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Community Reports - December 2008

St. Thomas à Becket Church
Community Plan Update
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Happy Circle
Parish Council Chairman’s Notes
Produce Show
Revel AGM
Boyd Valley: a Safer & Stronger Community
Pucklechurch Twinning Association
Village Hall Extreme Makeover

St. Thomas à Becket Church

Sun, 21st Dec 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight
Christmas Eve Weds, 24th Dec - 4pm - Christingle Service and Nativity
Christmas Eve Weds, 24th Dec - 11.30pm Midnight Communion (Carols from 11.15pm)
Christmas Day, Thurs, 25th Dec - 10am Festival Family Communion and Toy Service

St. James the Great, Abson
Sun, 21st Dec3pm Carol Service
Thu, 25th Dec8.30amHoly Communion

All Souls Service
The annual All Souls Service took place at Pucklechurch on 2nd November. During this service we remembered our loved ones who have died recently or in the past. The Retiring Collection of £121 was sent to St. Peter's Hospice.


Community Plan Update

There are four working groups analysing the information collected for the Community Plan and preparing the plan itself. The groups are Environment (as in the built environment and green spaces), Community Spirit, Traffic and Transportation, and Sustainability ("green" issues). Below are a few titbits from the work so far.


Our survey shows that litter, fly-tipping, and dog dirt is a problem more often than not and fly-tipping occurs in out-of-the-way places and quieter back roads.

  • ALL areas are subject to litter and dog dirt some of the time.
  • MOST respondents blame the younger generation for litter.
  • NO statistical evidence exists to support who is actually responsible.
  • MANY people dislike the amount of horse dung on our pavements.
  • Community Spirit

    The vast majority of people are happy living in the parish and appreciate its rural identity within the green belt. Over one-third of residents involve themselves in one or more local activities through participation in the many clubs and activities available. However, residents think there should be more amenities for young people.

    Traffic and Transportation

    Traffic is a significant concern for local residents.

  • 28% of people are concerned with the volume of traffic in the village centre.
  • Parking is an issue in Pucklechurch village centre and around the school.
  • There is strong support for community speed watch.
  • There are almost 100 near misses between motorised vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists every year.
  • There is a strong desire to make more use of bicycles, but a safe link to the Bristol-Bath cycle path is needed to make this a reality.
  • Sustainability

    This group is focused on how to reduce the local area's carbon footprint and make us more sustainable as a community. Some findings from our work so far include:

  • More local people are in favour of having a sustainable energy plant of some type in the local area than are against it.
  • Wind turbines are the best understood of the technologies and have the most support from local residents.
  • The fact that we have a landfill site within the parish means we already have a viable source of renewable energy locally.
  • There is both a demand for and a supply of locally produced food, but the two do not always meet up in the market.

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    World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

    Guides worldWe have 10 MILLION members, including all the girls and leaders in Pucklechurch, and we own four World Centres. I have just returned from a seminar at Our Cabana in Mexico, where I lived and worked with Guide Leaders from Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Israel and America. We all share the same ideals and lived and worked in harmony, which was a wonderful experience and made me very proud to belong to such a wonderful organisation.

    Additionally, we learned about Mexican customs and festivals, in particular the Day of the Dead. Aztec and Christian beliefs have become interwoven, and Halloween and All Saints’ Day are celebrated so very differently. Mexicans believe that the spirits of departed relatives make the long journey back to their homes on 1st November. To help sustain them, they set up altars elaborately decorated with marigolds and paper skeletons and also use them to decorate food, drink, clothes, shoes, etc.

    On Halloween Our Cabana arranged a visit to a very poor local community where several households opened their yards for us, and hundreds of locals, to view the shrines they had erected. To help them find their way, trails of marigold petals lead from the road to the altars. We were amazed at the contrast between the basic living conditions of the living and the lavishness of the altars to the dead.

    The next day was even more amazing. We went to the local cemetery, where we could hardly get in. First you had to pass all the stalls outside the gate selling food and drink, trying not to be frightened by two fellows setting off firecrackers, and jostle for position to get in. Once inside, it was like a fair day. Families brought chairs and picnics and sat around graves brightly decorated with masses of marigolds, orange and black Halloween paper streamers, and various other sparkly bits and pieces. A brash trumpet band struck up loudly in the centre, and a Mariachi band played on request at various graves.

    We wandered around marvelling at the higgledy-piggledy distribution of graves and their bright colours, comparing it with the uniformity now expected in our burial grounds. 

    The whole visit was a real eye-opener and one I would never have experienced had I not been a Girl Guide.

    Ros Abbott


    Happy Circle

    It does not seem six months ago that we had our first coach trip. Our last one to Clarks Village in Street will be Saturday, 6th December, 10am-5pm (children welcome). We still have a few seats left.

    We have already organised the trips for next year, so we'll publish them in the next Pucklechurch News and on the website at the beginning of 2009. We would like to thank everyone who supported us this year on our trips, both members and non-members, and look forward to next year.

    It is rumoured around the village that some husbands go on these trips to lose their wives. This is strongly denied by the organiser. It is true that ONE husband did lose his wife on a trip (she was found waiting for him outside the ladies). She was returned to her husband, however, who has now been warned that if this should happen again appropriate action will be taken!

    Liz Archibald



    Parish Council Chairman’s Notes

    In the last edition of Pucklechurch News, the front page had a 'Stop Press' item about a public meeting to hear views on the Government’s Regional Spatial Strategy, which proposes that 8,000 new homes be built on land between Pucklechurch and Shortwood. If you were unable to attend, you missed the discussion led by our local MP Steve Webb where many villagers gave compelling reasons why the policy was flawed. The role of the Parish Council on these occasions is to act as a facilitator to enable the wider community to express their views. It is also our role to encourage the active participation of local people by expressing views on the consultative website or by letters. I don’t know how many of you gave your views, but all who did will have their responses read and considered by the Government Office for the South West.

    Council were pleased to help the local Scout group with funding to help them provide a ramp to the Scout Hut door. We have also accepted quotations for the re-glazing of the bus shelter outside the Village Hall and a replacement of a panel on the shelter at Maple Walk.

    Early next year Council will have to make its budget for 2009/10. If your group are considering asking for a grant from the Council, it would be helpful if you could let us know as soon as possible. Once the budget has been set, we will have no additional resources to use and any late applications would have to be refused.

    This year has been a very busy for my councillor colleagues and also our dedicated Clerk Diane Bailey. To all, I wish a very happy Christmas and (despite the credit crunch) a happy New Year.

    Omar Beg, Chairman


    Produce Show

    The 2008 Produce Show organised by the Women's Institute and the Gardeners' Club took place on Saturday, 13th September. Show entries were slightly down this year, but we nevertheless had the usual high standard of exhibits and a good afternoon. Produce ShowSponsors provided prize money of £5 for all the first prize winners. We would like to thank the people and organisations who kindly sponsored these classes.

    Trophy Winners

    Sheridan Rendall:

    • Gardeners' Club Shield for Gardeners' Club member scoring most points in Show
    • George Alway Shield for scoring most points in vegetable classes
    • Lloyds Bank Trophy for scoring most points in flower classes
    • Community Association Trophy for scoring most points in Show

     Elizabeth Webb: President's Salver for parishioner scoring most points in Show

     Frieda Hopkins/Elizabeth Webb: Women's Institute members scoring most points in Show

    Mike Abbott: Rose & Crown Shield for best container of roses

    Joy Wolfe: Whittock Trophy for exhibitor scoring most points in the fruit classes

    Organisers have enough money in the bank to put on the Show next year. The date is Saturday, 12th September 2009.


    Revel AGM

    At the Revel AGM in October, Martin Smith gave the Revel Chair’s report on the year’s activitiesRevel AGM award. He stressed that Revel is not just about raising money. The committee feel that the main focus of Revel is to support community spirit. Certainly this has been the main objective over the many centuries Revel has been celebrated in Pucklechurch.

    Treasurer John Sexton gave the financial report. In summary, Revel was able to contribute over £8,500 to community activities this year with £6,759 being donated directly to community groups. 

    Now in its fourth year, the Bob Stone Memorial Award is given to the individual or organisation who has made a significant contribution to Revel. Nominations are made by community groups, who then vote for the winner. This year the award was presented to the Pucklechurch Women’s Institute.

    The main officers for the 2009 Revel Committee were elected:

    • Martin Smith (Chair)
    • John Sexton (Treasurer)
    • Angela Hallett (Secretary)
    • Elaine Stone (Minutes Secretary)
    • Derek Watts (Beer Festival Chair)
    • Mike Rawlings (Beer Festival Secretary).

    The presentation made by the chair and treasurer, a full list of the 2008-2009 planning committee and the donations made may be found here...


    Boyd Valley: a Safer & Stronger Community

    safer stronger
    Public Meeting

    Wednesday, 4th February, 7-9pm

    Marshfield Community Centre, Hayfield, Marshfield

    How could your neighbourhood be improved?
    What are your priorities for the area? What could be done better?

    You are invited to attend this meeting to discuss priorities for your local area.
    We need to hear from residents of the Boyd Valley about
    their concerns and any comments they have on where they live.

    Representatives from South Gloucestershire Council, Police, Fire Service,
    Parish Councils and key local organisations will be at the meeting,
    so please come along, have your say, and share your ideas.
    Everyone welcome.

    For further details about your local Safer & Stronger Community Group,
     please contact William Kwok at South Gloucestershire Council

    on 01454 863311 or email at

    Crime & Safety… Traffic & Transport… Health… Leisure & Recreation… Local Economy… Housing… Community Facilities… Local Environment



    scout logo beaversAt present we have a thriving Beaver Scout Colony, which is open to boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 8 years. We meet on Thursdays in the Scout Hut from 5.30-6.45pm, term time only and enjoy lots of different activities. Just recently we visited Yate Fire Station, Dyrham Park to look at wildlife, and Castle Quarry Activity Centre to use their climbing wall. These visits helped the Beaver Scouts to earn a badge and were also great fun! If you would like to know more about Beaver Scouts, please contact Sarah on 957 1266.

    scout logo cubsOn 13th October the Cubs took a trip to Tytherington near Thornbury. Here they took part in tunneling at the Castle Quarry Activity Centre. We have had a good time here before doing archery, so we knew we were in for a fun evening. We all arrived very excited, not knowing what to expect and got kitted up. Then Richard, the instructor, took us into the tunnels. Entering the dark passageways, we split into pairs and began to explore the maze of pipes. It was cold, dark and damp and slightly spooky with only a headlamp to guide us. We really enjoyed it and, after thanking Richard, went home for a much needed wash! The following week at the Scout Hut there was much talk about the previous week, and we plan to go again. If your son or daughter is between 8 and 10 and interested in joining Cubs, call Steve on 0787 213 7609.

    scout logo scoutsOur Scout Troop continues to offer exciting, adventurous activities for young people between the ages of 10½ and 14. Just recently we went walking on Dartmoor and climbing at Tytherington. Earlier in the year we spent a week at the Kielder Forest in Northumberland on our summer camp. It was a great base where we achieved our Level 1 RYA sailing qualifications. We also enjoyed archery and climbing and explored the area. We meet on Wednesdays from 7.15-9.00pm. To join Scouts, call Tony on 957 4119.

    The Group Executive

    scout logo fdlThe group AGM took place in September with huge support from the young Scouts. AGM meetings can be rather tedious, so this time we handed over the meeting to the youngsters, with great success. Parents were invited to watch presentations by each section and watch as awards were given out. Managing the night, Toby and Sarah kept us on time and Bethany raised funds by running a raffle. This was given to the NSPCC. It was fantastic to see the whole group working together and fun was had by all. The committee agreed to continue, but as always could do with further adult support. Improvements at the Scout Hut recently included a renewed access path from the car park sponsored by the Parish Council and new heating in the hut funded by Revel. As always, we welcome any offers of help, either financial or physical!

    And finally, if you did not know, the Scout Hut is available to hire for private small parties, with all income supporting our cause. To find out more about hiring the hut, call Gail on 937 2838.

    Dale Dennehy


    Pucklechurch Twinning Association

    PRINGY, October 2008

    Twinning members made the reciprocal 20th Anniversary visit to Pringy, and once again it was springtime in October with weather that we should have had in the summer! Thirty-nine members travelled by coach and overnight ferry and arrived in Pringy mid-morning on Saturday to the customary warm welcome from our French friends. Coffee over, the rest of the day was spent with our allocated hosts. Some families visited restaurants in the evening, whilst others were treated to a lengthy drive followed by dinner and cabaret and an early morning return to Pringy. Thankfully French clocks also went back that night!Pringy_04

    Sunday saw us gathering outside the mairie (town hall), with an introduction to the new mayor, Monsieur Eric Bonnomet, and the unveiling of a new plaque at Square Pucklechurch to commemorate the 20th anniversary of our twinning relationship. After the speeches, everyone gathered in Pringy's beautiful park to watch the release of pigeons as a sign of friendship and peace. A formal reception and the signing of the Twinning Charter in the Foyer Rural took up the rest of the afternoon.



    Monday should have involved a visit to Paris, but the autoroute was solid with traffic following accidents (yes, it happens there too!), so a quick change of plan saw some of the group visiting Fontainebleau and the rest visiting Vaux le Vicomte. The chateaus at both places are amongst the finest in France with magnificent gardens and photo opportunities.

    Monday evening involved what can only be described as the Pucklechurch-Pringy Follies. Both groups performed on the stage -- with female and male can-can dances, a rendition of Singing in the Rain, a cabaret performance and the mass singing of “twinning songs” written by the French and English. The piece de resistance was undoubtedly the French version of the can-can.Pringy_07

    On Tuesday we visited a Chablis vineyard and had a wine tasting. This was followed by a visit to Noyer-sur-Sereine, one of the most beautiful villages in France, dating from the 15th century and still surrounded by a wall with 16 towers.

    Wednesday and the return home came all too soon, as it always does.

    The above may be an account of the visit, but it does not go anywhere near capturing the experience. The trip was fun from start to finish. The arranged activities were vibrant with everyone joining in and having a thoroughly enjoyable time, with the youngsters totally involved with the adults and each other. If you want your children to lose inhibitions, gain confidence, and involve themselves in a different culture and language in a safe environment, come and join us!

    Twinning always encourages new members, and we have a full programme of social events throughout the year. If you are interested in finding out more, contact Val Broom (937 2025) or Ann Smith (937 2030).

    Click here for more photos

    Lyn Smith, President


    Pucklechurch W.I.

    A big thank you goes to all who voted for Pucklechurch W.I. to receive the Bob Stone Memorial Award from Revel. We hope to continue supporting Revel for years to come.

    At the September meeting, members were treated to an excellent display of needlework by our speaker, who had been apprenticed to the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court. Other recent topics in our programme have included learning how to keep honey bees and cheese making.

    A wet, dismal Saturday in October saw some members venture into Bristol for a conducted walk around 'Old Bristol'. The rain gradually stopped and we had a very interesting and informative walk.

    The Houses of Parliament were the venue for another outing. After a tour of the House, we were able to sit in the Gallery for Question Time. The following conversation took place between one of our members and a rather loud gentleman in the Gallery:

    W.I. Member: "Please, would you lower your voice as it is difficult to hear all that is being said."
    Gentleman: "I am an MP, madam."

    A hush descended, and we continued to listen to the afternoon's proceedings. On going to collect her handbag from security at the end of the session, the lady had another conversation:

    Security guard: "Are you that lady who asked Mr. X to keep his voice down?"
    W.I. Member: "Yes."
    Security guard: "Excellent! We have been wanting to do that for ages."

    Well done that lady!

    Another exciting day out was spent at Cheltenham Races, where members and friends had a flutter on the horses they fancied. Back on the coach, there was a collection for Children in Need.
    Our final outing this year will be to Waddesdon Manor to enjoy some Christmas music and dance followed by a Christmas supper.

    January marks the 72nd birthday of Pucklechurch W.I. The celebration will take place at the Siam Thai Restaurant in Chipping Sodbury on Wednesday, 21st January 2009.

    Norma Pratt, President


    Village Hall Makeover

    Following the call in September's issue for volunteers to work on the village hall makeover, a project team of six individuals has commenced work. Members of the team have substantial experience in planning, construction, facilities management, fundraising, project management, finance, business management, community engagement and environmental management. The team’s approach will ensure that the community are involved at key stages of project development. The first and most important stage is establishing what local people want in a new Community Centre. The project team would like your comments and ideas on the following draft vision:


    A community facility that:

  • Meets the expectations of existing and potential users
  • Complements the character of the village
  • Is the focal point of community life
  • Has a reputation for good financial, social and environmental performance
  • Residents of Pucklechurch Parish are proud of and use regularly
  • Your comments should, at this stage, focus solely on the draft vision. Please forward them using one of the following options by 29th December:

    Click here to send your comments.

    Written reply: placed in “Vision Returns Box” in the Post Office or newsagent

    The finalised vision will be prepared in light of your responses and will be published in January 2009. This will guide the development of three or four options that will achieve the vision.

    The first phase of the project is targeted to be completed in April/May when the option appraisals for the building, potential funding sources, future running and governance arrangements will be presented in a public exhibition. A period of community engagement will follow, after which a first phase report will be finalised and published. This will include project timescales for subsequent phases.

    The project team comprises Bob Hyde, Clive Thomas, Debbie Woods, John Sexton, Martin Hall, and Mike Rawlins.

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