Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Local man bags first place at national modelling exhibition

Posted on Sunday 22nd December 2019 at 8:38 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the Issigonis Shield being presented to Steve Briancourt.

Bradley Stoke resident Steve Briancourt shares the story of his success in the world of Meccano modelling.

If you’ve ever thought about resurrecting a hobby that you used to do in the distant past, don’t discard the idea, as what you enjoyed doing many years ago could once again fire that enthusiasm you had as a youth. It might be playing an instrument, or canoeing, or in my case – building models in Meccano. After many years of toil at work, and the pleasure of watching my family mature, it was time to think about winding down and getting back to more leisurely pastimes.

Anyone of a time before computers were a household essential will remember games and toys that were battery free. One of these was Meccano, but not the sort you see on sale now. No, this was good old fashioned ‘build anything’ Meccano. Not so much a toy, more of a challenge of the mind and fingers.

A few years ago I joined a local modelling club to recapture those days when I spent time doing hobby things to relieve the pressure of schoolwork. The difference now is that I have more time to spend on hobbies, and at last – more money. And so it was that in the run up to retirement I found myself buying old fashioned Meccano (there’s lots available, and run-of-the-mill stuff isn’t expensive) with the intention of joining the ranks of model engineers in building something from scratch. On the encouragement of others, I started to build something before retirement, splitting my limited leisure time between restoring old Meccano and building with it.

So here we are, over six years later, and I have completed my first entry into the world of Meccanomen. It is a 100th scale model of the American battleship the USS Missouri. That scale sounds quite small but a battleship is big, and even at this scale the model is 9 feet long and weighs 72kg. I chose to build this over the usual cranes and vehicles for a number of reasons including not having seen anything like it in Meccano before, and having the opportunity to include many functioning features for which Meccano excels. This example has operational main turrets, 10 smaller turrets, gun director radars, anchors, propellers and rudders, all remotely operated from a control box. The main turrets feature rotation, gun elevation and gun recoil.

More: Success at UK’s largest gathering of Meccano enthusiasts »

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Royal official opening for Almondsbury helibase

Posted on Thursday 28th November 2019 at 8:46 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a large group of attendees standing in front of the air ambulance.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester to officially open their new purpose-built emergency operations base in Almondsbury on Wednesday 25th September.

Moving to the new site, located alongside the M4/M5 motorway interchange, was a huge milestone for the life-saving charity, which celebrated its tenth birthday last year.

GWAAC’s Critical Care Team moved into their new home in October 2018, after a successful capital appeal raised £1.3 million needed to purchase the site and secure the future of the charity’s operations.

During his visit, His Royal Highness met a range of people who all made last year’s purchase possible, from charity staff and operational crew to supporters, trustees, patrons and volunteers.

Amongst some of the 80 guests were also members of the South Western Air Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and Babcock Mission Critical Services, who provide the charity’s helicopter, Helimed 65.

Photo of The Duke meeting former patient Ali Layard.

The Duke was given a tour of the new facilities, which culminated in the hangar, where he unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the official opening and met a former patient of GWAAC, Ali Layard and the specialist paramedic who attended to him, Pete Sadler.

The Duke gave a speech to guests after unveiling the plaque, saying:

“It’s great to see such a splendid building which has all the equipment you need to do such an important job. It’s clear to see how passionate everyone here is about the charity and all the important work that it does.”

More: Police helicopter also uses the Almondsbury base »

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Mama Bear’s Beth celebrates ten years service at childhood nursery in Bradley Stoke

Posted on Tuesday 26th November 2019 at 8:22 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Bethan Jones holding a child and standing next to the Mama Bear's character.

A nursery worker from Bradley Stoke has celebrated ten years of service at the same setting she attended herself as a child.

Bethan Jones is an Early Years educator at the Mama Bear’s Day Nursery and Pre-School at Baileys Court, Bradley Stoke where previously she attended as a pre-schooler.

Having celebrated her tenth anniversary with the family-run nursery group in its under-threes room, Bethan said she is now “part of the furniture”!

Bethan said:

“Whilst studying for my A-levels at school, I helped out at the nursery as bank staff and thoroughly enjoyed it, so naturally I wanted to pursue a childcare career.”

“When I was given the opportunity to work within the nursery as a full-time member of staff, I jumped at the chance and have since gained a Level 3 childcare diploma.

“In the past ten years I have cared for a great number of children, watching them grow and move on to school and new adventures. I really enjoy my job and can’t see myself doing anything else. Watching the children grow and develop into confident individuals is so rewarding.”

“I have such fond memories of coming here myself, along with my siblings, so it is great to now help build memories for more children coming here.”

The under-threes unit in which Bethan works provides a home-from-home environment for the children who attend the setting.

More: "Parents speak highly of Beth", says nursery manager »

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Huge growth for local Facebook group that supports families in need

Posted on Thursday 21st November 2019 at 9:44 pm by SH (Editor)

Cover image of the Mama’s Swaps & Freebies Bristol group on Facebook.

A Facebook group started by a local mum that allows people to make unwanted items available free of charge to families in need has grown its membership to more than 5,000 in less than two years.

The Mama’s Swaps & Freebies Bristol group was launched 18 months ago by Patchway resident Paige Josham with the intention of allowing a small group of her friends to give away or swap items such as clothing, toys and pushchairs.

Members of the group can advertise unwanted items which they are happy to give away for free. The items generally need to be collected, but in some cases (e.g. where the recipient is in great need and has no transport) the person offering or another group member may be able to deliver locally without charge, or for the cost of fuel only.

Attracting members from across Bristol and South Gloucestershire, the group soon became so popular that Paige found it necessary to bring in a team of friends and acquaintances to help run the group and she has been joined in the task by Kelsey Lee Booy, Amy Jane Bland and Daisy Louise Till.

The ethos of the group is that it exists to help anyone, regardless of background or situation, as Kelsey explained:

“We have gone on to help the homeless, parents in emergency refuge or fleeing domestic violence, single parents and working class families, as well as families that could be perceived as ‘comfortable’”

One member, Natalia, when asked about the group said:

“Babies grow so quickly and need so many things for such a short time. This group reduces the amount of plastic and clothing ending up in landfills! I have had perfect condition toys and clothing from the wonderful ladies here that would otherwise have gone in the rubbish, whilst I would have bought them new and then added my lot to the dump, too. I also love knowing that things I’m done with will be loved by others, whilst not having the guilt that they’ll be thrown out straight away. This group helps us protect the environment for our little ones, whilst growing and strengthening our local community.”

More: Stars of the Stokes award for Paige. #Live sale organised. »

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