Friday, 20 October 2017

Around the WI

CAVERSHAM

THE March meeting was the culmination of the group’s year when we awarded the annual competition prize, reviewed the year’s activities (including the annual boat trip, celebratory afternoon tea and Christmas carols) and refreshed the committee members.

A new programme for the forthcoming year has now been issued and includes national and local speakers with subjects such as garden wildlife and the experiences of a fishmonger.

The annual boat trip has now been confirmed for Friday, June 16 and will include a strawberry cream tea.

The invitation is open to all interested ladies. If you would like to join us, please get in touch as places are limited.

Next month we will be learning about spinning (cloth, not exercise).

New members are very welcome to join our friendly group. We meet at Church House, Prospect Street, on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, which helps avoid childcare issues.

There is easy parking and a lift to the first floor meeting room. For more information, call our secretary Romayne Flight on 0118 947 5176.

COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, March 15 president Adrienne Rance was delighted to welcome so many members to our annual meeting.

The procedure started with the usual hearty singing of Jerusalem.

Fortunately, all the current committee members were happy to stand again and were duly re-elected as follows: president — Adrienne Rance; vice-chairman — Maureen Rothery; secretary — Barbara Lloyd; treasurer — Maureen Bunn; Anne Whittaker, Mary Lowe and Jean Stewart.

There was also the welcome addition of Nana Davis and Sheila Williams.

In recognition of all their hard work, Maureen Rothery presented gifts to Barbara, who has been our secretary for 22 years, Adrienne and Maureen.

Adrienne then held one of her highly entertaining quizzes, which caused much amusement and despairing sighs from members!

One question that the five teams all got right was the christian name of Theresa May’s husband (Philip).

More difficult questions included who owns the car with the number plate SCV1, work out a word from the anagram “eokslent” and what is a female turkey called? We laughed when one member shouted out “Mrs Turkey!” For the answers, see below.

Members generously donated money to fund toiletries for emergency patients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading

The date of the popular bridge drive has moved from October to Friday, March 16 2018.

Members enjoyed the wonderful selection of cakes prepared by Sue Griffiths and the sandwiches by Selina Avent.

While relaxing over tea, some members spoke for a few minutes about their wartime experiences.

Barbara Lloyd could only recall that her family moved out of London to Shere in Surrey and kept chickens in the garden.

Selina’s family lived in Enfield and her mother told her that she had refused to leave her father to be evacuated with Selina and her brother. Her father was not allowed to fight due to his deafness.

Like most members, Selina could remember the sirens, Anderson shelters, ration books and free school milk.

Gina Foden remembered that her dad was a bomber pilot who had learned to fly before the war. He was called up and in uniform by November 1939.

Her family lived in Oxford when hundreds of German bombers flew overhead to bomb Coventry on November 14, 1940.

Gina’s mother told her that her dad was lucky to survive the war due mainly to his previous flying experience.

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, April 19 at 2.30pm.

We will welcome the return of guest speaker Caroline Beard who will give a talk entitled “Two girls following in Lawrence’s footsteps in the Middle East in 1965.”

Visitors would be very welcome. Interested? Please call Selina Avent on 0118 940 3426 or email her at
selinaavent@gmail.com

Quiz answers: The Vatican; skeleton; hen.

GREYS

SEVENTEEN members met in Rotherfield Greys village hall on March 15, a wonderful spring day.

As always, the March meeting is our annual meeting, when we hear reports from our officers and our president and members of the committee are chosen by ballot, if necessary. It sounds rather boring but is actually anything but!

On this occasion we were joined by Pat Eades, our WI advisor from the Beechwood Group.

Pat has been a member of the WI since 1964 and is currently the president of Harpsden WI as well as on the board of trustees of the Oxfordshire Federation.

It is her duty to approve the reports and to oversee the ballots.

Treasurer Doreen Howells read the financial report for 2017.

Despite a sleepless night when she lost track of 10p, all was in order and the auditors had approved her report.

We all applauded enthusiastically, grateful that we didn’t have to lose sleep over 10p!

Secretary Janet Leaver, speaking on behalf of our hard-working committee, listed all the events, fund-raising and speakers we had enjoyed over the year.

We are a small group but everyone was impressed by such a full and successful calendar. We all felt proud — and optimistic.

Val Mundy, our president, summarised the past 12 months.

In addition to our monthly meetings, our lunch club and knit and natter club are both very popular, even if there is more natter than knit.

Val talked about the values of the WI: friendship and loyalty; support for fellow members through thick and thin and working together to create a successful WI. An inspiring address.

She added that in 2020 we would reach our centenary as a WI, so it was time to consider how we should celebrate.

We agreed to keep our present officers and expressed many thanks and appreciation for all their hard work.

Pat Eades talked about the problems, and advantages, of being a small WI. Each group has to have a president, a secretary and treasurer, backed up by a committee.

This we have, as well as a strong sense of identity. We all know and support each other and this friendliness is valued by us all.

The cup for winning the most monthly competitions was won by our president Val. A very popular winner.

It was in a happy and cheerful mood that we enjoyed a superb tea, provided by member Gill Dowling.

We will meet again on April 19 at 2.30pm when our speaker will be Alan Copeland, chairman of Whitchurch Camera Club.

He will talk about “The curiosities of the Chilterns”. Alan is a man fascinated by the odd, rare and unusual aspects of life in our region years ago, so this is a must for anyone interested in local heritage.

All visitors are welcome. Just turn up and join us. For more information, call (01491) 575836.

HAMBLEDEN

THE March meeting was held on Thursday, March 9.

Thirty members attended and we welcomed two visitors.

Our speaker was Frances Benton, who spoke about the history, origin and types of pearls and the age-old attraction of pearls.

Frances described her association with the Jabulani Project in South Africa, which looks after the street children of Durban who live in dire poverty.

All her net profits go directly to the charity, which she is clearly very passionate about.

Frances studied drama at university and her theatrical training was clearly evident in her very entertaining and engaging talk, which was thoroughly enjoyed by us all.

She then sold an array of pearl earrings, necklaces and brooches.

France estimated that just from that night’s sales, four children would be fed and go to school for a year.

Liz Jarvis gave the vote of thanks.

Teas were provided by Wendy Darbey, Wendy Vye and Suze Bateman.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 13 when our speaker will be Edwin Rye talking on the subject of “Plants for a small garden”.

For more information about our WI, please visit www.hambleden-wi.org

HARPSDEN

THIS is the season of annual meetings and Harpsden WI is no exception. There were around 40 members present and our president Pat Eades swiftly completed the monthly business after congratulating Mary Burton, Ruth Norman, Lindsay Watts and Rachel Evans on their birthdays in March.

The Oxfordshire Federation is offering the following:

l An evening’s entertainment with Isla St Clair in Didcot on July 14.

l A visit to farms in Salford, Chipping Norton and Great Rollright on May 3.

l A visit to Ware in Hertfordshire with a private visit to Knebworth House on June 15.

l A talk entitled “Quilt down the Nile” being given by Barbara Chainey in Enstone Parish Hall on May 23.

Such varied topics with surely something to interest everyone.

Shiplake WI has issued an invitation to join them on an outing to Wisley on June 5. The coach fare is £20.

Patricia Williams has organised a visit to the lovely Richmond Theatre to see a matinée performance of Abigail’s Party on April 26. The cost, including coach and theatre, is £32.50.

The annual meeting then commenced with Pam Hails presenting the financial report.

All seemed in good order and she was thanked for her meticulous work with the funds.

Our secretary Shirley Weyman presented the annual report detailing the year’s activities, which included the formation of the Beechwood Group, whose first meeting was in March, and the appointment of Pat Eades to the board of trustees of the Oxfordshire Federation.

Seven new members had joined during what had been an enjoyable and successful year in which the 75th birthday had been celebrated.

Pat thanked all her committee members for their hard work and diligence and presented retiring committee member Jasmine Weaver with a pot plant.

The new committee comprises Pat Eades (president), Shirley Weyman (secretary), Pam Hails (treasurer), Mary Burton, Ann Lincoln, Di Painter, Suzanna Rose, Patricia Williams and Judith Young.

A welcome was given to new member Jean Newman.

The monthly competitions winner for the year was Judith Young, with Pam Hails second and Di Painter third.

A total of 27 members had entered the competitions over the year.

Pat introduced the speaker, Dr Robert Treharne Jones, a well-known figure in the rowing world.

He has been commentating on rowing for 35 years and is the press and public relations officer for Leander Club in Henley.

His presentation was entitled “The Leander story to Rio 2016”.

The club is almost 200 years old, having been formed in 1818 when it was situated near Lambeth Bridge in London.

Some gentlemen rowed in a boat named The Leander and hence the name was taken.

The club moved to Putney in 1880 and thence to Henley in 1896.

No one seems to know why the Leander mascot is a hippo. Is it because a hippo is King of the River?

In 1908 the Olympic rowing events were held in Henley.

Sadly, 149 members of Leander were lost in the Second World War.

It is now amazing to think that between 1948 and 1984 only one Olympic rowing medal was won by a GB team.

At the Rio Olympics in 2016 the rowing lake was very close to the city centre and so was convenient for spectators.

Dr Treharne Jones was one of 67 members of the commentary team which covered all the rowing events.

The Team GB women’s eight won a silver medal and the men’s eight took gold. What a finish to a very successful Olympics.

Pam Hails gave a very warm vote of thanks to Robert for such an interesting talk.

The competition for “your favourite brooch” was won by Suzanna Rose, with Joan Hoyes second and Peggy Burchell third.

The next meeting will be on April 12 when Alan Stubbs’s topic will be “Lord Nuffield and Nuffield House”. The competition will be for a spring posy. The meeting commences at 2.30pm in Harpsden village hall and visitors will be given a very warm welcome.

HOT (HENLEY)

AT our March meeting we welcomed several guest visitors who we hope enjoyed our meeting and will see again next time.

Our president Katie spoke about plans for fund-raising and our programme for this year.

Our guest speaker was Tricia Byron-Scott who had come to chat to us about her business, Soap Garden, which she set up 18 months ago at her home in Henley, making soaps from entirely natural ingredients. Tricia explained to us the very intricate process of soap-making and had brought some of the tools of the trade to show us, including her (slightly mad scientist) white coat and goggles that are de rigueur in the soap-making world.

There seemed to be almost limitless possibilities of fragrances and Tricia had bought some soaps with her for us all to sample.

Everyone agreed they were gorgeous and they were quickly snapped up.

Our next meeting will be at King’s Arms Barn in Henley on April 21, when we will learn all about acupuncture.

New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information, please email hotwi2017@hotmail.com or just turn up and ask for Cheryl.

MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

“A PASSION for pearls”, the title of Frances Benton’s talk at our March meeting, seemed something of an understatement as she obviously has a long-standing love of her subject, having been introduced to pearls by her grandmother when she was very young.

Frances kept us both informed and entertained.

She had brought a wonderful selection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches for us to see and try on and she had many amusing anecdotes to tell.

All the profits made from her talks and jewellery-
making are given to a children’s project looking after the street children of Durban in South Africa.

Frances and her husband adopted a Zulu boy from the project and supported him through education.

He is now 23 and a lawyer in South Africa and studying to be a judge.

By the time Frances retires in 2018 she will have raised £50,000 for the orphanage.

Living in Burgundy, Frances travels for six months of the year, giving talks to various ladies’ societies and institutes.

She buys the pearls and strings them to her own designs. Pearls in a necklace should be strung with a knot between each one.

She first learned to string on silk in China many years ago and has used this technique ever since. It gives the necklace a smooth flow.

Frances said a WI member once asked her how many knots she had tied in the course of her necklace making and, after a little thought, she was able to answer: “A quarter of a million.”

He hobby involves a great deal of travelling. She usually visits pearl-producing countries including Japan and China and the Pacific islands so this limits her choice of holiday to those destinations.

She is surprised that her husband hasn’t worked out why she never chooses Italy!

She buys pearls wherever she can, which gives her optimum choice.

In the main the West doesn’t see the huge variety of pearls available. Buyers here normally choose beads that are round and white, pink or black, not realising the huge variation of shapes, sizes and colours available.

Frances therefore tends to buy the unusual. We were shown and allowed to handle a shank of pearls which contained every variation.

Pearls should be handled as the natural oils from the skin help them to shine.

They have been admired for 7,000 years and yet it is only in the last 50 that we have understood how molluscs produce them. It is still a very modern science. Humanity decided to put a man on the moon before gaining the knowledge of how pearls are formed.

There are three categories of pearls as follows:

Faux: false or fake, the largest group.

Cultured: in which a foreign body is introduced into the young oyster.

Real: those which have been made by the shellfish from the beginning. These are categorised as gemstones and are the only ones that contain animal matter. This category includes marine and fresh water pearls formed inside mussels.

Natural pearls are now very rare. Recently a real 1in-long teardrop pearl sold at auction in London for several hundred thousand pounds.

We were given a graphic and amusing description of the science behind the formation of pearls in the different mollusc shells as abalone, oyster and mussel were passed around for us to examine.

In 1875 the first person to examine the mineral deposits which form the natural pearls was Mr Mikimoto, a Japanese scientist, who realised that if a small piece of ground-down oyster shell was introduced into an oyster then the natural minerals surround it and thus a pearl is formed. This is how cultured pearls are produced.

The talk ended with a wonderful story, told to Frances by a very ancient Chinese lady, about a dragon who fell in love with a beautiful maiden.

He wept every evening after walking in her footsteps on the beach as he realised he could but admire her from afar.

Every tear he shed turned into a pearl and every morning she collected the beads and made them into necklaces — lucky girl!

Ticket day for the festival is April 22.

Please come and buy your bridge evening tickets.

On May 3 Hayley Scott will speak on “Forensic medicine in the Metropolitan Police” and on June 7 there will be an outing to Loseley Park, near Guildford.

Unfortunately, there was a printing error in our programme issued in January. The correct meeting dates for the later months of the year are: September 6, October 4, November 1, December 6 and January 3.

We look forward to welcoming visitors.

PEPPARD

OUR annual meeting was postponed until April and so we were delighted that Rolf Richardson brought forward the date of his visit and came to talk to us about “A drive round Australia” with excellent slides.

We hope that he will find time to come and talk to us again on a different subject.

All members donated towards an enjoyable tea and Audrey Bradley brought a spring flower arrangement.

The annual meeting will now take place at Peppard War Memorial Hall on April 12 at 2pm.

REMENHAM

OUR March gathering was our annual meeting.

We always meet for lunch before the business. The food was delicious and it was a very jolly occasion.

Our guest was Wendy Robinson, a WI advisor, who took us through the business part of the meeting. The treasurer’s report by Anne Francis showed we are in a healthy position financially.

Our secretary Enid Light and retiring president Judy Palmer gave really glowing reports. We may be small but we have had a very good year.

The members then had to vote on a new president and Daphne Austen was elected.

There was another vote for the committee, which mainly stays the same, with just one change as Judy Fraser has retired and Irene Parker has been elected.

Anne Francis told us about our summer outing, which is to Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere, Hampshire, with paintings by Stanley Spencer and then on to the Textile Museum in Newbury.

Our programme for the forthcoming year looks interesting and exciting and, of course, we are so fortunate to be able to hold our meetings in Remenham village hall.

We are holding a recruitment drive in Falaise Square, Henley, on April 26 from 10am to 2pm. Please come and see what we are about.

In meantime, we are looking forward to a great year ahead.

ROSEHILL

AT our March meeting, president Margaret Pyle welcomed all members and visitors present.

She said the afternoon would be completely taken up with business as this was the annual meeting and some important issues had to be discussed.

First she announced the dates for the Scrabble and book club meetings.

There were no suitable films showing for the cinema club but Barbara Wood would keep an eye on what was coming up.

No walks were taking place at the moment.

Next Margaret Seal gave out the birthday buttonholes.

Margaret then said that 2018 diaries could be ordered from next month at a price of £4.60.

We were advised that the Caversham group of WIs (of which Rosehill is a member) is to hold its annual meeting at Caversham Heights Methodist Church hall on Wednesday, May 24 at 7.30pm.

Philippa Bilton will be speaking about the Suffragette movement and Rosehill WI will be the host group. Tickets cost £5.

We then came to the main business of the afternoon, namely the annual meeting.

Apologies had been received from Elizabeth Hutton and Arlene Riley.

Secretary Mary Robinson gave the annual report and reminded us of the various speakers and outings we had had over the year.

She also told us that we continued to support the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

The knitters had produced 41 twiddlemuffs for patients with dementia as well as 106 hats, 33 cardigans and 40 blankets for Buscot Ward (babies) and 315 emergency packs.

A big thank-you to all the contributors.

Treasurer Judith Sharp gave her annual report, saying that our finances were in good order.

She also told us that we had made a marvellous 60p interest on our savings account!

President Margaret Pyle gave her annual report itemising the various tasks carried out by each member of the committee and thanked them for all their efforts.

She also thanked other members who had helped during the year.

Next came the business of announcing next year’s committee.

Margaret Pyle has agreed to be our president for a seventh year — thank you, Margaret.

Mary Robinson has agreed to continue as secretary and Judith Sharp as treasurer — thank you both.

Margaret Seal has resigned from the committee and the vice-presidency but will continue to do the birthday buttonholes.

Margaret was presented with a lovely orchid to thank her for her hard work over the years.

There were two other resignations from the committee, namely Betty Alban and Brenda Strong — thanks once again for your input.

Finally, Margaret ran through the programme of speakers for the year from June. It certainly promises to be both interesting and entertaining. Tea and biscuits were served before the raffle was drawn.

We meet at St Barnabas’s Church hall, Emmer Green, on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm.

SHIPLAKE

PRESIDENT Joan Jolley opened the March meeting with her usual warm welcome.

A special welcome went to two new members.

March is also our annual meeting and the afternoon is split into two.

Joan ran through the ordinary monthly business and items of interest in News & Views before updates on outings from Sue Lines.

That part being concluded, Joan opened the annual meeting.

Helen Robinson read out the WI by-laws.

Reports were given by Rosemary Appleby (treasurer), Barbara Rowlett (catering), Susan Lines (outings) and Joan Jolley (president).

The winner of the Elsie Southam Cup for the Associated Country Women of the World flower of the month competition was Lynn Boros, with Frances Lefebure second and Pauline Watkins third.

The winner of the Burge Cup for the monthly competition was also Lynn Boros with Pauline Watkins second and Viv Ellis third.

Joan presented both cups to Lynn.

The Grace Phillips Memorial Salver was awarded to Rachel Lloyd for her wonderful stitching of the new centenary banner.

Next year is our 90th birthday and, as plans are well advanced for the celebration, Joan said that all the committee members were eager to finalise them so they had agreed to carry on for the next year with the addition of new member Wendy Channel.

Joan thanked all the members of her committee for their support and hard work.

She also thanked everyone who had contributed to the magnificent running of our institute and all the members for their continued support of our WI.

Helen Robinson gave Joan our vote of thanks.

The annual meeting was then closed and a lovely tea followed, hosted this month by Rachel Lloyd and Pippa Hughes. This month’s ACWW flower of the month competition was won by Pauline Watkins with a spray of mimosa.

Ursula Davies won the monthly competition for a hand-made cupcake.

Meetings are held in Shiplake Memorial Hall every third Wednesday of the month (except August) at 2.30pm.

New members and visitors are always welcome. Please call the secretary on (01491) 410256 for details.

SONNING COMMON

OUR March meeting included our annual meeting.

Jenny Ward, our president, welcomed Pat Eades, Beechwood Group convener, who would act as teller for the election of the committee and president.

Jenny then introduced Pat to the 52 members and three visitors present.

Other business was kept to a minimum. This included reminders of coming trips and closing dates.

Information on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and Go Active Gold, the South Oxfordshire Lottery-funded exercise programme, including tai chi and Nordic walking, could be found on the information table.

Sue Hedges reminded everyone that there would be an October workshop and asked members for suggestions of what they would like to be included so that tutors could be researched where necessary.

The presentation of annual cups/trophies followed.

Our WI has a successful darts team who play and practise at the Hare & Hounds pub in Sonning Common twice a month.

This is organised by Jo Denslow who does a fantastic job of arranging the dates and keeping players informed. Jo informed everyone how much fun was had and that we were improving.

The darts awards were given as follows: 1st Jo Denslow; 2nd Lesley Davis; 3rd place Beverley Porteous.

Cups were presented by Jo and by Jenny Ward.

There was no outright winner for our monthly meeting competitions.

The flower of the month annual cup winner, with 26 points, was Jenny Ward. The runners-up were Jo Denslow with 25 points and Jenny Hermon with 23 points.

The competition has blossomed, with many more entries each month.

The annual meeting commenced with Anne Croxon, our treasurer, giving her financial report.

She reported that she had received a letter from the auditor, congratulating her on the excellent management of our accounts and that her accounts were a pleasure to audit.

We had received a letter from Henley MP John Howell, congratulating Sonning Common WI on our excellent fund-raising for local community projects.

Anne reported that our membership had increased in the last year, which will enable us to spend a little more when booking speakers.

There was a surplus, which was due to careful management of our funds and also our ongoing fund-raising.

This includes a raffle at each meeting, car boot sales, table top sales and a monthly coffee morning which is open to all and is well attended by members, the villagers of Sonning Common and surrounding areas and members of other local WIs. Sue Hedges, our secretary, read out a very comprehensive annual report which covered every aspect of a very busy 2016 for Sonning Common WI.

Highlights included our 60th birthday celebrations, the members’ workshop with exercise and crafts and forming our darts, Scrabble and craft groups.

She ended the report by saying: “We look forward to 2017-2018 and will strive to offer the opportunity to learn new skills and interests, friendship and inspiration.”

President Jenny Ward’s address followed.

She thanked Sue for her excellent annual report and everyone for all the support she had received during the year, especially the officers and committee who have worked so hard.

Jenny proposed the adoption of the annual report and this was approved by a show of hands.

Pat Eades congratulated Sonning Common WI on running a very successful Institute.

She was impressed with our friendliness, enthusiasm and growing membership.

Pat then proceeded to the election of the committee. All seven committee members stood again and two new nominations were received.

Their names were displayed and read out to the members and all were elected by a show of hands.

The committee for the 2017/18 year is: Jenny Ward (president), Sue Hedges, Anne Croxson, Carol Townhill, Alison Bishop, Jane Handley, Diane Soden, Jenny Hermon and Rosemary Greeley.

Accepting the role of president, Jenny Ward said she was looking forward to another year working alongside the newly elected committee and said how much she valued their support.

Alison Bishop gave a vote of thanks to Pat Eades for acting as teller and presented her with a floral gift.

Pat gave her thanks and said she would look forward to seeing us again soon. Refreshments and the raffle followed.

Beverley Porteous then entertained us with her usual challenging quiz which was much enjoyed by all. The winner was Chris Phillips.

Di Soden gave a vote of thanks to Beverley and gave her a floral gift.

The flower of the month competition was won jointly by Linda Webb and Jenny Hermon.

Our president Jenny closed the meeting by wishing everyone a safe journey home and saying she looked forward to seeing everyone again very soon.

STOKE ROW

IN common with most other WI groups, we held our annual meeting in March, consisting of reports of the year’s events and our accounts.

Many members were thanked for their contributions of time, cakes and support and for joining in enthusiastically with all we have on offer.

All of our extra groups, such as craft, books, swimming, lunches and games, are well supported and provide varied interests and times to suit a lot of our members.

Our speakers for the past year have been interesting and entertaining and membership numbers are continuing to increase so we must be doing something right! The present committee was re-elected by choice with one addition and Jeanette will continue as president for the coming year.

We continued the evening with our normal meeting of supper and a beetle drive, which was fun, if a little silly.

Cries of “beetle” rang out in the church as we laughed our competitive way through the games at speed.

We have an event planned to raise money towards new comfortable and portable chairs for the village hall, once the refurbishment has been completed.

On June 24, we will have a sale of bags and accessories with bags, scarves, hats, gloves, shoes and costume jewellery on offer in the village hall plus tea and cakes.

Everyone will be welcome to spend some money and take the opportunity to see the new facilities in the kitchen and rest of the hall.

Some members went to the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting at Oxford town hall, which presented some interesting speakers and all the usual business information among the other features of the day.

A lovely venue for a great day out.

More members went to the inaugural meeting of the new Beechwood Group of six WIs, held in Sonning Common.

This gave the opportunity to meet new and old friends, listen to a musical speaker (with piano) and chat over tea and cakes.

A local walk took in the daffodils, which this year look particularly lovely along the roadsides and front gardens.

A really nice Italian supper evening in Wallingford went down very well.

We look forward to receiving the new programme of meetings next month. We begin with a talk on the old Henley workhouse on the Townlands Memorial Hospital site in April.

WATLINGTON

WE held our annnual meeting last month and Kath Gomm was re-elected as president, along with most of the committee.

As Jenny Dyer had asked to step down after 12 years as treasurer and committee member, Kath asked the meeting if anyone would like to come on to the committee and fortunately one member agreed.

After the business for the evening, we had a beetle drive organised by Maggie Bruce. This proved to be a very noisy and manic game.

Six of our members enjoyed a day at Benson focusing on the First World War.

The day started with a talk in the morning given by Sir Hugo Brummer about his father’s experiences in the war.

The afternoon had a lighter note. Ruth Roger was a puppeteer involved with the production of War Horse.

She gave us an insight into how everything worked and what hard work it was being so involved with this project.

Our next meeting is on April 12 when Jaine McCormack will give us a talk on “My life in textiles”.

On May 10 we will have Roselle Hyman giving a talk on “The UK domestic ivory trade” and on June 14 we will have our garden party at Kath’s house.

If you would like to come and meet us, our meetings are held monthly in Watlington town hall at 7.30pm.

For more information, please call Kath Gomm on (01491) 612939.

WHITCHURCH HILL

MEMBERS gathered for their annual meeting in March.

There was a good attendance but apologies from several members who were unwell.

The normal business of the annual meeting was dealt with expeditiously.

The financial report showed we are in a sufficiently comfortable situation with a small surplus which we shall be able to donate when members decide what they would like to support.

Annual reports were given and adopted and our president for the past four years was voted in again for a further year, as were the existing members of the committee, plus one new member.

One member, Liz Gibson, was awarded a prize for attaining the highest number of points in our monthly competitions and she will enjoy the silver cup and a garden token.

Following the meeting, and a break for coffee and cake, we listened to our speaker Wendy Robinson, a WI member since 1986.

Her talk covered the formation of WI and its aims to be an educational organisation, non-party political and non-sectarian, before ending with an introduction to our own Denman College for those unfortunate enough to not have been there yet.

In mid-March we ran the art café coffee morning in Whitchurch, which was busy.

As a result, we shall be able to donate £250 to the Helen and Douglas House hospice for children and young adults.

At the beginning of April a number of members will enjoy a guided tour of the historic Reading Abbey, and later in April we shall be celebrating our 64th birthday with a buffet lunch followed by a musical entertainment.

In early May we shall be in Englefield for a garden walk followed by lunch.

Later in the month, Victoria Newton will talk to us about “Meddler in all things gardening” and will be deciding how to vote on the resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting.

Monthly meetings take place at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471, on the third Tuesday of the month, starting at 10am.

We have a wide variety of speakers and activities and visitors are welcome. For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.

WOODCOTE

ANN LARDEN welcomed the members to our annual meeting on March 15.

Jo Sutcliffe is leaving the committee after five years and we thank her for all her hard work on behalf of us all.

Carole Shelley-Allen will take her place on the committee and we thank her for coming forward.

The winner of the bloom of the month competition for the year was Shirley Bryant and the overall competition winner was Carole Shelley- Allen. They were both presented with vouchers.

After the annual meeting we had a beetle drive. Thank you to Gill Woods for organising this. Judy Williams and Sylvia Parr won the chocolate.

After all the excitement we had a lovely tea thanks to Audrey Hawthorne, Iris Lewis and Sylvia Atkinson.

The lunch club this month will be visiting the Perch and Pike in South Stoke.

We meet on the third Wednesday of the month in the village hall. Come and join the fun.

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