Monday, 14 June 2021

Around the WI

Around the WI

WHEN members arrived for the January meeting they were surprised to see the hall set out in an unusual configuration. All would be revealed later on in the afternoon.

Thirty-one members were welcomed by president Pat Eades and she wished them all a “Happy New Year”. She gave birthday greetings to Marion Brockway and Audrey Fox as well as herself.

The Christmas meeting had been most enjoyable and Pat gave thanks to the committee for the splendid tea they had provided.

She reminded everyone that subscriptions of £39 were now due.

In News & Views there was notice of the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting on the March 28 when Ingrid Seward will be the speaker. Ingrid is editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine and has written books about our royal family.

There will also be a talk by Vera de Menezes who will speak about fleeing from Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda.

There are outings organised by the federation to the WI fair at Alexandra Palace on April 1, Tate Britain on April 4 and Longleat House on May 10. The beautiful gardens of Julie Summers in Iffley will be open on the afternoon of June 17.

Also in News & Views was a photograph of Harpsden WI’s 75th birthday celebrations.

The lunch club and book club were to meet in January.

Pat asked members to consider standing for the 2017-18 committee and hoped some of the new members would be interested in seeing how the WI runs.

Then it was time to “get active”, as the WI programme had stated.

Jan Barber, who runs several keep fit groups in the area, asked everyone to move their chairs and make room to exercise.

Fortunately, she runs “seated” exercise classes so there was not too much moving around but it seemed that various unknown muscles were discovered as the afternoon wore on!

Some aerobic exercises were included in the session and several members were keen to attend Jan’s class at the YMCA hall on Tuesdays from 11.15am.

The competition for a Christmas card was won by Patricia Williams with Joan Mills and Pam Hails the runners-up.

The next meeting will be at Harpsden village hall on February 8, when Ann Borrowdale will reveal how and why “The invigilator set fire to his trousers”.

The afternoon commences at 2.30pm. Do come and hear tales from the exam hall.


WE would like to introduce the new Henley-on-Thames WI, which after a small wobble last year is now happily up and running with the help and guidance of WI advisors Jean Geary and Pat Eades and the hard work of a lovely group of women.

On Friday, January 20 we formed our new committee and three officers were elected. Katie Woodiss-Field is president and Alison Engleby is secretary.

We were also lucky enough to welcome Jane Probitts, of Stoke Row WI, in her role as chair of the craft committee as our guest speaker.

She has an amazing passion for patchwork and quilting and had brought along some beautiful pieces to show us and talk about craft within the WI. We are all looking forward to a year of fun and friendship and anyone who wants to join would be more than welcome.

We meet at King’s Arms Barn in Henley on the third Friday of the month at 7.30pm. Simply turn up and ask for Cheryl.


TWO very convivial evenings were spent by members in December.

Firstly, there was the Christmas dinner held in the Sansom Room on December 7, elegantly catered for by Nikki Alston.

Secondly, there was a members’ evening held in the Hannen Room, where we had a light supper kindly provided by our president Frankie Macmillan and played games organised by Pat Jones and Carol Evans.

The following events are planned for this year:

February 1: Annual meeting with a talk entitled “Home safety fire checks” by Duncan Knight.

March 1: “A passion for pearls” by Frances Benton.

April 5: “Mushrooms and a marathon” by Tony Weston, the life and times of the Royal Albert Hall and a bring and buy sale for the Associated County Women of the World.

May 3: “Forensics in the Metropolitan Police” by Hayley Scott.

May 11: Group meeting, Knowl Hill village hall (2.30pm).

June 7: Outing to Loseley Park house and gardens by coach (9.45am to 5pm).

June 14: Festival bridge night, Wargrave Junior School (7.30pm).

June 24: Cake stall at the village fete (2pm).

July 5: “This thing called ballet” continued by Sue Drew.

August 2: Garden party, venue to be announced.

September 7: “The incredible world of honeybees” by Steve Moll.

October 5: “A vicar’s wife from Germany” by Barbara Ratings.

November 2: “Britain’s mammals” by Brian Clews.

December 7: Christmas dinner, Sansom Room.

Mill Green WI meetings are held in the Hannen Room, Mill Green, Wargrave, on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm unless indicated otherwise.

Visitors are always welcome. Please do come along if there is a subject which particularly interests you.


OUR first meeting of the year brought our members together once more with enthusiasm.

Everyone appreciated a visit from Dr Ellen Krudenier and her team from Sonning Common health centre.

Advanced care planning for end of life brought us all up to date with advice on preparation for the inevitable and Dr Ellen and team did this with sensitivity and humour.

Kathy Anderson had brought a beautiful bowl of flowers and tea was provided by Sylvia Robinson and Ann Holt and was enjoyed by all.

Our next meeting will be at Peppard hall on February 8 from 2pm, when Judy Gibbons will talk to us about “The donkey sanctuary”. We welcome visitors.


MEMBERS started their Christmas celebrations with an excellent lunch at the Flower Pot in Aston.

A blazing log fire, paper hats and cracker jokes put everyone in the mood for a very happy day.

At the January meeting members considered the shortlist of resolutions being submitted for the annual meeting and then voted individually on the one they would most like to see go forward to the National Federation’s annual meeting.

The speaker was Jan Guiver, the Berkshire Associated Countrywomen of the World link. She told members how the ACWW was established in the early 1900s and how the WI came under the umbrella of the organisation, working on help and support for women all over the world.

The WI raises money for ACWW through the Pennies for Friendship scheme and supports many small projects improving women’s lives.

It was a very interesting and informative afternoon.


AT our January meeting, we were welcomed by president Margaret Pyle, who wished everyone present a “Happy New Year”.

She went on to say that the records of the November and December meetings were available for all to see.

She also reminded us that our subscriptions for 2017 were due.

Unfortunately she had some sad news about one of our members, Betty Rodier, who unfortunately passed away just after Christmas.

Margaret thanked June Fisher for the table flowers, which would be included in the raffle.

Margaret Seal gave out the birthday buttonholes, including one for our president.

Next came an update on the various clubs: The Scrabble group would meet twice in January and the book club once while the walking group’s gathering would depend on the weather and those wishing to take part.

At the moment there is not a suitable film being shown for the cinema club to attend. Barbara Wood will investigate future programmes.

Margaret said that the programme planning committee would be meeting soon to arrange speakers for the 2017/2018 season and asked that any members present who wished to have a talk on a particular subject, or to hear a particular speaker, to let Pat Denney know.

Margaret then drew our attention to the January edition of Berkshire WI News and the various talks, outings and workshops that are available to members.

She mentioned the spring council meeting to be held at the Palmer Building on the Whiteknights campus of the University of Reading, on Monday, April 3.

The speaker will be Lt Col Lucy Giles, who is the first ever female commander of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and will be talking about her first year in post.

The WI fair 2017 will be held at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, April 1 and will include workshops, demonstrations and seminars.

There will be a workshop for fabric-covered boxes on April 21.

We were then introduced to our speaker, Tony Keep, who gave a very interesting talk (with slides) about the history of policing.

Tony retired from Thames Valley Police in 1995 and was involved with the Police Museum at Sulhamstead.

He explained how modern communications had altered over the years from teleprinters and telex to mobile telephones, so that every officer now had their own means of communication and no longer had to find a police box and then cycle miles to an incident!

After Tony we had a short talk from Jason Lee who is a supervisor of the Caversham police community support officers.

We then had the usual cup of tea and biscuit before the raffle was drawn and Margaret closed the meeting.

In December we had an informal meeting where Yvonne Wright, one of our committee members, gave an excellent demonstration of cake icing, showing us how different flowers can be made.

She decorated a Christmas cake which was kindly donated to the raffle.

The meeting continued with a cup of tea and, instead of biscuits, we devoured the wonderful array of mince pies, shortbread and fancy cakes, etc that had been made by our members. Thank you to all who provided the lovely grub!

We meet at St Barnabas’s Church hall in Emmer Green on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm and will make any visitors very welcome.


WE all attended the January meeting looking forward to seeing our fellow members and friends after the Christmas festivities.

President Jenny Ward opened the meeting and welcomed everyone, saying she was pleased to see so many present.

The usual business ensued. Following the treasurer's report, Gill Hayward reminded everyone that our next village coffee morning would be on February 1 when we would be presenting cheques to local community projects.

Gill thanked everyone for their support, donations and assistance which ensured the success of the monthly coffee mornings.

Reports from recent visits and outings were read out.

Alison Bishop had organised a collection for the Readifoods charity and she thanked members for their generous donations, which she will be taking to the organisers for distribution to food banks etc.

Members agreed that this was a very worthwhile cause, particularly in the cold winter months.

We then enjoyed a fish and chip supper arranged by Alison for our social evening. The wonderful aroma of the food filled the hall and we all tucked in enthusiastically.

As usual at these social evenings, everyone had the opportunity to have a good old chat with friends old and new and we had three visitors who were made very welcome.

After the tables had been cleared, Alison organised a fun game of bingo and suitable prizes of little yellow ducks were given out to the winners.

The flower of the month competition was won by Jenny Hermon.

Jenny Ward brought the meeting to a close by thanking everyone for coming and Alison for organising the splendid social evening, which was much enjoyed by everyone.


ON a very cold evening in the church we were pleased to welcome a good turnout of members on the first meeting of the year.

Two new members took the opportunity to join and were introduced and welcomed.

Our speaker was Tom Way, a wildlife photographer who concentrated on British mammals and birds in his illustrated talk.

His tales of sitting in ditches and wading through cold water to get his close up pictures made us feel even colder but his enthusiasm for his art and the travel and income it provides was infectious.

Our president Jeanette wished us a “Happy New Year” and it was good to see her skipping around after her operation.

She invited us to visit the newly opened village store or call in for coffee sometime. We wish her success in this new venture.

Dates were given out for the resumption of our monthly craft, book, games and lunch get-togethers.

All our extra groups are continuing happily, providing a chance for members to meet up in between our official meetings in small groups with a particular interest.

Some federation events were booked and then we all enjoyed an excellent supper provided by our hostesses.

The competition brought forth some interesting and varied examples of wildlife and a large, framed photograph of a lion’s head won the prize.

Four members had managed to find flower stems in their frozen gardens to enter the flower of the month competition, which concludes in March with prizes for those who have gained most points over the year.

A bumper raffle completed the evening.

Next time it will be our birthday meeting, again in the church, with musical entertainment and supper.

Do call in at the store and speak to Jeanette if you would like to join our happy band — there is bound to be something of interest to you throughout the year.


OUR speaker for the January meeting was Margaret Peach, our local artist, who gave us an interesting talk about “Animals in art”.

She took us through the history of animal paintings from the earliest cave art to the great painters of our times.

Her talk was illustrated with fascinating slides and pictures.

Our next meeting will be on February 8, when our speaker will be Christine Green giving a talk about and demonstratition of “paper cutting”. We meet in the town hall at 7.30pm.

As March will be our annual meeting, this will be a social evening.

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


ON a chilly Friday morning in January, members and four guests gathered at the parish hall for a fascinating talk from local speaker Claire Whitehead called “Alpacas — the animals, their fleece and Whitchurch Hill”.

Claire’s mother, Joy, started their alpaca farm in 1998 with just five animals, four females and one male.

Now the farm has a herd of about 800, making it one of the largest in the UK.

Alpacas originated in South America in the 16th century but the population was reduced to about 300,000.

Now there are four million animals, which provide a living for 65,000 families in Peru.

Claire explained the differences between the various breeds — Guanaco are wild, never domesticated, and Vicuna produce a fine fleece, which goes to make very expensive clothing products. Llamas, which are multi-coloured, are good companion animals and guards.

They are also good for food products but not usually for fibre except for producing coarse cloth for furnishings etc.

Alpacas also make good guards and they have a fine, dense fleece which results in fine, lightweight, warm clothing and other items such as baby blankets.

This was a fascinating story, well told and with many delightful photographs.

After the talk and questions, we reverted to our business meeting, which covered voting on the resolutions which will be placed before the National Federation’s annual meeting in June.

Members have put their names down for a guided tour of Reading Abbey in April and for the annual outing in June which this year will be to Savill Garden in Windsor.

Other events will include a charity coffee morning at the Arts Café in Whitchurch on March 18 in aid of the Helen and Douglas House hospice.

The competition for “Something knitted” was won by Margaret Palling with her knitted Christmas scene for a table centre.

Meetings of Whitchurch Hill WI 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.


ANN LARDEN welcomed the members to the January meeting on a bright, sunny winter’s day and wished them a “Happy New Year”.

We welcomed three new members, Vivien Stevens, Sally Lambert and Edna Smith.

Birthday buttonholes were presented to Carole Shelley- Allen, Jenny Gough and Joan Soans.

We had a lovely tea thanks to Marianne Adams, Monika Watters and Barbara George.

Our speaker was Tony King who spoke about “If Dickens had a camera” with wonderful old photographs of buildings and people in Dickens’s time, which were used in his novels. We learnt of all the history behind them.

Tony judged the members’ childhood photographs for the most appealing, which he thought was Ann Larden’s. He then left quickly!

The bloom of the month competition was won by Shirley Bryant.

We were given details of forthcoming trips to Longleat, Tate Britain and the WI fair at Alexandra Palace.

The lunch club was going to the Pack Horse next and the table tennis group is back in action, working off the Christmas excesses!

We meet on the third Wednesday of the month in the village hall. New members are very welcome.

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