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Friday, 30 January 2009

Emmanuel Chapel - aka Tardis

Emmanuel Chapel is a sort of cross between the Tardis ( small and not particularly noticeable on the outside - enormous and doing masses of stuff on the inside) and that story of the loaves and fishes. For anyone rusty on their Bible, it goes a bit like this:

Jesus has been teaching and everyone's been out on the mountain listening all day - 5000 odd have turned up. Sermon over, everyone realises they're a bit hungry, but not a bite to eat in sight. Except for one lad who's had the foresight to bring a picnic - not a lot, a couple of loaves and a few fishes. Jesus asks his disciples to collect up all the food there is amongst everyone and they come up with this paltry sum. Disciples are unimpressed and worried because everyone's really quite peckish now. " Don't worry" says Christ. "That'll be fine". He divides the loaves and fishes up, and hey-presto, everyone - all 5000 of them - have enough to eat. And there's even some left over.

With the limited source of funding that they appear to have, Emmanuel Chapel do a huge amount of work and manage to make it go a very long way. They are not only a church, but also a place for young people in the area to come in the evenings and meet friends, chat and get vital adult support and input in a relaxed environment. And, almost loaves and fishes like, they say they still manage to set aside some money to give to charities. Amazing. Just imagine what they could do with more...!

Photo shows Henbury Council Candidate, Chris Windows, me, and Nikky Furst who helps run Emmanuel Chapel.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Brailsford Brothers light up Christmas

......I confess, I hate taking down the Christmas decorations and have been known to be a bit of a misery about it.

So I was given a salutary lesson when I came across Lee and Paul Brailsford, (pictured) taking down their monumental and epic Christmas lights display in Oakbourne Road, Brentry, today. (For more - and better - photos, go to their website.)

They were cheerily dismantling their awesome Christmas display on a freezing cold day, and I was stunned when they told me how long it would take to get it all down ( quite some time) - and how long it took to put it all up ( they started in baking heat in October).

Their community spirit is inspiring. They pay for all the electric ( between £80-£100 per week) out of their own pockets, and out of their own expenses put on an opening display before Christmas, with mulled wine and snow machine, which attracts literally hundreds of people.

They told how it all started small, a few bits here and there for their mum, and then for the benefit of neighbours, and how it just grew and grew. Today, they are raising over £1,500 for charity. Here are two young men who grew up in the area, who, with a bit of imagination and a lot of dedication and generosity have contributed so much more than the £1,500 they raise for charity, simply bringing light and lights to their neighbourhood.

The brothers are looking for sponsorship for next year's display. If you can help, contact them on the number and email below: It'll be the best New Year's resolution you make.



Tel 07967534135

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Old Vic's new look...

Today, Jeremy Hunt, the Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport came to Bristol. There was no way he could come here and not visit The Bristol Old Vic - the country's oldest working theatre. He's picured here with Richard Eddy ( Leader of the Council Conservative Group, me, Nick Yarker, the Prospective MP for Bristol West, and Adeela Shafi, the Prospective MP for Bristol East.

The super-dynamic Dick Penny, who has more or less saved the historic theater from ruin, showed us round and described exactly how he was going to transform the Old Vic into a theater of the times.

Plans include exciting new developments for the space outside the theater and a redeveloped bar/cafe area that can become a cultural hub of Bristol.

It was inspiring and comforting to see a man with such a love of, and understanding of theater balancing the delicate demands of respect for the past with ambition for the future.