Monday, 16 May 2022

WI Roundup

WI Roundup


THE March meeting was the annual meeting and Valerie, our president, reported on the previous two years.

Thanks were given to the committee for their support of Chazey WI. Thanks also to Valerie for her stewardship of our branch.

Carol gave an overview of the accounts for the last two years, duly examined and available to members.

Hazel proposed, Christine seconded and the members voted to accept the accounts.

Members of the existing committee expressed their willingness to stand again and were duly elected. Rowena also joined the committee.

The members voted to choose a president from the committee and Valerie, Margaret and Carol were given votes. Margaret and Carol declined, so Valerie was duly elected for another year.

Our speaker was the voluntary services manager at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Her talk was informative and enthusiastic about the commitment of the volunteers at the hospital.

There were leaflets for those interested.

Valerie thanked her for an interesting talk.

Tea was taken. From next month the kitchen can be used again, free from covid restrictions.

Margaret gave details of our proposed trip to Durham Park, near Bath in June.

Hopefully, from now on our meetings can continue without interruption.

Carol Briscoe


THE end of February saw some of our hardier members brave the hills above the village for a bracing walk.

The annual meeting was held on March 9 and a small celebration was held to mark the 60th birthday of the branch.

The candles on the cake were blown out by Katrina Cooper who, coincidentally, celebrates her 60th birthday at the same time. So “60 years young” to both!

The main 60th celebration will be held in May.

A certificate was presented to Chris Cox, our president, for her unstinting work to keep the branch going during lockdown and her support to the members during that time.

Chris gave a moving and thoughtful address to the meeting on the history of the WI generally and the branch and reflected on the very sad news from Ukraine.

More happily, members contributed their best memories of the WI and looked at some of the archive of pictures and newsletters that have been collected over the years.

Many members also contributed to the first of what are likely to be several container-loads of essential supplies from Goring to Poland in aid of the refugees.

Katrina Cooper


DESPITE the grey skies and heavy rain, 22 members attended the annual meeting held on Wednesday, March 16.

Helen Perry, joint president, opened the meeting, welcoming members and outlining the agenda for the afternoon.

Apologies were given and the minutes of the last annual meeting were read, agreed and passed by members. There were no matters arising from these.

Following the traditional singing of Jerusalem, the officers briefly shared their reports for 2021, which had all been distributed to members earlier for their perusal.

These were all agreed unanimously by members as being accurate records of events during 2021.

Sheila Williams, the treasurer, gave details of the balance sheet and explained that, although the financial position looked disappointing at present (chiefly due to the limited number of activities that were able to take place during the coronavirus pandemic), it was hoped that, being a festival year, fundraising figures would rise and more events would take place.

The report was accepted by all members.

The election of officers then began and all those seeking re-election were voted in with Helen Perry and Judi Rowlands remaining as joint president.

Their partnership throughout 2021 was exceptionally successful and as it was the first time that the presidency has been shared, members congratulated them for their hard work and the way in which their partnership had bought beneficial changes to the group.

It was also agreed that the division of the administrative role into minutes secretary and correspondence secretary had worked well and these positions would remain.

All committee members seeking re-election were voted in unanimously and Jean Gimlett was welcomed as a new member of the committee.

Following the elections, the business was complete and Helen Perry closed that part of the meeting.

A rousing chorus of Happy Birthday was given to Julia Freeman and other members with birthdays in March were also acknowledged.

The programme of future events was made available with several, such as the bridge afternoon in April and the trip to superbloom garden at the Tower of London in June, being highlighted and discussed.

Details of our planned contribution to Wargrave Festival were shared with further information to

Pam McGow, who was responsible, with Jean Gimlett, for co-ordinating the emergency toiletries bags donated to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, thanked members for their contributions and confirmed that we have made up 350 bags.

Members were encouraged to keep donations coming, in terms of finance or individual items, as these resources are greatly valued by both the hospital and those who receive them.

It was agreed that we should include a greetings card inside each bag, identifying them as being from Cockpole Green WI.

Details of a memorial service and a thanksgiving service for two of our members who we have sadly lost this year were shared with members.

Dianne Bush then presented two beautiful snakeskin fritillary plants to the joint-presidents as a show of appreciation for their contribution throughout the year.

It was then time for the Easter chicks activity to begin. Everyone enjoyed a delicious tea, provided by Dianne Bush, Maureen Fennemore and Carol Ellis, while hand-sewing these little 3D cuties.

All members were under the watchful eye of Judi Rowlands, who had kindly produced a kit for each

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, March 20 at 2.30pm, when the guest speaker will be Jane Fletcher talking about “The Art of Giving Community Interest Company”.

New members are always welcome, so feel free to come along as a guest; you can be assured of a very warm welcome. Why not take the plunge and give Cockpole Green WI a try?

Sarah Whiteside


ON March 22, 1920, Greys WI held its first meeting.

At that time the UK was struggling to recover from the terrible traumas of the First World War and, as I write, daily news from the dreadful war in Ukraine is horrifying us all. Does nothing change?

All WIs will have finalised their 2022-2023 programme of monthly meetings and Greys is no exception.

If any reader would like to view ours, call (01491) 280348 or email and we will send you one.

The date of our annual meeting had to be changed to March 23, so was too late for this report.

Every year at this time all WI branches vote in a secret ballot to elect their

For young women today, it is almost unbelievable that 102 years ago women in Britain were still fighting to get the vote. Then the new Women’s Institute was a trailblazer.

Fortunately, in these dark days, I can report that our knit and natter group is thriving and cheering us all up. Members have been busy knitting “bonding bears” for premature babies and their mums in hospital, blue bands for confused older patients, tiny hats for premature babies and gorgeous dolls.

All for the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and, as the photograph above shows, all totally charming. It cheers you up.

When working on our post-covid programme for the next year we decided to celebrate our links with the village of Rotherfield Greys.

So at our next meeting Barry Wood will be enlightening us with “Greys Court revealed”. The meeting will be held at Greys village hall at 2pm on April 20. All are welcome.

Merryl Roberts


WE held our final ever meeting in March and celebrated in true WI form. We began the evening with some chair-based yoga, led by Claire. It was great fun and raised many a giggle as we familiarised ourselves with various breathing exercises and chanting.

We were then joined by the Rev Sue Morton, who led us through a lovely closing thanksgiving in which we remembered past and present friends and happy times spent together.

We all had individual candles lit from a larger single candle as a symbol of the unity of our WI.

While there was an element of sadness and regret, we then continued the evening in party style.

We raised a glass, determined to keep in touch with one another, and also shared an extensive buffet with food prepared by our members.

There was ample time to chat and catch up on each other’s news.

Sarah had prepared a slideshow of members’ photographs and this was playing throughout the evening. It was great to be able to recall events we had enjoyed together.

With the Ukrainian crisis in mind, Claire Wathes suggested we hold a raffle to contribute to the Disasters Emergency Committee via the Red Cross and we were delighted to raise the sum of £292.14.

Thank you very much to all who contributed.

We are most grateful to the parochial church council for agreeing that our tablecloth panels can be hung in the east transept of St Mary’s. It will be a clear reminder of the WI’s close links to the village.

We plan to keep the walking and book groups going and the idea of monthly/
bi-monthly lunches was

The strength of friendships made and times enjoyed together was clearly evident. Almost 103 years of Hambleden WI will not disappear in an instant, of that we are determined.

Finally, our thanks go to the Rev Sue Morton for joining us and to all our members for making our final official meeting such a success.

Jo Martin


SUZANNA ROSE opened the March meeting and welcomed three visitors who were looking for an afternoon WI meeting in the area.

We hope they enjoyed the meeting and will join next month.

Patrick Fleming, chairman of Greener Henley, was introduced as the speaker.

This organisation was formerly Henley in Transition, focusing on growing our own food.

Patrick mentioned that there is excessive pollution in Henley from too much traffic and spoke about the Henley Car Club whereby it is possible to hire a car for a length of time. This is especially useful for residents who do not own a car.

Greener Henley works with the Henley Swifts Support Group and since Patrick’s talk a grant has been given by Henley Town Council to buy new boxes and a call system which plays swift sounds to attract the birds to the boxes.

The group also works with the Henley Toad Patrol along Marlow Road in assisting the toads to cross the road to their spawning grounds.

Patrick had various species of trees on show which are available free to anyone wishing to improve the green canopy in and around Henley.

Silver birch, oak and hazel are all available and for smaller gardens a crab apple would be suitable.

Patrick finished his talk by telling us about No Mow May, whereby leaving our lawns uncut for the month will improve the habitat for wildlife.

The monthly business then followed with mention of the national raffle, Gift Aid forms, bulb catalogues and the Sonning Common WI coffee mornings which have recommenced.

The book club and walking group continue, the latter with a visit to Watlington next on the agenda.

The Beechwood Group of seven local WIs will be meeting on April 23, hosted by HoT (Henley-on-Thames) WI. The allocated six places for Harpsden WI were quickly taken.

The annual meeting then followed with Pam Hails taking members through the balance sheet, which had been successfully audited.

Mary Burton presented the committee report with details of the activities of the past year.

She finished by hoping that we could look forward to a normal year.

Suzanna presented her president’s report, mentioning the successful use of Zoom meetings and especially the availability of speakers via this medium.

She gave thanks to her committee for their efforts in keeping going through difficult times.

The committee members were all willing to stand again, namely Suzanna Rose, Mary Burton, Susan Beswick, Pam Hails, Jean Newman, Doris Tallon, Gwen Wilding and Judith Young.

Suzanna was duly elected president for 2022/23.

The next meeting will be on April 13 with a talk by Fiona Barker on “The wonderful world of picture books”. Members are asked to bring along their favourite picture book for the competition.

We will meet, as usual, in Harpsden village hall at 2.30pm.

Judith Young


THE annual meeting took place on Friday, March 18 and was followed by a crisp tasting session organised by our secretary Alison.

An election was held to reform the committee and vote in a new president.

We were very pleased to welcome Kristine Gluckanann as a new committee member and Nicola Baker as our new president.

As outgoing president of our first five years, I was very pleased to pass the mantle over to Nicola, who I’m sure will make a great president and see us through the year.

I have been honoured and privileged to be the president for so long and have seen our WI go from creation to where we are today, a group of fun-loving and creative women who value the organisation of the WI and the importance of local community and friendship.

We have a great schedule of events lined up for the year and would love to see new faces, so please join us at Sacred Heart Church hall every third Friday of the month at 7.30pm.

Katie Woodiss-Field


MEMBERS of Mill Green WI gathered at St Mary’s Church Centre for their annual meeting on March 2, a grey afternoon.

The meeting was opened by vice-president Gina Foden as the president Frankie MacMillan was unable to attend owing to ill health.

Annual reports were submitted by the secretary (Pat Jones) and treasurer (Jan French) and adopted by the membership.

The existing committee stood for re-election with Gina becoming president to follow Frankie, who is moving to Australia to be with her family.

The membership expressed grateful thanks to the committee for all their work in putting the branch in a financially stable position and making many plans for future activities and events.

Special thanks were extended to Frankie for her enormous contribution over the years to the WI.

Our attention was drawn to the Berkshire Federation’s spring annual council meeting in April if members wished to attend and plans for the group meeting in May were made.

Having dealt with business matters, we paused for tea followed by a bring and buy sale where £91 was raised for the Associated Country Women of the World, which helps women throughout the world to start businesses to support their families.

We rounded off the afternoon with a beetle drive, that timeless game of fun and laughter, so with smiles still on our faces we went out to face the rain once more.

As I looked around me, I drank in the joy of the spring flowers and white blossom plus the hazy green on bare branches — an afternoon of friendship and peace where “simple pleasures never cloy”.

Sue Drew


MEMBERS enjoyed a glass of bubbly on arrival at Peppard War Memorial Hall on Wednesday, March 9.

We welcomed our advisor, Janet Kingdon, from Burnt Cakes WI, to the annual meeting to oversee the election of a new president, Valerie Broadhurst.

The previous president, Lesley Cresswell, was thanked for all her hard work in steering us through the last few years.

Cups were awarded to the winners of the flower of the month competition and members took part in an entertaining quiz during tea.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 13 when our speaker will be John Peacock, who will give a talk on “Guernica”.

If you would like to join us, visitors are most

Beth Fossett


MEMBERS of the Remenham book club met early in March to discuss their latest read, Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson.

In this, two ladies from very different backgrounds meet and embark on a journey along the canals of England.

Although ill-equipped and inexperienced, they cope with the challenges of canal boat life.

With several members familiar with narrow boating, the story brought back many memories and provided an enjoyable read.

Their next book is Summer’s End by Amy Myers.

At the members’ meeting in March, a warm welcome was extended to Sue Ryan, who talked about her connection with the Henley Literary Festival.

Sue was the instigator of the annual festival and she had many interesting and often humorous anecdotes to relate about the early days of the event, from the booking of well-known personalities to the first printed programmes.

It was fascinating to hear how the festival has progressed over the years.

Members had been asked to bring a colourful item from abroad to this meeting. We had, among many articles, a statue of Mrs Pringle from Barbados, a beautifully hand-painted shopping bag from Lagos, a Kimono from Japan, a plate from France and a beautifully painted pony from America.

The owners of these artefacts all gave a brief description of the memories that were evoked by these colourful items. The raffles were won by Pat Sly and Rosemary Pratt and the meeting closed after another delicious tea.

Daphne Austen


THE March meeting started with a rousing chorus of Jerusalem and with Joan Jolley, the president, introducing Janet Kingdon, who is our adviser and had come to oversee the annual meeting.

Joan gave details of the Oxfordshire Federation’s annual meeting and the Beechwood Group meeting.

The weekly walks will start again on Friday mornings, meeting at the Corner Shop at 11am and stopping for coffee at the Baskerville.

Ladies were asked to sign in to help with serving teas at the Henley Arts Trail over the May bank holiday

Sonning Common WI were restarting their coffee mornings on Wednesday, April 6.

Four ladies had attended the Science and Culture event and enjoyed the day and the excellent lunch.

The bulb catalogues have arrived and anyone wanting to order bulbs this year was asked to contact Pam Hudgell.

Rosemary Appleby, our treasurer, reminded ladies that the subscriptions were due in April and asked anyone who was eligible to sign the Gift Aid forms.

Joan went through the Oxfordshire Inspires magazine and pointed out the huge range of activities that are organised in the county, from flower arranging and bread making to marketing an invention and an evening at John Lewis.

Sue Lines told the meeting about some outings that were being planned — to Highgrove, to see Cinderella and a trip to English Farm at Nuffield.

She was taking names for these outings and the visits to Waltham Place and
Windsor. Joan went on to explain that there would be a event in June to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee but more details would be announced later.

Some pictures of the golden jubilee party were passed around to remind ladies what had been organised 10 years ago.

She also explained that the lovely white flowers on the front table had been arranged by Ursula Davies.

The monthly meeting was then closed and the committee moved to the front of the hall for the start of the annual meeting.

The by-laws were read by Helen Robinson and Rosemary Appleby gave the financial report.

Barbara Rowlett thanked everyone for helping with the catering and for making the teas so successful.

Ursula Davies thanked those who had entered the competitions and thanks were given to Banba Dawson for booking our wonderful and varied speakers.

Sue Lines gave a report on the outings through the year, including the tea at the Baskerville, the visits to the Fairmile Vineyard and the Bremont headquarters, the production of Top Hat at the Sonning Mill Theatre and lunch at Côte in Henley.

Joan then announced that she would not be standing as president for the next year so it was with some sadness that she gave her final report.

She highlighted the challenges and the successes of the last year, particularly organising the meetings online and keeping in touch with members during the months of lockdown.

She thanked Helen Robinson for co-ordinating our Zoom meetings and talked about the variety of speakers that we had enjoyed, from archaeology to Spitfires.

Joan thanked all the committee for their hard work and enthusiasm — Barbara Rowlett and Chris Bickerton, who were marvels in the kitchen and experts at making the dishwasher work; Joyce Vernon and Frances LeFebure, who looked after the register and the scrapbook; and Sandy Porter, who organises the Associated Country Women of the World competition.

She also thanked Audrey Simpson, our secretary, for all her work on the minutes, records and correspondence and Rosemary Appleby, our treasurer, who keeps track of all the money.

She also thanked other ladies who were not on the committee but who did so much to make the meetings run smoothly — Yvonne Watson, who ran the raffle, Stephanie Blake and Sue Williams, who ran the sales table, and Ursula Davies, who runs the monthly competition table and also arranges flowers for special occasions, particularly our Christmas meeting.

Finally, Joan thanked all the members for continuing to support her and the committee and for helping to make the meetings fun and friendly.

As Joan was standing down as president there would be one vacancy on the committee.

Fiona Cooke had been nominated to join the committee and was voted in along with the nine other existing members.

Members then voted for the new president and Sue Lines was elected.

Sue, in her new role, thanked Janet Kingdon for her help to ensure the annual meeting ran smoothly.

She then thanked Joan for her wonderful leadership over the past seven years and presented her with a lovely bouquet of flowers and a card.

Then followed another excellent tea co-ordinated by Sue Williams and Yvonne Watson.

The competition for the flower of the month was won by Yvonne Watson with a very delicate hellebore. The competition for “The things I did during covid” was won by Jennifer Studholme with a beautifully embroidered rabbit.

The April speaker will be Irene Manson with a talk entitled “One, two, buckle my shoe” and the competition will be to draw a design for a shoe.

Visitors are always welcome at our meetings, which are held on the third Wednesday of the month.

Pam Hudgell


THE annual meeting on March 17 was well attended and opened with the singing of Jerusalem.

The members, led by Jane Handley, wished a very happy birthday to the members celebrating their birthdays in March.

Business commenced with the financial report by treasurer Anne Croxson.

The financial statement had been audited and copies forwarded to members and it was adopted at the

During the pandemic
fundraising had been limited but this year, with regular meetings returning, fundraising will increase.

At members’ meetings Wendy and Rose will sell raffle tickets, Jane will sell handcrafted greetings cards and Jenny will sell pre-loved books.

Copies of the report written by secretary Carol on behalf of the committee had been forwarded to members.

Despite the covid restrictions, members has enjoyed as many happy activities as possible, including a picnic and regular walks.

Noreen kindly hosted two tea parties and Sue Frayling-Cork held garden coffee mornings.

Meetings took place on Zoom and, when possible, were held at the village hall.

Jane and Carol organised the popular annual Christmas lunch at Badgemore Park.

Jane Handley produced a monthly round robin and Alison produced a monthly newsletter.

Lesley Davis, our public affairs officer, kept us up to date with WI campaigns.

At members’ meetings Leslie receives donations from members of toiletries, warm socks and gloves and children’s toys to be donated to Women’s Aid in Reading.

The charity supports women who have suffered domestic violence and
are living in emergency accommodation.

Beverley has co-ordinated the Scrabble group, which is once again meeting regularly.

Jo organises the darts group, which currently meets fortnightly at the Unicorn pub where members enjoy a light lunch followed by a game of darts.

A new darts trophy in memory of Jackie Cheffings was presented to Gill Hayward for the most bullseyes scored.

Yvonne received a trophy for achieving the highest score with three darts and Jo a trophy for the most doubles.

Janet Evans won the flower of the month cup. Money raised by the monthly competition is sent to the Associated Country Women of the World.

President Sue Frayling-Cork presented her report.

She considered that covid had made the last year very on/off but happy too.

Sue thanked the committee and all the other members who had given support and shown much kindness.

Two members, Alison and Rosemary, were standing down from the committee.

Alison Bishop was presented with an orchid in appreciation of her many years of service on the

Lesley Cresswell, one of our tellers, also thanked Alison for the help she had given to Peppard WI.

Rosemary Greeley, who had sent apologies for absence, has also stood down from the committee. She first joined Dunsden WI in 1966 and was previously president of that branch.

While on the Sonning Common WI committee, Rosemary’s experience and wisdom has been much appreciated.

Rosemary will also receive an orchid.

Annette agreed to stand for the committee and eight committee members were duly elected.

Jeni and Lesley, from Peppard WI, were tellers for the election of our president and Sue Frayling-Cork was duly returned.

Covid had struck again so the speaker from Citizens Advice Reading was unable to attend to talk to us about home energy efficiency.

A pack of leaflets was provided containing advice, which included how to sign up for priority services.

March included Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week and a leaflet with guidance was distributed to members.

Previously Sonning Common WI had arranged for the leaflet to be distributed with every copy of Sonning Common Magazine.

The sooner ovarian cancer is detected the easier it is to treat. It is important to get any symptoms checked out.

Business concluded, we were very grateful that Beverley could deliver a quiz which was enjoyed by everyone.

Sonning Common WI will once again be hosting village coffee mornings.

The first one will be at the village hall on April 6 from 10am to noon with a stall of produce from the Greenshoots nursery in Peppard, part of the Ways and Means Trust.

WI stalls will be selling cakes, costume jewellery, books and jigsaws.

Wendy and Rose will also be there with their popular tombola and Age UK will be in attendance and on hand to give out advice leaflets and guidance.

The coffee mornings are open to everyone, providing visitors, residents and members a chance to catch up with each other.

At the Sonning Common spring clean day on March 6 WI members served refreshments to the volunteer litter pickers.

At the March craft group meeting, lacemakers Marilyn and Pat exhibited a fine display of their work — an incredible variety of articles of bobbin lace and a beautiful tablecloth which had taken Marilyn five years to complete.

Marilyn’s artwork, tastefully embellished with lacework, and amazing butterflies which had decorated her daughter’s wedding dress, was much admired.

She shared her journey in lacemaking from starting off to progressing to teaching and designing.

Pat also displayed some fine pieces, including one copied from a pattern from the 1600s.

Pat had a collection of antique bobbins with regional names. A bookmark made by her young granddaughter was also on display.

Marilyn had set up a pillow for members to try their hand at bobbin lacemaking, which was all very interesting.

The next members’ meeting will be held at Sonning Common village hall on April 21 at 7.30pm. The speaker will be Sarah Slater with a talk entitled “Kirtles, corsets and curtains” about the making of period costumes as worn by a tour guide.

For enquiries, call Carol on 0118 972 3738.

Sue Hedges


MEMBERS gathered at the village hall on Tuesday, March 8 for both the monthly meeting and annual meeting.

In the absence of the president Rita Mann, the meeting was taken by the vice-president who welcomed everyone and said she hoped they all had an enjoyable afternoon.

A card and a bouquet of flowers were presented to one of our members who was celebrating her 85th birthday in March.

This is one of the perks of being in charge — you get to give out cards and presents!

The financial statement was adopted, as was the annual report.

With no new nominations, the existing committee was re-elected en-bloc and Rita Mann confirmed as president for another year.

Like everyone else, WIs are facing increasing costs for speakers, halls etc but our treasurer does a magnificent job of keeping our finances in order.

Due to increasing costs it helps to have talented members. Creative thinking helps spread the costs more evenly through the year and it is not always necessary to bring in outside speakers or demonstrators.

We have within our ranks many gifted people.

Our flower demonstrator at the meeting was one of these. Pam Seymour talked us through four beautiful flower arrangements.

These were the prizes in the raffle so all the winners went home with something special. Afternoon tea was then served by three members who take it in turn each month.

This is a part of the afternoon very much enjoyed and appreciated by all.

If nothing else, the past two years have made us all value the friendship and companionship that we are lucky enough to enjoy as a group.

Tea served and eaten with friends chatting and laughing — what is more British or enjoyable? A simple pleasure that does not cost a fortune but brings us all closer together as a community.

The WI is a large community sharing the same values and aims for peace and friendship. A very enjoyable afternoon. Our next meeting will be in the village hall on Tuesday, April 12 at 2.15pm. The speaker will be Nick Crivich talking about “60 years of youth hostels”. Please join us. Visitors are always welcome.

Margaret Boorne


OUR monthly meeting in March was our annual meeting at which the committee is confirmed and we reflect on the finances and activities of the past year.

This was the first annual meeting we had conducted as a hybrid meeting and was well attended with equal numbers attending in person and via Zoom.

For the first time members not attending in person were allowed a proxy vote which worked surprisingly well and we thank our tellers from Greys WI for advising on and supervising our election.

We are pleased to announce that Stella Kendall was re-elected president.

However, there were some changes to the committee and we are sad to see Sheila Griggs standing down after many years’ service.

Sheila was presented with some garden vouchers as a big thank-you from all of us for all her hard work on the committee over the years.

We welcomed two new members to the committee and we look forward to another exciting year of activities with a new programme in the final stages of preparation.

The business over, we enjoyed a quiz organised by Sandra and then refreshments, including a Bakewell pudding from a member who actually lives in Bakewell.

Luckily, we had a fine sunny day for Tilley’s daffodil walk which followed a picturesque (if muddy) route along Whitcalls Lane to Oakingham House and back via English Lane to view the daffodils, which were glorious.

There was also a shorter option through the woods via the well orchard with everyone meeting back at the Cherry Tree pub at 3pm for tea and cake.

Tea at three is a well-established tradition incorporated into as many activities as possible and it was delightful to be joined by more of our members who had not been on the walk.

On March 31, the diners club met at the Waterfront Café at Benson.

Coffee and chat sessions via Zoom will be included in the new programme, together with craft, games and book groups, which will continue to meet in person on a monthly basis.

Our next meeting will be on April 19 when local quilter Gill Davis will talk to us about “A quilter’s journey”. If you are interested in what we do, call our secretary Pam on (01491) 681723 or email her at

You would be most welcome to visit us.

Denise Stanworth


WELL, we have all survived another year and despite covid hanging around, have managed to have the meetings with doors and windows open, each meeting bringing the opportunity to catch up with our friends old and new.

Thank you to Rosemary Lewis and Linda Francis for all the work they do on our WI’s behalf and Diana Young and Stephanie Craddock for looking after the welfare of members with cards and delicious cakes and also this year for arranging our spring lunch.

Thanks, too, to Sue Markham for her amazing quizzes and for selecting our speakers, Angela Jacobs for making sure we have a good cup of tea and cakes and Maggie Bruce with her wealth of knowledge, not only on the WI but also on Watlington and its lovely people.

Last but not least, thank you to Janice Measures, who takes the minutes at our meetings but is not on the committee.

Our next meeting will be on April 14 when Steph Van Pette, who runs the So Sustainable shop in the village, will speak on “How it all started and why”.

On May 12, Martin Sirot-Smith will give us a talk on “Daily life in Tudor times”.

If you are interested in joining us, please call Dawn Matthews on (01491) 612023 or just come along to meet us, you will be warmly welcomed.


IT is not only gardeners who are busy at this time of year.

In March we held our annual meeting when Frances Strange stood down as our president.

After nine years in the role, she deserves to sit back and enjoy doing instead of organising. Not a bit of it. Frances is joining the Berkshire Federation so will continue to be involved in everything WI.

We owe her a huge debt of gratitude for leading us so well for so long.

She is a hard act to follow but we are lucky that Sarah Moody has agreed to take on the role and we look forward to what the coming year has to offer.

We’ve already run an Art Café in Whitchurch, selling tea, coffee and cake to Saturday morning locals and visitors.

We made a profit of more than £160 of which £100 has been donated to the local branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. We will be running another session in November.

In April we have a walk and lunch planned courtesy of Frances (there she is again). We will walk from Crowmarsh to Benson and back with lunch at the halfway point.

Later in the month we will have our regular meeting and learn all about the experiences of Dorothy Cook in her talk entitled “Never a dull moment”.

Her subject is midwifery and it promises to be an entertaining look at the work many women have come into contact with as service recipients.

The rest of the year promises much, so if you are local to Whitchurch or Whitchurch Hill and would like to know more, Frances would welcome a call on 0118 984 2162.

Sally Bergmann


PATRICIA SOLOMONS welcomed members to our annual meeting and gave a warm welcome to new member Sandra Dickson.

Celebrating their birthdays this month were Debbie Black and Ann Rossiter.

We had a great time playing skittles at Wallingford sports centre. Thank you to Ann Larden for organising this event and Matt for providing a lovely lunch and making us very welcome.

Sally Lambert organised our lunch group at the Butcher’s Arms in Sonning Common where 10 members met for a lovely meal and much chatter on a beautiful spring day.

The winner of this year’s bloom of the month and the monthly competition was Carole Shelley-Allen, who received a voucher. The runners-up were Shirley Bryant and Sally Lambert.

The three members of the committee standing down were presented with pots of hyacinths and thanked for all their work on behalf of the members.

Wendy Muchamore has kindly agreed to be our tea hostess for the coming year.

Jane Finnerty, our group advisor, oversaw the vote for president and Patricia Solomons was re-elected.

We then had a beetle drive which was much enjoyed.

Our thanks to Gill Woods for all her input in organising this event, which was followed by tea.

In April we will have a speaker from Lowland Rescue and in May we will have our resolutions meeting.

Please come and join us as you will be very welcome. Just come along to the village hall at 2.30pm on the third Wednesday of the month.

Judy Williams

More News:

POLL: Have your say