Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Around the WI

BENSON

BENSON

ALL members and visitors were welcomed to the March meeting, where we celebrated our 90th anniversary so it was very special.

The very first Benson WI meeting took place on April 7, 1926 and to honour the anniversary in style, our president Yvonne had made a delicious cake.

The honour of cutting the cake was given to our oldest and one of our longest-serving members.

In conjunction with our celebrations, we also held our annual meeting with the presentation and adoption of the financial statements, the committee’s annual report, the president’s address, the adoption of the annual report and, most importantly, the election of the president and committee.



We were delighted that Yvonne had agreed to stand for a further year as our president as she had done such an exemplary job during her previous two years.

One new member was elected on to the committee to join the existing eight members.

After all this, we were all ready to relax and enjoy the delicious refreshments, together with the celebration cake.

However, this was not to be as relaxing as we first thought, as one of our enterprising members had decided that we needed to give our brains a workout and had compiled a 1926-themed quiz with all 26 questions relating to that year.

Benson WI meets at the village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm.

Our next meeting will be on April 20 when we will have what promises to be an excellent talk on “Changi Red Cross quilts”.

Please come along and join us, you will be made most welcome. For further details, call Lin Reader on (01491) 836800.



COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, March 16 president Adrienne Rance welcomed members to our annual meeting.

After a brief run through the usual WI business, the voting took place.

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

Maureen Rothery presented colourful plants to Adrienne, Barbara and Maureen to show our appreciation of all their hard work, especially Barbara since she has held the role of secretary for 13 years!

Highlights the past year included, of course, the celebrations for the WI centenary.

The baton was launched in Anglesey, where the first WI meeting in the UK was held in 1915, before travelling throughout the 69 federations in England, Wales and the islands to celebrate the links of friendship and community developed throughout the WI. The journey finished in June at the Royal Albert Hall, where the Queen and members of the royal family were present.

The summer outing in August to Kensington Palace was also a great hit.

A copy of the treasurer’s report was given to every member. The finances were in good order.

There is a bursary available for members to attend courses at Denman College. This year Gina Foden was given the bursary to take a course entitled “History and heritage”.

It was such an excellent, enjoyable course that Gina has booked a return visit in January to learn about the history of six more counties!

For many years, jumble sales were held to generate money for good speakers but for the past seven years these have has been replaced by the October bridge drive, which has proved very popular and also enables us to donate to worthwhile charities.

Adrienne then held one of her highly entertaining quizzes and members were divided into five teams.

There were three different kinds of quizzes, the first entitled “potpourri”, a mixture of general knowledge, followed by “explosions and potions”, which involved chemicals, and then “creature features”.

An example of the latter was “lampreys were the cause of the death of Henry I in 1105. What is a lamprey?” (answer below).

One potpourri question was “which female tennis champion won four slams in 1988?” Alas, I chose the wrong name.

Another teaser was what was the original name of The Golden Hind?

There was much hilarity as some of the questions were quite difficult; the hall buzzed with whispered murmurings of potential right answers!

Two teams scored 22 points out of a possible 30. I am keeping very quiet as my team came 5th with a score that was nowhere near the winners, who received beautifully presented Smarties as prizes.

We all enjoyed a delicious tea prepared by Sheila Williams and Gina Foden.

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, April 20 at 2pm when we will welcome the return of guest speaker Francis Benton, who will give a talk entitled “Pearls of wisdom part II”. Interested? Please call Selina Avent on 0118 940 3426 or email her at selinaavent@gmail.com You would be very welcome.

Quiz answers: 1. Type of eel. The king, the youngest son of William the Conqueror, gorged on a surfeit of lampreys at his castle in Normandy and died that night of food poisoning, aged 69;  2. Steffi Graf; 3. The Pelican.



HAMBLEDEN

MARGARET SPRATLEY opened the March meeting, welcoming all members and guests before introducing the evening’s speaker Alan Jones, who talked about “My life as a bird vet!”

Alan told us how he spent more than 40 years as a vet, mostly dealing with different species of birds, and he detailed interesting cases and different projects.

Molly Carter thanked Alan for a most interesting talk enjoyed by all.

The teas were kindly provided by Jo Tilbury, Pat Eldridge and Gay Doggart.

We were delighted to be asked to provide the teas for the Regis Classic Car Rally. The Buckinghamshire pit stop was hosted at Whittington House, home of SAS UK in Marlow.

A total of 140 teas were served by WI members and rally participants were able to enjoy the beautiful gardens in gorgeous spring sunshine.

An outing to the Theatre Royal Windsor to see Lotty’s War has been arranged for May. The next meeting will be on April 14 when the speaker’s subject will be “Buckinghamshire spies and subversives”.

We meet in Hambleden village hall and visitors and new members will be most welcome. For more information, call Helen on 07889 539605 or Jo on 07803 505665.



HARPSDEN

A VERY good number of members attended the March meeting and president Pat Eades also welcomed three visitors.

Birthday greetings were given to Mary Burton, Ruth Norman and Lindsay Watts.

The bulb catalogues were available and Pat said that envelopes were also available for members to donate any unwanted jewellery, either broken or intact, which would be taken to Oxfordshire Federation headquarters.

News & Views brought forth a request from Oxfordshire Federation chairman Pauline Goddard to help with the Denman College appeal with the wish that each member could contribute around £10 during the next two years.

Pat asked if any members would like to take part in the Oxfordshire Federation quiz on May 23, or the singing workshop on May 31.

There is an outing to Dyrham Park and Tetbury on June 28 with the local pick-up point of Nettlebed. The cost is £21. Another outing is to Mottisfont Abbey and gardens on June 21.

Anyone planning a summer party could attend Denman College on May 25 and get some inspiration for fabulous desserts demonstrated by college chef Peter Lien.

Harpsden WI ladies continue to enjoy Sunday lunches and the book club continues to meet bi-monthly.

There is to be a South Chilterns Group outing on May 19 to Exbury Gardens, leaving Shiplake at 9.30am and returning at 4pm. The cost will be £25.

A meeting to decide whether the South Chilterns Group will merge with the Witheridge Group has been arranged.

Pat Eades and Shirley Weyman are willing to make a cake for any member of Harpsden WI when it is their turn to provide one at monthly meetings if they do not wish to make one themselves. The member would only need to meet the cost of the ingredients used.

There is to be a raffle each month with the profit going towards the 75th anniversary celebrations in September. The winner of the Easter egg in the raffle was Joan Hoyle.

The annual meeting then commenced with the treasurer Pam Hails taking members through the balance sheet.

There were 41 paid-up members in 2015 and although a small loss had been made during the year, the accounts were still in a healthy condition.

Shirley Weyman read the committee report of the past year’s activities, mentioning the rose trees given to Greys Court, the baton celebrations at Dorchester Abbey and the Buckingham Palace garden party.

Pat Eades gave her president’s address in which she thanked all committee members for their various contributions to the running of the WI and also to Audrey Fox for the use of her garden for a tea party.

She urged members to read News & Views and to attend county events whenever  possible.

The winners of the monthly competitions resulted in a tie between Audrey Fox and Judith Young with Patricia Williams third. They all received floral gifts.

Pat Eades was re-elected president, Shirley Weyman continues as secretary and Pam Hails as treasurer. The remaining committee members are Mary Burton, Ann Lincoln, Di Painter, Suzanna Rose, Jasmine Weaver, Patricia Williams and Judith Young.

The winners of the competition for a fridge magnet were Judith Young, Jasmine Weaver and Alice Drennan.

Harpsden member Suzanna Rose, who is president of the Berkshire Red Cross, then gave members an insight into all the various ways in which the charity can help. She hopes that mobility aids will have a “home” at the new Townlands Hospital but at present these aids can be located at Henley Rugby Club each week.

A Red Cross emergency response team always follows fire engines when they are attending an outbreak and are there to give succour.

It was a surprise to hear that the Red Cross could give help at home to anyone sustaining a fall. It also has a refugee service and gives help in tracing family members in war-torn areas.

Suzanna showed some slides of the work of the Red Cross and also of the work that she had undertaken in the past. She gave assistance after the Lockerbie disaster and was also present at the first Gulf War in Baghdad.

Suzanna was warmly thanked for her short talk.

The next meeting will be on April 13 when a very popular speaker, Frances Benton, will talk about her “Passion for pearls”. The competition will be, of course, “Something with pearls”.

The meeting will be at Harpsden village hall, commencing at 2.30pm and a very warm welcome will be given to all visitors.



MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

AT our March meeting architect and historian Trevor Ottllewski gave a talk, with slides, on unusual sites and buildings to see in Berkshire which comprehensively covered the whole county.

The principal sites, monuments and buildings mentioned in Trevor’s talk were:

Bisham — the church monuments of the Holby family; Clewer — monuments to Owen Allum, a Titanic casualty; Coleshill — secret underground operational base not open to the public; Combe, near Inkpen — gibbet, paratroop memorial and long barrow; Crazies Hill — Rebecca’s Well; Finchampstead — Devil’s Highway, Roman road, Wellingtonia Avenue, barrow at Warren Lane, George and Dragon wall painting; Great Coxwell — massive barn (National Trust); Hampstead Norreys — water pumps, Wylde Court rainforest; Langley Marish — painted library in St Mary’s Church (restricted opening); Leckhampstead — war memorial featuring military objects; Reading — St Lawrence’s churchyard, bomb-damaged window, the whirlwind death memorial and the sculpture of three children; Swallowfield — train painting near the village hall; Wargrave — Conway’s Bridge, (best viewed from the Henley-Shiplake walk along the riverside; Windsor — carriage resting irons, Batchelor’s Acre, Windsor martyrs; Wokingham — Berkshire/Wiltshire boundary in Rose Street, beaver monument and Water Babies sculpture.

After a question and answer session, the meeting ended with refreshments.

The programme for 2016/17 is as follows:

April 6 “The emergence of England” by Jayne Windmill and a bring and buy for the Associated Country Women of the World.

May 4 “Animal behaviour” by Valerie Bennett and WI resolution discussion.

May 12 Group meeting, Knowl Hill village hall.

June 8 Stratfield Saye House outing, 10.45am to 3.30pm.

June 15 Coffee morning, 10.30am to noon, bring and buy.

July 6 “Tales of the opera” by Patricia Purcell.

August 3 Garden party, 2.30pm to 5pm, venue to be announced.

September 7 “Bali Pink Ribbon Foundation” by Gaye Warren.

October 5 “This thing called ballet” by Sue Drew.

November 2 “Birds on the move — the wonders of migration” by Brian Clews.

December 7 Christmas dinner, Sansom Room, 7.30pm.

January 4 Members’  meeting.

February 1 Annual  meeting.

Mill Green Wargrave WI always welcomes visitors and new members. Our meetings are usually held in the Hannen Room, Mill Green, on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated.



PEPPARD

IRENE LYNDSAY, our retiring president, presided over the meeting before handing over to Pauline Goddard, our federation chairman, and a new president and committee were elected.

Pamela Davies, a former president, thanked Irene on behalf of all the members for her hard work and enthusiasm over the past year.

Miriam Armstrong and Pauline Collins provided tea and Judy Gordon Graham brought a lovely flower arrangement.

Our next meeting will take place at Peppard Memorial Hall on Wednesday, April 13 at 2pm when Liam D’Arcy Brown will talk to us about “Chusan — the forgotten story of Britain’s first Chinese island”. Visitors are always most welcome.



REMENHAM

OUR annual meeting was held at the village hall in March and we had a light lunch beforehand.

Judy Palmer has agreed to be our president for another year and Daphne Austin will be our vice-president.

The rest of the committee remains the same.

The resolutions to be voted on at the national federation’s annual meeting in Brighton were discussed at some length.

Our cups are to be awarded at the April meeting.

We have a craft competition twice a year. This was won by Irene Parker with an attractive notice board.

Then Wendy Robinson, ambassador to Denman College, explained to us that the beautiful Georgian house at Marcham needs much upkeep, not only the building itself but the lovely garden as well.

A huge number of courses is held there, from cooking to bridge. All are welcome, whether WI members or not, and both men and women.

A fund-raising appeal is to take place over the next two years and it is hoped that every member can raise £10 to help with the ongoing management costs.

This was a very happy and successful annual meeting.



ROSEHILL

AS usual, our president Margaret Pyle welcomed everyone present, including visitors.

She thanked Ryszarda Palarczyk for the table flowers.

Margaret told us that there were name badges for us all to wear during our meetings, so that we all know who we are!

She said that the report of the February meeting was available for all to read. Margaret also mentioned that 2017 diaries (already!) could be ordered next month. They will cost £4.50.

Margaret gave a special welcome back to Mary Richings following her absence after an operation — it was good to see Mary looking so well.

Margaret Seal then gave out the birthday buttonholes for all who had a birthday in March.

The Scrabble, Knit and Natter and walking groups as well as the book club all met in March. The cinema group did not have anything planned.

The balance of the money for the Sonning Mill show is required by the May meeting.

The proposed visit to Denman College with a cookery demonstration will be on December 5, providing at least 25 members wish to go.

Next came the main business of the afternoon, namely the annual meeting in which the treasurer, secretary and president all gave their annual reports. It was interesting to hear all that had gone on during the past year.

This concluded with the president thanking everyone for all their hard work.

Margaret went on to tell us about the programme for 2016/2017 and it seems we have a varied programme of talks to look forward to, including “The history of policing”, “The changing face of Reading, part 2” and “Belly dancing”.

The raffle and sales tables will also continue next year.

Then came the announcement of the officers for the coming year.

I am pleased to report that Margaret Pyle has agreed to stand for another year as president and Mary Robinson likewise as secretary. Doris Goddard has resigned from the post of treasurer and we are pleased to say that Yvonne Wright has agreed to fill this post and we wish her every success in this endeavour.

The president told us that we have 10 members on the committee, including one new member, Judith Sharp.  Welcome, Judith, we hope you enjoy your time on the committee.

As the meeting had taken quite a long time, we had a short talk by Chris Brooks, who told us about her role as a first responder.

These people are all volunteers and are sometimes called upon to attend an accident or medical emergency, arriving before the emergency services.

They are only asked to drive a short distance, usually five minutes from their homes. They are trained by the emergency services and have £2,000 worth of  equipment.

Thank you, Chris, for explaining your work to us.

Finally, we had the usual cup of tea and biscuit, followed by the raffle.

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



SHIPLAKE

JOAN JOLLEY, the president, welcomed everyone to the meeting on Wednesday, March 16 and explained that the plan for Shiplake WI to join the Witheridge Group for the yearly group meetings would be going ahead.

Rosemary Appleby will be the Shiplake delegate at the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting in Oxford and Joan gave a reminder about the “Denman dip” envelopes and the jewellery collected for the British Heart Foundation which would be taken to the meeting.

Three members had been to Denman College for the day and had thoroughly enjoyed it. Joan recommended that any ladies who hadn’t been should not miss any opportunity to visit this wonderful WI resource.

There was to be an afternoon tea on March 20 hosted by Shiplake scouts, cubs and beavers at Shiplake Memorial Hall.

Joan has some knitting patterns for the twiddlemuffs for dementia sufferers.

The two resolutions to be discussed in May were announced as, firstly, appropriate care in hospitals for those with dementia and, secondly, avoid food waste, address food poverty.

Items of interest in News & Views and in our newsletter were noted, including the quiz at Didcot and the visits to Kelmscott Manor and Mottisfont Abbey.

Joyce Vernon gave details of the next walk, starting from the Flower Pot at Aston, and reported back on the excellent guided walk around the Oxford colleges.

She also told members about the group outing to Exbury Gardens on May 19.

Members were asked to hand completed order forms for bulb orders to Pam Hudgell at the next meeting.

Hostess for this month was Wendy Channel with help from Chris Bickerton.

Joan then declared the monthly meeting at an end and opened the annual  meeting.

Rosemary Appleby gave the treasurer’s report, which showed that Shiplake WI is in a good financial state thanks to the fund-raising events of last year. The catering report asked all ladies to ensure that they told the committee when they made changes to the tea rota.

Joyce Vernon gave the outings report, which told of the visits to Nuffield Place, West Green House, Whitchurch silk mill, the Royal Berkshire Hospital medical museum and the tour of Oxford  colleges.

Sandy Porter reported that £137 was raised for the Associated Country Women of the World and Pennies for Friendship.

The trophies were then presented. Joyce Vernon won the Elsie Southam Cup and Lynn Boros won the Burge Cup.

The Grace Phillips Memorial Salver was won jointly by Joan Jolley and Pam Hudgell.

Two new committee members, Sue Lines and Frances Lefebure, were introduced and members voted for the new committee en bloc.

Joan then gave the president’s report in which she told everyone how much she had enjoyed being president during the WI centenary year.

She recalled the celebrations at Dorchester Abbey, particularly the double- decker bus, the national annual meeting at the Royal Albert Hall and the event at Christ Church in Oxford, where all the WI banners were on  display. She thanked all the committee and those not on the committee who help to make the meetings run smoothly.

She mentioned Lynn Boros, who organises the speakers, and Ursula Davies, who runs the competition table (and does the wonderful flower arrangements at the Christmas party). She also thanked Joyce for organising the walks and the reception and Sue Williams and Steph Blake for running the trading stall.

After an excellent tea, the winner of the best flower was announced as Ursula Davies with a very pretty hellebore. The winner of the competition for an Easter bunny was Lynn Boros.

The speaker at the April meeting will be Sue Milton who will talk about swan upping. The competition will be for a home-made swan. Visitors are always welcome.

l In the February report of Shiplake WI it stated that the speaker was called Joan Benton when it should have said Frances Benton. We apologise for this error, which was not the fault of the writer.



SONNING COMMON IT was lovely to see 42 members and five visitors attend our March meeting, which included the annual meeting.

Sue Frayling-Cork, our president, welcomed everyone to the meeting and said how pleased she was to see such an excellent attendance.

Sue then introduced Ruth Webb, an Oxfordshire Federation adviser who was present to act as a teller.

Sue thanked Ruth for her help and support during the past year and presented her with a card and small gift.

She then gave out some thank-you cards and flowers. Particular thanks were given to Anne Croxson who had also received a thank-you card from Jean Geary, the Oxfordshire Federation’s independent financial examiner, for another year of excellent accounting of our WI funds.

Sue reported on changes to Witheridge Group and Gill Hayward read out a fund- raising report covering the excellent activities in 2015 and plans for 2016.

Jenny Ward reported on her visit to Denman College, where she attended a day course called Living Willow. The course members were given instructions on how to make a pergola over a bench in the college gardens, overlooking the lake. This would be a permanent structure.

It was a cold day but they were kept warm by the quite demanding task.

Jenny showed photographs that were very impressive and encouraged members to find a course and have a go.

Sue Frayling-Cork reported on her visit to see the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. They were treated to a memorable performance by Benjamin Grosvenor of Grieg’s Piano Concerto as part of this excellent WI trip.

Sue Hedges reminded the members that there were a few places left on the members’ day workshop.

We were also told that the two resolutions to be taken forward to the national federation’s annual meeting in Brighton in June would be firstly, avoid food waste, address food poverty and, secondly, appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia.

Examples of twiddlemuffs were on display and patterns for the Oxfordshire Federation’s knitting Cchallenge for Dementia Awareness Week from May 15 to 21.

The muffs have been developed to provide patients with something to soothe restless hands and minimise agitation.

Gill Hayward gave details of our new darts sessions that will be held at the Hare and Hounds pub in Sonning Common. Seventeen members have signed up and we are really looking forward to this social event twice a month.

Sue Frayling-Cork then opened the annual meeting and Jerusalem was sung.

Our treasurer Anne Croxson gave her report and said that the financial year had been stretched a bit more than usual due to the costs of the centenary celebrations, bursaries, speakers, hall rental etc.

Anne reiterated that fund- raising was an essential part of running Sonning Common WI to provide members with a programme that continues to provide friendship, education and entertainment and gives support to our community.

Anne was presented with flowers to thank her for her continuing excellent management of our accounts.

Sue Hedges, our secretary, had prepared her annual report and a copy had been placed on each chair as it was quite lengthy in order to cover all the news and activities that we had thoroughly enjoyed through the year.

Sue’s wonderful scrapbooks were on display.

Alison Bishop gave her final report as fund-raising chairman. She reported that £900 had been raised and £600 had been donated to local community projects.

She thanked the fund- raising team and all our members for their continued support and confirmed that Gill Hayward would be taking over the role of chairman.

Thanks were given to Alison for her dedicated  contribution.

Sue Frayling-Cork gave her final report as president and said it was time for her to stand down but that she would remain an active member of Sonning Common WI.

She wished her successor well and would support her in any way she could.

Sue Hedges gave a big thank-you to Sue to show our appreciation for all her hard work, kindness and enthusiasm over many years, holding various positions on the committee. Sue was presented with a gift of flowers.

The cup for flower of the month competition was presented to Kathy Anderson and the competition cup to Sue Hedges.

Our president then handed over to Ruth Webb for the election process of committee and officers.

Jenny Ward was nominated and seconded to be a new committee member.

All other members of the committee were nominated and elected to remain as members.

Jenny Ward was elected as our president for 2016/17. She said she was delighted to be elected and that she would do her best. Sue Frayling-Cork presented her with the president’s badge.

Refreshments were served and this was followed by an excellent quiz set by Beverley Porteous, which was much enjoyed. The winner was Lesley Davis. Thanks were given to Beverley.

Our new president brought the meeting to a close and thanked everyone for coming, adding that she was very much looking forward to the WI year ahead.



WATLINGTON

OUR annual meeting was held in March. Kath Gomm was re-elected as president after agreeing to stand for one more year and the committee also agreed to stand again as no new members had come forward to join.

This was voted upon and agreed by the members.

Kath Gomm thanked the members for coming to the meeting on a very wet night.

After the business, tea was served accompanied by delicious home-made cake and biscuits.

When everyone had finished their tea, Eleanor Holden held an excellent and hilarious game of Pictionary.

Our next meeting in April will feature a talk by Jon Barton called “Syria before the war” and on May 11 it will be “London picture quiz” by John Paine.

We meet in the town hall at 7.30pm. If you are interested in joining us, please call Kath Gomm on (01491) 612939.

Our art group meets every Wednesday afternoon in the Methodist Chapel at 2pm.



WHITCHURCH HILL

OUR annual meeting took place in March.

Twenty-two members attended and voted in the existing members of the committee, all of whom had agreed to continue.

President Frances Strange was re-elected unanimously to officiate for her fourth year.

The past year has been a successful one for Whitchurch Hill WI.

Our financial situation has improved, as have our membership numbers with four new members and perhaps several more still to come.

Our meetings are well attended and the friendly atmosphere and good speakers offer encouragement for more visitors to come and join us to see what we do.

Next month’s meeting on April 21 will be our 63rd birthday lunch when we will greet old and new friends and listen to a lively talk by Susan Howe called “Cantering through a funny life”.

Each month (usually on the first Tuesday) we have a social meeting, such as a walk, a pub lunch, a special visit or a craft demonstration and these are always well supported.

Our programme for 2016/2017 will include talks on “The history of Reading Abbey”, “Hedgehogs” and how we can help them to survive and “A passion for pearls”, among other subjects, as well as our annual summer trip, which this year will be to Waterperry Gardens in June.

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

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



GREYS

“WELCOME to March!’ exclaimed our president Val as the sun came out during our annual meeting.

She handed proceedings over to our secretary Janet to present Lynn Bayliss, head of voluntary services at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, with the 60 toiletry packs donated by members.

Lynn thanked Greys WI and assured us such packs were much appreciated. Few emergency patients arrived with a toothbrush in their pocket and very often they came at night when the shops were closed. She urged us to go on collecting items for more packs.

Val then reported on the interesting speakers’ selection day and mentioned a few speakers we could include in our future programme.

Our lunch at Badgemore Park Golf Club had been very enjoyable and we agreed to arrange lunches at six-week intervals.

Jennifer Smith described the splendid and informative day she and three others had spent at Denman College.

Members were encouraged to enter the “Denman dip” for the chance to win a college course bursary. An appeal has been launched to raise funds for the upkeep of the college building, which is a Grade II listed Georgian manor and everyone agreed to hold a fund-raising event in July.

Janet spoke about the group merger meeting she had attended. Due to the demise of some WIs, it was necessary to amalgamate the Witheridge and Chiltern groups.

Our treasurer Doreen gave us a rundown of the end-of-year accounts which had been audited by independent examiner Wendy Norman. Doreen’s efforts to keep us on the straight and narrow were greatly appreciated.

It was then Janet’s turn to give us her excellent résumé of the many events and meetings during the centenary year of the WI. Members enjoyed being reminded about everything that had taken place.

Thanks to Merryl and the rest of the committee, the programme for 2016/17 had been finalised.

President Val and the other committee members were willing to continue for another year and were thanked for their hard work.

The cup for the highest number of points won in the monthly competitions was presented to Jennifer Poska with Val the runner-up and Suzanne Thetford third.

During tea, Doreen gave a masterclass in crochet, dexterously creating intricate patterns. Some of us managed to master this craft and may get hooked!

Our next meeting will be at Greys village hall on April 20 at 2.30pm. The theme will be staying alive with basic first aid and there will be a competition for bloom of the month. Come and enjoy — you’ll be very welcome.



WOODCOTE

WE met for our annual meeting on March 16, a warm spring day.

Shirley Bryant welcomed the members and our WI advisor Jean Geary.

A birthday buttonhole was presented to Jo Seymour.

We thanked the committee members who were leaving this year — Shirley Bryant, who has been our president, treasurer and secretary over the years, Patricia Solomons, Rose Metcalf, Rose Spencer, Barbara George and Carole Shelley-Allen, who were also having a well-deserved rest!

We welcome Ann Larden as our new president and new members to the committee, Kathy Brewer, Sylvia Parr, Jo Seymour, Gillian Seymour and Betty Thomas.

The winner of the bloom of the month for the past year was Shirley Bryant and the competition was won jointly by Patricia Jessup and Carole Shelley-Allen. After the annual meeting Gill Woods organised a beetle drive which saw some furious die-shaking.

This was followed by a lovely tea, thanks to Shirley Bryant, Iris Lewis and Audrey Hawthorne. Audrey has also been our tea hostess this year and we thank her for all her hard work.

We had a wonderful lunchtime playing skittles at Wallingford sports centre.

We have been going there for quite a few years but this year was especially good because we were lucky enough to have five children from Langtree School to set up the skittles for us and cheer us on.

Many of us are quite elderly so to have the children to do the hard work was such a help. Well done, Langtree School. Thanks to Dot Tyler and Kathy Brewer and all the children.

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



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