Friday, 24 September 2021

Around the WI

Around the WI


OUR president Sandra Winterbone welcomed members and visitors to our meeting on Wednesday, May 19.

She brought us up to date with forthcoming events within the Oxfordshire Federation of WIs, which regularly organises outings and talks.

There is also a number of courses (both day and residential) at Denman College at Marcham, near Abingdon.

Our speaker for our meeting was Dan Allan, publicity officer/newsletter editor for the Victorian Military Society, who talked to us about “Wives and women and the Victorian army”.

Dan started his talk by noting that soldiers in the army were not allowed to marry unless they had permission to do so from their superior officer.

Even if permission was given, marriage was discouraged as wives and women were considered to be a considerable nuisance!

Dan talked about how wives and families fared at home and while accompanying their menfolk on active service in territories such as India and the Crimea.

Generally on these occasions the women, if selected to go, were expected to help out with nursing, laundry and cooking.

Dan noted that Queen Victoria was the daughter of a soldier as well as Queen of the Empire and took a keen interest.

During the early period the soldiers’ barrack rooms would typically hold 120 single men.

However, the four corners of the room were curtained off for married couples to occupy. These would be used by the husbands and wives and also any children.

Eventually, and due in some part to Lord Cardigan, conditions improved and married quarters were built.

Dan ended his talk by highlighting some of the more famous wives and women connected with the Victorian army.

Following the talk, there was the usual chance to chat and catch up over refreshments.

Benson WI meets again on Wednesday, June 21 when we will hear Jean Burt talk about the Wallingford emergency food bank, which operates from Wallingford Bullcroft.

Any donations can be received at our meeting in June.

Visitors and new members are more than welcome. For more information, please call Sandra Winterbone (president) on (01491) 202375 or Brenda Hallett (programme organiser) on (01491) 838584.


AT the May meeting, we discussed the two proposed national resolutions: Should the WI campaign for alleviating loneliness and/or for keeping micro plastic fibres out of our oceans?

A lively discussion was held, with members working in teams to consider the pros and cons before taking a majority vote on each resolution. We decided to back both but await news on the final joint vote.

Maggie Hill has delivered to St Luke’s and The Oaks care homes our craft group’s twiddle muffs for those with advancing dementia.

Next month, we will be welcoming the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to update us on the best ways to stay safe.

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

For more information, visit or search for “Caversham WI programme”.


ON Wednesday, May 17, president Adrienne Rance welcomed members, new member Sheila Brocklebank and our guest speaker George Street.

WI business included this year’s resolutions, which are “alleviating loneliness” and “keep micro plastic fibres out of our oceans”.

Every resolution passed throughout the WI’s 101-year history puts forward concerns by members. This year the vote put forward was alleviating loneliness.

Members listened intently to the talk given by Mr Street about Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

He explained that there are two distinct types of hearing loss, those who are completely deaf and those who are hard of hearing.

He falls into the second category, since his hearing started to decline some 35 years ago.

A world without sound affects more than one million people, about one in six, and this is predicted to increase to one in five by 2035.

The charity was set up in 1979 by vet Bruce Fogle (father of TV presenter Ben) and Lady Wright from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf who were inspired by a scheme set up in America and wanted to try something similar in the UK.

Initially all training was carried out in employees’ own homes but eventually the scheme was successful enough to open a training centre in 1986.

George received his first dog from The Grange in Princes Risborough, which was established 15 years ago.

When it started, the charity trained and placed two dogs a year, while in 2014 more than 200 dogs were placed.

George has had one previous dog before Jake and next year, when Jake retires after 11 years of being his faithful companion, George will receive another dog.

At this point the members were concerned until George reassured them that he would be keeping Jake, who would probably enjoy keeping an eye on the youngster!

Initially the charity used rescue dogs but it has now set up its own breeding programme concentrating on cocker spaniels, Labradors and poodles.

The puppies are often born at the home of one of the volunteers and when they are eight weeks old they move to a puppy socialiser where they stay until they are about one year old.

At that age, they move to one of the training centres where they are fully trained and ready to help to change a deaf person’s life.

Experienced dog trainers do visit the homes on a regular basis.

The waiting time to receive one of these amazing dogs is two years. It costs £25,000 to train a dog and place them with their recipient, then a further £15,000 to support the dog throughout its working life.

The charity welcomes volunteers. Currently it has more than 2,000 throughout the country. A lifeline for this very worthy charity, the volunteers freely give their help and support in many ways.

George used a presentation to show the work carried out by the centre and finished his talk by showing us a video of some deaf adults and children, whose lives were changed by these wonderful dogs.

To members’ delight he and Jake then demonstrated how Jake alerts him to the various noises by touching him with his paws so that George would then follow him. Other dogs will do this by nudging with their nose.

The dogs are trained to alert their partner to the door bell, alarm clock, telephone, smoke detector and fire alarm to name but a few. If a smoke detector alarm goes off, the dog lies down to alert their owner to the danger.

For more information, visit

A delicious tea, prepared by Nana Davis, Hilary Kinnersley and Carole Ellis, was enjoyed by members.

Our next meeting on Wednesday, June 21 is our garden party, which will be held at the home of Jill Tomlinson, Fairmans, Crazies Hill, at 2.30pm.


DESPITE torrential rain, a good number of members attended the meeting on May 17, paddling their way through the stream flowing past the entrance to Greys village hall.

Our president Val welcomed us and we wished “happy birthday” to our speaker Valerie Alasia and members Joy, Merryl and Jennifer.

Val read a letter from Pauline Goddard, who chairs the Oxfordshire Federation, thanking everyone in the county for their commitment to the Denman Appeal for the refurbishment of the college buildings, which has raised £17,000 so far.

Pennies for Friendship during the year raised more than £3,600 for the Associated Country Women of the World agricultural project in the Koda region of Georgia.

Members were reminded that the lunch club would meet at the Butcher’s Arms in Blounts Court Road, Sonning Common, on May 26 and the next “knit and natter” at Val’s homewill be on June 5.

Our speaker, well-known local historian Valerie Alasia, then took us through the development of the Henley Union Workhouse, which became Townlands Hospital in 1948.

Old-fashioned technology came into play as computer presentation software was unavailable.

With Merryl as her slide projector assistant, Valerie gave us a fascinating insight into the care of the less able and infirm as it evolved from medieval times.

Her in-depth research and knowledge has resulted in the publication last year of her book, Henley Union Workhouse — The Story of Townlands, a vital resource, particularly in view of the hospital redevelopment.

As early as 1601 a poor law made parishes responsible for the poor and in 1652 a parcel of land was procured “for the use and benefit of the poor of Henley” on the hill north of the High Street called the Town Lands, hence our hospital’s name today.

The land was rented out and by 1727 there was a poor house on the site of the Kenton Theatre in New Street. As larger premises were needed, a new poor house was built on Town Lands and in 1834 a second poor law merged 21 parishes from Caversham to Cuxham to form the Henley Union.

During the 1800s the poor house expanded further and in 1871, following the Education Act, a school for 100 children was built.

Children from as far as Brentford and Uxbridge joined the school but those from Reading were sent back as being “unruly”.

In 1930 responsibility for the destitute passed to county councils. The National Health Service Act 1946 transferred hospitals to the NHS and the National Assistance Act 1948 ended the poor laws.

Apart from the history, Valerie explained the hierarchy controlling the poor house, from the benefactors, board of governors, masters and matrons, teachers, doctors and nurses to the gatekeepers.

She also described the mix of inmates, the work they undertook and the regime of the poor house.

The slides of photographs of many of the original buildings and their purpose were remembered by our members from their childhood, resulting in lively discussion.

Valerie pointed out that some buildings were still in use as a hospital until the Eighties and are to be redeveloped as sheltered residential accommodation.

Following a delicious tea provided by Suzanne and Joy, Merryl spoke about the top two resolutions going forward to the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool next month.

These are “alleviating loneliness” and “keep micro plastic fibres out of our oceans”. Following discussion, votes were taken which will be relayed to the delegate representing Greys WI at the meeting.

Our garden meeting will be held on June 21 in our president’s lovely garden.

Remember to self-trim your Ascot hat for the competition, bring a folding garden chair if you can and be prepared to join in the fun and games and enjoy the chat and relaxation.

Finally, pray for a fine day!


AT our May meeting we debated the resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting.

Two resolutions were discussed. They were “alleviating loneliness” and “plastic soup — keep micro plastic fibres out of our oceans”.

We split into two groups and discussed them before voting by a show of hands.

The votes were: plastic soup — 25 for and one against, alleviating loneliness — five for, 15 against and one abstention.

Our Wilson Cup competition for this year was to make and decorate six cupcakes. Judging was done by Sue Meyer and Judy Wilson. The winner was Christine Hatfield.

A coffee morning was recently held at Christine Balkwell’s home. She was delighted to report that £110 was raised for the Associated Country Women of the World.

We are looking forward to our summer party in July.

This year we are going to have a traditional afternoon tea theme. Members will put their baking skills to work to provide delicious eats on the day.

We are also looking forward to a theatre trip in September. We are going to see the musical Girls, which is based on the now famous story of the Yorkshire WI which produced “that calendar”.

Members are reminded that due to the general election on June 8, our meeting will be held at St Katherine’s Parmoor at the usual time of 7.30pm. The talk will be on musical appreciation.

Our meeting finished with teas served by Catherine Dinsdale, Jo Bingham and Barbara Stephenson with sandwiches made by Maureen Cleary and, of course, the Wilson Cup cupcake entries were tasted by all.

We welcome new members. For more information about Hambleden WI and to see our programme for 2017, please visit our website,


THE May meeting was held on a lovely sunny day and 34 members attended.

There were four birthdays to celebrate and Pat Eades gave greetings to Rosemary Emmerson, Thea Broughton, Shirley Weyman and Gwen Wilding.

A perusal of News & Views brought forth information on the composition of the new Oxfordshire Federation’s board of trustees and a photo of the 12 ladies concerned.

WIs were urged to continue fund-raising for Denman

There is a fascinating exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath in September on the subject of “Lace in Fashion”.

It will showcase more than 60 exquisite pieces showing how lace has been used in fashion from Shakespeare to the present day.

The popular music tasters will be returning to Benson with Barry Collett in October, when his featured composer will be Smetana.

On September 23 the Oxfordshire Federation will be putting on “A flavour of Spain” at the Northcourt Centre in Abingdon.

Peter Lien, the chef at Denman College, is giving a cookery demonstration entitled “Under starters orders” at the college on July 5. It’s nothing to do with horseracing, but he will be providing ideas for the start of dinner parties.

This is an evening event commencing at 7.30pm and costs £18.50.

Patricia Williams was thanked for the excellent visit to Richmond Theatre to see Abigail’s Party.

The lunch club and reading group continue to be well supported.

The resolutions for the annual meeting in Liverpool in June were discussed.

Regarding “Raising awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness”, after discussion members voted in favour of the motion.

On the question of “plastic soup and micro plastic fibres”, the majority of members abstained.

These decisions will be forwarded to the delegate representing Harpsden WI who is a member of Sandford WI.

Suzanna Rose led members through the pros and cons of these two resolutions.

Shirley Weyman organised an entertaining quiz for the social half hour, the winning team all receiving chocolate bars as prizes.

The competition for a limerick about resolutions produced only three entries.

Each member read out her rhyme and then members voted in coins for the winner, who was declared to be Shirley Weyman. Judith Young and Pam Hails were second and third respectively.

Coincidentally, these three members were also the winners of the April competition but in a different order!

The next meeting is on June 14 when the speaker will be John Harrison and his subject “The evolving garden”. The competition is for a rose.

Do come along to Harpsden village hall at 2.30pm and hear what goes on in the WI and perhaps pick up some tips for improving your garden.


AFTER a great day at the Henley May Fayre, where our stall did extremely well (thank you to all who contributed and came along) and we met so many lovely Henley people, we were delighted to have several new guests/members for our May meeting.

Our president Katie Woodiss-Field gave a warm welcome to everyone and covered other business after which she introduced Pat Eades, our WI advisor, who had kindly agreed to present the resolutions and take our vote.

Katie then introduced Nigel Eddon, from Honeys of Henley, our speaker for the evening.

I expect a lot of people will know Nigel, who runs the company with his wife Jo, as they are based in Henley and are regularly to be seen at local markets, fayres and shows as well as their honey being stocked at local retailers.

Nigel started the business almost by accident when he was asked to take over a hive from a landscaping client and became hooked.

The couple like to use traditional methods and only produce their honey in small batches which they can even trace to the hive it came from.

Nigel is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about bees and beekeeping, as we found out. No question went unanswered and there were, as you might expect, a lot of questions!

In particular I loved the fact, in answer to “Does honey go off?”, that it was found in ancient Egyptian tombs opened after 2,000 years and was still edible — way past the best before date, I would say!

We all enjoyed the talk and discussion very much and there was an excited buzz (groan) afterwards as we all bought several pots of honey and also indulged ourselves with the gorgeous cakes and biscuits made with Nigel’s honey by Nicola Lawlor — delicious, thank you!

Our next meeting will be in King’s Arms Barn on June 16 at 7.30pm, when we will have a cheese and wine evening.

Please come along and join us. For more information, email

l HOT WI will have a refreshments stall for the Chelsea Fringe Henley floral flotilla in Mill Meadows on Sunday (June 4) from 2pm to 4pm. Please come along and support this lovely event and enjoy some coffee and cake.


AFTER welcoming Maureen Hay of Stoke Row WI, our delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool, we discussed the resolutions in detail and then voted.

Future plans and extra activities were brought to everyone’s attention after which we enjoyed tea provided by all the members.

Kathie Anderson brought a pretty flower display and we all left the meeting with thoughts and ideas for the months ahead.

Our next meeting will be held at Peppard War Memorial Hall on Wednesday, June 14 from 2pm when Kevin Little will talk to us about “Donkeys, dolphins, foxes and fish”.

If you would like to come along and meet us we will make you most welcome.


THE May meeting started with the usual business.

Two prospective new members were welcomed, having shown an interest at our recruitment drive in Falaise Square.

The cups were then awarded. The cup for the most helpful member was awarded to June Shelton, the art cup to Rosemary Pratt and the craft cup to Anne Francis.

Birthday posies were given to Dorothy Lumley and Judy Palmer. The president Daphne Austen then introduced Sue Milton for a talk on swan upping. This started in the 14th century when swans were imported to this country, probably from Cyprus, as a gift for the royal table.

But birds were stolen, so swans were rounded up and marked with nicks on their beaks. This was changed later and rings are now put round their legs.

Swan upping is a five-day trip up the Thames from Sunbury lock to Abingdon and is carried out by the Queen’s Watermen, dressed in red, the Dyers livery company in dark blue and the Vinters Livery Company in white.

They row in skiffs with Professor Perry, from Oxford University, and a vet leading the procession in a small boat called Royal Swan, with several support boats following.

Those partaking have lunches and are put up in clubs or pubs along the river.

The Queen and the Livery men contribute towards their expenses.

They stand and toast the Queen in many of the locks and at the finish they toast Her Majesty while standing in their boats at Abingdon.

Sue was heartily thanked for a fascinating talk, illuminated by her excellent photographs.

Between the talk and a lovely tea provided by Irene Parker and Caroline Leeming, the resolutions were gone through by Enid Light.

She explained that “plastic soup” is caused by micro plastic fibres which come off synthetic clothes when washed and end up in the sea, so are consumed by fish and get into the food chain.

The resolution proposes that the Government should urge manufacturers of washing machines to fit finer filters. The vote was passed uanimously.

“Loneliness ” was also gone through. This is a feature of our era and as so many people suffer from chronic loneliness, it was proposed that members of all WIs could do much to look out for and help alleviate this.

This was also passed unanimously. These two resolutions will be voted on at the National Federation’s annual meeting later in June.

Tea and lots of chat then followed. The next gathering is the Thames Group meeting to be held at Knowl Hill village hall on Monday, September 11 at 2.30pm when Anne Chance will give a talk entitled “The Mafia and I conquered Mount Etna” .


PRESIDENT Margaret Pyle welcomed all members and guests present to our May meeting. (May already, where did the earlier months go?)

She started by thanking Rosemary Weekes for the table flowers (later a raffle prize).

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

She went on to say that further information had been received about the dignity shawls and knee blankets (part of the Dressing for Dignity initiative for elderly patients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital) and anyone interested should see Pat Denney for details.

We then heard that three members had been rather poorly. Betty Alban is better having had tests at the Royal Berks. Joy Bosier and Mary Richings had both been in hospital but were now home.

We wish all three ladies a speedy recovery.

Margaret said that Scrabble would take place twice in May and the book club was to meet on May 8. Walking is out of favour at the moment, but we still hope it will pick up again later in the year.

The cinema group did manage to see a film in April — Their Finest with Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and Richard E Grant.

All who attended enjoyed the film, which was based on The Miracle of Dunkirk, although it did have a surprising ending.

Treasurer Judith Sharp reported that our financial situation is okay.

Our attention was then drawn to two items in Berkshire WI News.

There will be a summer open day at WI House on Saturday, July 15 from 10am to 12.30pm where tea, coffee and cake will be available, plus a display of crafts.

The other item is a visit to Denbies Wine estate on Tuesday, July 25 where a train ride, with commentary, will take you at a leisurely pace to some of the most beautiful viewing points in the vineyard.

There will also be time to have lunch in the conservatory, plus time to shop.

Next we came to the resolutions on which we had to vote. We had to vote for or against each resolution separately. There were “alleviating loneliness” and “plastic soup — keep micro plastic fibres out of our oceans”. After discussion voting was done by a show of hands and the results will go to the National Federation, which will discuss the issues at its annual meeting later in June.

We then came to our speaker, Jan Guiver, Berkshire Federation link for the Associated Country Women of the World.

Jan gave a very interesting talk about how it was set up and the work that still goes on. All the voluntary work is done on a small scale with volunteers going to various countries to help set up, for example, a small farm and the logistics of making it successful.

The meeting closed after tea and biscuits had been served and the raffle drawn.

We meet at St Barnabas village hall, Emmer Green, on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm.


PRESIDENT Joan Jolley was on a WI holiday in Ireland so Sue Lines took the meeting on May 17 for the first time.

She told members that the tickets for the birthday celebration boat trip on the Thames were now available and it was hoped that everyone would be able to come.

Sue went on to talk about the success of a “lonely bouquet” which had been placed on a bench near Shiplake station.

It had been picked up by a young lady whose boyfriend read the card and phoned to say how thrilled they were and what a wonderful idea it was.

Sue told the meeting that the visit to the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery had been a great success and she gave the ladies more details of the visit to RHS Wisley.

Joyce Vernon announced that the date of the next walk would be Monday, June 12 and the meeting place would be emailed to the regular walkers.

Pauline Goddard’s editorial letter and the Lace in Fashion exhibition in Bath were of particular interest in News & Views.

The parking problems at the Henley GP surgeries were explained and discussed.

The tea hostesses for the afternoon were Joyce Vernon, Helen Robinson and Hannelore Donohue.

May is always the month of the resolutions and this year Janet Matthew had researched both subjects to help ladies with the many facts and figures that were disclosed.

The resolution about “alleviation of loneliness” was considered and there were many suggestions as to how the WI could help within the community but the resolution was eventually voted against.

During the discussion of the problems caused by plastic in the ocean, members were aware of the plastic granules in cosmetics but some were unaware that fibres from washing man-made clothes could get into the food chain.

This resolution was unanimously voted for.

After the business part of the meeting, members enjoyed an excellent tea.

The flower of the month winner was Ursula Davies with a large pale blue clematis.

The winner of the monthly competition was Diana Bedford with a little dog made from a tiny courgette.

The speaker at the next meeting on June 21 will be Dr Lynda Ware talking about “Chocolate and heart disease”.

More information about Shiplake WI is on the village website and visitors are always welcome.


OUR May meeting was opened by our president Jenny Ward.

May is the traditional month for the resolutions to be heard and voted on.

Jenny welcomed Maureen Hay from Stoke Row WI, who will be representing us at the National Federation’s annual meeting at the Liverpool Arena later in June.

Maureen read out the two resolutions to be debated and voted on.

Firstly, Jenny Ward spoke about “alleviating loneliness”. This proposes that WI groups should work alongside health and social care providers and their local communities to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness and to identify lonely people and offer them the appropriate assistance and support.

The resolution was passed unanimously with 42 votes for.

Maureen then delivered the second resolution, “plastic soup: keep micro plastic fibres out of our ocean”.

Micro plastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to micro plastic contamination of the oceans. The WI calls on government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of micro plastic fibres in our oceans.

There were 40 votes for and two against.

Maureen was given discretion to change our votes at the Liverpool meeting if the discussions and debates should convince her of the argument against.

Alison Bishop gave a vote of thanks to Maureen for attending and giving us the information in a full and impartial manner which allowed us to give our votes.

The usual business followed with a report from our treasurer.

Jenny informed members that the committee had agreed a bursary of £350 to be spent on a course of choice at Denman. If members wanted to enter the draw they should put their names in the allocated box. The draw would be made at the June meeting.

Alison was thanked for producing our new programme for 2017/18 and for all her hard work in planning the excellent programme of meetings and events.

Pauline Whitehead reported on the visit to Benson in February.

In the morning, Sir Hugo Brunner had given a talk about his father, Felix, who was a subaltern in the Royal Field Artillery in Flanders during the Great War.

After lunch, Ruth Rogers spoke about her work as a puppeteer in War Horse, the stage musical. She was the head of Joey for four years.

These were two very different presentations and both were much enjoyed by the attendees.

Ruth’s stories brought War Horse alive and the audience was enthralled.

Jo Denslow reported on the trip to Longleat by five of our members.

They went on the lake boat trip and saw hippos, sea lions and small gorillas but the famous silverback gorilla was hiding somewhere.

They also visited the butterfly house and had a coach trip around the safari park.

Coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and ice creams all helped to make this a most enjoyable day out for all.

Jenny Ward had attended a digital camera course at Denman College and spoke about how enjoyable it was. The course was very well delivered and she now felt more confident to use her digital camera. Those present were encouraged to “just click away” and edit or delete later, one of the delights of digital photography. No more developed photos which just ended up in the bin!

The course included lots of excellent tips and tricks to get the best from your digital camera and was delivered in a friendly but informative manner.

Jenny thoroughly recommended this course and said she was practising her newly learned skills.

A reminder was given for our coffee morning in the village hall on June 7 at 10.30am, which will have a plant and garden theme.

There will be lots of plants and decorated pots for sale as well as the usual items.

It is open to all and everyone will receive a warm welcome.

Our monthly coffee mornings benefit the local community and have become a regular feature in Sonning Common.

Jenny was then presented with a special birthday corsage and a card from all our members and we sang Happy Birthday to her.

After refreshments, Alison had organised a beetle drive which, as always, was lots of fun and much enjoyed.

There was one particular table which seemed to win most of the games!

There was no competition this month. The flower of the month competition was won by Jenny Ward with a beautiful rose.


AT our resolutions discussion meeting we voted to agree to them both but gave our delegate discretion in case she hears more compelling information on the day.

Our own votes were not unanimous, the two subjects as usual having more than one side to them, but they brought forth some good discussion on “plastic soup” and loneliness, which is part of the aim.

It will be interesting to hear how the votes go at the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool later in June.

At least two of our members will be attending, so they can report back to us at our next meeting.

Resolutions are an integral part of being a member and you learn a lot about subjects you may never have given much thought to before.

If they are agreed on, the National Federation then suggests and implements action to help make things happen to improve the situations discussed.

At our meeting, after exercising our brains, we then had a fun competition on identifying some tricky kitchen cupboard items.

It was devised by one of our members who loves her kitchen and has all manner of odd items stored there.

Supper followed plus the raffle and the competition winners were announced.

We were reminded to bring donations for the Glorious Glam Sale to the Stoke Row store before the sale on July 15.

We encourage anybody who likes a good sale to come along and help us raise funds for new chairs in the refurbished hall, where it will be held from 10am to 2pm, including cakes and tea.

The dates were given out for the games, swimming, walks, tea at three and book club events.

We have held one coffee morning and have another planned plus the visiting lunch group who we will entertain in July.

Our next monthly meeting will be in a members’ garden, so we hope for good weather in June but have been promised we can go indoors if we need to.


WE welcomed Christine Green to the May meeting.

She stepped in at the last minute as the original speaker was unable to come.

Christine had visited us before in February, demonstrating how to do paper cutting but this time she brought with her some of the many quilts and patchwork she had done over the years, telling us of their significance in her life. She explained the many techniques that can be used and showed us a multitude of colour combinations — a happy scrappy approach.

Christine is a very enthusiastic speaker and those members attending enjoyed the evening very much.

The business side of the meeting concentrated on the two resolutions that are to be discussed at the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool later in June.

The subjects were “alleviating loneliness” and “plastic soup”.

Dates had been set for a trip to Ikea at the end of May, a river trip in July and a visit to a lady blacksmith’s workshop in August.

Members were asked to sponsor the walkers who were going to take part in a “Ramble for Denman” in September, organised by the Oxfordshire Federation.

Our June meeting will be held in the garden of our president when it is hoped the sun will shine for the annual barbecue.

New members are always welcome to come and join in. For more information, please ring Kath Gomm on (01491) 612939.


FOLLOWING a dull and threatening morning, Whitchurch Hill fete took place on a sunny afternoon on Saturday and members of the village WI played their part by providing tea, coffee and home-made cakes for the thirsty crowds who attended.

Earlier in the month we had our usual business meeting with speaker Victoria Newton, who described herself as “meddler in all things gardening”.

She told us about the start of her passion and her progress through subjects such as ecology up to the present time when she and a colleague were responsible for founding the Chelsea Fringe Henley alternative gardening festival.

This is an alternative festival of flowers and gardening which they started in 2014 and this year consists of 10 events between May 20 and June 4.

With gardening in mind, the WI ran a plant stall at this meeting — always a popular feature which raises money for charities.

In mid-June we will have our annual outing — this year to the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park. On the first Tuesday in June some members will be walking the Thames Path from Wallingford to meet up with others and have lunch at the Waterfront Café.

This is just one of the social and other events which are planned to take place in addition to our business meetings.

The National Federation’s annual meeting also takes place in June and members registered their votes for the two resolutions which will be put forward this year.

The first is the issue of “plastic soup — keeping micro plastic fibres out of our oceans” and the other is “Alleviating loneliness — to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness”. Both resolutions were approved.

We have a business meeting with a speaker on the third Tuesday of most months. 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, starting at 10am.

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


ANN LARDEN welcomed members to our resolutions meeting and Maureen Hayes from Stoke Row WI.

Kathy Brewer played the piano as we sang Jerusalem, ably assisted by Sally.

Birthday buttonholes were presented to Audrey Hawthorne and Hazel Tagg.

This was our resolutions meeting, so Maureen spoke to us as she will be our delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting.

The two resolutions were “alleviating loneliness” and “plastic soup: keep micro plastic fibres out of our oceans”.

These were voted for by a majority of members.

We had a delicious tea thanks to Sally Lambert, Monika Watters and Marianne Adams and a quiz thanks to Ann.

Margaret Carter had held a “chance to chat” at her house.

The lunch club will be going to the Bull at Streatley in June. The table tennis group will be taking a break for the summer.

New members are very welcome. Just come to the village hall on the third Wednesday of the month.

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