Saturday, 19 June 2021

Around the WI



AT our May meeting we discussed the two proposed resolutions which we then voted on.

Our delegate for the Brighton meeting attended so she will take our views and vote accordingly.

Our previous president Penny Noble was presented with an orchid display as a thank-you for her past leadership of our WI by her successor Jeanette Creewel.

Birthdays and other thank-yous followed and some announcements were made about trips and events to look forward to.

We discussed ideas on where we may move to while our hall is being refurbished and it all sounds very promising. WI will continue of course.

The Cleeve meeting was reported on as being very enjoyable for those members who were able to go.

Eleven of us had produced slightly cryptic photographs of our houses and we had a difficult time trying to match them up with the members.

Many flowers stems had been brought and it was quite a task for our guest to pick a winner, which was a lovely tree peony.

The walking group had enjoyed the bluebells which were at their best in May and the tea at a member’s house in Witheridge Hill that we had not visited before was very enjoyable.

The draw was made for the bursary to visit Denman College and the winner, Debbie, was very pleased. She will now have to decide what she will do at the college.

Penny read her report from the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting in April, where she had gone as our delegate.

A nice supper was served with plenty of chatting time while we puzzled over the house quiz. The raffle finished off the evening plus a few extra announcements.


YVONNE welcomed all members and visitors to our May meeting.

Forthcoming trips and events were discussed prior to the introduction of the evening’s speaker, Alan Stubbs, who gave a talk on Sir William Morris, or Lord Nuffield, who took his title from the Oxfordshire village where he lived.

It was an interesting talk covering Lord Nuffield’s legacy as a British motor manufacturer and philanthropist.

Mr Stubbs spoke about Lord Nuffield’s love of mechanics, cycling and his eventual founding of Morris Cycles and Morris Motors in Oxford.

We were given details of Lord Nuffield as the founder of the Nuffield Foundation, the Nuffield Trust and Nuffield College, Oxford, as well as pictures of some of the interior of Nuffield Place, especially his bedroom, which contained a miniature workshop in a cupboard.

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

The meeting on June 15 is a “craft evening with a difference” and the July 20 meeting is our annual cream tea. If you would like to join us, you will be made most welcome. For more information, please call Lin on (01491) 836800.


ON Wednesday, April 18, president Adrienne Rance welcomed members and guest speaker Mike Hurst, who enthralled members with his talk, entitled “The music makers of Reading”.

The business meeting included Diane Bush speaking about the WI resolutions, “Avoid food waste, address poverty” and “Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia”.

Then Mike gave a fascinating talk, spoken with heartfelt passion and enthusiasm about his time playing in the pop group the Springfields (Mike plus Dusty and Tom Springfield) in the Sixties.

He went on to became a successful record producer for Cat Stevens and Marc Bolan to name but a few.

He is also hoping to reform the Springfields, who were the first British group to have a hit in the US charts.

As Mike pointed out, with a cheeky grin on his face, the Beatles may have led the invasion but they started it!

He settled down, with his guitar, on a high, comfy stool kindly supplied by the Horns pub and proceeded to talk and sing about the history of pop music (derived from the word popular), which dates back 1,000 years.

Mike’s knowledge of music was so extensive and interesting and he covered ground we never knew.

For example, he felt that Reading should be the capital of pop music since it is a known fact that a Cistercian monk at Reading Abbey (founded by Henry I in 1121) wrote the first song in Old English in 1258.

The song, Sumer Is A Cumin In, was first written down in the abbey circa 1240. It is the earliest known four-part harmony.

Shakespeare’s genius was involved in the 16th century with lyrics for his sonnets. This was also the time of court minstrels strumming away on their lutes.

Mike tested us to see if we had heard of Barbara Allen, a traditional Scottish ballad dating back to the 17th century and perhaps the most commonly sung of tragic ballads from the British Isles that made its way to the New World with early settlers, including the Pilgrim Fathers.

Versions of the song were recorded in the Fifties and Sixties by folk revivalists Jean Richie and Joan Baez.

America took music to its heart. Slaves, who were forced to learn English and become Christians, were instrumental in the birth of gospel singing.

Amazing Grace is a Christian hymn, written by English poet and clergyman John Newton in 1779 and remains deep in our hearts.

Many singers have recorded versions, including Elvis Presley, Cat Stevens and Bob Geldof.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot is an American negro spiritual written by Wallace Willis. The earliest recording dates back to 1909 and it has been adopted by the England rugby team as their anthem.

The black and white minstrel shows also emanated from America.

Mike told us that styles of music changed but not the songs.

He talked about Stephen Foster (1826-1854), who was credited with being America’s first professional songwriter, producing songs such as Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair and Old Folks at Home.

The influx of immigrants into America, bringing their own style of music, contributed to the birth of Tin Pan Alley, the nickname given to the street in New York where many sheet music publishers and songwriters set up businesses.

Composer Irving Berlin wrote 39 popular songs, his first in 1907. He met struggling composer George Gershwin in Tin Pan Alley and that partnership spawned wonderful tunes and lyrics of many well-known musicals. Their first was Swanee, featuring Al Jolson.

Another gifted composer and lyricist at that time was Cole Porter, known for his song Night and Day and many others.

Another familiar name was Oscar Hammerstein, who became part of a successful American musical writing team with composer Richard Rodgers, creating popular musicals for Broadway such as The Sound of Music, The King and I and South Pacific.

It seems the Americans took over what the British had started but, thanks to the advent of the Beatles and their brilliant songs, the UK was back in the “music frame” by the Sixties.

Mike reminded us that in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest nearly all the songs were sung in English.

The industry was initially dominated by men but it changed in the Sixties, especially for African Americans Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul. There are now many great female singers.

Mike created a wonderful musical atmosphere in the hall, completing his talk by wooing the ladies with his version of the Buddy Holly song, Every Day.

Members then enjoyed a delicious tea prepared and served by Christabel Grimmer and Janet Berman.

There was also an opportunity for them to learn more about the song industry by buying a copy of Mike’s book, Every Song Tells a Story (in some cases, a gift for their pop-loving husbands).

Our next meeting is the garden party to be held at the home of Mrs Bush at Gibstroude Farm, Crazies Hill, on June 15 at 2.30pm.

Members will be donning their best hats and bringing along any royal memorabilia to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The following meeting on July 20 will be back at Crazies Hill village hall at 2.30pm when Catherine Samson will talk about Berkshire churches.

Cockpole Green WI will be holding its popular bridge drive at Crazies Hill village hall on Thursday, October 6 at 2pm. All will be very welcome.


OUR president Val opened the May meeting and told us about the splendid WI outing she and Millicent had enjoyed to the magnificent Elizabethan manor Breamore House, overlooking the Avon Valley on the edge of the New Forest.

Included in the visit was the Countryside Museum with its blacksmith, shop, school and dairy.

Val encouraged us to sign up for these excellent trips arranged by the Oxfordshire Federation of WIs.

She welcomed our new member, Gladys, and we congratulated four members whose birthdays were in May.

At the end of April a number of us met at the River & Rowing Museum for a lively lunch with plenty of laughter.

The café was busy but we were well looked after. These lunches are proving popular and another is arranged for June 10 at the Rainbow Inn in Middle Assendon.

Our July meeting will be a fund-raiser for Denman College. Members are requested to bring their gifts for the tombola to the June meeting.

Some time was spent discussing the merits of the two resolutions to go forward to the annual meeting of the National Federation of WIs in Brighton on June 11.

The result of our deliberations would be passed to our delegate, Patricia Eades, president of Harpsden WI.

Val then introduced Robin Popham, secretary of the Henley Handybus.

He was waving a very large poster appealing for drivers. There are a dozen drivers but currently no ladies. The Handibus was started by the Lions more than 30 years ago as community transport for Henley and district.

The name was changed to Handybus to avoid it being seen as transport for the  handicapped.

Now on the third 14-seater Mercedes minibus, the service is mainly used by members of the 60-Plus Club for supermarket shopping and fortnightly trips to Reading.

Our secretary Janet urged members to join this club, which offers a diversity of leisure activities and social interaction.

The bus is also used to take members of the Mencap Meteor Club to their social get-togethers and the Henley Stroke Club to their fortnightly art class.

Special trips have included the Swan Theatre, the Hexagon, Savill Garden and river trips.

Organisations are invited to suggest outings which could be fitted into the Handybus diary.

There is an increasing demand for its services with the cut in subsidies to the commercial bus services.

A new run has begun covering Nettlebed and Stonor to shop in Henley.

The Henley Handybus is a charity run by seven trustees and, whereas the day-to-day running costs are covered by Oxfordshire County Council through the bus pass scheme, funds have to be accumulated to purchase new vehicles when required.

Robin said there were a number of Henley residents in their nineties, living alone, who depended on the Handybus. The eldest, who is 102, bought a bunch of roses every week to place beside her 100th birthday card from the Queen.

It was obvious Robin found meeting so many interesting characters very rewarding.

Our good cooks tempted us with their mouth-watering biscuits and the competition was won by Suzanne Thetford.

Our next meeting is on June 15, when we shall be entertained by the Valley Road Primary School Dance Club and celebrate the Queen 90th birthday.

Come along to Greys village hall at 2.30pm and meet some new friends.


CANAPES and Prosecco marked the May meeting out as one with something to celebrate.

Members presented a variety of unusual canapés as entries for this year’s Wilson’s Cup competition, which was judged by last year’s winner, Catherine Dinsdale.

Sarah Williams was awarded the cup for her delicious and attractive prosciutto bites filled with baked vegetables.

Sue Walden and Jenny Byrne were the runners-up with similarly appetising and tasty entries.

Details of forthcoming trips to Windsor Theatre Royal and Hampton Court Flower Show were given as part of the evening’s business before moving on to a discussion of the national WI resolutions.

Shelagh Green presented the first resolution calling for better access for carers of dementia patients who are hospitalised.

Frances Emmett then laid out the proposals to “avoid food waste and address food poverty” as set out in the second resolution. Both presented thoroughly researched and interesting cases which provoked discussion within the group.

All WIs throughout the country vote for each resolution and if both are passed at the annual meeting in Brighton the National Federation will campaign on both issues.

Raising awareness of important social issues remains a vital part of the WI’s work.

The evening concluded with a toast to Margaret Spratley, who was celebrating a special birthday in May, followed by Prosecco and canapés, which gave the meeting a celebratory air. Congratulations, Margaret! Refreshments were kindly provided by Maureen Cleary and Gill Busby.

If you are interested in joining us for an evening, please call either Helen on 07889 539605 or Jo on 07803 505665. We meet in Hambleden village hall on the second Thursday of the month at 7.30pm.


THE May meeting opened with president Pat Eades presenting WI welcome packs to Rachel Evans and Annette Sharp.

Birthday greetings were given to Gwen Wilding, Rosemary Emmerson, Shirley Weyman and Violet Lawrence and especial birthday greetings to Thea Broughton who would be 90 in May.

Pat announced that she is now on the board of trustees of the Oxfordshire Federation of WIs and would be helping in the formation of a Henley WI, which would be meeting in the evenings at King’s Arms Barn.

In News & Views magazine various events are available for members to attend, namely the literary lunch in Benson on July 27; Rambles in Woodstock on July 13 and 14; a flower demonstration with afternoon tea in Cassington on July 7 and a “Taste of Denman” on September 12.

A date to save in the diary is the celebrity event at Oxford town hall on October 24 when Dr Phil Hammond will be the speaker.

Viewers of Countdown will be familiar with his no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to life and this promises to be a sell-out event.

Patricia Williams is now back on the committee and is organising an outing to Kew Gardens on August 2. The coach will leave Henley at 9.30am. The cost will be £26.

The Sunday lunch club and the book club continue to flourish.

Resolutions for the annual meeting in Brighton on June 11 were presented to the meeting by Suzanna Rose.

The first resolution was regarding food waste and it was noted that there may be an amendment to this resolution at the annual meeting and instead of the wording that the “WI calls on supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste”, the word “supermarkets” might be changed to “shops”.

It was felt that some supermarkets and shops were already dealing with this and members urged the delegate (Pat Eades) to vote for the amendment but also to use her discretion on hearing the discussion in Brighton.

The second resolution regarding “appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia” evoked much discussion and it was felt that carers did not need to be at the bedside of patients all the time but to be able to have some free time.

Pat was instructed to vote against the motion as it stands but again to use her discretion if an amendment comes up.

The speaker for the afternoon was Jane Whitfield, a private client solicitor from Reading.

Her subject, “Wills and probate”, was put across to members very succinctly.

She particularly mentioned that if no will was made the list of those inheriting the estate would be in the order of spouse followed by children, parents, siblings, grandparents and then aunts and uncles. This list proved quite surprising.

She was able to assist members with the procedures for making wills and codicils and the approximate costs.

Her entire talk proved most informative and helpful. She was ably thanked by Shirley Weyman.

The competition was for “an old document” and Pam Hails and Judith Young tied for first place with many members tying for third.

Meeting are held at Harpsden village hall, commencing at 2.30pm. Do come along and see what the WI can offer you in friendship and to learn about the many other interesting matters that are brought up during the year.


THE Animal Behaviour Business run by Valerie Bennett, who is a clinical pet behaviour counsellor, proved to be an absorbing subject of her talk for those of us who have domestic animals.

In her teens, a local vet introduced Valerie to three orphaned lion cubs and she spent a magical spring and summer helping to rear them, feeding, playing with and training them.

It was not without a fair amount of injury from sharp teeth but from this was born her lifelong love of animals. Valerie said she realised that at some point in her life she would really love to work with animals.

On leaving school, she took a degree in geography at Oxford University and then worked for Microsoft for 18 years, firstly as marketing manager and then as senior project manager.

She then took an MA in clinical animal behaviour in Lincoln and become an advisor in animal behaviour.

Valerie now gives home consultations, one-to-one training and life skills for puppies, dogs, cats, horses and rabbits, using positive reinforcement methods to help behavioural problems.

About four years ago, the opportunity arose to rest and take stock and she quickly decided, as she was rather tired of the IT scene, that advising animal owners and helping them was what she really wanted to do.

Valerie admitted she is rather a late starter in the field but a very enthusiastic and passionate one.

She works voluntarily at Stokenchurch dog rescue centre, helping dogs with behavioural problems and with a local vet and farmers whose animals have been killed by poachers or by unforeseen circumstances.

She has several animals herself, including a cat and her pride and joy, High Flyer the horse. Sadly, her dog died recently but she does intend to have another.

The principles of all behaviour were then explained — innate behaviour and instinctual behaviour, which all animals are born with, and learned behaviour, which they inherit from their parents and siblings as they learn how to play and from life experience as they grow up and from their owners, the “stay”, “sit” for dogs and “stand”, “trot” etc for horses.

We can also inadvertently train behaviour that we do not want our animals to adopt, especially dogs.

Barking, jumping up and stealing food from the table are all behavioural problems picked up from owners so they continue to repeat it.

The sort of problems most usually dealt with are personality problems, the development of a fear of noise, for example, or they just don’t like to be left in the house alone.

Dogs are the biggest caseload for counsellors because we live so closely to them as domestic pets.

But rabbits and cats can also cause problems. Fear, rage and panic are the biggest emotions which can cause animals to misbehave and finding out what causes these emotions is the key to how to treat them.

Play is very important to domestic animals and they must have time and opportunity to do this and space in which to run around and socialise with other animals.

To finish, there were some very touching illustrations of animals helping in the treatment of the sick and disabled, including epilepsy and autism. The amazing medical detection dogs were also pictured being trained to detect cancer and diabetes.

Animals, especially dogs, are now making visits to hospitals and care homes.

There were many photographs to illustrate the different emotions shown by animals and suggestions made as to how improve the behaviour.

At a very extended questions and answer session some very sound advice and explanations for various problems were given about our pets.

A vote was taken on the resolutions to go forward to the final vote at the annual meeting in Brighton on June 11.

Guests at our meetings are always welcome. If there is a subject which particularly interests you please come along. Forthcoming events are as follows:

July 6 — “Tales of the opera” with speaker and singer Patricia Purcell.

August 3 — Garden party at Herons Creek, Station Road, by kind permission of Philip and Kate Emerton, 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

Meetings are held in the Hannen Room, Mill Green, unless otherwise stated.


OUR new president Liz Waterfall opened the meeting with the two resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting in Brighton on June 11.

One was “We call upon HM Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that have been admitted into hospital”.

The other was: “The WI calls on all supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste, thereby passing on surplus food on to charities, thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK”.

These worthy and topical resolutions were discussed at length one at a time and a vote on each was taken  independently.

The vote on the first motion was difficult because of the wording of the resolution and members gave discretion to our delegate to decide on how to vote after hearing the presentations and debate in the hall at the meeting.

We hoped for an amendment to the original wording to make the improvement to facilities clearer.

Members voted for the second resolution by a large majority.

All members contributed to a wonderful tea and flowers for the president’s table were provided by Veronica Townsend.

Ruth Whitaker kindly organised two quizzes as light entertainment and to keep our grey matter moving.


WE had a very special meeting in May, as usual at the village hall in Remenham. The business was gone through first.

Our president Judy Palmer reported on the Berkshire spring council meeting at the Hexagon in Reading, which five of our members attended.

There were some interesting speeches. The one that they felt was the most poignant was the one about persuading children to wear cycling helmets.

Sara Staker, the outgoing chairman of the Berkshire Federation, said what a wonderful three years she had had, which included the centenary celebrations, the royal garden party and the Queen attending the annual meeting at the Royal Albert Hall.

Sara hands over to Marlene Voke and said she wishes her well.

Judy then presented the craft cup to Rosemary Pratt.

The next item on the agenda were the two resolutions which we all have to vote on to go forward to the National Federation’s annual meeting in Brighton. One is “To avoid food waste and address food poverty” and the consensus of opinion was that the country’s food waste is a disgrace and that pressure should be put on supermarkets to do more about offering their unsold and unsaleable food to the public as this would save millions.

Also the schools that no longer have home economics in their curriculum should be pressurised to put it back.

All agreed, so Ann Francis, our delegate at the meeting. will vote positively on our behalf.

The second resolution is about “appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia”.

This issue has been featured in the national press a lot lately but it was felt that this resolution was badly worded as it implied that carers should stay in hospital with their patients to give them security and see that they ate etc.

One of our members is a full-time carer for her husband and she felt this was unsuitable as exhausted carers need a rest while their patients are safely looked after in hospital.

Our members felt they could not vote either way on this, so it was decided to abstain.

Judy Palmer then welcomed Sheila Hill who gave a talk called “A civilian year in Afghanistan”.

Sheila is a civil servant who was sponsored by the Foreign Office together with a team of three retired police officers to train Afghan police and also help people with their food management.

They stayed in guest houses with a manager, a chef and three cleaners. Most of the facilities they used had been set up by the Germans, who had been working there for years.

All those they met loved meeting Westerners and were so welcoming and generous.

With so little money, they had made Sheila lovely clothes as gifts, including a salwar kameez, a loose top over trousers, blouses and a burka.

She said the Afghans were a variety of types, having been invaded so many times over the centuries.

She was particularly impressed by the huge sense of community there and so pleased to see that in some areas they are slowly getting back to normality and some girls are allowed to go to school, which they love.

Sheila had brought pots of jam, marmalade and lemon curd to sell as she raises money to help run a coffee shop at the church where she lives to help the sense of community there.

She was given a very hearty vote of thanks by our president for such a fascinating and enlightening talk.

So there was lots to talk about as we enjoyed a super tea organised by Daphne Austen and Pat Sly.

We are always open to anyone who might be interested in our meetings. Our next meeting at Remenham village hall on June 13 at 2.30pm when the talk will be on “A passion for pearls — the history and science”.


WE were welcomed to our May meeting by president Margaret Pyle on a lovely warm afternoon.

She went on to say that before the official meeting, we would have a short talk by Graham Luxton-Best from the The University of The Third Age (U3A).

Graham gave a very interesting talk, telling us that the U3A started in France in 1981 and came to England via   Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1989.

From then on members multiplied and more and more different skills were on offer, from handiwork crafts such as knitting and crochet to woodworking. Rambling is also another very popular subject.

It costs £20 per annum. There is a very well informed website available and the head office is in Bromley, Kent.

After the talk we came to the meeting. Thanks were given to Brenda Strong for the table flowers but unfortunately she was unable to attend because of ill-health. We wish her well. Apologies were also received from the treasurer Yvonne Wright whose husband has been rather poorly. We hope he is better soon.

Margaret said that the record of the April meeting was available for all to see.

Margaret Seal then gave out five birthday buttonholes.

We were then told of the death of two members, Marjorie Record, who had been one of the founder members of Rosehill in 1963 and who had managed to reach 98, and Esme Ellingham, who was 99 years and eight months when she passed away at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

There was a box for anyone who wished to make a donation to their chosen charities.

Secretary Mary Robinson then drew our attention to several forthcoming events in Berkshire News: The History of Fashion at The Fashion Museum, Bath, on June 30; a willow workshop at Grazeley village hall on July 15 and the Sounds of Summer concert at Woodley Baptist Church on Juny 18.

The Scrabble, walking and knit and natter groups and the book club continue to meet but the cinema group has nothing planned at present.

We then came to the main item of the meeting and that was to decide on the two resolutions, “Avoid food waste, address food poverty” and “Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia”.

There was much discussion before we were asked to vote and the result will be sent to the Berkshire Federation for onward transmission to the national federation’s annual meeting.

Thanks must be given to Pat Denney and her husband Richard for producing our name badges and our programme for the next 12 months. Also well done to all those who attended the bring and buy stall which took more than £20 during the afternoon.

We finished with the usual cup of tea and biscuit before calling the raffle.

Rosehill WI meets at St Barnabas’s Church hall, Emmer Green on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm and would make any visitors very welcome.


THE main activity at WI meetings in May is always the resolutions but Joan Jolley, the president, started our meeting with some business.

She reminded members that we had the new programmes for the next year and checked that everyone had their catering schedules.

Pam Hudgell reported back on the annual council meeting in Oxford and also told members that this was the last chance to submit bulb orders.

Joan then advised members about the outings to Kew Gardens, organised by Harpsden WI, and to Waterperry Gardens, organised by Remenham WI. She also pointed out items of interest in News & Views.

Sheila Ferris thanked those who had helped with the teas at the Henley arts trail. Details of the next walk were announced and Rosemary Appleby reminded everyone about the WI raffle.

Hostesses for this month were Sue Evans and Sheila Ferris with help from Chris Bickerton.

The first resolution to be discussed concerned the appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia.

The issues of costs and staffing were discussed and some ladies were able to give personal anecdotes of the problems of taking someone with dementia to hospital. Leaving dementia sufferers on their own in hospital can be very traumatic and can delay their recovery.

The wording of the resolution talked about “the facilities” for carers to stay in hospitals with the patient but it was felt that most hospitals would find this impractical and not financially possible.

Although in principle most agreed with the sentiment of the resolution, they thought the wording was difficult to enforce. The resolution was voted against.

The subject of the second resolution was to avoid food waste and to address food poverty.

Again, the actual wording caused some confusion. Most members thought that supermarkets were already trying to avoid food waste and were passing on food surplus to charities.

There were some suggestions that the public should be educated about “use by” and “sell-by” dates and avoiding the tempting “bogof” offers.

We discussed whether shops should improve their ordering systems so that they did not run out of some items at the end of the day but have a surplus of others. This resolution was passed and both votes were passed on to the delegate.

Janet Matthews then gave the second part of her report on her research through the Shiplake WI archives.

As our meeting in May is dedicated to resolutions, she thought members might be interested to know that Shiplake had once submitted its own resolution about the enforcement of residential caravan site regulations.

Other resolutions that had received support included one about a larger selection of British goods in shops, one for the suggestion of a “P” plate for new drivers after passing their driving test and another for compulsory helmets for cyclists.

In the Fifties, the annual garden party was a fund- raising event and was more of a fete to which whole village was invited. Attractions included a tug of war, produce and craft stalls and a member of the committee dressed up as a fortune teller, which proved very popular. The money raised from one stall was given to a local charity.

It was interesting to see how much the WI has changed over the last 90 years.

Joan thanked Janet for all her hard work and Janet told the ladies that she was hoping to put all the research into a booklet for future members to read.

After the usual tasty tea, the winner of the best Associated Country Women of the World flower of the month competition was announced as Viv Ellis and the winner of the competition for a mask was Pauline Watkins. The speaker at the June meeting will be Harry Dunn talking about “the long and winding road to being published”. The competition will be for a teapot. There will be a special celebration tea for the Queen’s 90th birthday.


OUR May resolutions meeting was opened by our president Jenny Ward.

She introduced Irene Lindsay, president of Peppard WI, who is to be our delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting.

Jenny was pleased to welcome such a large number of members and guests to the meeting and thanked the members for their support.

The usual business then took place, including outings and information from News & Views. The treasurer’s report was given, followed by the fund-raising report.

Gill Hayward reported that the May coffee morning with a “plant” theme had been very successful and enjoyed by all.

There were the usual sales tables and a tombola and an excellent selection of plants and produce from the Greenshoots team who have a sales table at all of our coffee mornings.

Greenshoots also gave a demonstration of how to plant a hanging basket.

The next coffee morning, which as usual is open to anyone, will be on Wednesday, July 27. It is always nice to welcome other WI members too.

Further funds were raised by having a tombola and raffle at the Chiltern Edge Horticultural Society’s table top sale in May.

Members were thanked for their continuing support and donation of items for the sales tables.

Sue Hedges gave details of the “brasket” competition. Following our recent collection of unwanted bras, which were sent to a charity for forwarding to ladies in Africa, we had so many bras that the charity was inundated and we were left with an excess of bras!

As a result, it had been suggested that a competition be organised for members to plant up a bra, take a photo of it and enter the competition.

There were three fun examples of planted bras at this meeting to promote the competition.

The planted bras will be our competition for July and photos will be sent to the National Federation to choose a winner.

Sue then reported that she accompanied Sue Frayling-Cork and Irene Lindsay to the resolutions workshop arranged by the Oxfordshire Federation.

This had been extremely informative about the process of how the ideas for possible resolutions are forwarded by WI members and the procedures which follow to decide which ones are finally accepted to go forward to the annual meeting.

Details on the “journey of a resolution’ were available on the information table for our members to read.

Thanks were given to our members who had made 15 twiddlemuffs in aid of Dementia Awareness week.

At our next meeting on June 16 Tony Boffin will give a talk on William Morris (Lord Nuffield).

We will also be celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday and Sonning Common WI’s 60th anniversary of its founding. Plans are in place to celebrate both occasions with cake! What more could you want? The resolution part of the meeting then began and Irene Lindsay, our delegate, explained her role in taking our vote to the annual meeting.

Our president Jenny Ward thanked Irene for giving a clear and informative explanation of the process.

Jenny then opened the resolution discussions with the first proposal to be voted on: “Avoid food waste, address food poverty”.

She had researched the subject very well and gave members all the information she had gleaned, for and against.

Members asked many questions and a thoughtful debate ensued.

Voting took place and Irene was asked to vote in favour of this resolution.

Sue Frayling-Cork then talked about the second resolution: “We call upon the Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia who have been admitted into hospital”.

Sue had carried out extensive research and reported this extremely sensitive subject to members in a very informative manner.

Again debate ensued with members having many opinions and questions for and against.

It was unanimously decided by members that Irene Lindsay should be given discretion to vote as she sees fit on the day after hearing the debate at the meeting.

The members then enjoyed refreshments, a raffle and a fun beetle drive organised by Alison Bishop.

The flower of the month competition was won by Sue Hedges with Jenny Ward second and Ann Chivers third.

Jenny closed the meeting and thanked everyone for coming and making our resolutions meeting such a success.


AT our May meeting, John Paine gave us a quiz with superb pictures of London landmarks for us to identify.

We worked in pairs to solve the challenging and exhilarating competition.

Our meeting on August 10 will include a talk on the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance. September’s meeting will be a social evening.

Our meetings are held in Watlington town hall at 7.30pm. If you wish to join us, you will be warmly welcomed. Please call Kath on (01491) 612939.


PRESIDENT Frances welcomed 19 members and two guests to our May meeting and offered birthday greetings to six members.

Following our usual business, we discussed the two resolutions which are to be placed before the National Federation’s annual meeting in Brighton.

The first — “Avoid food waste, address food poverty” — was presented by member Jane Kennard.

We heard that less than two per cent of edible surplus food is being collected and redistributed for human consumption and that 200,000 tonnes of edible food is thrown away annually by the retail food sector.

It is also thought that 21 per cent of households with children have suffered some form of food poverty.

Members voted unanimously to support the resolution.

The second resolution “Appropriate care in hospital for people with dementia” was presented by member Heather Baker.

Since 2012 there have been various moves towards improving the situation for dementia sufferers but despite the commitment it is apparent that these are not being enforced or monitored in many hospitals.

Members pointed out that with the financial problems facing the NHS more thought is needed before any real advances can take place.

Members were not satisfied with the format of the resolution and there were just four members in favour, four against and many abstentions.

Our speaker was John Painter, chairman of the Friends of Reading Abbey.

He told us that while there are only ruins to be seen now, there had been a grand, imposing and very important abbey which was consecrated in the 12th century by Thomas Becket and which saw a succession of royal visits over the next few centuries.

Following the abbey’s dissolution in 1531, Lord Protector Somerset stripped away its roof in 1540 and sold its assets.

Elizabeth I had come to Reading quite often and William and Mary had stayed in the royal apartments. After the Civil War it fell into ruin.

Now, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, some restoration will start in the autumn and it is hoped to open the abbey ruins to the public in 2021.

Members are looking forward to their annual outing in June and in July we will resume our customary business meeting followed by a talk and demonstration.

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


ANN LARDEN welcomed the members, Irene Lindsay from Peppard WI and a visitor called Joan to our May meeting.

Audrey Hawthorne played the piano as we sang Jerusalem. We welcomed Kathy Brewer as our new vice-president.

Birthday buttonholes were presented to Audrey Hawthorne and Hazel Tagg.

This was our resolutions meeting and Irene Lindsay spoke to us as she will be our delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting.

The first resolution is “The WI calls on supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste, thereby passing surplus food on to charities, thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK.”

This was voted for by a majority of members.

The second resolution “....calls on HM Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease that have dementia that have to been admitted to hospital”.

This was voted against by a majority of members.

This was followed by a quiz with prizes of low calorie chocolates. Thank you to Ann.

This was followed by a delicious tea thanks to Rose Metcalf, Rose Spencer and Stephanie Toole.

New members are very welcome at meetings, which are held on the third Wednesday of the month in the village hall.

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