Showing posts with label Brentry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brentry. Show all posts

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas Starts Here! Brailsfords light up Brentry

Fireworks go up, as the lights come on
 It's become more traditional than opening your advent calendar; Every year Lee and Paul, the now notorious Brailsford Brothers, light up Christmas for Brentry and Beyond.

Two years ago, they starred in a Channel 4 documentary on Britain's greatest Christmas Lights, and you can read about them this year in our very own Bristol Post.
every year, the Brailsford Bro's add more and more lights!

Very proud. My first Christmas Present. I'm going to wear it in the House of Commons. Shhh...
 I always tell the story of how I  came across Lee in his garage, fiddling around with wires and large snowmen one boiling hot September afternoon, some years ago now, already preparing for Christmas. 

Now the Brailsford Brothers hope to smash the £20,000 mark in raising money for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal.
Gromit's had a big year, this year. But still found time to support @brailsfordxmas

Each year, the spectacle gets bigger and better -this year it was almost hard to get to see the house for the crowds, and as the count-down went off, the fireworks went up. Amazing!  We are also now lucky to have some really brilliant local talent performing to get us all in the festive mood.

This year was a bit special for me- as Lee and Paul gave me my first Christmas present - my very own Brailsford Lights hoodie which I will wear with pride! I've been dared to wear it in the Chamber at the House of Commons. So shhh... watch this space... and don't tell the Speaker...

If you missed the lights - turn-on, don't worry! You can enjoy the festivities again on Christmas Eve, and the lights are on every day until January 3rd between 5-10pm.

You can also donate online at 

Or by texting rixy88 and £1, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Henna-bury Fun Day! (groan)

Henna-bury. Geddit, geddit!  ahem. I'll get my coat.
Amongst many of the highlights at Henbury Funday on Saturday was Pria's (sorry Pria, I have a feeling I've spelt your name wrong) free Henna Tattoos. She's training to do this professionally and she's already a master.

The community of Henbury and Brentry are indefatigable when it comes to putting on events to keep the community together, and it really makes all the difference. I was honoured to open the event and, for once, speechless as I was given flowers to say thank you for work that I've done. All I can say is that whatever I do is a fraction of what people like Rose, Cynthia, Carol and many, many others ( you all know who you are!) do day in, day out, with out fanfare or recognition to make our community a better place. Thank YOU!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Henbury Loop Line - it's real!

Much excitement as First GW puts on a special train along.. yes, the Henbury Loop Line! see, the route actually ALREADY exists...

Much excitement at the Community Rail Festival as a special train ran from Templemeads, to the Portbury Dock, along much of what would be a Henbury Loop Line, connecting a re-opened Henbury Station to the Severn Beach Line.
Disappointingly, current West of England Partnership Plans, whilst a real step forward in promoting plans for a Bristol Metro - with a Portishead Line, and enhanced local branch line services- stops short at the really vital point: Creating a circuit round the city by joining up the Henbury line with the Severn Beach Line. Current plans make Henbury a cul-de-sac turn-round station. Bonkers! It's like building a circuit board but not completing the last millimeter to get the current running through it.
Great campaign groups like Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance ( TfGB's Ian Crawford here with me in the pink shirt), and Friends of Suburban Bristol Rail  ( FOSBR -spot my yellow fosbr sticker!) and one-man-campaign-army Dave Wood have been superb in keeping the pressure up. I am going to be continuing to make the case for a Henbury Loop, not spur, until I'm blue in the face and everyone's completely bored of hearing about it... (I've already mystified a whole lot of non-Bristol-area MPs during Prime Minister's Questions by raising it...)
 But it's important because this will be the game-changer for Bristol Transport, this is the opportunity of a generation, and we cannot have a situation where we look back in 20 years and say, yet again "what on earth were they thinking?" 
For once, let's have long term vision, be ambitious about our city region, and get it right. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Brailsford Lights 2011 on national TV!

This year, the epic Brailsford Brothers' Christmas lights switch on in Henbury attracted the attention of national TV. And quite right too. I first met the brothers several years ago now, constructing complex Christmas lights arrangements in their Brentry garage on a baking hot day in September. What they do is amazing - at cost to themselves they put on a Christmas Lights display on their mum's house to rival the very best, raising thousands of pounds for Charity. The annual switch-on also kick-starts Christmas for many ( including me. It was my first mince-pie of the year) and lights up a dark time of year, in what are difficult times.

I have been so struck by the personal effort and sacrifice Lee and Paul have made to bring joy to their community, and to those children for whom their Childrens' Hospital appeal raises money. This is Big Society with bells on. ( Well, lots of lights, at least.)

You can watch a documentary about Paul and Lee Brailsford in mid-December on CH4... look out for it!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Okebourne Open Space at the heart of Brentry

It's not even a particularly nice day, but wandering past Okebourne Open Space, I came accross this group of residents having a community picnic.

It's a simply beautiful piece of space - with views right out over the estuary towards Wales, on a clearer day. And in the time I was there, children ( ahem, and a few adults) were skootering down the hill, climbing trees and generally running about expending energy in a way that they never would indoors, or even in their own garden.

But the madness is, the Council want to designate this piece of land as 'disposable' and surplus to requirement and build houses on it. This is all part of their Parks and Green Spaces strategy, which in theory sounds fine ( sell off useless land to enhance the good bits) but in practice is proving to be appalling.

There will be more about how to have your say over the Council's parks and green spaces strategy on my website and blog to come; But it's just such a dissappointment that a city like Bristol, which prides itself on being a 'Green City', cannot be more long-sited and see the long-term benefits of preserving space like this that builds ( if you want to use 'council-speak') ' community cohesion' and 'positive activities for young people'.

Mini the dog thinks the space should DEFINITELY be kept. "Hands off" she says to the Council. And she looks like she has a nasty bite...

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Brailsford Brothers Christmas Lights finally switched on!

I've got a feeling this isn't the last Christmassy themed post I'm going to write - and it's only the 1st December...

Brentry marked the beginning of advent with the now legendary switch-on of the Brailsford Brothers' Christmas Lights display. This blog has tracked their progress, from when I first came across Lee, taking down the lights one chilly January morning, to putting them back up again on a scorching September day, to the switch-on this evening. Getting anywhere near the house this evening was something of a challenge, due to the crowds of people who had assembled.

I had written to EDF Energy to ask whether they would be able to give the brothers a discount on their electricity bill. They pay for all the lights themselves, out of their own pocket, and this year with the credit crunch, it has been harder for them. Sadly, I was unable to get EDF to help, despite some trenchant pestering, but that didn't stop Lee and Paul from putting on a display bigger and better than ever before, this year.

Wallace and Gromit were there, along with Father Christmas, shaking buckets and raising money for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal for the Royal Hospital for Children - and the collecting boxes are out throughout the Christmas period for donations from passers-by who enjoy the lights display.

So go along and see what is perhaps Bristol's brightest house on Oakbourne Road, in Brentry. And check out their website at, HERE

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