July 2023: Letters

Can we have a new bench, please?

I HAVE been fortunate enough to have had a hip operation.

However I walk to Downend shops and really miss the bench around the tree outside Sainsbury’s.

If the wooden bench that was removed offended the council, could we have a metal bench that would allow the rain to drain away, and anything underneath be seen?

I have observed people waiting for a lift, sitting with their shopping, resting or indeed waiting for the buses on the low wall around the tree.

People cannot always afford the cost of a coffee while they take the weight off their feet.

Cafe Beehive seems to be allowed seats on the public pavement for their customers – why can’t we have a bench for weary walkers?

Carol Gould


Remembering our flower show

READING about John U’ren’s chemist shop in Downend (Voice, June) reminded me that in the second week of August each year, the right hand window was filled with the cups for the Downend Flower Show.

This was one of the highlights of the year. It started in 1943 as a horticultural and poultry show, as part of Dig for Victory, in the old Scout hall in what is now the Co-op car park.

One year some of the poultry got away, and the members were running around the shopping area catching them!

Before it moved to Christ Church hall, Kingswood council’s parks department would put a wonderful show of flowers on the stage.

The Lord Mayor of Kingswood would open the show: this was one of the biggest flower shows around.

Our members were involved in the Oldland Show and Bristol Flower Show on the Downs; they also ran a spring flower show for over 30 years, all now sadly gone.

Downend show carried on in the Baptist church and Assembly Hall in Salisbury Road, but owing to lack of interest and lockdown, Downend show finished.

Downend Horticultural Society still has talks on the second Thursday of the month in the Assembly Hall.

Roger Davis

Downend Horticultural Society

Bristol charity needs your help

FORMERLY known as Chernobyl Children’s LifeLine, our charity has spent 30 years providing Ukrainian and Belarusian children with respite holidays to the UK, allowing them a break from the radiation emitted by the world’s largest nuclear disaster in 1986.

However, at the outbreak of war in Ukraine, we were forced to immediately transfer all our activities to providing emergency supplies to affected Ukrainian people.

We have recently partnered with the local council in the Ukrainian village of Myrcha, around 60 miles north-west of Kyiv.

Myrcha and the surrounding area was occupied by Russian forces from February to May 2022. The village has been extensively bombed, shelled, and has been the location for open tank battles.

As Russian forces retreated, the school and kindergarten were looted of all equipment and the buildings damaged to the extent that they remain largely unusable.

Our charity is currently providing emergency equipment such as generators, LED lighting, and proper heating. We are also supplying a Wi-Fi hub, laptops and printers to help the 130 children’s education.

The next phase will be to restore the school buildings, and set up a psychological support unit to help the children to cope with the trauma of what they have experienced. 

We appreciate times are hard at the moment, but could you give up a couple of coffees or make some other small sacrifice to help the children of Myrcha?

This is the kind of project where small donations really can make a huge difference.

Your contributions will help bring light into children’s lives during these very dark times.

You can donate at justgiving.com/page/ccll-myrcha-ukraine

James Hyden

Vice-chair, Bristol Link,

CCLL – The Helping Hand For Ukraine 

Join our war on litter

THIS photo shows the amount of rubbish that Staple Hill & Mangotsfield ward councillors and two other volunteers picked up in a morning’s litter picking in quite a small area in Soundwell.

There was an extraordinary amount of street litter at the back of bushes around Portland Street.

If you’d like to volunteer to help make our neighbourhoods cleaner, the regular litter picks are advertised in advance on the Staple Hill and Mangotsfield Residents Facebook Page.

And to brighten up the area, regular gardening days in Staple Hill are also advertised on the page.

Michael Bell

Ward councillor, 

Staple Hill & Mangotsfield