W.I. Newsletter March 2024

It was just as well we had something to look forward to at this month’s meeting, courtesy of our guest speaker, as Storm Nelson blew in that day.  The car park was full of water, but our members gamely waded through (sounds more dramatic that it really was) and attendance was greater than anticipated.  Our members remained undaunted.

Our President, Lynne, urged us to look at the events table and to sign-up as soon as possible for those activities we wished to take part in.  There were so many events that our secretary, Aileen, had kindly put an Events & Activities memo on our chairs.  At the top was a note that our subscriptions are due from 01 April 2024 with a request to pay our Treasurer.   Activities include a Theatre trip in April (now full), Fish & Chips at our AGM in May, our Garden Meeting in June and Summer Outing to the Tower of London in August.

At the very last minute (two days beforehand) we were offered returned tickets to Hampshire Federation’s Spring Council Meeting on 20 March.  We had originally submitted a request for 12 tickets back in November but were very disappointed to be advised that the event was full already.  Two of us were lucky to be able to be free to attend at the Guildhall in Winchester.   It was great to be back in a venue with members from across the County.  There were some familiar faces and a chance to catch up with some not seen for some time.  The morning was mostly business and then we had the first of our speakers, Anna Matthews, who is a lighting designer with severe dyslexia.  She took us through the process of putting on a play in a Theatre right from the beginning to the opening night.  She has faced many challenges but is now in a job she loves. 

In the afternoon it was the turn of Gerald & Carole from DSI (Dance Sport International).  This was the reason there had been the clamour for tickets last year. They provide the costumes for the series Strictly Come Dancing.  Vicky Gill designs them, and their team makes them.  There were several examples of dresses on the stage, and they were beautiful – it not rather small!   The audience were encouraged to ask questions and at the end there was an opportunity to get a closer look.  Needless to say, our two lucky attendees were there holding them up and pretending they were about to take a waltz – perhaps with Anton or Giovanni?

Now for the good news that Richard Murphy had promised us.  He introduced himself and explained that he was an Actuary and had a love of numbers, but his talk had come about following a disagreement with this Mother-in-Law (a brave man indeed).   She made a comment that the world was more dangerous than it had ever been.  This was a challenge that Richard set about to disprove.   He discovered that in 1990 the United Nations had set out some goals with check points in 2015 and 2030.

So far, the global numbers are going in the right direction.  The number of children surviving beyond their fifth birthday has increased, it is believed that the population of the world has probably peaked and in many counties the birth rate is dropping.  70% of the global population has had at least one vaccination against Covid.  Ebola was contained and whilst 11,000 people died, compared to the Black Death plague in the 14th Century when millions died this is a success.  Richard gave us so many numbers it was difficult to comprehend all of them, but staggeringly 95% of the world has access to a mobile signal.   Whilst there are still some counties where education is solely confined to males, 41% of girls now have access to third level (post-secondary) education whilst only 36% of boys do.   Richard touched upon climate change and dared raise the subject of self-driving cars.  Usually, his audience is split on this, but here in Abbotts Ann it was a definite no.   He was surprised. 

He explained that he had survived the ordeal of explaining his view that the world is in a better place at his mother-on-law’s WI and that he welcome hecklers.  Whilst we didn’t heckle, our members weren’t shy in disputing some of his observations.  He was thanked by Lynda for giving us something positive to contemplate.

We will next be in the Village Hall on 25th April when Katie Stone & Jessica Roberts from Featherstone’s English Flower Company are attending.  This is a pre-cursor to our visit to their premises in June.  Please come along for a 7.30 p.m. start.


03 April – Book Club-Dobbies Garden Centre 10.30 a.m.
11 April – Coffee Morning – Sports Pavilion at 10.30 a.m. £2 to include refreshments : Non-members welcome
13 April – Walking Group
22 April – Theatre Trip (ticket only)
25 April – Monthly Meeting – Village Hall 7.30 p.m.