Sunday, 09 August 2020

WI Roundup

WI Roundup

BENSON

FOLLOWING the usual business and notices, we were pleased to welcome speaker Rachel Pettit-Smith to our November meeting.

Her subject was the retailer Pettits of Wallingford.

One of the oldest local businesses, Pettits was started on March 6, 1856 by William Pettit, who lived in Benson for a number of years.

Rachel’s father eventually took over the business and she also joined following an early career with Debenhams in Oxford.

Her talk was accompanied by a digital presentation showing photos of the inside and outside of the shop from the early days plus copies of its advertisements and quotes from former long-term employees.

Being long-standing local residents, most of our members had fond memories of Pettits and were able to add some of them to the evening, particularly that of being able to have outfits and goods “on approval”.

Earlier in November, our president laid a special poppy wreath commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings at Benson’s Remembrance Sunday parade.Benson WI was one of 27 organisations taking part along with a contingent from RAF Benson.

November also saw the Oxfordshire Federation visit our parish hall again, this time with a very well attended Caribbean and Windrush generation day accompanied by a traditional Caribbean lunch.

We will meet again on Wednesday, December 18 to enjoy some musical entertainment by the Close Knit Band and bring the year to an end with a festive feel.

Our 93rd year has been a most enjoyable one and we all look forward to what 2020 will bring us.

Merry Christmas and best wishes to all.

CHAZEY

IF climbing the wooden hill to Bedfordshire fills you with dread, take heart — help for the sleepless is at hand.

So soothing was sleep adviser Anne-Marie Gawen’s advice to Chazey members last month that some of us were stifling yawns even while she was still speaking.

But there was no counting sheep or mugs of Horlicks involved: these days it’s all about sleep hygiene and circadian rhythms and ditching the bad habits that keep us awake at night.

Anne-Marie was particularly strict about those bad boys, caffeine and alcohol, but would her warnings be enough to make us change our ways?

As soon as she’d finished speaking, we were breaking her rule of no caffeine after 1pm by having coffee and cake to mark a member’s birthday. Oh dear.

There are definite “don’ts” if you struggle to sleep, many of which you’ll know already: no blue lights from computers, no daytime naps, no watching TV in bed and no weekend lie-ins.

But there are also plenty of “dos”, some of which you may not have tried.

Anne-Marie advises to invest in your bedroom with a good mattress, new bedding in a darker colour and good blinds or curtains to keep out light. Make it a welcoming sanctuary.

Make a list of all your worries before bed and then stash it in a drawer and forget about it.

Meanwhile, find a pretty card and write down three good things from your day, even if it’s just finding a parking space.

Try eating foods rich in sleep-inducing tryptophan, such as almonds, turkey or bananas, but no later than an hour before bed. Spray lavender on your sheets.

Anne-Marie admits she suffered sleep problems herself a few years ago and swears by her own secret weapon — crochet.

She recommends it because, she says, it’s boring and so sets just the right tone for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Chazey members are always learning something new at our Friday afternoon meetings at St Andrew’s Church hall in Caversham Heights. Care to join us? You can email us at chazeywi@berkshirewi.co.uk or find us on Facebook.

CLEEVE-BY-GORING

WITH the darker and colder days setting in, we had no outdoor events last month but still had fun.

At the monthly meeting we had a fundraising event in aid of the Associated Country Women of the World, a charity supporting women in underdeveloped countries and those with conflict and war.

Members entered a competition to bring their favourite shoes, which were displayed before we voted for the best ones by placing pennies on our choices. A total of £51 was raised in a very amusing way.

We also had a “crafty” evening designing and making greetings cards instead of listening to a speaker.

A large group of members visited Denman College for the annual Oxfordshire weekend where they all learned various new skills.

COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, November 20, president Diane Bush welcomed members and our speaker, Martin Lorenz.

Martin is a well-known local sculptor, who also doubles as an actor in Wargrave Theatre Workshop productions and is a dab hand scene artist and set builder.

He recalled that he and his young bride Sue spent some time in Russia but opportunities for sculpture there were limited.

In September 1971 Ted Heath expelled 90 Russians from the London embassy and associated operations for spying.

Brezhnev responded with a matching expulsion of Brits from Moscow, including Martin.

Back in England, fate intervened. When Martin was caught up in a GWR train problem, passengers started talking and Martin spoke with a local sculptor, who persuaded him to join the evening sculptor class held in London.

This chance meeting fulfilled his passion for sculpting.

One of his early commissions came from the British Museum which needed cast copies of their exhibits to sell in their shop.

Martin made more than 2,000 replica sculptures under this contract.

He has displayed his work at exhibitions in Surrey and at Greys Court last June.

He had covered a long table with some of his work alongside the tools of his trade.

To start to make a bronze sculpture, first you have to make another sculpture in a different medium, either wax, wood or stone but most commonly clay.

Martin makes his moulds using silicone rubber.

In 1986 the headmaster of Reading School, which was founded in 1486 by Henry VII, commissioned Martin to make a bust in bronze resin which was unveiled by the Queen. He also made a bust for his alma mater, King’s School Worcester, which was founded by Henry VIII.

Martin enjoys making portraits. He made one from photographs of a grandfather, who had died many years ago.

Some 30 years ago member Mary Romanes recalled that Martin had made two busts for her two grandchildren from photographs.

He recounted a story about a local celebrity, Tom Berman, who has a home by the River Thames.

Tom saw that a neighbour had a wooden design made up of fish. He liked it so much that he commissioned Martin to make him something similar which he did at the woodcarving group he attends on Wednesdays.

Members enjoyed a delicious tea served by Gina Foden and Sheila Brocklebank before inspecting some of Martin’s artwork displayed on the top table.

He made most of the sculptures himself, the exception being the very rare “real” bronze items that had to go to a foundry.

There was also a surprising amount of tools there which were needed to create these works of art.

The next meeting is our Christmas party, which will be held at Hennerton Golf Club on Wednesday, December 11 at 12.30pm.

The first meeting of the New Year will be held at Crazies Hill village hall at 2.30pm, when we will welcome the return of gifted wildlife photographer Tom Way.

GREYS

WE met at Greys village hall on November 20, a bitterly cold afternoon.

Eighteen members and one visitor were welcomed into the warm, cosy hall by our president Val Mundy. Five members had sent their apologies.

Val shared three lovely photos taken at the Kamuli Mission Hospital in Uganda of newborn babies, all snuggled up and warm in tiny knitted garments created by our knit and natter group.

We were touched and congratulated members of the group who are keen to get knitting again.

Our speakers were Chris Brooks and Sue Abbott from the Sonning Common/
Kidmore End community first responders.

This group, part of the South Central Ambulance Service, started in 2008 and has treated 1,164 emergency cases.

There are four responders, who are all unpaid volunteers ready to drop everything when called.

Between them they cover every day from 9.30am to 10.30pm, apart from Monday evening.

Their training is detailed and rigorous. First there is a five-day training course over three weekends and then six- monthly updates, including extra training, a written paper and practical tests.

We are truly safe in their hands. They are prepared for all emergencies, from heart attacks, strokes and breathing problems to an increasing number of calls because of sepsis, a life- threatening reaction to infection, which affects about 260,000 people a year in the UK and causes the deaths of about 44,000 (UK Sepsis Trust).

The responders also run training sessions for the general public about dealing with an emergency and cardiac resuscitation.

All this is provided with some NHS funding but they need to do a lot of fundraising as well.

Chris and Sue also showed us “Message in a bottle”, a small plastic container with a form for all your details, including medication, to be kept in the fridge — invaluable information if we need to phone for emergency help.

They also showed us some of their equipment. They spoke with passion and clarity and we were all fascinated and entranced by these brave and committed volunteers.

We thanked them for spending some of their valuable time with us and they joined us for tea.

The competition was for “A pretty pill box” and was won by Val with Jennifer in second place and Joan Edwards in third.

Our next meeting will be our Christmas party at the village hall on December 11 at 2.30pm.

The Acorn Singers will sing a medley of Christmas music and everyone will bring a plate of food.

HAMBLEDEN

OUR annual meeting was well attended.

The financial report was given by Inger Osborn and a summary of the finances was given to all members.

Inger will be standing down as treasurer this year, so we must thank her for her work over the last three years. Her organisation and attention to detail have proved to be excellent qualities in this role.

Inger will be replaced by our new committee member Claire Wathes. Welcome, Claire.

The committee report was given by Jan Connolly. A summary of the year’s speakers, activities, visits and workshops allowed us all to reflect on a very busy and enjoyable 2019.

The report by our outgoing president Jo Martin thanked all the members for their contributions, with special thanks going to our very hardworking committee in this our centenary year.

We thank Jo for three years of incredible hard work. She has been a true leader, especially in the organisation of our centenary celebrations.

Jo will be replaced by Sarah Williams who was voted in by members.

Kay Edmondes of the Berkshire Federation acted as our teller. The Wilson Cup was presented to Suzie Livesey for her centenary celebration bunting.

Many thanks to Jeanette Laming, Anne Langley and Sue Walden for providing delicious refreshments.

Our Christmas party will be held on Thursday, December 12 at the Stag and Huntsman in Hambleden.

2020 is looking to be another busy year.

Our first meeting will be on Thursday, January 9 when Simon Williams will start the new year with a fun evening of magic and illusion entitled “Is it fun to be fooled?”

We welcome new members. For more information about Hambleden WI and to see our programme, please visit www.hambleden-wi.org

HoT (HENLEY-ON-THAMES)

FOR our November meeting we went all festive and had fun making various Christmas decorations helped by some of our more crafty members.

It was a lovely start to the season and our last meeting of 2019, so we would like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We already have some excellent meetings planned for 2020 and we hope to see you there.

Our next meeting will be on Friday, January 24 when we will be celebrating Burns night with a few reels and maybe a wee dram.

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

MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

ON Wednesday, November 6, wildlife photographer Tom Way brought some truly remarkable photographs to accompany his talk on “Exciting wildlife from around the world”.

He told members that after finishing university he was fortunate enough to be able to travel extensively in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

At the end of this prolonged trip he realised what an amazing experience it had been and that he really wanted to keep travelling for the rest of his life rather than find a job.

He did work for a while as a personal trainer then quit and set up his own business as a wildlife photographer, whether brave or foolish he did not then know.

He has now been travelling and taking photographs for the past eight years.

Tom has photographed orangutans in Borneo and whales in Sri Lanka but his his favourite continent is Africa. Although he had included many images from around the world, there were also pictures from the UK.

Many of these had taken hours and hours to capture, especially the shots of a kingfisher and a puffin.

The puffin shot took 6,000 attempts to capture and six days of patience but show the bird at its most comical. It was taken on Skomer Island, off the coast of South Wales.

There followed many appealing shots of orangutans, whose youngsters rely on their mothers for eight years, and gorillas in Uganda, showing what a strong similarity they have with humans.

Blue whales also featured on their journey from the northern atolls of the Maldives to Sri Lanka to feast on krill from the bottom of the ocean.

When surfacing after 45 minutes under water they rest on the surface and it is at this point that photographers can take images as the whales dive again.

There were several rather appealing images of meerkats, which are territorial and will fight to the death despite the rather cosy image they have. They were photographed in the Kalahari desert.

Tom’s favourite place to be is near Mount Kilimanjaro, on the borders of Kenya and Tanzania, in the open savanna for the variety of wildlife, particularly the
elephants.

Here there are 1,600 elephants, although there are only 16 very mature animals, i.e. those between 50 and 60 years old.

Photographing big game on the savanna proves difficult and time consuming, although there were shots of lions, leopards and cheetahs along with zebras and giraffes and the migration of the wildebeest.

Tom declared that he was better photographing in warmer climes, despite the the bugs and leeches, but he has also ventured into some colder climates — he took shots of the gentoo penguins in the Falklands after a 23- day wait.

He then told us of the conservation work supported by the best wildlife photographers around the world.

They were asked to contribute one photograph each to form a book called Remembering Lions.

Two weeks after going on sale, the book had raised more than £500,000 for wildlife conservation. The book comes in the Remembering Wildlife series.

A question and answer session followed.

In February we will hold our annual meeting. Meetings are held in the Hannen Room in Mill Green on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated.

PEPPARD

AFTER discussing plans for our next meeting and other activities, we were delighted to have Jeni Wood talk to us about her year as mayor of Henley.

The beautiful collection of hats she had brought along helped us follow the duties she undertook during her busy, interesting and fulfilling year in office.

Shirley Hartley Booth had brought a lovely basket of flowers and group one provided an enjoyable tea.

Our next meeting on December 11 will bring our centenary year to an end with a Christmas party with friends.

REMENHAM

WE met at the village hall for a “pot pourri” afternoon, a treat on a dank November day.

Just over 30 of us members and friends were seated at beautifully decorated tables.

We were all delighted to meet Marlene Voke, president of the Berkshire Federation.

We had time to visit the stalls, an excellent bring and buy table and another with exquisite handmade Christmas table decorations and many other exciting Christmas goodies.

Our president Daphne Austen then introduced Jean Hall, who describes herself as “The poor man’s Pam Ayres”.

She has written four books and has been on BBC Radio Berkshire.

She announced she did not do political correctness before reading her first poem entitled Brexit and containing the line “We need Guy Fawkes to blow up the lot”.

Her poems went from sad to highly amusing.

There was a break for a superb tea provided by the committee with excellent waitress service. There was lots of time for more shopping and lots of gossip.

Jean closed with a few more very entertaining poems. Judy Palmer gave a heartfelt vote of thanks.

The committee was congratulated and thanked profusely.

Now we all look forward to our next meeting, called “Desert Island Discs”, and our Christmas lunch at the Little Angel.

ROSEHILL

PRESIDENT Arlene Riley welcomed all members and guests to our meeting on November 6, a rather dismal late autumn afternoon.

As usual, we were told that a record of the October meeting was available for all to see.

Arlene then told us that two members were invited to attend the Berkshire Federation’s thanksgiving service.

Last month’s raffle raised £17. There was no sales table but £9.08 was raised for the Associated Country Women of the World.

Cards were handed to those members who had a November birthday.

The Scrabble group met twice, the book club once and Ladies that Lunch met at Quattro’s in Caversham. The cinema club was hoping to see The Good Liar, starring Helen Mirren.

An article in Berkshire Federation News thanked all those WIs which had donated the hospital packs. Once again, thanks to all who contributed.

We were reminded about the Christmas lunch which will take place at Ask on December 18. Anyone who had not yet signed up was requested to do so as places are still available. A £5 deposit is required.

A board was circulated for contributions of festive fare for the December meeting.

Subscription envelopes will be distributed at the December meeting for collection in February.

New committee members are needed next year and we were reminded to think about joining.

Arlene then introduced our speaker Toni Kent, who spoke on “Council house to comic via corporate”, telling us about the changes in her lifestyle.

We then had a short talk by Bob Whelpton (the Chocolate Man) about the latest chocolates that he had available. He very kindly gave us some samples to try. Thank you, Bob, we always welcome your visits.

Finally, there was the usual cup of tea, this time served with Arlene’s delicious birthday cake and brownies. Thank you, Arlene.

We were advised that the next meeting would be on December 4 but there would be be no meeting in January.

We meet at St Barnabas’s Church hall in Emmer Green on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm.

SHIPLAKE

OUR latest meeting took place on Wednesday, November 20.

President Joan Jolley welcomed members and began by telling the ladies that Shiplake WI would be hosting the Beechwood Group meeting in October next year.

Names were taken for the Christmas lunch at the Baskerville pub.

Joan reported that the WI team had done well at the local quiz but had not won.

Two members had attended the mental health summit at Benson and two were going to the climate change workshop in Goring.

The date for the National Federation’s annual meeting had been announced as June 4 and members were asked if they would like to attend as observers.

A group of members had gathered at Shiplake war memorial to lay a WI poppy wreath on Remembrance Sunday and Joan thanked them for their support.

Sue Lines gave the final arrangements for the trip to Winchester Christmas market and announced more details about the theatre trips to see Dolly Parton and Singin’ in the Rain in the New Year.

Joan then selected some of the important items from News & Views, including a report by Mary Gregory on women as agents of peace.

The health and wellbeing day and the talk about the historic Knitter and Pendell’s War at Benson also looked interesting.

The speaker for the afternoon was Jeff Rozelaar whose talk was entitled “An actor’s life for me”.

He talked about his early experiences on the stage and how important it had been to learn how to use his voice, his body, his walk and different accents to portray characters.

He had produced, directed and performed in more than 200 productions and he gave some examples of things that went wrong as well as the good times.

He ended his talk with portrayals of some memorable characters from his repertoire.

The usual excellent tea was served. The tea hostesses were Rachel Lloyd and Pippa Hughes.

The winner of the flower of the month competition was Pauline Watkins with a dark pink rose.

The winner of the competition for a “Favourite quotation from a play” was Rosemary Jones with a line from Oscar Wilde.

Next month’s meeting will be the Christmas party and members were reminded to bring their contributions towards the tea and their gifts for the Secret Santa basket.

SONNING COMMON

JENNY WARD welcomed members to the November meeting at Sonning Common village hall.

She announced that our speaker, Louise Kelly, was unwell and unable to come to the meeting. Louise was to have covered digital matters.

Jenny reminded members that individual digital help is available at Sonning Common library. It is necessary to book an appointment.

Birthday greetings were extended to members celebrating in November and December.

Members received the monthly bulletin with reminders of forthcoming Oxfordshire Federation events.

Sue Frayling-Cork reported on the Federation’s mental health summit which took place at Benson in October.

Dr Andrew Molodynski spoke and stressed the importance of correct diagnosis, which is crucial to the treatment of mental illness.

A shortage of professionals hindered the process and the lack of local facilities led to patients travelling long distances away from home.

Dr Molodynski said having a “listening ear” and good friendly support was invaluable. Dr Emma Calkin also spoke.

Representatives of Restore, a charity helping people recover and rehabilitate, also attended the summit as did Time to Change, a group devoted to ending mental health discrimination, and Mind.

Mental health problems affect each and every one of us, either by personal suffering or that of a family member or friend.

There should be no stigma attached to suffering from mental health; it matters as much as physical health.

Sue Hedges reported that a number of Sonning Common residents met at the village hall on Remembrance Sunday to observe the two-minute silence and remember members of the armed forces who have lost their lives on service to the country.

Alex and Gillian Manning, who both served in the Royal Navy, spoke the words of remembrance and Alex read a poem.

Alex, himself a Falklands veteran, spoke of the young men like Fred Slough, Cyrus Thatcher and Barry Weston, all former pupils of Chiltern Edge School, who had lost their lives.

A sum of £65, which was raised from the sale of knitted poppies made by Sonning Common WI members, has been passed to the Royal British Legion for the Poppy Appeal.

The craft group members have completed more baby blankets and knitted teddy bears and these have been taken to the League of Friends shop at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. A letter of thanks has been received.

Profits from the shop go towards various projects at the hospital.

The shop will be delighted to receive more donations.

Marion Bayliss, who received our Denman bursary, reported that she had thoroughly enjoyed her course at the WI college in Marcham, where she made a calico made-to-measure skirt.

Learning to take such precise measurements ensures a perfectly fitting skirt.

Marion found the peaceful time away from it all at Denman very relaxing and highly recommended the experience.

Jane Handley reminded members of the arrangements for the Christmas lunch at Badgemore Park in Henley and the New Year dinner at the Shoulder of Mutton.

Jane’s handmade Christmas cards were on sale.

A change to the evening’s programme was made and president Jenny gave out the shortlist of resolutions for the National Federation’s annual meeting in 2020.

Members discussed each of the five proposed resolutions. We will shortly receive individual voting papers to record which resolution we wish to go forward to the meeting.

The resolutions discussed included a call to increase stem cell donor registration, female crash test dummies, end modern slavery, time to talk about death and dying and protect our precious helium.

Members were particularly interested to learn that helium is non-renewable and in short supply. It is a precious resource vital to medical research such as in MRI scanning equipment.

The number of votes cast by Sonning Common WI members each year is gradually increasing and members were urged to return their voting slips at our January meeting.

Every vote is counted and is important to the National Federation, which lobbies on behalf of all WI members.

The raffle organised by Rose and Wendy had some splendid raffle prizes collected by members. Refreshments and social time followed.

Alison Bishop announced the results of the competition for “A favourite scarf” and the results of the flower of the month competition.

Jenny closed the meeting.

The Christmas party in December will be for members only.

To welcome the New Year, the following meeting on January 16 will feature a demonstration by village florist Erica Cunningham, entitled “From foxglove to fritillary — my journey in flowers”.

Visitors are very welcome. For more information, call Carol on 0118 972 3738.

SOUTH STOKE

WE met in the village hall on Tuesday, November 12.

We were pleased to welcome one visitor and our speaker, Peter Halman. After covering WI business, Peter gave a very enjoyable talk entitled “The Thames from Oxford to Windsor”.

His delightful photos covered many of the attractive sights along the River Thames and some of the history of the area we know so well.

In November South Stoke WI celebrated its 101st birthday. Two of our members also had birthdays during the month.

We held a book sale for WI funds and finished the afternoon with a delicious afternoon tea.

Our Christmas meeting on December 10 will be a musical afternoon when the Didcot Divas will entertain us with a selection of songs. We will finish the afternoon with a raffle and, of course, afternoon tea.

Our Christmas charity this year is for Orla Astles-Jones, a young Langtree School student who has undergone major surgery on her spine.

STOKE ROW

AFTER the madness of our barn dance the previous month, we settled down to hear about “A pilgrimage to Ethiopia” at our November meeting.

The Rev Canon Kevin Davies showed pictures and talked about his unusual trip alongside other church hierarchies.

Ethiopia is a Christian country mostly but with other influences and the living is quite different to our own, as you might expect.

Apart from Addis Ababa city, the party visited largely rural areas, touring a large lake by boat and viewing the mountains. They met villagers as they travelled.

Kevin spoke about the food and the country’s flag, which is displayed everywhere and painted on church roofs and the like.

This linked in well with the next part of the meeting, which involved tasting some warm food samples prepared for us by the only Ethiopian restaurant in our area, which our president Sandra and catering manager Alison had visited in Reading.

In Alison’s absence, the food was served to us by another member, Sarah, and her assistant.

The bread and pancakes were a welcome addition when the spiced lentils hit the back of your throat.

We then had our own supper of cheese, biscuits and fruit followed by cake and tea or coffee. Quite a contrast.

The competition was for “An Ethiopian something” and one member, never one to resist such a challenge, had researched, then made and hand-painted the national flag, which has a complicated colourful star suspended in the central third.

Penny Noble was therefore pleased to be chosen by the speaker for her efforts and she won a pack of Fair trade Ethiopian coffee which our speaker said was very good and strong.

Our craft group had spent a lovely afternoon creating Christmas cards and baubles to get us in the Christmas mood early, guided by a member from Henley-on- Thames WI.

Our notices included the usual list of dates for the extra clubs, plus at least three members have signed up for the holiday to Ireland.

Two members went to the latest Denman sponsored day, which was an introduction to a new vegetable, kalettes (kale sprouts), which are now available in some supermarkets.

We then heard a moving item from another member, who had been to the mental health meeting recently held by the Oxfordshire Federation.

She was very disappointed by the low turnout for such an important issue, which had been the subject of a WI resolution calling for better communication and help.

Mental health is not often talked about and it soon became obvious that most of the attending members had been affected in some way.

It was a good meeting with helpful speakers but there had been only a few others who had come to discuss what more could be done to help people in these situations.

Our member told of her own experience and how helpless she had felt.

A difficult subject tackled in a very inspiring way by our member, who we thanked wholeheartedly for sharing her situation.

We all vowed to try to make a difference where we might be able to.

Finally, we congratulated Robbie Foster, our member who had her photograph of a canal in Thrupp reproduced the cover of News & Views.

Our next meeting is the Christmas party and we signed up to bring and share a supper of kings.

We will be entertained by a musical duo and no doubt there will be a visit from the man himself too.

WATLINGTON

FOR our November meeting we had a craft evening.

Dawn Matthews showed us how to make inexpensive Christmas cards using material that could be readily available in the home or inexpensive to buy.

She showed how to make a Christmas parcel card, a Christmas tree card and a Santa card, all made using Christmas wrapping paper with a few bought items.

Our members then chose a design and all produced a lovely card.

Our next meeting will be our Christmas party. On January 8, we will have Dee Robinson giving us a talk on “Solo with a camera”.

February’s talk is entitled “Cliveden, power and politics” by Peter Hague. We meet in Watlington town hall at 7.30pm and would be delighted to meet you. For more information, please call Dawn Matthews on (01491) 612023.

WHITCHURCH HILL

MEMBERS and several guests enjoyed an entertaining talk at our November meeting, when Jeff Rozelaar recounted anecdotes about a number of familiar UK railway stations.

Four members were given flower posies and birthday greetings as well as two who will be celebrating birthdays in December as we have no business meeting that month.

We heard that we have almost achieved our target of 100 food boxes for the Wallingford food bank and should have completed it before Christmas. We are looking forward to our annual Christmas lunch the week before Christmas.

Members will gather at Goring Heath parish hall on the first Tuesday of January for afternoon tea.

Our programme committee has planned a lively and varied selection of speakers for the forthcoming year, with such subjects as the Civil War, midwifery, gardening, wildlife, millinery and travel, plus a selection of socials and walks to take place each month.

Our monthly 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 2162.

WOODCOTE

PATRICIA SOLOMONS welcomed members to our November meeting.

Celebrating birthdays this month were Betty Thomas and Evelyn Howes.

Our speaker was Dave Maycock who told us about brass rubbing and it was fascinating.

We were told about the heraldry, which was depicted on the brasses he had brought with him.

Some of the brasses gave us the genealogy showing families down the years.

They also showed how armour and chain mail differed through the years.

The ladies on the brasses also showed the fashion and the beautiful details of the material used in their dresses and the designs of the headwear through the generations. We then did some brass rubbing. Mine was of Avice Tyndall, who lived in Thornbury in the 16th century.

Her brass came with a printout of her history and details of her attire.

Thank you to Jean Taplin and Gillian Seymour for a lovely tea.

The winner in the competition for an unusual brass item was Patricia Solomons and the bloom of the month winner was Carole Shelley-Allen.

At our January meeting we will have Nick Brazil speaking about “A Balkan railway adventure” and the competition will be for any railway memorabilia.

Come and join us in Woodcote village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm.

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