Friday, 17 September 2021

Around the WI

Around the WI


THE April meeting was the formal start of a new year.

Members welcomed Carol Crowdy, a local wool spinner, who had brought along many samples of different sheep wool.

She explained how to clean and prepare the wool, how to spin it and even how to felt it.

Members were able to handle the wool, do some carding and some Caversham WI wool was spun!

Next month, members will be discussing which of the two proposed resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting to support — alleviating loneliness or plastic soup (keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans).

Our website has been updated and now includes a full version of our 2017/18 programme — visit or search for “Caversham WI programme”.

Tickets for the annual boat trip and strawberry cream tea on Friday, June 16 are open to all interested ladies, so if you would like to join us, do get in touch to secure one of the limited spaces.

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

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


PRESIDENT Adrienne Rance welcomed members and five guests to the meeting on Wednesday, April 19.

She also welcomed speaker Caroline Beard and her friend Annabel Mackenzie before her illustrated talk entitled “Two girls follow in Lawrence’s footsteps in the Middle East in 1965”.

It was an intriguing talk about the adventure undertaken by the pair when they were in their mid-twenties.

Both worked as secretaries and saved enough money to visit some places known to Lieutenant T E Lawrence, a unique British character and influential military leader, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

His time spent in the Middle East is well recorded by David Lean’s classic film, Lawrence of Arabia.

After the death of her father, Caroline felt the time was right to follow her dream, so bags were packed and they set off for Victoria station to board a train for Genoa on February 12, 1965.

They went by boat to Alexandria, spending a month in Egypt before flying to Jordan, where they visited the ancient “pink” city of Petra, which was a flourishing, wealthy trading centre 2,000 years ago.

Bedouins used to live in caves carved out of the rocks.

As tourists were rare, the girls found they received lots of stares because they were wearing frocks which exposed their knees — a sight that Bedouin Arabs were not familiar with!

Members were surprised to learn that after the Arab- Israeli war in 1948, Jordan agreed to the UN Partition Plan, which included that the enclave of Jerusalem would be divided between Jordan and Israel.

The Jordanians immediately expelled all the Jewish residents of east Jerusalem.

Hebron, well known for its glassmaking, became a divided city between Israelis and Palestinians.

The girls arrived in Wadi Rah, where Lawrence had been during the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in 1916.

A highlight for them was staying at the Fort, an exciting change from hostels!

A wadi is the name given to the channel of a watercourse which is dry except during periods of rainfall.

The scenery was spectacular with cisterns, dry falls, canyons and tristrams (black birds). The temperatures can rise to 50C in the summer months.

Their journey then took them to Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, where streets are so narrow that there are no cars.

Instead it is crammed with shops selling all sorts of goodies including gold, jewellery and dates, of course. They saw men using sewing machines to run up clothes.

They spent a day in nearby Bethlehem (on the West Bank), the Holy City of David and the birthplace of Jesus.

They found that this most famous of holiest places was smaller than Jerusalem.

They visited one of the oldest churches in the world, the Church of the Nativity, which was carved into the mountains. The entrance, the Door of Humility, is only 4ft, so you have to bow to go in.

They had a desert trip in a Land Rover to experience a little of what it must have been like for Lawrence, surrounded by nothing but sand.

Another time they took a taxi, costing £1 each for a four-hour journey to Aqaba, the only coastal city in Jordan, which has a strategic location at the north east tip of the Red Sea.

The Battle for Aqaba took place here in July 1917, when Lawrence was fighting with the Arabs to push the Turkish soldiers out.

The salty Red Sea is an inlet of the Indian Ocean located between Africa and Asia. It is just over 190 miles across at its widest point and about 1,200 miles long.

The girls’ journey continued to Eilat, also located at the north end of the Red Sea on the gulf of Aqaba, in Israel.

To Caroline’s horror, Annabel was swimming here when she saw what looked like a shark fin swimming behind her!

The Red Sea borders many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

Their travels lasted over six months as they visited many countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Oman and Syria.

They spent a month in Lebanon, working in a hotel in Beirut. The total cost was just £400 each.

The women were thanked for sharing their exciting adventure with us.

Caroline was delighted to receive a donation for the charity looking after the homeless children of Aleppo.

They then joined us for a delicious WI tea, served by Anne Whittaker and Maureen Fennemore.

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, May 17 at 2.30pm, when our speaker will be George Street talking about Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.


SPRING sunshine flooded into the rustic village hall in Rotherfield Greys for our meeting on April 19. Val, our president, welcomed back two members who have been unwell, Gladys Edwards and Jennifer Poska.

The April birthday posy was presented to our oldestmember, Margaret Bowles. Out of politeness, I shall not reveal her age but merely comment that neither her appearance nor her energy bears any relation to it!

Our speaker was Alan Copeland, who last visited Greys 17 years ago.

Alan is a renowned photographer, who has become fascinated by the “curiosities” he finds as he travels around, from New Zealand to the Cotswolds.

He combines these two passions in a series of illustrated talks.

I’ll begin by saying that Alan is a great communicator who talks directly to his audience, involving them all the time, and uses his slides and excellent sound effects as part of this.

His talk was entitled “Curiosities in the Chilterns. part I”, starting in Reading, and ending in High Wycombe.

It was a fast-moving and very entertaining talk, passing England’s biggest cast iron statue of a lion in Reading, the house with a plaque stating that William Hogarth never lived there (Henley), pilgrims, ancient tarry stones and many more.

If I tell you that several members were hoping for part II there and then, you will understand that this talk was very much enjoyed.

Many thanks to Alan. We are looking forward to next time.

A delicious tea was provided by Alma Headland and Joyce Robbins.

The dedicated members of the tea rota are often unsung heroes, so let’s thank them.

Our next meeting will be in Rotherfield Greys village hall on May 17 at 2.30pm when our speaker will be Valeria Alasia and her subject “The Henley Union workhouse — the story of Townlands.”

Valerie lives in Henley and is a well-known local historian.

Our new Townlands Memorial Hospital has recently opened after a long struggle by the residents of Henley, which makes this talk very topical. Anyone interested in the history of Henley and people power will find this fascinating.

All visitors are welcome, just turn up.

For more information about Greys WI or our programme for 2017/18, please call (01491) 577914 or email


OUR speaker in April was Edwin Rye, whose talk was entitled “Plants for small gardens”.

He began by telling us about a project in South Africa that he and his wife support. The project supports a creche for children aged two to five.

The couple donate money made by speaking at various events around the country.

Edwin also opens his garden to the public through the National Garden Scheme.

The talk was interesting. Edwin spoke about a range of both sun- and shade-loving plants. He showed us pictures of them all and had brought with him several examples, which we could buy.

A vote of thanks was given by Margaret Spratley.

Teas were provided by Bernie Beavis, Angela Detsiny and Suzie Livesey.

We have again had a busy time this month. Activities included:

l A workshop on lasting power of attorney was held for members in the village hall. This proved to be very popular and highly informative. We are already organising another workshop on writing your will.

l On April 12 members visited Highclere Castle (of Downton Abbey fame). We had lunch together first at a lovely pub near the castle. We then arrived at the castle at 2pm. We all enjoyed looking around the castle and grounds, including the Tutankhamun exhibition.

l Dronsfield Prison coffee morning. Nine members attended the coffee morning hosted by the WI at the prison.

l We provided a soup lunch at the village hall on Saturday, March 25. A huge thanks to all who made soups and helped on the day. We raised £272 for Christian Aid.

Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, May 11 and will include a cupcake competition for the Wilson Cup.

The resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting will be discussed, one about loneliness and the other on “plastic soup”.

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 Hambleden Hikers. Groups generally get together once a month.

We welcome new members. For more information or to see our 2017 programme, please visit


ON a lovely, bright and sunny day Pat Eades welcomed 30 members to the April meeting.

Birthday greetings were given to Jean Newman, Jasmine Weaver, Alice Drennan, Bridget Hawthorne and Ann Kelly.

As the convenor for the Beechwood Group and also Harpsden WI president, Pat said that the first meeting of the group had been very pleasant and successful.

Five members from Harpsden WI had attended.

Notices were given of events taking place in April at other WIs, namely Sonning Common and Stoke Row.

In News & Views it was noted that entries for the Huxley Cup for flower arranging are being invited.

The person selected to represent Oxfordshire will be chosen from a photograph of a recent floral arrangement made by a member.

On competition day on August 1 at the Bakewell Show entrants will take part in an “imposed exhibit”, meaning that all the materials will be supplied and the theme of the arrangement announced.

Each entrant can use as much or as little of the supplied materials as she wishes and no additional flowers, foliage or accessories will be permitted.

Harpsden WI wishes “good luck” to the representative from Oxfordshire.

On June 19 there is a special day at Denman College for Oxfordshire Federation members. The cost is £40, which includes a cookery demonstration, lunch, a look around the accommodation and, finally, a cream tea.

On July 14 Isla St Clair will present a unique show of music and film to take you back in time.

On July 19 there is an outing to Romsey and Houghton Lodge in Hampshire with a pick-up point in Nettlebed.

Following last month’s talk on Leander Club by Robert Treharne Jones, a tour of the club is offered to 20 members on June 9.

Lunch will follow the tour and the cost is £20. There will be a ballot for places if over-subscribed.

The reading group will be meeting on May 17. The Sunday luncheon group continues to meet on the third Sunday of the month.

The competition for a spring posy was won by Pam Hails, with Judith Young second and Shirley Weyman third.

The speaker from the National Trust failed to arrive, so during the earlier-than-usual tea break members were invited to speak about any unusual happenings on their holidays.

Both Ann Downing and Annette Ambrose had strange times in Brighton.

Pat Eades told of the unfortunate events during her recent cruise and stay in Cape Town and Melbourne, which started badly with a fall at Heathrow before she had even boarded the flight.

Pam Hails told of a very weird bed and breakfast she had stayed in and Di Painter had a car breakdown in a remote spot in Bulawayo.

All these stories filled the time and amused or gave concern to those listening to them.

At the May meeting the resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool in June will be discussed and voted on.

The competition is for a limerick about resolutions. It will certainly prove tricky to get a five-line poem on this subject with the correct line-ending rhymes!

Members will be asked to read out their contributions.

The meeting will be at Harpsden village hall on May 10, commencing at 2.30pm.


AT our April meeting we were delighted to welcome Rebecca Hudson and Nessie Gilbert, from Henley Community Acupuncture as our speakers.

They explained how acupuncture originated more than 3,000 years ago in China, where it still features in mainstream healthcare.

Now it is also widely used and accepted around the world.

It follows a different model to western medicine by taking a holistic view of any symptoms and using 365 standards points (there are many more miscellaneous points) to help regulate the body’s flow of energy (Qi) and restore balance.

It can help with a range of conditions from headaches and insomnia to knee pain.

We asked if it hurt and the answer was no, the needle insertion is generally painless, producing a range of sensations from warm to heavy to a dull ache.

Rebecca and Nessie talked about their clinic held at the Christ Church Centre every Tuesday morning (they welcome anybody who is interested to drop in for a taster session) and how the beauty of doing a multi-bed clinic meant they could offer affordable acupuncture in a peaceful group setting.

It was a very enlightening talk which we really enjoyed. Rebecca and Nessie were very knowledgeable in answering the many questions with expertise.

We took a stall at the Henley May fayre on Monday.

At our next meeting on May 19 we will be welcoming another local business, Honeys of Henley, which should get us all buzzing.

Please come and join us at King’s Arms Barn or email us at for more information.


ON April 5 members were given a talk by Tony Weston about the Royal Albert Hall called “Mushrooms and a marathon”.

The mushrooms referred to were, of course, those in the ceiling, which were installed below the glass atrium to eliminate the echo almost 100 years after the building was finished. What is not generally known is that marathons used to be held at the hall, with two people at a time running around the elliptical auditorium.

The planning of the Royal Albert Hall took some considerable time.

It was eventually opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, 10 years after Prince Albert had died, to give the country a lasting memorial of him along with the Albert Memorial, which stands immediately opposite in Kensington Gore.

It was built to honour the work he did in initiating the first world trade fair at Crystal Palace in 1851 in Hyde Park, which was a huge success.

Prince Albert had planned to also build a permanent concert hall on the site of the present Albert Hall dedicated to the arts but he died before plans were finalised.

The Albert Hall is a registered charity held in trust for the nation and receives no government funding.

It was originally planned to be twice the size of the finished building but plans were adapted to accommodate the cost, time and restrictions of the site.

An enormous amount of interesting and amusing facts and figures were given by Tony on the planning and building of what has become one of the nation’s most distinctive buildings.

Built in the Italianate style, the Albert Hall seats 5,270 and hosts classical concerts, ballet, opera, film screenings, pop concerts, award ceremonies, charity performances and banquets.

After a question and answer session, a bring and buy sale was held in aid of the Associated Country Women of the World.

The winning team collected the cup for the county golden jubilee competition for a piece of factual travel writing at the annual spring council meeting held at the University of Reading on April 3.

They were Glynis Gothard, Penny Hampton, Gina Foden, Sue Drew and Carol Evans. Pat Darwent also took part but couldn’t be at the presentation.

The lecture at this event was given by Lt Col Lucy Giles, the first lady commander of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

On June 7 we will have our outing to Loseley Park.

On June 14 the Wargrave Village Festival bridge evening will be held at Piggott Junior School at 7.30pm.

On June 24 we will have a cake stall at the village fete. We welcome visitors to our meetings.


THE majority of members gathered for our annual meeting and we were happy that our Federation chairman Pauline Goddard could join us.

After voting in the committee and our president Irene Lindsay, we enjoyed tea provided by Shirley Hartley Booth and Dee Windass.

Judy Gordon Graham had brought a delightful vase of spring flowers for the table.

Everyone left looking forward to the months ahead.

If you would like to come along and find out what the WI is about, our next meeting is at Peppard War Memorial Hall on May 10 at 2pm.


DAPHNE AUSTEN, our new president, opened the meeting, which sadly was rather bereft of members as Henley was almost closed due to Hart Street being dug up for sewer repairs. After the usual business, she reminded members of future events, the summer outing in July, the recruitment drive in Falaise Square, Henley, on April 26 (see picture above) and the Thames Group meeting at Knowl Hill on May 11.

Daphne then introduced Steve Moll who gave us a year’s tour of “The incredible world of the honey bee”.

He started by saying he was not a beekeeper until his neighbour asked him to help her catch a swarm in a box, which he introduced into a hive that he happened to have.

This was the start and now, 10 years later, he has about 70 hives around the neighbourhood of Britwell-cum-Sotwell.

He looks after the bees and his wife deals with the honey and the wax candles.

The hives have wire netting around them as they are at risk from woodpeckers.

Before Christmas the hives hum and when opened the bees are all clustered together, flapping their wings to keep the nursery area at 35 degrees.

During the winter they will eat about 20kg of sugar. In the spring the wooden frames in the hives are full of wax cells, all the same size and hexagonal in shape.

The wax is produced by the rear end of the bees before being passed to their mouths and shaped. The queen lays an egg in each, a spot of pollen is put in by the workers and sealed up and after 21 days the egg hatches.

In July the frames are removed, the bees shaken off and the frames put in an extractor to remove the honey.

The honey has an acidity to prevent bacterial growth, so is used medicinally and is used on wounds.

On a good day in summer the queen flies out and mates with a drone on the wing and a new swarm is formed with about 3,000 workers and so the cycle starts again.

Sadly, we have all heard about hives of bees dying. This is caused by a virus, but this can be held at bay with treatment twice a year.

Irene Parker thanked Mr Moll for his fascinating talk and excellent slides and said no wonder the expression “busy as a bee” is so relevant.

After a quiz, while the excellent tea was prepared by Carol Wissett and her helpers, the meeting closed.

Remenham WI meets at Remenham village hall, next to the church, on the second Monday of each month at 2.30pm. If you are interested in joining, please call Judy Palmer on 01628 472488 or just come along to a meeting.

The next meeting will be on Monday, May 8 when Sue Milton will be talking about swan upping.


ON a pleasant but chilly afternoon president Margaret Pyle welcomed all present (including visitors) to our April meeting. She started by thanking Brenda Caborn for the table flowers which would be one of the raffle prizes.

Margaret then reminded us that the final payment for those attending the Mill at Sonning in June was now due.

Anyone wishing to have a 2018 WI diary should let the committee know.

She also reminded us that Rosehill would be hosting the Caversham Group meeting on May 24 and that tickets were available for £5.

The Scrabble group was to meet twice in April and the book club once.

The cinema group met in Reading but unfortunately there were only five seats available at the screening but seven people were present, so they all went for coffee and cake instead — not a bad substitute!

Walking seems to be in the doldrums with hardly any interest — maybe later in the year?

Our attention was then drawn to the resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool in June, these being “Alleviating loneliness” and “Plastic soup; keeping microplastic fibres out of our oceans”.

These will be discussed at our May meeting and a vote taken as to which one will be forwarded to the federation.

Margaret also mentioned the Berkshire Federation’s annual council meeting which was held at the Palmer Building on the Whiteknights campus of Reading University on April 3 and she said was enjoyable.

An appeal was made for shawls and blankets for patients on the dementia ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and more details of this will be given at our next meeting.

Finally, a big thank-you to Pat and Richard Denney for printing the speaker’s programme for 2017/2018. Well done!

Next we had our speaker Alan Copeland, who gave us part II of “The changing face of Reading”, which was very interesting and brought back many memories to those who have lived in the area for many years.

Can we have a third instalment in future, please?

The meeting closed with the usual cup of tea and biscuit and the drawing of the raffle.

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


PRESIDENT Joan Jolley opened the meeting on Wednesday, April 19 with a warm welcome and an explanation of the new programmes and the tea rota.

She gave a short report on the Beechwood Group meeting and said how much it had been enjoyed.

Janet Matthews volunteered to be the link for the Oxfordshire Federation resolutions and campaigns.

Joan then announced that Shiplake WI had won a bursary at the Federation’s annual meeting for a course at Denman College.

Pam Hudgell would take the orders for bulbs.

Sue Lines told the meeting about the arrangements for the visits to the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery and RHS Wisley and some ideas for the future, which included trips to Burford and the “shoe lady” in Hungerford.

Joyce Vernon announced details of the April walk.

Joan reviewed some of the details in News & Views, including a paintballing day and the trips to Knebworth House and Romsey.

She gave some advance information about the 90th birthday cruise on the river in August.

Joan then asked members if they would be willing to help with two research projects, one involving dressmaking in the home in the Sixties and the other on the importance of a bra prescription service.

Details of a Royal British Legion tea party to be held on June 4 were given.

The tea hostesses for the afternoon were Janet Matthews and Jill Irwin.

The speaker was Jacqui Hogan who was dressed in splendid style to suit the topic of her talk — “Jane Austen’s menfolk”.

Jane had six brothers and one sister, so she always had the company of the opposite sex.

The two youngest brothers joined the navy and became admirals and the elder two became clergymen. Her father was a rector of two parishes and ran a boys’ school. She had two known romances, one with Tom Lefroy whose family disapproved so he was sent away and the second with Harris Biggs Withers, who was six years her junior.

He proposed and she accepted but overnight decided she didn’t love him and broke off the engagement the next day. (Quite a shocking thing to do in those days!)

When Jane’s father died, because of the inheritance laws at the time, Jane, her sister and her mother inherited nothing and had to move from the rectory.

The brothers helped them to buy Chawton Lodge.

One of Jane’s elder brothers, Edward, had been adopted by richer relations and had left the Austen family home to live in Chawton House, which made the purchase of Chawton Lodge possible. Jane died at the age of 41.

Jacqui went on to tell us about the heroes in the Jane Austen novels, including Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey and Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, and the villains, of whom Mr Wycombe was one of her favourites.

There were many others, including smug clergymen who could have been based on some of those she met in her father’s rectory.

Jane’s books were written at an interesting time at the end of the 18th century and although the world events are not mentioned in the novels much of what was happening must have influenced her work.

After this interesting talk members enjoyed a tasty tea.

The winner of the flower of the month competition was Barbara Ingoldby-Williams with a delicate clematis and the winner of the competition was Diana Bedford with an unusual African hippo eggcup.

The May meeting will be the resolution meeting, when we will be discussing how to alleviate loneliness and the problems of micro plastic contamination of the oceans.

More details about Shiplake WI are on the village’s website. Visitors are always welcome at meetings.


JENNY WARD warmly welcomed 44 members and 10 visitors to our April open meeting, which included ladies from Stoke Row, Shiplake and Peppard WIs.

The usual business and reports followed.

Jane Handley, our welfare officer, informed the members of the sad death of Lyn Lloyd-Lewis, aged 93. Lyn was our eldest member and until recently was a regular at meetings, always full of fun, and will be missed by everyone.

Jenny Hermon reported that 11 of our members attended the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting in Oxford, which was opened by Sara Buck, the federation secretary.

There were stalls with information on campaigns and the proposed resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting in June — alleviating loneliness and plastic soup: keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans.

After the business meeting we heard about how the Care Not Custody campaign is being implemented in Oxfordshire and Vera de Menzies gave an inspiring talk called “From adversity to prosperity”, describing her experiences of fleeing from Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda and how she built a new life in Britain.

She showed us some fine quilts she had made. The meeting closed with the presentation of cups and awards.

On March 30, we hosted the first meeting of the Beechwood Group, which consists of Greys, Harpsden, Peppard, Shiplake, Sonning Common and Stoke Row WIs.

We were very pleased to have both Pauline Goddard, who chairs the Oxfordshire Federation, and Pat Eades, our Beechwood convenor, present.

It was a very enjoyable meeting with entertainment provided by Nick Gill who gave a talk, played the piano and sang songs from Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. Everyone joined in with enthusiasm and much toe-tapping.

Refreshments were served with delicious cakes provided by our members.

We all agreed that our new Beechwood Group meetings were going to be much enjoyed and we were pleased to meet our new WI friends.

Marion Bayliss reported that the craft group was now meeting regularly and other crafts were being taught, including crochet, knitting and making icing flowers. Adult colouring books were also popular.

Marion had visited Buscott Ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital to deliver the premature baby items crafted by our members. The ward was very grateful and members were thanked.

Sue Hedges reported that eight of our members went on the Oxfordshire Federation coach trip to Alexander Palace on April 1. They all very much enjoyed the day and their highlights were many.

The excellent models of buildings knitted by Braintree WI adorned the entrance. There were many demonstrations, craft stalls, workshops, clothing, food, holidays, WI information, in fact too many to mention.

Everyone came away with something that they had produced or purchased. On leaving, they were entertained by the Funky Voices Choir.

An excellent day out which will hopefully be repeated.

The president then asked Alison Bishop to introduce the speaker for the evening. Richard Walker had stepped in at the last minute because our booked speaker was unwell.

Richard and his wife Ursula live in Sonning Common, having moved from Bedford.

During a visit from a friend they were told about a project called Home of Hope in Mchingi, Malawi. The home is for orphaned children. The Walkers agreed that they wanted to be involved and had soon booked their first flight of many.

The Rev Chipeta Agogo founded the home in 1992 after taking in his grandchildren orphaned after the death of six of his own children.

The home was started with 20 children but when the Walkers visited the orphanage there were 650 children being offered shelter, food, medical care, love and, most importantly, education.

If the charity can fund and build a suitable building for housing the orphans, the government will pay for a teacher.

The orphanage is, sadly, still expanding due to the many and varied situations in that area.

The orphans rise at 5am and have a very busy day including prayers, singing, schooling, project working and, very importantly, play.

The Rev Agogo considers all the children to be his family and they all adore him.

Some of our members and other local residents have, for a few years, been knitting blankets for this charity and it was wonderful to see them being used in the nursery photographs we were shown.

All the photographs showed us that the children were happy and thriving, so grateful for the opportunity to have an education.

A vocational training college is planned.

The Walkers still visit regularly and support the charity in many ways. We were all very moved by Richard’s involvement with this charity and we will continue to knit blankets for the nursery.

Beverley Porteous gave a vote of thanks to Richard, who we all agreed was one of the best speakers we have had.

We were very lucky that Alison Bishop, our programme secretary, had met Richard socially as it was during their conversation that she learnt of the incredible work he and his wife are doing. So many unsung heroes among us.

The raffle then took place and refreshments were served. The flower of the month competition was won by Ann Chivers.

The competition for a holiday souvenir was won by Sue Frayling-Cork.

The president closed the meeting and invited everyone to stay to socialise for half an hour.


OUR last meeting saw us again in the church but possibly for the last time as the hall is nearly ready for our return.

Our speaker told us about the Henley Union workhouse, which was on the site of the modern-day Townlands Memorial Hospital.

After the talk our usual varied refreshments were served and we mingled with some members from other WIs in our Beechwood Group who had been invited.

We noted a change of date for our big event coming up. The Glorious Glam Sale will now be held on Saturday, July 15 from 10am to 2pm at Stoke Row village hall (opposite the Maharajah’s Well).

There will be bags, scarves, hats, jewellery and even shoes at this accessories sale, which is open to everyone.

Donations of quality used goods are welcome and can be stored in the village shop until the day — just call in to the store, almost next door to the hall, if you can help.

The proceeds will be given to assist the hall committee for the purchase of new chairs, which will be very welcome for anyone using the hall.

Tea and cakes will complete the day, so do come along if you can.

This month the walking group had a delightful bluebell walk in the Nuffield area, when the flowers were at their glorious peak and a joy to see.

A nice Italian lunch was enjoyed by the diners’ group on the same day and quite a few members had been swimming too.

The bursary for a member to go to Denman College was drawn and the lucky winner can now choose any two-day course to attend.

We heard from our delegate at the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting in Oxford, who gave an interesting and full report on the business and the speakers.

Some of our members had been and enjoyed it.

We collected our new programme, which has some different evenings coming up, and looked through News & Views, which had a photo of two of our members.

Next month we will be discussing the resolutions going forward to the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool and we shall vote on whether or not we agree with them.

Craft afternoons and the book group continue enthusiastically and there is always something for you to do in the company of other members, should you decide to give us a try.


OUR speaker in April was a local lady, Jaine McCormack, who talked about her life in textiles and how she now designs for the Guy Goodfellow collection.

This was a story of how textiles are produced in Watlington and used by Guy Goodfellow in many of the large houses in the country.

She not only produces custom-made fabrics but also wallpapers to match.

A very fascinating talk was enjoyed by all. Oxford town hall was the venue for the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual council meeting.

It was well attended by members from all over Oxfordshire and after the usual business they enjoyed two very inspirational speakers.

One was a lady who had to flee from Uganda in the Seventies and the other was Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine.

The awards were presented and the draw made for courses founded by the Denman Dip.

On May 10 our speaker will be Roselle Hyman on the subject of “The UK domestic ivory trade”.

In June we will have our summer garden party at Kath’s house and on July 12 we will have Louise Shaw from Babylon Plants talking about “The story of a growing business”.

We meet in Watlington town hall at 7.30pm and visitors are always welcome.

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


MEMBERS welcomed guests from two other WIs when they celebrated their 64th birthday with a buffet lunch.

The two-course lunch was provided by members of the committee with some rich, inviting puddings made by other members. We were entertained by Louise Herrington who brought us well-known songs from the heyday of musical shows between the Twenties and the Fifties and some light opera.

At the beginning of April a number of members enjoyed a guided tour of the ruins of historic Reading Abbey and in early May we shall be walking round Englefield Gardens followed by lunch.

Later in the month, Victoria Newton will give us a talk about “Meddler in all things gardening” and we will discuss and decide how to vote on this year’s resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting.

At our May meeting, we shall be drawing the name of the winner of our bursary for one of our members to take part in a course of their own choice at Denman College.

In early June there will be a walk from Wallingford followed by lunch at the Waterside, and later in the month our annual outing which this year will take us to the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park.

We have a business meeting with a speaker on the third Tuesday of most months and we also plan a social or craft morning, or possibly a walk and pub lunch, usually on the first Tuesday of the month.

Our monthly meetings take place at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471, at 10am. Visitors are welcome.

For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.


ANN LARDEN welcomed the members to our meeting on April 19, a warm, spring day.

Birthday buttonholes were presented to Margaret Carter and Isobel Lomax. Our speaker was Ellie Dickins talking about “feet and shoes”.

We learnt about the anatomy of the foot, how it develops and how different problems arise from wearing the wrong footwear.

Ellie told us about the leathers used in shoes, how they are constructed and the importance of getting your feet measured.

She showed us lots of shoes in various designs suitable for different shaped feet.

Ann gave a résumé of the Oxfordshire Federaion’s annual meeting, which had some inspirational speakers.

We had a lovely tea thanks to Connie Vickery, Gill Woods and Edna Smith.

The lunch club will be going to a carvery in Caversham.

We meet on the third Wednesday of the month in the village hall. Please come and join us.

More News:

POLL: Have your say