Archive for May, 2016

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Sporting Hero award for taekwondo student

Posted on Thursday 12th May 2016 at 11:19 pm by SH (Editor)

Phoebe Grandfield, a member of Stoke Gifford Taekwon-do.

Stoke Gifford Taekwondo (TKD) student Phoebe Grandfield, 19, has been awarded the Bristol Young Sporting Hero title for 2016.

Phoebe was nominated by her tutors at SGS College and her instructor at Stoke Gifford TKD, Miss Kerry Burridge.

She has been training in taekwondo since the age of 5 and has faced many difficulties and obstacles including severe epilepsy, autism, ADHD and learning difficulties. Despite all of these, Phoebe has gone on to achieve a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo as well as a place in the Team UK squad and a subsequent world bronze medal in 2014 and a European gold medal in 2015, in the power breaking discipline.

She was notified in February that she had made it through as a finalist and was then invited to the award evening that was held in the Wills Memorial Building in Bristol on Friday 1st April.

Phoebe was joined by her family, taekwondo instructor and friends from Stoke Gifford TKD.

The awards were preceded by a lovely dinner with over 200 other hopeful finalists, friends, family and celebrities.

Phoebe’s category was the fifth one to be announced and, as with the other nominees, a short video was shown beforehand. Filmed in February, this showed Miss Burridge talking about Phoebe’s achievements.

After all videos had been shown, it was Big Brother 2011 star Josie Gibson who announced and presented the award. Phoebe was both shocked and elated when her name was revealed as the winner!

A very excited Phoebe made her way to the stage to collect her award and give a brief speech, thanking the people who were important to her achieving so much and overcoming the obstacles that she faces.

More: Sophie praised for "high level of dedication and determination" »

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Local man’s fight to keep World War II pillbox

Posted on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 at 9:22 pm by Nikki Hallur

Brian Hawkins pictured beside the WWII pill box near Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge that he is fighting to save.

Local resident, Brian Hawkins, told us of his struggle to keep the World War II pillbox that is likely to be demolished under the council’s Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) plan. The pillbox is a brick structure that was constructed for defence purposes during the Second World War; there were two near the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, and now only one stands. The CPME is an extension plan for the new MetroBus scheme that would run from Parkway Station to Cribbs Causeway. This is separate from the MetroBus plan for Bradley Stoke Way. For the replacement of the railway bridge, the council has proposed six new road designs. Brian says they seem to be in favour of ‘option 5’, which involves creating four traffic lanes, and that would mean removing the pillbox. Brian is passionate and determined that an alternative needs to be sought, even if it means transferring the pillbox to another location.

“There’s a place for history and a place for progress,” says Brian, who is now in his seventies and recalls losing his father to the Second World War when Brian was only five years old. As for this particular pillbox, Brian has done extensive research into its history and affirms that “it is not just a pile of bricks: it has an identity”. It was constructed in 1940-41 and remains unprotected, but is referenced on the PastScape website as Monument Number 1427609. Brian has tried to get this war structure registered on the Historic England website, but is facing some challenge because the box is padlocked and cannot be viewed inside, and also because its partnering pillbox (referenced 1422943) has already been “removed”, according to the council. Brian has also appealed to his local MP, Jack Lopresti, who has written to the council on his behalf. Despite all his efforts, the council has a preference for the road plan that would remove the pillbox. South Gloucestershire Council will report to its councillors about the CPME public consultation on 4th May; this report should include a statement about the pillbox.

More: Pillbox "gives history, depth and value to the community" »

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Parkrun vote sparks national media frenzy

Posted on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 at 9:21 pm by SH (Editor)

A BBC reporter interviews a runner in Little Stoke Park on the morning of the cancelled parkrun on 16th April 2016.

A decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council to insist on a financial contribution from the organisers of a popular free weekly run held in Little Stoke Park sparked a media frenzy last month, with the story featuring for several days in national newspapers and on TV news bulletins.

One of hundreds of similar events that take place around the country at 9am every Saturday morning, Little Stoke parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5k run that is open to everyone and designed to be safe and easy to take part in.

In common with parkruns all around the country, the event is delivered entirely by local volunteers, with support from parkrun UK, a national not-for-profit organisation funded by sponsorship and grants.

The parish council originally decided to levy a charge of £1 per runner “to maintain park facilities in the future”, but this was never implemented and the demand later morphed into a requirement to make an (unspecified) financial contribution. It also suggested that parkrun could apply for a grant from a suitable body (such as South Gloucestershire Council) in order to provide a source for this contribution.

Local parkrun representatives said the organisation’s founding principles ruled out any compulsory charge being made on participants and forbade them from handling money, effectively ruling out a grant application.

Following a six month delay to allow a solution to be found, the parish council met on 12th April to make a decision on “the future of parkrun at Little Stoke Park”.

The prospect of the council becoming the first in the country to charge parkrun for use of a park attracted attention from the regional media and generated interest from around the country, fuelled by an online petition that had attracted 9,000 signatures by the time the meeting began.

After councillors decided, by six votes to four, to withdraw permission for the run after 28th May, should parkrun not apply for a grant, it quickly became a national story, attracting condemnation from sporting celebrities including Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes.

The Little Stoke parkrun on the following Saturday was cancelled by the organisers, who feared a mass protest, however, around 25 runners ignored the plea and were greeted by a BBC TV crew which broadcast interviews with them on their Breakfast Show.

More: Reactions on Twitter; media coverage »

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