AVON is a four-letter word. And it’s not one I’m fond of!

Now, I need to declare an interest here – I’m a Somerset boy who took grave exception to parts of our county being “stolen” in 1974.

That is when there was a huge shake up of local government boundaries, creating this (unwelcome) new county, Avon. It essentially swallowed the county boroughs of Bristol and Bath and parts of our glorious county, including Weston-super-Mare, Portishead and Clevedon.

I never did get used to referring to Bath and Weston as being ‘in Avon’.

But here’s the thing… why does the name still exist, given the county was scrapped in 1996?

Why do we still have AVON and Somerset Police, AVON Fire and Rescue Service, the AVON Wildlife Trust?  There is no Avon any more – there never should have been in the first place.

When local government boundaries were re-drawn again in the late 90s I had hoped that would lead to “normal service being resumed” and we would get our county back. But no – instead it led to the creation of new local authorities called BANES and North Somerset.

But as far as I am concerned Somerset is Somerset – that includes Bath, Weston, Portishead et al.

I was driving back from Bristol airport the other day and came across a sign telling me I was entering North Somerset. No I wasn’t - as a geographic area, as an address, it doesn’t exist. I was in Somerset.

I remember my former BBC colleague Adam Thomas staging a one-man crusade to erase all evidence of Avon. It even featured in a BBC One documentary in 2006.

I know he remains bitterly disappointed that our county still isn’t “as one” in the eyes of the administrators. 

I wonder if those people living in Bath or Portishead or Clevedon regard themselves as Somerset residents? Somehow I suspect they do.

If you wish to contact Clinton, you can email him at clinton.rogers@countygazette.co.uk.