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New over fifties reading group at Downend Library

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 07/03/2014

The new reading group will offer a relaxed and friendly setting for the over fifties to get out of the house and meet others who enjoy stories and poetry. The free weekly sessions will offer a chance to share favourite authors, discover new writers and meet different people.

The group will be led by West Country writer and poet Rachel Bentham. Rachel will bring a different piece of writing each week, so there’s no need to read anything in advance.

The group first meets on Thursday 13 March, from 2pm to 3.30pm, and then every Thursday until 10 April. Following a short break, the reading group then meet again every Thursday from 24 April to 22 May.


During the evening of 13 March there will be a heritage talk by maritime historian Paul Barnett, which takes place at Downend Library at 7.30pm.

Paul will be conducting an illustrative talk that tells the fascinating story of the Purton Ship Graveyard, a rare heritage site that features a unique maritime collection and reminds us of a long since lost way of life around the River Severn.

The narrow bank between the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and the River Severn to the north of the Severn Railway Bridge has long been used as a graveyard for old barges and other vessels, with the aim of protecting the bank from erosion by the strong tidal currents.

Over 100 years after the first barge was laid to rest at the site, the Purton Ship Graveyard is the final resting place of some 81 vessels, and represents the largest collection of maritime artefacts on the foreshore of mainland Britain.

Tickets for the talk cost £2.70 and are available through


Downend Library is located at Buckingham Gardens, Downend, South Gloucestershire BS16 5TW

For more information contact the library service on 01454 868006 or visit

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