Thursday, 16 August 2018

WI Roundup

WI Roundup

BENSON

MAY was “resolution month”.

We met on May 16 and, following the usual business and notices, we discussed the National Federation’s proposed resolution for the annual meeting in Cardiff, “Mental health matters”.

Our president started the discussion by relaying some of the facts surrounding this issue and the importance of our decision to support the resolution or not.

A short quiz highlighted some of the facts with some surprising answers.

Support for the resolution was carried and our local delegate informed.

Hopefully, the WI as a whole will go on to lobby the Government for more support for mental health.

Another light-hearted quiz followed our discussions along with some well-earned refreshments.

During May support was given to our local patient participation group by the dispensing of refreshments at its “cake and chat café”.

We also joined forces with Clifton Hampden and Burcot members to visit the St Tiggywinkles small animal hospital at Haddenham.

There was a trip to our local cinema.

For the next meeting on June 21 we will be holding our annual summer garden party so hopefully the sun will shine.

On June 28, the village will hold its referendum on its neighbourhood plan and our committee is urging all members to turn out and support this.

On July 18 we will be back in our usual place for an update on the work of the Benson patient participation group and what the future may hold for our local surgery.

Visitors are welcome. More details can be found on the WI’s website and in the Benson Bulletin.

CAVERSHAM

FOR our May meeting, we held our annual WI resolutions discussion.

The National Federation asked whether or not we support having “Mental health matters” as a resolution on which to campaign.

Much lively discussion occurred, with views given both for enabling the WI to lobby the Government, to act locally to enable more discussion and also for highlighting the extent of the discussions which are already taking place.

There certainly has been a distinct increase in the amount of national conversation about mental health in recent years.

We hosted the annual group meeting, where we joined with our neighbours — Chazey, Rosehill and Sonning Glebe WIs.

It was a motivational evening with Professor Chris Rhodes, who reminded us all that taking care of the earth (soil) is critical to our future.

It was great to be introduced to some of the local activities and groups which are encouraging us all to make the changes which can lead to the regeneration of our natural environment rather than just sustainability.

If you are interested, I would encourage you to look up what Transition Town Reading is doing.

In June we will meet at Church House as usual but we will also be running the kiosk café in Caversham Court Gardens over the second weekend (Thursday to Sunday, June 7 to 10). Maybe we will see you there.

Ladies are very welcome to visit our friendly group. We hold meetings at Church House, Prospect Street, Caversham, on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, which helps avoid childcare issues. There is usually easy parking and a lift to the first floor meeting room.

For more information, see https://tinyurl.com/hwzj6zy or search for “Caversham WI”.

For enquiries, please call our secretary Romayne Flight on 0118 947 5176.

CHAZEY

OUR May meeting took place on the first Wednesday afternoon of the month, the new time and day for our meetings.

We had a presentation from our secretary on the resolution put forward by the National Federation and then a vote was taken.

After the vote, tea and coffee were taken with some very nice cakes!

A survey was then conducted among our members in groups to help the committee plan future social events. There was lot of chat and laughter around the room.

The results will be presented to the members at our next meeting in July as June is our summer outing to Waterperry Gardens.

Members spent four days in May on duty at the tea kiosk in Caversham Court Gardens.

They came up trumps with lots of cakes and when the sun finally shone on the Sunday afternoon all the cakes were sold!

Coffee this month was at the Bel and Dragon in Reading and lunch at the Elephant in Pangbourne.

The group meeting was held at Caversham Heights Methodist Church hall on May 23, hosted by Caversham WI.

A very thought-provoking talk was given by Professor Chris Rhodes on the Earth’s soil.

Funds were generated from a raffle and a book stall.

If any ladies are interested in joining us, email chazeywi@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/pg/
cavershamheightswi

COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, April 18, president Adrienne Rance welcomed members and speaker Aldon Ferguson, whose talk was entitled “GI brides in the Second World War”.

The business included members being asked to sign up to the new general data protection regulations.

Diane Bush talked passionately about this year’s National Federation resolution: “Mental health matters”. The resolution was passed unanimously.

Aldon, a resident of Wargrave for 34 years, was brought up in Formby, Lancashire, just 20 miles from Burtonwood airfield, which was opened on January 1, 1940 as a maintenance and storage centre for British aircraft.

It was operated by No 37 RAF Maintenance Unit until June 1942, when the facility was transferred to the US Army Air Force.

By the end of the war 18,000 servicemen were stationed at Burtonwood. Aldon’s fourth book was on Burtonwood and attracted so much interest that he formed a reunion association and now organises annual reunions, which take place every year in America and every other year in Britain. Many of those who attend are GI brides.

He started by describing how the US joined the war after the unexpected attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and how civilian technicians from Texas first arrived wearing cowboy-style clothing, including boots, 10 gallon hats and waistcoats, being the first real Americans ever to be seen in England except on the cinema screen. The English thought that they were either cowboys or gangsters!

Immediately after war broke out, the US 8th Air Force was established and based in Britain.

Its headquarters were at Wycombe Abbey Girls’ School in High Wycombe, which meant the girls were given two weeks to vacate.

On the first night the newly arrived GIs found bell pushes in the dormitories with the note reading: “If a mistress is required in the night press this bell”. The results are obvious!

The Americans required more than 200 air bases for their aircraft and ultimately occupied more than 350 bases of all types in the UK plus many tented camps such as the one at Highfield Park in Wargrave.

The current road layout shows us the camp layout from the Forties.

The liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were painted grey (and so became known as the “Grey Ghosts”) and were used to transport US troops to the UK. Each trip carried 16,000 men.

With many British men away fighting the war, the young, attractive, uniformed American men, who were not allowed to wear civilian clothes, soon had the girls running to them and wanting to enjoy their company and to learn how to jitterbug.

Romances soon blossomed and the first of the 75,000 GI marriages happened within a few months of the Americans’ arrival.

They frequented the Mecca dance halls and pubs and were encouraged to adopt a British family to whom they could take food and gifts not normally available to the British civilians.

This way many of the younger girls met American airmen and soldiers and romances started.

The authorities did their best to provide facilities for the visiting Americans in their free time.

American Red Cross clubs were set up all over Britain to provide some home-type facilities for them.

Many of the staff were British ladies and again this led to many romances.

In many cases children were born during the war and the couples had to find accommodation, although the US servicemen normally had to be available on their respective bases at all times. No married accommodation was provided.

When the war was over, the men were quickly shipped home without their wives who had to wait until 1946 before they were allowed to join their husbands.

Many of them gathered in a camp near Southampton and many travelled across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth to New York. The journey took five days.

The brides had never seen their husbands in civilian clothing and after a gap of as much as a year sometimes had difficulty in recognising their own husbands who came to collect them and take them to meet their new American relations.

Initially, many brides were homesick. However, once they became acclimatised and got to know their new families, most settled down to have more children and ultimately grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Aldon illustrated his talk with many fascinating photos and personal stories. One photo taken at Christmas 1944 showed children at a party organised by the GIs who gave them toy jeeps that they had made.

Over the past 60 years many couples have returned to the UK for reunions to celebrate their wedding anniversaries.

Such was the depth of camaraderie that some reunions were attended by 300 to 400 people but with passing years the numbers have dwindled.

However, as the base remained open until 1964, younger servicemen took the place of their wartime colleagues.

The old saying “Overpaid, over-sexed and over here” was true as the Americans certainly made their presence felt in Britain. Without them we probably would not have won the war.

They made so many friends here, which continues in the special relationship that Britain enjoys with the US today.

The next meeting will be our garden party at Diane Bush’s home, Gibstroude Farm, on Wednesday, June 20 at 2.30pm.

GREYS

WE were in for a treat this month as we had managed to book the acclaimed novelist Alan Roberts, professor of English literature at Royal Holloway College, University of London.

But first we were welcomed by president Val who gave flowers to our two birthday girls, Merryl and Joy, and wished them both “Happy Birthday”.

A number of members were, sadly, absent due to a variety of health issues but all were on the mend. These included our secretary Janet, so there were no minutes. However, there was an excellent report by Alma of our last meeting in the Henley Standard.

Members were given a sheet about the new general data protection regulations and Merryl explained how these affected Greys WI in that members’ personal data was kept and shared with the National Federation.

Millicent and Val had enjoyed their visit to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival — a long day but well worth it.

Members voted unanimously in favour of the National Federation’s resolution “Mental health matters”. Our delegate at the annual meeting would be informed of our decision.

Doreen and Millicent were congratulated on negotiating with officialdom to obtain the Gift Aid due to Greys WI.

At our next meeting the arrangements will be finalised for our July outing to the John Lewis Heritage Centre followed by tea at the Odney Club.

The lunch club will meet at the Unicorn pub in Peppard on on Thursday, June 28.

It was then time to introduce our speaker, the author of numerous science fiction novels, parodies, short stories and, recently, a historical novel, The Black Prince.

Prof Roberts’s first love is science fiction but all genres are covered in his creative writing classes.

Science fiction has fascinated him since he was a small boy and he has published 19 stories so far, imagining a different world and how that impinges on his characters, what conflicts they encounter and whether or not these can be resolved.

Prof Roberts pointed out that researching the feel of England in Edward III’s time for The Black Prince was as fascinating as his work on science fiction.

That period in history is alien to us living in the 21st century. Prof Roberts admires the novels of Hilary Mantel, who is able to “get into the heads” of her historical characters for readers to understand what it was like to live in those times.

Stories fit into seven categories but in every case there must be conflict and characters must have obstacles to overcome or be overcome by obstacles.

Prof Roberts reminded us of the excitement of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon against the odds but then a better story came along, Star Wars, and the space programme stopped. We had lost interest.

Even today, discussion continues as to why Shakespeare’s Hamlet pretended to be mad when he had no need to. We are still interested.

Sci-fi readers are a small tight-knit community, so Prof Roberts still keeps the “day job”, although he’d like to earn enough for a solid gold house!

Sci-fi films are popular but the stories are built on images, not words.

Today, crime is the most sought-after genre followed by historical and romance but not literary fiction or short stories.

Writing is a craft and Prof Roberts doesn’t believe in “writer’s block” as other craftspeople, such as carpenters, don’t suffer the equivalent.

His advice is “First, get it written; then get it right!” A lively discussion followed his talk before we were treated to a delicious tea provided by Alma and Merryl while some members explained their choice of favourite book.

There’s another treat to look forward to on Wednesday, June 20, when our old friend Alan Copeland will be back by popular demand withj a second helping of “Curiosities of the Chilterns”.

He uses digital photographs, sound effects and music to conjure up a fascinating spirit of place.

Don’t stay home, come and join our friendly group. We’ll be waiting to welcome you at Rotherfield Greys village hall at 2.30pm.

HAMBLEDEN

AT our May meeting we discussed the WI resolution.

This year we debated in groups the subject “Mental health matters”. The discussions were led by Liz Jarvis and Sally-Ann Roberts.

The majority vote was to support the resolution.

We held our annual Wilson Cup competition for a flower arrangement in a tea cup.

There were many entries, all displaying beautiful spring flowers.

Christine Hatfield, last year’s winner, judged the competition and declared Louise Andrews the winner.

Teas were provided by Jo Tilbury, Christine Hatfield and Helen Balkwell.

We again had a busy time in May. Activities included a trip to Luxters and a felting workshop where we learnt the art of wet felting and had great fun playing with the wonderful coloured wool that we could mix to create our pieces.

Our next meeting will be held at the wildflower meadow in Christmas Common on Thursday, June 14 from 6pm to 8pm. Please note the time.

Hambleden WI has more than 60 members. In addition to our monthly meetings, members are also involved in our drama group, book club, art group and the Hambleden Hikers. Groups generally get together once a month.

We welcome new members. For more information and to see our programme for 2018, please visit www.hambleden-wi.org

HARPSDEN

PRESIDENT Pat Eades welcomed members to our meeting on May 9, a beautiful, sunny day.

News & Views plus various notices were brought to our attention.

An outing to Kelmscott Manor had been arranged, as had a Sunday lunch at the Shoulder of Mutton.

Our speaker was meant to be Ruba Asajahani talking about marketing Denman College but, unfortunately, she was unable to attend.

However, the main purpose of the day was to discuss and vote for the resolution to be considered by the National Federation at its annual meeting.

The resolution called for recognition of the importance of parity between mental health and physical health and to make it acceptable to talk about mental health issues and to lobby the Government for better support of sufferers.

Suzanna Rose, a member of our committee, has vast experience of work in this important area.

She gave us an excellent presentation concerning the problems and challenges that the NHS faces regarding mental health.

She invited the audience to talk about their own experiences and to take part in an exercise to prioritise how we would spend a fictional £100million to allocate across eight major NHS areas of illness.

Our members voted overwhelmingly for the resolution.

This was followed by a flower quiz and then we enjoyed delicious cake and tea.

The competition was for an advertisement and was won by Joan Hoyes.

Our next meeting will be held at Harpsden village hall on June 13 when Martin Sheldrake will talk about Toad Hall garden centre.

HOT (HENLEY-ON-THAMES)

WE had another great (if a bit hot) day at the Henley May Fayre this year.

Our stall did very well and we would like to say a big thank-you to all who contributed and came along to help on the stand.

It was maybe a day for ice cream and lollies but our fabulous home-made goodies still sold like hot cakes!

We were delighted to have some new guests and members at our May meeting.

Our president Katie Woodiss-Field gave a warm welcome to everyone and covered the business.

She then introduced Pat Eades, our WI advisor, who had kindly agreed to present the resolutions and take our vote.

Katie then introduced Steph Maxwell of Steph’s Divas and Dudes Dance Academy who had come to teach us some Bollywood dancing.

Steph is one of only a very few dance instructors trained to teach Just Jhoom, a Bollywood-inspired dance/fitness activity and Bhangra classes.

Pretty quickly she had us all up stepping, swaying and learning moves such as lotus, bees, fan and pulling ribbons to some very funky Indian dance music!

It was great fun and everybody did really well — Bollywood here we come... well, maybe just a few more practices first!

Our next meeting will be at Sacred Heart Church hall in Walton Avenue, Henley, on June 15 at 7.30pm.

Please come along and join us or, for more information, please send an email to hotwi2017@hotmail.com

MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

ON May 2, our guest speaker Dr Samantha Philo-Gil gave an engaging account of the formation and work of the Women’s Auxiliary Service during the First World War.

At the end of 1916 England was experiencing a manpower shortage due to heavy losses in the Battle of the Somme.

The War Office wrote to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig to ascertain his views on recruiting women to work alongside the army in France.

Haig was happy in principle and steps were already in place to determine how many women could be recruited to work for the director general of the Department of Transportation, Sir Eric Geddes.

He was more cautious and said he didn’t think women could stand the long hours that men could work or the times of extreme pressure. He did, however, request 96 women to work as clerks in his department.

Back in London, Sir Neville McCready, the adjutant general at the War Office, convened a number of meetings to determine how the women employed by the army could be organised.

Florence Leach, of the Women’s Legion, stated that her women were anxious to be under the discipline of the army and to take the place of soldiers.

In 1917 General Auckland Geddes, director of recruitment at the War Office, contacted his sister Dr Alexandra Mary Chalmers Watson, known as Mona, to ask her if she would head up the scheme if it was agreed by the Secretary of State.

Mona had family commitments and did not want to work from France, so a deputy was appointed.

Dr Louise Garrett Anderson was Mona’s cousin and she introduced a friend, Dr Helen Gwyn-Vaughan, to help with the organisation.

In February 1917 the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was the subject of discussions on military status, rank and pay.

A compromise was reached about rank. As the women could not be enlisted into the army as they were unable to receive the King’s Commission, they were known as officials and workers and were enlisted, not enrolled.

The object of the corps was to free up men to fight, so no woman could be employed unless a man was released.

Women had to sign on for the duration of the war or a year, whichever was the longest, and had to be British citizens between 20 and 40 years old.

A total of 16,000 women applied to join.

The first women were sent for training to several depots around the country.

The uniform was not popular as the hemlines were only 9in above the floor and were cumbersome when working in muddy fields and the hats were unflattering.

The corps was not popular. Some felt the women were changing the order of society by challenging the traditional gender roles and they were becoming too masculine by donning an army uniform.

As it was primarily a working class corps, there was some objection from the middle classes and, finally, many questioned the women’s morals wanting to go to France to join the men.

Recruitment took place from all members of the Commonwealth.

As this was a recruitment drive aimed at the working classes, many women saw this as an escape from living at home with harsh working conditions and as an adventure instead.

The women served in northern France in the initial eight camps. They found the conditions hard and camps rudimentary.

They held driving, clerical, technical and domestic roles and attended the burials of soldiers. They laid wreaths for the relatives and also tended the graves.

The women mixed socially with the soldiers which perpetrated rumours at home about immoral conduct.

This led to a report by the commissioner for labour which was investigated on the ground in France and the rumours proved unfounded.

As an appreciation of the valuable and dangerous work done by the women, the corps was renamed the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps with the Queen as commandant-in-chief.

The corps was finally disbanded in 1920 by which time 57,000 women had served since its inception.

The vote of thanks was given by Glynis Gothard.

The next meeting will be on July 4 when Tracy Blaney will give a talk called “The age old craft of millinery’ with tips on revamping your old favourite headwear.

REMENHAM

OUR president Daphne Austen was in the chair and went through the business.

There were 15 members present and a new one was welcomed.

Daphne told us that our contribution to the Berkshire WI book had been completed and been handed in.

Irene reported on the meeting entitled “Tea with Mrs Beeton’s sister”.

It was a fascinating story of Mrs Beeton’s life, more than her book on Household Management And Recipes, followed by a cream tea.

As Berkshire has its centenary next year, members have been asked to do 100 things.

Remenham has decided to make 100 bonnets for special care babies at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and 100 courtesy packs for patients arriving at accident and emergency with nothing.

It was also proposed that we should design 100 greetings cards.

We then discussed the proposed resolution to be put forward at the National Federation’s annual meeting in June — “Mental health matters are as important as physical”.

There is very little care on offer, although it does depend on the area. Some areas give only one per cent of their health budget to mental health. We are all urged to lobby the Government for more help. After much discussion, a vote was taken and all were in favour.

Daphne then introduced our speaker Annabel Hill, a local lady who fund-raises for children’s charities.

Her talk was entitled “Amazing times at Camp Mohawk”.

This facility is situated in five acres of ancient woodland at Crazies Hill.

It was started in 1978 by some boy scouts from London who had camped there.

After that people arrived from everywhere, some with children with Down’s symdrome, Aspergers or autism. and some very disabled in wheelchairs.

The camp has a secure manned entrance and is safely fenced, so it is a completely safe environment.

It has a heated outdoor pool, an adventure playground and many picnic areas — there is no catering so all bring picnics.

Most of the buildings are old shipping containers. There is a sensory garden, indoor rooms and a soft room.

Camp Mohawk is open all year round and fully booked in school holidays. It also has an after-school club.

There are 500 registered families. These are the ones that particularly benefit as there is no judgement and all members often find friends for life. For them, it is so good to talk over their problems together and relax with a cup of tea.

There was a lively discussion after the talk and we were all so pleased that our charitable giving has gone to the camp.

Irene gave Annabel a profound vote of thanks.

After an excellent tea provided by June Shelton and Irene and a clever quiz, the meeting closed.

SHIPLAKE

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

Pam Hudgell told us about a free talk she had attended at Townlands Memorial Hospital.

Organised by the Bell Surgery’s patient participation group, it was about stroke treatment.

Top consultants from the Royal Berkshire and John Radcliffe hospitals told the 40-strong audience about different types of strokes, risk factors and measures we can take to prevent a stroke.

They also talked about thrombectomy, the latest treatment.

Pam said that it was a very interesting two hours and well worth going to hear.

Other free talks scheduled are on gastroenterology (June 19), ophthalmology (September 18) and the Townlands rapid access care unit team (December 4). Outings secretary Sue Lines gave an update on forthcoming events and suggestions for future outings on which to ponder.

Every year members have the chance to put forward issues as resolutions that they want to see the National Federation campaign on.

This year 68 issues were submitted in February. These were narrowed down to five by federation representatives and members then had the final say as to what issue went through to the annual meeting.

Apparently more than 100,000 ladies voted this year and the issue chosen was “Mental health matters”.

At the May meeting members discussed and voted on whether or not to accept the resolution, their decision then going forward to the annual meeting.

Shiplake members voted unanimously to accept the resolution.

A lovely tea was served by hostesses Irene Crawford and Wendy Channell.

The Associated Country Women of the World flower of the month competition was won by Helen Robinson with a vibrant red peony.

Lynn Boros and Viv Ellis were joint winners of the competition for “a flower arrangement in a recycled container”.

Our meetings are held at Shiplake Memorial Hall every third Wednesday of the month (except August) at 2.30pm. New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information, please call the secretary on (01491) 410256.

SONNING COMMON

MAY was another busy month for members who have hosted the village coffee morning or met for the monthly Scrabble, craft and darts groups.

Members have served teas at the Age UK film club, the Sonning Common clean-up day and at the Caversham Court Gardens tea kiosk which raises funds for the Ways and Means Trust in Peppard.

At the business meeting Chris Brooks and Sue Abbot of Sonning Common First Responders demonstrated the use of a local public defibrillator and explained in what circumstances these devices could be useful.

Members welcomed this information and felt more confident to use one should the need arise.

Sue and Chris reminded members of the benefit of having a “Message in a Bottle” in the refrigerator listing personal and medical details, including prescription drugs, for the emergency services.

The Lions Club International bottles were given out to members who needed them.

The business of the meeting followed.

Members were invited to enter the draw for a bursary of £300 towards the cost of a course at Denman College.

The draw will take place at the members’ meeting on June 21.

Jenny Ward introduced the National Federation’s resolutions for the annual meeting which, if passed, become campaigns. She then explained the voting procedure.

Jenny introduced this year’s resolution “Mental health matters” with examples focusing on making it acceptable to talk about mental health. Members split into small groups to discuss funding for mental health and a spokeswoman from each group gave feedback to the meeting.

The members voted unanimously in favour of the resolution and Jenny, as our delegate, would vote on their behalf at the meeting at Cardiff.

The competition for “A wedding photograph” was very topical with the recent royal wedding as well as being popular with a record number of entries.

The winning entry was of a member’s grandparents’ wedding in 1908. Second place went to one of the many photographs from the Sixties and third was a romantic beach wedding of a member’s grandson in Cuba.

There was a splendid display of spring flowers for the flower of the month competition, including lilacs, alliums and beautiful roses.

An iris was awarded first place, a rose second and a peony and a clematis joint third.

The next meeting will be held at Sonning Common village hall on June 21 at 7.30pm when Biff Raven- Hill will give a talk entitled “The wartime housewife”. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 0118 972 3678.

SOUTH STOKE

ON Tuesday, May 8, a beautiful, sunny afternoon, members met in the village hall.

Our president Rita Mann opened the meeting by welcoming 28 members and one visitor.

Each month cards and small presents are distributed to anyone with a birthday during the month.

May is the annual resolutions meeting, which covers issues that members feel directly impact our lives.

This year the topic was “Mental health matters”.

One in four of the population will at some time experience some form of mental health problem but only 11 per cent of the NHS budget is allocated to providing care.

Just over a tenth of the budget for a quarter of the population does not sound very fair. Patients wait weeks and months for treatment.

The resolution called on the Government to provide equal access and care in the NHS for all patients with mental health problems.

After a short discussion, the resolution was passed unanimously. It will now be debated at the National Federation’s meeting in June.

This is when the real campaigning and lobbying will start.

We as a group have a huge influence on government. Over the years many resolutions have been acted upon by serving governments and the WI can be very proud of its role in campaigning for change.

The issues have included equal pay, breast cancer screening, domestic violence and smoking in public places.

When the programme for the coming year is put together each year, great thought is put into the planning of interesting, informative and occasionally amusing speakers but social time at meetings is also something that is included.

Members’ interaction with each other, making new friends and just having a chat and a laugh are also of great value.

With this in mind, the May meeting included a bingo session. Members got down to just having fun.

Prizes were awarded for a series of full houses, any line or even the first five numbers marked.

This was followed by afternoon tea. Dainty sandwiches and a variety of cakes were enjoyed by all.

A vote of thanks is always given to the ladies who provide such gorgeous spreads.

Each month three or four ladies volunteer. It is surprising how much satisfaction you can get seeing all your efforts in the kitchen enjoyed by so many friends.

Our next meeting will be at South Stoke village hall on Tuesday, June 12 at 2.15pm. Visitors are always made very welcome and remember you also get a delicious tea!

Why not come along and join us for an afternoon? You might find you like it.

STOKE ROW

OUR May meeting was a debate on the proposed resolution to be discussed at the National Federation’s annual meeting in June.

Our well-informed member were full of statistics and information to help us decide how to vote.

And we voted unanimously to agree to raise awareness of mental health problems on a par with other health issues. Our delegate will take this result to the meeting for us.

Jenny Ward, from Sonning Common WI, took a note of our discussion and will report back after she has been to Cardiff.

Serious talking over, we turned our attention to a fun game/quiz where a member had made up four trays of puzzles for us to mull over.

Identifying chocolate bars was fun and the white flowering blooms from her garden were quite a test. Cryptic clues to sweet names and some quite strange kitchen objects to identify completed the games, giving everyone an opportunity to chat as we guessed.

The winning team awaits its prizes eagerly as these were left in the fridge (guess what — chocolates) as it was such a hot day!

Our WI magazine News & Views was particularly interesting this month as it introduced the new Oxfordshire Federation chairman, our very own member Jane Probitts, with a delightful photograph.

Some interesting trips were noted and we also featured in the letters section with a photo of our recent coffee morning. In early June we have our book, games and craft groups and in late May some will return to Avanti for a nice meal.

The June walk will head off around the Goring Heath area before a shared picnic.

Our meeting in June will be in a member’s lovely garden in Stoke Row with a bring and share supper.

Eight members helped on the litter-pick in Stoke Row and we have another coffee morning plus a visitors’ lunch in July so busy times are ahead.

Summer is a great time to be a member and we thoroughly enjoy our get- togethers.

Potential new members can contact us anytime to join in.

WHITCHURCH HILL

AT our May business meeting, 22 members gathered to discuss the resolution to be presented at the National Federation’s annual meeting in Cardiff in June.

It relates to mental health and urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between physical and mental health and to lobby Government for better support for mental illness.

After some discussion, a vote was taken with almost unanimous support for the resolution.

Our business meeting followed, which included a further report from our Alleviating Loneliness sub-committee which led a successful walk and is planning a further event for June.

Following the business, we were entertained by Carol Wheeler and her Handbells Extraordinaire.

May was quite abusy month. In addition to our normal monthly meeting, a number of members attended the Pang Valley Group evening social meeting and Whitchurch Hill WI ran the tea tent (with home-made cakes) at the village fete.

Our annual outing in June is by coach to Mottisfont, an interesting National Trust property near Romsey in Hampshire, with a delightful garden, particularly the roses which should be in full bloom.

Later in the month we will have our business meeting with a speaker on “Topical tips and new ideas for your garden” which will be accompanied by a plant sale.

Meetings take place at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471, on the third Tuesday of most months except December, starting at 10.15am.

Visitors are welcome. For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.

WOODCOTE

ANN LARDEN welcomed the members and Jenny Ward, our guest from Sonning Common WI, for our resolutions meeting in May.

Celebrating birthdays this month were Audrey Hawthorne and Hazel Tagg, who were presented with buttonholes.

Jenny, who was to be our delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting, spoke to us about “Mental health matters” and how to make it acceptable to talk about mental health as openly as physical health is discussed.

The lunch club will be visiting the Pack Horse.

Members of the table tennis club will be going to the Red Lion for lunch before their last session until September.

Ann gave us a quiz which was followed by a luscious tea thanks to Marianne Adams, Monika Watters and Vivien Stevens. We heard about forthcoming trips to Portsmouth, Kelmscott Manor and Epping Forest.

Our garden meeting in August will be at the Shillingford Bridge Hotel for afternoon tea, so here’s hoping the sun will shine!

The bloom of the month winner was Shirley Bryant.

We meet at Woodcote village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm. Do come and join us.

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