Letters December 2018

November 29 2018

A time of increased financial burden 

 CHRISTMAS is a time when families should be together, celebrating, yet the reality for lots of families of young cancer patients means ongoing treatment far from home, increasing financial burden and emotional pain.

This festive season, CLIC Sargent is calling on people in Fishponds to raise money for young cancer patients and their families and help them stay together this Christmas by doing their Christmas shopping at CLIC Sargent’s shop on Straits Parade.

CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people with cancer providing vital practical, emotional and financial support to help limit the damage causes beyond a young person’s health.

This Christmas, make your festive period as charitable as possible, and do your Christmas shopping with CLIC Sargent. As well as a wide range of generously donated items, there are also toys, Christmas gifts and cards, with all the profits going to help young cancer patients.  

The money raised can help CLIC Sargent to help pay for a family to stay in one of our ten Homes from Home which are located close to principal treatment centres around the UK. Our Homes from Home mean families can be together during treatment, something so vitally important, especially at Christmas time. 


Hannah Spawls

CLIC Sargent Fishponds shop manager 



Lucky to live in Fishponds

I FEEL lucky to live in Fishponds. With Vassals Park (Oldbury Court Estate) on the doorstep, its acres and acres of open space and woodland, leading down to the beautiful River Frome, its steep sides lined with trees, and in addition our little but lovely Fishponds Park and the adjacent St Mary’s churchyard, both with some wonderful specimen trees, there is always green space to escape to.

I am lucky, too, to live on a road which, a century ago, a far-sighted council planted with street trees, so that I look out of my front window on the spreading boughs of a mature London Plane. At this time of year, as the leaves thin and turn yellow, the low sun casts a beautiful dappled light on my living room walls.

But many of our streets are not so blessed. I look out of my back kitchen window on a different street. There are no trees and, with front gardens so tiny, there is little green at all. I imagine it planted with street trees – half-a dozen on either side would do. Small trees to match the scale of the street, something like the Rowan with its bright red winter berries, or a compact Field Maple with its autumn gold. They would cast shade in summer (remember the heatwave we lived through so recently?) and give us a sense of living in a more natural environment.

Council budgets are tight and Bristol has a very limited tree-planting programme. However, in the recent budget, the chancellor allocated £60m for planting trees, and perhaps there are ways of accessing some of this money, as well as finding other sources of funding, and persuading our council to allocate some more of its limited resources to street trees.

If you would like to help bring more street trees to Fishponds, please get in touch with me. Alone we can do little, but together we can pool ideas, skills and energy and make something happen.

Please email me in the first place on david.goldstein1@outlook.com.

I finish with a poem I wrote for a tree in Vassals Park. It shows something of what trees can teach us.


Talking to a tree


Ash, I come to you

Full of anguish and rage

Loneliness and grief

I sit amongst your roots

Lay my back against your trunk

And listen

You speak to me of deep-rootedness

Of being solid and enduring

Of surviving being tossed

By storm and gale

You speak to me of what remains

When all seems lost.

Ash, I feel a deep kinship

Between you and me

We are both ancient

And of this earth

Fed by the sun and rain

We are both Life

All else falls away

When under your shade

There is nothing to be afraid of

Nothing to need

Let us appreciate this brief moment

Let us appreciate these three-score-and-ten


David Goldstein