our local area.

Since working in Shire (for the last 11.5 years) I remain humbled to be part of such an inspiring community that always support each other, prioritise other’s needs above their own and generally just get on and get it done!

Hopefully it will not be too long before we start to come out the other side and school gets back to normal…whatever normal may be these days!

Keep well, safe and look after each other.

St. Mary's News ‐  May

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Dear Friends

We continue to find ourselves in uncharted territory. As I write we are only in week 2 of 'lockdown', and yet as you read this I know it will be the end of April/beginning of May, and so it is my prayer that our time of isolation will soon be drawing to a close. At times like these we cling to what we find to be a great comfort, and a source of hope, and for myself, and for many of you, I know that we find that hope and trust in God. Whilst everything around us is uncertain and unknown, we put our trust in the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever. For some of you reading this you will feel angry at God, and that's okay too, God is big enough to handle it. For many of us there will be much grief at this time, grief for those we have lost to this awful virus; for the funerals we could not attend; for the weddings, baptisms and anniversaries that have been postponed; for all that we have missed during this time. And yet, there is also a time for thankfulness and gratitude for all that has been: for the amazing care and courage of our amazing NHS staff; for all the local businesses that have continued to serve us during this time of crisis; for the generosity of our neighbours, friends and family who have cared for the most vulnerable amongst us; for schools who have stayed open to care for the children of key workers; for our incredible medical practices, the pharmacies and all who have put others before themselves; for funeral directors and care workers ‐ thank you, thank you, thank you, on behalf of us all.

It is at times like these that we draw together to work as one, and it is a great encouragement to have the support of our local police force, our emergency services, and also our local councillors to hand. One of our councillors has written to explain some of the changes we have seen and will see locally, and you can read his comments below. As I finish, I just want to say that St Mary's has stood in place for many centuries, and will continue to do so for many more to come, but the building is not the church, the church is the people of God, and though we may not be able to meet physically at this time, please be assured of our prayers and our continued love and support for each of you, now and in the times to come.

God bless you all

Helen (Revd Helen Johnson)

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Dear Residents,

First I want to say that all your local councillors are always here to support you but especially at this extremely difficult time. Bristol City Council has been preparing for many weeks, as best it can, for the challenges we're now passing through. Our website is kept up to date with all the latest information you might need: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/crime-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know . If you don't use a computer and you need help, or just someone to talk to, then we have a free number to ring: 0800 694 0184.

Very sadly we are likely to lose some friends, neighbours, even family members because of the virus. At times of bereavement we naturally seek the support of those nearest to us and our faith leaders, but the Council also has a role as it manages the crematoria and cemeteries for the city. The contagious nature of this virus and the pressure on our services is going to impact in very practical ways on how residents are able to pay their last respects to those they love. We are already planning for longer opening times at the crematoria and for shorter services, and in everything we will have to take into account the need to limit the further spread of the disease. We recognise that some of these measures could add to the pain of those who are grieving, however, please be assured that these measures are necessary in order to keep us all as safe as possible in the current situation. Having said this, I am always available and will be keeping in contact with local faith leaders so that we can jointly address any concerns you may have. Don Alexander (cllr.donald.alexander@bristol.gov.uk 07914 385321).

Shirehampton Baptists

There is a saying,One never knows what is round the corner, When we welcomed in 2020 Last January little did we know that by March the world would experience a Pandemic epidemic which has changed our lives.Sadly lives have been lost,also jobs and businesses , schools closed, exams cancelled, shops and all public meeting places closed including places of Worship

We cannot thank enough all hospital workers and carers and all involved in the battle to save lives and the surge of volunteers eager to help those on the front line.

I cannot report any events taking place at our Church but our minister Paul Rhodes has kept in touch every day to all members by email, phone calls and letters bringing words of encouragement from the Bible and prayers for this current situation.

There are those in our congregation who like many others are concerned for their families health and jobs and some who are unable to visit loved ones in Care homes, We remember our Mainly Music families whose movements are so limited and their children home from school.

Our hearts go out to all in Shirehampton at this difficult time and we offer help and prayer so please get in touch.

The Bible does not promise an easy ride in this life but God is our Refuge and Strength in times of trouble and may we all find that to be true Love from all at Shire Baptist

Shirehampton Methodist

Hello from Shire Methodist



Since our last news, our church building has been closed for all activities, other than building work, because of the virus. But church life has remained open and we have been connecting with each other by phone and the internet, and with God through prayer and worship, perhaps even more than usual. The disruption to our normal daily life that the Covid‐19 virus has brought has caused so many mixed emotions. We cannot ignore the suffering endured by so many people. I am writing this church news during Holy Week, the week before Easter Sunday, when we reflect on times of great suffering and we look forward with hope to a time filled with great joy. We pray that everyone will be able to hold onto a feeling of hope even in times that feel dark. Times of joy will return.

In these difficult times, we have been able to support each other in many ways. One of our members has been phoning people and playing their favourite hymn to them on her piano! We have shared fun and engaging activities to help us, whatever age we are, to learn more about the Bible. We have shared photos of what we’ve been doing, and jokes, to try to put a smile on our faces. Our minister, Patrick Stonehewer, has been sharing some encouragement from his personal reflections via YouTube and also via a newsletter that has been circulated by post and email. Many of us have joined a WhatsApp group to share our news. We have attended church services virtually either online or via the TV. We have also offered spiritual and practical support to our local community via prayer and donations to the Foodbank.

All the churches in Shirehampton are holding our community in prayer, and will do our best to respond to any concerns and needs. Please don't hesitate to contact us on the numbers below:

St Mary's Church 0117 9077026

Shire Methodist 0117 924 8407

Shire Baptist 0117 982 8238

St Bernard's Roman Catholic 0117 982 3380

Please take a look at our website, facebook page or noticeboard outside the church to find out if we have started meeting for our regular activities again in May.

May God’s peace be with you all during May.

Everyone at Shire Methodist


Royal Opera House announces the next in its series of broadcasts for the culturally curious at home

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Join the Royal Opera House as we continue our packed schedule of free online broadcasts, musical masterclasses and cultural highlights with a suite of new content that audiences can access for free anywhere, anytime.

Free weekly production broadcasts

We are delighted to announce the next in our series of free weekly production broadcasts with a Facebook and YouTube premiere of The Royal Ballet’s The Winter’s Tale from 7pm BST on Friday 1 May, and The Royal Opera’s performance of Richard Eyre’s La traviata, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, from 7pm on Friday 8 May starring Renée Fleming and Joseph Calleja.

Instagram Stories

On Monday we will give audiences the opportunity to get under the skin of our art forms by handing the reins of the ROH Instagram account to former Royal Ballet Principal Zenaida Yanowsky, who performed with the company for over 23 years, and who will answer all of your questions via Instagram Stories.

We also look forward to the next episode of House Music, featuring the Music Director of The Royal Opera, Antonio Pappano, as he plays and discusses some of his favourite pieces from the opera repertory.

Last week

Last week, the Royal Opera House launched Create & Learn, a virtual classroom of free home‐learning opportunities for children and young people to encourage their creativity. This week we are delighted to announce Royal Ballet Principal, Lauren Cuthbertson, will launch this week’s challenge inspired by the ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which in turn is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous novel. Anyone can get involved in the activities between now and 17 July, with new activities and courses added every Friday.

BBC Radio 3 Saturday 25 April

The BBC will broadcast Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos on BBC Radio 3 as part of Opera on 3 on Saturday 25 April. This production was first broadcast in July 2014 as part of the Richard Strauss 150 celebration.

BBC iPlayer

Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words is currently available on BBC iPlayer. Produced with the BBC and featuring dancers of The Royal Ballet, the film stars some of the most exciting dancers of their generation, directed and produced by multiple award‐winning Michael Nunn and William Trevitt of BalletBoyz, this ground‐breaking interpretation fuses The Royal Ballet’s heritage with BalletBoyz’ signature style and Prokofiev’s stirring score.

To join us for all broadcasts, creative adventures and unique content, follow #OurHousetoYourHouse.

Nature Notes…

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This little beauty was on his way into my garden, and luckily a passing neighbour snapped him just before he scurried away! I hope he will be a regular visitor. We have created a safe house next to our hedge, shielded by large shrubs, and will be putting food out each evening, along with a dish of water close by.

The young tree is one of the surviving saplings that were planted a couple of years ago in the field on the riverbank just along from Cerney Lane. It is, I believe, a silver maple, and there are now several that are full of leaf along that stretch of the bank, together with horse chestnut trees. Sadly, we have lost a few to mindless vandals, but as these remaining ones continue to grow, I hope we can preserve them for years to come.

The increase in wildlife activity has been huge over the last couple of months. The herons arrived in January, and as I write they are sitting on eggs, with much toing and froing and loud calling between couples.

Sadly, one of the birds somehow came to grief, as I noticed it one morning whilst walking the dogs. I don't know what happened, but the poor thing could be seen dangling from branches near to a nest which seemed to have a pair on it. It was clearly dead. Was it an accident as it tried to land? Or was it attacked by defensive neighbours? We can only guess.

We have great tits nesting in the tree outside our front garden, the number of gold finches coming to their feeder has dropped dramatically as they prepare for offspring.

A few mornings ago I could hear persistent quacking coming from the river so hurried along to see if I could spot what was happening. It was two pairs of Shelducks having an aquatic standoff! I stood and watched as they took turns rushing at the opposition with lots of angry quacking! It was hilarious and touching all at the same time!

No fisticuffs, but honours even!

Much more to come. Happy nature watching all, and a little spoiler. Next month I'll introduce you to our resident slow worm on the allotment! Don't go anywhere!! Bobbie Perkins

Bobbie Perkins

Dementia Action Week

Alzheimer's Society statement on the postponement of Dementia Action Week

Following Government advice about coronavirus (COVID‐19), Alzheimer’s Society has taken the difficult but necessary decision to postpone Dementia Action Week 2020.

This is an extremely challenging time for so many of us and the health and safety of people affected by dementia, our employees and volunteers is our number one priority.

We would ask for all Dementia Action Week activities and events planned for May to be cancelled or postponed until we have a new date in place.

Alzheimer’s Society is still here for anyone affected by dementia. Our Dementia Connect support line remains open on 0333 150 3456 every day and we are exploring ways we can extend the hours we’re available. Our online community Talking Point where people affected by dementia can receive valuable support, can be accessed online for free, night or day, through our website alzheimers.org.uk.

You can still help us be there for people with dementia who are at high risk of isolation and distress during this crisis. Alzheimer’s Society is increasing our telephone contact with people with dementia during this difficult time, so they can still be there to support them. To do this, they need your help. Please donate £10 today by texting UNITE to 70660 or visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/emergency


Trail Cam / Camera trap footage

Anybody have any nature trail cam, nest box stuff or Shire related video they’d like to share?

Send your nature video

Submissions MUST include all the usual details,

  •    who ‐ your contact details. Please indicate if you don’t want your name publish, no aliases please.
  •    what ‐ subject,
  •    where ‐ where was the video clip taken,
  •    when ‐ date & time and
  •    why ‐ not required (only included this to complete the saying… What’s life without whimsy).

Send your video link

Video Share

Letters to the Editor

Have your say    editor@shire.org.uk

 NO Garden Fires! Name & address supplied

Dear Editor,

I'd like to put out a plea to anyone who is making the most of their enforced 'Stay Home' time to clear up their gardens, please could you avoid lighting bonfires during the day. I believe that if your bonfire becomes a nuisance you can be fined. Avon Fire and Rescue have responded to 30 bonfires recently that have been causing a nuisance or gone out of control. Their advice is not to light fires at all.

I realise it is difficult, especially as the emptying of the green garden waste bins has been suspended, but if you really have to please leave it until the evening.

Because of the beautiful Spring weather I along with many of my neighbours have their doors and windows open during the day and several times recently I've had to rush to rescue a line full of damp washing when a smokey bonfire has been set alight, usually mid‐morning.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't be a selfish nuisance, think of others before lighting bonfires during daylight hours.

From a Shire resident ‐ Name & address supplied.

newspaper Lockdown printable version

Covid‐19 utility

During the lockdown period eShire is making a pdf version of the newspaper available to read/print.

When you click the link below the May edition will be displayed as it would have been printed and you can print the newspaper on A4 paper for a neighbour/friend using your own printer.

You could also download the newspaper pdf to a flashdrive for a neighbour/friend with a computer but no internet access.

Awaiting newspaper image      Read and print the .pdf version of May Shire

    Unfortunately PDFs do not display well on small devices but once displayed they can be printed.

To access the .pdf menu hover the cursor at the top of the displayed pdf and a menu will appear.

  •    Refresh the document if any pages are missing.
  •    Print the newspaper on your printer.
  •    Download the newspaper to your PC ready for copying to flashdrive.

Local Gov


Responding to the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, who has issued new guidance for councils not to close parks unless it is impossible to maintain social distancing in them, Cllr Gerald Vernon‐Jackson, Chair of the LGA's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: This is a national emergency and the minority of people who do not adhere to the guidance need to change their behaviour to keep us all safe. Councils are constantly monitoring the situation regarding our parks.

Councils know that parks are a lifeline for residents needing to get some exercise or fresh air and are great for physical and mental wellbeing.

This is why councils want to keep parks open, but people need to follow the social distancing advice, otherwise councils will be reluctantly forced to close them as a last resort to help prevent the coronavirus spreading.

Darren Jones MP

Press Release

Due to the ongoing COVID‐19 pandemic, Darren’s staff are now working from home. Darren has taken this decision as a precaution not because of official government advice (???).

This means we will be a little slower at responding to post and telephone calls due to re‐direction. We will otherwise continue as normal but please bear with us, especially if we too suffer illness within the team in the coming months.

  • We are maintaining a COVID‐19 FAQ page on Darren’s website at www.darren-jones.co.uk/coronavirus.
  • You can also register for Darren's e‐mail updates at the bottom of the home page at www.darren-jones.co.uk.
  • Updates will also be provided on Darren’s Facebook page, which you can follow at www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp.

If you have symptoms or concerns related to COVID‐19 you should firstly visit the NHS website at www.111.nhs.uk. If this doesn’t answer your question, or if you don’t have access to the internet, you should call the NHS on 111. Please do not go to your GP surgery or A&E in person if you think you might have COVID‐19 symptoms (i.e, a dry cough, temperature and/or sore chest).

For further updates please visit the NHS website or Darren's FAQ page.

Many thanks

Office of Darren Jones MP

Member of Parliament, Bristol North West


Councils are expecting a spike in household rubbish as nation isolates at home

  • Residents are asked to be mindful of excess waste from spring cleaning their homes or gardens
  • Households are urged to avoid burning rubbish on bonfires
  • Waste collection workers are likely to need to self‐isolate

District councils are now advising households to consider how they can store waste or arrange for it to be safely collected during the current restrictions, and issue the following guidance to residents:‐

  • Contact your council to see if they are still operating paid for bulky waste collection
  • Private companies offer this as well but people need to check any company they use is properly registered for handling waste by the Environment Agency
  • Try and compost any garden waste at home
  • Cut down cardboard boxes so they can be put into the appropriate recycling bin ‐ this makes life much easier for waste collection staff
  • Store any excess waste from DIY projects, spring cleans or garden waste at home until it can be disposed of safely and legally
  • DCN is also urging residents NOT to burn rubbish on bonfires, especially hazardous waste, which contributes to air pollution and disturbs neighbours who may be self-isolating.

City & Port of Bristol Bowling Club

Heather Champion has become the first ever Life Member of the City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club.

The honour was bestowed at the start of season meeting on March 12th.

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Heather receives Life membership from Paul Bywater
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David Hinksman, Heather Champion and Paul Bywater

President David Hinksman spoke about Heathers long service and dedication to the club since her arrival as a new bowler in 1983.

Heather has achieved a lot of things, the first of which in 1986 was an appearance in the National Pairs finals, with Pat Jones as her partner. Before going to Leamington Spa to compete against winning pairs from other counties Heather and Pat had won the Gloucestershire County Pairs against strong opposition.

Heather made more appearances at Leamington in the years that followed ‐‐‐ in both the triples and fours competitions. She represented the county on numerous occasions at a time when there was a strict dress code ‐‐‐ even the handbag had to be the right colour.

Heather was successful in a number of club competitions and with Husband Brian plus bowling friends from the club enjoyed taking part in open competitions at other clubs. She remembers on one occasion, en-route to play in Weston-Super-Mare the car in which they were travelling caught fire and burned out. Bowling kit saved and undaunted a replacement car was arranged ‐‐‐‐ it probably wouldn’t not have happened today ‐‐‐‐ and remarkably ‐‐‐‐ they bowled the competition that afternoon.

Heather held numerous posts over the years including ladies captain, chairperson and for a number of years until recently, secretary.

But Heather’s contribution has not only been through the offices she held ‐‐‐ she was always there when things needed doing and often refers to the pre‐season working parties when it was all hands to the pump so that all would be ready for another season of bowling.

Following the President’s address it was Paul Bywater, the clubs longest serving member who made the well deserved presentations to Heather on behalf of the club, and in doing so added further words of praise and thanks for all that she had done and achieved.

A very attractive wooden bench, with an engraved plaque attached was central to what Paul presented. Heather also received a framed photograph declaring her life membership and a bouquet of flowers ‐‐‐ no presentation would be complete without them!!

Peter Cornish has now taken on the job of secretary from Heather. Dawn Evans will be this year’s Competition Secretary and Ray Cook will be captain on Wednesdays.

So ‐‐‐ all was set for season 2020, but, soon after the meeting came the news that because of Coronavirus the season could not start as planned at Easter and bowling went very much on hold.

The green‐keeper will continue to work so that the green will be ready for when it becomes possible to bowl again, but no other work can take place.

The whole City and Port of Bristol Social and Sports Club site is closed until further notice.

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