Friday, 07 August 2020

WI Roundup

WI Roundup

BENSON

IN July, members ventured out to the Springs Golf Club for a nice posh afternoon tea.

This year we were celebrating the centenary of the formation of the Oxfordshire Federation of WIs so it was a lovely excuse to don a nice frock and indulge in some lovely cakes and sandwiches.

A short meeting was held prior to our tea where members were invited to look at trips and events as shown in News & Views and to hear what is on offer at Denman College.

We applauded Wallingford WI on winning the 100th anniversary challenge by recruiting the WI’s 100th member this year, plus we noted that some new WIs have started in Oxfordshire.

Our thanks must go to golf club staff who looked after us so very well. We had a really lovely afternoon.

We will not be meeting in August but return as normal on Wednesday, September 18 when we shall be discussing “What my WI means to me” and looking to see what the future holds.

Our local training advisor, Pat Eades, will be helping us and offering some tips and advice.

Just before that, on September 7, Benson WI will be having a mega book, jigsaw and bric-a-brac sale in our parish hall. For more information, call Elizabeth on (01491) 838580.

The Oxfordshire Federation will be hosting a couple of autumn events in our parish hall — a mental health summit on October 19 and a Caribbean day on November 27. Lots to get back to after our break.

If you would like to visit us, please email bensonwi@oxfordshirewi.co.uk

CAVERSHAM

FOR our July meeting, we were exceptionally happy to welcome Marlene Voke, chairman of the the Berkshire Federation.

She is a wonderful lady who hasn’t let life’s obstacles get in the way of doing outstanding work in support of women in the county.

She told us all about her beginnings, how she found the confidence to say “yes” to the many and varied opportunities the WI offered her and how much she has enjoyed having an active (and crucial) role in the WI. She’s a complete inspiration.

In August, we traditionally don’t hold a formal meeting but instead three members will be hosting parties in their gardens, where we will be raising money for the WI and other local charities while hopefully enjoying some sunshine. Details are available on request.

We operated the Caversham Court tea kiosk again from July 25 to 29.

Ladies are very welcome to visit our friendly group and your first three visits are free.

We meet at Church House in Church Road, Caversham, on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, which helps avoid childcare issues. There is nearby parking and a lift to the first floor meeting room. For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/hwzj6zy or search online for “Caversham WI”.

CHAZEY

DO things fall out when you open your cupboards? Do you have a wardrobe clogged with clothes but never have anything to wear? Do you just have too much stuff?

If you answered “yes”, you’ll be sorry you missed Chazey WI’s July meeting when personal organiser and professional declutterer Karen Powell swept into our sun-filled hall ready to shine a light on all our bad storage habits.

Her arms full of boxes and zip bags, bedding and piles of clothes, she arrived with a thousand ideas on how to tidy up our lives, beginning with her secret weapon — the storage box.

Forget putting your tops and jeans directly into drawers. With some nifty folding, Karen managed to stack eight pairs of jeans and an equal number of tops neatly into their own boxes, side on like books on a shelf, where they were easy to see and so easy to find.

As she pointed out, if you keep your tops in a pile in a drawer or on a shelf, you can’t see the ones at the bottom and so end up wearing only the ones at the top.

She said: ‘If you can actually see your clothes, you are much more likely to wear them.”

Karen is so devoted to the use of storage boxes that she has had a special wall built in her two-bedroom cottage to contain all hers.

Is your wardrobe bursting at the seams? Throw out bulky coat hangers, she said, invest in some thin ones and always hang your trousers with the crotch towards the back of the wardrobe. It makes them look so much nicer from the front.

Having a clear-out? Divide your unwanted clothes into four bags — one for a recycling bin, one for a charity shop, one to offer to friends and a fourth for things that simply need mending.

And if you never actually get round to that mending, you could always turn a garment into a drawstring bag for travelling or for keeping shoes in.

Going away? Lay all your planned outfits out on your bed — and then remove a third of them. Then put your items in individual packing pouches so you can simply lift them out of your case and straight into a drawer when you get there.

Can’t bear to get rid of a special outfit but know you’ll never wear it? Take a selfie of yourself wearing it.

Have you inherited clothing or special fabric with sentimental value but have nowhere to put it? Turn it into a cushion or make it the cover of a memory book.

Karen began her decluttering career four years ago after leaving the corporate sector and is now a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers. You can find her online as Mardi Girl.

She is just one example of the fascinating speakers who come to visit us at Chazey WI every month. Care to join us? We meet at St Andrew’s Hall in Caversham Heights at 2.30pm on the first Friday of the month. You can contact us at chazeywi@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.

CLEEVE BY GORING

DURING the past few months our members have been busy knitting hats for Innocent Smoothie bottles in aid of Age UK.

Rachel Denny, from the charity, attended our July meeting and presented us with a certificate and a letter of appreciation for the 527 hats which had been made by members and residents of Towse Court, a local residential home.

Innocent, which makes Smoothies, had pledged 25p for each hat and the total raised by our WI was £131.75 The speaker, Jennipher Marshall-Jenkinson, gave us a demonstration of microwave cooking, managing to cook a three-course meal in 45 minutes using two microwave ovens.

We enjoyed sampling the dishes during the coffee break.

The Lions sponsor a Message in a Bottle scheme — small containers hold medical information and emergency contact numbers which are then available to the emergency services when needed.

Goring has entered the small town category of the Britain in Bloom national competition.

One of our members who is on the organising committee gave us an account of the past 10 years of the initiative and we were encouraged to keep our gardens looking good and to be vigilant on the afternoons before the judging by picking up any litter.

The Sunflower Project will display the flowers made from recycled materials around the village.

COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, July 17, president Diane Bush welcomed members and visitors Lesley Turville, Rosie Grendon and Marcia Wood to our meeting.

She also welcomed the return of our guest speaker Aldon Ferguson, whose talk was entitled “Lady pilots of the Second World War”.

Aldon, a Wargrave resident, has given us many interesting talks before and this one was no exception.

He introduced us to the Air Transport Auxiliary, which was established in 1939 at the outbreak of war with the aim of replacing service pilots with civilian ones to take over the task of ferrying RAF and Royal Navy warplanes from factories and maintenance units to operational air stations.

The ATA employed a total of 1,207 aircrew of which 168 were intrepid women. Its headquarters were at White Waltham airfield.

On a typical day, the pilots were picked up at White Waltham in an Avro air taxi and then delivered to their point of duty from where they ferried new and rebuilt aircraft into service.

More than 130,000 planes were ferried by the ATA during the war and there is no doubt the women made a great contribution to the war effort.

The ATA flew all types of aircraft, including training planes, Spitfires, Hurricanes and bombers, to air stations all over the whole of the UK. After the invasion of Europe they even ferried aircraft deep into the Continent.

Many of the pilots came from other countries to help the war effort. They were expected to fly 147 different aircraft types. If they had not flown an aircraft before, their only guidance was a pocket-sized flip pad of basic do’s and don’ts.

Aldon talked about some of the women pilots, in particular Lettice Curtis (1914- 2014), who lived in Twyford and wrote two books, one entitled The Forgotten Pilots.

She was an aviator, flight test engineer, racing pilot and sportswoman.

She joined ATA in 1940 and started her career by delivering training aircraft such as the Tiger Moths.

She flew continually throughout the war delivering to anywhere and everywhere across Britain.

She flew 90 different types of aircraft, including Spitfires, and was the first woman to be cleared to fly four-engined bombers like the Lancaster.

Early in the war, the assembly of aircraft was moved away from our industrial centres in the “shadow factories” programme.

Another ATA veteran was Margot Duhalde (1920-2018), who was known as “Chile” after her homeland.

At the age of 16 she went to Santiago and after two years became Chile’s first woman to gain her commercial pilot’s licence.

Just before the outbreak of war, she tried to join the Free French Forces but language was a problem.

Undeterred, she made her way to the UK, presented herself at White Waltham airfield, where she got a job with the ATA.

With help from colleagues, she learned enough English to fly planes in the war effort.

She returned to Chile in 1947, became a commercial pilot and instructor and, finally, Chile’s first air traffic controller. She retired at the age of 81.

A remarkable lady who even found time to marry three times.

Aldon’s talk was well illustrated with photos of the pilots and the planes. He pointed out that Spitfires were built at Vincent’s Garage in Reading before being moved to the top-secret Vickers hangar at RAF Henley, off Culham Lane, between Remenham and Wargrave for final assembly.

Some engine parts came up from the underground factory on the Wargrave to Henley road.

The hangar at Crazies Hill became the Toga Toy warehouse after the war.

For more information, the Maidenhead Heritage Centre at 18 Park Street is the spiritual home of the ATA with a collection of memorabilia including uniforms, flying equipment, log books, photographs and a complete list of all who served for the ATA.

There is also a Spitfire simulator where you can practise your flying skills in total safety.

After the talk, members enjoyed a delicious tea prepared and served by Jill Tomlinson and Adrienne Rance.

The next meeting will take the form of our summer outing to Uppark House and Garden, near Petersfield, Hampshire, on Wednesday, August 14.

GREYS

A SUMMER outing is a long-established tradition in the WI and one we are keen to keep at Greys.

After discussion, we decided on a trip to Broughton Castle, near Banbury. This was recommended by Janet, our treasurer, and was new to most of us.

It was decided to book the Fish minibus from Sonning Common. Jenny agreed to do this and ended up organising the outing.

As the number of Greys members wanting to come did not fill this bus, we asked around and WI members from Shiplake joined us.

Sadly, Janet herself was ill on the day, as was Ann Simmons, so there were 12 people, including three men, who set off from the car park at Greys village hall.

It was a hot but breezy day, perfect for an outing.

When we arrived at Broughton Castle it was clear that Janet had chosen well.

The original castle was built around 1300 and was modernised in 1554 by the Fiennes family, who still live there today.

The first thing we did was to pose for a group photograph taken by Merryl. By this time we had all bonded and it was difficult to remember who were Greys members and who were from Shiplake.

Val and Jenny set off to explore — it’s that sort of place. You can see the house, which is surrounded by a moat.

The more energetic of us set off to climb the battlements, from where you could see the fantastic gardens of one acre.

Most know the nursery rhyme about Banbury Cross to see a fine lady upon a fine horse. Well, the lady was Lady Celia Fiennes (pronounced Fines) and the horse belonged to the family.

We had to be dragged away — ask Jane Boyd! Then we were speedily driven home by our excellent driver, Paul.

Thanks to Jenny for organising the day and Janet for suggesting such a super place.

We hope to see our new friends from Shiplake again soon.

Greetings from the Green Man of Broughton!

Our monthly meeting took place at Greys village hall on July 18.

President Val Mundy welcomed everybody and announced that we would be thinking about Uganda in Africa.

The Kamuli Mission Hospital is always in need of clothing for new-born babies as some of the mothers who have given birth in the maternity ward have nothing to wrap their babies in when they leave.

Our knit and natter group was inspired and so far has created about 200 tiny items of tops and bonnets in a selection of bright, vibrant colours.

In addition, Doreen, our treasurer, has been knitting small dolls for the children in the hospital. These were so charming that we all fell in love with them.

Val then introduced our speaker, Dr Phillip Unwin, from the Hart Surgery in Henley, who is going to take these colourful baby clothes to Kamuli on his next visit.

Dr Unwin has been spending two weeks a year helping at the hospital for more than 10 years and he spoke movingly about it.

Kamuli is a small town about the size of Henley, but the hospital catchment area is large with a radius of 70km to 80km.

This means that people have to travel for days to seek treatment, often with severe wounds or advanced illnesses.

There is a fee for treatment, although no patient is turned away because of inability to pay.

The maternity unit delivers about 3,000 babies a year — all difficult births, as “normal” births take place at home.

Women who develop problems in labour have no option but to face a long struggle to the hospital. Imagine that.

Between three and 10 Caesarian sections are performed every day, mainly by the two wonderful Ugandan doctors, both young men, who are on call 24 hours a day.

There is a volunteer programme for medical students, gap year students, nurses and doctors, which helps to spread the load.

The bed capacity of the hospital is 160. However, often more than 200 patients are admitted, with some (especially children) sharing beds and others sleeping on the floor.

Families of the patients camp outside the hospital in unsanitary conditions.

The hospital was constructed in the Forties, although it has undergone several renovations since, for example. a maternity wing and staff accommodation have been added.

However, termites eat the concrete and there are large bats in the roof.

The hospital staff work in an environment of limited resources and great demand for health services.

There are plans for four new wards — paediatric, medical, surgical and trauma. There is also a need for an intensive care unit. These new buildings and other projects are mainly paid for by a charity called Kamuli Friends set up by Dr Unwin and help is always welcome.

Dr Unwin praised the courage of the Ugandan people, whom he admires enormously and after listening to him we all agreed.

He is returning to Uganda in a few months’ time. In the meantime, he is concentrating on raising funds.

Kamuli Friends is registered charity 1155812, based at Arundel, Church Lane, Rotherfield Peppard, RG9 5JN

During a very tasty tea, we were all still talking about this superb hospital and the volunteers who raise money and give their time to help the people of Kamuli.

Our next meeting will be on September 18 at 2.30pm when we will receive a yoga demonstration from Pauline Brown, a qualified and experienced teacher, and the braver ones will give it a try.

Come and join us. just drop in — we are very welcoming.

HAMBLEDEN

WE are truly blessed living in such a beautiful part of the country. The Hambleden Valley and the River Thames could not be any better as the setting for our summer party.

We all gathered at one of our members’ homes to
celebrate.

We were treated to delicious food, which was organised by our fantastic committee, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the party was such a delight.

Many members provided beautiful puddings which we all thoroughly enjoyed and many of us sampled more than one (well, it would have been rude not to!).

We were treated to boat trips up the river with a serenade from the main act playing at the Henley Festival.

A superb raffle was held and we would like to thank the Marlow Crowne Plaza Hotel, Westside Florist, of Booker, Valerie Patisserie and Debbie Lawrence, of the Marlow holistic therapy centre, for their very kind donation of prizes.

Hambleden Hikers will walk on Friday, August 23, meeting at the Spade Oak, Bourne End, at 10.30am. All welcome.

Our next meeting will be held 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 programme, please visit our website at www.hambleden-wi.org

HARPSDEN

AFTER two wet meetings, the sun came out for the July meeting where a good number of members were welcomed by president Shirley Weyman.

Patricia Williams reported that the HoT WI tea party to celebrate the centenary of the Oxfordshire Federation had been a very enjoyable and jolly occasion.

Shirley brought members’ attention to some items in News & Views, including the art and craft exhibition in Didcot on September 21.

There will be a talk by Dame Stella Rimington at Oxford town hall on October 28 at 7.15pm, which costs £21 and includes a glass of wine before the talk.

Dame Stella was the first female head of MI5 and the first director to be named in public. Her talk should be interesting.

There is a visit to Lacock to visit the abbey and the William Henry Fox Talbot Museum on September 11.

The speaker selection days are always very interesting and sometimes amusing and there is the chance to hear possible new speakers at Cassington village hall on October 10 from 10.30am to 3.15pm.

A “faberdashery” sale with plenty of fabrics on offer will be held at Denman College on September 14 from 10am Get there early for the best bargains. There will also be everything for crafters to browse through.

Also at Denman, on September 30, there will be an afternoon tea with a cookery demonstration in the teaching centre from 2pm to 4pm. The cost is £20, which includes a conducted tour of the main house.

A report on the National Federation’s annual meeting in Bournemouth by our delegate Janet Matthews was read out.

It is being proposed to run a discussion group each month and members attending are asked to bring a newspaper headline that has caught their attention — serious or amusing. The first meeting will be at Judith’s house on August 22.

Our speaker was Erica Cunningham, from the Brambles florists shop, in Sonning Common.

What a treat it was to listen and watch her expert fingers conjuring up such lovely floral arrangements.

She began using flowers as a hobby 22 years ago, when she lived in Suffolk.

Having moved to Sonning Common some years later, she began seriously to deal in flowers and eventually opened the shop.

She explained about the different varieties of oasis that are now available — the well-known green version, the brown type known as brio and the latest version known as noir.

Her first display featured hypericum, chrysanthemums, eryngeum (also known as Miss Willmot’s ghost), stocks and large sunflowers.

Her pot au fleur contained ferns, the rose Explorer and Asiatic lilies, which have no stamens and no smell.

Erica is consciously using less cellophane in the wrapping of bouquets. She is also “going with the flow” in using jam jars and bottles in arrangements, especially on log slices.

A set of vases like ink wells was used to display pale delicate delphiniums, dainty proteus, astrantia, scabious and alstromeria.

Using an urn, Erica arranged a white and green theme of eucalyptus from Italy, antirrhinums, scabious, double helianthemums, chrysanthemums and thalaspi, which is a dainty flower resembling shepherd’s purse.

All these arrangements were completed while Erica recounted amusing stories and happenings.

Ann Downing thanked Erica for such an enjoyable and entertaining demonstration. Many of the arrangements were then used for the raffle so some lucky ladies went home with beautiful displays.

Naturally, the competition was flower-themed and the winning posy was entered by Judith Young with red dahlias, alchemilla mollis and lavender from her garden.

Joan Hoyes and Shirley Weyman were second and third respectively.

Next month’s meeting will be a bring and share tea in Shirley’s garden on August 14, commencing at 2.30pm.

HoT (HENLEY)

OUR July meeting was a quieter affair after our centenary party in June but very enjoyable nontheless.

Committee member Susannah Hirst read through the business and introduced Pat Eades, our WI advisor.

Pat had come along to tell us the fabulous news that our most recent member Babs Townes had received a prize for being the 75th member to join the WI during the Oxfordshire Federation’s drive to gain 100 new members in three months — hurrah!

Our guest speaker was Sarah Povey, the director of the River & Rowing Museum here in Henley.

Sarah has a wealth of experience in this field, having studied anthropology and worked at the Museum of Mankind, the British Museum and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

She was excited to tell us all about the musuem’s plans in this, its 21st year, bringing the river to life and creating a sustainable and natural environment.

There will be living culture as well as history, including the current exhibition all about bears in literature and a Christmas exhibition about Raymond Briggs, creator of The Snowman.

The most surprising thing was how many different subjects and events the museum covers — definitely not all river and rowing, although there are obviously some connections.

It’s well worth a look and we all signed up for its newsletter.

Thank you, Sarah, and good luck.

The next meeting will be on Friday, August 16 when we will have a talk by local amateur botanist Sally Rankin.

We meet at the Sacred Heart Church hall in Walton Avenue, just off Vicarage Road, Henley. Please come along and join us. For more information, email hotwi2017@hotmail.com

MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

TIFFANY HOWARD was the speaker at our July meeting and gave a technical explanation and demonstration on “care for the mature skin”.

She informed us that research carried out at the University of Newcastle found that one third of UVA skin damage is caused in the period from November to May and not, as the majority of people believe, only in bright sunlight.

Four factors are actually responsible for the ageing of the skin — sun damage, diet, stress and pollution in the environment.

Vitamins A, D and E in the skin are all destroyed by these factors, so a face cream with sun protection factor is always recommended even when indoors.

Vitamin A gives the glow and radiance to skin. Cleansing lotions, milks and gels were recommended, especially at night, to remove make-up and to keep the skin nourished and to allow it to rejuvenate for the next day.

Two members, Sue Drew and Jean Phillis, then had their skin cleansed and were given advice on the care and nourishment of their skin.

Advice was also given on various skin disorders and treatments for these were recommended.

To mark the centenary of the Berkshire Federation, a replica of Emily Morrell, the first county chairman, visited us during the first week in July.

She was given a week of great variety, including a day at Henley Regatta, a trip to a London Theatre, participating in the Silver Swans ballet and being part of a church cleaning team. She then moved on to Knowl Hill WI.

One of our members, Christabel Grimmer, together with members from other WIs and various organisations, took part in the Time Is Now climate lobby on June 26.

It was a peaceful protest outside Parliament to emphasise the great concern over the rapid change in global warming and its potential catastrophic effects on our planet.

Our first meeting after the summer break will be on September 4 when we will have a talk on the Romanovs given by Colin Parrish.

In October we will have a special meeting in honour of our founding president Sheila Carruthers, which will be a tutored cheese tasting with wine.

Meetings are held in the Hannen Room, Mill Green, on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm.

PEPPARD

MEMBERS gathered in the Cromwellian Room at Greys Court for a very special meeting.

Sir Hugo Brunner gave us a warm and personal talk about his mother, Lady Elizabeth Brunner, who did so much for the Women’s Institute and encouraged women to reach their full potential in life.

After tea, provided by Greys Court staff, some of us visited the shop and others walked in the grounds before going home.

Everyone had an enjoyable and memorable afternoon in the former home of the Brunner family.

If you have not visited Greys Court, we highly recommend a tour.

REMENHAM

OUR July meeting was something of a surprise as we have previously kept out of the Remenham area as it’s a bit busy with traffic for Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Festival.

We had a great afternoon with our president Daphne Austen in the chair and 19 members who had managed to negotiate the vans and lorries present. There was one apology from Sue Sharp who was in the Royal Berkshire Hospital and it was agreed to send her a “get well” card.

There was a ballot for two members to attend the centenary tea party at Easthampstead Park on August 14. Irene Parker and Judy Palmer won this.

The recruitment drive at Tesco took place on Monday, July 16.

Jim Bland has been given a copy of the Berkshire book as his knowledge of the county was invaluable.

We were told about the bursaries that are available for courses at Denman College and members were encouraged to take them up.

The WI has had to bring out a behaviour policy order, which was read out and all members asked to sign. It was felt it was a sad reflection on our present society that this was necessary.

The Berkshire Federation has produced a Berkshire badge, which is now on sale from headquarters.

The Berkshire centenary doll Emily, a Victorian-style knitted one, will travel the county and be hosted by each WI for a few days.

She comes to Remenham on August 14 and many day outings are planned, including a visit to a hygienist, a visit to the River & Rowing Museum in Henley, a cooking day, a craft day and a boat trip to the Rewind festival.

Our summer tea party will be on Monday, August 12 at China Cottage at the kind invitation of our president.

The Remenham village fair will be on Sunday, September 1 at the village hall and garden where our WI always does the teas. Members were asked for cakes and to help — 18 cakes and eight helpers were required.

As the business was finished, our speaker Jennipher Marshall-Jenkinson was introduced.

She is president of the Mircrowave Association and does many presentations — four cruises this year and even a presentation at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

She has also taught Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumental, to name but a few.

She had brought two microwaves ovens, beaters and ingredients to make a three-course meal.

Her starter was salmon in a teriyaki sauce with vegetable rice. She did point out that rice takes as long in a microwave as with conventional cooking.

Her main was a delicious chicken in apricot sauce with a variety of vegetables and to finish a chocolate and black cherry cake.

We were all allowed to have a taste and everything was simply delicious — all cooked in a few minutes, apparently saving 20 per cent of energy and being much more nutritious than the old-fashioned way.

An amusing aside: if the country’s cooks heated their Christmas puddings in microwaves rather than boiling them for an hour or so, one of the country’s power stations would be redundant.

Most of our members with microwaves said they only used them for heating up or defrosting, so hopefully we were all inspired to take up 21st century cooking.

Diane Sutherland won the raffle and Carol Wissett and Jen Terry gave us a delicious tea. We all look forward to our meeting at China
Cottage.

ROSEHILL

PRESIDENT Arlene Riley welcomed members to our July meeting on a pleasant summer afternoon.

She began by saying that the record of the June meeting was available for all to see.

Our secretary Ryszarda told us that details of bursaries for attending Denman College in 2019/20 were available and the closing date for applications was August 16.

There is a proposed visit to Kew Gardens on Thursday, September 26 and details can be found in the latest edition of Berkshire WI News.

Also in the newsletter are details of other events, including a photographic workshop on September 27 and a craft taster day at Mortimer Methodist Church hall on October 12.

Our treasurer Judith announced that last month’s sales table raised £20 and the raffle £30. Thank you to all who took part.

Arlene announced that a coffee morning held at Pat Butler’s house in Buckingham Drive on June 22 had raised £210.

This money will be used to purchase supplies for the Royal Berkshire Hospital packs and Arlene thanked everyone for their support.

Gill was also thanked for the 65 packs that she has produced. Well done, everyone.

Birthday cards were handed to those members who had a July birthday.

The Scrabble group met twice in July, the book club met at Barbara Wood’s house and Ladies That Lunch went to the Griffin in Caversham.

Barbara is trying to find a suitable film for the cinema group to see.

Arlene was pleased to announce that the new PA system, which is wireless and portable, had been installed and this worked very well.

National Federation raffle tickets will be on sale during July, August and September at a cost of £1 each.

A board for scones and cakes for the August meeting was circulated as well as one for members to suggest other activities, for example, a walking group.

A group of members had a very interesting visit to Milestones Museum in Basingstoke on July 9.

Arlene introduced our speaker John Brearley, who gave us a very interesting talk about the Civil War in Reading.

Unfortunately his computer had a hissy fit and he was unable to show any slides, but despite this we all enjoyed his talk, with music at the end.

Tea and biscuits followed and the raffle was drawn.

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

SHIPLAKE

THE ladies were welcomed to the July summer party meeting with a glass of elderflower fizz.

Two members had been to the HoT WI centenary tea party, where they heard an excellent talk about tea. As it was our summer party, Joan Jolley kept the business to a minimum — she encouraged members to apply for bursaries at Denman College and told the meeting about the Didcot arts and crafts exhibition and the Beechwood Group meeting in October.

Interesting articles in News & Views were pointed out, including a talk by Dame Stella Rimington and the message from our county chairman.

The mention of walking netball raised some interest as there is a new group in Shiplake.

Jackie Dulewicz told the meeting about two important services for those living with dementia which are held at the Christ Church Centre in Henley.

The first is the Memory Café, which provides a friendly place to meet and socialise and is held every Wednesday morning.

The second is the Bluebells day centre where those with dementia are provided with a cooked lunch and a range of activities. Both of these services offer support for carers and families.

Sue Lines confirmed details of visits to the Mill at Sonning theatre and Sandhurst and further information was given about the trips to Aston Pottery and Blake’s Lock.

There was a discussion about the date for a visit to Winchester Christmas market, which was going to clash with a county event.

At the front of the hall, the tables were laid out with many baskets full of flowers and lengths of raffia.

After some simple explanations, all the ladies then helped to make dozens of small posies and buttonholes. These were to be taken to Shiplake Corner Shop the following morning to be given away to shoppers, dogwalkers, commuters and workers — in fact anyone who passed.

The committee came up with this wonderful idea to help celebrate the centenary of the WI, spread some smiles around the local community and promote the friendship within the WI.

After the posy making, a lovely party tea was enjoyed by members and guests.

The next meeting will be in September when we will have a talk by Marcelle Siddall about Ingwavuma, a women’s self-help group in South Africa.

More details about Shiplake WI are on the Shiplake villages website and visitors are always welcome at our meetings.

SONNING COMMON

PRESIDENT Jenny Ward extended a warm welcome to members and visitors to the meeting at Sonning Common village hall on July 18.

Best wishes were given to “young at heart” member Ruth Whitaker who was celebrating her 90th birthday. Members enthusiastically sang Happy Birthday to Ruth and all the other members with birthdays in July and August.

Megan was congratulated on her recent marriage.

Sue Frayling-Cork drew members’ attention to a Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ leaflet called “Is your driving changing?” which contains guidance for older drivers and top tips to help them drive safely for longer.

Copies of the leaflet were available. Sue also reported that some medicines may no longer be available on prescription from GPs and would have to be purchased from a pharmacy.

Programme planner Alison Bishop introduced the speaker, author and researcher Phyllida Shaw, who wrote An Artist’s War, a book by artists and sculptors Alice and Morris Meredith Williams.

The pair met as art students in Paris in 1902.

Morris’s father had been rector of All Saints’ Church in Peppard.

While he was serving during the First World War, Alice worked at Greys Green Farm.

Phyllida welcomed visitor Keith Atkinson to the meeting as he had been very helpful to her when she was researching the time Alice and Morris spent in Peppard.

Alice was a designer of stained glass windows and some of her designs can be seen at All Saints’ Church. Sometimes her windows are incorrectly attributed to Morris.

The army initially rejected Morris when he tried to enlist in 1914 as he did not meet the height requirements.

But when the Bantam Regiment for men of 5ft to 5ft 3in was formed, he joined it, going into the 1st Glamorgan Regiment.

His wartime diaries consisted of daily sketches of a soldier’s life, showing servicemen sleeping, eating, marching, camping and cooking as well as the trenches and ruined villages.

He also sketched the unsung heroes of the war, the Chinese Labour Corp from Shanghai.

In 1918 Alice was commissioned to make models depicting women’s war work for the Imperial War Museum (women were not allowed near the frontline). In 1921 she was commissioned to sculpt The Spirit of the Crusaders for the Great War Memorial at Paisley Cross in Scotland.

Alice often worked in collaboration with Morris and her figures bear a resemblance to the soldiers in his sketches.

Beverley Porteous gave the vote of thanks to Phyllida for her most interesting and enthusiastic talk. Members were able to purchase her book.

The raffle was drawn and a break made for social time and refreshments.

The competition for First World War memorabilia was well supported with a wide and interesting variety of exhibits.

Margaret Pyle won with a marvellous collection of photographs of her grandfather and the embroidered postcards he sent home.

Among the other entries, Pat Kitt had bought along a collection of crested china, there were photographs of Anne Driver’s grandfather and Christine Marsh had brought a Christmas brass tin and medals.

The flower of the month competition was also well supported with sunflowers, roses and a dahlia among the entries. The winner was Janet Evans’ eryngium.

Members are looking forward to their summer outing on August 13.

The next members’ meeting will be at Sonning Common village hall on September 19 at 7.30pm when Debbie Lawrence will be talking about “Natural solutions, essential oils”. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call Carol on 0118 972 3738.

SOUTH STOKE

ON a lovely sunny day in July we held our annual president’s lunch. This year, for the first time in four years, we were able to hold the lunch in the president’s garden. Previous years have been too cold or, as last year, too hot.

The delicious lunch was prepared and served by the committee and enjoyed by all.

President Rita Mann was presented with a beautiful plant.

We celebrated one birthday this month.

The Oxfordshire Federation is celebrating its centenary this year and various events to mark the occasion have been planned throughout the year.

On a local level South Stoke WI and Cleeve by Goring WI are having an afternoon tea at The Springs Golf Club in August.

Our speaker next month will be Jennipher Marshall-Jenkinson, who will be giving uis a cookery demonstration called “It’s all magic” — healthy eating for ones and twos using your microwave oven. Visitors are always welcome.

STOKE ROW

OUR president Sandra opened the July meeting with a rather frazzled announcement that despite trying to contact the booked speaker over the past week as normal, she had only managed to get hold of her that morning only to discover that we had been forgotten.

Luckily, another committee member secured a last-minute speaker in Alan Copeland, who is quite well-known for his interesting talks.

So we had a good talk on the subject of “The changing face of Reading”, peppered with old photographs and more recent ones. The building of the IDR round Reading caused a great deal of demolition and we enjoyed reminiscing about shops that are no more.

Alan valiantly judged our competition, which had suited the original talk and was on the Second World War — not his subject at all!

The winner was an old recipe book based on rationing. Sugar, butter, sweets and jam etc featured in their correct portions and we marvelled at how the mothers of those days managed.

The prize was a tin containing examples of a week’s ration of food for one person. This was an ingenious idea made up by another committee member that caused much interest and discussion itself.

The flower of the month competition was a little easier to judge with two everlasting sweet pea blooms in two differing shades taking the first two places.

Sandra mentioned past and forthcoming catering events and we signed up for the next one where will be doing a lunch for 36 visitors.

Many of us enjoyed the celebration lunch held earlier in the month for our Beechwood Group and the summer outing to Broughton Castle was enjoyed with a display of photographs taken there for us to see.

We look forward to an evening walk near Henley this month and our games, craft and book clubs will meet as usual.

The birthday flowers for several members made a very nice vase for the top table before they were taken home by the birthday girls.

Some of us collected our tickets for the Chelsea Hospital visit at the end of the month and we noted the meeting arrangements for our fun day in Wallingford in August.

A lovely supper and the raffle draw concluded a somewhat unexpected but enjoyable evening with two prospective members joining in.

Our next in-house meeting in September will feature the important work of the ambulance service’s first responders.

WATLINGTON

SUE RUSSELL, from the Nasio Trust, was our speaker at our evening meeting in July.

The trust is based in Abingdon but works in Kenya and East Africa. It was established in 2000 when an abandoned baby was found in a sugar cane plantation by Irene Mudenyo.

Irene’s attempts to find his parents or relatives proved futile.

He was named Moses and from his care came the idea of a day care centre for disadvantaged and stigmatised children, where they could live with dignity in a loving family situation.

The charity also enables families to provide for themselves and to receive food, medical aid and support for the children, young people and their guardians.

Our next meeting will be a social evening on August 14 when there will be games, wine and nibbles.

At the September 11 meeting Jan Warner will give a talk on “Survival of the fittest — how our forebears raised their infants”.

In October we will have a talk on the Co-op by the manager of the town’s store.

We meet at Watlington town hall at 7.30pm and would be delighted to meet you. For more information, please call Dawn Matthews (01491) 612023.

WHITCHURCH HILL

TWENTY-TWO members attended the July meeting.

They listened to Marcelle Siddall talking about some of the poorest women in rural South Africa who make a supreme effort to overcome their problems, producing handmade fabrics and items for sale.

Members were impressed with their efforts and Marcelle was thanked for an inspirational talk.

Birthday greetings and flower posies were given to three members.

The flower of the month competition was won by Denyse Williams and the raffle by Theresa Elsome.

In early August we shall stage our annual fish and chip supper when members will bring friends and family to join us at Goring Heath parish hall. This usually takes place in the garden.

Also early in August we are planning a walk followed by lunch at the Waterfront Café.

Our speaker at our business meeting on the third Tuesday in September will be Simon Williams on “Police dog handling”.

Two of our members will represent us at the centenary tea at Easthampstead Park.

Looking forward to October, the speaker at our business meeting will be Sophie Fryer with a display of millinery. There will also be a sale of books in aid of Denman College.

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 (doors open 10am). 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.

WOODCOTE

PATRICIA SOLOMONS welcomed members to the July meeting on a hot day.

Celebrating their birthdays were Iris Lewis, Patricia Solomons, Wendy Muchamore, Doreen Knox and Rose Metcalf.

Our speaker was Jen Grimstone, from the Pangbourne Cheese Shop.

Jen had brought us some lovely cheeses to sample and told us how she came to start her new career, which sounded like heaven with all that cheese!

The competition for a pretty cheese knife was won by Shirley Bryant.

The tea ladies who made the scrummy sandwiches and cakes were Gill Woods, Betty Thomas and Joan Soanes.

The speaker at our September meeting will be Russell Cherry, who will talk on “The Ridgeway explored” and the competition will be for a photograph taken along the Ridgeway.

The lunch club this month will be going to the Highwayman at Exlade Street. A big thank-you to Audrey Hawthorne who has organised this get-together for the last 15 years.

The bloom of the month winner was Carole Shelley-Allen.

We meet at Woodcote village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm. Do come and join us.

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