Downend Voice April 2024

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Black belt at 75

A grandmother from Staple Hill has become a martial arts black belt at the age of 75.

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Bus changes

Tribute to a club legend

HUNDREDS of supporters and former team-mates gathered to pay tribute to a Mangotsfield United "legend" who died after being assaulted.

Scott Hendy played almost 400 times for the football club between 1997 and 2011.

The father-of-three died in hospital on March 3, a day after he was injured in an incident in the village of Pilning, on Severnside.

A charity match which the 46-year-old former central defender had been due to play in on March 17 was transformed into a memorial event, raising money for his family.

A 29-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in connection with Scott's death.

Full story: Page 3

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Faster buses from Downend and Staple Hill to the city centre are being introduced – but a Bromley Heath service is being cut back.

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Popular school

Downend School received more first-choice applications than any other school in South Glos for places in September.

Page 7

Book a tip trip

People will soon have to book ahead before taking rubbish to a South Glos recycling centre.

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April 2024, Issue 128
Tel: 01179 571551 1 Willow Centre, Downend Road, Downend
Relatives release balloons as the Mangotsfield United Legends side takes part in a minute's applause for Scott Hendy (inset) before his memorial match at Cossham Street

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IT was a match he was supposed to be playing in.

But after former player Scott Hendy died of injuries sustained in an assault, the Mangotsfield United Legends versus Marc Ford/Louis Carey Charity FC game became a memorial match, raising more than £5,000 to support his family.

About 900 people, including 861 fans, were at Mangotsfield's Cossham Street ground on March 17 for the match, remembering the former central defender who made 388 starts and seven substitute appearances for the side, scoring 25 goals.

Scott, who was 46, leaves behind sons Lewis and Harvey, aged 24 and 14, and daughter Holly, 13.

After his death the club's board and committee issued a statement describing the "devastation" of everyone involved with the club.

They said: "Scott was someone who was held in very high regard within the club and his loss is felt by all who knew him and enjoyed watching him play. More than just a great player, he was a great person and was well thought of by fans, managers and teammates alike.

"Our sympathies, thoughts and prayers are all with Scott's family at this difficult time."

Scott's friend and former team-mate Geraint Bater, who played alongside him at both Mangotsfield and Clevedon Town, organised a Gofundme donation page to support his family, which had raised more than £15,400 as the Voice went to print.

It can be found online at

Geraint said: "Scott was loved

'More than just a great player, he was a great person'

by everyone who met him; he was funny, genuine and the life and soul of any party. His sense of humour was legendary and his loss will be felt from all over Bristol, such was the reach of his infectious personality.

"I know the word legend is bandied around a bit, but he comes firmly into that category."

Scott had been due to play with Geraint on the Mangotsfield Legends side in the match, which had originally been planned as a charity game before his death.

Geraint said: "Everyone was looking forward to meeting back up – I guarantee that 99% of the funny stories that would have been shared would have involved Scott."

Instead many of his former teammates took to the pitch

in his honour for the match, which started with a minute's applause for Scott and a release of balloons in Mangotsfield's club colours by members of his family.

Among them were his parents Bob and Jen, who thanked all those involved in the event.

Jen said: "It's lovely and very heart-warming to see all the people who have come to the game. It's overwhelming."

Bob said: "I used to come and watch Scott play here and I've seen a lot of faces I recognise from those days.

"He was so well-loved here –this was his club."

The teams were led out onto the pitch by Scott's son Harvey and daughter Holly.

The match was won 2-0 by

the Mango Legends side, with Harvey scoring the second goal.

Scott had three spells with Mangotsfield between 1997 and 2011, playing in the side that won the Gloucestershire FA Trophy in 2000 and the Southern League Division One West championship-winning side of 2005.

A trophy for the match was donated by Bristol Showmen's Guild and there are hopes it may become an annual event.

• Avon & Somerset police said a 29-year-old man from Pilning, George Baylis, has been charged with manslaughter after the incident in which Scott was fatally injured, in the car park of the Kings Arms pub, off Redwick Road, Pilning at 12.15am on March 2.

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Scott Hendy's family and the teams in front of fans in the main stand before the memorial match

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Thefts warning to van owners

POLICE are warning owners of Ford Transit and Transit Custom vans to take extra precautions after a spate of thefts targeting them.

Thieves have been forcing the side doors of the vans, after drilling through them to disable locks, and stealing tools from inside.

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member of the

The extent of the problem was revealed following a report to a meeting of a Community Engagement Forum for the Boyd Valley area, which includes Pucklechurch, in March.

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PCSO Bianca Rotariu told the meeting that there had been incidents where vans had been targeted in Downend and Fishponds, which followed previous incidents in Pucklechurch and Wick.

Elsewhere in the Avon & Somerset police area, appeals for information have been made after vans were targeted in South Bristol and Paulton, in North East Somerset.

PCSO Rotariu said the incidents all have the same pattern and police working on several investigations believe the thefts may be linked.

Most have occurred between December and February

The thieves, who have worked out how to force the latch on side doors, usually operate at night.

PCSO Rotariu said: "It's all very silent, you never have any witnesses, there's hardly any CCTV available and it's difficult to find any evidence.

"We're trying to raise awareness, because it is a lot of money involved."

As well as removing valuable tools overnight, van owners are also being advised to buy metal latch protectors which can help prevent doors being forced open.

Police are also advising that tools are photographed, marked and serial numbers recorded, and security marked with paint pens and clear lacquer spray with the owner's name and address so they can be easily returned if they are stolen.

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Digging down to get to bottom of water leak

PART of Downend's King George V playing fields is set to be dug up to try to find the source of a water leak flooding the park.

Water was first spotted flowing from a bank, between Mangotsfield Cemetery and the sports pitches on the lower part of the playing fields, about five years ago.

Recently it has returned with a vengeance, and by March water could be seen steadily flowing from a hole in the ground, along the side of the pitches and into a pond-like puddle swamping the path behind homes in Farm Court.

But no one has claimed responsibility for any drains or pipes in the area – and the water could even be from a previously unknown spring.

Heather and Alan Chilcott, who live near and regularly visit the park, said: "When it rains, it turns into a river.

"It is a waste of water in times when world resources are short. It is a total disgrace that the water company or the council

have not done anything about it.

"People like us are restricted from our daily exercise, as the slippery mud and flooded paths cause barriers which we cannot jump."

Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council is responsible for the upkeep of the park, which is owned by South Gloucestershire Council.

Parish clerk Angela Hocking

said discussions about the leak had first taken place in 2019.

But supplier Bristol Water and Wessex Water, which is responsible for sewage disposal, both say they have no pipes in the affected area and South Gloucestershire Council has previously found no evidence of any leaks, leading to speculation that the water, which appears to be clean, could be from a natural spring.

Mrs Hocking said: "It has been going on for years but has got worse as the winters get wetter.

"We've had meetings with water companies and South Gloucestershire Council, trying to get to the bottom of where it's coming from and establish ownership. So far no-one has taken responsibility."

Parish councillors are being asked to decide whether to hire a digger to excavate the leak, to try and find the source and solve the problem "once and for all".

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n Water flowing from a hole in the bank surrounded by temporary fencing n Water flooding the path at King George V playing fields

A REVAMP to the main bus services linking Downend and Staple Hill to Bristol city centre will make some journeys up to 12 minutes faster, says operator First.

The new one-way 48x and 49x services heading into the city will bypass Easton and Old Market, travelling on the M32 between Eastville and Broadmead.

But a commuter service which links Mangotsfield and Bromley Heath to the city centre is being cut, leaving some passengers looking for alternative transport.

First, the city's main operator, will shake up the 48 service, which links Downend to the centre, and the 49 serving Staple Hill, from April 7.

From 6am to 6.30pm each weekday and from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays, roughly every other 48 and 49 will be a 48x or 49x, leaving the regular route at the junction of Fishponds Road and Muller Road to head for the motorway.

All 48x and 49x services

Quicker buses to centre – but 462 route cut back

will start at Emersons Green. During their hours of operation the other 48 and 49 services will start at the Horseshoe pub and Hill House Road, next to Page Park, respectively.

Outside of those hours, 48s and 49s will start and finish at Emersons Green, except between 11.30pm and 4am.

The 48x and 49x will not run on Sundays, when all services will go through Easton.

The 49x will replace the twice-daily X49 from Hill House Road, which is being discontinued.

First is also reinstating buses from the centre to Oldbury Court with a 47 service – but this will not go on to link Oldbury Court to Downend, as the previous 47 and 5 did.

First says the direct 48x and 49x buses will "reduce journey times by up to 12 minutes".

However commuters who rely on Stagecoach's 462 service are facing cutbacks.

The route from Emersons Green to the city centre, which goes via Cossham Street, Blackhorse Lane, Four Acre Road and Quakers Road before heading to the ring road and M32, will have morning services cut from four to three between 6.05am and 6.55am, and evening return journeys cut from four to just two, at 4.05pm and 6.25pm.

Stagecoach West interim managing director Elisabeth Tasker said the 462 operated on an entirely commercial basis and the journeys being cut were "loss-making".

She said: "Unfortunately, usage on this service is very low, which means the revenue from this service does not cover our operating costs."

Bromley Heath commuter Claire Lewis, who relies on the 462 to travel to and from her job at a city centre school, says buses have been "really full up – very busy" in recent months.

Claire will now face a 20-minute walk to and from the Hambrook metrobus stop, as the 462 will no longer get her home from work to her children's childcare provider in time.

She said: "I think the 462 is the only service that still goes through Bromley Heath.

"I can walk to Hambrook but the extra time affects family life."

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THE Downend area's schools are among the most oversubscribed in South Gloucestershire, new figures show.

The council says a total of 2,833 first-choice applications were made for places at schools in the district from September.

Downend School received 325 first-choice applications for its 210 advertised places, the most to any school.

It had a total of 683 applications when second and third preferences were taken into account, second only to Winterbourne Academy, which had 760 for 300 places.

As a result, Downend School is providing an extra class to take its total number of Year 7 places to 240 this year. However last year the school had two extra "breach" classes and a total of 270 admissions, so this year's Year 7 will have 30 fewer pupils.

As places were confirmed in March, it was revealed that 94 places at Downend went to children with siblings at the school, four to children in care and seven to children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) naming the school.

Demand remains high for secondary school places

The other 135 went to children living within around three quarters of a mile (1.2km) of the school.

Of those offered places, 231 had made Downend their first choice: only eight second and one third choice application received offers.

At Mangotsfield School, a total of 545 families applied for a place – 226 of them first preferences.

The school initially had 240 places on offer but has agreed

to raise its admission number to 270, offering 200 places to first preference, 54 to second and 16 to third choice applicants.

Of those, 67 are siblings of current pupils, three are children in care or with an EHCP, 34 in the school's "area of first responsibility" and 166 living within 1.3 miles (2.1km) of the school.

Winterbourne Academy offered places to 254 of its 304 first-preference applicants, 30 to second choice and 16 to third choice.

The furthest from the school that an applicant who was a non-sibling, child in care or with an EHCP lived was just under two-and-a-half miles.

South Gloucestershire Council said that in total, 83% of children were offered places at their family's first choice school, down from 86% last year.

A total of 192 children were offered places at schools their families had not applied for, including 71 at King's Oak Academy in Kingswood and 27 at John Cabot academy, which was once an oversubscribed school.

King's Oak is providing an extra class as the council deals with the effects of delays in the construction of a new 900-place school at Lyde Green, which was originally supposed to open in 2022 but is not expected to be ready until 2026, with building work yet to begin.

Council co-leader and cabinet member for schools Ian Boulton said: "There is clearly a limit to the number of additional places other schools can offer, however we will be in an even better position to meet the preferences of local families when the delayed new secondary school for Lyde Green is finally open.”

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Banking hub call

PARISH councillors are exploring whether Downend can have a 'banking hub' after the major high street banks bailed out.

The last 'big four' high street bank left a year ago, when HSBC shut its Badminton Road branch.

Parish council chair Janet Biggin and councillor Raj Sood, who is also a South Gloucestershire councillor, are investigating whether the area fits the criteria for one of the "shared banking spaces", which are available to customers of all major banks, with a counter service to withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments, and carry out regular banking transactions, along with private spaces where staff from banks visit on a rota to provide customer service on more complex issues.

Cllr Sood has requested a review for the area, which will include the number of cash machines available, the number of businesses using cash, social deprivation and the number of older residents.

Concerns over Post Office counter

STAFF and customers have raised concerns over the new counter for Downend's post office.

The Post Office counter used to be at the back of a McColls newsagent, separate to the retail tills with staff behind security screens in an area they called the 'fortress'.

Since the store in Downend Road closed and reopened as a Morrisons Daily convenience store in February, Post Office services have been moved to the front of the shop, with a single till on a counter shared with the shop's retail business.

It means customers sending or collecting parcels, picking up pensions and carrying out other transactions, and those doing shopping, need to form two separate queues in the same area.

A member of staff told the Voice colleagues had raised concerns about security and capacity to deal with all of the customers on two tills.

The staff member, who asked not to be named, said: "Where we were before we had big glass screens so we were protected, whereas now there's only a flimsy plastic screen, right by the front door.

"When we had two tills up top and two in the 'fortress' we still had queues.

"Now people don't know where to queue because there's no designated area to stand –we've got no space at all."

The staff member said the Post Office counter also takes Amazon and Evri parcels and returns, as well as Royal Mail items, and there were concerns over space behind the till.

The worker added: "It's not benefiting customers – I get feedback from people who come in, and a lot of them aren't happy."

Downend resident and parish councillor Janet Biggin said: "With only one Post Office terminal, anyone needing to queue may need to ensure they allow plenty of time for their requirements.

"Come busy times, the queues will be around the shop and possibly out through the door."

People have also complained on social media about a lack of space to move around the shop with pushchairs.

A Morrisons spokesperson said: "We are continuing to review the recent changes in our Downend Road Morrisons Daily but would like to reassure customers that there is no need to queue outside and we have a secure location where the old Post Office was, to store excess parcels."

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A TEAM of pupils from Frenchay C of E Primary School has triumphed in a regional competition to develop tech skills.

Nine children from Year 6 competed in the First Lego League Bristol regional tournament, hosted by Hotpoint at its factory in Yate in March, taking on five other teams from across Bristol and south Gloucestershire.

The Frenchay pupils came away with two trophies – the robot performance award and the overall championship, after building robots to complete a series of missions in competitive matches – and will now headed to Harrogate in Yorkshire in April, to compete in the national finals.

Curriculum lead Hannah Price said: "The team members have been working for a few months now in an after-school club to work on the core values of teamwork, inclusion, discovery, innovation, impact and fun!

"They competed against other schools in the area to code a Lego robot to complete different missions and win points.

"The competition had four parts, and the team came away with not one but two trophies."

Stanbridge Primary School in

Frenchay team wins Lego robot championship

Downend, which won the Bristol tournament two years ago, also took part this year.

The First Lego League Challenge is an international science, technology, engineering

and maths (STEM) competition held in over 100 countries worldwide.

Teams of children aged between nine and 16 are challenged to design, build and

program an autonomous Lego robot, research a themed topic and prepare a presentation of their findings.

This year’s tournament encouraged teams to present new ideas for communicating art across the world.

Hotpoint spokesperson Ian Moverley said: "In our industry, we’re very aware of the need to encourage young people into STEM careers and see first-hand the importance of helping to bridge the skills gap between school leavers and the workforce.

"Enabling local schools to take part is a great opportunity for our team to get involved with our community, but also gives young people the chance to learn and develop skills that can be more difficult to foster in a normal school setting."

Teams interested in entering next year’s contest should email for more information.

School's farewell to John after 17 years

A PRIMARY school has said a fond farewell to its lollipop man after 17 years of service.

Crossing patrol officer John Pitt has retired after helping thousands of pupils and parents get safely to and from Frenchay Primary School, both at its old Churchside site, next to Frenchay Common, and new one on the

former hospital site.

Acting deputy head Helen Shepherd said: "John has been out helping children, parents, dog walkers and cyclists cross Beckspool Road safely come rain or shine.

"He has seen many changes over the years, not least the change from the old school site

John Pitt was presented with a gift by Frenchay Primary School

on the common to the new site on Alexander Road.

"He says he has always loved his job and will greatly miss the children and families he sees every day."

An assembly was held to thank you to John, with children reading out poems they had

written for him and sharing their memories of him.

He was then given gifts and cards from staff and parents.

Mrs Shepherd added: "John has been a fantastic member of the Frenchay team and will be sorely missed. We all wish him the best for his retirement."

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Members of Frenchay Primary School's winning team lift their trophies
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Barbara wins her black belt, aged 75

A GRANDMOTHER from Staple Hill has become a martial arts black belt, at the age of 75.

Barbara Wood took up taekwondo seven years ago when her grandsons Ash and Dylan Golding asked her to take them to a class, and she decided to join in.

Barbara said: "I thought ‘this looks good’ and asked if they had an age limit. When they said there wasn’t one, I thought I’d try it out.

"I figured if I didn’t give it a go, I’d just be at home vegetating – rather than in the dojang meditating.

"I think age is just a number and you shouldn’t think you’re not capable of doing something just because you’re old.

“It’s important to give things a go and if it doesn’t suit you, you can give it up – but you must try."

Barbara started at Fishponds Taekwondo Academy, which now practices at Lyde Green, then joined Thornbury Taekwondo Academy for extra tuition.

She also has a green belt in tang soo do, another Koreanbased martial art.

A spokesperson for the club said only around 2% of students who take up martial arts develop the proficiency in different areas and understanding of theory

to achieve a black belt, which requires years of dedication.

Barbara said: “I am proud of my black belt after working so hard for all those years.

“Once I got over my nerves, everything fell into place."

Barbara's instructor Vaughan Buxton, a 7th degree black belt and a British, European and World title holder, said: "Barbara has impressed everyone at the club with her dedication and hard work. She’s an inspiration and shows that taekwondo is suitable for people of all ages."

Barbara said she was brought up with traditional views on a woman’s role in the family during her childhood in South London.

She said: “We were told as children that women get married and have children. I wasn’t encouraged to continue my studies or develop a career.”

Barbara was a talented gymnast and speed skater in her youth, but said: “When I was growing up, we didn’t see women in martial arts.

"There are lots of women in martial arts now and our classes reflect this. I think it’s good

for girls and women to learn a martial art as it gives them selfdefence skills and confidence.

“It not only helps to keep you physically fit, but mentally sharp too.”

Barbara is affectionately known as ‘the old lady’ at the club and says enjoys the social side.

She said: “We take the class seriously but also have a laugh and some banter. As there are students in their 50s and 60s, I don’t feel out of place.

“There’s no age limit and you just do what you can. I find it fun and very rewarding.”

Fishponds Taekwondo Academy trains at Lyde Green Community Centre in Lyde Green.

For more information, call 0750 076 4276 or email

Martial arts medals: Page 56

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n Barbara Wood has received her black belt in taekwondo at the age of 75 n Barbara with her grandsons, Dylan and Ash Golding.

Book your trip to the tip

PEOPLE will soon have to book whenever they take rubbish to one of South Gloucestershire Council's Sort It recycling centres.

The council says a new law means it has to limit how much DIY waste, such as rubble and plasterboard, people can bring to recycling centres. This means it has to record how much is being disposed of, and it believes a booking system is the best way to do this.

When the government announced the new law, it said it would ban fees for depositing DIY waste and help cut fly-tipping.

But the council says the new law "requires all local authorities to regulate the disposal of household DIY waste, and the easiest and most cost-effective way to do this is by introducing a booking system".

Up until now the council has had a registration system for residents' cars using Sort It centres, but non-registered cars are seldom turned away.

A spokesperson said more than 40% of councils already have booking systems and introducing one will help to stop people from outside the area disposing of their waste in our Sort It Centres, and commercial waste, which costs our residents significant amounts of money to dispose of".

The council has launched an online engagement survey on its consultations website, "to help explain how the scheme could work and to give you an opportunity to provide feedback".

But it has stressed that the booking system will be introduced this year, saying: "This is an engagement exercise, not a consultation and your feedback will help shape how (not if) we introduce a booking system."

The survey can be found at Anyone who is not online can call 01454 868009 for help in making a response, before the deadline of April 1. The council is also consulting on a new "draft plan" to shape its priorities for the next four years, which can be found at

Three-week black bin collections on the way

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has revealed a raft of changes that will be brought in to recycling and bin collections in coming years.

The council wants to eventually make black bin collections every three weeks instead of every fortnight.

Before this happens it wants to cut further the amount of recyclable materials and food waste going in to black bins – which it says currently make up almost two thirds of their contents.

To start off, the council is extending a trial scheme for kerbside collections of 'flexible' plastics like bags and packaging, which currently account for 27.7% of the space taken up in the average black bin.

During May the service will expand to include one in every five homes in the district, with a view to rolling it out everywhere by the end of next year.

Residents in the new collection areas will be given more details over the coming weeks.

The council is currently in negotiations over a new waste and recycling contract, which will see the running of Sort It centres brought in-house and a new firm appointed to replace current operator Suez.

A cabinet meeting in March heard bids would be submitted over the summer, before a decision is made in October on a new contractor to take over from August next year.

As well as soft plastics recycling, the new contractor will also be expected to collect food waste from flats.

The council says black bin collections would initially stay fortnightly, but contract bidders are being asked to also submit costs three-weekly collections.

A spokesperson said: "Changes to the frequency of collections for black bins will only be made after steps have been taken to recycle more materials from the kerbside, such as flexible plastics, which will have reduced the amount of waste being placed in people’s black bins."

Council cabinet member with responsibility for waste and recycling, Leigh Ingham, said: "Our aim is to make recycling easier for everyone and by doing that, there will be less rubbish needing to go in people’s black bins.

"We will continue to talk and listen to residents about changes, and support is always available for those who need it, whether by collecting nappies or medical waste for a period, or through assisted collections for people with mobility issues."

The council says moving to three-weekly black bin collections would save at least £1 million per year, but it still needs to find more ways to balance its waste budget, even after increasing green bin subscriptions from £30 to £60 per year.

It says the cost had been "artificially held back" and the new subscription level would help the service to pay for itself.

A council spokesperson said the blanket expansion of flexible plastic recycling is "dependent on wider, national infrastructure and development of end markets for the material".

Residents whose homes join the soft plastic recycling trial will be given a pack of plastic bags to put them in, which then need to be tied up and put in green recycling boxes.

People can order new bags online, by phone or at One Stop Shops – there is no charge for them or any other replacement bins or containers.

12 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 NEWS

A DOCTOR who delivered generations of babies in Downend and Yate – including Harry Potter author JK Rowling – has died, aged 93.

Dr Malcolm White set up a practice at Four Acre Road in Bromley Heath in the early 1960s, with partners Dr Hill and Dr Kitchen.

The practice later became Leap Valley surgery, in Beaufort Road.

Dr White also ran a surgery in Station Road, Yate, where he lived with his family before the building was demolished to make way for the town's shopping centre. He then opened a surgery in Abbotswood, which is associated with Leap Valley to this day, and lived in Church Road.

Dr White's daughter Rebecca said: "He was responsible for the delivery of Downend's babies at both Wendover Cottage Hospital and Southmead Hospital from the early 60s to the early 90s, as well as maintaining two daily surgeries and two lists of house visits a day.

"He was particularly renowned for his regular visits to

Doctor who delivered many of Downend's babies dies at 93

new mums for up to three weeks after delivery, going back day after day to check on how they were doing, which they don't do today.

"He would even knit booties for all of the babies he delivered, and would dress up as Father Christmas and go round the children's ward.

"He was never, never off work – it was 24/7."

Rebecca said her father also delivered most babies born in Yate from the 60s until he retired in around 1993, including JK Rowling, who was born in the town in 1965.

Rebecca said: "The practice in Yate served many estates that were just being built and it was all babies at the time.

"One day while he was asleep in his chair I put about 50 bands in his hair and he went and delivered a baby with them on,

because he hadn't noticed they were there!"

Dr White was also well known for his bow ties and loud waistcoats, and Rebecca joked: "He had no dress sense!"

A father of six, grandfather of eleven and great-grandfather to eight children, he spent his early life in Southampton, one of ten children whose father worked in the docks.

After being evacuated aged eight to Corfe Castle in Dorset, during the Second World War, he was sent to a grammar school and then studied at Bristol University, settling in the area afterwards.

After retiring he remained in Yate with his wife Molly, who died in 2006.

Dr White moved to a care home in Wiltshire a year ago. He died after a short illness, on March 7.

His funeral service is due to take place on March 28 at 10.15am, at Westerleigh Crematorium.

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Dr Malcolm White, pictured before his retirement

New plea to revive the White Swan

CAMPAIGNERS are making a new call for people willing to revive a Downend pub to come forward.

A plan to convert the White Swan in North Street into housing has been thrown out by South Gloucestershire Council.

The pub closed in 2020, having traded for around 140 years, and was sold for just over £300,000 in 2022 after operator Admiral Taverns said it did not have a "long-term sustainable future". The building was fenced off from the road in 2022.

A planning application by owners Mordam Developments Ltd to convert the building into two two-bedroom homes, with off-street parking for three cars, demolishing its single-storey extensions and filling in the beer cellar, was refused by council officers using delegated powers.

In its statement explaining the decision, the council said the applicant had failed to show that the pub was no longer viable "due to lack of information informing how the property was

marketed for sale".

A report said the extra two homes that would be created were of "limited" benefit when compared with the loss of a "local heritage asset".

The council said: " The scheme would result in the loss of the White Swan Public house, an important local landmark and community facility.

"The proposal would completely erode the character and distinctiveness of the existing public house by removing the front facade and all heritage features.

n The White Swan has been fenced off since 2022

"These adverse impacts of the proposed development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the perceived benefits of the scheme."

The Bitton-based owners have yet to lodge an appeal against the decision.

Members of the Bristol & District Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) pubs group, set up to fight the closure and redevelopment of "viable" pubs, are offering to support any community groups or potential operators "interested in saving the White Swan".

Group member Ian Beckey said: "Eventually, we would like to see the pub reopen once again as a local community facility."

Describing the refusal of planning permission as "encouraging news", the group is asking anyone interested to email them at bristolpubsgroup@

The group also hopes someone will give a new lease of life to the Downend Tavern, in Downend Road, which closed in November 2020 but is still available for lease from its owner, the Wellington Pub Company.

Ian said two pubs were being lost each day nationwide because of a "perfect storm" of high property values, venture capital buyouts of pub companies and a post-pandemic decline in trade for the hospitality industry.

He said: "We desperately need to reverse this trend and put pubs at the very heart of the community, with effective planning policies being put in place to safeguard them."

14 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 BRISTOL NORTH - 0117 373 8367 23 Badminton Road, Downend, Bristol BS16 6BB NEWS

Operator to act after e-bikes block pavements

ELECTRIC bike and scooter operator Tier has said it will change how it parks its vehicles after large numbers were left blocking pavements in the Downend area.

Tier took over the West of England 'micromobility' service from previous operator Voi six months ago.

Its fleet includes 3,000 e-scooters, e-bikes and e-cargo bikes, which can be hired using an app.

The company introduced e-bikes in December last year and has recently started parking them in the Downend area in large numbers, as it prepares to further expand its fleet.

Up to ten bikes at a time have been left on pavements around Downend's high street area and in Bromley Heath, making it difficult for mobility scooter, wheelchair and pushchair users to pass and sometimes completely blocking access to drop kerbs at junctions.

Tier says it has been "adding parking bays" and a feature on its app to help users park e-scooters or e-bikes appropriately.

But the large groups of bikes have been

in Downend Road made it difficult for a mobility scooter user to pass

left by Tier staff, rather than customers.

Pictures of e-bikes left blocking pavements have been taken by Bromley Heath Neighbourhood Watch.

Coordinator Bill Crocker said: "We've been monitoring things and noted numbers of scooters and bikes deployed were limited up until recently.

"Then there was a big jump, and we discovered the company itself is perpetuating a problem issue."

The Voice sent pictures of the parked bikes to Tier.

A Tier spokesperson said: "I shared them with the local team, who have made adjustments to the volume of vehicles that will be deployed at each location.

"We have conducted a further review of parking bays in the area and have made

similar adjustments for all bays.

"The information displaying the 'cap' for each bay was too high, so we have corrected that across the board. We have also communicated this with our local operations team, so deployments blocking pavements should not occur going forward."

Mr Crocker said the neighbourhood watch group had worked with Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council and the West of England Combined Authority to identify good places to park e-scooters and bikes in the area, but had received "dismissive" and "underwhelming" responses to its suggestions from WECA.

The Voice has asked Metro Mayor Dan Norris to comment.

Column: Page 32

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Bikes parked Bike blocking the drop kerb at the junction of Four Acre Road and Badminton Road. Picture: Bromley Heath Neighbourhood Watch


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YOUR Community NEWS

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After 20 years, our Parish Clerk Angela Hocking has decided to retire, to spend more time with her family. Angela has been a real stalwart with her input, professionalism, hard work, passion and humour in making Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council the amazing Parish Council that it is today.

I think I can say on behalf of all the councillors that we have really enjoyed the way Angela works in being the user-friendly clerk that she is and has been, in working with all the various councillors, who have been members over the years, along with South Gloucestershire Council officers, residents, companies and businesses.

We have worked through so many projects over time and with Angela guiding us through, it has been a real pleasure to work with her. She will be sadly missed, but with Kevin Spratt now in post, I’m sure given a little time, he will fit in splendidly. I’m sure you would like to wish Angela all the best in her retirement, giving her time to enjoy with her family and little granddaughters.


Hello from the Parish Council Local Climate and Nature Action Plan (LCNAP) working group.

Since the last update, the working group has started making contact with local groups, organisations and individuals who we think might be interested in


working with us, and thank you to those who have expressed an interest in being involved!

In February, along with other Parishes, the Parish Council attended an LCNAP Conference – hosted by South Gloucestershire Council, at Coalpit Heath Miners Club. It was great to learn about what other Parish and Town Councils in the area have been doing with their LCNAPs and to share ideas. We came away feeling inspired. The whole subject and how we respond to climate change can seem overwhelming but what is great is that we can all contribute at a local level and what we do at a local level will help on a much wider level - for us that was one of the key takeaways from the conference.

Every month for this newsletter, your LCNAP working group intends to focus on a specific theme around climate change, biodiversity and nature. For this month’s theme – it’s sustainable transport. How we get around and live our lives has a direct impact on the environment and the transport sector which, at 32%, is the largest single source of carbon emissions in the South-West. For the West of England, transport CO2 emissions are forecast to rise by a further 22% by 2036 without action (Source: West of England Joint Local Transport Plan 4).

Considering how we might change our travel behaviour is one thing that we can be doing to try and reduce our carbon footprint. However, as a Parish, we recognise this can be a tricky and sometimes emotive topic and may not be a quick and straight-forward thing to achieve for all our residents. It’s dependent on there being, for example, good quality and accessible alternatives to the private car such as buses, wheeling (cycling, e-scooters) and walking.

However, when you next step out and jump in the car, why not consider if the journey can be made by another means. There are now E-Bikes and E-Scooters dotted around the local area. And information on local bus services can be found on Or, if you can, then try walking instead. Walking is a great form of exercise, and excellent for mental health and well-being. Walking to local shops and businesses is also a great way of supporting the local economy. As a Parish, we also believe in trying to instil sustainable travel behaviours into young people and what we do as “grown-ups” contributes to that.

The LCNAP working group is very keen to hear from anyone who has changed, or is considering changing, their travel behaviour in response to the climate emergency. Please contact us at


Each year, Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council holds its Annual Assembly. This is a public meeting and offers an opportunity for local residents to chat to their Parish Councillors and debate current issues in the community. Please put the date in your diary

Thursday 18th April, 7.30pm at Badminton Road Methodist Church, Badminton Road, Downend BS16 6NU.

We will be presenting awards to our ‘Parish Champions’ to recognise and applaud the valuable work carried out by an individual or organisation in the community of Downend & Bromley Heath. There will also be a presentation providing an update on the new pavilion project at King George V Playing Fields. Refreshments will be provided. Looking forward to seeing you there!

DOWNEND & BROMLEY HEATH PARISH COUNCILLORS Downend Ward Councillor Phillip Abbott 0117 957 0075 Councillor Janet Biggin 0117 957 6987 Councillor Ben Burton 07870 639 486 Councillor Jacky Dockerty 07963 841 270 Councillor James Griffiths 07988 775 028 Councillor Matt Pitts 07837 870 039 Councillor Mike Richards 07846 893 543 Councillor Raj Kumar Sood 07901 621 632 Staple Hill Ward Councillor Dave Somers Tel. 07831 239 195 Councillor Stephen Pick Tel. 07584 425 242 Clerk to the Council Mr Kevin Spratt Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council Parish Office, Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend, Bristol BS16 5TW Tel: 0117 9567001 Email:
most demanding mode of transport
is the private car. For
or to work by car consumes 90 times more
in terms
example, a journey home
space than if the same journey was taken by
bus or

Is this the most potholed road in Downend?

PATCHING up a road in Downend which is continually in a state of disrepair "must have cost an absolute fortune", says a resident.

Kevin Poole sent the Voice a drone picture of Salisbury Gardens, where potholes, patches and cracks near the junction with Park Road have made the surface look like a hopscotch court.

South Gloucestershire Council says there have been 22 reports of potholes at Salisbury Gardens in the last two years.

But Kevin believes the number of visits by council contractors to make repairs is "well over 30".

He has been in contact with both the council's streetcare department and councillor Ian Boulton, whose Staple Hill & Mangotsfield ward includes Salisbury Gardens.

Kevin said: "I understood that we were put on a preliminary list for resurfacing.

"The situation, especially

on the entrance to Salisbury Gardens, has deteriorated even more."

He said he had counted over 30 visits by workers repairing the road, adding: "This amount of work must have cost an absolute fortune."

Kevin said the road surfacing was also breaking up around a manhole cover in Park Road adjacent to Salisbury Gardens

where the tarmac has broken away.

South Gloucestershire Council is expected to publish its Local Transport Priority List for the coming financial year, which lists the roads where resurfacing is due to take place, during the next few weeks.

A council spokesperson said: "We have made a number of repairs to the road at Salisbury

Gardens and it is on our list of sites that require resurfacing.

"We review these sites on an annual basis to establish our annual resurfacing programme."

Last year the council's cabinet member for local place, Leigh Ingham, said roads were "getting a little bit worse each year", following "decades of underinvestment by governments across the local road network, which has become particularly acute in the last 13 years".

She said: "We only spend about a third of what we should be spending to maintain at a standstill the quality of roads we have at the moment."

Pothole reports last October were at nine times the level of the previous year, a cabinet meeting in December was told.

Potholes can be reported to the council online at

Road improvements can be requested at

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A drone picture shows the potholes, patches and cracks on Salisbury Gardens by the Park Road junction

A GROUP that helps give young carers at a Downend school a welcome break is going from strength to strength.

Christ Church Junior School's Caring Crew organises activities and provides support for pupils who help care for other family members when they are at home.

There are 22 children in the group.

Young carers help or care for a family member with an illness or disability, mental health issue or addiction.

Some have parents who rely on them, while others help care for a sibling who has a physical disability or additional needs.

All of them have pressures on their lives that other children don't, and may not even be aware of.

The group is led by the school's inclusion lead Tracy Eatwell and head teacher Pippa Osborne.

As well as providing day-today support and understanding of the extra challenges they face, the teachers organise activity days to bring the children together to have fun.

Their latest activity was an afternoon forest school session, including building a fire and toasting marshmallows on sticks.

They have also tried cheerleading, had visits from an artist, firefighters and from the local branch of charity Guide Dogs: the children are planning a cake sale to raise money as a thank-you, after learning baking in cookery sessions.

The Caring Crew have made several visits to the residents of William Court retirement complex in Overnhill Road, and struck up a bond with the pensioners that Mrs Eatwell described as "absolutely wonderful".

She said: "These children have got really difficult home lives, and we try and do something to make their lives that little bit better.

"We don't talk about being young carers in the group. Any worries they have, they know they can talk to me or Pippa.

"When they're part of our group, we just have fun."

The group has activity sessions two or three times a term. But Mrs Eatwell says they do not have a budget to pay for

Cooking up some fun with the Caring Crew

events, so rely on the generosity of groups, businesses and individuals to help organise the activities.

She said: "The local community have been absolutely fantastic."

Support for young carers' families is also on offer, such as food bank vouchers for those who are in financial difficulty.

The Caring Crew also raise awareness among other children - to tie in with Young Carers Action day on March 13 there was an assembly at the school, to give pupils an idea of what young carers cope with.

Young carers schools worker Vicki Houselander helps coordinate services for children across South Gloucestershire, and said Christ Church Juniors had won an award for its work.

Vicki said: "Statistically, young carers don't do as well as their peers in school.

"Something like one in 12 young people in secondary schools are young carers, which means at least two people in every class.

"They are a hidden group, and can take three to seven years to be identified.

"If nobody knows why they're having a bad day, you can't give them the support."

The Bristol and South Gloucestershire Young Carers' Service helps schools set up groups so young carers don't feel

alone, provides staff training and advises on support and understanding children may need in areas like homework, transition between schools and attendance.

The service can help schools recognise when a child has caring responsibilities and understand their situation.

The school is looking for more companies and charities to provide for Caring Crew sessions.

Anyone who would like to offer an activity, outing, support or equipment for the Caring Crew should contact Mrs Eatwell at

For more information about the help available from Carers Support Centre, contact Bristol & South Gloucestershire Carers' Line on 0117 965 2200, visit carerssupportcentre. or email youngc@

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Members of Christ Church Juniors' Caring Crew gather around the fire

Neighbours oppose pub car park kebab van plan

MORE than 20 people have objected to plans to open a kebab van in the car park of a Downend pub.

Applicant Ismail Buyukpolat has applied for a street trading licence to sell hot food and drinks from a kebab van in the car park of the Trident, on the corner of Badminton Road and Blackhorse Lane, every day from 4pm to 11pm.

South Gloucestershire Council's licensing sub-committee was due to meet to consider the application on March 27.

As well as kebabs, Mr Buyukpolat would sell burgers, pizzas and chicken from the trailer, which would be left in the car park outside opening hours.

Council officers say 27 objections have been received.

One letter attached to the council's report said the location as "completely unsuitable", adding: "Not only will it bring noise, cooking smells and rubbish, it will attract further vermin, which is already an issue around this area."

Another neighbour said: "Although a pub car park, it is surrounded on all angles by houses and this is a quiet area."

Residents raised concerns over the need for a generator to power the van, creating noise seven days a week, children going home from school being tempted to buy from it and a reliance on toilet facilities in the pub, which would not have the same opening hours as the van.

One objector said: "There is enough noise from the pub itself – this would attract even more youths to hang about in their cars, making noise with their music and loud exhausts."

The committee has to consider the potential impact on "public nuisance, public safety, crime and disorder and protection of children from harm".

Prime Minister visits Rolls-Royce

RISHI Sunak paid a visit to one of the area's major employers as campaigning ramps up in a general election year.

The Prime Minister joined Filton & Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti at the Rolls-Royce aero engine factory in Patchway in March, where he opened the Future Works initiative showcasing new technologies in the aerospace sector.

Mr Lopresti MP said: "I am very proud to represent an area in a region which is the largest defence and aerospace cluster in Europe.

"I was delighted to be able to welcome the Prime Minister, who was incredibly impressed with what was happening in the RollsRoyce plant, and he really enjoyed meeting the young apprentices who are inspirational."

Mr Sunak said: "It was great to meet with so many at the facility who have worked so hard to bring new technologies like the new Tempest fighter jet to market, and it was particularly great to see so many young, first class apprentices who are at the beginning of their exciting careers in this innovative sector."

The Voice was not among the media organisations invited to the visit, so was not able to ask questions of the Prime Minister.

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Warning over River Frome's 'ecological health'

THE River Frome, which passes between Downend and Frenchay, does not have a single stretch in good 'ecological health', a new report has found.

Environmental charity the Rivers Trust analysed Environment Agency figures for 3,553 separate stretches of English rivers in two areas the regulator measures: chemical health – the presence of chemical pollutants; ecological health – the presence, absence and abundance of animal species.

It found that none of England's rivers were in good overall health, and only 15% were in good ecological health.

The stretch of the River Frome between the Avon Ring Road and Bristol's Floating Harbour was in 'moderate' ecological health, as was the Folly Brook, which runs through Lyde Green before flowing into the Frome at Moorend.

Further upstream the Frome

was in 'poor' ecological health between it source near Chipping Sodbury and where it meets the Ladden Brook, north of Frampton Cotterell.

Factors contributing to the river's condition included nutrient pollution from phosphate fertiliser running off agricultural land and urban pollution.

The Rivers Trust said: "Almost everything we do on land impacts our rivers. Rivers carry the chemical and physical fingerprint of their local catchments – the land area around rivers from which water drains.

"They have been polluted, channelised, fragmented by barriers and rarely still follow their natural course. Their current state reflects what we’ve done across their catchments over hundreds of years.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris called the report "shocking".

He said: "This isn’t just an


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attack on our precious natural environment, it’s a public health catastrophe."

Mr Norris said he was funding a suspended floating plant system to help fish and rare eels at Bristol's new Capricorn Quay development and working with partners including the

road run-off.

The Voice has asked the Environment Agency to comment on the measures currently in place to monitor water quality on the Frome and take enforcement action against any polluters who can be positively identified.

So, if you have any concerns about your hearing or ear health - including your ears being blocked with wax, come along and see us for a friendly appointment to see how we can help you hear more clearly.

Debbie Campbell is a qualified and experienced Audiologist, who has joined the clinical team at Turners Opticians in Fishponds having worked for many years in NHS Audiology clinics.

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Bristol Avon Rivers Trust to reduce A stretch of the River Frome near Snuff Mills

Greens pick MP hopeful

THE Green Party has announced its candidate to be the Downend area's MP at the next general election.

James Nelson has been selected to contest the Filton and Bradley Stoke seat currently held by Conservative Jack Lopresti.

The youngest candidate to be confirmed so far, James is a 19-year-old Bristol University law student.

Elected as a Bradley Stoke town councillor at the age of 18 in last May's local elections, he also stood for South Gloucestershire Council's Bradley Stoke North ward, coming sixth, ahead of the Liberal Democrats, in the twomember seat.

James said: "I am deeply

New MP thanks voters

KINGSWOOD'S new MP has thanked everyone who supported him in February's by-election – and told of his surprise at the level of "rowdiness" in the House of Commons.

Damien Egan says he has been busy recruiting a team to help him keep on top of constituents' messages and now has an email address - damien. – for constituents to use to get in touch.

The Labour MP was elected in February for the constituency, which includes Mangotsfield and

honoured to have been selected to stand for the Green Party in my home constituency of Filton and Bradley Stoke.

"Having lived in the area since I was around two years old, seen the old established parties fail this area, and faced the consequences of nearly a decade and a half of Tory rule, I know we need fresh change for a fairer, greener country.

"As a Bradley Stoke town councillor, I have worked on a mantra of doing politics differently and putting action to words.

"That's why I am proud to have worked cross party to end the party-politicisation of the town council, install secure cycle storage at the Jubilee Centre and launch a successful consultation on the proposed parkrun for the local nature reserve, so that residents' views were at the heart of the decision we took."

James said his priorities as an MP would include leading on the

parts of Downend, after former Tory minister Chris Skidmore resigned over the government's policy on new fossil fuel exploration.

Mr Egan said: "To say it’s an honour, to be elected to serve the people of Kingswood and be our community’s voice in Westminster, doesn’t do justice to how I’m feeling.

"Parliament itself has been a real eye-opener.

"What’s surprised me has been the level of rowdiness –it’s worse in real-life than on the TV and can make following questions difficult. I’m told I’ll get used to it."

As the Voice went to print Mr Egan was waiting to be given a date to make his maiden speech, his first opportunity to

climate crisis, making those who profit from fossil fuels pay for the changes needed, and bringing power "home to our community so we can fix our problems rather than waiting for Westminster to get its act together".

Boundary changes mean that all homes in the Frenchay & Downend and Emersons Green electoral wards will be part of the Filton & Bradley Stoke constituency. Previously some were in Kingswood, which is being abolished at the next election.

Staple Hill & Mangotsfield, which was split between Filton & Bradley Stoke and Kingswood, becomes part of the new Bristol North East seat, where the Greens have selected Lorraine Francis.

Current Filton & Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti, who has held the seat since it was created in 2010, is standing again at the next general election, which must be called by the end of this

"make sure Kingswood’s voice is heard clearly, through all the commotion".

He said: "I’m going to include some of the honest feedback that people gave me on the doorstep and what people told me they wanted politicians, of all parties, to sort out – the fact we’ve got no NHS dentists accepting new patients, the difficulties seeing a GP, hospital waiting-lists, the lack of visible police on the street, cuts to bus routes, the running down of our high streets, schools funding, cuts to apprenticeships.

"I want politicians in Westminster to understand that people in Kingswood work hard, long hours – working well above the national and regional averages - but that despite


Labour, which has come second in all four previous elections for the seat, selected community and political engagement director and charity trustee Claire Hazelgrove as its candidate last year.

At the 2019 election, Mr Lopresti has a majority of 5,646 or 5.25% over Labour, making the constituency the 74th most marginal Tory seat in the UK.

working more hours, life has become more of a struggle, and it’s impacting harshly on family life."

The Kingswood constituency is being abolished at the next general election. Mr Egan has already been selected as Labour's candidate for the new Bristol North East seat, which will include Staple Hill and Mangotsfield.

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Meet the candidates for police and crime commissioner

VOTERS are being asked to decide who sets the priorities and appoints the chief constable of Avon & Somerset police.

In just over a month's time elections will be held to vote for the next Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, or PCC.

Coming with a salary of £88,600, the PCC's role is to oversee the force, ensuring it is "efficient and effective"

The PCC's powers include:

*Hiring and firing the chief constable, and holding them to account for running the force

Benet Allen (Liberal Democrats)

Born in Taunton, has worked in TV news and for a coach company. Former deputy leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council, male voice choir singer and hospital charity fundraiser.

The Lib Dem plan for the police:

Make policing more visible and community-orientated

Increase prosecution rates for serious and violent crime

Help police to work with integrity and without discrimination

Focus on ‘broken windows’ - small crimes that damage confidence and trust

*Setting objectives for the area through a police and crime plan

*Setting the budget and determining the precept charge paid by council tax payers

*Contributing to national and international policing capabilities

*Bringing together community safety and criminal justice partners, to 'join up' local priorities.

*Funding crime prevention services

The current PCC is Conservative Mark Sheldon, who was elected to the role in 2021,

Predict and provide policing to help tackle rural crime as well as urban crime

Help make sure offenders don’t do it again – most want to ‘go straight’

Clare Moody (Labour)

Clare brings rich experience, from her current role as CEO of a charity to her time spent working in No 10. She previously represented our region as an MEP.

Investing in neighbourhood policing – to build safer communities and help prevent

The Green Party had not announced its candidate as the Voice went to print – details will appear in the May edition.

A party spokesperson said: "The Green Party candidate for ASPCC will prioritise prevention of crime, working with schools, families and the young people who are both perpetrators and victims, with a special focus on knife violence in cities.

"We have seen recently in this region how much work still needs to be done to improve culture inside the police force.

"A Green ASPCC will strengthen the independence and accountability of misconduct panels, while building recognition of the integrity of the vast majority of officers. We will ensure Avon and Somerset Police get closer to and regain the trust of the communities they serve."

For more information visit the website www.aspccelections.

and solve crime.

in an election postponed from 2020 because of the pandemic.

He took over from independent Sue Mountstevens, who stepped down after being in the post since it was created in 2012.

Nominations for the PCC opened on March 18 and will close at 4pm on April 5.

So far three of the main political parties have announced candidates. The Voice has asked them to send a short biography and manifesto to outline their priorities.

They appear below in alphabetical order:

Supporting victims of crime –making sure victims are properly listened to, and get the help they need when they need it.

Prioritising reducing violent crime – The scale of violent crime, including knife crime and violence against women and girls, isn't inevitable but it needs focus and commitment to fix it.

Preventing crime – work with agencies across the public sector and civil society to prevent crime and build safer communities.

Restoring trust and confidence in the police –enabling the police to take pride in high standards.

Mark Shelford (Conservative)

Mark has over 35 years of experience of serving our country in the military and local government and has been your PCC since 2021. Resides in Bath with his family.

When elected, Mark pledged more police, a focus on tackling

serious crime and to represent every community when holding the police to account. He has delivered. The constabulary has trained over 1,500 new officers, is the best force for illegal drug disruptions and has seen a 300% increase in rape cases reaching court by designing a nationally acclaimed investigation model. He appointed a courageous Chief Constable determined to restore trust in policing.

Mark will prioritise crime prevention, tackling anti-social behaviour and violence against women. He remains committed to reducing re-offending, supporting skills programmes for prisoners and ensuring victims receive support.

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Church is still growing at 150 years old

FOR 150 years, since Downend became a separate parish by an act of Parliament, Christ Church has been working in the heart of the community to make a difference to people’s lives.

The church was built in 1831, as a ‘chapel of ease’ for the then huge parish of Mangotsfield, as a place for those parishioners to worship who were unable to get to the parish church.

As the chapel's attendance grew over the years, the decision was made to split the Mangotsfield parish and on May 21, 1874, the parish of Downend was born.

In 2021, 23,000 people lived in the Parish and in 2023, our new vicar, Dan Watts, was brought to us, to lead and continue the great work that Christ Church was doing.

The church works closely with Christ Church Infant and Junior schools, building relations and supporting them when and where needed. Each Sunday, the church holds a crèche as well as various children’s groups up to Year 6, creating activities for them to explore their own faith in a safe environment.

There are different youth activities that are run throughout the week, as well as Sundays,

for children in school years 6 to 11, where the Church provides a dynamic, interactive and free youth hub. From this hub, initiatives are run that serve the local community in different ways.

The church open its doors every Tuesday between 10.30am and 12.30pm to provide a peaceful place for reflection and prayer, or as an alternative and quiet meeting place.

Refreshments are served and there is an opportunity for Bible study.

The doors are opened again on Thursday from 10.30am to 2.30pm, when we host our warm space café for people to meet and have a free

New lifesaving kit

ST Augustine's Church in Downend has two new pieces of kit which could save a life in an emergency.

The church in Boscombe Crescent held a special mass for emergency and health care workers in February, when the defibrillator to help people in cardiac arrest and bleed kit for treating wounds were blessed.

The green defibrillator and red bleed kit are mounted on an outside wall of the church and available to anyone at any time in case of emergency.

They were funded by donations, a grant from Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council and defibrillator firm Heartsafe, which supplied the bleed kit free of charge, with assistance from Great Western Air Ambulance.

Parish council chair Janet Biggin, who was invited to the service, said: "Our parish council were happy to offer help for the purchase of this AED and the lifesaving asset it will be for our community."


Every other Thursday, Music Train provides some great entertainment, which is proving to be immensely popular and can get very noisy!

Church members are often out visiting people at home who are housebound or unwell, visiting those in hospital or in care homes, and supporting people who have been bereaved.

There is a team that provides Holy Communion at home for

those who cannot come to church, as part of our pastoral care.

Much more information is available online at on the 'community' tab.

Christ Church also has a Christians Against Poverty debt centre, to help people who want to become debt free find a solution that is appropriate for them. CAP is run by qualified debt coaches and offers ‘befrienders’, food parcels and hampers, prayer and links to Church events that may be useful for clients.

Many members of the congregation get involved with various international mission partners such as Mission Direct, Open Doors, Circuit Riders, Church Mission Society and Church Partnership, working around the globe to promote love, charity and fellowship.

Christ Church is growing – not only its congregation in "learning to live the life", but also by making a positive difference to the love of others, all for the love of God.

25 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 NEWS CHURCH NEWS
The equipment is blessed at St Augustine's

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Work to transform Page Park's toilets is underway

New loos start to take shape

WORK to provide Page Park with new toilets, including facilities for people with severe disabilities, is underway.

Contractors started work on the £245,000 project at the beginning of March, fencing off the old toilets near the park's main Broad Street entrance and removing the roof.

By the time the work is finished in May, the park will have new public loos including "fully accessible" toilets for people with severe disabilities, which include hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and extra space to accommodate carers.

The park won funding under

the Changing Places Toilets scheme for the accessible facilities, with the rest of the cost coming from South Gloucestershire Council, developer contributions, grants and £20,000 raised by volunteer group the Friends of Page Park.

The whole of the old toilet block, which had been closed for several years, is being revamped, providing two other public toilets, which will be available to all while the park is open.

The new loos will lock automatically when the park is closing to keep them secure.

Work is also underway to service the park's clock.

Help children play in future

FAMILIES whose children use play equipment in Page Park are being invited to help shape the future of its play areas.

The Friends of Page Park are planning to meet up with South Gloucestershire Council to look at which facilities need to be replaced and how the work can be funded.

It comes after pieces of wooden play equipment in the adventure playground area had to be removed last year, when the wood was found to have gone rotten.

Friends vice-chair Steph Purser said: "The Friends started because play equipment was being taken away as it wasn't fit for purpose. All these years later at our anniversary, we've come full circle and are looking at the issue again."

Parents who want to get involved with deciding what new equipment is needed, and how to raise the funds needed to help buy it, can email the Friends at or send a message via Facebook.

Friends throw 25th birthday party

A PARTY is being held in Page Park this summer to celebrate 25 years of the Friends of Page Park.

The volunteer group was founded in 1999 and since then has helped to improve every aspect of the park.

Among other achievements, members have worked with the council to secure the £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund award in 2016 which funded the cafe building, and have also helped create the sensory garden, revamped the aviary and organised countless outdoor events to entertain park visitors.

The celebration on July 6 will be similar to the Platinum Jubilee and Coronation events held over the past two summers, although on a smaller scale, concentrating on music and food stalls, with some children's activities.

A full programme of music at the bandstand from 11am to 5pm is being planned, with acts currently being booked.

Friends vice-chair Steph Purser said: "We couldn't let the anniversary go by without bringing everyone from the community together to celebrate what we've done."

The event will take place three weeks after this year's Bristol Refugee Festival, which is returning to the park for a third time on June 15.

Remembering John May

ONE of Page Park's most dedicated volunteers has died.

John May put in countless hours of work in the park's sensory garden from its creation in 2005 and was also often seen riding around the area on his mobility scooter, "most of the time in the middle of the road".

Friends of Page Park vice-chair Steph Purser said: "I met John when we were putting the Sensory Garden together with South Glos garden staff; we were planting up the beds and borders.

"John stood by the fence, basically telling me we were doing it all wrong, so politely I told him rather than moaning he should grab a trowel and come and help – which he did, and took the garden on as his own."

Steph said John's penchant for rearranging plants to suit his ideas meant it "wasn't always plain sailing" - he once moved a magnolia tree planted in memory of a resident's husband after deciding it was "planted in the wrong place".

Moving the tree 10ft along the flower bed, he planted gladiolus bulbs in its original place, where the resident had put some of her husband's ashes.

Steph said the resident had been left in tears, but added: "The gladiolus flowers were amazing when they flowered later in the year!"

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Politicians ordered to get along

THE government has issued a major warning to the West of England Combined Authority, and ordered its political leaders to get along.

A “best value notice” issued to the combined authority in March by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities directs it to set up an "independent improvement panel" to tackle a host of issues, from poor relationships between political leaders to “confusion” about what the combined authority does.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who heads the three-council organisation, insisted he would “redouble” his efforts.

The notice said one concern identified was “the poor state of professional relationships between the West of England Combined Authority Mayor and the representatives of the constituent members of the Authority, which is impacting partnership working

and potentially limiting the authority’s ability to optimise strategic opportunities.”

Auditors Grant Thornton had previously warned in 2022 that strained relationships between the political leaders were a “significant weakness” and called on them to work together – but the government notice warned there had been “inconsistent action” on this.

There have continued to be a number of high-profile spats between Mr Norris the leaders of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Bath & North East Somerset councils, including a row over who should pay for subsidised bus services.

Other concerns raised in the legal notice were the need to review the combined authority’s constitution and the lack of a “clear, shared narrative” about how it will operate for the benefit of the region.

It also warned: “The function and purpose of the authority has

not been collectively understood and the roles, responsibilities and ‘powers’ of a combined authority are not fully grasped, resulting in confusion between strategic governance and day to day transactional activity.”

At a WECA scrutiny committee on March 12, Mr Norris said he would “do a reset” when Bristol's mayoral system is abolished after May's local elections.

He said: "I think there’s a great opportunity now because we are clearly going to have a different political leadership in Bristol, irrespective of the outcome of the elections themselves."

Mr Norris and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees clashed over the feasibility of a London-style underground in Bristol, with Mr Rees's plans for the system vetoed by Mr Norris.

Mr Norris said the change to South Gloucestershire Council's administration last year, with

a Lib Dem/Labour coalition taking over, was also a "great opportunity for...hopefully new relationships.”

He said there were "a lot of dysfunctional things going on" when he took over as Metro Mayor in 2021 and it was "interesting" that the government notice was being issued in a general election year.

However the chair of WECA’s audit committee, Conservative Bristol city councillor Geoff Gollop, said that the “issues of dysfunctionality” had begun in the autumn of 2021, shortly after Mr Norris was elected.

He said the government had "identified and shared exactly the issues that audit committee have been raising", adding: "I don’t want to make a choice as to who’s responsible, other than to say the political leaders, in the form of a committee, are the ones who can lead."

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India runs for advice charity

A STAPLE Hill woman is taking part in a 10k run to raise money for a charity which is seeing a wave of people needing help with the cost-of-living crisis.

India Ellis will run the AJ Bell Great Bristol Run on May 19 to raise money for Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire, which provides free, confidential and impartial advice.

India, aged 23, is a generalist adviser at the local independent charity, helping people who are struggling with the cost of living, benefits, debt, relationships and a host of other issues.

She joined last year, having previously volunteered with Citizens Advice Plymouth while studying for her law degree.

Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire helped almost 6,600 people last year – the most ever, and 20% more than in 2022.

Advisors now see around ten times as many clients needing food banks or other charity support every month than they did before the pandemic.

The charity relies on donations and grants to fund its services.

India said: "I am running the Bristol 10K for Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire as it is a charity for everyone and it is not a one-issue charity, and that is really special.

"We can help with benefits, debt, relationships to any other issue you may need support with. We always do our best to answer it.

"We can help clients holistically in many instances, which makes it easier for them to progress, and I think this is a vital service.

"Each year after Christmas it is really busy, but this year seems more so. Clients are coming in more frequently, with trouble affording the basics and needing food bank or fuel vouchers.

"There is an increased complexity and quantity, with cases coming through the door which can only be attributed to the cost of living.

“This highlights the need for Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire more than ever. We need more volunteers, staff and facilities to be able to support these people.

“At present we are booking appointments months in advance. Our drop-in queues are long, as we do not have the resources at present, which is why any support or donation is vital."

India, who also plays rugby, has been in training for the run, which she will do with a team from the charity.

She said: "Anyone who knows me knows running is not my favourite sport but I am always up for a challenge. I am excited and nervous about the day. As long as I do not come last I will be happy!"

Anyone wanting to sponsor India can do so online at pjrs2cjm

The charity is also looking for more runners to support it in the Bristol 10K.

People can sign up at

The charity runs drop-in sessions at Emersons Green Village Hall every Thursday from 10am to noon, and also runs a free phone advice line on 0808 278 7947.

For more details visit

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India Ellis

Plants cash will make Staple Hill greener

STAPLE Hill & Mangotsfield

Parish Council and Downend in Bloom have both been given grants to help brighten up high streets in a sustainable way.

South Gloucestershire Council has awarded a total of £32,000 in grant funding to 12 community-led projects to "Green the High Street".

The funding will support projects that use planters instead of hanging baskets, nurture "climate-resilient" plants, add more trees and creating havens for wildlife and pollinating insects.

The grants were offered to organisations that had come up with environmentally friendly ways adding plants to high streets, using money from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The money given to Staple Hill & Mangotsfield Parish Council is to add sustainable, pollinator-friendly planting to existing planters such as those in Fountain Square.

The council is planning

community sessions to plant and maintain the planters, and hopes to encourage further greening projects in the area.

Parish council chair Ian Campbell said: "I'm delighted that we have secured this funding.

"The grant will enable us to continue the great work

already carried out on the High Street by the community, with an emphasis on enhancing the look to attract more visitors to our brilliant businesses and markets."

Downend & Bromley Heath in Bloom has been given a grant to add an extra three planters to the high street area.

South Gloucestershire cabinet councillor for local place Leigh Ingham said: "Urban settings such as town centres don’t have to be places where biodiversity and nature can’t thrive; this funding will help projects that support the local environment while making our high streets places people want to visit and spend their time.

“In order to become net-zero, we all need to play our part and work together to understand how street planting can impact climate change, improve air quality and provide vital wildlife habitats.

"I want to thank those who are putting the environment first and thinking of future generations.”

For more information on sustainable planting, including the best plants to choose, visit

The council is inviting independent traders to contact its high streets team to find out what support is available at

“My mother has been so incredibly well looked after. The nursing staff are so very kind, thoughtful and nothing is too much trouble. My mum feels safe and comfortable.”
Joanna, Daughter of Resident at Quarry House (source:
30 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 NEWS At Quarry House care home in Fishponds, the safety, care and well-being of our residents are at the centre of everything we do. If you are looking for a home or a home for a loved one, we would be happy to show you around our beautiful, family-owned home in Fishponds, Bristol. Quarry House Care Home, Adelaide Place, Channons Hill, Bristol, BS16 2ED Contact us: 0117 965 4466
Planters in Fountain Square, Staple Hill, will be filled with 'sustainable' plants. Cabinet councillor Jayne Stansfield, Staple Hill & Mangotsfield councillor Michael Bell, project lead Aimee-Claire Eyermann, and Staple Hill and Mangotsfield Parish Council chair Ian Campbell with Staple Hill trader Tina Lewis.




Downend Folk & Roots 10th Anniversary year rolls on with the usual high quality as one of the most highly rated young duos headline on Friday 19 April, in a concert that will also be livestreamed in partnership with Live to your Living Room.

Christina Alden & Alex Patterson are multi-instrumentalists and songwriters from East Anglia. Their music is rich with intertwining harmony, sensitive accomplished musicianship and a creative songwriting style that is both delicate and moving. Deeply inspired by the world around them, they have a keen environmental eye to craft stories with the natural world at its heart, reflecting on the relationship between humans and the wild.

They have enjoyed touring extensively in the UK and Europe;

including a twenty- three-date concert hall tour with Show of Hands (including Union Chapel and St David’s Hall Cardiff), a show at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for Celtic Connections, headline and main stage performances at some of the UK’s most prestigious folk festivals and performances in Norway, Belgium, France and Ireland. They have written and self-released four albums, composed music for a BBC Radio 4 documentary series and have had over a million streams on Spotify.

Opening the evening will be locally-based The Lost Trades, a folk/ americana trio with a cool Laurel





“This is the first gig we've done in ages”, says Hannah Martin. “Please be kind”. Martin (of Edgelarks) and Miranda Sykes (of Show of Hands) have been away for ages. There was Covid, having children, illness, all of which conspired against touring. Tonight, though, is the start of a new tour in support of a brilliant new album, Unquenching Fire. All in all, kindness was never going to be a problem.

The joy of SykesMartin, the reason for the kindness, is the glorious interplay between the two voices. Martin's is deep, and rich, Sykes has a voice that is sweeter, smoother, the perfect voice for telling tales. When the two harmonise, the traditional songs sparkle into life.

Little Margaret has its roots in a seventeenth century ballad but SykesMartin reach towards the Appalachian Mountains for their version. The ghostly fragility that shimmers around the two of them doesn’t leave them all evening. Old

suit, entering the chart at #31.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at Christ Church

Downend on Friday 19 April 2024, are available online at and from Melanie’s Kitchen in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.00pm and the entertainment starts around 7.45pm.

Canyon vibe. With a sound that is reminiscent of the California folk scene of the late 60s/early 70s, their three-part harmonies have been described as "flawless", "spine tingling" and "magical".

After a global pandemic cut short their first tour after just a single sold out gig, the band retreated to their songwriting rooms to work on their debut album, The Bird, The Book & The Barrel. The album was released in June 2021 and was well received, spending eight months in the Official UK Folk Albums Chart. The follow up, Petrichor, was released in March 2023, and immediately followed

songs of love, loss and longing are plucked from their dusty libraries and shone until they glisten.

The SykesMartin stage is a very full one. There may just be the two of them but there's a double bass, several guitars, a banjo, a fiddle and a shruti box. All of this might suggest busy, tangled arrangements but that couldn't be further from the truth. As Sykes sings If I Was a Blackbird to Martin's swooping fiddle accompaniment, she adds the occasional double bass thrum and a whole seascape opens up. Sykes sings Blow the Candle Out too and her bass gives a silken slink to the story of secret love. She sings with such an honesty that it becomes easy to picture a forbidden tryst.

Much of the set is made up of traditional songs but Hannah Martin has always been a wonderful songwriter and her own songs slip easily in amongst the older ones. They give her Sorrows Before Dawn a world premier and it is exquisite. Reflecting on the 4am horrors, when all of your worries hover around your bed, it is reflective and slow, tender and gentle. Martin's velvet voice perfectly suited to the predawn darkness. On the title track of the new album, Martin has taken a fragment of an old song and made it her own, adding new verses. It is epic, Sykes adding heartbeat-bass to a gorgeous song that is the very essence of romantic folk.

If their version of Anne Briggs’

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based Hop Union Brewery. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of the drive to be more environmentally aware; there is a 50p discount for those that do. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstockbased Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert.

The concert will also be livestreamed in partnership with Live to your Living Room; see their website for more details.

For further information, please email info@downendfolkandroots. com, visit downendfolkandroots. com or find them on social media.

Go Your Way belies Miranda Sykes’ folk-rock roots then it is an acapella

The Parting Glass that perfectly shows how amazing this duo is. Unamplified yet utterly captivating, two distinct voices becoming one incredible thing.

Another wonderful interpreter of the folk canon was support act Holly Clarke. Having driven all the way from Newcastle for her short set she made sure to leave an impression on this corner of South Gloucestershire.

She gave the likes of Young Collins and John Barleycorn tremendous new arrangements, neither fussy nor laden with tricks but both allowing the stories to be told. Her voice wonderfully strong, refreshingly honest and, set against some dexterous guitar playing, she's the epitome of a great storyteller. She is also a brilliant contextualiser of the songs that she sang, adding details and open-hearted asides. Especially wonderful was her version of Chris Wood's Bleary Winter. Winding folk horror dread around left-wing politics, it was gloriously resonant.

SykesMartin may have been away for a while but, by the end of this beautiful evening, they were engulfed in great waves of kindness.

Words: Gavin McNamara

Photos: Barry Savell

31 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

Call to action for 4x4 drivers

A VOLUNTEER charity that enables 4x4 drivers to help communities and emergency services in times of need is on the lookout for new recruits.

Wessex 4x4 Response is a charity whose members head out on the road to help in flooding, snow and other major incidents. They ensure essential workers such as NHS staff can make community rounds or get to shifts in the snow and transports teams helping in police searches.

Volunteers' vehicles also provide logistical support at major events like Glastonbury Festival, Race for Life and the Somerset carnivals.

Driver and trustee Norman Dagger, who lives in Fishponds, is encouraging other 4X4 owners to join him.

Norman, who puts his 2015 Land Rover Defender to use for the group, joined in 2012.

He has taken part in the response to several floods in Somerset, where Wessex 4x4 Response spent 90 days on the Levels in 2013, has helped transport district nurses on their rounds around Marshfield during heavy snow and transport search and rescue teams combing the Dorset countryside for a missing person.

He manages the Bristol team and also helps train other drivers.

Norman said: "I just thought it was a good thing to do, to put something in to the community."

Any type of 4x4 vehicle can be useful – members drive a variety of vehicles from smaller Suzuki Skoda and VWs with four wheel drive to Land Rover Defenders, Discoveries and Nissan L200 pick-ups.

Norman said: "As long as it's got four-wheel drive it can be useful – especially vehicles with a low-ratio gearbox and 'diff lock' (locking differential).

"But you don't need to have


BROMLEY Heath Neighbourhood Watch has responded to the Metro Mayor following a dismissive reply to our work on suggesting acceptable locations for new scooters and bikes.

One of the big issues we brought to the mayor's attention during the pilot was scooter parking.

Positive noises were made to complaints, as it became clear the initiative would be made permanent, that with a new contract there would be far greater attention paid to the locations for parking the scooters, and now bikes too, along with enforcement against users who were leaving them around indiscriminately.

With that in mind, despite reservations around safety and enforcement, Bromley Heath Neighbourhood Watch engaged positively in an exercise to identify

a 4x4 to join up – we also have a computer-based control team, media, fundraising and training teams as well as support functions for the charity.”

The group started in 2002 in Somerset and has grown to cover the whole of the Avon & Somerset police area, as well as Dorset and Wiltshire.

It is split into local teams – the Bristol and South Gloucestershire team has around 24 members, from a total of 226 responders overall.

They work with local

good locations for the scooters and bikes across Bromley Heath in liaison with the Parish Council, that also supported the choices made.

They were submitted to the mayor and the reply received was underwhelming.

We've been monitoring things and noted numbers of scooters

and bikes deployed were limited up until recently.

Then there was a big jump, and we discovered the company itself is perpetuating a problem issue. Photos taken at the junction of Badminton Road and Fouracre Road - not one of our suggested locations - show the pavement

resilience forums, which are partnerships involving the emergency services, councils, NHS and Environment Agency, to provide logistical support in emergencies.

Members are given training to help utilise their vehicles and build their own skills, and also hold social events to build team spirit and share their passion for 4x4s.

For more details visit www., where there is a link to an application form.

left partially blocked. Crossing has been made more problematic for all, particularly for those with disabilities.

We look forward to hearing from the mayor urgently as to a remedy at this location.

We also hope that as an organisation, WECA reviews its approach and positively engages where individuals and organisations are trying to be of assistance.

Bromley Heath residents can keep up with this topic, and more, by requesting a copy of our quarterly newsletter. Just drop us an email, saying who you are and your address, to contactus@bhnw.

We'd like to hear from anyone who can volunteer a little time to support the Watch in some way.

Norman Dagger in Frenchay with the Land Rover Defender he uses in emergencies for Wessex 4x4 Response
32 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 NEWS
Bikes blocking the pavement at the junction of Badminton Road and Fouracre Road

Young performers return

A CONCERT is being staged at St James Church in Mangotsfield by the organisers of the area's Ham Farm Festival, in advance of the main event in July.

Returning for a second year, the concert, organised with West of England Music and Arts, will start with a 30-minute Young Performers Spotlight, featuring 12 talented child musicians from around South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset, playing the cello, clarinet, flute, guitar, oboe, piano, trombone and violin, and singing.

Following that professional headline musicians Filkins Drift, a folk duo who took sustainable touring to a new level last year by walking 870 miles between venues on their tour of Wales.

The concert takes place from 7-9pm on Saturday April 27.

Tickets £10 in advance or £12 on the door for adults.

They are free for under 18s, but they will need to reserve a seat.

Tickets can be found at

Resound in Harmony

AN evening of a cappella harmony is being staged at Resound in Emersons Green.

Local choirs Avon Harmony and Go Vocal, along with female barbershop quartet Red Velvet, are performing at the event, on April 6 at 7.30pm.

The programme will include a mix of modern pop, old standards and everything in between.

Avon Harmony, a female chorus, has been singing in Bristol for 49 years, formerly as the Avonbelles.

Go Vocal is a mixed voice pop choir from Yate. Red Velvet’s four members sing in different groups, including Avon Harmony and Bristol Fashion.

Tickets cost £9 and are available online at

Summer production unveiled

SOUNDWELL-based St Stephen's Drama Group have announced plans to perform two one act comedy plays for their summer production.

The first play, Acting, it’s Not Plumbing, follows six people who sign up for an amateur drama taster session and explores the reasons why they joined up.

The second play, Flatmates, is about a recently-divorced man who is surprised to find a strange young woman making herself at home in his flat, who claims to have been living there rather longer he has – and can't be seen by anyone else.

The comedies are directorial debuts for Heidi Cable-Smith and Lexii Allen.

They will be staged from June 27-29 at St Stephen's Church Hall in Church Road, Soundwell.

For more information, visit

Lunchtime singing in Downend

PEOPLE who would like to take up or return to singing are being invited to join a session in Downend under an award-winning conductor.

Ben England BEM is the musical director of the North Somerset Philharmonia and the UWE Singers, and has conducted performances across Europe, including Mozart’s Requiem at the cathedral in Salzburg where the composer was baptised.

His work conducting digital choirs on YouTube led to him being awarded the British Empire Medal in 2020 as one of 400 ‘COVID heroes’ nationally, and last year led the singing of Zadok the Priest at Bristol Cathedral to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III and the 650th Anniversary of the City of Bristol.

Ben also leads the online Choir of the Earth, which came second in Britain’s Top Choirs 2023, and Gamechoir, which is devoted to singing music from video games.

Ben will lead a singing session on Saturday May 11 from noon to 2pm at Lincombe Barn, which is open to all and follows a successful similar event in 2022.

Organiser Patricia Holmes said: "This lunchtime event is a perfect chance to experience Ben’s professional expertise, return to singing and feel uplifted."

Tickets cost £12, to cover costs.

To register, email

33 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 BOOK ONLINE OR CALL 0117 910 9079 • Local Audiologist • Hearing support • Ear Wax removal • Hearing tests • Free wax checks LOCATIONS ACROSS SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE COMMUNITY NEWS
Last year's concert in Mangotsfield Avon Harmony Directors Heidi Cable-Smith and Lexii Allen

School nursery plan

A VILLAGE school is set to introduce a nursery class for children aged three and four.

Hambrook Primary School is planning to expand its age range from the current four to 11 to include three-year-old children to tackle a "shortfall in placements" with other providers.

South Gloucestershire Council said the school's governing body had held consultations with parents and market research to assess the likely demand, as well as talking to existing pre-school local providers.

The council said: "An independent provider did exist on the Hambrook school site previously but has closed in recent years and has not been replaced, leaving a shortfall in placements.

"These activities have indicated that there is demand in the area for pre-school places and that a provision at Hambrook Primary will help to meet the need of the local community.

"Assessment of accommodation at the school has identified space for the proposed nursery without adverse effect on the accommodation and facilities for school-aged children.

"The increased offer to working parents for funded childcare from April 2024 will see an increase in demand for pre-school places. A provision at Hambrook Primary School will help to meet the increase in demand."

The council held a four-week consultation, which was announced in late February and closed on March 20, ahead of a proposed introduction of the increased age range from April 1.

The consultation document said: "There are no plans to make any other changes in the organisation of Hambrook Primary School and the governing body, leadership and staffing arrangements will remain as they are.

"Discussions will take place with the existing staff and the governing body will be responsible for appointing staff to meet the needs of the proposed nursery class."

The council added: "It is not anticipated that this proposal will have any effect on any other schools in the area."

Children from South Gloucestershire schools with winning author Michael Mann at the Concorde Book Awards at Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green

Ghost story is kids' favourite

A NOVEL telling the story of a boy who makes friends and takes courage from a ghost is this year's winner of the Concorde Book Award.

The literature prize run by South Gloucestershire schools and public libraries is one of the few in the country that involve children all the way through from choosing the longlist and winner, to making presentations and interviewing authors at the annual award ceremony.

This year's winner was ‘Ghostcloud’, by Michael Mann, who attended the ceremony at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, Emersons Green, in March.

Michael said: “I’m over the moon to have won the Concorde Book Award 2024.

"These awards mean so much to us authors, it’s so important to know you’ve connected with young readers – that’s what it’s all about for me. Ghostcloud is my first book and I’m on cloud nine!”

It was the first time the awards had been held since 2020, before the start of the covid lockdown.

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A history of Downend street names

I'VE been reading Veronica Smith’s book ‘The Street Names of Bristol: Their Origins and Meanings’, and spotted some interesting local examples:

Beckspool Road: The Quaker Joseph Beck created a pond in the grounds of the manor house he owned from 1737. The overflow was the pool, which he added to the grounds.

Bromley Heath Avenue/Road: An ancient name for the area which translates as ‘fields where broom grows’.

Coronation Road: Celebrates the coronation of George VI, in 1936. Cossham Street: Handel Cossham, born in Thornbury in 1824, made a fortune from mines including nearby Parkfield. After his death in 1890 a bequest built the hospital which bears his name.

Dibden Close/Lane/Road: A low, deep, wooded valley – a very old name for what must have been the boggiest part of the parish.

Edmund Close: King Edmund, called the Grand, was murdered at Pucklechurch on 26 May 946.

Farm Court/Road: Led to

Downend Farm, which existed as early as the 1600s and was demolished in 1958.

Hermitage Road: After a house that once stood here, described by Rev Emlyn Jones in his 'History of Mangotsfield' as being "the prettiest homestead in the Parish". One occupant was a Mr Lanaway, after whom a road in Downend is


Join our spin bike challenge

MANGOTSFIELD Community Association kicks off this year's fundraising for our nominated charities, St Peters Hospice and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, over the Easter weekend.

The MangoTwickenhamMurrayfield-DublinMillenium-Mango 1,189-mile Round

Trip Spin Bike Challenge will take place at the Red Lion in Mangotsfield on Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31.

We aim to celebrate the achievements of three sporting legends: Doddie Weir, Rob Burrow and our very own Marcus Stewart.

The virtual route takes us from Mangoland to West London, venturing north to Bonnie Scotland, across the water to Dublin, back to sunny Wales and home to God's Country, an eye watering total of 1,189 miles – all without leaving the Red Lion.

Taking place from 11am to 8pm each day, the event promises great people and great entertainment for great causes.

Keeping us entertained will be our local DJs, Chris & Nick from the Souled Out and Gone Funky Show.

Our legendary donation BBQ takes place from 2pm to 6pm, weather permitting.

Your village needs you to take part – please sign up and get a sponsorship form at the Red Lion

named. Demolished before 1905. Hillhouse Road: Named after the imposing house which was home to many prominent people, including Alderman Page. Last private owners the Punters, organ makers, left in the 1970s.

Jubilee Crescent: Celebrates George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1936.

Lodge Walk: After the lodge belonging to the mansion of Cleve Hill.

Peache Road: After the popular Rev Albert Peache, vicar of Mangotsfield from 1859 to 1875.

Quakers Close/Road: This was a Quaker burial ground for four centuries, from 1657 until it was sold for development in 1961.

St James’s Place/Street: After the nearby church, which in turn was named after the priory of the same name in Bristol, which owned all the land in the area of the roads.

Shepherds Close: There used to be a coal mine here owned by people of this name.

Stanshaw Close/Road: The Stanshaw family levied fines in Stourden (near Winterbourne) and were a well-known family in South

Gloucestershire during the reigns of Henry IV and Edward IV.

Stockwell Avenue/Close/Drive/ Glen: Derives from a field name: Stockways Hill is shown on a map of 1697. A Mr H Andrews ran Stockwell Hill Farm in the early years of the twentieth century.

Trident Close: Named after the de Havilland/Hawker Siddeley Trident airliner, the first three-engined jet, and the first with an automatic landing system.

Tyler’s Lane: Mr Tyler was appointed Relieving Officer to the parish in 1849 when efforts to improve sanitation and avoid the cholera epidemic were underway.

This excellent book covers Bristol, not South Gloucestershire, so only includes some street names from Downend, and none from Emersons Green.

We are keen to find out the origin of more street names in our area. If you can help, contact CHAP at or 49 Overnhill Road, Downend, Bristol, BS16 5DS.

35 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169
n Veronica Smith's book cover
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Fundraisers at last year's spin bike challenge

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John from Simpsons say, “To use your LPA, your Attorney is likely to need a copy of your LPA certified by a solicitor. With us this is not an extra burden for your Attorneys, with us it is provided and included in our price.”

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32 36 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 WILL AND PROBATE ADVICE WILL & PROBATE ADVICE Kings Chase Shopping Centre, Kingswood 0117 960 8594 John Baden-Daintree Michelle Baden-Daintree Free Will Review Book your FREE MEETING at home or at our Kingswood Office. We make it easy to get up-to-date Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney to make sure it is your wishes that are followed. Have peace of mind that everything is done properly by our award-winning team: In person meetings. Plain English advice. Clear fixed prices. No hidden costs. Protect their inheritance. On your own: You choose who you want to inherit from you Living together: Decide if and how your partner is protected Parent Wills: Provide for children & name Guardians to raise them Later Life Wills: Protect inheritance from Tax and Care Home Fees Lasting Powers of Attorney: Appoint those you trust to make decisions, in case of serious illness or injury Wills|PowersofAttorney | Probate Get in touch: | 0117 960 8594 Or visit our ground floor offices (opposite Costa with free car park): 7 Kings Chase Shopping Centre, Kingswood, BS15 8LP | 20% OFF full price if you buy 2 Powers of Attorney “We were made to feel very welcome and cared for” H.L. “You have lifted a great weight off our shoulders” C.R.
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April 2024 17 kingswoodvoice Got News? Contact us via email:

Hope and help

DO you ever feel overwhelmed by the difficulties and trials of life? The world can often seem so bleak for us, and for those we know, and for so many around this planet. Sometimes it gets too much for us to bear. We may stop listening to the news or try and run away from our problems, but it doesn’t stop these things from happening. What we need is hope and help that enable us to look ahead and keep going with positivity and joy.

Isn’t it wonderful to see the spring flowers and blossom burst into radiant life as the sun’s warmth and light works its magic. And we are looking forward to bank holiday weekends and summer months. With these come the hopes of getting out, being with others and doing something different. We all need things to look ahead to.

The Bible teaches us that there are greater and more wonderful things ahead, and that God loves us now, is for us and with us through all we experience. The problem is we do not believe God. He wants to shine his light and warmth into the darkness of our lives, but we do not trust him. Instead, we shut him out and try and make it alone or put our trust solely in people or things.

Through the Bible, God teaches us about himself, about ourselves, about the course of history, and about life and death. The Bible tells us about beauty, joy, faith, hope and love, but it also deals face on with the harsh realities of life. The Bible is not a fairy tale. The Bible is God’s word to humanity. It informs, it puts us in the picture, it enables us to make sense of what is happening to us and around us and what will

happen in the future. The Bible tells us why we are here, about life and why there is so much pain amongst the beauty. Most importantly, the Bible teaches us what God has done, is doing, and is yet to do for the world. God’s promises and plans all revolve around the life and work of his Son, Jesus Christ. He alone can give us true hope even in the bleakest of times and the strength to press on.

You see, we are not here by chance, and although we may feel it, we are not alone. Our lives on earth, that go by so quickly and which experience so many difficulties, are not all that there is. God has made us to live in in close relationship with him, to know him, depend upon him, enjoy, love, worship and serve him. God wants us to experience him as our Heavenly Father who loves his children and is with them through all of life’s experiences and on into an incredibly amazing life that lies beyond the grave.

There is so much hope if

we would only turn to God. I encourage you to read the Bible. I encourage you to seek God. I encourage you to join a church who will faithfully teach God’s life-giving, hope-giving, strength-giving, joy-giving word to you whilst also demonstrating those things in their own acts of love, encouragement, and support.

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THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH WITH PASTOR PAUL DONOVAN, PENDENNIS GOOD NEWS CHURCH Join our team of journalists Part-time reporting and editing roles available on our Hanham & Longwell Green and Kingswood Voice monthly papers. Possible opportunities on some of our other titles in Bristol and South Glos too. Interested? Email your CV to

Discovering some fantastic community work

I HAVE been delighted to meet so many people in our local area who are doing fantastic work in their communities over the past month.

I had the pleasure of visiting Snack Attacks in Norman Scott Park, run by Patchway Town councillor Denise Lansdown and her family.

I am so pleased to see that the Brightwell Centre in Bradley Stoke is going from strength to strength. I recently met with Doro Pasantes, CEO and Geoff Marshall, chairman of the trustees.

A few weeks later, I met with Richard and Lucy from Inclusive Change, and I held one of my regular surgeries at the centre.

From sustainability to the excellent work to help those with neurological diseases access services and get into work, I am so very proud of the work being done here.

The Aerospace Bristol museum is a marvellous institution, which showcases the past and our area’s aerospace heritage, and combines it with optimism for the future of the industry.

I was given a tour by Amy Seadon and Sally Cordwell, who showed me some of the new exhibits such as Britannia, as well as showing me the archives.

With so many aerospace and defence manufacturers nearby, many of which are featured in exhibitions and displays, I have written to some of them on Aerospace Bristol’s behalf to request funds for the museum to hire an archivist.

I was so pleased to have recently visited Holy Trinity Primary School in Bradley Stoke, to see their excellent teaching standards and to discuss school funding, which is improving.

In addition, I have worked hard to ensure that bus services, such as the 459 or 936 which get many local children to school and have been cut, be reinstated. I have met with the Roads and Local Transport Minister on this matter, and I have made clear that the current situation is unsustainable for parents in Frenchay, Winterbourne and elsewhere.

I feel encouraged by the news that South Gloucestershire Council have agreed to continue funding the 84/85 and 918 bus services.

I recently returned from my sixth visit to Ukraine. While in Kyiv, I attended the Yalta European Strategy conference. I had a series of meetings with defence manufacturers in Ukraine and am working to build better

cooperation between defence manufacturing companies, as well as defence ministries in our two countries.

I was delighted to meet with young apprentices in the aerospace and defence manufacturing sector with companies such as Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace at an event in Parliament, which showcased the excellent work apprentices do in these strategically important sectors.

We have all seen the terrible news of knife crime in the Bristol area. I have met with Police & Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford and Chief Inspector Dan Forster to discuss the terrible incident which took place in Little Stoke Park. We discussed the ongoing investigation, and how we can get knives off our streets and protect our young people from being lured into violence, crime and thuggery.

My office is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm. Please telephone me on 01454 617783 or email me at jack.lopresti. for assistance or to book a surgery.


TEL 07854 177308

Group - St Augustines Church Hall, Boscombe Crescent, Bristol, BS16 6QR


Group times - Tuesday 9:30 am and 11;00am

TEL 07854 177308

Group - The Salvation Army 21, Broad Street, Staple Hill Bristol. BS16 5LN

Group Times- Friday 7:30am, 9:00 am and 10:30 am

Lesley TEL 07503 524459

Group - Lyde Green Community Centre. Thistle Close, Lyde Green, Bristol. BS16 7GW

Group Times- Wednesday 6pm & 7:30pm. And Thursday 9:30am

Claire TEL 07886 443709

Group - ST Augustines Church Hall, Boscombe Crescent, Bristol, BS16 6QR

Group Times - Tuesday 5:30pm and 7:00pm

32 38 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377
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Planting for the bees – but slugs get in first

AS I write this, it's still raining!

I was very surprised however, to wake up to all of the snow at the beginning of March.

It made a nice change from the constant rain, but I’m not sure all of the daffodils liked it. Unfortunately, the weight of the snow made a lot of them fall over, but thankfully they have now perked up again.

I’m not sure if you remember, but as part of our bee grant from the West of England Combined Authority, we planted over 8,000 daffodils around the area.

Walking around, it has been amazing to see how much colour it has brought to Downend and Bromley Heath. It seems there are daffodils everywhere!

One thing we were surprised about, however, was when we were walking around taking photos of the daffodils it was evident that something had decided to eat some of them!

As per usual, when I need to know something I did a Google

search, and this is what I found:

“Slugs can be a major pest of bulbs. They will eat holes in tulip and hyacinth leaves and although daffodil bulbs are poisonous, the flowers are a tasty delicacy.”

So now to add to our problems of foxes and chafer bugs, we also have slugs! Unfortunately we can do very little about the slugs, as they seem to thrive in the wet

weather. We will just have to hope that next year the weather is a bit more clement!

On a more positive note, we actually had a drier day for our first tidy up of the year. We had a good turnout of volunteers and a very pleasant afternoon, catching up with each other and weeding and sweeping as we went.

Last week Dave and I also went to the Blaise Nursery shop

in Henbury (they supply us with all of our summer flowers).

Luckily for us, it was the first day of their summer opening and we found some very reasonably-priced polyanthus plants for the bee garden near Downend School.

We have planted them on the bank, and they have really brightened things up. While they were waiting to be planted, an enormous bee landed on one of them, which was very satisfying, as the garden is aimed at attracting bees.

We are also installing the pathways in the bee garden, so things are really progressing well.

If you want to keep up with In Bloom activities, why not take a look at our Facebook page or come along to one of our activity days? You will be most welcome.

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Time for action to end loss of young lives

THE recent loss of young lives across the West of England is a huge concern.

At my annual Schools Summit, students pitch ideas to me for new policies.

Sometimes it’s the environment, transport, or about skills. This year’s big theme turned out to be how to tackle knife crime.

Many young people are currently worried, anxious and unclear about what they can do to best avoid knife violence. But they know the awful toll of young lives only too well.

Mason Rist and Max Dixon –aged just 15 and 16 respectively – were stabbed in Knowle West back in January.

Darrian Williams, also just 16, was killed in Easton in February.

Another 16-year-old, Mikey Roynon, was stabbed and killed at a birthday party in Bath last June.

In 2022, Radstock teenager Charley Bates was another young victim. His killer was

prosecuted last August.

Knife crime is impacting young people, who are changing their behaviour from fear, for example staying in more and not seeing their friends so frequently.

There is no single answer – far from it. But I do know we must act.

We need to invest in young people and the resources that help them. Real-terms reductions to local council budgets for the past 14 years have hit youth services very badly.

There is also a lack of mental health support for youngsters growing up in an ever more complex and fast-changing world. As a former NSPCCtrained child protection officer, this is something close to my heart.

Young people need mentors, to take part in activities that build their self-esteem. They also need access to first rate support from qualified professionals.

Sadly, young people are staying away from youth clubs and youth provision because they and their parents are frightened. That’s a vicious circle we need to break.

We also need to smash the myth that carrying a knife makes you safer. It doesn’t.

However secure it makes you feel, you're actually more likely to be stabbed with your own knife than anyone else's. By carrying a knife, you're potentially arming your attacker.

The police are right to hold knife amnesties. But the fall in police numbers and prosecutions under this government is unacceptable. I also can’t fathom the reason to wait until the autumn to ban dangerous 'zombie knives' and machetes.

And when the worst happens, we need people trained to react.

At my schools summit, youngsters learnt from the brilliant anti-knife crime

campaigner Leanne Reynolds how to use 'bleed kits', which contain everything needed to give first aid to someone rapidly losing blood.

So, here's the deal: to tackle knife crime head-on, we need to get everyone on board –community groups, charities, businesses, police and especially young people.

It also requires political parties to work together, something as West of England Mayor I’m keen to encourage.

The senseless loss of young life is an utter and total tragedy. It’s time for action, so we can beat it – together.


New trends for spring

AS a big advocate of finding one’s own personal style over following the latest trends, I can take or leave news of incoming trends without jumping on the bandwagon.

However, it can be fun to see what’s new as it hits the streets.

If you’re mindful of choosing colours that give your skin a natural glow and wearing designs that flatter your body type, I’m all for it.

If you’re a capsule wardrobe lover, then a skirt in one of this season’s shades, lilac, could be a real scene-stealer when added to other classic pieces. And wearing a pair of the latest ‘it’ shoes might help you sashay down to the supermarket a little lighter of step.

So, if your wardrobe needs a refresh this spring, here’s a non-exhaustive list of the latest trends, with tips on how to wear them:

*Florals – found everywhere on the catwalk, look for dresses adorned with roses in full bloom and blouses that add a real touch of femininity around the neckline. Floral appliqué mules, as seen in high street store & Other Stories, are the perfect pretty shoe for springtime.

*Porcelain white – not just for brides this season, the white dress – long or mini – is making a powerful statement. It particularly packs a punch when combined with other trends, such as fringing and crochet. And don’t forget your classic white shirt – the capsule wardrobe classic is having its own moment.

*Crochet – the trend that started last year is predicted to be even bigger in ’24, say John Lewis buyers. Find it across lots of fashion and accessories, where it’s all about the detail with collared knitwear (as pictured above).

*High-waisted tailored trousers – are here to stay, and by the summer could be reaching dizzying heights not far from the bust. Opt for cuts that suit your body type, eg choose darker shades if you want to disguise a tummy – and don’t fall for lot of pleats, unless you want added shape. Meanwhile, wide legs suit most body shapes: just make sure the length goes to the floor, to keep your legs elongated.

For more ideas on the latest shopping ‘finds’ follow me at @gailpainter on Instagram.

Not sure what to wear or how to wear it? Email your fashion and style questions to and look out for the answers in future issues of the Voice

Ladies and Gents Watches

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Help make our fun day a success

IGNITE Life supports marginalised young people through counselling, food support and mentoring, providing essential services across South Gloucestershire and Bristol.

Our food bank in Staple Hill supports around 88 households per week with essential food, with around 452 meals provided per week.

Last year we provided around 23,500 meals to people in need of food support. At Christmas, we also provided 90 'warm packs', which included blankets, electric blankets, radiator insulation, window insulation, draught excluders, radiator bleed keys and energy saver tips.

To help raise money for our services we are organising a community fun day on May 31, from 11am to 3pm, in Page Park.

There will be food vendors, children's entertainment, stalls, funfair rides and games, and more.

We are currently looking for company sponsors for the day, and are also looking for donations towards the event to help reach our target of £2,000 for Ignite.

Businesses who are interested can email me at

You can also get in touch if you'd like to get involved with the day.

People can also donate via our website www.

Ignite Life

Right honourable?

SO Chris Skidmore resigns as MP for Kingswood over a matter of principle.

Is this the same principle that meant he considered it OK to continue to draw his full MP’s salary of £85,000 per year for a full-time position, whilst having three part-time jobs?

Methinks he should return his MP’s salary to the Government. Nothing 'right honourable' here!

Robert Orchard

(Downend resident and Kingswood constituent)

Help for unpaid carers

DO you look after someone? Or perhaps you know someone who does?

Families, friends and neighbours often provide crucial care for someone who couldn’t manage without their help.

You could be caring for a relative, partner

or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

Carers Support Centre runs monthly carers support groups for unpaid carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The groups are safe, confidential spaces to meet with other carers to share information and provide support for each other.

We are currently running groups in areas including Downend, a special group in St George for those caring for someone with dementia and an online group for those who can't make it in person.

If you would like to join one of our groups, please contact CarersLine on 0117 965 2200 from Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm or Monday to Thursday, 2-4pm, or email carersline@

MP voted against dentist plan

THE huge challenge local people are facing with finding and keeping an NHS dentist was highlighted in your article, “20 Miles to Nearest Dentist for New NHS Patients” (Voice, February).

Unfortunately, the current Conservative MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke recently voted against Labour’s NHS Dentistry Rescue Plan, putting party politics before improving things for local people who are struggling.

The plan includes: 700,000 more urgent dentistry appointments; incentives to recruit dentists to the areas most in need; supervised toothbrushing in schools for three to five-yearolds; reform of the NHS dental contract so everyone who needs a dentist can get one.

Patients in communities across the Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency are finding it impossible to see a dentist, with some having to resort to DIY dentistry.

This is why it is incredibly disappointing that when the chance came to do something about it, the current Conservative MP voted against it.

Please fill in my survey about your experience of local dental services at

Home Start needs volunteers

LOCAL charity Home-Start Bristol is looking for new volunteers.

We support families with under-5s across Bristol and South Gloucestershire who are going through tough times.

Volunteers are needed for home-visiting or to help at parent groups, for 2-3 hours a week.

The next volunteer training course starts on April 25.

If you're interested in becoming one of our volunteers, please visit, email or call 0117 950 1170 for more information.

Shrinking post office

WORRYING times for local residents: the revised well-publicised post office, in what is now a Morrisons, has shrunk, hasn't it?

It closed as soon as it opened, with no explanation. You would think that with all the adverse publicity the Post Office has, it would have made the most of its existing sites and explained on the rough notices put up that the delayed opening was due to the shopfitting contractor damaging the internet cable.

With a single position (no seat allowed!), the queue on pension day might well stretch round the block!

Nominate your councillor

DO you know a councillor whose unwavering dedication deserves national recognition?

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) and CCLA Cllr Awards – the only ceremony that celebrates the outstanding contributions of councillors across England, Wales and Scotland.

The awards shine a light on the achievements of local elected representatives who have made a tangible impact in their communities.

Often working tirelessly behind the scenes, elected members frequently go unnoticed by many, making the Cllr Awards essential in highlighting their invaluable work.

There are five categories: Community Champion, Leader of the Year, Young Councillor of the Year, Innovator of the Year and Lifetime Legend.

Nominations are open to anyone who wishes to acknowledge a councillor's exceptional commitment to improving their community and achieving remarkable results over the past year.

Submitting one is free and takes just seven minutes.

For more information and to submit your nomination, visit

42 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377
Bethanie Cundy Downend's post office is now part of a Morrisons Daily store

AT Bristol u3a we are dedicated to life-long learning, and believe that this comes in many forms.

It can be as simple as socialising with people with different life experiences or something more formal.

This month’s column showcases the two very different groups within our East & North-East Bristol group.

Both meet in Warmley Community Centre and have space for new members.

The first is a Scrabble group, meeting on the first Monday of the month (other than Bank Holidays) from 2-4pm.

This is a very friendly group, and welcomes players of all abilities. There are currently 14 members, but there’s plenty of space for more to join in. The group has been active for 2½ years and everyone agrees that it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

The second is a French conversation group which meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

Members converse in French throughout the meeting, discussing a different range of topics each time (chosen in advance to allow for preparation before the meeting).

The group has been running since 2014, and will be celebrating its tenth Anniversary later in the year.

During that time, they’ve enjoyed many different activities, including hosting a group of French people from Nantes, who were taken on a sightseeing tour of Bristol, visited a jazz club and even enjoyed fish and chips together in a member’s garden. Some Bristol members have visited them in Nantes on two occasions.

Alongside general u3a (you in your Third Age) communications, all Bristol u3a members living East and North East Bristol receive a monthly email advertising upcoming social events.

There’s also a WhatsApp group, where members suggest additional activities such as walks, cinema visits or informal cuppa & cake meetings.

Bristol u3a is for anyone with some free time for themselves. There’s no lower age limit, but most of our members are retired or semi-retired. We come from all walks of life and have (at least) one thing in common: a zest for living and for trying/learning new things. Find out more by contacting


Whats On at Downend, Emersons Green and Staple Hill libraries : April 2024

Monday 1st April (Easter Monday) – all libraries are open in unstaffed Open Access mode only 8am – 7.30pm.

Tuesday 2nd April

Bunnies In Space (free drop in Easter craft


Saluting Sally – an amazing volunteer

WHERE would we be without our amazing volunteers?

We have many that help at the Staple Hill Community Hub in several different guises, but we all agree on one thing: every charity needs a Sally Bartram.

Sally loves a project. Not for her the reassuring regularity of a weekly or monthly task, oh no! Yet give her a one-off project to sort out, and she will deliver.

Sally has been a real boon for the Staple Hill Community Hub. She has orchestrated the Fresh Air & Free Food events at Page Park.

She has arranged (with husband Gary) for our main room to be redecorated, bought for, and filled and delivered the special food hampers for Christmas. She’s also tackled some changes to our after-school club – those are just a few of the challenges she has embraced.

Later this year she is moving on to pastures new, away from the area, and is encouraging more people to get involved.

Sally said: "It has been a real privilege to be a trustee and volunteer for Staple Hill Community Hub over the last five years.

"There have been many highlights, but I have especially enjoyed getting to know so many lovely people in the local community who visit the Hub, as well as working alongside such a dedicated team.

"They are committed to providing services and supporting people locally without judgement.

"I would certainly encourage anyone interested to consider getting involved – it’s also lots of fun!"

We wish Sally all the very best with her new venture.

Every charity needs a Sally...maybe that could be you?

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Staple Hill Community Hub can give us a call on 01454 868374 or drop by and have a chat.

You can find us at the bottom of Berkeley House, in Berkeley Road.


Staple Hill Library 10.30am – 11.30am

Emersons Green Library 2pm – 3pm

Saturday 6th April

Lego Club (free drop in event) Staple Hill Library 10.30am – 11.30am

Monday 8th April

Bunnies In Space (free drop in Easter craft


Downend Library 10.30am – 11.30am

Friday 12th April

Duplo Mini Builders (free drop in event for preschool children)

Emersons Green Library 1pm – 2pm

Saturday 13th April

Lego Club (free drop in event)

Downend Library 10.30am – 11.30am

43 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169
EMERSONS TAXIS Emersons Green, Downend & Surrounding Areas ALL UK AIRPORTS, PORTS & STATIONS COVERED 4, 5 & 6 SEATERS AVAILABLE Lady Driver available on request H For a Friendly Prompt Service call or e-mail 07960 067 767 Steve Bellamy Car pets •Home selection carpet and vinyl’s •Huge selection of carpets and vinyl chosen in the comfort of your own home •Free quotations without obligation to purchase •No pressure selling •Professional service established for over 30 years •All inclusive prices, no hidden extras, the price quoted is the price you pay Tel: 07860 441776 or 0117 2565994 LOW OVERHEADS = LOWER We will better any like for like all inclusive quote Steve Bellamy Car pets •Home selection carpet and vinyl’s •Huge selection of carpets and vinyl chosen in the comfort of your own home •Free quotations without obligation to purchase •No pressure selling •Professional service established for over 30 years •All inclusive prices, no hidden extras, the price quoted is the price you pay Tel: 07860 441776 or 0117 2565994 LOW OVERHEADS = LOWER PRICES We will better any like for like all inclusive quote
Bellamy Car pets •Home selection carpet and vinyl’s •Huge selection of carpets and vinyl chosen in the comfort of your own home •Free quotations without obligation to purchase •No pressure selling •Professional service established for over 30 years •All inclusive prices, no hidden extras, the price quoted is the price you pay Tel: 07860 441776 or 0117 2565994 LOW OVERHEADS = LOWER PRICES We will better any like for like all inclusive quote BRISTOL u3a
Sally Bartram

Community spirit is alive and well

SPRING is here!

The bulbs we planted on the common are out. It’s not a spectacular display yet, but it’s a start – and will get better each year.

We thought that for this article we’d reflect on what’s been going on in the local area over the past month as seen on our social media page which, like most similar pages, is a mix of “the good, the bad and the ugly”.

Some things stand out:

*There are a fair amount of “items lost and found”, and thankfully the “re-unite with owner rate” is pretty high.

*Many folk are asking for

information, and it’s great to see that they get a lot of helpful comments and suggestions.

*Folk are asking for help, and they get plenty of offers.

*Lots of local community information is posted, which shows there is a lot going on and a lot of

help available. *Reports of crime or antisocial behaviour are being made, so people are keeping an eye out, although there are still too many reports to social media instead of to the police. Reporting to the police must happen first, please.

*Lots of interest in local history – mainly, it has to be said, about trains!

And there is more.

The point of stating the above? Communities are strong if people look out for one another and help one another.

It’s clear that this happens in Mangotsfield, and it’s a better place to live because of it.

Yes, there are problems –any area has those – but the community spirit helps minimise their impact. Long may it continue.

Our next Red Lion Coffee Morning will be on Wednesday April 3 at 10 am, and all are welcome.

We are also planning our next set of “Hour A Month” (HAM) volunteering sessions – more info when we have it.

If you want to get in touch then please do so by email at, or via the ever-popular Mangotsfield Matters Facebook page. You are also welcome to telephone our chair, Clive Heath, on 07507 168700 or me on 07918 701881.

n Volunteers after the Mangotsfield Residents Association Litter Pick on March 16.


THERE’S nothing like taking a bit of time for yourself.

Our members were in for a treat this month, as we welcomed Tasha from Chakra Belle for an evening of relaxation and holistic therapy.

Tasha talked to us about the benefits of holistic therapies and why it is so important to look after your own well-being as well as those around you.

During the evening, she demonstrated to us all how to do a hand and arm massage, which is a perfect remedy for a hard day – we all left feeling pampered!

Next month, we are delighted that we will be welcoming Clare Wilson, who will be talking about her book 'So you want to be a Model? The Secret Life of Models'.

Clare is the founder of Gingersnap Model Agency and will be sharing stories about her own career, and the highs and lows of being part of the modelling world.

We have been so delighted to welcome many visitors and new members: our doors are always open to anyone who wants to come and see what the WI is all about – we might surprise you!


HAVE you ever wondered what “quilling” is?

Well, at our latest meeting, the ladies from Bromley Heath WI learnt this new skill.

Difficult to describe but certainly not difficult to do, with some explanation from the committee soon the ladies were all busy with their quilling tool and paper.

Quilling is an art form that involves using strips of paper that are rolled, shaped and glued together to create decorative designs.

We have some artistic ladies who were busy making various shapes in order to decorate their Easter cards, from Easter eggs to bunches of flowers.

It was a lovely evening and gave everyone a chance to have a chat, whilst channelling their creative skills.

Keeping on the floral theme, in our next meeting we will be listening to a talk from Downend in Bloom.

If you are interested in meeting new people in an informal and friendly environment, why not come along and meet us?

Our next meeting is Thursday

April 11 at Bromley Heath Junior School: doors open at 7.30pm.


SPRING is well and truly here now.

It is lovely to have the lighter evenings and to see all the trees getting their fresh green leaves and showing their beautiful blossoms.

We had a very enjoyable talk last month about the International Space Station. The speaker, Jo Richardson, was an ambassador for the European Space Agency and a trained astronomer. She led us through the experiences of astronaut Tim Peake, from being selected to his return to Earth after six months on the space station.

We saw what "delicious" food they had, and that their only source of water came from their own urine – suitably treated, of course!

Their living and weird sleeping arrangements looked anything but comfortable. We certainly learnt a lot.

On April 13 we are having an open coffee morning at Staple Hill Methodist Church, on the High Street, from 10am to noon. Do come along and join us for a cup of tea and, of course cake, and a chat. We are a very friendly group.

We'd like to congratulate and thank our fellow WI members of the Downend group for the lovely post box toppers they keep making to adorn the main post box in Downend. They give great pleasure to many people.

We meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm at Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street, Downend. We'd love to see you –there is plenty of parking available.

Norland Nannies, Freewheelers Blood Bikes, Happy Handbags and glorious coloured gemstones. We are supporting the Happy Handbags and Special Friends’ Club charities this year: the former supports women with toiletries and other necessities when they are victims of abuse and homelessness; the Special Friends’ club provides outings and experiences for children and young adults with disabilities.

We will be arranging other events during the year, including a trip to the Bristol Botanical Gardens, an afternoon cream tea and a coffee morning.

We have regular craft events for beginners and others to try new things, including jewellery making, paper craft and crochet ‘coffee and chat’ mornings.

Our coach outing to Colesbourne Manor to view the snowdrops was postponed until next year due to bad weather, but we are hoping to arrange another day trip later in the year.

Exciting times ahead for Rodway Rubies WI: we are all looking forward to new possibilities.


ISN'T it lovely to see the days lengthening, and know that Spring is really here?

We hope you have or are having a wonderful Easter, with a break and time to spend with loved ones.

Our raffle theme in February was "something you have, or would have, given up for Lent".

We certainly had lots of variety, from sugar to biscuits, from wine to lots of chocolate!

At our February meeting we chatted, laughed (lots) and salsad: the lovely Tannith came along from Easton Social Dancing to “walk” us through some salsa moves.

Most of us have realised that our heads and our feet don’t work so well together, but we enjoyed the evening.

Our March meeting was slightly less strenuous – we had a talk from Kathryn on First Aid, giving a fascinating insight into all the wonderful work that the Red Cross does.

Our April meeting will be the first of 11 which you can attend as part of your membership, and it’s going to be a craft evening.

If you think our WI might be something you would enjoy, why not come along to our meeting to see?

As a non-member, you will pay £5 for this meeting, to cover costs of materials; we’ll be making a spring wreath.

As always, we promise you a warm welcome, as well as tea or coffee and cake!

If you would like to know more about our WI, please contact us via email at beechmerebelles@gmail. com or follow our Facebook page, which is at Emersons Green & Lyde Green WI Beechmere Belles.


A FRIEND of many of the Dollies, Hilary Tucker, sadly passed away in February.

If you want to know more about us visit our website, staplehillwi.


RODWAY Rubies WI is on the move.

Our April meeting will be in our new venue at St James Church Hall, on Richmond Road, Mangotsfield.

We will still be meeting on the evening of the third Monday each month at 7.30pm, but our numbers have increased so much that we need extra space to provide a more social get together.

We are very grateful to the United Reformed Church in Cossham Street for their support during the four years we have been established.

Our last meeting in those premises in March was on the topic of nutrition therapy.

We have several interesting speakers lined up for the coming year, including talks about the

Hilary was a great inspiration with her musical talents, and used to hold the ‘Singing for Fun' group in her house for many years.

We would all like to pass on our thoughts to her son, his wife and grandchildren, who were the light of Hilary's life.

The speakers at our March meeting in the hall were Debbie and Kath from Next Link, who gave an in-depth talk on the changing face of domestic abuse support services. A serious subject, which prompted many questions and discussion on when and how to be involved in such a situation. It was an emotional and thought-provoking evening, and we thanked them both and presented flowers and chocolates.

Curry night on February 27 was a great success. Two thirds of our members attended, and the Cinnamon Tree in Mangotsfield provided their usual excellent food and service.

We are now looking forward to an afternoon tea at J’s Café in Lyde Green.

Tickets are going well for a 50s evening of rock'n'roll, jump jive and swing, with Cadillac Xpress. The event will be held St James Church Hall, Richmond Road on Saturday June 8: doors open at 7pm, music starts at 7.30pm, finishing at 10.30pm. Tickets are £16.

There is plenty of room for dancing and it is a bring your own evening, with a raffle. For more information, contact carol@applause. Bristol Jazz Society’s boat trip on Tuesday July 30 is now sold out. The society supports young musicians and local jazz clubs.

We would like to wish our all our readers a bright and cheerful Easter.

45 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

March 29-30

n MESSY EASTER WITH CHRIST CHURCH. Free family activity session with refreshments, crafts and activities. Exploring the story of Easter. Friday 10-11.30am at Christ Church Downend, Saturday 10-11.30am at the Church Centre, Quakers Road.

March 29

n AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS, reflective Good Friday service with traditional hymns, 2pm, Christ Church Downend.

March 30

n FREE EASTER CELEBRATION CONCERT – music, poetry and readings, with refreshments, 7pm at Christ Church, Downend

March 30-31

n MANGOTSFIELD COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION Spin Bike Challenge at the Red Lion, Mangotsfield. Entertainment from local DJs Chris & Nick from the Souled Out and Gone Funky Show and donation BBQ from 2-6pm. All welcome to take part and support this village fundraising event for St Peter's Hospice and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

March 31

n TRADITIONAL EASTER COMMUNION, 9.15 am at the Church Centre, Quakers Road.

March 31

n EASTER ALL AGE COMMUNION – celebration service with refreshments, 10.30am, Christ Church Downend.

April 4

n SPEAKER AND COFFEE MORNING, Lincombe Barn, from 10.15am. Speaker Jeanne Long BEM, of Happy Handbag. £3 entry, refreshments (coffee/tea and biscuits) extra. Talk from 10.4511.45am. All welcome.

April 13

n COFFEE MORNING, Staple Hill Salvation Army, Broad Street, 10am-noon.

April 13


centenary of the birth of local colliery owner, MP and benefactor of Cossham Hospital. Turnberrie's Community Centre, Bath Road, Thornbury, 10am- 4.30pm. Organised by Avon Local History & Archaeology and Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. Book online at www.alha., via Eventbrite or write to William Evans, 5 Parry’s Grove, Bristol BS9 1TT.

April 15

n DOWNEND SENIOR FILM CLUB at 2pm The Windermere Children (12) Child survivors of the holocaust are brought to Windermere to recuperate under the supervision of volunteer therapists. A powerful and uplifting drama starring Tim McInnerny and Iain Glenn. Tickets: £4.00 including refreshments. Carers welcome, easy access. For more information please call 0117 435 0063/4. Christ Church Hall, 57 North Street, Downend BS16 5SG

April 20

n BRISTOL CLASSICAL GUITAR SOCIETY presents a concert by Giacomo Susani, St Stephen's Church, St Stephen’s Street, Bristol, 7.30pm. £18 adults, £10 16 to 18 year olds, free for under-16s. More information from www.

April 21

n MESSY CHURCH craft-based fun afternoon for all the family, with a hot meal included. 4pm, Staple Hill Salvation Army, Broad Street. Call 0117 956 9733 for more information.

April 23

n VINTAGE ADVENTURE ACTIVITY SESSION for seniors, with St George's Day theme. Free event at the Church Centre, Quakers Road, 2-3.30pm.

April 24

n FILTONES CHOIR open rehearsal, St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Elm Park, 1.45-3.45pm. Free entry. Drop in and listen to how choir prepares for our

concerts – and join in if you feel inclined. Free tea and biscuits, warm welcome.

April 27

n FRIENDS OF LINCOMBE BARN WOODS dawn chorus guided walk to the river Frome, with wildlife talk. Meet in the car park off Rockland Rd at 5am.

April 27

n HAM FARM FESTIVAL/WEST OF ENGLAND MUSIC AND ARTS presents Filkins Drift and Young Performers Spotlight, St James Church, Mangotsfield, 7-9pm. Tickets £10 in advance, £12 on the door. Free for under 18s – reserve online at

May 11

n LUNCHTIME SINGING SESSION, Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road, noon-2pm, led by award-winning conductor and educator Ben England BEM. Tickets priced at £12 to cover costs. For more details email singmay24@


n BRISTOL U3A: Have you reached a point in your life where you have fewer responsibilities and more time for yourself? Would you like to take part in activities where you can share skills, abilities or hobbies whilst having fun and making new friends? Go to www. for details.


n MEDITATION SESSIONS IN FRENCHAY Just come along to the sessions that run from 3rd Monday each month at 7pm Frenchay Unitarian Chapel BS16 1ND from 20Sept for the Personcentred Group Meditation and 1st Wednesday at 7pm from 6th Oct for the Kundalini movement meditation. Contact Andrea on 07791119658

n SINGALONG 4 ALL - Mondays 10.30/11.30, Grace court, Dial Lane, Downend BS16 5UP. £4 ...£1 tea n

bikkies Tel: Barbara 07816839141.

n SOCIAL BADMINTON every Monday at Kingswood Leisure Centre from 2-4pm. Intermediate level, all welcome.

n STAPLE HILL JOB SEEKER SUPPORT GROUP, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Monday, 2-4pm. Laptops and Wi-Fi available for job searches, free tea and coffee, welcoming environment. Call Julie 01454 868374 to say you are coming.

n PUCKLECHURCH SHORT MAT BOWLS CLUB are looking for new players. We meet every Monday evenings and Sunday & Wednesday afternoons at Pucklechurch Community Centre. Refreshments available. For more information contact John 0117 9372873.

n SILK PAINTING at Downend Baptist Church. Come along to an enjoyable afternoon, every alternate Monday 2pm-4pm. Make cards, tuition given, tea and biscuits provided, cost includes all materials. One large card £2 or 3 for £5, small cards £1 each. Please contact 0117 9608935 for more details.

n COFFEE MORNING at Percy Walker Court, Lincombe Road, Downend, every Monday, 10.30am12.20pm. All welcome.

n LUNCH CLUB AT STAPLE HILL COMMUNITY HUB, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Monday, 12.15pm. More details from the hub on 01454 868374.


n DOWNEND GARDENING IN RETIREMENT CLUB Third Tuesday of every month at 10.15am Varied Topics Non Members welcome at £3 including Tea / Coffee. Assembly Hall, Salisbury Road. Downend. Easily reached by any bus into Downend

n BOARD GAMES NIGHT every Tuesday from 7pm. All Welcome The Wooden Walls Micropub, 30 Broad Street, Staple Hill, BS16 5NU n LINCOMBE BARN CAMERA

We are on the look out for a DEDICATED


to come and support in our day centre on a Friday by lending a helping hand to make a meaningful impact on adults with brain injury. Join our incredible team every Friday at our centre in Frenchay, Bristol. Your support can make a world of a difference whether it be running an activity or being a friendly face to socialise with the individuals. If you are interested, please email kathryn.edwards@headwaybristol. for an application pack or to ask any further questions.

WHAT'S ON LOCALLY 46 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377

CLUB meets every second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of the month at Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road. New members always welcome. For information see website at www. or email


GARDENING CLUB Meets at Christ Church Centre, Quakers Road, every third Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm. Talks, day trips and short holidays - everyone welcome. Call May on 0117 957 3695 for details.


DANCING CLUB Pucklechurch Community Hall.Abson Road every other Tuesday from 7.30 to 10.15p.m All welcome either with a partner or solo. Enjoy an evening with us. Call Sue on 07742114566 or Linda on 07843240414.

n MESSY SPACE, Badminton Road Methodist Church Downend. Term-time group for toddlers and their carers, 10-11.45am. Toys, books, play dough, paint & craft, singing and refreshments. First visit free, then £3 per child or £5 per family. More information at www. or 0117 956 1106.


GROUP, Salvation Army, Broad Street, Staple Hill, every Tuesday 10-11.30am.

n MOVE-IT CLUB for children aged 7-11, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Tuesday 3.30pm. More details from hub on 01454 868374.

n TEA AND TOAST after school drop-in for primary aged children and families, Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street, Downend, term-time Tuesdays, 3.15-4.30pm. All welcome for tea, squash, toast, board games, colouring and play in a friendly atmosphere.

n DOWNEND WI meets at Christ Church Hall, North Street, Downend on the last Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm. For details email

n RIDGEWAY BADMINTON CLUB meets every Tuesday evening from 8-10pm at Downend Sports Centre for informal badminton doubles/ singles matches between adults of all ages. First visit free. For more information contact Graham on 07968 050 320



ARRANGING CLUB We are a friendly group, we meet at 7.30pm on 1st & 3rd Wednesday each month from September to June at Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road, BS16 2RW. Ring Genise on 0777 2451217 for more information.



Come and join us and play duplicate Bridge at Lincombe Barn Downend on Wednesday afternoons 2pm. All levels welcome. Please contact eveforbes77@gmail. com or 0117 9836886 or Yvonne Scoulding rscoulding@googlemail. com or 0117 9568944

n CLEEVESINGERS OF DOWNEND Enjoy singing, then come and join this four part choir who meet on Wednesday evenings at Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road 7.30 p.m. from September until July. For more information contact the Secretary on 0117 9561881.

n DOWNEND SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB Musical entertainment from 2-4pm every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at North Street Church Hall. All are welcome.

n ROYAL BRITISH LEGION WOMEN'S SECTION meets once a month on the first Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm. New members welcome - come and spend an afternoon with us before you join. We meet at the Youth Building by the long stay car park and Page Hall. Telephone 0117 956 0805.

n DOWNEND TANG SOO DO meets at Christchurch Parish Hall, North Street on Wednesday evenings from 7.30-9pm. Suitable for beginners and ages 10+. First class free. More details from Ian on 07817 744689 or at the Downend Tang Soo Do Facebook page.

n FRENCHAY PROBUS CLUB We meet at Frenchay Village Hall on the first Wednesday of each month between 10.00 and 12.00 hrs. For further details contact:

n WARMLEY JAZZ CLUB, Every Wednesday except first one of the month, 7.30pm, Cadbury Heath Social Club, £7 on the door. More details at

n BRISTOL SCRABBLE CLUB meets every Wednesday evening at 7pm until 10pm at Filton Community Centre, Elm Park, Filton BS34 7PS. New members welcomefirst visit free so come along and give us a try. Information: Tania by email at

n CROSS STITCH Like to learn this absorbing relaxing hobby and have fun at the same time? Why not join the Club at Lincombe Barn. Beginners and those with all abilities welcome. New term commences beginning of September on Wednesday mornings 10.00 am until noon. Contact Lincombe Barn 9562367.


DANCE CLUB meet fortnightly at Frenchay Village Hall from 7:45 until 10:15pm. All standards of dancer are welcome to enjoy live Bands and experienced Callers.

Visit or call 0117 3021543 for more information.

n FRIENDLY VOICES dementiafriendly singing group, Mangotsfield & Castle Green URC, Cossham Street, second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, 10.30am to noon. No charge, carers welcome. Sessions led by music therapist. More details from June Watts on 0117 956 6625.

n WEDNESDAY CAFE FOR SENIORS, at Badminton Road Methodist Church (BS16 6NU) every Wednesday 10am to 12 noon. All Welcome – just come along – make new friends over a cuppa and cake. Information: 0117 239 5984

n DOWNEND FLOWER ARRANGING CLUB We are a friendly group, we meet at 7.30pm on 1st & 3rd Wednesday each month from September to June at Lincolne Barn, Overndale Road, BS16 2RW. Ring Genise on 0777 2451217 for more information.

n STAPLE HILL METHODIST CHURCH Fellowship group 3rd Wednesday of the month, 2.153.45pm Coffee/tea, homemade cake and a chat!

n LADIES ENTERPRISE CLUB every 1st and 3rd Wednesday afternoon at the Assembly Hall, Salisbury Road, Downend, 2.30pm4pm. If you would like to belong to a warm, friendly group we would love to see you. Contact Ruth on 07733413823 for more details

n MOTHERS UNION - worship, friendship, supporting charities, refreshments: First Wednesday of the month, 2.15pm at Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street. Non-members welcome. More details from 0117 908 9867.

n FRENCHAY & HAMBROOK HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY meets at Friends Meeting House, Frenchay, 7.30pm first Wednesday of the month from September to March. Talks on garden-related topics, meet other gardeners, trips in April & May. Phone 0117 967 2390 for more information.

n COFFEE MORNING, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Wednesday 10.30am. More details from the hub on 01454 868374.

n KEEP FIT, God's House International Centre, The Sanctuary, 55 High Street, Staple Hill, every Wednesday 10-11am, followed by cup of tea and a chat. For adults 50+. More information from Lin on 0770 707 6281 or email


n BARN BELLS handbell ringers meet at Lincombe Barn, Downend, from 2-4pm weekly. Anyone who can read music is welcome to join. n IGNITE YOUTH GROUP.

Thursdays, term time only, at the Youth Hub & Parish Hall , 57 North Street, Downend. Year 6-8, 6.307.45pm. Year 9-11s, 8-9.15pm. A place to relax and have fun with friends. Free entry. Tuck available. Visit to sign up and see the full programme.

n DEWDROP INN CAFE, Resound church, Blackhorse Road, Mangotsfield. Every fourth Thursday of the month, 2-4pm. A place for the community to relax and unwind with old & new friends. Tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits £2.

n MANGOTSFIELD AND CASTLE GREEN UNITED REFORMED CHURCH regular coffee mornings, held on the first Thursday of the month, 10.30am-noon

n SCRABBLE Downend Folk House Thursdays 10-12noon Info: 0117 9562367 Maureen Walker.

n WARM SPACE CAFE at Christ Church, Downend, free every Thursday 11-2pm. Soup and roll lunch from noon. Live music, including Music Train on 2nd and 4th Thursdays. Dementia-friendly cafe on 3rd Thursday of the month, 11am-1.30pm.


CLUB meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, 10am-noon at Whiteshill Chapel, Hambrook, with a speaker at each meeting. Friendly group, new members welcome. For details call the secretary on 01454 778250.

n SOCIAL WALKING GROUP meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, Badminton Road Downend. For more details contact Janet Pearce on 0799 058 4008.

n SMART BALLETCHILDREN’S BALLET CLASSES A fun and imaginative introduction to the world of Ballet

THURSDAY MORNINGS 10.4511.30am Magical Preschool Ballet- Pomphrey Hill Pavillion FRIDAY AFTERNOONS 4.305.10pm Smart Butterflies (4-6 years) Ballet- Frenchay Village Hall

Book £4 trial. Contact / 07751812701


CLUB, holds fortnightly meetings with Speakers for ladies and gentlemen on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 10:00 am till 12:00. We also enjoy lunches/outings together. Please join us at the Assembley Hall, Downend. More details on 0117 9574583 or see our website.

Continued on next page

47 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 WHAT'S ON LOCALLY


GROUP, Staple Hill Methodist Church, High Street, Staple Hill, every Thursday - first session 9.30am, second session 11am.


n TAI CHI FOR PARKINSON’S. Weekly beginners Tai Chi & Qi Gong class for people with Parkinson’s disease, their families and carers.

Lincombe Barn, Downend. BS16 2RW. Fridays (term times) 10.15 – 12.15 including tea / coffee break. Contact: Claire - Claire@ (07769 857672) or Sarah - buqiworks@ (07815 662844)

n PAGE PARK UKULELE CLUB, Bean Tree café, Fridays at 1pm. All abilities welcomed. Places £4 each. For further details call or text 'Ukulele' to Ben on 07910 668258.

n JIGSAW TODDLER GROUP, Fridays in term time at Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street, from 9.45-11.15am.

n LATER LIVE MUSIC, Resound church, Blackhorse Road, Mangotsfield. Every second Friday monthly, except August & December, 8-10pm, £2.50.

n ARTWINGS, Resound church, Blackhorse Road, Mangotsfield. Every fourth Friday, except August

& December, 7.30pm. Explore new ways of creating and making, natter over refreshments. £5, includes materials.


AND TODDLER GROUP meets at Emersons Green Village Hall every Friday morning in term time, from 10-11.30am. For more info email

n IN-THE-PINK We are a group of mature ladies who meet for sensible exercise to music every Friday 9am - 10am followed by chat & coffee time. Pay sessionby-session basis. Get yourself fit & make new friends at Hillfields Park Baptist Church, Thicket Avenue. For details call Julie 07903123793.

n TUTTIFLUTTI, an inclusive ensemble welcoming flautists of all ages from Grade 3 up, rehearses at Lincombe Barn on Fridays in term time, from 6.30-7.30pm. New members always welcome. Details from Fiona on 07817 629 691.

n LUNCH CLUB, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Friday from 12.15pm. For details 01454 868374.



GUILD We are a small friendly group who meet every third Saturday of the month 2pm to

4pm at St Andrews Hall, Elm Park, Filton. If you would like to make sugar flowers and models we hold workshops with instruction. Beginners very welcome. call Jean Kington on 01454 314178.


CHURCH Coffee mornings in our beautiful building every Saturday 10.00-12.00 in aid of church funds or charities. Enjoy Fairtrade coffee, tea and cake, and stalls.


n EMERSONS GREEN BAPTIST CHURCH services are held every Sunday morning from 10.30am11.30am at Emersons Green Village Hall, Emersons Way. We also hold regular craft services - please check our Facebook page for dates contact Simon on 07765 201435, e-mail or visit

n BADMINTON ROAD METHODIST CHURCH BS16 6NU. All are welcome to worship each Sunday, 10.30am. First Sunday of the month is usually a service of Holy Communion. Information: 0117 239 5984

n MANGOTSFIELD AND CASTLE GREEN UNITED REFORMED CHURCH hold regular weekly Sunday morning worship at Cossham Street. Services start at 10.30

a.m.with different speakers each week. New members welcome. For details contact Peter Redding (Ch. Sec.) on 0117 9657075.

n SPROUTS GARDENING CLUB for children aged 7-11, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Sunday from 2-4pm. More details from the hub on 01454 868374.


CHURCH, High Street BS16 5HQ

Sunday services 10.30am + Sunday Club for ages 5-17. Holy Communion 2nd Sunday of the month – all invited. Taizé worship 6.00pm 3rd Sunday of the month. Contact Rev Dr Aboseh Ngwana 07482 550888, Philippa Church Liaison at staplehillmethodist@ or www.

n CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND: 9.15 am Traditional morning worship (Holy Communion on 2nd & 4th Sundays) at Church Centre, Quakers Road BS16 6NH. 10.30 Morning worship with youth and children's groups at Christ Church Downend, Downend Rd BS16 5UF


WORKING PARTY, Percy Walker Court, Lincombe Road, Downend, every Sunday 10am-noon. All welcome.

48 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 WHAT'S ON LOCALLY CALL JOE FOR A FREE QUOTE Tel: 0117 959 2143 Mob: 07891 253 122 LANDSCAPING Established family firm with 25 years experience H Senior Citizens Special H Garden Clearance — Regular or one-off H Patios H Fencing H Tree Work H Turfing H Hedgecutting H Planting (Shrubs etc) H Organic manure delivered — Also applied H Professional and guarnteed work H Brick & Blocklaying 25% OFF WITHADVERTTHIS Alpine


Photographic competitions

COMPETITIONS provide an outlet for the expression of creativity and the sharing of skills and experiences for photographers.

They have always been a feature of camera club photography, inspiring members to promote their work for the club and the wider community.

Subject matter has varied widely over the years, and recently developed a more creative style.

Because of the pandemic, garden birds, indoor table top photography and landscape photography have once more become popular.

The soft, gentle tones of Helen Sheppard's 'Daisies' are the crucial element she brings to the

photograph, demonstrating her creativity with a simple familiar subject found in all our gardens to make this a photograph rather than a snapshot.

Photography is all about light and Helen's second image, 'View from Pen Y Fan' emphasises the beautiful contours of the land, the foreboding sky and the gathering mist. A range of atmospheres created by the light give the image a sense of grandeur.

The development of highresolution digital cameras has enabled amateur photographers to take many images of a subject at a relatively low cost and see the results of their efforts instantly, without waiting for the film to be developed. The opportunity to experiment with camera settings is very beneficial for club members.

Bird photography, particularly of birds in flight, has become a challenging and an increasingly popular subject of recent


IT is very strange how sometimes we come across something that we can all learn from.

About a year ago we were asked if we could construct a “mud kitchen”.

My reply was, if I knew what it was maybe we could help.

After a little research we decided that yes, we could.

Little did we know then that it would become quite a task for us. It also taught us things about schools that we were unaware of.

Mud kitchens are a popular addition to many infant schools and forest schools.

We also learnt that several primary schools


In our third image, Russell Smith has chosen a very fast shutter speed and wide aperture to capture the detail of the shorteared owl.

The clarity of the bird’s eyes and the separation of the subject from the background make this an outstanding example of this style of photography.

Taken locally, it is surprising what we have on our doorstep: images from Snuff Mills, Lincombe Barn and Slimbridge WWT

have featured heavily in recent competitions.

Competitions promote a very friendly rivalry and a desire to progress our photography: having our work judged by ‘outside’ judges gives an opportunity for an assessment by other experienced photographers. We may not always agree with them, but being given their observations and criticisms helps us to raise our own expectations.

have what is known as access departments, which are generally for children with learning difficulties, which we are pleased to help by making these kitchens that many organisations could not possibly afford to buy on the open market.

To date we have now made and delivered four to organisations in Bristol.

Made wherever possible from reclaimed timber, if we can help other organisations please do get in touch: we are always willing to talk to you about your requirements.

Email us at

49 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169
n Russell Smith Short Eared Owl n Helen Sheppard View from Pen Y Fan n Helen Sheppard Daisies

15 Cleevewood House, Cleeve Wood Road, Bristol, BS16 2ST

Asking Price£196,000


A stunning Grade II listed first floor apartment in the beautifully converted Cleevewood House, a gorgeous eighteenth-century mansion converted into luxury apartments in the 1980s.

Positioned on the borders of Downend and Frenchay with far reaching views over the Frome Valley Conservation area and Frenchay Common, the house offers the perfect location for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of busy Bristol, whilst being only four miles north of the City.

The motorway networks are easily accessible via the M32 for those needing to commute beyond and Bristol Parkway Station is approximately three miles with direct routes to London Paddington.

The property is in a great location for walking, cycling and running along the river as well as being close enough, in our opinion to walk to the shops of Downend.

The apartment is located towards the rear of the building with many of its double glazed windows facing South West, flooding the apartment with afternoon and evening sunshine.

The accommodation offers a welcoming entrance hall/corridor

with doors leading to an airy sunny sitting room, a good sized bedroom, modern kitchen and a tasteful bathroom.

The airy sitting room is of a generous proportion with two windows, a relaxing space where you can hear birdsong most of the day.

The kitchen offers a range of wall and base units finished with Shaker style doors and sleek tiled splashbacks. Integrated appliances include a gas hob, electric oven and extractor plus space for a washing machine and undercounter fridge freezer.

The double bedroom is bright and spacious with a Velux style

window set into the pitched ceiling.

A four-piece modern white bathroom completes the accommodation with fully tiled walls and a separate mains

plumbed shower cubicle.

To the front of the property is resident and visitor parking together with communal gardens and benches overlooking the woods and Frenchay.

51 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 PROPERTY OF THE MONTH FROM M COLEMAN ESTATE AGENTS
Follow us on online at
Celebrating 40 years of helping Bristol move home. est. 1983 Glena Avenue, BS4 –for sale with Ocean Knowle

Focus on women flying high

A FRENCHAY businesswoman welcomed leading female figures from business and other areas of public life across the UK and Europe to a conference.

Jo Kinsey is the national president of Business and Professional Women UK, which has been campaigning since 1938 for equality in areas including equal pay, sex discrimination, race relations and disability discrimination.

This year the organisation's national conference was held at the Village Hotel in Filton on March 15 and 16, with the theme Women Flying High.

Guest speakers included the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding OBE, deputy police & crime commissioner Claire Hiscott, who spoke about misogyny crimes, prospective parliamentary candidate Claire Hazelgrove, and Alison Green and Jacqueline Castle, from the local aerospace industry, who spoke about the importance of science and technology skills.

The event started with BPW UK's annual general meeting, which included a motion on a proposal to urge the government to amend the policy on asylum seekers’ right to work, recognising misogyny as a hate crime and raising awareness of human rights and online safety issues. It also hosted the final of the BPW UK Inter-Regional Public Speaking Championship, featuring teams of senior school pupils from Northern Ireland and the South and West of England, demonstrating the confidence and presentation skills that the competition develops.

The organisation's support internationally for its Ukrainian members both living in the UK and in Ukraine was demonstrated by speaker Inna Gordiienko of Ukraine Response International Rescue Committee, and Jo Kinsey herself, who spoke on her project to buy a vehicle to help distribute humanitarian aid in Chernihiv, Ukraine.

For more information on Business and Professional Women UK visit

Nik's art on display

A STAPLE Hill-based artist did not have far to go to put his latest work on display.

Nik Keevil's handcarved wood hangings are on display at the Circular ArtSpace, a unique gallery set up in a converted double-decker bus, parked behind the Crafty Egg cafe on Fishponds Road.

Nik's works include three with Bristol themes, including a carving called ‘Clifton Suspension Bridge with Balloons’ and another of the stern of the SS Great Britain, both of which are on display and carved from a piece of reclaimed sycamore sourced from the Bristol Wood Project.

Nik said: "It's great to see my artwork in our local community, where friends and family can just pop in and take a look.

"The exhibition facilities suit my artworks, as it is a bright, vibrant space that offers visitors the opportunity to see the work up close –something important to me as I encourage the public to lightly touch my wood carvings, enabling them to experience art through a variety of their senses."

Circular ArtSpace is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11am-4pm. For more information visit

For more information about Nik's work, visit nikkeevildesign.

53 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 Loft Boarding & Insulation USE YOUR LOFT SPACE is the reliable, affordable and trusted local company for all your loft boarding, and loft insulation requirements 0117 2980810 INFO@USEYOURLOFTSPACE.CO.UK 0117 943 4800 20 High Street Louise Boustead Your local Family Law and Divorce legal specialist in Staple Hill FARLEYS 40 Broad Street, Staple Hill Tel: 0117 9566787 Stockists of James Wellbeloved and Burns Dog Food • Arden Grange Dog & Cat food • All pet supplies • Seasonal Plants & Seeds PET FOODS & GARDEN SUPPLIES COMMUNITY NEWS
Nik Keevil with his works at the bus gallery

Painting with light

THE term “painting with light” was first employed in the 1940s to refer to cinema, and the ways in which pictures could be changed by different uses of lighting.

More recently, however, it has come to be used in photography to describe the art of creating photos by setting long exposure times on a camera and using a moving light source to “paint.”

You can’t do this with a ‘point and shoot’ camera but, if you have a camera that allows you to control the speed and opening of the aperture, it’s a technique that’s open to you.

A light-painting photographer opens a camera's shutter and keeps it open, so their light source leaves a trail across their photograph.

What does this mean in practice? You need to be photographing when it’s dark, so the static part of your image can develop slowly while your light source, a bright light of some kind, stands out against it. This is best done with your camera on a tripod, to stop it moving.

Consider the following pictures taken by Lincombe Barn Camera Club members:

In 'Park Street Trails', Owen Richards has placed himself on a traffic island at the top of Park Lane at night. Traffic has rushed past while he photographed, invisible save for the evidence of its lights tracing through the air. The buildings, as static as the camera, are proudly present.

Ed Shorney has given us fireworks in 'Light Painting on Frenchay Common': a sparkler has provided whirling lines, from which sparks fly out in a glowing fountain. Behind this, the lighting on the spire of Frenchay Parish Church shows dramatically.

'Slinky', by Jeff McKinstry, was taken at a Bristol light show and, without using a long exposure, has found a light source imitating light painting, while the moon above looks on benignly.


My love for dogs

EVER since I was four years old, I've had a love for dogs.

I think it is in the genes: my father always had dogs.

My mother and her mother disliked them intensely, however: "Dirty animals," they would say.

The first dog I came to love was my Aunt Doris's golden retriever, Kim.

My cousin Tony bought him for his parents. Although they used to let him run out onto the common in front of their bungalow in Hampshire, it was not until we

went there to visit that he got taken for a proper walk.

His leather stick lay on a couple of hooks, high up on a wall in the kitchen. As soon as I took the stick down he knew he was going on an adventure...and an adventure we went on, through lovely pine forests, with streams running along beside the pine cone-strewn paths.

I was heartbroken when we left to return to Bristol.

I knew one day I would have a dog of my own – but not five, almost one after the other!

I did say "no more pets" but I have just acquired a sweet Jack Russell cross called Suki, who is

four years old.

If you are interested in photography and want to learn more about using the full extent of your camera, why not join us?

We have a full programme of activities: competitions, presentations from guest speakers and learning exercises for members.

Visitors and guests are always made welcome (£3 if you just want to try us out). For more information take a look at our website at or email

She is very lively and is just what the doctor ordered! I know we will have great times together.

Thank you to all of you who came to the last speaker/coffee morning, with Gill Sammonds from Avon Wildlife Trust, which included the Grow Wilder site at Frenchay.

We had a very good turn-out, and several people came up to me and said how much they enjoyed it.

Please come and support April's talk by Jeanne Long BEM, whose charity Happy Handbags' aim is to "help a lady in crisis".

Please bring any suitable handbags that you no longer require, and toiletries to go in them.

n Park Street Trails by Owen Richards n Light Painting on Frenchay Common by Ed Shorney
n Slinky by Jeff McKinstry
54 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377

Award for lawyer Karl

A DOWNEND lawyer has received a prestigious award in recognition of his positive contribution to Bristol's property sector.

Karl Brown, a commercial property partner in the city office of national law firm Clarke Willmott, was given the Bristol Property Agents Association's annual Malcolm Gunter Award in recognition of the Bristol Property Inclusion Charter,


which he founded five years ago to boost diversity and inclusion.

Starting with 16 organisations, more than 100 have now come onboard.

The charter promotes collaboration between its signatories to boost diversity, with talks and panel discussions on this topic.

Recent initiatives include a mentoring scheme for UWE Bristol real estate students, the production of a property careers short film circulated to school pupils and a property foundation class for school students, launched in September last year.

Karl, who grew up in Downend and went to Bromley Heath Junior School and

Two promotions for Bristol & West

WITH still over a month of league hockey to play, Bristol & West Men’s 4th team and the Ladies Jaspers 2nd team have managed to secure early promotions already.

The Men’s 4th team wrapped up their league title in early March, beating North Somerset 2s 5-0 away.

In their latest fixture they celebrated as champions, defeating South Glos 2s 9-1 as they look to finish with an undefeated record, having won 13 and drawn 4 to date.

They’ve scored 78 goals and have only conceded 10 thus far.

On March 13, the Ladies 2nd team secured a 1-0 victory over Dursley in a mid-week rearranged fixture under the lights at Mangotsfield School.

This result guaranteed a promotion, with one point needed from the team's remaining two games in order to claim the title.

The Ladies are also looking to see out the remainder of the season with an undefeated record, after having won 14 and drawn two so far.

They have scored an impressive 64 goals, whilst only conceding 15.

Elsewhere in the club, the Men’s 1s are engaged in a fierce midtable battle against the other local Bristol clubs, currently sitting 8th, with a game or two in hand above others and only one point needed to secure mathematical safety in what is their inaugural year in the West Premiership Division.

Downend School, said: "It is a great honour to be the recipient of the BPAA Malcolm Gunter award.

"As the son of Windrush generation parents from Jamaica, who came to the UK from modest backgrounds, I am passionate about boosting social mobility and life chances for young people and those from less privileged backgrounds.

"In particular I am keen that young people and those from less privileged backgrounds are able to see the fantastic and varied opportunities available for a career in the property industry and, if interested, to access those opportunities.”

Cleeve Hill Tennis Club

I THINK "rain stopped play" has been my motto for tennis this winter, as so many of our tennis games have been cancelled due to rain.

We were really excited recently when the forecast was finally for good weather - but unfortunately our excitement didn’t last long, as on the morning we were due to play there was a thick frost!

However, much better news is that the clubhouse refurbishment is progressing well. The work is on time and within budget, which is always a positive. The pillar that we have been wanting to remove for a long time is gone and we now have a lovely open space.

We have also installed new patio doors and windows, so the light in the clubhouse is phenomenal. Sorry if I am waxing lyrical, but it really is a beautiful space: as they say on the property programmes –how light and airy it is!

We run a variety of courses within the club, which encompass coaching and development of both new members and existing players.

One of the latest short courses we have been running is called Cardiac Tennis. To me it probably would be more aptly named Torture Tennis but I am led to believe that it does you good!

It is described as “You’ll get to hit lots of tennis balls during your class, build up your skills and work up a sweat.”

I think I might leave it to the youngsters!

If you think tennis might be the sport for you why not take a look at all of the exciting things that are going on at Cleeve Hill – visit for more information.

Looking forward to seeing you on the court

Another team to keep an eye on are the Ladies 3rds. Currently sitting pretty at the top of their league with 45pts, and only 1 loss, they still have some work to do in order to get over the line, as they are top on goal difference and five points ahead of the team in third.

We hope that in next month’s update we can give you all some good news about another promotion for the club!

55 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 NEWS
Karl Brown with his award
Work in progress at the clubhouse
Bristol & West Men’s 4th team

MARTI Pellow and Wet Wet Wet may have left the building but with no let up in the rain, Travis have now taken centre stage in the minds of Downend Flyers footballers.

Throughout the club, from our three women's teams down to the U6s in the youngest of our 19 girls' teams, we are all screaming: "Why does it always rain on me?"

Many readers will no doubt say "I played on worse pitches in my day" but, as we use Pomphrey Hill and Johnson Road fields, we have a duty of care to maintain the public spaces in a good condition, in consultation with our landlords, the Pomphrey Hill Community Association.

However, there have been enough breaks in the almost incessant wet weather to play a handful of games, home and away.

Our women's senior side were delighted to progress to the semi-

Cricket returns

CARSONS and Mangotsfield Cricket Club is holding a number of friendlies in April in the lead up to the start of the league season in May.

The club will be looking to push on following promotion to Division 5 of the Bristol and District cricket league. It is a young team and is being captained again by Sam Braley.

During the season the teams are being coached again by Damian Forder from DFCA.

The club is also taking part in the national All Stars programme, for children up to eight years old.

The programme can be found on the All Stars website, by searching for the club.

We also have spaces in our Under-9 section.

If you are interested in playing cricket, please contact either or

The club also has a number of sponsorship opportunities available: anyone interested should contact

Rain holds Flyers back again

final of the Gloucestershire FA Women's Trophy, for the second consecutive season, and a tie against local rivals AEK Boco for a place in the final.

Meanwhile our reserves and third team have managed just one game apiece since the last update, the former taking pride in a 3-0 loss at table-toppers

Gloucester City and the latter enjoying a fine win over the Bristol University team, who occupy a higher spot in the table.

In our youth section, postponements and rearrangements have been the name of the game yet again, with many teams now facing evening games in April to catch up.

Surely I will be talking about a turn in the weather next month, and this will all be a distant memory when our tournament starts in late June!

We currently have over 100 teams signed up and we will be ramping up preparations over the spring.

For more details on that – or anything else related to the club – please email info@

Medal haul for martial artists



trains in Lyde Green is celebrating after members won 17 medals at a national competition.

Students from Fishponds Taekwondo Academy, which moved to the area three years ago, took part in the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) UK Spring National Championships.

The event, which was held in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in February, hosted a range of categories, including patterns and sparring for juniors and adults.

Students came away with 10 gold, two silver and five bronze medals. Three instructors and two students also attended as


Instructor Gavin Reader, a third-degree black belt, said: “The students work hard throughout the year and competitions are a great way to challenge themselves, while learning from the experience and having fun.

“It’s great to celebrate their achievements. While it’s nice to win medals, the main thing is to keep working on improving your technique and to enjoy the journey.”

Dad-of-three Gavin, who is a project manager for the NHS, has been coaching for more than 20 years.

He said: “It makes a huge difference to know that each and

every student is fully supported by its taekwondo family.”

Following a successful grading, 21 students have been promoted to higher ranks.

Gavin said: “The students worked hard and earned their promotion. It’s great to see their continued progress.”

Taekwondo emphasises fast kicking techniques and is said to promote physical and mental strength, improved balance, flexibility, stamina, strength and posture.

The group trains at Lyde Green Community Centre on Willowherb Road every Wednesday and Friday.

SPORT 56 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377
n Downend Flyers reserves in action against Gloucester A arts that

Cleve lose out to clinical Cinderford

CLEVE started their home game with Cinderford II well, moving the ball across the field and putting on of the division's leading teams under pressure.

Cleve's centres made telling breaks into the Cinderford 22 as they dominated the game in territory and possession during the early stages.

But Cinderford are a top team in this part of England and showed their worth when they got close to Cleve’s line.

After a kick, a catch and drive saw Cinderford's forwards gain control of the ball, leading to a try.

Cleve’s response was again to exert pressure, starting to drive the ball towards the line.

In the 26th minute a Cleve scrum led to an attack towards Cinderford’s line. Approaching the 5m line, Cleve’s forwards began to recycle the ball well.

Will Warman took advantage of this by distributing the ball to the backs.

Good interplay between the fly-half and centres took the ball to the line, and one went over to level the scores at 7-all.

Cinderford now started to run the ball from all positions. A penalty led to a lineout near Cleve’s line. The Cinderford forwards were clinical, and went over in the front part of the line to make it 14 to 7 in favour of the visitors at half-time.

The second half started as the first half finished: the Cinderford forwards gained

control and fabricated a score, to make it 21-7.

This led to more effort by Cleve, who again dominated in possession and territory, but Cinderford were decisive and clinical when they got into the ball, moving to the wing and scoring to make it 26-7.

This time Cleve responded with two tries: first the ball found its way into the wing's hand and he scored on the wing, then a great break by the centres led to a try by the fullback, to make it 19 to 26.

Cleve had fought their way back into the game, but then it was Cinderford’s turn to ensure they completed the match in control, gaining possession and scoring another try to make the final score Cleve 19, Cinderford 31.


Skiing strong: Tim’s insights for peak performance on the slopes

IF you’re heading for the Easter ski slopes, here’s some timely advice to ensure your trip will be downhill all the way!

As enthusiasts gear up for the thrill of the ski season, the importance of physical preparation cannot be overstated. The Button families have recently been away together in France for the annual ski trip – so it’s all fresh in my mind.

A successful ski trip demands more than just proper gear and technique; it requires a body finely tuned for the challenges of the slopes. I’m discussing a lot of practical tips here that will certainly help but don’t forget to pop in and see us for some chiropractic tune-ups before and after your trip – or some physiotherapy and massage for any injuries that might need attention.

In this fitness-focused article, you’ll get the best advice on how to prepare physically for a ski holiday and execute an effective warm-up routine once you arrive at your snowy destination.

The Foundation: Physical Preparation

1. Cardiovascular Conditioning:

Skiing is a high-intensity aerobic activity that places significant demands on the cardiovascular system. To ensure your heart and lungs are up to the task, incorporate exercises like running,

cycling, or swimming into your routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity cardiovascular activity at least three times a week leading up to your ski trip.

2. Strength Training for Stability:

Building strength, particularly in the lower body muscles, is essential for stability and control on the slopes. Include exercises such as squats, lunges and leg presses in your strength training regimen. Strengthening these key muscle groups will not only enhance your skiing performance but also reduce the risk of injuries.

3. Core Strength for Balance:

A strong core is the foundation of balance and stability, two crucial elements in skiing. Incorporate exercises like planks and stability ball workouts to target your core muscles. This not only aids balance but also supports proper spinal alignment, reducing the risk of strain during your ski adventure.

4. Flexibility and Range of Motion:

Skiing involves a variety of movements and positions that require flexibility. Engage in dynamic stretching exercises and consider incorporating yoga into your routine to improve flexibility and enhance joint mobility. A flexible body is better equipped to handle the twists and turns of the slopes, reducing the risk of strains and sprains.

The Warm-Up Ritual: Setting the Stage for Success

1. Dynamic Warm-Up:

Before you hit the slopes, dedicate time to a dynamic warm-up routine. How often do we overlook the warm-up! This should include activities that increase blood flow, elevate your heart rate and activate your muscles. Leg swings, arm circles and jumping jacks are excellent choices to prepare your body for the challenges ahead.

2. Joint Mobilisation: Pay special attention to joint mobilisation exercises. Gentle rotations and controlled circles for the hips, knees and ankles can help loosen the joints, improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. When your body is limbered up and well-mobilised it’s better equipped to handle the dynamic nature of skiing.

3. Skiing-Specific Movements: Mimic the movements you'll be performing on the slopes during your warm-up. Incorporate squats, lunges and lateral movements to simulate skiing positions. Gradually increase the intensity to activate the specific muscle groups you’ll be using, ensuring they’re primed and ready for action.

4. Balance Training: If you really want to warm up like a pro then consider balance work – this is a key component of skiing. Stand on one leg, incorporate stability ball exercises, or use a wobble board to challenge

and improve your balance. A wellbalanced body not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of falls and associated injuries.

5. Mindful Stretching and Breathing:

Finish your warm-up routine with mindful stretching and deep breathing exercises. This helps release any remaining tension in your muscles and prepares your mind for the challenges ahead. Deep, controlled breaths can promote relaxation, focus and mental clarity – this all contributes to a more enjoyable skiing experience.

A successful ski trip begins with a body that is adequately prepared for the physical demands. By incorporating cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, core stability exercises and flexibility into your pre-trip routine, you’ll set the stage for a safer and more enjoyable adventure.

A well-executed warm-up routine that focuses on dynamic movements, joint mobilization, skiing-specific exercises, balance training and mindful stretching is the key to unlocking your peak performance.

So, embrace these insights, hit the slopes with confidence and make your next ski season your best one yet.

57 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 SPORT

Scott's death overshadows events on pitch

MANGOTSFIELD United's home game against basement side Wantage Town started with a minute's applause in memory of Scott Hendy, who made 395 appearances for the club.

Coming less than a week after the former defender’s death had been announced (news, pages 1 & 3), perhaps the game reflected the sombre mood of the occasion: it was a drab affair, with few chances at either end, and the events on the pitch won’t stay in the memory for long.

The match on March 9 followed another mixed bag of results for the Mangos, beginning with a very disappointing 1-0 defeat at lowly Thornbury Town, where they conceded the winning goal on 88 minutes.

It was one of those games where Mangotsfield never really settled into the game at all, right from the off.

Things proved to be very different in the next game, as the team went goal-crazy in a Gloucestershire FA Trophy tie up at Slimbridge.

Mangos blew their hosts away by half time, at which stage they led 5-0.

Kyrese Hasani Morrison started the scoring in the first minute, with Henry Ikeiji adding the second goal in the fourth minute and Jack Nunn getting the third in the 16th, before Morrison scored again in the 33rd. Archie Morris added the fifth goal in the 39th minute.

In the second half Nunn scored again (67), with Jaydn Crosbie (80) completing the rout. Slimbridge’s consolation goal came from Ben Hands, as the game finished with an incredible 7-1 scoreline.

Next up was a goalless draw at home to promotion-chasing

Royal Wootton Bassett Town. This was still a good point for the Mangos, in a game of few chances against determined opposition, who gave little away at the back.

February ended with another cup tie, this time a 3-2 win over Brimscombe & Thrupp in the Marsh Challenge Cup.

A tough game saw the Mangos a goal up at half time before roaring into a 3-0 lead early in the second half, with the goals coming from Kyrese Hasani Morrison (19), Luke Bence (49) and Jaydn Crosbie (50).

The visitors rallied late on, with goals from Jack Hughes and a penalty by Ollie Pitt, but the Mangos held on to confirm a place in the competition's semifinal.

What should have been a quick return to Slimbridge was one of two Hellenic league

fixtures not to go ahead in early March.

The Gloucestershire side's pitch succumbed to all the heavy rain we’ve all had in recent weeks.

And the Mangos' midweek home game against Highworth Town on March 12 also fell victim to the weather, after yet another constantly wet day across our fair city left the pitch waterlogged.

Remaining fixtures

March 26: Tytherington Rocks (GFA Trophy – home)

April 2: Cinderford Town (away)

April 6: Worcester City (A)

April 10: Slimbridge (A)

To be arranged: Highworth Town (H); Marsh Challenge Cup semi-final

58 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 SPORT
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THE REWIRING SPECIALISTS CAR REPAIRS 100% Mobile - to work or home! Bumper Scuffs • Alloy Wheel Refurbishment • Vandal Scratches Minor Dents • Calliper Painting Headlight Restoration • Motorcycles Repairs 70% cheaper than car body shops Tel: 0117 329 3773 Mob: 07780 713 665 Outside Work = Perfect for Social distancing CYCLES WANTED ADULT BIKES WANTED Mountain, Racing, Folding Electric And Cargo Bikes CASH PAID - WE COLLECT Comfort Cycles 07963 898633 email: Call Jules 07711 857607 Ken Gardening Services Local & Friendly • Spring garden clean • Weeding • Mowing Lawn Care • Hedge cutting • Garden design • Plant supply • Spring mulching • Fence painting • Patio pressure CARPENTRY PHILIP PERKINS General Carpenter/Kitchen Fitter (Member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen) 0117 9373941 OR 07788 115945 CALL FOR A QUOTE - NO JOB TOO SMALL Carpentry • Kitchens supplied & fitted or supply only • Full kitchen or fronts only • Worktops • Fitted Wardrobes • Door Hanging • Skirting • Stairs & Balustrades • Laminate & Wood Flooring • All aspects of general carpentry work
HOUSE CLEARANCE ELECTRICIANS • SMALL ELECTRICAL JOBS • LED LIGHTING • GARDEN LIGHTING, OUTBUILDINGS & HOME OFFICES • TESTING & INSPECTION OF WIRING • LANDLORD CERTIFICATES • BURGLAR ALARMS, REPAIRS, MAINTENANCE & INSTALLATION TEL: 0117 956 0695 MOB 07770 233 475 EMAIL ENQUIRIES@MARKEVANSELECTRICAL.CO.UK WWW.MARKEVANSELECTRICAL.CO.UK FIND OUR REVIEWS ON THE WHICH TRUSTED TRADERS WEBSITE MARK EVANS ELECTRICAL HOUSE RE-WIRING SPECIALISTS GUTTER CLEANING GUTTERING SERVICES Mark’s Gutter Cleaning Gutter Clearing Gutter Cleaning Fascia Cleaning Call or Book online Tel: 0117 3708528 Mob: 07543056558 Based in Downend, Bristol GARAGE DOORS GARDEN MAINTENANCE • Third generation Family Business • World Class Customer Service • Independent Specialists • Free Surveys & Advice • 10 Year Finish & “Safe & Reliable Function” Warranty • Downend Based Call Charlie on 07375 883596 or email All Types of Garage Doors HOUSE & RUBBISH CLEARANCE Visit us: Email us: Call us: 07592 506 003 HOUSE CLEARANCE GARAGE CLEARANCE GARDEN CLEARANCE GENERAL RUBBISH CLEARANCE House clearance & waste management services MINIMUM COLLECTION FROM £49 - FREE QUOTATIONS fully licensed and insured FULLY LICENSED AND INSURED MACHINE HIRE J AND J CONSTRUCTION MAINTENANCE & PEST CONTROL LTD Tel 07779242184 Digger Hire Grass Cutter Hire Garden Clearance We can supply the machines manned or unmanned LOCAL SERVICES 61 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 MAN WITH A VAN PAINTING & DECORATING SJM DECORATING Professional Decorating Local Qualified tradesmen Internal & External Decorating Fast, reliable & friendly service Fully insured Free Quotations Call Scott 07515 523 623 0117 3824411 OVEN CLEANING All ovens Ranges Agas Rayburns Hobs Extractors Give your oven a new lease of life AffordableProfessional - Friendly Call 07985696611 Email HOUSE CLEARANCE HOUSES GARAGES SHEDS STORAGE UNITS YARDS GARDENS GENERAL RUBBISH RECYCLING IS OUR PRIORITY Fullylicensed Friendly Local Service You instruct,wedeliver HAYLEY: 07342 961564 ALFIE: 07724 665926 WASTE CARRIERS LICENCE No: CBDU496476 HOUSE CLEARANCE HOUSES GARAGES SHEDS STORAGE UNITS YARDS GARDENS GENERAL RUBBISH RECYCLING IS OUR PRIORITY Fullylicensed Friendly Local Service You instruct,wedeliver HAYLEY: 07342 961564 ALFIE: 07724 665926 WASTE CARRIERS LICENCE No: CBDU496476 HOUSE CLEARANCE HOUSE CLEARANCE HAYLEY 07342 961564 WASTE CARRIERS LICENCE No CBDU496476 ALFIE 07724 665926 RECYCLING IS OUR PRIORITY Fully licensed Friendly Local Service You instruct, we deliver HOUSES GARAGES SHEDS STORAGE UNITS YARDS GARDENS GENERAL RUBBISH Friendly Female Gardener Do you need help with garden maintenance? Services include: Lawn-mowing, weeding, hedge-trimming, jet-washing patios and driveways Weekly, monthly or ad hoc service Hardworking, honest and reliable Call Rachel on 07817932743
PLUMBING PLUMBING & HEATING Tel: 0117 9676268 Boiler installation, servicing and repairs 10 Year Warranty’s available 518308 PLUMBING & HEATING 07878249260 629179 56746 CREST HEATING & PLUMBING BOILERS, BATHROOMS AND GENERAL PLUMBING TEL: 07765 250816 OVER 30 YEARS EXPERIENCE HONEST & RELIABLE PLUMBING & HEATING PLUMBING & HEATING 10 YEAR PARTS & LABOUR WARRANTY INCLUDED UP TO £400 OFF YOUR NEW BOILER FOR A LIMITED TIME BRISTOL: 0117 9000 986 MOBILE: 07834 633376 3 generations in the plumbing and heating industry and a quality service from a local family business Boiler service and repair, new boilers supplied and installed, full system and design, free 10 year parts and labour warranty on new boilers, general plumbing. We are also Gas Safe registered - OAP DISCOUNTS PAINTING & DECORATING Builder & Interior Decorator Dacrisco Builder E: T: 0117 401 8568 / 07557 335 956 Classic & Natural stone tiles Specialising in Italian showers Contemporary & Provençale kitchens Interior & Exterior Masonry Interior & façade painting High Quality Finish Free Quote Bristol & Surrounding Areas 17 Years Experience Interior & Exterior Masonry Tiling Interior & Facade Painting No Job Too Small Free Quote 17 Years Experience Renovation Painter Tiler Decorator T: 0117 382 7716 / 07557 335 956 E: 62 Downend Voice April 2024 News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377 LOCAL SERVICES Blue Flame Services 0117 960 0296 0797 0122137 0117 960 0296 0797 0122137 Specialists in NEW and replacement boiler installations in and around Bristol and surrounding areas. Boiler Servicing / Repairs Landlord Gas & PAT Testing Nobody likes the thought of paying for a major new item in the house, let alone an expensive one. Yet a new boiler might save you a considerable amount in gas consumption, lowering your energy bills and also helps save on repair bills. Save £’s on fuel bills with a new ‘A’ rated energy saving boiler! And receive up to a 13 year warranty! APPROVED INSTALLERS FOR blueflame_a6leaflet.indd 1 15/03/2022 16:34 APPROVED INSTALLERS FOR Specialists in NEW and replacement boiler installations in and around Bristol and surrounding areas. Boiler Servicing/Repairs Landlord Gas & PAT Testing Save £’s on fuel bills with a new ‘A’ rated energy saving boiler! And receive up to a 13 year warranty! Nobody likes the thought of paying for a major new item in the house, let alone an expensive one. Yet a new boiler might save you a considerable amount in gas consumption, lowering your energy bills and also helps save on repair bills. PLUMBING & HEATING PAINTING & DECORATING J L Painting & Decorating Jason Lee Qualified Painter & Decorator No Job too small Free No obligation quote Telephone: 07474573780 0117 2792264 e: PAINTING & DECORATING Third generation family business offering professional exterior and interior painting and decorating services locally. Quality workmanship Paperhanging specialist Competitively priced ST E V E PA I NT E R D ECOR AT I N G S E RV I C ES Call Steve Painter on: 01179 565 190 / 07853 250 035 PAINTING & DECORATING South Gloss Decorating Painters & Decorators Contact: Dave Beauchamp Mob: 07739 382 524 E-Mail: Facebook: Interior and Exterior Affordable, Reliable, Professional










Shower installations













Installed, repaired Replacement units


0117 9564912

0117 9564912

0117 9564912

Apricot Electrical 200 Overndale Road, Downend Bristol BS16 2RH

**NO VAT**

**NO VAT**



**NO VAT**


WIGS LOCATED IN DOWNEND We have been supplying all types of wigs and hairpieces for fashion and medical purposes for 45 years. Wigs can be purchased off the peg or made to measure in hair or synthetic fibre. We stock many styles and makes. Please book an appointment on: 0117 956 0805 Wigs Bristol Wigs Bristol WASTE DISPOSAL WINDOW & DOOR SOLUTIONS TREE SURGEONS J.A. Cole & Sons Tree Surgeons • Tree Surgery • Hedge & Shrub work • Precision Felling • Size Reduction • Fully insured • Domestic & Commercial . PROFESSIONAL EXPERT SERVICE - 40 YEARS EXPERIENCE OF TREE WORK Free Quotations & Advice 0117 9567298 07768 973291 RUBBISH CLEARED Registered upper tier waste carrier licence no CBDU225074 We load and clear rubbish/junk from houses Flats, Sheds, Attics, Gardens etc etc No job too small - we even clear single items Cheaper than a skip and we load no VAT Contact Stuart or Sue Freephone 0800 0234 995 Mobile 07770944727 anytime inc. weekends sales@t ellwindows Windows Doors Conservatories 07786730804 0117 279 9409 Call us today for a FREE no-obligation quotation Local business based in Downend • We replace & install Windows, Doors, Bi-Folding doors, Conservatories + much more • uPVC, Aluminium and Timber Windows & Doors • Service & repairs of all types of uPVC, misted double glazing, lock repairs & hinge replacements • Internorm UK specialist for the South West ROOFING LIMITED N. BROWN SLATING • TILING • REPAIRS GUTTERS • FASCIAS FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTES Give Nigel a call he’s local and has a wealth of experience ✆ 07779 786072 ROOFING PROPERTY MAINTENANCE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE J AND J CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE SERVICES Providing general building, factory facilities work, gardening, pest control Tel 07779242184 PLUMBING 63 Downend Voice April 2024 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169 LOCAL SERVICES • Bathroom & Kitchen Installation • Plumbing • Wall & Floor Tiling • Interior & Exterior Painting & Decorating • Guttering & Fascias • Plastering • Patios, Paving & Timber Decking • Fencing & Walls • Total Refurbishments NO JOB TOO SMALL - CONTACT US FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION ESTIMATE HOME & PROPERTY MAINTENANCE tel: 07974 222656 email: ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS E-Mail: From as little as Per month +VAT £22.50 ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS SHOWER REPAIRS Apricot Showers Approved Contractor FREE ESTIMATES 0117 956 3285 Mobile 07976 665448
All makes supplied

We specialise in stunning made to measure curtains that will add a touch of class to your home.

Choose from a range of fabulous fabrics, tracks and poles that will enhance your interior design. We offer a free measuring service and can advise on the best window dressings to match your budget.


We supply and fit a wide range of top-quality blinds from leading manufacturers including Louvolite, Eclipse, Decora, Arena.

Available options include Roller, Venetian, Roman, Perfect Fit, Pleated, Blackout, Cellular and Vertical Blinds.

To arrange a free measuring appointment, please contact us. YOUR NEW LOCAL LUXAFLEX DEALER EXCLUSIVE STYLES FOR EVERY WINDOW AND DÉCOR

Shutters are the epitome of elegance. Webber and Spencer design, supply and fit beautiful shutters in Bristol that will add the wow factor to your home. Our plantation shutters are perfect for both contemporary and modern homes and are available in a range of colours and finishes.

To book a free appointment for a designer to measure up and provide an estimate, please contact us today.

WEBBER & SPENCER CURTAINS • BLINDS • SHUTTERS • CARPETS • FLOORING 21 Cleeve Wood Road, Downend BS16 2SF enquiries@webberand 01172 870285 CURTAINS
arrange an appointment please contact us. BAY
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