Monday, 04 July 2022

WI Roundup

WI Roundup


FOR our June meeting, we welcomed Lucy Bowley who showed us many different exercises which can be done easily at home to maintain or build our strength and stability.

She gave a lovely and informative talk and we enjoyed giving the exercises a try as a group.

The following day, we enjoyed our annual boat cruise along the Thames from Henley.

We spent the afternoon with husbands and friends and enjoyed a cream tea and some (rare) sunshine.

At July’s meeting we will be welcoming Marlene Voke, who chairs the Berkshire Federation.

She has been kind enough to agree to come and talk to us and we look forward to hearing about her career and experiences within the WI.

Ladies are very welcome to visit our friendly group: your first three visits are free. We meet at Church House, Church Road, Caversham, on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, which helps avoid childcare issues. There is parking nearby and a lift to the first floor meeting room.

For more information, visit or search for “Caversham WI”. For enquiries, please call our secretary Romayne Flight on 0118 947 5176.


OUR June meeting was attended by a good number of members in spite of the heavy rain.

Our speaker was Val Calderbank, accompanied by her husband who is a doctor of nuclear physics.

Val gave us a virtual tour of the universe, which was extremely interesting and illustrated with a very clear video presentation.

She began with an outline of the solar system and continued with descriptions of the planets and the asteroid belt, emphasising the distances between them.

The presentation made the subject much simpler and easier to understand.

The competition was for “What would you say first on landing on the moon?” and there were some very amusing entries.

After a coffee break, future events were advertised, including a tea for members in honour of the Oxfordshire Federation’s centenary.

Our next big event will be our annual lock teas at Goring lock on August 18 and 25. The Goring and Streatley Band will accompany us on the first day, which will make for a very enjoyable afternoon. All profits will be given to local charities.

The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading is asking for donations to its Dignity Room to provide garments for those who have no relatives or friends who can help them and hopefully will make patients more comfortable during their stay at the hospital.


ON Wednesday, May 19 president Diane Bush welcomed members and visitors to her home at Gibstroude Farm for our garden party.

This was a special afternoon tea to celebrate the centenary of the Berkshire Federation and members of Remenham, Littlewick Green and Knowl Hill WIs joined us. Diane was delighted to welcome Marlene Voke, who is our Federation chairman.

Despite the rain, there was a really good atmosphere of fun, friendship and laughter.

Guests happily chose to sit in the garden under the shelter of two gazebos, surrounded by garden flowers and trees.

A big attraction was the stunning presence of a large wooden horse sculpture, a birthday gift from Diana’s husband. The gentle rain changed his colour from brown to shades of red, which was truly fascinating.

A wonderful tea of sandwiches and cakes had been prepared by the committee and included iced cupcakes decorated with the number 100 (not forgetting the colourful balloons).

After tea, undaunted by the weather, some members enjoyed a stroll around the lovely garden and fields with Diane pointing out the various plants and trees and the history behind them as so many were presents given to her over the years.

Happily, the sun did finally come out and umbrellas were folded away.

Our next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, July 17 at 2.30pm when Aldon Ferguson will return as speaker. His talk is entitled “The lady ferry pilots of the Second World War”.

New members are always welcome, so if you are interested please call Selina Avent on 0118 940 3426


THE meeting on June 19 was opened by Valerie Mundy who, along with Janet Leaver, welcomed members and shared the minutes of the previous meeting as well as news of recent and future events.

We also celebrated the birthdays of three members.

A warm welcome was given for the return of historian Alan Copeland, an enthralling speaker who, with the aid of slides, music and even sound effects, gave a hugely entertaining and informative talk on the curiosities of East Sussex.

Alan’s slides included the unusual house names in the village of Rye, such as those in Mermaid Street where number 1 was named the First House, the pub was named the Mermaid Inn and and the house across the road was named the House Opposite!

Alan told us that there had once been two men in the street who were both called Smith.

One was well known for his skill as a wood craftsman and when prospective buyers of his crafts called at the house of the other Mr Smith, they were told to look for “the other house’ which was precisely what it was called!

Alan also included some fascinating facts, such as that the smallest house in East Sussex measures approximately 1.8m by 1.2m (6ft by 4ft).

The extraordinary crypt at St Leonards Church in Hythe, Kent, contains an ossuary housing the largest and best-preserved collection of ancient human skulls and bones in Britain.

These bones were dug up and placed in the ossuary to make room for more burials. A skull placed sideways meant that it had belonged to someone who needed brain surgery. After the talk, a competition was held for the most unusual or beautiful paperweight.

Members voted for their favourite using coins which are donated to the Association of Country Women Worldwide, which pledges to reduce poverty for women around the world.

The winner was Gladys Edwards with a stunning red bird paperweight with Jane Boyd in second with a domed aqua blue paperweight.

The afternoon was topped off with a delicious tea of sandwiches and an assortment of homemade cakes kindly made by Ann Simmonds and Jane Pryce.

During the month, members attended the special celebration at Henley town hall to mark the centenary of the Oxfordshire Federation. Several members ran a bric-a-brac stall at Peppard fete and at Bix and Assenden fete there was a stand about the history of Greys WI.

Next month’s meeting will be held at Greys village and the guest speaker will be Janet Mathews talking on “Resolutions explained”. Visitors are welcome.


WE welcomed a fascinating speaker to our June meeting.

Julia Miles’s talk was entitled “Ragbag and cocktails” and she gave us an insight into her 28 years abroad as a diplomatic wife.

Details of the visit to Chenies Manor were given out.

Our summer party will take place in July and we look forward to a relaxing evening by the river. Let’s hope we need sun hats, not umbrellas!

Thanks to Bernie Beavis, Helen Balkwell and Angela Detsiny for the delicious refreshments that we enjoyed at the end of the evening.

We will meet again at Hambleden village hall on Thursday, September 12 at 7.30pm.

We look forward to welcoming Dan Head, whose talk, “Amazing Grace” is the story of Yeldall Manor.

To see our 2019 programme, please visit


SHIRLEY WEYMAN welcomed more than 30 members to the June meeting on yet another rainy afternoon — it was certainly not “flaming June”. Judith Young gave a report on the lunch at Henley town hall provided by the Beechwood Group, celebrating the centenary of the Oxford Federation.

Councillor Ken Arlett, the Mayor of Henley, was the invited guest and he proposed the toast to the Federation.

A cold spread of meats, cheeses and salads, followed by desserts, was enjoyed by the 80 members able to be present (i.e. a quarter of each WI’s membership).

The stall featuring memorabilia was put together by Harpsden WI.

The raffle was run by Greys WI and helpers for setting up and clearing away came from all seven WIs in the group.

Thanks must go to the ladies acting as wine waiters who kept the glasses topped up with Prosecco and fruit juices and to the organising committee of the group.

Shirley appealed to artistic members to enter the exhibition at Didcot civic hall on September 21.

The Celebrity Evening at Oxford Town Hall on October 28 will feature Dame Stella Rimington, former director-general of MI5.

Information was given of the “Message in a Bottle” scheme run by the Lions Club, urging members to obtain a small bottle from a pharmacy, doctors’ surgery or from Maddy on 01993 772241.

This bottle should contain medical and personal information and should be kept in the fridge for the use of the emergency services.

There are still places available on the Denman weekend in November.

Prior to that is a day visit to Denman on July 15 for a floral art demonstration.

Patricia Williams has organised a visit to the Odney Club in Cookham on July 15 and to Frogmore House on August 7.

An invitation was received from HoT (Henley) WI to their meeting in June.

The speaker for the afternoon was Dr Penny Billyeald and her subject was “The four queens of crime”.

She enlightened members on the lives of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham.

Christie’s best known novels were And Then There Were None and Murder At The Vicarage, introducing the detective Miss Marple.

Sayers was accused of snobbery in her novels but Dr Billyeald considered this was an unfair comment.

Marsh was a New Zealander and was made a Dame. She led a very private life and died in1982. Detective Inspector Alleyne was her invention.

Allingham lived in Tolleshunt Darcy, Essex, and set many of her novels in that area. They were melodramatic and slightly Gothic in nature and featured the detective Albert Campion.

Dr Billyeald was thanked by Mary Burton.

Susan Beswick and Rosemary Musselwhite tied for first place in the competition for a bookmark and several members tied for second place.

The next meeting will be on July 10 when Harpsden village hall will be resplendent with blooms as Erica Cunningham, of Brambles florists in Sonning Common, will be telling members how to arrange summer flowers from their gardens.

Naturally, the competition will be for a small posy of flowers. The meeting begins 2.30pm and visitors will be made most welcome.


FOR our June meeting we celebrated the centenary of the Oxfordshire Federation by having a traditional tea party alongside the more modern addition of a glass (or two) of bubbles to help the evening go with a swing.

Our president Katie welcomed members and guests and talked about what an enjoyable time we have all had over the last three years since establishing the HoT WI branch.

Our guest speaker was tea expert Kate Popham who works as a tutor for the UK Tea Academy and has travelled the world learning and talking about all things tea.

Did you know that there are six different types of tea but they all come from the same plant?

While everyone enjoyed their tea, we were entertained by Anne and the Doughboys with some wonderful Forties-style light jazz.

Finally, it was lovely to have our guest Jane Probitts, the Federation chairman, say a few words to us about the WI and how it is just as important today as it ever was.

Thank you to everyone for making it such a fabulous evening and here’s to the next 100 years.

The next meeting will be on Friday, July 19 when the speaker will be Sarah Posey, director of the River & Rowing Museum. We meet at Sacred Heart Church hall, off Vicarage Road, Henley. Please come and join us. For more information, email


ON June 5, our carefully planned outing, a much anticipated visit to Dorney Court, was postponed as a film crew was expected at short notice.

Several members visited the Old Chapel Textile Centre in Newbury on June 11 to view the WI centenary needlework exhibition at which three of our members, all accomplished needlewomen, had their work on display.

Christabel Grimmer’s piece was an exquisite three-dimensional pincushion, Gina Foden’s a very fine patchwork cushion in the Star of Bethlehem design and Esther Peacock’s a beautiful rag doll as well as several Barbie dolls, all with very detailed costumes.

There was an interesting selection of patchwork bedcovers, quilting, embroidery, tatting, lace, pulled thread work, embroidered church vestments and modern collages and canvas work.

The exhibition was held in the old American airforce chapel in Greenham Business Park. This also houses the national needlework archive, which maintains a documentary and photographic record of textiles located in the community throughout the British Isles.

It also hosts workshops, classes, conferences and events relating to any aspect of textiles.

There is a shop selling donated material and wool, needles and thread.

In June members attended the group meeting in Knowl Hill to hear the speaker and provide cakes for tea.

Mill Green WI organised a very successful bridge afternoon for the Wargrave Village Festival and provided cakes for the cake stall. Members participated in the flower festival and helped with church teas.

Our meeting in July will include a talk on “Caring for the mature skin” by Tiffany Howard.

On July 7 we have our garden meeting with the kind permission of Jean Phillis and in September Colin Parrish will speak to us on “The Romanovs”.

Our meetings are held in the Hannen Room on Mill Green at 7.30pm on the first Wednesday of each month.


DUE to the poor weather, our garden meeting in June was held in the War Memorial Hall, which was packed.

Members and guests enjoyed a memorable afternoon with a fashion show celebrating dress from 1919 to the present day.

Each object was different and everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion.

We then had tea, which was made by all members.

Several members also attended the special celebration at Henley town hall to mark the centenary of the Oxfordshire Federation.

Our next meeting will be at Greys Court on July 10 when we will have tea with a special guest, Sir Hugo Brunner.


IN June, we met at the village hall in a monsoon but the rain was so needed for the fields and gardens.

Our president Daphne Austen was in the chair and 17 members were present, including new member Dorothy Eggleton, who was warmly welcomed.

Daphne said that, sadly, the outing to the Globe Theatre had had to be cancelled due to lack of support.

Members had taken our emergency welcome bags to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where they were gratefully received.

They were told the hospital is now having a Dignity Room which will have articles of clothing for those who arrive in accident and emergency with nothing, so later we will have a collection of new and good second -hand clothes.

After the treasurer’s report we were told about a centenary tea at Easthampstead Park on August 14. Two members from each institute are invited, chosen in a ballot.

Various members were to have had a recruitment drive outside Tesco but this was postponed due to a clash of events.

Daphne had attended the WI annual conference in Bournemouth.

Lord Bradley of Withington is starting a campaign to help those who are picked up on the streets for various reasons, so they can be assessed for the state of their mental health.

We were then entertained by various members with their experiences.

Rosemary Pratt told us that after university she worked for the Wiltshire Young Farmers for a salary of £500 per year. This was in 1953.

The role covered judging animals and how to cope with chickens — plucking, gutting etc.

She was asked to put on a session to teach the young how to deal with this. The farmer killed 100 chickens and Rosemary waited but no one came.

She said this was a great lesson in not putting an event on until you know the likely interest in it.

She met her husband through her farming work.

Jen Terry was next with her experiences.

As her father was in the services, the family were posted to Singapore.

As they travelled through the Suez Canal, the locals were offering trinkets for sale but when they refused to buy the sellers lifted their robes to show all!

When they stopped in Bombay, now Mumbai, all the workshops had masses of vultures perched there.

They drove to Kuala Lumpar and were warned about guerrillas. Mercifully, they were not attacked but well received by the locals. All their food was filled with insects of various sorts.

Sue Sharp told us that when her husband was posted to Singapore, she was very pregnant so she took the top layer of their wedding cake, as one does for a christening, but when she opened it had been eaten by ants!

Enid Light told us she wanted to learn German. This was in 1949 when the family had a German girl who lived with them for six months.

Enid was invited to stay with the girl’s family in Aachen in the British zone.

A Belgian family lived next door and they all had a great time together and have remained friends to this day. Dorothy Eggleton joined the WRENS and gave us very amusing accounts of her time on HMS Dauntless and HMS Pembroke in Kent.

Later she went as a secretary to Northern Ireland.

Irene Parker told us of her frightening landing at San Francisco during an earthquake in 1989 when the ceiling of the airport came down around them.

It took them fours hours to get away and to find somewhere with power, so they could tell their teenage children at home that they were okay. Irene said the alarming part of the whole thing was the fact that the after-shocks went on for so long.

Daphne Austen joined the Merchant Navy after university and was on a cruise ship in charge of sometimes as many as 100 children.

They also had to organise the evening entertainment.

She did her “boat ticket”, which involved rowing very heavy life boats and organising rations and survival matters.

So many members had had amazing experiences which made it such an interesting and fun afternoon.

We then had to try a very difficult quiz.

Our thought for the afternoon was “Don’t watch the clock, do what it does and keep going”.

A lovely tea was served by Jen Terry and friends.

At the meeting on July 8 Jennipher Marshall-Jenkinson will speak on “Healthy eating for one and two people — microwave cooking”.

Meanwhile, members have now completed the second challenge they set themselves to commemorate the centenary of the Berkshire Federation.

This time, they undertook to fill 100 overnight sponge bags for patients who find themselves in hospital unexpectedly overnight without any washing materials.

Members collected soaps, flannels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs and, in some cases, razors, together with a get well message. The bags were filled at the end of a monthly meeting with great merriment as combs and soaps were passed in all directions!

The completed sponge bags were taken to the hospital, where they were handed over to a very grateful Kirsten Rogers.


IN the absence of our president, Arlene Riley, vice-president Margaret Pyle welcomed all those present to our birthday meeting, including representatives from Caversham, Chazey and Sonning Glebe WIs and other visitors.

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

Secretary Ryszarda gave out information about the Berkshire village book, which can be purchased from WI House at a cost of £9.95. More information can be found in the June issue of Berkshire WI News.

Ryszarda also said that a proposed visit to Kew Gardens in late September was being arranged and more details would follow.

Those wishing to purchase bulbs should contact the committee. For diaries for 2020, please see Judith Sharp.

Ryszarda also told us that a letter of thanks had been received from Smart Works for the donation from our May meeting.

Judith, our treasurer, told us that £39 made by the raffle at the May meeting was being donated towards the Royal Berks emergency packs.

The sales table made £22.25. Well done, all!

Next Margaret gave thanks to Margaret Seal for all the lovely colourful buttonholes that she had made over the years but was now unable to continue.

A presentation was made to Margaret. Instead of buttonholes, cards will now be given to members for their birthdays. Happy birthday to all members with a June birthday.

The Scrabble group met twice in June, the book club met at Barbara Wood’s house and the cinema group went to see Rocketman.

Margaret went on to say that an invitation for two members to attend the Berkshire Federation’s centenary afternoon tea at Easthampstead Park on Wednesday, August 14 had been received More details are to follow.

Margaret then intrdouced our speaker, Jane Stubbs, who gave us a very interesting talk about “Women’s progress from Victorian times”.

This included undressing a mannequin to show the various layers of clothing that were worn, followed by slides that depicted how women’s lives had changed over the years.

Thank you, Jane, for a very informative talk. Then came the usual cup of tea, which was accompanied by a selection of mouthwatering cakes made by members.

Thank you to all the “Mary Berrys” who served us so well.

On May 22, the Caversham Group meeting was held at Charvil village hall.

The speaker was Peter Thompson and Rosehill WI was in charge of the raffle.

The evening was enjoyed by all.

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


JOAN JOLLEY welcomed three visitors to the June meeting, two of whom then joined the WI.

The Friday walk is still going well with a group of ladies meeting each week.

Joan had visited Peppard WI with Frances Lefebure for a centenary tea. The Beechwood group’s centenary lunch at Henley town hall had been a great success. HoT WI had invited two Shiplake members to attend its centenary tea party.

Joan encouraged all members to read News & Views to learn about the wide range of activities within the county.

The ladies were reminded about the garden party at Riverlawn in aid of All Saints’ Church in Dunsden and the community choir concert on June 30.

Janet Matthews then gave a report on the National Federation’s annual meeting in Bournemouth.

She enjoyed listening to the speakers, particularly Maggie Philbin, and the lively discussion on the two resolutions, which were both passed.

Sue Lines told the meeting about the trip to Cliveden and confirmed details about the visits to the Mill at Sonning theatre and Sandhurst.

Two new trips were announced — to Aston
Pottery in September and Blakes Lock in August.

The speaker was Peter Hague with a talk entitled “Cliveden — power, politics and scandal”.

Cliveden was the home of the Astor family for many years and was given to the National Trust in 1942.

Peter showed slides of the owners of Cliveden through its history, including when it was a hunting lodge in the 1700s and when it was burnt down twice and rebuilt in the 1800s.

The Astor family were an interesting and powerful dynasty — Nancy Astor was the first female MP.

There were many famous visitors during the Second World War and Peter explained the story behind the scandal of the Profumo affair.

An excellent tea was enjoyed by members and guests with Carol Willson and Wendy Talfourd-Cook the tea hostesses.

The winner of the flower of the month competition was Frances Lefebure with a wonderful pink peony.

She also won the competition for a political cartoon (the main character being Boris Johnson). Well done, Frances.

The July meeting will be our summer party and visitors are always welcome.

The ladies will be making small posies to display at Shiplake Corner Shop to promote the WI. More details about Shiplake WI are on the Shiplake village website.


THE speaker at our meeting in June was David Copley, vice-chairman of the Reading branch of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust.

David and his colleague showed us a laptop slide show covering the history of the canal from 1810.

In 1950 the canal was closed for repair and it was not until 1970 that the trust was able to start restoration work.

Some sections were restored by volunteers but much of the work was undertaken by professionals.

In 1990 the Queen travelled on The Rose of Hungerford to re-open the canal.

Today, the 87 miles of canal, 104 locks, two aquaducts and 214 bridges are all open for navigation.

The waterway is enjoyed by boat owners, photographers, long distance walkers, fishermen and cyclists.

The aims of the trust are to continue to protect, enhance and promote the canal.

Margaret Pyle gave the vote of thanks to David for his very interesting talk.

At our outing in August we will have our own ride on The Rose of Hungerford.

Ten members of Sonning Common WI had attended the National Federation’s annual meeting in Bournemouth.

They found it inspiring, thought-provoking and fun.

The two resolutions debated were about the decline in rural bus services and “Don’t fear the smear”.

Our delegate, Irene Lindsay, of Peppard WI, reported that both resolutions were passed.

She had been teamed up with a much younger delegate who was very passionate about the WI and all it stands for. These keen, sincere young members will ensure the WI will continue to address the issues of today.

Lord Bradley updated the conference regarding the work on Care Not Custody and the achievements of the last 10 years. Currently there are 4,000 women in prison.

Observer Sue Frayling-Cork reported that Lord Bradley had said he valued the WI and the coalition with the Prison Reform Trust and NHS England.

A number of arrested women have self-harmed and have other mental health issues.

The Government has set up three women’s centres where help can be given with employment, mental health problems and addictions.

Sue will be keeping Sonning Common WI up to date on the lead taken by Thames Valley Police on mental health issues.

Alison Bishop reported on the presentation to the conference by Maggie Philbin OBE, digital leader of the year.

Maggie is remembered for presenting Tomorrow’s World and Bang Goes the Theory on TV. Today, she is chief executive of Teen Tech, which travels the country encouraging and interesting children in STEM subjects, (science, technology, engineering and maths).

The children work in teams on activities around technology and are given the opportunity to design and construct their ideas.

This is about motivating children who would otherwise not have the confidence or opportunity to experiment with their ideas.

Jenny Ward informed members she is ready to accept further boot sale donations.

The proceeds from the sales will be donated to Sonning Common Youth Club to help with its running costs. The club provides an invaluable service to our young people in the village.

Sue Hedges has received the schedule of classes for the 2019 Henley Show. Members wishing to be a member of the Sonning Common WI team or teams entering the Caple Young Challenge should give their names to Sue.

This year the theme is “Recycle, recycle”.

Application forms are also available to members who wish to exhibit craft items at the Oxfordshire Federation’s centenary art and craft exhibition, which will be held at Didcot civic centre on September 20.

Jane Handley has booked Badgemore Park in Henley for our Christmas lunch on December 2 and the Shoulder of Mutton for January 7, 2020 for our evening meal.

Sonning Common member Jenny Hermon, formerly a member of Dunsden WI, who has moved to Dorset, reports that she has settled in her new home and joined the Christchurch Belles WI. It was good to catch up with her at the meeting in Bournemouth.

The raffle was drawn before a break to socialise and have refreshments. Thanks to Sue Frayling- Cork for the yummy cake.

The winners of the competition for a painting or photograph of a waterway were Lillian Dewar, Pat Kitt and Sue Frayling-Cork.

The flower of the month winners were Christine Gibson with a rose, Sue Hedges with a campanula glomerata and Jo Denslow with an iris.

President Jenny Ward closed the meeting.

The next meeting will be held at Sonning Common village hall on July 18 at 7.30pm when Phyllida Shaw will give a talk entitled “Alice and Meredith Williams: two extraordinary artists” (with a Peppard connection). There are connections with Peppard church too.

Visitors are welcome to join the meeting.


ON a very wet and dreary June afternoon, we met in the village hall.

Thankfully. the atmosphere inside was a lot more welcoming than outside.

After the president had dealt with the business side of the meeting, she informed members of several trips arranged by county, including a visit to Laycock Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum and a Celebrity Evening with Dame Stella Rimington in October.

Rita introduced our speaker Catherine Sampson, who gave an interesting and informative talk entitled “What can go wrong at royal weddings”.

A delicious afternoon tea was provided by Pam Seymour and Pat Burrows.

Two members celebrated their birthdays in June and we finished the afternoon with a raffle.

Our July meeting will be our president’s lunch, which we hope — weather permitting — will be held in the garden.


OUR June meeting was booked to be our garden meeting, which means we gather in a member’s garden for a largely social evening of food and chat, but it was somewhat hampered by the weather. However, we decided to continue as planned and members duly arrived at Penny Noble’s house.

We did manage to get into the garden during a brief break in the rain and then we retreated indoors to consume a varied supper and conclude with a brief business section.

Our president Sandra Farmer had devised (with Penny) an interesting quiz of the garden involving cryptic clues and anagrams as well as identification of shrubs and some unusual features in the garden.

If you knew what an irrigation system, a comfrey soup and a wormery looked like you got at least three questions right!

We also had our usual raffle and flower competition plus a competition for a small garden ornament, which was won with a pair of ceramic red toadstools.

It was an interesting and enjoyable evening that rewarded those who turned out in unpromising circumstances (the WI at its best).

Many of us had previously been to the Oxfordshire Federation centenary celebratory lunch at Henley town hall, where we enjoyed a lunch and bubbly in a very social atmosphere with 80 members of seven WIs.

This was a Beechwood Group event masterminded by our own busy member Penny, who was greatly helped by representatives from each WI to make it a happy celebration.

Some WIs are having their own events and four of our members were invited to be with HoT (Henley) WI for their tea-themed event. Our Federation chair, who belongs to our WI, was also able to attend both of these celebrations.

We have a few lunches coming up to help at, plus our regular coffee morning in Woodcote to raise money so our funds will soon be looking very healthy thanks to those participating members.

Table games and craft afternoons continue and our netball players are also now back indoors as the gym is no longer needed for exams.

The book club, which is held in the local pub, takes place once a month and is well attended.

The outing to Broughton Castle was discussed, as was the day out in Wallingford coming up in August with the museum, a walking tour, lunch and tea all to fit in. We heard a very entertaining report from our delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting in Bournemouth.

The two resolutions we had discussed were both passed and will therefore be taken up by the Federation as campaigns.

At the July meeting the talk will be on “The wartime housewife”.

We meet most third Tuesday at 7.30pm and new members are always welcome to join us.


THE Oxfordshire Federation of WIs was founded 100 years ago, so at our summer garden party this year, we held a celebration party at the bowls club.

Members were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco or wine and then enjoyed the delicious food prepared by the committee, which included homemade burgers, sausages, salmon and various salads. Many other dishes were provided by members.

These were followed by scrumptious desserts and cheese and biscuits, helped down with a glass or two of wine.

The lovely celebration cake was made and decorated by Stephanie Craddock. This, too, was delicious.

Also in June, members had a stall at the Watlington volunteers community fair.

A big thank-you to all the ladies for their continued support as we look forward to expanding our WI in the years to come.


MEMBERS spent an afternoon at Caversham Croquet Club learning to play and enjoying afternoon tea in spite of the coolish weather and a little rain.

They were welcomed warmly and appreciated a new experience.

Also in June, we had “Handy Dan” revealing the magic of “3D printing”.

All were fascinated by the printer and as Dan was talking the printer was making a little robot. Susan Dryden gave the vote of thanks for a brilliant morning

In early July we shall enjoy a strawberry tea in a member’s garden and at our July business meeting Marcelle Siddall will tell us about the way of life in rural South Africa.

Donations have recently been made to Berkshire Women’s Refuge (£250) who have said it will be put to good use. A smaller one went to our meeting place, Goring Heath parish hall.

President Frances and Denyse Williams attended the National Federation’s annual meeting in Bournemouth in June.

Frances gave a very comprehensive report to members, saying both resolutions were carried by a large majority.

The flower of the month competition was won by Denyse Williams and the raffle by Doreen Pragnell.

In early August we shall stage our annual fish and chip supper when members bring friends and family to join us.

Our speaker at our business meeting in August will be Simon Williams whose subject will be “Police dog handling”.

Our meetings take place at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471, on the third Tuesday of most months, starting at 10.15am. We also have a social or craft morning — usually on the first Tuesday.

Do come along and see what we do. For more information, please call 0118 984 1696


PATRICIA SOLOMONS gave a warm welcome to the members on what was a very grey day.

Celebrating their birthdays in June were Gillian Seymour and Jan Clegg.

The blooms of the month were lovely with lots of lilies, roses and peonies and the winner was Jenny Gough.

The homes and gardens group will be going to Bournemouth and Poole in August so let’s hope for a sunny day.

The lunch club was due to go to the Perch and Pike in South Stoke.

The speaker was Ann Smith who told us about “100 years of Reading shops”.

This was a real trip down memory lane and it was sad to think how many well-loved department stores have disappeared from our high streets.

Ann showed us lots of photographs of Reading when there so few cars that you could just park outside the shops!

The competition for an old photograph of Reading was won by Judy Williams.

This was followed by a lovely tea thanks to Vivien Stevens, Barbara George and Jo Sutcliffe.

In August we have our garden meeting and will be celebrating the centenary of Oxfordshire Federation and our own 75th year.

We will be having an afternoon tea at the Shillingford Bridge Hotel instead of our usual meeting.

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